Review: Her Wicked Marquess (Sinful Wallflowers #2) by Stacy Reid

Print Length: 400 pages
Publisher: Entangled: Amara (December 29, 2020)

From  Miss Maryann Fitzwilliam is too witty and bookish for her own good. No gentleman of the ton will marry her, so her parents arrange for her to wed a man old enough to be her father. But Maryann is ready to use those wits to turn herself into a sinful wallflower.

When the scandal sheet reports a sighting of Nicolas St. Ives, the Marquess of Rothbury, climbing out the chamber windows of a house party, Maryann does the unthinkable. She anonymously claims that the bedchamber belonged to none other than Miss Fitzwilliam, tarnishing her own reputation—and chances of the dastardly union her family secured for her. Now she just needs to convince the marquess to keep his silence.

Turns out Nicolas allows for the scandal to perpetuate for his own reasons… But when Maryann’s parents hold fast to their arranged marriage plan, it’ll take a scandal of epic proportions for these two to get out of this together.


My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Let me start off by saying that I enjoyed much this novel. I especially enjoyed the banter between Nicolas and Maryann, and watching them turn into friends. I definitely saw chemistry between the two as they learned more about one another, and as they realized that neither of them was exactly the person they presented to the rest of the world. 

And I really liked how despite their desires for one another, they refrained from acting upon it immediately. Yes, there are some pre-marital shenanigans that happen, but these things happen later on after the two have spent a good deal of time with one another playing chess, and in one instance learning how to pick a lock. 

 However, this was not the light-hearted romance that the blurb would lead you to believe. 

In fact, the blurb doesn't even divulge the fact that there is another pl0t-line to this story. One that at times overshadows the romance, and could possibly be triggering for some readers. And that is Nicolas' revenge against the men who long ago harmed a girl he was in love with. 

Now, I think it's worth mentioning that the reasons behind his thirst for revenge, while  understandable to a point, are dark and brought up often. There also seemed to be some parts of Nicolas that were in contrast to the other. He makes it a point to repeatedly talk about how young he was when he told his first love they couldn't be together. He uses his age to justify asking her to wait for him to convince his parents of their match. But then he doesn't take the fact that the men who purported the heinous crimes against her were also the same age he was - not even the man who did not actually touch her, but also did nothing to stop the others. That not only cast doubt on his logic on the whole, but also when the big twist was revealed at the end, caused me no end of confusion. If one person was able to forgive another so easily, why couldn't Nicolas? There was also a scene involving Maryann, a shove and a carriage that when looked at on the whole seemed out of place. 

On the whole, if you can overlook the dark aspects of this story, then I think a lot of people will enjoy it. 

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

                                                        Her Wicked Marquess is available from


Review: A Duke for the Road (The Duke's Secret #1) by Eva Devon


Print Length: 199 pages
Publisher: Bard Productions Inc (May 9, 2018)

From A Duke With A Secret:

Robert Deverall, Duke of Blackstone, is cursed. Or so he thinks. Inheriting a dukedom bankrupted by his dissolute grandfather, father, and elder brother has made him determined that the male line will end with him. He refuses to allow any one else to suffer at the hands of a Deverall man. When he meets his childhood friend, Lady Harriet Cornwall, he is determined to stay away from her, despite the fact she makes his heart sing and his body ignite. When the two are caught in a compromising position, he has no choice but to marry the wild, independent Harry. But will his determination never to have children, and his fears about his family line, destroy their chance at love?

A Lady Determined to Unmask the Duke:
Lady Harriet Cornwall is determined to marry and quickly. After all, she loathes the uninspiring parties a proper unmarried lady can attend. No, she longs to be just like her mother, a beacon of culture, literature, and fun. And like her mother, she longs for a large family. When she meets Rob again, she can hardly believe the transformation from mischievous boy to sardonic and mysterious man. In the breath of a single dance, her heart is lost. From their very first kiss, she knows he is the one for her. But he has a dark secret. Will he push her away as he has done to everyone else? Or will she be able to coax her dark duke back into the light to find love?


My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Unfortunately, I just didn't connect with this story in any meaningful way. Which was a shame because with just a little push here and there, this story would have been at least a 4 star if not higher. 

The back and forth between Harriet and Rob was enjoyable. The idea of these two coming together in wedded matrimony was good. Even the idea of five different Dukes not only having a secret hideaway, but also secret personas as well was intriguing. However, the execution was lacking. And also, for the love of everything, I wish the author would stop calling her 'Harry'.  It was confusing and in my opinion, wholly unnecessary. 

To start, I wish there had been more about Rob and Harriet's childhood exploits together. As it is, we are given bits and pieces and told that because of it they shared a strong bond, but I never really felt that bond myself. Yes, they challenged one another, and yes, they lusted after each other (and really that tiny little thing was all it took to push them over the edge?) But love? I just wasn't buying it. Not even when certain aspects from Rob's past came into play. In fact, those moments that I'm sure meant to convey drama and angst? Didn't. How could they when Harriet proved herself more than capable of existing without Rob? 

This bond is also used as the reason why Harriet is able to immediately identify Rob as the Gentleman Highwayman even though no one else had been able to. Honestly? If it was that easy to recognize him, someone else should have either in person or through a story in the scandal sheets. 

Sadly, there were also just a lot of little things that were either mentioned once and forgotten (the letter clutched in the hand of a man for example), or that didn't add to the plot other than to up the word count. Even the drama of the story was severely underplayed - with the main conflict between the two characters seemingly overcome in an instant.

Because this was my first time reading this author, I will give her at least one more shot to win me over. I can tell she is capable of more than she offered here.

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Review: To Tame a Lady (The Reluctant Bride Collection #2) by Megan Bryce


Print Length: 115 pages
Publisher: Megan Bryce (October 27, 2012)

From Lady Amelia Delaney is known for her sharp tongue, no-nonsense attitude, and a rather sizable fortune. Numerous suitors have tried to win her hand-- for the money, for the challenge, and for a rather unfortunate bet. She knows the unflattering reasons behind her numerous proposals; can she ever accept that a man would want to marry her just for herself?

Jameson Pendrake is a devil-may-care dandy who cares for naught but fun and fashion. But behind his laughing green eyes lies a dark history, and he calls off his wedding because of his fear of repeating the past. He can not simply give up on the idea of marriage; a wife is the best defense against the yearly crop of scheming mothers and their frilly daughters. But to allay his fears he needs a woman strong enough to laugh in the face of his past. A woman unflappable, unwavering, and unbroken. He knows just the woman. The trick, it seems, is in getting her to accept.


My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

On the whole, this does not have to be read as part of the series in order to be enjoyed for what it is. And what it is is a quick friends to lovers romance that doesn't require much thinking on the part of the reader. This is also something of a clean romance, while there is some kissing before (and after marriage), all acts taking place in the marital bed are inferred rather than written out in explicit detail. 

Now, I really enjoyed the banter between Jameson and Amelia (especially when it bordered on the insulting). It made their prior friendship seem more real, and showcased just how much they meant to one another that they could speak freely that way without the other truly taking offense. In fact, more than once during their scenes together, I found myself laughing out loud.  

However, aside from that banter? The characters seemed shallow and lacking some other crucial element. Even the secondary story-lines seemed to be nonexistent - between people following Jameson (only to apparently end up just being blokes who wanted to accuse him of cheating on a stupid bet), to Clarice first being mad at Amelia for "lying to her" and marrying Jameson herself, to suddenly marrying Amelia's brother... there were so many opportunities for the author to expand upon this world and these characters that were just missed out on. 

There is still one more book left in the Reluctant Bride series for me to read (as I read books 1 and 3 a couple years back), so I will at least finish this series before deciding whether or not I will continue on with this author.  

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Review: Nothing to Lose (Ziba MacKenzie #2) by Victoria Selman


Print Length: 274 pages
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (May 9, 2017)

From  He’s looking for his next victim. She looks just like his last.

Primrose Hill, London. Offender Profiler Ziba MacKenzie arrives at the scene of a gruesome murder with a disturbing sense of déjà vu. Nine days earlier, another woman’s body was found: same location, same MO, same physical appearance. For the police, it’s clear a new serial killer is on the loose. But for Ziba, it’s even more sinister—because the victims look just like her.

Ziba has been the focus of a killer’s interest before, and knows that if she gets too close again this case could be her last. Still, she’s not one to play by the rules—especially when her secret investigation into her husband’s murder begins to attract unwanted attention.

With someone watching her every step, can Ziba uncover what connects the two victims before she becomes one herself?


My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

While there are some mentions to events that happened in book one (mainly with the killer featured in the previous novel), this one could technically could be read as a stand-alone. The problem is, much like in book one, I didn't really care for Ziba herself. 

We are told that she is not only ex-special forces, but also a highly trained criminal profiler. However, time and again in this novel she not only makes some highly illogical (and dangerous) choices, but she also misses important clues time and again. 

Another thing that I had issue with (and this is most likely due in part to the fact that I am American, however I should be clear that I do not have this issue with any other book that takes place in the UK), there were so many slang terms used that I sometimes had trouble understanding. And while I get that some people do have a relaxed way of speaking, in a professional setting, it struck me as off. This again could be in part to Ziba's constant inner musings about how everyone around her is a jerk, or doesn't like her (gee I wonder why), or in one case "retarded" (yes the author actually chose to use that word to describe someone's actions). 

The plots themselves were interesting enough, and thankfully separate enough that I didn't have trouble following along. I was a little surprised that the secondary plot was also mostly resolved in this book as I expected the author to drag it out to the third. However, there is still one major plot point still left to be resolved (and that is the death of her husband that took place before the start of the first book). 

Overall, I probably will pick up the third (and I believe final) book in this series just to see how it all ends. Just not anytime soon. 

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Review: The Stranger Inside by Jennifer Jaynes


Print Length: 274 pages
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (May 9, 2017)

From  After mystery author Diane Christie loses her husband to suicide, she and her son move to the small coastal town of Fog Harbor, Massachusetts. Her daughter is attending college nearby, and Diane hopes that her family can now begin to heal. But rebuilding their lives after the tragedy isn't so simple.

Diane's depressed college-age daughter, Alexa, still avoids her, critical of everything Diane does, and even her generally amiable teenage son, Josh, has started acting out. Diane pushes forward, focusing on her writing and her volunteer work at a local crisis hotline. She knows that healing takes time.

But then a girl from Alexa's college is found strangled. Worse still, the murderer uses the crisis hotline to confess to Diane... and claims she is the only one who can stop the killing. And just when the glow of new love from an attractive admirer begins to chase away some of the darkness, more girls turn up dead, and Diane races to solve a mystery she fears will hit terrifyingly close to home.


My Rating: 1 star out of 5

While the premise of this book was interesting, the book itself was an absolute train wreck. Even still, I thought I would rate it at least 3 starts simply because it flowed well and managed to keep my attention throughout. 

But then I finished it. 

And not only were the characters either one dimensional, or (in the case of the adult males) just... horrible people, but the ending? Was such an unbelievable cluster that I was mad I read the book at all. 

The son has chronic lung issues to the point he spent most of his childhood in the hospital (and in fact is having "breathing issues" throughout most of the book). The daughter has
issues, but instead of having her take a proactive route and talking to her doctor about the fact that her anti-depressants aren't working, the author decides instead to have her steal booze and sleeping pills from her mother. The three "men" in this book are the creepy grocery store manager who follows Diane around and makes her uncomfortable, the too young for her cop who has a reputation as a playboy (and who in fact has sex with her daughter then leaves abruptly and never talks to her again), and the sexy but mysterious new guy in town who has more secrets than the FBI.

Add in a few red herrings, and then what I'm sure the author thought would be a shocking twist, but instead turned into the biggest "What the heck were they thinking" moment of my 2020 reading list, I was just done. With this story (even though it does end on something of a cliffhanger), and with this author (because seriously? How did they think this was okay)?

A real shame because the other book I read from this author I absolutely loved.

                                                    The Stranger Inside is available from
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Review: A Winter Symphony (The Original Sinners) by Tiffany Reisz


Print Length: 174 pages
Publisher: 8th Circle Press  (December 1, 2020)

From  Shortly after the harrowing events of The Mistress, Kingsley realizes that to protect Juliette and their baby on the way, they need to leave New York and put their pasts behind them for good. Yet he's waited all his life to have Søren back and now that he does, how will he tell the only man he's ever loved he's leaving him...again? And will Søren be able to let him go?

A Winter Symphony: A Christmas Novella also features Original Sinners favorites Juliette, Mistress Nora, Michael and Griffin, and the city of New Orleans. As an added bonus, the short Christmas story "A Beautiful Thing" (first published online in 2012, and never appearing in print before) is included as a backup story.


My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

One thing I absolutely LOVE about this author (aside from her fantastic story-telling abilities obviously) is the fact that every year, out of the kindness of her heart, she gives her loyal submissives …. err subscribers.... a free Christmas novella. And considering what a dumpster fire 2020 has been, this one was especially welcome as it took us not only into the familiar world of New York, but also to the magical streets of New Orleans.

As someone who has devoured every single Original Sinners novel and practically begged for more, these little glimpses are like the present you didn't expect. In this installment, we find out what prompted the move of our favorite Unholy Trinity to the Big Easy (a move that officially happens in The Priest).  And in uncovering that, motivation we also get a deeper glimpse into the love that exists between these characters. In fact, I would go so far as to say that we get a much deeper look into the inner musings of Søren than we ever have before. I loved the blending of the line between caring person, and the Sadist we all know and love. There was also a vulnerability to Kingsley that wasn't there before Juliette became pregnant.

That in itself speaks heavily towards this series, the fact that throughout all of these books the characters continue to grow, to mature. There is never a dull moment where these characters are concerned, and when it comes to The Original Sinners? They feel like family. We have seen their deepest fears and their most hidden desires. And in a way? I feel like we have grown with them. 

However, this was the gift that keeps on giving as we also got a second, shorter story that gave us a glimpse into Nora's decision to go against her own rules to be able to purchase a gift for Søren when they weren't even on speaking terms (and how King helped). That speaks to the love that has always existed between the three of them. 

Obviously, I will read more from this author. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next (even more so when it pertains to these characters). 

                                                                             A Winter Symphony is available from


Review: The Cipher (Nina Guerrera #1) by Isabella Maldonado

Print Length: 332 pages
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer  (November 1, 2020)

From  To a cunning serial killer, she was the one that got away. Until now…

FBI Special Agent Nina Guerrera escaped a serial killer’s trap at sixteen. Years later, when she’s jumped in a Virginia park, a video of the attack goes viral. Legions of new fans are not the only ones impressed with her fighting skills. The man who abducted her eleven years ago is watching. Determined to reclaim his lost prize, he commits a grisly murder designed to pull her into the investigation…but his games are just beginning. And he’s using the internet to invite the public to play along.

His coded riddles may have made him a depraved social media superstar—an enigmatic cyber-ghost dubbed “the Cipher”—but to Nina he’s a monster who preys on the vulnerable. Partnered with the FBI’s preeminent mind hunter, Dr. Jeffrey Wade, who is haunted by his own past, Nina tracks the predator across the country. Clue by clue, victim by victim, Nina races to stop a deadly killer while the world watches.


My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

This book was a compelling read for me, but it wasn't without it flaws. The most glaring perhaps the fact that the FBI would allow Nina, the woman who was once abducted and tortured by this person years prior to actively work on the case now. 

As a character, Nina was interesting. A young woman lost and abused within the foster care system turns would-be victim of a monster at sixteen dedicates her life to becoming not only a cop, but an FBI agent. I enjoyed watching her overcome the obstacles thrown at her (especially when it came to the taunts from the Cipher and the lengths he went to to rattle her). I just wished that the rest of her teammates (with perhaps the exception of Wade), were as deeply fleshed out as Nina was. Even at the end of the book, I still could barely tell one person from the next as they all seemed to blend into the background, simply names on the page. 

In regards to the story? I will admit that it did have several dark undertones that some readers may find uncomfortable. And yes, you will have to suspend disbelief in parts (such as the ease in which some of the clues were solved and the way certain events happened). It flowed smoothly enough that it kept my attention, and I was curious as to how this chain of events would unfold. 

If you are a fan of shows like Criminal Minds and CSI, I am sure you will enjoy this story. I will read more from this author! 

                                                                                                       The Cipher from


Review: Not the Duke's Darling (Greycourt #1) by Elizabeth Hoyt


Print Length: 496 pages
Publisher: Forever (December 18, 2018)

From  Freya de Moray is many things: a member of the secret order of Wise Women, the daughter of disgraced nobility, and a chaperone living under an assumed name. What she is not is forgiving. So when the Duke of Harlowe, the man who destroyed her brother and led to the downfall of her family, appears at the country house party she's attending, she does what any Wise Woman would do: she starts planning her revenge.

Christopher Renshaw, the Duke of Harlowe, is being blackmailed. Intent on keeping his secrets safe, he agrees to attend a house party where he will put an end to this coercion once and for all. Until he recognizes Freya, masquerading amongst the party revelers, and realizes his troubles have just begun. Freya knows all about his sins—sins he'd much rather forget. But she's also fiery, bold, and sensuous—a temptation he can't resist. When it becomes clear Freya is in grave danger, he'll risk everything to keep her safe. But first, Harlowe will have to earn Freya's trust-by whatever means necessary.


My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Sadly, I was disappointed by Not The Duke's Darling even MORE than I was disappointed by the second book in this series (I accidentally read them in reverse). This book was just..... well I don't even know. 

To begin with the whole "Wise Women" vs "Dunkelder" (I'm still laughing at that name) was not only borderline ridiculous, but added nothing to the plot. There were dozens of ways the author could have used the mystery surrounding Lord Randolph's wife without resorting to something that made no sense for the time period (witches were hanged NOT burned). 

This plot device may have worked if not for all the other ones happening at the same time. Harlowe vs. Freya, Freya vs, the mysterious dunkelder, Freya vs, Messa-whatever her name was (the main character in book 2), Harlowe vs. Plimpton, etc, etc etc. Instead of adding to the plot, they pulled the reader into several different directions at once making it hard to concentrate on what was happening. 

While I liked Christopher, the way the author handled his PTSD, (not to mention his dealing with the tragic loss of his first wife and the secrets there), Freya was just IMPOSSIBLE. It didn't matter how many times he reached out to her, she was there to slap him back. He offered his help, she refused it. He loved her, she denied him. Despite her life prior to him coming back into it, he more than proved himself to her and did not deserve to be treated that way, therefore it made it hard to believe these two were in love. 

Overall, while I understand I'm in the minority here, I'm going to have to give this author a break before I read anything else by them.

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from Amazon First Reads. 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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Review: When a Rogue Meets His Match (Greycourt #2) by Elizabeth Hoyt


Print Length: 496 pages
Publisher: Forever (December 1, 2020)

From  Ambitious, sly, and lethally intelligent, Gideon Hawthorne has spent his life clawing his way up from the gutter. For the last ten years, he's acted as the Duke of Windemere's fixer, performing the most dangerous tasks without question. Now Gideon's ready to quit the duke's service and work solely for himself. But Windermere wants Gideon to complete one last task, and his reward is impossible to resist: Messalina Greycourt's hand in marriage.

Witty, vivacious Messalina Greycourt has her pick of suitors. When Windermere summons Messalina to inform his niece that she must marry Mr. Hawthorne, she is appalled. But she's surprised when Gideon offers her a compromise: as long as she plays the complacent wife, he promises to leave her alone until she asks for his touch. Since Messalina is confident that she'll never ask Gideon for anything, she readily agrees. However, the more time she spends with Gideon, the harder it is to stay away.


My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

I know I'm likely to be in the minority with my thoughts on this one, but I really just couldn't get into the story. A lot of it seemed to move at a snail's pace with emphasis on dialog that told instead of showed the reader what was happening.

I also felt disconnected from the characters. They were hard to like (especially Messalina who not only seemed more naïve than a woman her age should be about the workings of the world, but also because more than once came across as being worked up and overreacting over nothing). 

However, I thought the beginning started off well enough, with the bargain struck between these two, and I had high hopes for their romance (especially when you learn that Gideon has been in love, or at least infatuated with, her for years). However, despite the author's best attempts, I never bought into them actually falling in love with each other. 

It also seemed as though the ending was rushed through leaving loose ends (which I detest), although considering there is an overreaching arc that will presumably continue into future books, it makes sense. It's just not my cup of tea. 

That being said, I actually also have book one in this series sitting on my kindle as well (oops I misread the published date and thought it was the second instead of the first), hopefully I have better luck with that one! 

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

                                                        When a Rogue Meets His Match is available from


Review: The Pearl (The Godwicks #3) by Tiffany Reisz

Print Length: 286 pages
Publisher: 8th Circle Press (December 1, 2020)

From  When Lord Arthur Godwick learns his younger brother is up to his bollocks in debt to Regan Ferry, owner of The Pearl Hotel, he agrees to work off the her bed. Soon the handsome but troubled Arthur discovers he's a pawn in an erotic game of revenge--and nothing, including his lover, is what it seems.


My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

DISCLAIMER #1: This book contains explicit scenes of a sexual nature and therefore is unsuitable for anyone under the age of 18. 

I have mixed feelings about this story. While it is the third in the series, you do not have to read them in order. And maybe my issue with this book is that I HAVE read them in order. Please don't get me wrong, this was another beautifully written story from Ms.Reisz, but for some reason, I just didn't get as pulled into this one as I have with the others in this series. With The Red there was an element of role-play within the paintings. With The Rose that role-play was shifted to Greek mythology. And that WORKED. As odd as it sounds, the reader was able to lose themselves in those stories. 

With The Pearl? It just seemed like that element was missing. Sure there were references here and there to famous paintings, but on the whole it felt more like an Original Sinners novel instead of another installment of the Godwicks. And while this is in NO WAY a BAD THING as her Original Sinners series is my number one favorite series, it just wasn't what I wanted when I wanted to read about Lord Arthur Godwick. I expected more of the same blurred lines between fantasy and reality. Although this book is about a male coming to terms with his own submissive desires, so that on its own will appeal to a group of readers.

As always with her stories - these characters were flawed and heart-breakingly human. I started off not liking Regan AT ALL, but the more I read? The more I was able to relate to her on different levels. She had a reason for why she acted as she did. And I also enjoyed watching Arthur as he came into his own person as well. The fact that the growth happened while they were together? Only deepened my enjoyment of their story. 

The ending left me feeling a bit ..... well I don't exactly know as I did NOT expect what happened. Obviously, I will read more from this author, I'm just curious if Arthur is the last Godwick we will read about or if there will be more down the line. 

DISCLAIMER #2: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from Amazon First Reads. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.

                                                                               The Pearl is available from


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