Review: The Lady in Question (Effingtons, Book 7) by Victoria Alexander

lady in questionHeroine: Lady Philadelphia (Delia) Wilmont is the identical twin sister of Cassandra Effington. Delia is considered the sensible sister while Cassie is the reckless sister. So it comes as a complete shock to everyone when it is Delia who invokes a scandal by running off and marrying a rake. Before society can get over the scandal, her husband dies and makes her an infamous widow. When she finally returns to society, it is not as herself, but as her sister. For one glorious evening she is in the arms of the handsome Viscount St. Stephens. He seems wonderfully familiar, but she’s not sure why.

Hero: Viscount Anthony St. Stephens is an agent for the crown and has for the past little while been serving as Lady Wilmont’s butler… in disguise, of course. Delia could be in danger because of the actions of her late husband (who also happens to have been a good friend). Anthony is also in her house in order to discover clues as to why Lord Wilmont behaved as he did. Why did Wilmont marry Delia when the job only called for flirtation? All too soon the viscount understands and wants to marry the lovely widow himself…

Review: Loved the trumped up angst. Delia is afraid to reveal she’s the scandalous sister to Anthony, but Anthony knows because he’s the butler of her household. He’s at first in a position where he can’t tell her who he is without compromising the mission and then later can’t tell her without ruining their relationship.

I liked Anthony’s time as Gordon, the elderly butler. He and Delia were able to become friends through his actions. He gained her trust (for a little while) and at times was avuncular in his role trying to assist her in her daily decisions. They have very few walls between them as Gordon and Delia. This worked for me because we, as the reader’s knew Anthony was far from avuncular in his true regard for Delia and Delia was blissfully unaware of the whole quagmire until it is revealed.

The one glaring error I felt came when Anthony so easily trusted Delia’s uncle, the duke. As a spy there must have been some way to confirm the man’s position and loyalties. This whole “trust me because I say I am who I am” didn’t work for me. It especially didn’t work because Delia’s uncle was the whole reason behind Wilmont’s mission to woo Delia in the first place. Get close to the Effingtons and discover if they are loyal or not to the crown.

It’s a sweet romance with a lot of great moments.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Lady in Question (Effington Family)

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Could You Make a Great Spy?

MistyBlogButtonGuest Blog by Misty Evans, author of The Blood Code

In my latest sexy spy thriller, The Blood Code, my heroine is a lost princess and must team up with a CIA agent in order to save her grandmother and stop a nuclear war. As the story progresses, she learns a lot about going undercover, thanks to the hero who’s more than happy to show her the ropes of spying, but there are times when it completely freaks her out.

What about you? Think you’d be any good at covert operations? Take this quiz and see what the results are!

How often do you lie?

  1. Whenever I want. I’m really good at it.
  2. When I think I won’t get caught.
  3. Only when it’s an absolute necessity, i.e. hubby questions the six shopping bags filled with shoe boxes in my hands.
  4. Never!

Do people underestimate you?

  1. Me? Are you kidding? Of course not.
  2. Sometimes, and I use that to my advantage.
  3. Sometimes, and it upsets me. I mean, honestly, LOOK at me!
  4. All the time.

The last time you met a friend for lunch, do you remember what she was wearing?

  1. Every detail, including her new Jimmy Choos. I drooled obsessively.
  2. Sort of. I think she wore her favorite red sweater.
  3. No, but I was wearing my skinny jeans, Enemy of the State tee with rhinestones and Chanel sunglasses. I looked hawt!
  4. Ummm…

Danger…

  1. Is my middle name.
  2. Is something I’ll deal with if I have to.
  3. Is better left to experts, unless it’s a trunk sale. Then everybody better get out of my way!
  4. Danger?!!? Ack!

Confronted by a nefarious lowlife wanting to do you harm, your weapon of choice would be:

  1. Beretta 9 millimeter – shoot first and ask questions later.
  2. A taser – knock em out, tie em up, call the cops.
  3. My GUCCI Leather ‘Irina’ Large Shoulder Bag. It weighs, like, twenty-five pounds. One swing to his head, and bam, he’ll never mess with me again.
  4. None, thank you very much. I’m getting the heck out of Dodge.

Results

If you answered A for most of the questions: Congratulations, you’re a bona fide SAS (Super Agent-grade Spy!) Keep up the good work!

If you answered B for most of the questions: You’re a SiT (Spy-in-Training). Your secret decoder ring is in the mail.

If you answered C for most of the questions: You’re a FS (FashionSpysta). There might be an opening in Paris soon. We’ll be in touch.

If you answered D for most of the questions: Stick to your day job. Please!

THE_BLOOD_CODE_6x9Blurb:

Fifteen years ago, Anya Radzoya fled Russia with her grandmother after the suspicious deaths of her parents, but she can’t escape the royal genes that make her one of Russia’s last living princesses. When President Ivanov blackmails her into returning to Moscow in exchange for her grandmother’s life, Anya discovers he’s planning to unleash a nuclear war. With no one else to turn to, she joins forces with CIA operative Ryan Smith.

Undercover at the nuclear summit, Ryan recruits Anya to find proof Ivanov is resurrecting the Cold War, but he suspects his new asset is a double agent. Anya is determined to rescue her grandmother with or without his help, however, and Ryan finds himself falling for the beautiful princess before he even trusts her.

Trapped inside the Kremlin with a cunning and ruthless opponent, the two must risk their lives and their hearts to save Anya’s grandmother as well as millions of innocent people.

Buy: The Blood Code

BIO: Best-selling author Misty Evans writes the award-winning Super Agent series as well as urban fantasy and paranormal romance. She likes her coffee black, her conspiracy theories juicy and her wicked characters dressed in couture. When her muse lets her on the internet to play, she’s on Facebook and Twitter. Read more about her stories at www.readmistyevans.com.

Rafflecopter widget and contest info

The Blood Code Blog Tour is full of interviews, guest posts, spy quizzes and giveaways! One lucky reader will receive a princess-cut tennis bracelet and twelve will win tiara keychains (limited to US and Canada). But that’s not all, three international winners will be selected to receive a free ebook copy of The Blood Code, and an ebook copy from any of Misty’s super agent backlist books.

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Review: Checkmate, My Lord by Tracey Devlyn

Checkmate My LordReviewed by Zarabeth

Spies! This is, in this reviewer’s humble opinion, a very tricky genre. Creating intrigue and danger can often often be a fantastic plot point for putting two people together and having them work through conflict to discover their love. But, there are many spy stories out there that are so predictable that they are no longer enjoyable.

I am very pleased to report that Tracey Devlyn has the skill to weave an intriguing, dangerous, enjoyable plot with a great mix of passion and romance!

Our hero is a spymaster, of course, who is put in a very difficult position trying to solve a homicide, keep his spies secret, and protect/investigate the very nosy and determined widow, our heroine. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer!

It certainly helps that our heroine is the lovely Catherine Ashcroft who could not be more delectable and it has been a very long time since either of them felt this way in the presence of the opposite sex. They are both overcome by passion despite all of the reasons they should not, and there are many, not the least of which being the safety of Catherine’s 7 year old daughter.

Will they be able to trust each other in the midst of danger? Can they solve the mystery before someone else dies? Will the sex always be THIS HOT?

I have my suspicions! But read it and you can be the judge! I give it 4.5 stars. Enjoy!

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Checkmate, My Lord

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Review: Compromising the Marquess (The Forsters, Book 1) by Wendy Soliman

Compromising the Marquess(1)Heroine: Leah Elliot and her sister are near destitution and live by the grace their graceless aunt and well-meaning but easily subdued uncle. They lost everything when their father died in a fire. His precious and expensive book collection went up in smoke. When Leah’s sister got sick, Leah turned to a family friend and started selling ton secrets to his gossip rag to survive. Knowing that their lives are not as stable as they seem, Leah is tempted to sell a few more secrets from their uncle’s country estate. The juiciest ones around seem to center on the Marquess.

Hero: Hal Forster is the Marquess of Denby. He worked for the British government during the reign of Napoleon as a spy. His secrets may be juicy, but they are meant to stay secret. When his French asset is killed, Hal rescues the man’s son and the manservant who helped smuggle the boy to safety. Not fooled by Leah’s disguise as a boy, Hal keeps a close eye on her. When her gossip opens up the possibility of social damage he convinces her to help him undo it.

Review: I love the cross-dressing heroine trope. It’s always fun and quirky. Not that the girl on the cover of the book could ever be mistaken as a boy, but the idea is still cute. I could have done without the sick and fragile sister. A healthy sister over her sickness would have been fine. I loved Hal’s willingness to aid Leah and uncover what really happened with her father. As far as the main mystery goes, I loved who the traitor ended up being. I figured it out two seconds before the big reveal. Wow. I also liked how Leah reveals clues to Hal about her location and what he might encounter when he comes to the rescue.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Compromising the Marquess (The Forsters)

Review: The Saint Who Stole My Heart (Regency Rogues, Book 4) by Stefanie Sloane

Summary: He’s a master spy playing the idiot dandy. She’s the bluestocking who can’t stand him. Together they solve a murder mystery involving the “Bishop.”

Hero: Dashiell Matthews, Viscount Carrington, is a member of the Young Corinthians spy league. For years he’s perfected his addle-brained persona to counteract his arresting good looks. More than anything he wants to capture the Bishop and hold him accountable for the multitude of murders he’s responsible for, including that of the mother of one of Dashiell’s best friends.

Heroine: Miss Elena Barnes wants the priceless books in Dash’s collection. When her father tells her that his father willed the collection to them, she packs up and heads to London. She doesn’t expect Dashiell to whom she is very attracted too until he opens his mouth and speaks. When she uncovers his plot to get the Bishop she willingly joins him.

Review: The flashback makes you think the daughter of the murdered woman is the heroine of this story, but she’s not. I could live with that, but then there were the bizarre plot twists that detracted from the overall flow of the story. For instance, Elena’s maid’s abduction and rescue. That would have made more sense at the end of the tale.

The sequence was supposed to show the heroine as a social injustice reformer, but she comes across as stupid; running into a brothel run by evil bad guys to rescue her maid all without proper backup kind of stupid. It also turns out that Rowena, the maid, is like her best friend and practically a sister. Um, what?

I have loved other idiot/genius heroes in the past, but Dashiell was surprisingly bad at keeping the idiot front up around the heroine. He gives up the act too quickly and easily for someone who had to use it nonstop for spying and chose to live his life as the idiot in public to help his position in the Young Corinthians.

Finally, I felt that the romance was pushed a little too far too fast when the hero and heroine had sex in the carriage. The connection wasn’t there. They were missing a scene or two of development for it to translate to the reader.

Rating: ★½☆☆☆

Review: The Saint Who Stole My Heart: A Regency Rogues Novel

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Review: Never Wager Against Love (Kellingtons, Book 3) by Maureen Driscoll

never wager against loveHero: When Arthur Kellington was younger he saved a Romany fortune teller from a terrible situation and got his fortune told in repayment. He was told his true love would be shot and he’d be too late to save her. With news like that, Arthur decided to never fall in love. But he doesn’t try very hard to stick to that resolution when he meets the heroine.

Heroine: Vanessa Gans, bastard daughter, and an agent of the Crown, is chasing after two criminals and potential spies. She steals Arthur’s horse, but soon discovers that Merlin is very obedient to his master. When he catches up with her and insists on helping her find these bad guys and pursue the treasure, she’s not sure it’s a good idea. He’s a civilian and could get hurt… or at least that is what she tells herself. In truth, she’s scared of her reaction to him.

Review: Like the previous novel, Never Miss a Chance, this one has overlapping parts. Occasionally within the story there is some POV changing to Kellingtons who are not the main character, as they have some significant cameo run-ins with their significant other. It’s worth reading the series in order not to miss them.

Strengths: Arthur – he believes in Vanessa, let’s her take the lead, and throws himself in front of a bullet for her.

Weaknesses: I figured out the bad guy during his initial scene in the story. It took some fun out of the treasure hunting aspect of the tale.

Sexiest sequence: Making love in a vault!

Last minute thoughts: Is it Liam’s romance yet? Pout! I am desperate to read his ducal romance!

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Never Wager Against Love (Kellington Book Three)

Review: No Longer a Gentleman (Lost Lords, Book 4) by Mary Jo Putney

No Longer a GentlemanHero: Grey Sommers used to be a gentleman, but nowadays he’s a prisoner in the dungeon of a French official. Grey’s been there for 10 years and counting. He prepares himself using what limited means he has for the day when escape might be possible. That day finally arrives when a sweet grandmother opens the door to his cell. Should he be attracted to the grandmother? He needs to get laid!

Heroine: Cassie Fox orphaned from the French Revolution is fiercely determined to see the end to Napoleon’s reign. She goes undercover for the British government as a spy and helps ferry lost Englishmen across the channel. This new assignment has her chasing a sliver of a lead to find the long lost Lord Wyndham. Disguised as an old woman peddling trinkets, perfume, and health syrups, Cassie makes her way to the castle at just the right time to slip in and rescue the gentleman. How come he’s so gorgeous though? Shouldn’t he be weak and incapacitated from his time in imprisonment? A girl has to watch out for her heart with a man like him trying to claim it.

Review: Grey’s vulnerability is beautifully written. I particularly liked the times when he still believed Cassie to be a much older woman. He was drawn to her femininity and softness and kindness and kept finding himself turned on by her. I thought it was extremely cute and it plays out very similarly to how a hero finds himself lusting for the dressed-as-a-boy-heroine. Cassie is a strong heroine able and dependable. She plays the rescuer role very well and makes an excellent Knight in Shining Armor.

Something that didn’t make much sense: Cassie apparently has cousins in England and never sought them out because she didn’t think they’d remember her? Umm… say what? I think having no family would have worked better because it would have made Cassie’s reasons to become a spy valid and less like running away from family.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: No Longer A Gentleman (The Lost Lords)

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Review: The Temptation of a Gentleman (The Jordans, Book 2) by Jenna Petersen

Reviewed by Sandra Scholes

Men have always come to women as knights in shining armor, but in Regency times, they were clothed in much more refined armor than that. Marion Hawthorne thinks she is marrying a most honourable man, but Noah Jordan thinks otherwise, he thinks he is a murderer and she might be at great risk of her life. Noah is a spy who has been ordered to go into the luxury and independence of the country, where he hears a murder might be on the cards, and feels he has to save poor Marion from certain death.

At the moment this is all supposition, yet his superior is convinced that it will happen if he doesn’t investigate it, observe the clues and prevent her demise at the hands of a rogue. He doesn’t expect to meet the lovely woman, but once he does, he asks for her help with his investigation – the problem is, once he does that, he risks falling in love with her.

Noah is a man who likes the thrill of action, the chase, but now that he has been sent into the country to investigate a murder, he loathes the fact he is mixing with the social elite, and it bores him terribly. To be a part of the ton, watching endless hours of society life makes him wish he were back home. He thought he was out of the spying business, but finds that his superior wants him to do it again, for old time’s sake. He has to mingle with the elite and his cover is that he is looking for a wife. In his own mind, he hates the idea of having to come home to one woman every night for the rest of his life, only to leave at night to visit a mistress or his friends for a game of cards. His life has the awful chance to become even more boring until he meets the woman he would want as his companion, and perhaps his wife.

Marion is a woman who hates travel of any kind, and especially when she feels uncomfortable in it. She has a mind of her own and doesn’t mind expressing it in front of her father or anyone she might dislike. She hears about the infamous Mr Jordan from Josiah Lucas, a man who is actually glad he hasn’t come to visit them. When she enquires, she is told he is a rake of the highest order, and one unlikely to be one she should get to know. How wrong she is for when she meets him, she finds him to be nothing like the rake he has said.

I had to laugh at the first time Noah meets Marion – his horse, Phantom eating her pencils while she is out sketching! It is a wonderful scene to start with, and one that definitely breaks the ice between the two of them. Noah is captivated by her, and can’t help but have lewd thoughts run through his mind at the very sight of her. He is concerned however when she tells him who her intended man is to be – and wishes it were him. He deludes himself into thinking he is only talking to her to get information for his investigation, yet he is drawn to her and can’t get her out of his mind.

Marion, I found was an honest woman who talks freely in front of others, even with Noah, a man she doesn’t know as intimately as she would like. He doesn’t mind her having opinions, but she knows it’s not in the slightest bit ladylike.

Once read – never forgotten, there’s the impulse to read again.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: The Temptation of a Gentleman