Review: An Affair Downstairs by (Thornbrook Park, Book 2) by Sherri Browning

an affair downstairsHero: Logan Winthrop is an estate manager with a past. He was once gentry but was linked with the murder of his lover’s husband. To keep his brother’s family free of gossip he hid from polite society. But he can’t keep hiding around Alice.

Heroine: Lady Alice Emerson has no intention of ever marrying. She has a bucket list and she plans to pursue the completion of every adventure on it and a husband would get in the way. Alice wants to see India, shoot a pistol, and have an affair to name a few things on her list.

Review: Logan is a hero who will do what it takes to protect those around him, even if it is from himself. He has desired Alice for a while but saw the differences in their circumstances as insurmountable. He’s relatively easy to seduce when Alice chooses him as her first sexual experience. Don’t let Alice fool you, she thinks he’s a good choice for all the wrong reasons. Another man enters the picture and he says all the right things, pays all the right attention to Alice, and yet there’s something off about him. Will Logan step aside to give Alice a chance at the perfect match or will he claim her as his own? One nice thing about this book is that the sister isn’t evil (and there will be a time when you wonder, but she’s mostly shallow and clueless which are forgivable because she loves Alice).

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: An Affair Downstairs (A Thornbrook Park Romance Book 2)

Review: No Good Duke Goes Unpunished (Rule of Scoundrels, Book 3) by Sarah MacLean

no good duke goes unpunishedReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: William Harrow, aka the Killer Duke or Temple is accused of murdering Mara Lowe before her wedding day. He was not able to receive his rightful title. Now he works at a successful casino, but even still that one night completely destroys any good aspects of his reputation. Temple is annoyed to see Mara return to him with a proposal even though she should by rights be dead. This proposal could clear his now tarnished name, offering to come back into polite society in order to put right his reputation for good, but what does she want in return?

Review: When the rules of the ton are broken…no good duke goes unpunished, or at least that’s the theory. As the third book in the Rule of Scoundrels series, the first being A Rogue by Any Other Name, and the second one One Good Earl Deserves a Lover (of which I thoroughly enjoyed) this one is a jewel among paperbacks with a cover that belies what is really inside. Of all the opening lines of a novel, this one is this years’ favourite and I’m sure it will stick in the mind of other readers too. Temple fights at the aptly named Fallen Angel gambling establishment in Mayfair after losing his title, family and right to his fortune. His manager, Chase has a long list of high standing men who want to fight him, a well-known killer duke and live, or win (which they don’t) but there is one man he will never face no matter what the odds, and this seems to be his Achilles heel in the story.

Good Bits:

  • Chase saying he doesn’t believe he killed Mara.
  • The fight scene at the beginning with Temple and Montlake – I was surprised at how lethal the blows were and how realistic.
  • Temple won’t fight Christopher Lowe – could it be that he is innocent of his sister’s murder?
  • Lavender, the MacIntyre piglet…awww.

Bad Bits:

  • None.

Final Thoughts: The general plot of Temple getting revenge on Mara aside, he isn’t seeing the whole picture. While he sees only having his revenge on her for what she did to him, he doesn’t see her as a governess who does her best to look after the illegitimate boys at the orphanage. These boys are the love children of some of the most high standing men in London who would rather not have their illicit affairs made public. She struggles to keep the boys fed and the orphanage heated at winter, so her deal with Temple is promising to her if only to give the boys a decent life. Temple starts out by only wanting revenge and sets the ground rules for it with Mara, but when he gets too close to her, he finds he can’t let her go despite how he feels about her. No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah MacLean is one of the best romance novels of 2013 and Sarah MacLean is a writer I will look out for in the future.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: No Good Duke Goes Unpunished

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Audio Review: A Knight in Shining Armor (Montgomery, Book 16) by Jude Deveraux

A Knight in Shining ArmorHeroine: Dougless Montgomery is unhappy but fighting it. She’s determined to make her relationship with a man, who on paper is a great catch. In reality, he’s a douchebag who takes his bitterness about her trust-fund wealth out on her, while pretending he isn’t. He plays just enough of the lover to string her along, but he takes pleasure hurting her feelings and expectations. So is isn’t so surprising to learn, that a romantic trip for two, becomes a miserable nightmare when he insists his daughter tags along, which turns Dougless into the third wheel. Eventually, she snaps on the trip after an encounter with the nasty daughter, and runs weeping into a historic church. Her tears bring to life a man dead 400 years.

Hero: Nicholas Stafford, Earl of Thornwyck, a sixteenth-century knight, is not pleased to be pulled by magic to stand before a strange weeping woman. She is obviously a witch and he must return home because her trickery is too bizarre to contemplate. He especially wants to get back in time to his rightful place to clear his name of the slander of treason and find out who betrayed him to the Queen. He’s convinced staying near the witch woman will eventually send him back, if he helps cure what ails her. But being close to her and learning about her world change his heart forever.

Review: I really can’t stand it when a heroine stays with a fellow who is so obviously bad for her because she fears societal pressures or being alone. I am really unsympathetic toward her situation because she perpetuated it herself. It felt like a huge portion of the book was spent showcasing just how bad her current boyfriend was before the hero was introduced. Thank goodness Audible’s app has the ability to double and triple time the reading speed.

Once the hero is introduced the story and romance crackle like wild fire and take off just as fast. I loved their interactions, I loved the hero’s attempts to learn and understand modern society, I loved how they plan a future and the magic of time strips it from them. I especially loved when the heroine goes back in time to a point prior to him jumping forward and the hero had to fall for her a second time. Angsty and delicious. So much good stuff happened in the past. I really loved how both parties jumped and learned about the other’s time period and life.

BUT!!!!

Why is it that the hero and heroine do not actually wind up together? I do not care for this look-alike nonsense at all. Very frustrating. Extremely frustrating. Everything was great until “Bam!” Time separates them permanently and that’s it. No more time pretzels to bring the hero forward or the heroine backward. Not cool. It’s not the same, because the hero’s physical twin or reincarnation or whatever does not have the hero’s memories.

Narrator: Steve West, had a great voice. Had to turn the reading speed up though because he reads very slow and precisely. It’s very British in its reading in a good way, especially sped up a bit. I loved his accent.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: A Knight in Shining Armor

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Murder, Mayhem, and Madness

Guest post by Amelia Grey, author of A Little Mischief

Good morning! I’m happy to be at Love, Romance, Passion. I always enjoy spending the day with you when I have a new book coming out. Thank you for having me.

Have you ever wondered what you would do if you found a young woman standing over a dead body in your back garden? This is what happened to my heroine in my latest book, A Little Mischief. You would call 911 and the police would be there within minutes, right? But what if you lived during the Regency? I hear some of you saying, “I’d rush to get someone from Scotland Yard to come over.” But guess what, there was no Scotland Yard. That organization wasn’t created until eighteen twenty-nine and the Regency time period ended in eighteen twenty-one.

But, London wasn’t completely left without any policing. There was a group of men called thief-takers who would try to solve petty crimes for Londoners for a fee. They had no authority to arrest anyone. These men were more like our modern day private investigators and private detectives, and according to some accounts, a great number of these men had questionable reputations themselves.

London also had a group of men called the Bow Street Runners which is considered by some historians as London’s first professional police force. These men worked for and were paid by the magistrate’s office to seek out and apprehend criminals. They could travel nationwide to search for their suspects, but they differ from our police force today because they didn’t patrol of the streets. The majority of these men were former constables and magistrates who were discharged because of term limits.

In my current re-release, A Little Mischief, it’s not to the Bow Street Runners or the thief-takers that Miss Isabella Winslowe runs to when she finds a young lady standing over a dead body with a stone cupid in her hands. Isabella takes the girl to her brother who just happens to be the recently titled Earl of Colebrooke. Here’s a short synopsis of the story.

A Little Mischief

Isabella Winslowe is finally flourishing. She is gaining respectable notoriety for her ‘Wallflower Society’ until the unthinkable happens. She finds the darkly handsome Earl of Colebrooke’s sister in the back garden with a stone cupid in her hand and a dead man at her feet. The newly titled earl is formidable in looks, personality, and reputation.  He’s not a man Isabella wants to tangle with over such a delicate situation.

Daniel Colebrooke, is juggling all that he can handle when the most alluring young lady he has ever met arrives at his door and tells him his sister never intended to kill London’s most eligible bachelor. Daniel is certain he has a beautiful madwoman in front of him.  Highly suspicious of Miss Winslowe’s story, he goes with her to the garden and finds it empty. She insists someone has stolen the body.

Daniel decides to keep an eye on Miss Winslowe to see what kind of mischief is she up to? She might tell someone else her outrageous story about his sister. If something like that got out, Gretchen’s reputation would be ruined beyond repair. But what Daniel finds is that Isabella sets his heart to racing like no woman ever has. She’s engaging and exciting in a quiet and captivating way. But Daniel can’t give into his desire for Isabella…there’s a supposedly missing dead body standing them.

GIVEAWAY: For a chance to win a copy of A Little Mischief tell me, if you had been writing this story, would you have sent your heroine to the Bow Street Runners or would you have done what I did, and let the heroine go straight to the brother and let him handle it? Last day to enter: August 10, 2012

A Little Mischief won the Booksellers Best and Aspen Gold Awards when it was first published in 2003 and you can find it at your favorite online or local bookstore.

Buy: A Little Mischief

I love to hear from readers! Please email me at ameliagrey@comcast.net, follow me at Facebook.com/ameliagreybooks, or visit my website at ameliagrey.com

Buy: A Little Mischief

Review: Don’t Mess with Texas by Christie Craig

Reviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Main characters are Nikki Hunt, artist and art gallery owner. Dallas O’Connor, private investigator and owner of Don’t Mess with Texas Private Investigations.

We first see Nikki going to meet her ex-husband Jack. Jack happens to be a lawyer – a very stuffy lawyer. They meet for dinner at a very fancy restaurant. We see how Nikki just wants to piss him off. Jack leaves and it appears that he’s left Nikki to pay the bill. We see how much luck Nikki has! Then she finds something in the trunk of her car and gets sick in the process.

Dallas owns his own business and has two partners, Tyler and Austin. Dallas has a brother, Tony, that works for the police department. You’ll see that Dallas likes to fight for the underdogs of the world.

This is where our suspense begins. You will love how Nikki and Dallas meet – it is unusual to say the least. You will see that Christie loves to add humor into her story – even at times that you think the moment should be somber. You’ll also love Dallas’ dog. He gives us a lot to laugh about – seeing what he’s going to do next will make you want to turn the page.

I noticed that there is an “ex’s” theme going on in this story. Dallas and Nikki each have an ex and Tony is close to having an ex. But you find that you will keep your fingers crossed that Tony and his wife LeAnn will get back together.

You have to feel sorry for Nikki. Her luck is just about nonexistent. She’s broke, she’s being framed for murder, and she finds out that a good friend has been badly injured. What else can happen to her? She needs something good to come along – something to change her luck.

Christie does a great job of depicting Dallas’ brother, Tony, as a police officer. He would fit right in on a series like “Law and Order” (think a hunky Lenny Briscoe). Tony acts like the tough cop but he has a soft and sensitive side – especially where his wife is concerned.

Christie puts a different spin on the suspense. You usually expect to find the suspense dark but this book is more like reading a comedy. If you like her humor, you will definitely love the beginning of chapter 14. At the end of one of her funny moments comes Dallas’ and Nikki’s first kiss. They share a really hot kiss, but then in true romance novel fashion, Nikki puts a stop to it.

I’m impressed how Christie has made Dallas a nurturer – he takes care of people. First it’s a kid being wrongfully accused and now Nikki. But Nikki has her doubts and those doubts keep getting in her way – “once burned, twice shy”. Nothing in this story seems forced it all flows from one chapter to the next. You will not want to put it down.

If you’re looking for a book with a lot of sex, you won’t find it here. There is just the right amount but I think the book would have been fine even without it – using just hints and innuendo. This is a definite must read and watch out for book 2 – Tyler’s story “Blame it on Texas”.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Don’t Mess with Texas

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Review: Haunted Honeymoon (Casa Dracula Book 4) by Marta Acosta

Head’s up there are some spoilers in this review. Ye be warned.

In the final installment of the Casa Dracula series, Milagro must make the toughest choice of all and that’s following her heart. She’s with Ian currently, but every time she thinks of Oswald, her heart aches. The idea of leaving Ian though causing just as much heartache which confuses her because she swears her hormones hijack her brain whenever he’s around.

When Ian hires thralls, Milagro is severely tested, but Ian confronts her about the issue. Then she sees him snacking on their next door neighbor, Christine (Cricket) Poindexter, and while the woman seems to be enjoying it a little too much, it’s the last straw for Millie. Of course with Ian, Milagro is always looking to find fault so she can run from him. He poses too much of a threat to her heart compared to the safe and fascinating Oswald.

A torrid fling in England and finalizing a second contract with Don Pedro is just the thing she needs to distance herself from all she’s feeling. Ian is none too pleased and they have another confrontation. When Wilcox Spiggot comes to America to continue the affair, he’s killed and left to decompose on Milagro’s bed in her loft.

She assumes it was Ian but his thralls say he wasn’t in the country. Leaving, she stumbles across a scene at the neighbors. Cricket in an attempt to win Ian has been draining her blood in doses and saving it for him, this time she accidentally cut an artery and bled to death. Her husband freaks out, slips on the blood and goes down hard on the floor cracking his head.

Cue a super secret special force team that hauls Milagro away. This is where the opening prologue and the story realign. Book four of Casa Dracula is noticeably darker in theme than the previous while still keeping the ongoing humor element. The one thing I will tell you about the dark portion is that it’s not very long and there’s no rape. Milagro uses her wits and escapes going to Mercedes and then onto the ranch looking for help.

Oswald is not happy and a series of events occurs that results in Milagro having amnesia. At first nobody believes her but it soon becomes apparent Millie is indeed suffering some trauma. The Grant family calls in a shrink who comes to the ranch to help her out while they petition for recovery time from the Council who wants to investigate and interrogate Milagro.

Is this the second chance Milagro needs to turn things around with Oswald or will she realize her heart belongs to Lord Ian?

When she asks for the reasons both men claim to love her is very eye opening set of moments for her and some of my favorite moments in the series.

If you haven’t yet tried the Casa Dracula series, and you love vampires or comedy romances, you need to snatch up these novels immediately!

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Haunted Honeymoon (Casa Dracula, Book 4)

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Review: Possession by Devyn Quinn

guestreview-2

Guest reviewer: Susan Sigler

Quinn’s books never disappoint me and Possession is no exception. Her writing is fluid, while her plots are mesmerizing, dark, and delicious. You’ll be addicted from the very first page!

While reading Possession, I immediately empathized with the heroine (Kendra Carter). Kendra’s life choices have never been her own. She was always governed by the men in her life. Her now deceased father Nathaniel, ex-boyfriend Michael, and step-brother Gerald.

Kendra returns home from rehab, to find there’s a new addition to her father’s estate. Her stepbrother has purchased a rare book, a book said to have been written by the devil himself. This unholy bible titled Delomelanicon is now in the library, to co-exist with them; under their very roof.

I must say I disliked Gerald early on; it always appeared to me that he was maintaining some sort of façade.
Unknowingly, Kendra unleashes a powerful demon called Remi. He’s a demon of revelation that showers her with sinful pleasures. Soon after, she begins to worry she’ll have to sacrifice her eternal soul to this demon. Is the pleasure worth the price?

The issues addressed are issues many of us will relate to. Issues of guilt and grief over a loved one’s death. Kendra also struggles with low self-esteem, anger, betrayal, and the search for love and acceptance.

possessionsmallThere were a myriad of fundamental themes, so many in fact; I’m calling it an erotic fable. These lessons are to forget one’s past blunders, to follow your own path, that it’s o.k. to break free from repressed sexual urges, to accept oneself, and that beauty lies within.

It was a treat to read along as Kendra’s character is transformed and reinvented. It’s this reason I chose her as my favorite character.

Quinn included lots of plot twists that I consider OMG (Oh! My God) moments. Aside from the dark plot, there were comic elements thrown in like confetti. The author also wrote a bathroom scene that’s downright wicked. In this scene Remi uses telekinetic abilities, and it’s in this scene Kendra has a precognition that is absolutely bone chilling.
Quinn’s plots never take a back seat to the erotica. She blends all the essential elements with exact doses. Not to mention, the ending was so devilishly appropriate, I had an evil grin when I read it.

Rating: 5 Pitchforks or Rather 5 Stars

Buy: Possession

Aphrodisia, Erotic Romance, Kensington Books, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America, Copyright 2009, Print Pages 266. ISBN-13: 978-0-7582-2852-9, ISBN-10: 0-7582-2852-X

Review: Deep Disclosure by Dee Davis

Reviewed by Lynn Reynolds

We meet our heroine, Alexis after she survives a family tragedy. She is a teenager at the time doing what all teenagers do – being rebellious. The hero of this story is named Tucker. He has something in common with Alexis and that is a tragic background. What’s good about this book is that the action starts almost right away.

I usually stay away from the suspense and intrigue themed romance novels. They just never seemed to interest me. Dee Davis has changed my mind. She piqued my interest right from the very beginning.

When Alexis first meets Tucker she doesn’t like him and he thinks of her as strictly an assignment. She needs to learn to trust him even though she knows nothing about him and he needs to keep her alive.

Dee does a great job in describing her scenes. Because the reader can’t watch the scenes as they unfold, we rely on the author to describe how things happen. Dee makes you feel as if you are a part of the action. That you are there watching her characters interact with each other.

The hardest thing for me to do was to think about the review. I got so caught up in the story. The “mystery” of the story would hold up against any of the movies you would see on TV. You get so “hooked” into the story that you can’t stop reading it until you get to the end. I hated to put it down.

What I love about Dee’s writing style is that you can believe anything she writes. It has a “ring of truth” to it. None of the scenes are over the top and so unbelievable that you can’t picture that the scene is actually happening.

As you continue on with the book, you notice that it is all action and suspense. You don’t even miss the lack of romance. If you expect a lot of sex in this book, you won’t find it here. The sex isn’t something that you miss in the story either. Just like in a regular relationship, things move along at a normal pace. You have to like and trust each other first and the rest will come in time. This is the impression that I get with Alexis and Tucker.

When the romance finally happens, it happens so naturally that it fits right into the story line. I don’t feel like Dee decided this is where the sex scene needs to be put because she needed to put it somewhere. I don’t feel that she forces a scene to happen – the chapters’ just flow from one to another.

Like any good suspense novel there is always a twist. You know that Alexis is going to eventually find out who Tucker is. Now we have to find out what she’s going to do. How will she get out of the trouble she is in without our hero Tucker to save the day? Tucker is the perfect hero – he’s there to make our “damsel in distress” feel safe. As far as the romance end of the story, both Alexis and Tucker need to deal with their “baggage”.

There are minor characters within the plot that know Tucker and are there to help Alexis. There are also other characters that are more questionable and don’t seem to be what they appear. All these characters are interwoven into what is happening to Alexis and it all builds the suspense.

Toward the end of the story we get to the anti-climax. Something from Alexis’s past comes back to haunt her. The ending is everything you think it will be – good overcomes evil and love wins out in the end.

The only downside to the book is that there is more suspense and less on the romance. I, and possibly other romance readers, would expect an equal mix of the two. I feel that the book could hold its own as just a suspense novel. Even with the lack of romance, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

I’m glad I had the chance to read a book by Dee Davis and see what I have been missing by staying away from reading this genre. Would I read another book by her? Yes, most definitely. I can’t wait to see what happens in her next book “Deadly dance” and I look forward to reading more of her books.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Deep Disclosure, Deep Disclosure (UK)

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