Review: Never Deny a Duke (Decadent Dukes Society #3) by Madeline Hunter


Print Length: 304 pages
Publisher: Zebra (April 30, 2019)

From Goodreads.com: He is the last duke standing
 
. . . the sole remaining bachelor of the three self-proclaimed Decadent Dukes. Yet Davina MacCallum’s reasons for searching out the handsome Duke of Brentworth have nothing to do with marriage. Scottish lands were unfairly confiscated from her family by the Crown and given to his. A reasonable man with vast holdings can surely part with one trivial estate, especially when Davina intends to put it to good use. Brentworth, however, is as difficult to persuade as he is to resist.
 
The Duke of Brentworth’s discretion and steely control make him an enigma even to his best friends. Women especially find him inscrutable and unapproachable—but also compellingly magnetic. So when Davina MacCallum shows no signs of being even mildly impressed by him, he is intrigued. Until he learns that her mission in London involves claims against his estate. Soon the two of them are engaged in a contest that allows no compromise. When duty and desire collide, the best laid plans are about to take a scandalous turn—into the very heart of passion . . .

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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

I was super excited when I came across this story! Although I had not read the prior two novels, the fact that the premise of this one seemed NOTHING like the ones I have read before gave me high expectations that I would finally find a book in 2019 that was over 3 stars. 

Sadly, despite the definitely unique premise, this story was lacking that special spark that I was looking for. To begin with, the conflict over whether or not the land rightly belongs to Brentworth or Davina definitely overshadows their romance. While I enjoyed it to the extent that they butted heads, and engaged in some interesting banter, the romance never felt real. It was like they went from enemies to casual acquaintances, to lovers without any real emotion invested other than lust. There was also the side thread of Davina wanting to be a physician that seemed to pop up randomly which I found confusing. 

Even with the land dispute, I felt that this story was lacking any sort of major conflict. There was the potential with the king or one of his cronies to interfere, or even Davina's boss to make waves, and yet there was nothing. No drama, nothing to be overcome, even the land issue was solved in the end. 

Overall, if you are looking for a cute, easy read with no conflicts than this is the one for you. I would read more from this author!

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


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                             Never Deny a Duke is available from Amazon.com

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Review: Never Kiss a Notorious Marquess (Infamous Lords #3) by Renee Ann Miller

Print Length: 320 pages
Publisher: Zebra (April 30, 2019)

From Goodreads.com:  For James Trent, Lord Huntington, there's no escaping the question that labeled him The Murdering Marquess: was his wife's death a tragic accident or a cold-blooded crime? He's avoided London's gossipmongers since that terrible night, as guardian to his younger siblings on his Essex estate. But trouble finds him when a veiled temptress with secrets of her own falls—quite literally—into his arms.

Caroline Lawrence doesn't need a man to rescue her—the aspiring journalist anonymously advocates for women's rights in a radical London newspaper column. But when a suffragist's soapbox speech turns to pandemonium, Caroline is knocked on the head and reawakens in Trent Hall—with the notorious lord of the manor irresistibly close. If there is any truth to his tarnished past, she should denounce him with her powerful pen. Yet love has a way of revealing a man's true character.
 
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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Although this is number three is the series, do not let that keep you from reading this one. Each novel in this series deals with a different "friend", making them stand alone novels that can be read and enjoyed independently of each other. 

For some reason, this book just didn't resonate with me the way the prior ones have. Caroline, for all of her forward thinking and wanting to be taken seriously comes across as annoying and childish. The fact that she would write a scandalous article slandering a man's reputation without first verifying whether what she spoke of was the truth or not, told more of who she really was than anything else. 
I adored James, and his family (right down to his cankerous old grandmother), and would love to see more of his family in future novels. To me, they were more of a highlight to this story than the romance, as that at times, became entirely too predictable. In fact, it seemed to follow the "historical romance" pattern almost right down the line. Two people forced together by circumstances beyond their control develop feelings for each other, but are separated. When reunited, they have to overcome "insert random plot here" in order to be together. Insert a jealous ex-lover, a wholly unsuitable suitor attempting to force the Heroine into marriage, and  one Marquess determined to do right, and you have just another historical romance novel.

Overall, I believe fans of historical romance will enjoy this story. I would read more from this author!

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


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                      Never Kiss a Notorious Marquess is available from Amazon.com

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Review: The Pursuits of Lord Kit Cavanaugh (The Cavanaughs #2) by Stephanie Laurens


Print Length: 384 pages
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA (April 30, 2019)

From Goodreads.com: A Gentleman of Means

One of the most eligible bachelors in London, Lord Christopher “Kit” Cavanaugh has discovered his true path and it doesn’t include the expected society marriage. Kit is all business and has chosen the bustling port of Bristol to launch his passion—Cavanaugh Yachts.

A Woman of Character

Miss Sylvia Buckleberry’s passion is her school for impoverished children. When a new business venture forces the school out of its building, she must act quickly. But confronting Kit Cavanaugh is a daunting task made even more difficult by their first and only previous meeting, when, believing she’d never see him again, she’d treated him dismissively. Still, Sylvia is determined to be persuasive.

An Unstoppable Duo

But it quickly becomes clear there are others who want the school—and Cavanaugh Yachts—closed. Working side by side, Kit and Sylvia fight to secure her school and to expose the blackguard trying to sabotage his business. Yet an even more dastardly villain lurks, one who threatens the future both discover they now hold dear.


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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

I will say this book was a pleasant surprise. When I originally requested it, I misread the title and thought it was from another series about a family with a similar name. Diving into this one without having read the first book however was no challenge. In fact, minus a few things here and there about the people and events from book one, this story stands entirely on its own. 

I enjoyed the characters, even if they were a bit too "good" for my liking. They took the idea of "turn the other cheek" a bit too far, for example, the Yacht company offering a man a job after he specifically set out to sabotage their work. Or when Kit not only immediately offered to sponsor Slyvia's school, but then tying up his funds and personal time with it when he was trying to launch his business. I also would have expected a bit more "fight" from Sylvia was concerned rather than allowing Kit to do whatever he wanted. I will say that the romance between these two was enjoyable as well as believable. It was definitely one of those slow friends to romance stories that I like so much.

There was also a great deal of mystery and sabotage going on within this story, and while I definitely feel that it added to the romance, I feel there were just too many players involved. I feel like there could have been just one person involved as the mastermind, weaving more of a "Who is behind this" feel to the story rather than the back and forth, "we solved this problem, but not this problem" that made up this story. ''

Overall however, I do believe this story will appeal to those who enjoy well written historical romances with a dash of mystery thrown in. I would read more from this author!

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


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               The Pursuits of Lord Kit Cavanaugh is available from Amazon.com

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Review: The Rose (The Red, #2) by Tiffany Reisz


Print Length: 400 pages
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA (April 16, 2019)

From Goodreads.com: On the day of Lia’s university graduation party, her parents—wealthy art collectors with friends in high places—gift her a beautiful wine cup, a rare artifact decorated with roses. It’s a stunning gift, and one that August Bowman, a friend of her parents and a guest at Lia’s party, also has his eye on. The cup, August tells her, is known as the Rose kylix, and it’s no ordinary cup. It was used in the temple ceremonies of Eros, Greek god of erotic love, and has the power to bring the most intimate sexual fantasies to life.

But Lia is skeptical of August’s claims of the cup’s mythology and magic—after all, he’s a collector himself, and she suspects he just wants to get his hands on this impressive piece of art. So he dares her to try it for herself, and when Lia drinks from the Rose kylix she is suddenly immersed in an erotic myth so vivid it seems real—as though she’s living out the most sensual fantasy with August by her side…

Realizing the true power of this ancient and dangerous relic, Lia is even more wary of giving it up, though August insists it is only safe with him. He’s willing to pay the full value of the cup, but Lia has another type of trade in mind. One that finds them more tangled up in each other—and in fantasy—than either was prepared for.



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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5
WARNING: Due to explicit sexual content, this story is for mature (18 and over) audiences only. 

I have so many mixed feelings about this story. Tiffany is hands down one my favorite authors, and normally I love everything about her stories. They are erotica yes, but there is also usually an underlying story woven throughout that makes more of an impression. With The Rose, I feel like that part of her style was missing. 

With this story, I feel as though a little too focused on the sex. And while yes, the scenes were well written, and yes I very much enjoyed the way the Greek myths were portrayed in them, I would have liked to have seen more development between August and Lia. Instead, I'm expected the believe they fell madly in love with one another because they have some interesting sex? And occasionally some conversation outside of it? I also wish there would have been more with the David story-line. He was a first class jerk, but even that seemed glossed over. 

Overall, I am certain this story will appeal to those who enjoy well-written erotica novels. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


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                                     The Rose is available from Amazon.com

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Review: No Other Duke But You (Playful Brides #11) by Valerie Bowman


Print Length: 320 pages
Publisher: St.Martin's Paperbacks (April 30, 2019)

From Goodreads.com:  Lady Delilah Montebank has her marital sights set on the Duke of Branville. There’s just one problem: he barely knows she exists. But no matter, she’s got a plan to win him over with her charm, her wit—and perhaps the love potion she has in her possession wouldn’t hurt her cause...

Lord Thomas Hobbs, Duke of Huntley, thinks his best friend Delilah’s quest to become a duchess is ridiculous. He’s always said he’d rather give up all the brandy in London than commit to one person for life. Besides, he knows that Delilah’s love potion can’t possibly win over Branville…since she accidentally gave it to him instead. But perhaps this is the excuse he needs to show her he’s always loved her...

Delilah can’t believe she gave the potion to the wrong duke. Then again, Delilah could do a lot worse than win the hand of her handsome best friend. Could it be that the right duke has been before her eyes all along?
 
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My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

I have read other books in this series, and for the most part enjoyed them quite a bit. Usually, there is enough background so that even if this is the first novel you're picking up it is easy to understand. However, I didn't feel like this was the case with this one - in fact, even having read some of the other novels, I will still very confused as to who some of them were. 

The start of this story was perfect. Delilah and Thomas shared an easy sort of friendship that would have worked perfectly without all of the other trappings. I enjoyed their witty banter, even if there were times when Delilah acted so ditzy and yes brainless, that I wanted to smack her. Seriously, who just up and spits out the name of the most eligible Duke of the season as who she will marry without having even met the guy? 

Around the middle, things start to slip a bit. It seemed a little far-fetched that anyone, most especially a Duchess (even an unconventional one like Lucy) would not only enlist her titled friends to perform in a play, but sell tickets to other members of the ton (even if for charity), much less entice unmarried members of the opposite sex to kiss onstage. That would be ruinous for the young lady, something that either the author didn't think about, or just didn't care. It was about this time the dreaded love potion was introduced. 

A love potion. Ok, so I get that while they are performing a Mid-Summer Night's Dream, there would be some lark and they may have gotten a bit drawn in to the idea, but seriously? When you have numerous people out of bed in the middle of the night skulking around trying to use a love potion? It went from funny to straight obnoxious. And honestly? At this point Thomas and Delilah are just plain unlikable. 

Delilah because she intends to use the potion on a man she's barely spoken a dozen words to, one who has approached her about helping him make a match with another lady, but I suppose his happiness doesn't matter one bit to Delilah. Nope, so long as she gets his ring on her finger to spite her mother, she doesn't care whose lives are ruined. And Thomas. Instead of merely pulling her to the side and admitting that he's been in love with her for years and wants her to choose him, he goes behind her back and switches room all to pretend the love potion worked on him? Good Grief. If he had known Delilah as well as he claimed to, he should have known exactly how that one was going to go. 

Overall, I am sure that I will be in the minority in my thoughts on this novel. What I found annoying, others I am sure will find endearing. I would read more from this author.
DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


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                            No Other Duke but You is available from Amazon.com

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Review: Lord Bredon and the Bachelor’s Bible (The House of Lovell #2) by Mia Marlowe

Print Length:  pages
Publisher: Lyrical Press (April 30, 2019)

From Goodreads.com:  With the dowries of all the season’s debutantes exposed in its scandalous pages, The Bachelor’s Bible is a handy tool for an earl in need of an heiress . . .

Edward Lovell, newly minted earl, bears a weighty responsibility: to restore his family’s estate to its former grandeur. The task requires not simply a wife, but a wealthy one. Thanks to The Bachelor’s Bible, he already has a particular lady in mind. He has only to convince her sponsor that he will make a suitable husband. There’s just one complication: the sponsor is none other than the only woman he’s ever loved—and inexplicably lost. Now a young widow, Lady Anne Howard is more beautiful than ever . . .

Anne is not about to be taken for a fool a second time. When they last met, Edward was Lord Bredon, the man she adored—the man who destroyed her dreams of a happy future. Now he is pursuing the hand of the young lady Anne must keep safe from unscrupulous suitors. But who will protect Anne from the earl who still possesses her heart?. . .
 
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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

I remember the first book in this series, well to be more accurate I remember the characters. This story, like its predecessor doesn't really stand out from the other novels of this genre. In fact, I quite enjoyed the side story of Miss Finch and her potential romance than I did the one between Edward and Anne. 

In what I'm starting to think of as the "typical historical romance" trope, Edward and Anne loved each other deeply when they were younger, but Edward was more or less coerced by his father to embark on his grand tour, leaving Anne behind. Anne gets married, becomes widowed, and now has to deal with her bully of a stepson and his waspish wife. Trying to branch out on her own, she agrees to sponsor Miss Finch, in exchange for a substantial payment provided her charge makes a good match. 

Fast forward to "now" and Edward is in need of funds to keep his estate afloat. The kind of funds that are only accessible by marrying a woman with a substantial dowry. Unfortunately, he's still in love with Anne (who despite telling him she cannot marry him least he grow to resent her is all too happy to throw propriety to the wind and allow him liberties). The rest of the book muddles along well enough, there are a few interesting things that happen (such as I stated above Miss Finch and her potential romance). 

Towards the end of the novel, a new side story pops up, having to do with murder and mayhem and to be honest, if this theme had been present from the beginning in larger detail? I feel this book would have been much more interesting. 

Overall, I do believe this novel will appeal to fans of historical romance. I would read more from this author.

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


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                 Lord Bredon and the Bachelor’s Bible is available from Amazon.com

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Review: The Temptation of Grace (Gentlemen of Temptation #3) by Kristin Vayden


Print Length: 336 pages
Publisher: Lyrical Press (April 30, 2019)

From Goodreads.com: An elite gentleman's club is no place for a London debutante. But what happens at Temptations stays at Temptations...or does it? 

Dogged by gossip and scandal, Ramsey Scott, Marquess of Sterling, is the last man who should stand guard over lovely Miss Grace Morgan, much less fall for her. When the innocent's first outings of the season land her in Temptations, the private club Ramsey manages, he longs to take her in his arms and keep her there, if only his past would allow it. Their friendship will have to suffice—but as Grace blooms in society, Ramsey feels her slipping from his grasp. Until she lures him into his greatest temptation yet.

She should never have come to his office unattended. But how else was Grace to get Ramsey's romantic attention? Yet now she is left waiting for a proposal that may never come—and wondering if Ramsey's vexing propriety will force her to marry another.



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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

It has been a long time since I have read anything by this author, so unfortunately this is the first book in this series that I have read. And while that didn't take away from my enjoyment of this story, I do feel that certain parts would have made more sense had I read the prior novels. 

Speaking just to this story and these characters, it was ok. The dialogue was good, but there was nothing that really set it apart from any of the other stories in this genre that I have read. You have a titled man who is somewhat of a stickler for propriety, and a debutante that defies expectation. Add in a well known rake who is known only for his debauchery of woman, a surprising secret and what feels like a somewhat rushed into "I love you", and what do you have? The perfect recipe for a novel of this type. 

Perhaps its all me, and I'm just getting burned out with these types of stories. I just wish there had been something that stuck out to me more. Overall, I know this story is going to appeal to fans of historical romance because it is an engaging story with characters who are interesting and who seem to mesh well together. I would read more from this author.

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


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                       The Temptation of Grace is available from Amazon.com

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Review: Perfect Crime (D.I. Callanach #5) by Helen Fields



Print Length: 400 pages
Publisher: Avon (April 18, 2019)

From Goodreads.com: Your darkest moment is your most vulnerable…

Stephen Berry is about to jump off a bridge until a suicide prevention counsellor stops him. A week later, Stephen is dead. Found at the bottom of a cliff, DI Luc Callanach and DCI Ava Turner are drafted in to investigate whether he jumped or whether he was pushed…

As they dig deeper, more would-be suicides roll in: a woman found dead in a bath; a man violently electrocuted. But these are carefully curated deaths – nothing like the impulsive suicide attempts they’ve been made out to be.

Little do Callanach and Turner know how close their perpetrator is as, across Edinburgh, a violent and psychopathic killer gains more confidence with every life he takes…



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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Although this is book number five in the series, this is only the second that I have read. And, it may be the last. There is just something about these books that make them hard to get into, and stay interested in. Its a shame because the author does have a strong writing style that makes it easy to visualize what is going on, but there are times when its just too much. As interesting as the concept was, the execution was more depressing than entertaining. I can certainly understand why the author would choose to show a suicidal person's mindset, but it doesn't make for the most entertaining of reads. Even the surprising twist at the end didn't make up for what we had to slog through to get there. I feel with another round of editing, there could have been more things cut from the final product that would have sped things along without taking away from the overall story.

Overall, I'm sure this novel (and series) will appeal to those who enjoy well written police procedural novels set in the UK. I just don't think they are for me.

DISCLAIMERI received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.

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                                   Perfect Crime  is available from Amazon.com


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