Category: Reviews

Guest Review: Only a Duke Will Do by Tamara Gill

Posted February 17, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Only a Duke Will Do by Tamara GillReviewer: Tracy
Only a Duke Will Do by Tamara Gill
Series: To Marry a Rogue #2
Published by Entangled: Select Historical
Publication Date: February 20th 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance
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four-stars

Without a Season, Lady Isolde Worthingham captured the Duke of Moore’s heart at a country dance. But on the eve of her wedding, a scandal that rocked the ton and sent her fleeing to Scotland alone and unwed, leaves her perfectly planned future in a tangle of disgrace and heartbreak.

Merrick Mountshaw, the Duke of Moore, loathes the pitiful existence he portrays to the ton. With a scandalous wife he never wanted, who flaunts her many indiscretions, life is a never-ending parade of hell. When the one woman he loved and lost returns to London, he knows he can no longer live without her.

But vows and past hurts are not easily forgotten. Love may not win against the ton when a too proper lord and lady play by the rules.

Isolde and Merrick are so excited to get married.  He saw her on the dance floor at a country dance a year ago and knew that she was the one for him.  He wants nothing more than to get married to Isolde and start their life together.  Unfortunately Isolde’s friend is a jealous bitch and finds a way to drug Merrick and make sure that Isolde finds her in his bed.  The little bitch then goes on to force Isolde and her family to watcher her marry Merrick the next day while Isolde’s heart breaking.

Five years have passed and Isolde, who has been living in Scotland at a family property, decides that it’s time to face life again.  She knows that she may run into Merrick and her bitch of a friend who’s now his wife, but she decides that she wants to get married and have a family.  She knows that she can never love a man like she loves (yes, she still loves him) Merrick but she can be comfortable with a man and will be happy to have children.

Isolde doesn’t plan on having such strong feelings about seeing Merrick again but she’s determined to ignore her feelings and move on.  Many men are interested in Isolde, including Merrick’s best friend.  Merrick and Isolde obviously still love each other very much and both were betrayed horribly but as much as they love each other how can they ever be together when he’s still married to the evil bitch duchess.

This was a great story of love and betrayal.  The sadness and angst was heart-wrenching and I totally understood the pain that both Isolde and Merrick felt.  We only got to see Isolde and Merrick as a couple for a very short time at the beginning of the book before it all went to shit but in that short amount of time the author did a great job of showing us how much the couple loved each other. It was so sad to see them separated.

Merrick was a great character.  I really liked him.  He had been wronged so badly but despite that he was a great father to his son.  His wife was, of course, an evil witch but he couldn’t leave her because she threatened to spread rumors about their son.  He wouldn’t allow that to happen so he stayed miserable.  I had to give him props for his love for his child and putting him first.  He was a strong man and I really liked him.

Isolde was pretty damned strong as well.  To have to live with the betrayal of her best friend and then the man she loved.  Not fun.  Despite it all she wasn’t too, too bitter and I liked her a lot as well.

Overall the book was really good and one I recommend.  If you don’t like highly angsty books then you might not like this one but if you do then this will be right up your alley.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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Review: Dungeon Royale by Lexi Blake

Posted February 16, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Dungeon Royale by Lexi BlakeReviewer: Casee
Dungeon Royale by Lexi Blake
Series: Masters and Mercenaries #6
Also in this series: Love and Let Die
Published by LLC
Publication Date: February 18th 2014
Genres: Romance, Romantic Suspense, BDSM
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four-half-stars

Broken by betrayal, one woman holds the secret to his redemption…

An agent broken

MI6 agent Damon Knight prided himself on always being in control. His missions were executed with cold, calculating precision. His club, The Garden, was run with an equally ordered and detached decadence. But his perfect world was shattered by one bullet, fired from the gun of his former partner. That betrayal almost cost him his life and ruined his career. His handlers want him to retire, threatening to revoke his license to kill if he doesn’t drop his obsession with a shadowy organization called The Collective. To earn their trust, he has to prove himself on a unique assignment with an equally unusual partner.

A woman tempted

Penelope Cash has spent her whole life wanting more. More passion. More adventure. But duty has forced her to live a quiet life. Her only excitement is watching the agents of MI6 as they save England and the world. Despite her training, she’s only an analyst. The closest she is allowed to danger and intrigue is in her dreams, which are often filled with one Damon Knight. But everything changes when the woman assigned to pose as Damon’s submissive on his latest mission is incapacitated. Penny is suddenly faced with a decision. Stay in her safe little world or risk her life and her heart for Queen and country.

An enemy revealed

With the McKay-Taggart team at their side, Damon and Penny hunt an international terrorist across the great cities of Northern Europe. Playing the part of her Master, Damon begins to learn that under Penny’s mousy exterior is a passionate submissive, one who just might lay claim to his cold heart. But when Damon’s true enemy is brought out of the shadows, it might be Penny who pays the ultimate price.

Another hit on the books for Lexi Blake! By now I’ve read almost every book in Blake’s Masters and Mercenaries series. Dungeon Royale is my favorite of the bunch. I don’t know why exactly, but I’m going to take a leap and say it’s all Damon Knight.

So Damon was shot by his double agent partner at the end of Love and Let Die. It happened right after he realized that Baz was the leak and he was working for The Collective. He fully expected to die, but was found just in time. Damon feels defeated and betrayed when he thinks of Baz; he can’t believe his partner of ten years was not only a traitor, but that he also tried to kill him.

When Damon returns to SIS (MI6) seven months later, he is told by his superior that he will have to take a desk job. The bullet went into his lungs and they had to remove a part of one so he would live. Damon doesn’t know what he will do if he’s not in the field and convinces Nigel to give him a chance to prove himself. What seems like an easy peasy mission turns into something more when The Collective is involved.

Penelope Cash has worked at SIS for years. She’s watched Damon from afar, but never approached him nor does she intend to. Still dealing with the loss of her mother, Penny has shut down. When Nigel and Damon call her in and tell her she’s needed on the mission, she is hesitant. It’s a BDSM cruise and she is far from the kind of girl that would get into that lifestyle. Or so she thought.

Are there really BDSM cruises? I just have to ask.

Damon handpicked Penelope because she was the only one that appealed to him. He soon realizes how perfectly innocent she is. He also realizes that Penelope is far from vanilla, she just doesn’t know it. Damon takes it upon himself to teach her that submitting is nothing to be ashamed of.

The BDSM of this series is really good. It’s all about meeting the needs of your partner, not one partner dominating the other anywhere but the bedroom. Damon was so damaged when this book started. It was fun watching him fall for Penelope. I really loved Penelope too. There is only one person that can handle Damon and that’s her. She just has to show him that he deserves to be loved.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

four-half-stars

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Review: #Famous by Jilly Gagnon

Posted February 16, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: #Famous by Jilly GagnonReviewer: Rowena
#famous by Jilly Gagnon
Published by Harper Collins, Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: February 14th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 384
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three-stars

In this modern-day love story, Girl likes Boy, Girl takes photo of Boy and posts it online, Boy becomes accidentally insta-famous. And what starts out as an innocent joke spirals into a whirlwind adventure that could change both their lives—and their hearts—forever. But are fame and love worth the price?

Told in alternating points of view, #famous captures the out-of-control thrill ride of falling for someone in front of everyone.

I really interested in reading this book because of the internet fame angle. The girl captures a picture of the boy and tweets it to her bestie who RT’s the picture, attaching a hashtag that goes viral and before anyone knows what’s what, the boy is internet famous and he’s going on the Ellen show and he’s getting interviewed on the news and people want to be his best friend and he enjoys it for a while before all of it starts feeling fake. The only person that hasn’t changed throughout it all is his new friend, Rachel who is the girl that tweeted the picture of him.

This was a pretty short read and it’s marked as a Young Adult book but it read a lot younger than that. At least, it did for me. There was a simpleness to the story that made it really easy to fall into this book and on one hand, that was fun and it took no time at all to read it. On the other hand, it was hard to really connect with the characters because they didn’t feel fleshed out or well, real. This story was enjoyable but it was enjoyable in the sense that I enjoyed it from afar. Like, I enjoyed listening to my friend’s recount of the shenanigans over the weekend that I wasn’t around for. I didn’t feel what Rachel was feeling for myself. Or what Kyle was feeling.

So while I enjoyed the book for the fluffy piece that it was, I didn’t love it. Still, if you’re in the mood for a fun story that reads a little on the young side, this is a good one.

Grade: 3 out of 5

three-stars

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Retro Review: Once Smitten, Twice Shy by Lori Wilde

Posted February 15, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Retro Review: Once Smitten, Twice Shy by Lori WildeReviewer: Holly
Once Smitten, Twice Shy by Lori Wilde
Series: Wedding Veil Wishes #2
Also in this series: Addicted to Love
Published by Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: December 14th 2008
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, General
Pages: 384
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four-half-stars

Legend claims this antigue Irish wedding veil can grant your heart's deepest desire. But be careful what you wish for...
Wedding videographer Tish Gallagher is at the end of her rope. Her business is about to go bust. She's just spent her last buck on nonreturnable (but oh so fabulous) shoes. And her most sustainable relationship is with a pint of Haagen Dazs. So she makes a wish on the lucky wedding veil to get out of debt...and sees the man she never stopped loving, her ex-husband, secret service agent Shane Tremont. Sure, their chemistry was off-the-charts sizzling hot, but their clashes were legendary, and no amount of longing will change that.
When her dream job of recording the first daughter's wedding appears out of the blue, Tish knows it's her only shot to get out of the red. Just one teensy glitch: Shane is the groom. From the moment they see each other, she knows nothing's changed--the same old black magic is still between them, as irresistible and potent as ever. But he's promised to another and Tish has been burned before. Will she always be...ONCE SMITTEN, TWICE SHY?

******As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

I still have very fond memories of this series. I stopped reading Wilde some time back, but I often think back fondly on these books.

This review was originally published February 02, 2008

This is the second book in Lori Wilde’s Wedding Veil Wishes series. I didn’t read the first book, and don’t feel I missed anything by having skipped it. I think at some point I’ll pick it up, just because I like to read all the books in a series, but I never felt like I missed something while reading this book.

Shane has no idea what he was thinking to propose to the President’s daughter. But she’d caught him in a weak moment, staring at him like he was ten feet tall and bullet proof after he’d put his life on the line for hers. And now she’s concocted some scheme involving his ex-wife – the ex he still cares about more than he should.

Elysee knows Shane needs to make peace with the past if their marriage is going to work, so she hires Tish thinking they’ll be able to heal old wounds if they spend enough time together. But even she couldn’t have predicted just how much history there was between Tish and Shane, and just what they’d need to move past old hurts. And now she’s wondering if she made a grave mistake, because not only has she seen the looks the former couple pass between them, but she’s been getting some looks of her own, from her #1 bodyguard, Cal Ackerman.

I must confess, normally a story where one of the main protagonists is engaged to someone else would immediately turn me off. But in this case, it didn’t bother me a bit. I think the author did a fabulous job of writing an unconventional story that really worked.

This story is a somewhat predictable piece of fluff, but it was engaging and I really enjoyed it. Well, I enjoyed it until close the the end, that is.

You see, Wilde did a fabulous job of keeping the focus on the main trio of characters. Elysee, Tish and Shane were shown in equal light, each with their own demons to battle and insecurities to overcome. I empathized with all three, understanding perfectly their personal issues. Shane, the wounded hero who just needed to be needed. Tish, the independent free spirit who needed someone to lean on. Elysee, the hopeless romantic who wanted nothing more than a knight in shining armor to sweep her away.

But then, more than 3/4 of the way through the book, a new element was introduced…that of a terrorist group who wanted to assassinate a woman who was trying to escape India. The thing is, there was nothing leading up to the sudden twist in the story. For almost the entire book, the focus remained on the three main characters and then BAM, all of a sudden Tish is being attacked and Shane needs to save her and Elysee is involved in an international rescue plot and there’s a murderer out to get them all. But..uh..I must have missed a memo, because that seriously came out of nowhere.

Despite that, however, I liked the book. I loved Tish and Shane together and I’m hopeful that Elysee will get a story of her own someday. Basically, buy this book for the romance, but don’t be surprised if it goes in a strange direction unexpectedly.

Even though I had a major issue with the latter half of the book, I’m still giving this:

4.5 out of 5

Because I really, really liked the rest of it.

The series:

There Goes the Bride
Once Smitten Twice Shy
Addicted to Love
All of Me

You can buy it here in paperback or here or here.

four-half-stars

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Guest Review: Half by Eli Lang

Posted February 15, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Half by Eli LangReviewer: Tracy
Half by Eli Lang
Published by Riptide Publishing
Publication Date: February 13th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance, m/m
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four-stars

Living between worlds has never been comfortable, but it’s where I’ve always fit: between human and fey, illness and health, magic and reality.

I’ve spent the last six years looking for a cure for the nameless sickness eating me up. If I believed there was one out there, I would keep searching. But there isn’t, so I’ve come back home, where my past and present tangle. Come home to live . . . and to die.

But my father insists I meet Kin. He’s a healer, and determined to help, even though I’m not so hopeful anymore. But Kin isn’t what I expected, in any way. He sees me, not my illness. He reminds me of what it’s like to be alive. And I can’t help falling for him, even though I know it isn’t fair to either of us.

Kin thinks he has the cure I’ve been looking for, but it’s a cure that will change everything: me, my life, my heart. If I refuse, I could lose Kin. But if I take it, I might lose myself.

Luca is half human, half fey.  He is very sick and has been for quite some time.  No one that he’s seen can figure out what is wrong with him.  He’s convinced that the fey half of him is poisoning his human half.  He doesn’t know how long he has to live so when he meets the healer, Kin, it’s a mixed blessing.  He loves that he falls for him but he hates that he won’t be able to live a full lifetime with him.

Kin didn’t expect to like Luca when he told Luca’s father that he would check him out to see if he could heal him.  He was very wrong about that and almost immediately fell for the man.  The connection was obvious from minute one so he’s determined to find a solution that will keep Luca alive.

Kin tells Luca that he thinks he might have found a cure.  It’s really a legend about his people, the ningyo (they are water people/fey and have scales).  The legend says that if you eat one of a ningyo’s scales then you will be immortal.  Now, Luca wants to find a cure and live a long, full, happy life but he’s not sure that he’s willing to become immortal.  Kin’s not sure that the scale will work but if it does, what will that mean for Luca? Is he willing to take the chance?

This was such a good but sad story.  It was a very evenly paced story – nothing too, too exciting happens during the course of the book, but almost from the start I was intrigued by Luca and Kin and couldn’t put the book down.

Luca had been gone for six years traveling all over the world trying to find a cure and also living.  He had finally decided that he needed to be back home with those he loved because he realized there is no cure to what he has.  While he was once close with his sister, Saben, who is wholly fey, they are now near strangers.  Luca hadn’t contacted anyone in the time he was gone hoping that they would forget about him as he knew he wasn’t long for this world.  That kind of shot him in the foot and the strain it put on the relationship with his sister was a big one.  I loved watching Saben and Luca kind of dance around each other at first and then finally start to get to know one another again.  You could tell that they loved each other but there was a lot of hurt on Saben’s side as she had looked up to him and he left her.  She had felt abandoned.  Luca didn’t really know how to cross the divide but they managed it by the end of the book  and I felt they had reached a point that they could both be happy with.

The main part of the story was the relationship with Luca and Kin.  It definitely wasn’t a typical romance as it happened very quickly but it was still really good and very emotional.  The decision that Luca had to make about the scale really effected everyone.  Kin, of course, didn’t want to lose Luca.  Luca didn’t want to lose Kin either but he wasn’t sure that he could live forever and be a happy person.  That thought, however, brought him back to the fact that he thought he’d do anything to find a cure and now here it is staring at him in the face and he wasn’t sure he wanted it.  I can’t say I blamed Luca for his indecision.  I’m not sure I’d want to live forever.  I loved the tension that this brought to the relationship – it was written in a really great way. I also loved the way they talked things out in the end and loved each other enough to respect Luca’s decision.

The story was an emotional rollercoaster that had me turning page after page.  I’m not a huge fan of first person POV as we don’t get to read everyone’s thoughts and only get things from one angle, but I thought the author did a great job conveying Kin’s POV through Luca.  I definitely recommend this book but I’d say only read it when you truly want an emotional read.   It’s a very good book but it’s not a light and airy story.

Rating: 4 out of 5

 

*While this story invovles a few Fey people I wouldn’t consider this a paranormal romance.

four-stars

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