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: Knight of Love by Catherine LaRoche

knight of loveHero: The hero has a complicated name. He is Wolfram von Wolfsbach und Ravensworth, also known as Wolf, the English Earl of Ravensworth. He first meets the heroine when he’s undercover as a blacksmith in Prince Kurt’s court, where he finds her being publicly whipped for a small infraction to the amusement of the Prince. Barely able to contain himself, Wolf watches and then volunteers to carry Lenora upstairs where he gives her a large knife for protection.

Heroine: Despite appearances to the contrary, Lady Lenora Trevelyan is not a damsel in distress. She is resourceful and determined to make her escape on her own… no knight in shiny armor needed. She successfully escapes her abusive fiancé, Prince Kurt von Rotenburg-Gruselstadt and is galloping toward freedom and safety with the English/German diplomat… and gets captured by rebels just days down the road. The head of the rebel camp is none other than the blacksmith who gave her the knife.

Review: The hero is an unusual mix of beta and alpha characteristics. He’s very flowery in his language, chivalrous, and believes in love at first sight, but is also skilled at war, believes in civil rights of man (and woman,) and carefully controlling to ensure all is in his favor. For my tastes, I would have had less flowery language and more determined wooing. Wolf arranges a wedding to Lenora in order to protect her – this battlefield wedding is hardly legit as she didn’t give her consent. Still, he consummates the marriage in a forced seduction that evening. It is a heartbreaking (and erotic) experience for both of them which makes it successful. That night destroys what trust Lenora had in him. Now she’s plotting a new escape… but it’s harder to break the touch of silk than the touch of iron. There’s also an erotic scene where Lenora is in full control of Wolf and that is also successful as it is healing for both. I felt the story fell short when it changed locations from Germany to England. It was a night and day difference and the smoldering passion cooled quickly. Definitely a memorable read.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Knight of Love

Audio Review: Lady Caroline and the Egotistical Earl by Terry Spear

lady caroline and the egotistical earlHeroine: Lady Caroline has aided her mother in managing the estates after her father’s death. All was well until knights in the earl’s colors started to terrorize the people and kill livestock. When her mother seeks to speak with the earl, a simple request for assistance turns into something else.

Hero: Lord John Talbot is not aware of any rogue knights. He is however very aware of Caroline. He wants to be near her and decides she must be a lady-in-waiting for his mother. Caroline might not be amenable to the idea, but he has ways to persuade her… and if she’s in danger all the more reason to keep her close.

Review: Lady Caroline is one to take charge. She has an excellent memory and plans to investigate the raids if Lord John won’t. After she gets into a few scrapes… the worse getting her chased up a tree by villainous raiders, he keeps her securely within his arm’s reach. You have to agree that Lady Caroline, while she may be a tad too independent, was right because someone had to proactively investigate! Readers will find this a clean romance without sex, but with sexual interest and overtones to liven up any afternoon.

Narrator: Maria Hunter Welles has a very affected voice for Lady Caroline’s character who is 19 years old. It worked, because Caroline is young and impetuous.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Lady Caroline and the Egotistical Earl

Review: Secrets of Seduction (Legendary Lovers, Book 3) by Nicole Jordan

secrets of seductionHero: The Earl of Hawkhurst loved and lost his first wife and child in a fire that also left him scarred. He buried his grief by working for the government in an elite group known as Guardians of the Sword. Hawk has returned to England to fulfill the honor-pact required by the group’s charter in order to lead Guardians. To do this he must wed his mentor’s niece… a woman he’s never met.

Heroine: Skye believes in her cousin’s idea about legendary lovers. In fact, she’s knows just which fairy tale hers is going to be… Beauty and the Beast. When she finds out the man she’s loved since childhood is back in England, but looking for a bride elsewhere, she brazenly enters his life under the threatening clouds of a convenient storm. If he’s going to be beastly about it, well… she’d prepared with a clever rouse to get his help solving a mystery of her uncle’s lost love.

Review: Secrets of Seduction is one of the best books I’ve read this year. I loved it. Skye is a brilliant heroine – not only clever and determined to win the heart of a man she’s loved from afar, but patient enough to see his pain and understand him. You’ll be rooting for her before she’s through uttering her greetings to the hero for the first time. Hawk is very funny – first knowing she’s a virgin, then convincing himself otherwise. Skye’s aunt is very talkative about these things and has prepared Skye for what to expect. It leads to a very sexy scene with some sponges. A classic feel good romance, you’ll love to read!

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Secrets of Seduction (Legendary Lovers)

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Audio Review: Thunder and Roses (Fallen Angels, Book 1) by Mary Jo Putney

thunder and rosesHeroine: Methodist schoolteacher Clare Morgan is not noble, but she has noble ideals. Her village is in trouble and she’s determined to do her late father’s memory proud and find a solution. The one that comes to her is to petition the Demon Earl. She remembers him as a young boy when he would meet with her father and she can’t believe the stories the villagers say about him. But when he places a lucrative and impossible price on his aid, she’s not so sure anymore. What kind of man demands a respectable woman give up her reputation and live with him for three months, knowing the villagers will think the worse?

Hero: Nicholas Davies, the Demon Earl, is the legitimate son of a nobleman and a gypsy. His mother gave him to his cruel grandfather, for a bag of gold. His grandfather would have happily seen the estate go to someone else, and worked to ruin it. The betrayal of his youth coupled with his traumatic childhood growing up in his grandfather’s home has made Nicholas the man he is today. So when the little schoolteacher, Clare, comes to him for aid, he puts a devilish price on his intervention and support. He never expects her to agree to it, so while he must care again and fight alongside her to save the community that rejected him in the past, he’s looking forward to stealing his daily kisses… and if Clare can be persuaded, more.

Review: I loved the bet, the stolen kisses, and the chemistry between Nicholas and Clare. The narrator, Peter Bishop, did a good job. It’s always a treat to be read to by a male narrator in this genre.

This book was on a fast track to a 4.5 or 5 Star rating, with great scenes like a summertime dip in the pond with imported penguins. Then, midway through it fell apart for me and if you want to know why, you should note that spoilers and personal opinions lie ahead.

What didn’t work for me was finding out along the way that Clare felt like an impostor in her own skin. Her faith falls short of the face she gives to it around others and that bothered me. I like when a character is true to their faith and I don’t particularly enjoy reading about doubts of God’s existence and if we’re a good Christian if we don’t feel like connect with Him. Clare’s doubts about her faith are the excuse for why she can be with Nicholas, because she never really felt like she belonged and that’s crap. I would have much preferred a line of thought that went more like this… Nicholas is not the Demon Earl he’s been made out to be, I find that each day I am falling more in love with him, and because of this I am willing to be with him. I felt the line of reasoning given in the book, cheapened Clare’s character and the romance between her and Nicholas.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Thunder & Roses

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Audio Review: The Naked Earl (Naked Nobility, Book 4) by Sally Mackenzie

naked earlHero: The Earl of Westbrooke, Robert “Robbie” Hamilton, has no trouble getting “it” up. No, the problem lies in keeping “it” up. This road block is tied to a humiliating moment in his youth and he’s unable to let the incident go. Just when things begin to heat up — like seeing the inebriated and naked Lizzie in her room — the memory will crop up and the excitement turns to frustration.

Heroine: Lady Elizabeth “Lizzie” Runyon, is the younger sister of Robbie’s best friend, James. She has been in love with Robbie most of her life and would like nothing better than to marry him. When he falls through her window (escaping across the rooftop from a calculating marriage-minded spinster), during a house party, she takes advantage of his naked state and her own, by stealing innocently passionate kisses.

Review: When the guests come running to her door, he begs her for silence and so while she could have kept him all to herself, she does as he asks, which I think takes guts. Of course, Lizzie feels Robbie will come around properly to ask for her hand and is flummoxed when he does not. There was a lot of potential with the book and where it fell flat for me was the passion fizzled at its highest points (and I don’t mean when it fizzled for Robbie as those were some of the better moments in the book because you could really feel his anxiety and frustration over his reactions or lack thereof). Robbie really wanted to be the man he felt Lizzie deserved and needed/wanted. The best-friend’s-sister or brother’s-best-friend trope is a tough one for me to warm up to, but I found myself rooting for the two quite early in the novel. The momentum just didn’t keep up with my expectations.

Narrator: The narrator was exceptional and one of the reasons it was so easy for me to get involved in the romance. I would recommend listening to Terry Donnelly if you get the chance. She’s very good at the intimate moments and keeping characters straight and reads very lively and with emotion. (4.5 of 5 Stars)

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Buy: Sally MacKenzie Bundle: The Naked Earl, The Naked Gentleman, The Naked Marquis, The Naked Baron, The Naked Duke, The Naked Viscount, The Naked King

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Review: What a Wicked Earl Wants (The Sinful Scoundrels, Book 1) by Vicky Dreiling

What a Wicked Earl WantsHero: The Earl of Bellingham, Lord Andrew Carrington, is a rakehell looking for a new mistress to warm his bed. No married ladies or virgins need apply. Widows however would do quite nicely, thank you.

Heroine: Laura Davenport is a young widow and is about to lose her rebellious stepson who is trying to spread his wings in London. Until recently they were very close, and even though she has been raising him for five years, Justin wants to do the sort of things young men in London do and accuses his stepmother of cramping his style. She turns to Andrew to assist her in curbing Justin’s wild impulses.

Review: The trouble I had with What a Wicked Earl Wants was the main characters. I was not invested in either the hero or heroine. Their backgrounds and woes seemed old hat. Lord Andrew for instance isn’t much of a rake and his emotional hang-ups are superstitious and silly. His reputation is overstated and in many respects he’s a very conservative gentleman. Well… until he propositions Laura, but other than that not very rakish. However, since Laura is hearing from all and sundry that he is a rake, why does she think Lord Andrew can curb Justin’s wild behavior? And why would she want him to? I have no idea and it doesn’t make sense to me other than an attempt to get Laura and Andrew together and continue as a team against Monclief, the boy’s uncle and the villain of the piece.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Buy: What a Wicked Earl Wants (The Sinful Scoundrels)

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Get into Bed with Christie Kelley (Author Interview)

GHPicture1Keira: In your new book, Enticing the Earl, the Earl of Hartsfield is near bankruptcy. How did he get there? What are his plans to climb out of the red and into the black?

Christie Kelley: Simon landed in the situation because of a crooked steward who embezzled from him. Simon blames himself for not paying enough attention to his book, but the reader will find out why later in the book.

His mother would like him to marry an heiress to get out of the mess but Simon believes that by paying stricter attention to the books he will be able to pull himself out of his monetary issues. He is certain that small changes at the estate will enable him to bring in more money.

Keira: Would you ever date/marry somebody with a bad credit score/perilously low bank accounts?

Christie: Not knowingly. I have worked for two banks and was a Realtor for five years. I know the importance of keeping a good credit score. I’m a single mom who works a day job and write under contract and I keep my finances under control. I would expect the same thing from a man.

Keira: Why do you think romance readers and writers like the idea of a penniless hero or heroine? What’s the attraction?

Christie: I don’t always love the penniless hero or heroine. Most of the stories I’ve written before this have involved people with little concern for money. Perhaps some people like the idea that the heroine can help the hero out of an issue that he may have inherited. It makes the hero or heroine a little more believable if they are having money issues like so many readers. The same may be true of heroines who are in financial straits. A lot of people like the idea of a hero rescuing the heroine from a bad situation.

Keira: Simon Blakesworth rescues a badly beaten Mia Featherstone and shelters in his home. . .and offers marriage to protect her from her attacker. What does Simon find enticing about Mia? Is it her disposition, the strength of her character, perhaps he’s known her for a while, or something else?

Christie: Simon has been in love from afar with Mia for years. He knows she is not what society would consider a perfect match for him, but he doesn’t care. He loves everything about her — from her compassion in helping his tenants and servants with her healing way, to her strength of character. She doesn’t apologize for her past and he’s fine with that.

Keira: Mia Featherstone is a practicing healer. How did she get into that line of work?

Christie: Her mother, and grandmother before her, was a healer on the estate. She has been learning from her mother since she was able to talk and walk. There was an expectation that she would become a healer. Although she is a healer, her father also taught her some valuable skills that will help Simon.

Keira: What was the most interesting thing you discovered while researching for your book?

Christie: If I tell you that it gives away Simon’s secret. It’s the reason the steward was able to embezzle from him without his noticing. Sorry, you’ll have to read the book to discover what his issue is and how Mia helps him.

Keira: How do you define romantic love? What makes it worth sticking with someone even when things seem bad on the surface?

Christie: Romantic love…or just love is the desire to be with someone regardless of the situation. It’s the need to be there for that other person in good times and bad. You want to help them and know they will do the same for you should you need it.

Keira: What is your favorite scene or bit of dialogue from Enticing the Earl?

Christie: I personally loved the scene where Simon proposes to Mia because he does it so poorly. Instead of pouring out his heart, he goes at it from a logical position of his being able to protect her. When I finished writing that scene, I just wanted to hit the man.

Keira: Tell us about your next novel!

Christie: Vexing the Viscount will come out in the summer of 2014. It’s Mia’s sister’s story. Tia isn’t certain she wants to be a wise woman. But when the viscount’s brother returns to London, she knows she has to follow him in order to help him recover from his opium addiction. But Viscount Middleton has been sent by Tia’s mother to find her and return her to the estate so she can continue her profession as a healer.

Enticing The Earl (eBook) smallOnly His Passion…

With his estate near bankruptcy, Simon Blakesworth, Earl of Hartsfield already has a perilous secret to keep. Still, when he finds Mia Featherstone badly beaten, he doesn’t hesitate to shelter her in his home…and offer marriage to protect the lovely healer from her attacker. But Mia is concealing a danger this honorable earl never imagined–and can’t resist…

Can Save Her Love…

Mia’s valuable discovery on Simon’s land saved her patients’ lives. Now the only way she can help the man she’s always loved save his home is to secretly find the rest of a cache of hidden artifacts. But their passion is making it impossible for Mia to ever walk away–even from a love that may not survive the truth…

Buy: Enticing the Earl (Bewitching)

Author Bio: Award winning author, Christie Kelley was born and raised in upstate New York. After seventeen years working for financial institutions in software development, she started writing her first book. She currently writes regency historicals for Kensington. Christie now lives in Maryland with her two sons. Come visit her on the web at www.christiekelley.com or www.facebook.com/ChristieKelleyAuthor or www.twitter.com/christiekelley

Buy: Enticing the Earl (Bewitching)

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