Pages

Monday, November 19, 2018

Review: Kiss of a Duke (12 Dukes of Christmas #2) by Erica Ridley


Print Length: 200 pages
Publisher: WebMotion (November 6, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: Just one more kiss… (Milady, it’s cold outside) 

Lady chemist Penelope Mitchell took England by storm with Duke, a perfume for men that has women swooning at their feet. To prove the same aphrodisiacal potency of her upcoming version for ladies, the new perfume must cause a rake to fall in love with her in ten days. And she has just the man in mind… 

Sexy pleasure-seeker Nicholas Pringle—known as “Saint Nick” for his wicked ways—wants to end the absurd cologne that has every young buck believing himself a ladies’ man. How hard can it be to charm a spinster into changing her mind? But when Penelope does the charming, this rakish scoundrel must decide between losing the war... or losing his heart. 

The Twelve Dukes of Christmas is a laugh-out-loud historical romance series of heartwarming Regency romps nestled in a picturesque snow-covered village. After all, nothing heats up a winter night quite like finding oneself in the arms of a duke!


                                                 *******************
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

I definitely enjoyed this story more than I did the first book in this new series by Erica Ridley! Penelope and Nick were both well developed characters that were fun to watch interact with each other. I loved seeing Penelope open up a whole new side to Nick, one that he probably would have kept hidden forever if not for her. Besides who doesn't enjoy watching a self-proclaimed rake meet his match? 

The addition of Penelope's "experiment" just added another layer to this story, as did the inclusion of her friends and Nick's brother. I do hope we get to see more from them in future novels. It is important to note that while there are a few different stories at play here, I never felt as though one of those stories overshadowed the other. In fact I think the smaller stories with the minor characters will only make the reader more invested in the overall series and more inclined to continue on with the future stories. 

This was a fun and rather quick read that is perfect for a rainy day. I do believe it will appeal to those who enjoy well written historical romances (even if they have not read the prior book) and 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.

                                                         *******************

                                Kiss of a Duke is available from Amazon.com

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Review: Once Upon a Duke (12 Dukes of Christmas #1) by Erica Ridley


Print Length: 172 pages
Publisher: WebMotion (October 9, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: Beware romantic spirits from Christmas past...

Due to the terms of an estranged relative's will, the Duke of Silkridge must revisit the cold, unforgiving mountains where he lost everything he once loved. As soon as he rights his family legacy, he'll return to London where he belongs. He definitely won't rekindle the forbidden spark crackling between him and the irresistible spitfire he'd left behind...

Noelle Pratchett is immune to charming rakehells like the arrogant duke. He stole her heart, stole her first kiss, and then stole away one night never to return. Now he's back—and so are all the old feelings. Noelle knows he won't stay. But how can she maintain her icy shields when every heated glance melts her to her core?

The Twelve Dukes of Christmas is a laugh-out-loud historical romance series of heartwarming Regency romps nestled in a picturesque snow-covered village. After all, nothing heats up a winter night quite like finding oneself in the arms of a duke!



                                                 *******************
My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

I have read and enjoyed a decent number of books by this author (this makes book number 12), and for the most part I've enjoyed every single one of them. And while I will admit I did enjoy this one as well.... there was just something lacking. It could be that I've just set my standards too high when it comes to this author, as I'm sure this story will appeal to a lot of historical romance fans.

Maybe it's the Grinch in me, but I can't imagine living in the place like "Christmas". I'm sure the village was very picturesque and the villagers more like family without having to resort to that. The fact that the hero abhorred Christmas (the day) means that this story could have been set in the days leading up to (and including) keeping in tune with the "A Christmas Story" theme the author was trying to convey. On the whole I felt there as a "shadow" cast over the story as it was one that was more sad in my opinion than jovial despite the best efforts of the town.

I did however enjoy the characters, and as I stated above, I am sure this story will appeal to fans of the genre as well. I would read more from this author (and in fact am in the process of reading book number two in this series as we speak). 

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.

                                                         *******************

                           Once Upon a Duke is available from Amazon.com

Monday, November 12, 2018

Review: Picture Perfect Cowboy (The Original Sinners #10) by Tiffany Reisz


Print Length: 233 pages
Publisher: 8th Circle Press (November 5, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: Jason "Still" Waters' life looks perfect from the outside—money, fame, and the words "World Champion Bull-Rider" after his name. But Jason has a secret, one he never planned on telling anybody...until he meets Simone. She's the kinky girl of his dreams...and his conservative family's worst nightmare.

"Picture Perfect Cowboy" is a standalone erotic romance from Tiffany Reisz, set in her bestselling Original Sinners series. An abridged version was previously published in "Exposed: A Romance Anthology" as the novella "The Watermark."

                                                 *******************
My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

While I definitely enjoyed this story, I did feel like there was something missing. Maybe it was too short? Maybe I expected too much having been a fan of the Original Sinners since the beginning? 

Jason and Simone were both undeniably interesting and complex characters. I enjoyed how they opened up to each other and how she helped him to embrace what he was. I do wish we could have seen more of her actually "winning over" his ultra-conservative family. Maybe that was it - we didn't really see much growth between these two. They went from strangers to lovers to being "in love" in the span of about a week. And while I am not against love at first sight, I do enjoy seeing certain obstacles actually being overcome in "real time" and not just reading about them after the fact. Simone definitely had a long road ahead of her winning over the Waters family, but I know she was up to the task. 

There were a lot of romantic moments in this story, and I loved the appearance of Nora and Søren, so overall I do think this story will appeal to long-time fans of the series. For a first time reader? This may be a hit or miss, but I would definitely recommend that they pick up The Siren (Original Sinners #01), or even another in the series so that they can fully experience what a gifted author Mistress Tiffany is. I would definitely 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.

                                                         *******************

                            Picture Perfect Cowboy is available from Amazon.com


Friday, November 9, 2018

Review: Kiss Me at Christmas (Playful Brides #10) by Valerie Bowman


Print Length: 299 pages
Publisher: St.Martin's Press (October 30, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: A spirited lady facing spinsterhood. A common man with a noble mission. And a surprise that just might be waiting for them under the mistletoe. . .

Bow Street Runner Daffin Oakleaf abhors Christmas. Carol singing and holiday cheer only remind him of a dark time. When a close friend calls on him for help, Daffin is happy to capitalize on the distraction. But when he learns the lovely Lady Regina is the one in danger, he’s to become bodyguard to the captivating woman…

Regina has one mission: to find a night of passion in the arms of a gentleman. Considered firmly on the shelf, Regina has given up on marriage—but that doesn’t mean she wants to be denied the pleasure married ladies experience. Daffin has long captured her attention…and when a threat calls him to her side, the sparks between them ignite. But how can a hired bodyguard find his way into Regina’s noble heart?

                                                 *******************
My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Let me say right off the bat that while this is labeled as book #10 in a series, I do believe I have only read three, maybe four of the others in this series. And while for me, I don't think this fact kept me from enjoying this one, I will say that the couple from book #9 do play a very large role as "support" so it probably would help to know at least a bit about them. 

I very much enjoyed the romance between Daffin and Regina - but again - we got to see the majority of their friendship develop in a prior novel. If you can overlook the specifics and simply be content with the fact that they did know each other, and they did have a flirtatious relationship prior to this story, then again, you should enjoy this one very much. There is more banter between them, and a lot of sharing of secrets and really getting to know each other on a deeper level - both of which I enjoyed. 

Where this one fell flat is with the mysterious person who wishes Regina and/or Nicole harm. When all is said and done and the culprit revealed, it made no sense. Nor did I feel any real sense of closure. Sure one person had been apprehended, and perhaps with Regina finding a bit of romance with Daffin and Nicole happily settled with her husband, the "bad guy" would just move on with their life, but I wanted more. I wanted the person actually accountable to be held as such and I don't feel as though we got that. 

All things considered I'm sure there are a number of people who will enjoy this story, and some that will not. 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.

                                                         *******************

                               Kiss Me at Christmas is available from Amazon.com

Monday, November 5, 2018

Review: The Craftsman (The Craftsman #1) by Sharon J. Bolton


Print Length: 432 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books  (October 16, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: Florence Lovelady's career was made when she convicted coffin-maker Larry Grassbrook of a series of child murders 30 years ago in a small village in Lancashire. Like something out of a nightmare, the victims were buried alive. Florence was able to solve the mystery and get a confession out of Larry before more children were murdered., and he spent the rest of his life in prison.
But now, decades later, he's dead, and events from the past start to repeat themselves. Is someone copying the original murders? Or did she get it wrong all those years ago? When her own son goes missing under similar circumstances, the case not only gets reopened... it gets personal.
In master of suspense Sharon Bolton's latest thriller, readers will find a page-turner to confirm their deepest fears and the only protagonist who can face them.


                                                 *******************
My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

I have mixed feelings about this novel. On one hand, I feel like the synopsis is very misleading. In a vague sense, things happen like promised, but I only remember one person actually being found buried alive (as far as I know the other two were never found). Added to that, after he died, the only event to repeat was the disappearance of her son. I feel like it was hyped up to be something that in the end, it was not. And that was very disappointing. 

But on the other hand, what we were given was such a complex, and interesting read that it was enjoyable. I still don't quite understand why certain people acted the way they did when nothing came of it, but there were definitely some surprising twists that I did not see coming! I enjoyed how the book spent time focusing on the events of the past, allowing the reader not only to experience the crimes, but also the dynamics of the team and all of the players. I felt that it was because we had lived that with them that it made what happened in the present more edge-of-your seat. 

There are some paranormal elements in this that may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I felt for this particular story they worked. I would read more from this author, and I did notice that this book is part one. I am just curious enough I would read more in this series to see what else the author can do with it.

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.

                                                         *******************

                            The Craftsman is available from Amazon.com

Friday, November 2, 2018

Review: Dangerous Exes (Liars, Inc. #2) by Rachel Van Dyken


Print Length: 318 pages
Publisher: Skyscape (October 30, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: Isla made one teeny little mistake. Now she and her PI company, Dirty Exes, are being targeted by one seriously angry and furiously sexy ex-quarterback. Jessie freakin’ Beckett. But there’s no way some NFL superhunk is going to take her business away. If only he didn’t make her so hot—and bothered.
Jessie wants payback for a ruined reputation. His plan? Top secret. His hard-to-hide arousal for Isla? Not so much. Especially when they let down their guards and sneak a kiss. Like any juicy scandal, it goes so viral, so fast, that only a good lie can combat the bad press. Mortal enemies in a fling? No way. Um…this is love!
Actually…could it be?
                                                 *******************
My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

This was classic RvD. There were parts that were laugh out loud funny, parts that were steamy, and parts that ...... had me shaking my head.

Let me start off with saying that I love the classic slow burn enemies to lovers story. And while yes, we did get a glimpse of them being friends in the first book, I don't feel it necessary to have read in order to enjoy this one. While there is some definite "Throwback" to the first, I feel enough "backstory" is given as well that it makes this story easy to follow. 

However Isla and Jessie fell flat. To begin with, I feel like he "caught feelings" entirely way too soon which was out of character for someone that burned (both by his ex and by Isla's company). When they fight, its great. When they compromise, it's amazing. The in. between? Ehhhhhhhh.

Goo-Pah is a stand out character, but what she is not is another Grandma Nadine. Where Nadine was funny, Goo-Pah is creepy. Delivering chickens and marriage beds along with what is basically date rape tea? Not cool. No wonder Isla has such a hard time dating. Any sane man would definitely be scared off. Ok...ok.. let me clarify. The date rape tea is and isn't exactly what you think. It's made to enhance certain things (think Viagra but in tea form) but Isla doesn't spike his drink. In fact, he makes it willingly, but he THINKS it will cure his headache, and Isla is all too happy to reap the benefits of it. So to me... to-MA-to... to-ma-TO.... same thing just worded differently. 

I feel like while this was for the most part a funny, and cute read, there was too much that didn't add up. A fake engagement is one thing. A fake pregnancy? Maybe not something that should be joked about. 

All things considered I'm sure there are a number of people who will enjoy this story, and some that will not. 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.

                                                         *******************

                                        Dangerous Exes is available from Amazon.com

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Blog Tour & Review: First Earl I See Tonight by Anna Bennett


Print Length: 352 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (October 30, 2018)
Genre: Historical Romance
Tour Organized by: St. Martin's Press

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. 

From Goodreads.com:  An heiress with a daring proposal. An earl who’s determined to resist her. And a love that just might be written in the stars… 

Recently jilted by his fiancée, David Gray, Earl of Ravenport is not in the market for a wife. Even if Gray didn’t have his hands full renovating his crumbling country house, it would take more than a bold marriage proposal from a headstrong young beauty to thaw his frozen heart. Gray is confident that spending a week at his ramshackle estate will change her mind about marriage, but every passionate moment he spends with her tempts him to change his…

A talented artist, Miss Fiona Hartley desperately needs her dowry money to pay off a blackmailer set on ruining her sister. The handsome earl seems a sensible choice for a husband…if only she can convince him that romance will play no part. But marrying in name only may prove difficult for Fiona. Gray can’t help but be dazzled by her genuine warmth. Yet as their feelings deepen, Fiona’s deadline looms. Will her secrets destroy them, or is true love their final destiny?


                                                        *******************

My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This is one of those unfortunate stories that manages to be both good and forgettable. I feel as though with a couple of changes this would have been a five star read. There are some things that don't make sense, some things that are just downright overplayed, and unfortunately some things that are downright irritating. 

Let me begin by saying that the characters are well written, complex, and fun to read. I adored Fiona's determination to do anything to save her sister, and I loved Gray's slow transformation from jaded Earl back to the person I imagine he would have been had his life not been wrought with tragedy. Lily and Sophie do not thankfully fade away as background characters, rather they hold their own as secondary characters, and I very much hope to see them both receive their own happily-ever-afters. 

No, my problem with this story is in the execution. Fiona's father is rich. This is well known, and yet instead of going to him directly and threatening to expose his youngest daughters secret, our blackmailer instead chooses Fiona. Knowing she cannot access the kind of money they demand. Perhaps they thought she would ask her father, but if they had studied her at all, they would have known that Fiona is just the type of head-strong person to try and find a solution by themselves. And while the romance between Fiona and Gray is just the type of slow burn romance I adore, the way the author tied up the loose ends (the identity of the blackmailer, his ex-fiance suddenly coming back into the picture, the anticipation of wedding vows, etc), it just seemed rushed and altogether reminiscent of a lot of the other historical romance novels on the market today.

Overall, I do still think this story may appeal to those who enjoy historical romances now and then (especially the slow burn kind), and who are able to overlook certain things. 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.


                                                         ********************

About the Author:
 Anna Bennett started swiping romances from her mom’s bookshelf as a teenager and decided that books with balls, dukes, and gowns were the best. So, when she had the chance to spend a semester in London she packed her bags—and promptly fell in love with the city, its history, and its pubs. She dreamed of writing romance, but somehow ended up a software analyst instead.


Fortunately, a few years and a few careers later, Anna found her way back to writing the stories she loves and won the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart®. She lives in Maryland with her husband and three children, who try valiantly not to roll their eyes whenever she quotes Jane Austen.
Anna's books include of the Wayward Wallflowers series and the Debutante Diaries series.


You can learn more about this author by visiting her websiteFacebook or Twitter


                            First Earl I See Tonight  is available from Amazon.com