Review: The Duke I Once Knew (Unlikely Duchesses #1) by Olivia Drake

Print Length: 336 pages
Publisher: St.Martin's Press (December 31, 2018)

From First love is always the sweetest. 

For years, Abigail Linton devoted herself to caring for her aging parents and the children of her siblings. Now, eager to make her own life, she takes a position as governess on the neighboring estate. It shouldn’t matter that her absentee employer is Maxwell Bryce, the Duke of Rothwell, the infamous rake who once broke her youthful heart. Surely he’s forgotten her, for he hasn’t set foot on his estate for fifteen years. At least, that is, until he arrives unexpectedly.

Max is incensed to meet his sister’s new governess. But why does Abby appear just as displeased to see him when it was she who’d rejected him all those years ago? Why is he so drawn to the independent spinster she has become? And why is there a sparkle in her beautiful blue eyes that suggests they might have a second chance at love?

My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

This was one of those stories that really had nothing that stands out, nor is it completely horrid. The author has a flowing writing style (even if she does repeat herself more often than necessary, yes we know who is who and no, I do not need to be reminded every few chapters). I also noticed that she used "paw" to replace "hand" more than once as well. 

I enjoyed watching Abigail and Max navigate their new reality (aka who they are as adults, and how they feel about each other), and I even enjoyed the cast of minor characters (even the "villain" of the story who was a bit one dimensional). I wish there had been a bit more depth to the characters, and some not so obvious plot-lines added, but overall I think this story will appeal to fans of second chance romances, 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.


                         The Duke I Once Knew is available from


Review: A Midwinter Night's Dream (The Original Sinners) by Tiffany Reisz

Print Length: 336 pages
Publisher: 8th Circle Press (December 20, 2018)

From USA Today bestseller Tiffany Reisz turns back the clock on her Original Sinners series to the Victorian era in this kinky Christmas romance...

Two days before Christmas 1871, the newly-minted Baron Marcus Stearns returns to London for the reading of his long-estranged and much-despised father's will, fully certain he will inherit nothing but the title. He receives the shock of his life when he learns that he and his sister Lady Claire will only inherit their late father's vast estate if he marries—immediately. 

Kingsley, the Baron's lover and devoted valet, offers a simple solution to a seemingly Herculean task—the Baron should simply marry his beautiful ward Eleanor. Yet while the Baron longs to do just that...he possesses a dangerous secret that threatens to destroy their marriage before it's hardly begun. 

My Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Every Christmas, out of the kindness of her heart, Mistress Tiffany releases a free novella to her faithful harem... err readers. This year, the gift came in the form of a wonderfully written Victorian era erotica story featuring everyone's favorite unholy Trinity. 

I will be the first to admit that I will greedily take anything she offers when it comes to Nora, Kingsley and of course Søren. Whenever I read about them, it is like coming home. I never tire of them or their kinky ways. However, when it comes to the stories themselves there is always a deeper message than just the sex that goes on. I think the message of this story can be perfectly summed up in this paraphrased passage: 

"What matters more? The ceremony and saying the vows? Or living them when it counts?"

The love these three have and share with each other is what makes these stories truly come alive. Even when they are insulting each other, you know they would gladly lay down their own life for the others. Its a beautiful love story, even if its told in the most unconventional way. 

Let me close by saying that I do wish this had been a full length story. Reading a Victorian Era erotica was a special treat for me as I am also a fan of historical romance novels. The fact that is featured my three favorite characters of all time was just the icing on the cake. 


Review: Cold Press (Anna Burgin #1) by David Bradwell

Print Length: 338 pages
Publisher: Lyrical Press (May 13, 2017)

From It's the winter of 1993, and Clare Woodbrook is the enigmatic head of the Special Investigations Department at Britain's leading daily tabloid. Her exposés are legendary, but she's not without her enemies. Now, on the verge of unveiling her biggest ever scoop, she arranges to meet her researcher Danny Churchill, to reveal all over lunch. 

But Clare never shows, and later that night her car is found abandoned on the hard shoulder of the M25. Worse still, the police investigation is being headed up by DCI Graham March - the embodiment of police corruption and the subject of one of Clare's current investigations.

Danny sets out to find Clare, and enlists the help of his spiky flatmate - fashion photographer Anna Burgin. But they soon realise that nobody can be trusted - especially the police. As the search becomes ever more desperate, suddenly their own lives are very much on the line.

My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

It didn't matter how many times I tried, I just could not get into this story. 

To begin with, not only are the characters all very one dimensional, but the story-line manages to be both implausible and hard to follow. The hard to follow part is easy to explain - this story bounces around between different points of view without warning. Sometimes even within the same chapter. It made it hard to keep track of just who was telling the story. 

What makes it implausible is the way two people can just completely take over a police investigation and people just give them information when they have nothing to go on. Time and time again, Danny and Anna go places and question people in relation to a police matter and people never ask them why. There are some real problems when it comes to the handling of confidential information, and I just couldn't get past it. A bed and breakfast owner gives out information on a former guest? And lets them search their room? A "secure" mail facility gives someone access more than once without proper ID? Even with the "cat and mouse" game that was supposedly going on, it seemed entirely way too easy for these two to gain access to information they should never have seen. 

And then there was the ending. Which I had hoped would redeem this story. Nope. And while I am sure there are others who will love this story, it just was not for me. 

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.


                                   Cold Press is available from


Review: The Collector (The Bone Collector #2) by Fiona Cummins

Print Length: 432 pages
Publisher: Pinnacle (December 18, 2018)

From It was only months ago that Detective Sergeant Etta Fitzroy was held captive by serial killer Brian Howley. Incredibly, she escaped. But so did he. What was found in the macabre museum Howley called home was unnerving enough. For Fitzroy, what the Butcher of Bromley didn’t leave behind chills her to the bone: not a single trace of his most recent abductee. All Fitzroy wants to know now is . . . dead or alive, where is the girl? 
Hiding in plain sight with a new name and a new identity, Howley is making plans for an ingenious new start, and he’s daring Fitzroy to come along. Clue by terrifying clue, she’s following in a killer’s footsteps, but even she can’t imagine where they’ll lead. Because Howley’s endgame has a terrifying twist—one that will not only change his fate, but the fate of everyone Fitzroy is risking her life to protect.

My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Let me being with the disclaimer that I have NOT read the first book. And honestly, after reading this one, I don't feel like I needed to. There is enough backstory woven in to this one that it was easy to understand what motivated these people. I can even praise the fact that this story moved at a very steady pace. 

However. I just never got into it. 

To begin with the points of view changed in such a way that it was sometimes hard to figure out who you were reading. I found myself having to go back and re-read sections to figure it out. This is a story that has been published before, and to be honest, the original synopsis was better than this one. 

My main problems with this story was not only the implausible story-lines but the seeming lack of real character development, and characters acting well, completely out of character as well. 

Instead of being the main character I expected DS Fitzroy to be, she more or less faded into the background. Then you expect me to believe that someone as cunning as the Collector is going to pick a random TEENAGER to "mold in his image"? Get out of here! There is no way someone like Howely would ever bring another person into his inner circle. I also found it hard to believe that Jakey's parents wouldn't have listened to their son when he told them that Ol' Bloody Bones was back.

Overall this story had the potential to be amazing. Instead it was a seemingly thrown together mishmash of characters and stories that just fell apart. 

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 Collector is available from


Review: What a Widow Wants (The Widows' Club #3) by Jenna Jaxon

Print Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Lyrical Press (December 18, 2018)

From Fanny, the widowed Lady Tarkington, has finished mourning her cad of a husband and is ready to enjoy her freedom. The kind of freedom neither a gently bred miss nor a close-watched wife is permitted: dressing up as Aphrodite for a masquerade, drawing gentlemen away from the party, and hinting at late-night assignations with her dance partners. All is going pleasurably according to plan—until the Roman warrior Fanny kisses during a masque turns out to be Matthew, Lord Lathbury, whose proposal she refused years ago.

Lathbury is charming, passionate, inventive, everything Fanny wants in a lover—but unfortunately, he's on the hunt for a wife. He's more than willing to use all his wicked skills to persuade her back to the altar, but he can't wait forever. And now Fanny's position is more precarious than she once thought. If the tongues of the ton set to wagging, it's possible no offer in the world will save her from ruin. But does she want to be saved?

My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

The good news is that although this is book number three in this series, all of the books take place during the same time-frame (with some events overlapping to the point they take place during the same exact time). This means that while this story focuses mainly on Matthew and Fanny, you learn enough about the others to make you want to go back and read their stories (if you haven't already). Thankfully, if you haven't read them, it won't decrease your enjoyment of this story.

The bad news? I feel like the book that I read was a completely different one from the one listed in the synopsis. Fanny and Matthew reconnect at the start of the book - so there is very little to be had in regards to her being "a wicked widow". Perhaps I would overlook that if their entire relationship wasn't tedious and predictable. He loves her. He proposes to her, she turns him down, but continues to string him along while she "gets to know him" or whatever.

They finally decide perhaps since they are constantly in each others beds they should get married. But first! Insert what I'm sure the author was hoping to be a shocking surprise, but has become so commonplace that I saw it coming from a mile away secondary story which leaves them at odds. 

Insert some random filler here, a couple of twists, and low and behold they realize they truly cannot live without each other and they marry. All the while leaving people like myself wondering why Matthew waited for so long and continued to wait when all she did was spurn him, how Fanny's "methods" could work one minute and fail the next, and just how either of them expected to make a good match this time around when they only chemistry they seemed to have was in the bedroom (or wherever they happened to be when they became over set with their lust for one another). 

I am sure this novel will appeal to fans of this author and this series. Just as I'm sure there will be people who pick this story up and immediately fall in love with it. But at the end of the day, it just was not for me. I would read more from this author however, as I have read other stories by her and enjoyed them much more than this one.

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.


                         What a Widow Wants is available from


Review: All the Pretty Brides (Jake Carrington Thriller #3) by Marian Lanouette

Print Length: 300 pages
Publisher: Lyrical Press (December 18, 2018)

From Homicide detective Jake Carrington has an engagement that can’t wait—with a killer. 
Haunted by the murder of his sister, Lieutenant Jake Carrington struggles to control his personal demons as he stands over the brutalized body of a young woman found dead on the railroad tracks. The victim disappeared on July 6th, the fifth woman in as many years to go missing on that date. The fifth happy bride-to-be. The only one whose body has turned up. 
Soon the killer is sending personal messages to Jake. They refer to an unidentified brother he believes Jake hates as much as he does. With his partner distracted by turmoil at home, Jake is on his own. Drawn deeper and deeper into a murderous family feud, his mission is to find out who the killer’s brother is—and stop him before another innocent woman’s life is cut tragically short. 

My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Let me begin by saying that the only thing the three books in the series have in common is the main character, his colleagues, and to a certain extent Mia. Otherwise they can all be read and enjoyed as stand alone novels (seriously, having read the second book, but not the first, I expected there to be at least some mention of events that had happened in book two, but there was nothing). 

As for the genre, I would definitely classify these more as police procedural novels and not so much a "thriller" novel. There is a lot of "chasing down leads", "getting nowhere" and "dealing with bureaucratic nonsense" that I feel while very realistic in terms of how the police really operate, do not always make for the best reading material. In this case, it was enjoyable, BUT there seemed to be a lot of distractions in the side stories (Louie's drama with his wife, Mia having a stalker) that I felt took away from the story instead of adding to it. In fact, the big reveal as to who Mia's stalker was felt very anti-climatic. I would have enjoyed them more had they added something to the overall story instead of just seeming like "filler". Perhaps it was the authors intent to use them to keep Jake and Louie distracted, but it was a bit over the top for me.

Finally, it rates being mentioned, but I liked Jake less and less during this story. During the course of his investigation he goes into tattoo parlors. And while even he agrees that tattoos, piercings, and other body modifications are not for him, he comes across as being a pretty judgmental jerk when it comes to those who do have them. A nitpick on my part for sure, but this was just one of several reasons that it made it hard (for me) to even care about this character. Coupled with his hot and cold relationship with Mia, and I was definitely left wanting more here.

However, the author does have a strong writing style and this story moves at a fairly steady pace so I am sure there will be a lot of fans. I may finish this series out (as of right now its being billed as a 4 book series). However 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.


                           All the Pretty Brides is available from


Review: The Governess's Convenient Marriage by Amanda McCabe

Print Length: 288 pages
Publisher: Harlequin Historical (December 1, 2018)

From A lady turned governess…

A life-changing proposal!

When Lady Alexandra Mannerly last saw Malcolm Gordston, he was a poor crofter’s son—someone a sheltered duke’s daughter would never be allowed to marry. But scandal has rocked her arrogant family, and Alex now leads a quiet life as a governess in Paris—where she meets Malcolm again! Now he’s a wealthy, powerful department store owner…and determined to make her his bride!

My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

This book had some interesting characters, and a strong writing style, however it just didn't come together for me. I wish we would have seen Alexandra's parents moment of disgrace rather than hearing about it after the fact. I wish the author would have gone into more detail about why her father suddenly reappeared after she was settled and began pushing her to marry. It seemed like he had a pressing need in mind that was never brought to light. I understand parents wanting their children settled, but this seemed like he needed money. But once Alex married Malcolm, her dad was never seen or heard from again. There were a few other variations on story-lines that I didn't feel were completely developed and for me, that took away from the overall appeal of this story. 

However, I did enjoy these two characters together. The chemistry between them was believable and it was delightful watching them navigate the waters together. For two people who should have been worlds apart, they were remarkably alike in some ways. 

Overall, I do think this book will appeal to fans of historical romance novels as well as a sort of rags to riches type novel. 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.


             The Governess's Convenient Marriage is available from


Sneak Peek! The Duke That I Marry (Spinster Heiresses #3) by Cathy Maxwell

Title:The Duke That I Marry
Author: Cathy Maxwell
Genre: Historical Romance
Event organized byPure Textuality

Book Description: Once upon a time there were three young ladies who, despite their fortunes, had been on the marriage mart a bit too long. They were known as "the Spinster Heiresses"...

Is it wrong for a woman to want more?

Not if she is a Spinster Heiress. They do not settle. Any young miss would be very lucky to find herself promised to a man like the Duke of Camberly. However, Miss Willa Reverly has watched her friends marry for love. Camberly may be the prize of the season, but she will not be "sold" to any man. She wants his devotion or she wants nothing at all.

When is a Marriage of Convenience inconvenient?

Newly named to the ducal title, Matthew Addison is determined to discover the secrets behind Mayfield, the bankrupt estate he has inherited. He doesn't have time to coddle a headstrong heiress who is determined to ditch him over something as silly as "love." Little does he know that his questions will place her in jeopardy. Now he must do what he must to save them both.

Could it be that in running from danger they might be racing headlong into a truly unexpected fate: falling in love?

Book Excerpt: Her arms came around his neck. She stood on her toes. He picked her up and carried
her to the bed. His fingers began working her lacings. Her hands slid inside his jacket, pushing it down over his shoulders.

Dear God, he wanted this. He’d had her warmth beside him in bed but it had taken all his willpower to give her the time she needed to heal.

Matt lowered his arms, and his jacket slid to the floor. He pulled Willa down onto the bed beside him. He kissed her chin, her cheek, her nose, and her sweet ears before finding her mouth again. She laughed as if it tickled, and the sound made his heart grow fuller, the beat stronger.

She loved him.

He’d always thought true love was full of drama and turmoil. It wasn’t. Love was the sense that he was right where he was supposed to be. That at last, he’d found his home.

You can purchase this book from AmazoniBooks, or many other online stores


To celebrate the release of THE DUKE THAT I MARRY by Cathy Maxwell, we’re giving away one paperback copy of If ever I Should Love You!


GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback copy of If Ever I Should Love You by Cathy Maxwell. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance.  Giveaway ends 10/10/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted.

About the Author: CATHY MAXWELL spends hours in front of her computer pondering the question, “Why do people fall in love?” It remains for her the great mystery of life and the secret to happiness.

You can learn more about this author by visiting: Her WebsiteTwitter, or Facebook


Review: Boundless (The Shaws #3) by Lynne Connolly

Print Length: 235 pages
Publisher: Lyrical Press (December 4, 2018)

From  She’s the unlikely wallflower of the extraordinary Shaw family.  A woman who will never marry, but not for the reasons you might think . . . 
Attacked on the streets of London, Lady Livia Shaw is relieved when a gentleman comes to her aid—and startled to discover her rescuer is Adrian, the Duke of Preston, a notorious rogue. But their association—and instant attraction—does not end there, much to the Shaws’ distress. For Livia was robbed of a memento—one that is both her most precious possession and a reminder of a shameful secret. It is a secret she knows will cause her to lose Adrian forever, yet he is determined to track down the thief . . .
Adrian never wanted to be anyone’s hero, but now he’s finding the prospect as pleasing as he does Livia’s company, and her beauty. Certainly he wants her in his bed, but what surprises him is how much she comes to mean to him. Which is why the revelation of her scandalous past is nearly his undoing. Arrogantly, he had assumed only he had the power to shock. But it is too late to turn back, and now Adrian may have to risk everything for Livia, even his heart . . .

My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

I always know that I'm in for a treat when I pick up a book from this author. Even though they are all set within the same family, each one is not only a stand alone, but a unique treat.

As always, I enjoyed the chemistry the author creates between her two main characters, and you can never go wrong when the entire Shaw clan gets together. The characters (even the minor ones), were engaging, well written and deeply complex. 

I do think this story was  little "busier" than than others what with all the secrets and surprise twists that were included. There were times when it almost felt like the author went a little "overboard" with them (just there were some I feel that could have been used in a different book that I have no doubt she is planning for the future). 

However, even with that I found myself unable to put this story down until the very end. I would definitely read more from this author, and I do believe this story will appeal to those who enjoy strong characters that are given seemingly impossible odds.

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.


                             Boundless (The Shaws #3) is available from


Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Duke (The Cavensham Heiresses #4) by Janna MacGregor

Print Length: 356 pages
Publisher: St.Martin's Press (November 27, 2018)

From A lady with a noble mission. A duke looking for redemption. A forbidden love that cannot be denied… 

Lady Daphne Hallworth is ready to celebrate the holidays with her family. But when they accidentally leave her home alone, Daphne uses the time to work on her dream—opening a home for unwed mothers. But her quest isn’t problem-free: She’s in a battle to win the property for the home against her brother’s best friend-turned-enemy, Paul Barstowe, Duke of Southart. And that’s not all: someone has stolen her personal diary, which holds secrets that could devastate her family. Daphne has always harbored private feelings for the man her family scorns…though perhaps striking a bargain with the handsome Duke will solve both their problems?

Paul, long considered good for nothing, aims to open a hospital to honor his brother and restore his reputation. So when a conflict over the land brings him straight into Daphne’s life, they make a deal: He will help her find her diary if Daphne can change her family’s opinion of him. But before he can win her family’s affection, he has to win hers first. Maybe love was the answer to their family feud all along?

My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Like the other novels in this series (of which I have admittedly only read one other), this novel is a complete stand alone. There are characters from prior novels mentioned as well as the mention of prior story-lines, however it is done in such a way that it is easy to understand. 

Understanding is one thing, but unfortunately, I just couldn't get into this story and remain invested in it. I liked Paul - I feel like he went above and beyond for Daphne, who at times, didn't seem like she deserved it. Sometimes it is NOT a good thing to be an "independent miss". I feel like so much of the chaos was of her own making that I felt it hard to connect with her (much less feel sorry for her). When they were together, I did believe in the chemistry between them, even if Daphne comes across a bit.. strong at some points. 

There were times during this story I had to back up and re-read, mainly because they seemed a tad over the top, or in some cases down right implausible for a story taking place during this time period. On the plus side, the author does have a strong writing style, and this story moves at a steady pace, so I know that will appeal to some readers. 

Overall, this will be one of those stories that people either love or like. I don't see too many people outright disliking it. 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.


                 The Good, the Bad, and the Duke is available from


Review: Wish Upon a Duke (12 Dukes of Christmas #3) by Erica Ridley

Print Length: 159 pages
Publisher: WebMotion (November 20, 2018)

From Rumor has it, charming adventurer Christopher Pringle is finally ready to settle down. He’s searching for a free-spirited bride to join him on his travels. But when the matchmaker he hires turns out to be the woman he had a public spat with the day before, nothing goes as planned!

Miss Gloria Godwin loves exploring the world… from the safety of a book. She detests her dashing client’s attempts to force her from her comfort zone. It should be easy to marry off the handsome heir to a dukedom. But the more she tries to match him to other women, the harder it gets to say goodbye…

My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

The third book in this series was unfortunately, another one of those stories that while enjoyable, did leave some things to be desired. 

As always, the characters that Ms. Ridley brings to life definitely stand out. I loved the interaction between them, even if the suitor falls for the matchmaker troupe is a little over-played. I was almost hoping for once he might actually fall in love with someone else (and was more than a little curious about what Christopher and Mademoiselle de Luc talked about). Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed their romance, but it did seem like up until the end Christopher was the one changing himself, and giving up his dreams for Gloria instead of them meeting in the middle. I am glad we got to see them in the future so to speak as I was wondering just how they would make their relationship work without compromise.

It was nice to revisit the town of Christmas as it was dubbed, although I'm actually rather surprised that when Christopher first encounters Gloria and her little group, no one lets him in on what is really taking place (it seems like it would have solved so many problems). I also didn't really understand what her former suitor had to do with the death of her father as they seemed drastically different. 

Overall, this was a fun and rather quick read. I believe it will appeal to those who enjoy historical romances (even if they have not read the prior books). 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.


                                Wish Upon a Duke is available from


copyright © . all rights reserved. designed by Color and Code

grid layout coding by