Review: Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn

Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda CheeverHeroine: Miranda Cheever has loved Nigel Bevelstoke since she was 10 years old when he kissed her hand. As a young girl, his words of wisdom (that she would be a beautiful as she was smart when she was older) sang in her young heart. She was used to being bullied by her peers for her looks and Nigel’s kind act was like rain in a drought.

Hero: Nigel is Viscount Turner, and goes by his title. He is the older brother of Miranda’s best friend Olivia. As a young man he was kind as he was handsome to his sister’s friend. While Turner is still handsome, life has turned him bitter… (his faithless wife died on her way to meet her lover). When Olivia plays matchmaker to bring their younger brother, Winston, into Miranda’s sphere… Turner doesn’t like it and does something about it.

Review: Prologue-Nigel is the kind of white knight every girl needs. He plays knight again and accompanies Olivia and Miranda on their first London Season. Being around Miranda in a more adult setting opens his eyes to her charms… even if his heart isn’t ready. When passion leads to an unexpected confession, a confused Nigel runs… but finds he can’t run forever and doesn’t want to… but will he be too late to claim Miranda for himself?

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever

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Review: Tapestry by Karen Ranney

tapestryHero: Alex, the Earl of Cardiff, never planned to be the earl. He had a father and older brother and so went off to war to make his mark. When he returns, he is severely wounded and hides his ravage face and body and heart in the castle of Heddon Hall. His servants are terrified of him. His stepmother despises him. He can’t tell if his estate manager is swindling him because he can’t read due to the loss of one eye and the headaches that come from trying to focus the other. When an uppity little maid arrives, bold as you please, on his doorstep, he’s intrigued despite his attempts to distance himself from her.

Heroine: Lady Laura Blake has had enough of being rebuffed. If Alex won’t return her letters and tell her what is going on she will figure it out on her own. She shows up at his estate in disguise, wearing her maid’s clothes and using her maid’s name. Once inside his household, she’s put to work in the kitchen. Being a scullery maid was not quite what she had in mind! Soon she’s elevated to be his personal secretary and that suits her so much better. Now she can spend her days with Alex… and nights.

Review: The first half of the novel is the best part of the story. If you want a happy ending that’s truly happy end at book one/part one. I enjoyed the setup with the heroine breaking into the hero’s lair as a servant (though how she managed it is a mystery because she’s a family friend, you’d think she’d be recognized by someone – Alex!!) I like Laura’s bumbling in the kitchen, her determination to reach Alex and break down his walls. I loved his elation at recapturing humanity and love.

However, after they come together the story goes downhill as they are separated, when the hero returns to his wartime duties for one last assignment. Laura doesn’t want him to go, but for his masculine and national pride, Alex must. Their separation leads to misfortune as Alex is captured and assumed dead. Laura experiences a miscarriage because of the news and also faces the doubly incapacitating grief of losing Alex and the babe. When Alex gets out of prison, he allows his evil stepmother’s cruel words to sway him from finding the truth of what is going on with Laura which causes a big misunderstanding. My friends, you know me, and you know I love angst, but holy moly this is too much. I also like more time together with the main characters and less time apart.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Buy: Tapestry

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Review: Embracing Midnight by Devyn Quinn

guestreview

By Susan S., guest reviewer

Today is a Double Dose of Devyn Day! Back to back reviews!

Embracing Midnight is Devyn at her best. A sinful, sizzling “fast-paced” page turner!

Come…, as I invite you to walk along the darker side of romance. Prepare yourself for the “ultimate” good vs. evil novel.

This novel, solidified for me, the reason why Devyn ranks among my top two favorite authors. Having read most of her books, this is her best novel to date. I can envision its conversion into a movie.

Embracing Midnight will appeal to any and all of the following: erotic romance readers, readers who enjoy romantic suspense, mystery, paranormal, sci-fi, thrillers, and for those readers who enjoyed the movies The Net and Men in Black.

I simply could not, read this book fast enough. My review should simply read (flip, flip, flip). What first appealed to me were the double entendres, and hot sexual innuendos between the hero (Iollan Drake) and the heroine (Callie Whitten).

Callie is a 30 year old blond who’s working for the bureau as an undercover agent. Her cover is working as a waitress at a Goth club. The military taught her how to crack and hack any system in the world. An ability that she’ll have to implement soon enough.

In enters a “mega-hot” 194 year old, motorcycle riding Irish vampire into her life. Who knows just how to please a woman, he’s sex-on-a stick. Together, they’ll learn how easily friends can become enemies, and discover how sworn enemies can change into our best allies.

Drake will uncover her darkest sexual secret, and fulfill her secretly guarded fantasy. His use of the endearment “love” towards Callie was touching. Iollan quickly became my favorite character, with his vulnerability, transformation, and ultimate revenge and redemption. When he reveals the full scope of his powers as the novel approaches its end, you will be left utterly speechless.

The least likeable character was Callie’s bastard ex-lover Roger Reinke.

Favorite scene- When Callie assists Drake in a hot shower.

Embracing Midnight’s fundamental theme was to stand up for injustice and cruelty, by fighting for what “you” believe is right.

There isn’t a rating high enough for this novel, so I’ll have to settle for the 5 star rating, when in actuality in my heart it deserved a 10.

Warning–This plot includes one m, f, m, m scene. Yes, I counted those m’s correctly! There was also a rape scene that lent to the real nature of one of the characters. (Chilling and unexpected revelation)

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Embracing Midnight

Aphrodisia, Kensington Publishing Corp., Copyright 2008
Paperback, 304 Pages.
ISBN-13# 978-0-7582-1654-0
ISBN-10# 0-7582-1654-8

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Review: This Time for Keeps by Jenna Mills

Jenna Mills tackles some very hard issues in This Time for Keeps. A miscarriage tore the hero and heroine apart and annihilated their marriage two years prior to the start of the novel. Neither one has really dealt with the fallout of their lost child. At the opening of the book the estranged couple is on the verge of divorce when Megan Montgomery’s husband blows back into town.

He’s there to collect his niece and bring the baby to his folks across the pond. Megan is the baby’s official guardian based on Ainsley’s will. What she doesn’t know is that Russell is there to challenge it, but she’s willing to fight tooth and nail to keep her sister-in-law’s baby, Charlotte.

She blames him for their marriage falling apart. In her eyes Russell acted as a callous man only interested in trying to get some boom-boom and to replace their lost baby. Russell views the failure of the past and sees his wife pulling away, never opening up or talking to him. She retreated so far away that he couldn’t touch her without her flinching, couldn’t be in the same room with her without her running away.

Megan is furious with Russell for leaving his baby sister behind like he left her. Cutting Ainsley out of his life was worse than cutting her out in her mind because his sister had moved to a whole new country to be close to him. When he insists he found out her death only two weeks ago, it doesn’t placate Meg. It only makes it that much sadder.

As the two navigate around the other and rediscover their lost passion Charlotte’s father comes back to town and suddenly the two are a united front. They want to keep Charlotte at all costs… but when do the costs become too high?

In the end this just wasn’t the book for me. There were too many lows giving the book a sad feel.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Buy: This Time for Keeps (Harlequin Superromance)

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Review: Passions of a Wicked Earl by Lorraine Heath

Looking for an irresistible historical romance with an unusual twist? You should try Passions of a Wicked Earl. It features an arranged marriage, unrequited turned requited love, enemies to lovers, seduction of a rakehell, and an evil other woman.

Exiled to the country less than twenty-four hours after marrying her husband, Claire Westcliffe knew she deserved it. It didn’t matter that she was unaware of exactly what Westcliffe’s brother and her best friend, Stephen meant to do when he said he’d save her from her wedding night, because she wanted the reprieve. That all changes when her sister comes to her and begs to be given a season in order to avoid marrying the man their father picked for her. For her sister, Claire will brave her husband—his wrath and his bed—because somebody deserved romance.

After the disastrous wedding night, Westcliffe took himself off to London where he cut a swathe through the women (never a married woman or an innocent). It was his way of showing he didn’t care and a way to reaffirm his manliness which was striped away so completely upon the sight of his brother in his wife’s bed. It’s been years and he doesn’t believe there will ever be a reconciliation between them and he’s not sure he even wants one. If he divorces her and marries his current mistress, he knows what he’s getting into – a loveless marriage based on lust.

What he doesn’t count on is Claire. The more she learns about her husband’s true nature, the more she likes him and the more she wants to keep him. His actions were in reaction her own and while those actions were equally wrong, she knew they both had things to be sorry for, and that they could start fresh. But with Westcliffe avoiding her at every turn how was she to get her rakehell of a husband into bed? By seducing him of course!

Spoilers: Now I know what you’re thinking. Claire getting into bed with Stephen is completely inexcusable. How does the reader/hero get past something as morally challenging as that? Would you be able to get past your spouse cheating on you with a sibling? Probably not, but appearances can be deceiving as Westcliffe will find out when he finally consummates his marriage to Claire.

Westcliffe’s confirmed adultery is another morally challenging bit. Can a man like that be sympathetic? Of course he can when Lorraine Heath writes him. Westcliffe hid a broken heart in a string of very public affairs. Claire’s deception was the straw that broke this camel’s back. Westcliffe has always felt unloved. His mother obviously loved his younger brothers, and Stephen was notably the preferred child, but she never warmed up to Westcliffe because of who his father was.

Personally, I liked both the hero and heroine. Their flaws, backgrounds (morally challenging bits and all), and personalities just worked for me and I really enjoyed their romance. It was sexy, passionate, and sweet.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Passions of a Wicked Earl

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