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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Review: The Chase by Sara Portman


Print Length: 320 pages
Publisher: Lyrical Press (November 21, 2017)

From Goodreads.com: According to his father's terms, Michael Rosevear's duty is to be ignored—until such time as he is useful. Now that the earldom is in need of funds, Michael is to be sold off in marriage to the daughter of a crass but wealthy merchant willing to pay for any connection to nobility—even one from the wrong side of the blanket.

En route to his fate in London, Michael does not plan to board an extra passenger. Yet there is something in the young miss's desperate plea that tugs at his conscience—though he is certain her story is a fabrication.

Juliana Crawford has fled her father's cruel home. Using a false name to evade pursuit, she must find a private traveler with whom to complete her escape. Chance matches her with a dark and wounded young lord who guards his own secrets just as carefully. The unlikely pair embark on a journey filled with revelations and unexpected adventure—one that may lead them to question whether to part at their destination—or change course entirely.
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My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
This was a cute, stand alone story that I believe will be enjoyed by those who enjoy historical romances with strong characters. 

I enjoyed both of these characters, even if there were times I wanted to smack them. Julianna was head-strong, although emotionally scarred by the acts of her cruel father. While I found it admirable that she set off alone to claim her inheritance and start a life of her own, it was obvious that she had no idea how the world works. Especially towards women during that time. At times, I found her independent streak and head-strong nature to be more of a hindrance than a help. 

Michael on the other hand, was physically scarred, and very much set in his ways, such as they were. He loathed to be called away from his beloved brewery, but resigned himself to do what it was his father asked. I enjoyed seeing these two interact with each other and watch their carefully constructed walls begin to come down, and their heavily guarded secrets begin to come to light.  

Romance was the least thing on either of their minds, in fact both had resigned themselves to their respective fates, so to see them go from strangers, to tentative acquaintances was a lot of fun. The romance that blossomed only did more to heighten my enjoyment of 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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The Chase is available from Amazon.com

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Review: Twelfth Night with the Earl (The Sutherland Sisters #3) by Anna Bradley


Print Length: 153 pages
Publisher: Lyrical Press (November 14, 2017)

From Goodreads.com: When a headstrong beauty clashes with the man she once loved, she’s determined that the spirit of Christmas will open his mind, heal his heart, and perhaps give them a reason to celebrate—for many seasons 
to come . . . 
  
As far as Ethan Fortescue is concerned, his family’s seat in Cornwall is only a source of torment, one that he’s managed to avoid for two years. Now that he’s the Earl of Devon however, he can close the door on his haunted past by locking up the cursed place for good. But upon arriving at Cleves Court, he is shocked to find the house aglow with Christmas celebrations, filled with music and laughter. And right at the center of the holiday madness is the infuriating—and eternally tempting—Theodosia Sheridan . . .
 
Thea has always loved the town of Cleves, especially at the holidays. As a girl, she also loved Ethan with all her heart. It’s painful to see how his brother’s tragic death has embittered him. Still, she will do anything to make sure the town thrives—even if it means going to battle with Ethan to save Cleves Court. Now she has only until Twelfth Night to make a Christmas miracle happen—by proving that his childhood home can be a source of love and wonder. But before long, she finds herself wondering if she’s trying to save the house—or its handsome master…
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My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

I would consider this a stand-alone novella that the reader is perfectly capable of enjoying even without having read the other stories. To clarify something, Thea is not a Sutherland sister. Ethan however was featured heavily in book number two. Even with that, you do not miss anything that isn't clarified (or expanded upon) within the pages of this novella. 

Overall, this was a very cute story. I do think some of the characters acted very "out of character" for the time period however, which did take a way a little of my enjoyment. I understand that Ethan is dealing with grief and the ghosts that haunt his former home, but I cannot believe that his staff would refuse to serve him (or even that Thea would approve of such a thing) without being worried they would be fired immediately and sent away without reference. I don't believe there is a servant anywhere during that period who would take on such a risk just to prove a point. And to be honest, with the amount of anger Ethan carried around, I am very surprised he didn't do just that. It did make for a wonderful story arc watching Ethan and Thea find a way to revive their friendship of old considering not only the people they had become, but also the trials they had overcome. 

The addition of the orphans that Thea had taken in while repairs were done to the orphanage were by far some of my favorite characters. They definitely provided some much needed comical relief, and it was heart warming to see the way they brought life back into a dreary place (both literally and figuratively). Plus seeing a stuffy Earl have to deal with children was nothing short of a pleasure. 

I believe this story will still appeal to those who enjoy historical romances. 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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Twelfth Night with the Earl is available from Amazon.com




Monday, November 13, 2017

Review: Deirdre's True Desire (Emerald Belles #3) by Heather McCorkle


Print Length: 226 pages
Publisher: Lyrical Press (November 17, 2017)

From Goodreads.com: The moment she arrives in California, Deirdre falls in love with the untamed land that will become the Widows’ Winery. Despite no one in all of Sonoma county being willing to sell them materials or labor, she is determined to find a way to build their homes and the winery. She must, for if she doesn’t meet the land improvement deadline, they’ll lose their land and their dream. This pursuit keeps her in the company of Kin O’Leary, a handsome business man full of innovative ideas. But, considering how she married for money the first time—as her family dictated—she convinces herself she will only find true love in a man of lesser means.

Dylan, a strapping young cattle hand who is helping build her home soon catches her eye as well. Her plans for an unconventional romance become derailed when she is forced to spend more time with Kin during the planning of her closest friend’s wedding. Something more than base attractive begins to build in her for him, making her resist all the stronger. It doesn’t help that Dylan has a rugged dangerous side to him that draws her deeper into a world of secrets. With the cattle baron Ainsworth thwarting her every attempt at building the Widows’ Winery, Deirdre’s choice in men may prove their downfall, or their salvation.


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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Technically, this is a stand-alone novel even though it is a part of a series, only book number two has characters that feature heavily in this story. I don't think you necessarily have to read either of the others in order to gain an understanding of the events taking place in this story, and to be perfectly honest if you have not read the prior novels, you may even enjoy this one more. 

That being said, I have read the first two stories in the Emerald Belles series, and I feel as though this one was just missing something. The first two were witty, romantic and surprising. And while this one had its moments, I feel like it went along at a snail's pace compared to the other two, and the satisfaction at the end was too anti-climatic. I expected more - especially when it came to the villain, Ainsworth. Added to that the somewhat predictable plot-twist that happened in regards to the widow's housing situation and well... this story just fell way short of the standards that I felt were set in the prior novels. 

The characters were a bit odd as well. I enjoyed the fact that both Deirdre and Kinan had secrets they would rather not reveal, but I felt like Deirdre really didn't make much sense. She prided herself on being independent, and the fact that her status as a widow meant she didn't need a man, unless she wanted one of course. It also seemed as though she toyed with Dylan a lot at first, not being open and telling him outright that she was not interested. There are also the numerous times that she comes up with some harebrained scheme or idea and acts upon it - without thinking it through. We get no real reasoning behind why she does what she does, and the fact that her friends consider her a bit "wild" or "reckless" just doesn't cut it. I want to know her motivation. Why she feels driven to say the things she does and act/react the way she does. Even by the end of her story, I don't feel like we really got to know HER. 

Overall however, I do believe this story may still appeal to those who enjoy historical romances. 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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Deirdre's True Desire is available from Amazon.com

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Review: The Offer (Brides of Beadwell #2) by Sara Portman


Print Length: 320 pages
Publisher: Kensington (October 24, 2017)

From Goodreads.com: Lucy Betancourt’s future looks bleak. The daughter of an ailing vicar in a village with no eligible bachelors, her only hope is to find employment as a governess or companion. As she helps her childhood friend, the new Duchess of Worley, through her pregnancy, the ever-practical Lucy makes her plans. But life—in the way of the dashing Bex Brantwood—has something else in store for Lucy…

Upon meeting Bex, the duke’s cousin, Lucy offers herself up to him. But Bex is no family man looking for a governess. And Lucy is not exactly mistress material. Still, the misunderstanding ends in a kiss neither can forget . . .

Bex finds the proper vicar’s daughter and her most improper proposal endlessly amusing—and attractive. But, saddled with debt, he’s in no position to keep a woman, much less marry one, which is what a woman like Lucy deserves. Little does he know that even with her reputation at stake, Lucy will take the biggest gamble of her life by following her heart—straight into his arms 


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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

This is the second story in the Brides of Beadwell series, and while you do not have to have read the first in this series, it may make this one more enjoyable for you as the characters from the first story are featured in this story as well. 

That being said, this story was an OK read. It doesn't really stand out among the crowd of other books in its genre, but I am sure it will still appeal to those who enjoy historical romances all the same. 

After reading the first story, I was really excited for Lucy's happily ever after. And Bex was an interesting character, albeit not the sort I would have chosen for Lucy myself. While the aspect of his investments at first was an unusual one, it quickly become somewhat of a bore as they almost seemed to take on a larger role in the story than the romance itself. 

I do however enjoy this author's writing style, and I am looking forward to reading more stories by her. 

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 Offer is available from Amazon.com

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Review: Disturbed by Jennifer Jaynes


Print Length: 238 pages
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (November 7, 2017)

From Goodreads.com: On Halloween night five years ago, Chelsea Dutton’s college roommates were viciously stabbed to death, and Chelsea was critically injured. She was found hiding in her apartment’s bathtub, barely clinging to life.
With only fragments of shattered memory, she’s been trying her best to move past the nightmares ever since. Now in Boston, she lives a somewhat reclusive life, working from home as a medical transcriptionist and bingeing on mindless television shows.
She can’t shake the fear that her attacker is out there, waiting to finish what he started, and Elizabeth, a nurse she met after the murders, is the only person she can trust.
When someone from her past reemerges, Chelsea starts receiving disturbing messages and worries that her every move is being watched. As the messages mount and her memories begin to return, she’s led to a very terrifying and lonely place. But she needn’t be afraid. She won’t be alone there for long.
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My Rating: 5 stars out of 5

WOW. This was my first time reading anything from this author, but after the gripping, edge of your seat ride that was Disturbed, I do believe I have found a new must read author! 

Obviously, I can't go into too much detail as I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't gotten the chance to read this yet, but what I will say is that there were times when I thought for sure I knew what was going to happen, only to be more then pleasantly surprised to find out I was wrong. This story went places I didn't think it was going to, and the ending completely blew me away. This was definitely not a spin I have seen done in other stories before, and the uniqueness of it puts this story far above others I have read in this genre. 

Disturbed is a brilliantly written story that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the explosive climax that will leave you in awe. 

Overall, I am sure this story will definitely appeal to those who enjoy a well written thriller novel that will keep you guessing!


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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                                      Disturbed is available from Amazon.com

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Review: Michael's Wings by Tiffany Reisz


Print Length: pages
Publisher: 8th Circle Press (November 7, 2017)

From Goodreads.com: Griffin has just popped the question—yes, that question—and Michael doesn’t have an answer. He flees town for New Orleans to see his confidante and sometime-Domme, Mistress Nora. Will a weekend of beignets and beatings help him untangle his knotted-up heart?

Thus begins Michael's Wings, the eponymous novella that kicks off the latest entry in Tiffany Reisz's LAMBDA Literary Award-winning* Original Sinners series.

This companion collection to fan-favorite The Angel also contains six previously-published stories starring Mistress Nora's favorite angel and Griffin—his master, his true love, and the sexy-as-hell bane of Michael's existence.



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My Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Usually, I preface most additions to a series by saying you don't have to read the other novels beforehand, however in this case it must be said that you have to have read at least a few of them in order to get full enjoyment from this one. 

Now I am not saying you couldn't enjoy this series of short stories if you are new to the Original Sinners series, but unless you know the characters, I don't believe that you can't fully understand and enjoy these stories. Their history, their relationships. Everything with them is so complex that I feel you need to know them to understand them. 

Now. 

Onto Michael's Wings, this collection of short stories was a beautiful addition to her Original Sinners series. Each one of her stories draws the reader in, and holds them in her world. This time we get more of the love story between Griffin and Michael (with a healthy dose of Mistress Nora thrown in for good measure as well as mentions of Kinglsey and Soren of course). You learn from Michael's account why the proposal caused him to flee to Mistress Nora, and you also get a glimpse into some of their other secrets. Michael painting Griffin like a french girl, their new couch, even the tragedy that was Michael's suicide attempt. Each short story tugs at another heart-string, bringing along with it the fulfillment of finally being back home with these characters. There has never been a series I have enjoyed more than the Original Sinners, and I will gladly take whatever else Mistress Tiffany will give of them. 

I would highly recommend this novel to those who enjoy BDSM novels, M/M novels or just 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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                                      Michael's Wings is available from Amazon.com

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Review: The Right Kind of Rogue (Playful Brides #8) by Valerie Bowman


Print Length: 305 pages
Publisher: St.Martin's Press (October 31, 2017)

From Goodreads.com: Can two star-crossed lovers come together―until death do they part? 

Viscount Hart Highgate has decided to put his rakish ways behind him and finally get married. He may adore a good brandy or a high-speed carriage race, but he takes his duties as heir to the earldom seriously. Now all he has to do is find the right kind of woman to be his bride―ideally, one who’s also well-connected and well-funded. . .

Meg Timmons has loved Hart, the brother of her best friend, ever since she was an awkward, blushing schoolgirl. If only she had a large dowry―or anything to her name at all. Instead, she’s from a family that’s been locked in a bitter feud with Hart’s for years. And now she’s approaching her third London season, Meg’s chances with him are slim to none. Unless a surprise encounter on a deep, dark night could be enough to spark a rebellious romance. . .for all time?
 

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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

To begin with, you should not let the thought of this being book #8 in the series be a deterrent. I will be the first to admit that I have not read all of the books in this series, however, I feel that this one gives just enough background on previous ones that it can be read and enjoyed as a stand alone novel. Of course, for those of you who have read the others, I think you will be pleasantly surprised to see some old, familiar favorites pop up, and as I did, enjoy seeing them again. 
Just focusing on this story however, I have to admit that there were some things that I just could not get into. Sure Meg claims to have been in love with him since she was sixteen (and with valid reasoning for someone of sixteen don't get me wrong), but I saw very little in an actual connection with them aside from friendship or lust. Sure he enjoyed her company. Sure he wanted her, but he told himself time and again he couldn't marry her. She was completely inappropriate for him. And why? One reason was because she lacked a dowry. And let's be honest here, when reading a romance, that should have been an easy thing to overlook considering how much money he apparently had. But it wasn't enough for him to offer for her at first. I can't say I put too much stock in the excuse of his parents not liking her since he seemed to enjoy doing the exact opposite any other time.

I guess the problem lies within the way these characters were presented. I wish they would have been more open to each other. I wish Hart hadn't been so hard-headed. Don't get me wrong, I love a bit of drama and angst, but not when it could be as easily remedied as theirs could have been. But then again, this story was likened at times to Romeo and Juliet, and I think a lot of their story could have been improved upon with more communication as well.

Overall, I am sure this story may still appeal to those who enjoy historical romance novels. I do enjoy this author's writing style immensely, and I will be reading 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 Right Kind of Rogue is available from Amazon.com