Review: Ravishing the Heiress (Fitzhugh Trilogy, Book 2) by Sherry Thomas

ravishing an heiressHero: Fitzhugh is an impoverished Earl, who recently inherited his earldom. If he doesn’t wed for money he and his family will be doomed to live in poverty forever. The idea of a loveless marriage does not appeal to him in the slightest as he is in love with a beautiful woman… but he can’t provide her with the life she deserves and she isn’t as wealthy as he needs. So, for the love of duty and England, he will marry Millie instead.

Heroine: Millicent (Millie) is a sardine-canning heiress. She’s not gentry, she’s not beautiful… and she isn’t Isabelle. She agrees to marry Fitz knowing that he doesn’t love her. She proposes that they abstain from consummating the marriage for a few years and then get together long enough for them to beget an heir. Fitz thinks that is a great idea because he can’t imagine wanting to sleep with his wife and proposes an extension of the abstinence plan.

So, of course, the beautiful Isabelle returns freshly widowed and ready to start an illicit affair with Fitz just when the married couple plans to consummate the marriage.

Review: My big issue with this book is the flaunting of adultery as the hero cheats and screws his way around London. He’s even willing to abandon his wife publically for a calculating harpy, just because his younger self thought he was in love with the woman. Ugh. I did however, like Millie, even if she took the role of doormat. I got her as a character. She loved Fitz at first site, is a young teenage girl, and believes she’s causing him more harm than good by being married to him. Sure it is a bit delusional, seeing as she’s bringing way more to the marriage with successful businesses and wealth while he’s only bringing a title and some land… but… that’s Millie. The hero has very few redeemable qualities and uses his broken heart as an excuse to behave awfully. What I didn’t understand was why Isabelle wasn’t given the cut-direct several times over? She’s clearly not “high society” even if she married well because she relentless pursues a scandal broth that would consume her, Fitz, and her children. In short, if Millie got a very determined admirer who honestly made her feel special and gave her the idea to run away from her loveless marriage, I might have enjoyed the story better.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Buy: Ravishing the Heiress

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Review: Love Like the Movies by Victoria Van Tiem

love like the moviesHeroine: Kensington Shaw is always coming in second place in her family. Her parents, especially her mother, do not make her feel seen. She’s never quite good enough, even though she thinks she’s got a pretty good life. What really gets her? Her brother’s wife, Ren, who is always one-upping her. Kensi though, knows today is her day, finally. Today she is announcing her engagement to the man she loves and her family adores. Nothing Ren can do will top that…

Bachelor One: Bradley – He’s got the family’s approval. He’s got a steady solid job at the same company where Kensi works. He’s always trying to solve problems that arise between Kensi and her family. He’s a good man and gorgeous. But is that enough?

Bachelor Two: Shane – He’s not going to take “No” for an answer. He will get his ten movie moments with Kensi or he’ll take his big project and walk. Walking, is not something Kensi’s career can take so she agrees to do his ten movie moments as long as they don’t cross a line – after all she is engaged.

Review: This story will make you say, “Aww.” Shane is super adorable and pulls out all the stops. He clearly wants to win Kensi back and will do what it takes. I love how Kensi’s love of rom-coms permeated into Shane’s life even after they had broken up. I love that when he saw them, he thought of her. The movie moments are adorable because they get mixed up and slightly out of order. Shane won’t hesitate to say the female’s part in the movie to get his point across. The only thing I didn’t like was how often Kensi would cry. That girl would tear up and/or bawl for the good and the bad. A little less waterworks would’ve been great. Kensi’s a heroine to love, because she’s willing to be swept away. I love that she channels her inner Bridget Jones (and other heroines).

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Love Like the Movies

Review: The Scent of Jade by Dee DeTarsio

The Scent of Jade Dee DeTarsioReviewed by Karin of Savvy Thinker

I had high hopes for this book, but it didn’t pan out quite the way I expected. Let’s just say I did no like the man she ends up with on the final page. I think it was the wrong choice, and that spoiled the book for me.

Julie Fraser is in a less than perfect marriage. She doesn’t have much guts, and her husband is jetting around the world on business. She decides to surprise him in Costa Rica – and she gets a surprise, finding him in the midst of sex with a beautiful woman. Without thinking, she snatches a jade relic – and ends up on the run herself.

It has been compared to Romancing the Stone, and the similarities – reluctant heroine traipsing through the jungle – was too similar to me, although other aspects of the story were different.

I did like that she became more gutsy and feisty along the way.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: The Scent of Jade

Review: Moonglow by Charlie Romo

Reviewed by Sandra Scholes

Most of us would love to live our dreams, but other things tend to get in the way. Not so for Rena Hilst, she is living her dream at the very top of her business, and being involved with management at Moonglow she shines along with her boss, Shell Dawes, she goes the extra mile and has a passionate relationship with her. Rena soon realizes that having one woman to love isn’t enough for her and when she is out at fashion parties she hobnobs with the rich and famous and at times ends up in bed with them. Her job takes her away from Shell sometimes, and when she does she inevitably

Some might think that her reason for cheating is due to her getting to the top of Moonglow was sleeping with the boss, or that it’s her age which causes her to cheat, but whatever it is, it’s not good as if she found out, it could drive a wedge between them. The strange thing is, she already knows about her flings with other women, and at first it doesn’t bother her as she knows she is young and fit and full of energy she wishes she still had at her age; but when it keeps on happening she feels she has to confront her and get all the problems out once and for all, for both of them.

I thought she was foolish for jeopardizing her position in the company as she might not get another job opportunity again, even though she is young, There is also a question of whether she actually loves Shell, or has used her all along. It will be something that the reader will ask themselves too.

Rena doesn’t have any idea of the affect she has on other people either. She has sensual young women everywhere, Koko, is a fashion model that has the chance to make it big, she just needs that extra push to stardom, while another of her women, Lily is a musician who likes designing fashion. Her conquests all adore her in one way or the other, and when Shell finds out she has been sleeping with Shannon, she sees that as the final straw.

For both of them all their secrets will come flooding out and no one will be the same again.

Rena and Shell could be anyone out there, their personal lives could run along anyone else’s, but in this story there seems to be only one bad girl and that’s Rena. When Shell thinks about Shannon, she remembers she lost someone dear to her, her lover and wonders if Rena having an affair with her is just her taking advantage of her good nature. She can only blame herself for allowing Rena to go off and have affairs all over the place with other women, but what can she do when she has been so easy going with her for so long? I admired that Shell confronted her and made her aware of what she was doing to her emotionally. She has a choice to be rid of her for good, or have her close and tolerate her affairs. One thing I did find interesting was Rena having to decide on one person after all; whether she should stay with Shell, or make a proper relationship with Koko without the cheating. Ultimately it is Rena who has to make the final decision.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: MOONGLOW

Review: Midnight Waltz by Jennifer Blake

Reviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Amalie Peschier Declouet walks in on her mother-in-law, Sophia Declouet, speaking to her husband’s cousin Robert. Her husband, Julien, is a most proper man for the time period, nineteenth-century, and runs their estate located in Louisiana. There are lots of formalities that are followed – people are expected to act a certain way.

Jennifer does a great job of describing what the Belle Grove Estate looks like. Since this story occurs in times past, details are very important. Otherwise, a reader may get lost in the story. She also does a great job of describing the power of the raging water and the destruction it brings with it. The reader also sees the different ways that a family copes with having water in their house.

Jennifer also does a great job in giving her readers an insight into family life during this period of history. Slavery was a big part of that history but Jennifer does a great job of not making it the focal point. It’s not the best part of our history but Jennifer does show a kinder side of the Declouet family.

The only disappointment I have so far is that Amalie and Julien, just newly married, seem to have very little interaction with each other. The story seems to revolve more around Amalie. Once the water comes into the story their interactions change.

They have their first intimate moment, but the morning after leaves you wondering about Julien’s mood swings. We get the impression that Amalie lives with two different people. Julien acts so differently at night – so passionate. But during the day he’s so totally different. You’ll have to read the story and see if you agree or disagree with me.

Sometimes Jennifer’s scenes drag out a little too long. If this happens too often, the reader may get distracted and try to jump ahead (which I have been known to do in the past). When this happens, the reader may end up missing a good part of the story.

In amidst the beauty of life at Belle Grove, there is mystery and suspense. Although I don’t feel that this helps the story at all. There are some scenes that it just doesn’t hold my attention. Would the story have changed at all without some of it?

Patrick Dye is the estate’s overseer and the evil character of this story. As I was reading this story, all I could think about was how much he reminded me of Rod Sterling’s character, Jud Fry, in “Oklahoma”. His character would fit Patrick’s character to a “T”. You’ll have to read the story and see if you don’t feel the same.

This was OK for a historical romance but I will have to read more of Jennifer’s work to see if I like any of her other work. At times I felt that the story went on too long and would have liked it to be a little shorter. There was some romance for our characters but I’m a little “on the fence” about the sensuality of the story.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: Midnight Waltz

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Review: Just for the Night by Tawny Weber

Heroine: Larissa Zahn has been busy since she broke up with Jason Cantrell two years ago. From the growth of a romance novel blog she’s become an authority on romance with a column about the Rules of Romance. Her dream is to open Isn’t it Romantic a store for romance in the Cartwright Hotel specialty Mall. The promo package with the vendor is worth its weight in gold and the location perfect. There’s just one problem…

Hero: Jason Cantrell is also going for the same space. He’s pitching Can-Do Adventure, a travel agency he started with his brother, geared toward adventure seekers. To make their company fit the specialty mall they’re putting together couple packages at steep discounts. It’s a shoe-in… until he realizes he’s not meeting Daniel Cartwright but Connor, the guy Larissa cheated on him with.

Review: Tawny Weber delivers a tight story which takes place over 24 hours. It works because the two characters had a previous relationship with each other. They delve into their past while trying to figure out their present. Neither can run away from the other when a convenient lock down of the mall during a power blackout give the two time in close proximity that they need to do this.

There was some repetitive dialogue that kept circling old issues instead of solving them but the sexual tension was right on, and the sex was hot. In the end, Cartwright Hotels is lucky Larissa and Jason didn’t pull out and leave them in a rut for contriving to force them together. Which company do you think was a better fit for the mall?

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Just for the Night

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Review: Single in the City by Michele Gorman

Hannah Cumming finds herself in London, living the life of an ex-patriot a few months after making a spontaneous decision to change her life which felt like it was on autopilot.  It was all made possible because of her best friend Stacy, giving her the “Go for it!” message and pushing her to go through with her idea.

Life in London is culture shocking for Hannah. She’s not very international and keeps getting surprised by British words for common things and pronunciation of said words. She messes up walking through pedestrian traffic and crossing roads and ordering sandwiches.

Finding a place to live is like a job unto itself. There’s no place decent to rent from and she can’t believe the prices quoted for some of the flats she’s visited. Some offer a room the size of a closet, some offer a great space but no appliances (who knew cooking was optional?), and then she finds living space with a bunch of other ex-pats from different countries… mainly Australia.

The perfect job in party planning isn’t as perfect as it seems. Her immediate boss hates her and thinks she only got the job through Mark, the owner (which is true). Hannah’s not even trusted to sort paperclips let alone shop the closet or go to the parties planned. Disappointed but not undaunted, Hannah struggles to make the best of it.

To Hannah, Mark is perfect. That is until she discovers he’s a cheating louse of the worst sort. Determined to handle the situation in a different manner than she did in the States is harder to accomplish than she thought. She thinks of him all the time and has to watch herself around him. In an effort to get over her first affair she hits the dating scene and finds that even though she seems more appealing to men in London, that Mr. All-Wrong is sadly the best of the bunch.

I didn’t like how much Hannah (and by extension others) got drunk. It’s a pet peeve of mine. There’s more to having a good time then getting wasted in a bar somewhere.

The humor is quirky. The narration sometimes a little patronizing explaining Americanisms or Britishisms that I already knew, but would be helpful for those who had no idea.

The ending just proves for a second time how much braver this heroine is than I am. I could not move halfway across the world without a net. If I need a change I’m more inclined to get a haircut than pick up roots and transport myself. How about you – would you be brave enough to do it on your own too?

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: Single in the City

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