Author: Julie Anne Long

Review: Angel in a Devil’s Arms by Julie Anne Long

Posted October 30, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: Angel in a Devil’s Arms by Julie Anne LongReviewer: Holly
Angel in a Devil's Arms by Julie Anne Long
Series: The Palace of Rogues #2
Also in this series: Lady Derring Takes a Lover
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: October 29, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 368
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Historical Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 Historical Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

From USA Today bestselling author Julie Anne Long comes the second book in an exciting new historical romance series, the first since her beloved Pennyroyal Green series.

He has devil's blood in his veins. At least, that's always been the legend. How else could the Duke of Brexford's notorious bastard son return from the dead? The brutal decade since Lucien Durand, Lord Bolt, allegedly drowned in the Thames forged him into a man who always gets what—and who—he wants. And what he wants is vengeance for his stolen birthright...and one wild night in Angelique Breedlove's bed.

Angelique recognizes heartbreak when the enigmatic Lord Bolt walks into The Grand Palace on the Thames, and not even his devastating charm can tempt her to risk her own ever again. One scorching kiss drives home the danger.

But in the space between them springs a trust that feels anything but safe. And the passion—explosive, consuming—drives Lucien to his knees. Now his whole life depends on proving his love to a woman who doesn't believe in it...because his true birthright, he now knows, is guardian of Angelique Breedlove's heart.

Angel in a Devil’s Arms is the second book in The Palace of Rogues series by Julie Anne Long. I adored book one, Lady Derring Takes a Lover, and couldn’t wait for this next installment.

Angelique Breedlove has opened a boarding house with her close friend, Mrs. Delilah Hardy, the former Lady Derring. For the first time in her life, she feels safe and settled. That comes to an end when a mysterious boarder who let a room through an agent shows up. He’s handsome, devilish and as far from safe as Angelique can get. Yet she can’t seem to keep herself away from him…

Lucien Durand, Lord Bolt, is the bastard son of the Duke of Brexford. He was hellbent on raising cane until the night he had an “unfortunate accident” and got thrown into the Thames. He’s fairly certain his father’s wife is responsible, and he’s come back to prove it. The years away have matured him and given him new perspective, but he’s determined to get his revenge. Falling for the lovely Angelique is not part of his plans, but he can no more stop himself than a moth can stay away from a flame. She’s bold, witty and damn near perfect for him…if only she’d realize that.

I haven’t had a lot of dedicated reading time lately, so it took me almost a week to finish this book. I really enjoyed the first half, which I read in a single day.

The first half, where Lucien and Angelique are coming to know one another, trading barbs and learning each other’s secrets, is lovely. I truly enjoyed their banter and how they couldn’t seem to stay away from each other.

“If you could help us understand why you’ve chosen to . . .” she paused ostentatiously “. . . favor . . . our establishment with your resurrection? And what are your plans for the future?”

Oh, well done, Mrs. Breedlove, he thought. He had a weakness for a good, irresistibly subtle piss-taking.

Angelique has had many misfortunes in the love department, and she isn’t keen to try again. While she can’t deny her attraction to Lucien, she knows nothing can come of an affair. While Lucien works to change her mind, he also has to deal with his own affairs – his anger and resentment at his father and step-mother, his plans for revenge, etc. I though both characters were well drawn and I easily connected with both. Neither was afraid to hit the other with hard truths, and I loved how honest they were with one another.

She turned and had taken two steps when his voice rose. “Angelique.” She stopped. And turned. “Is it something about me? Or do you feel as though you can treat all men as though what we feel is of no consequence?”

The second half wasn’t as good, but that may be a result of me reading it in fits and starts. I wasn’t as emotionally involved as I might have otherwise been. The major confrontation between the two, as well as the smaller conflicts, didn’t have the same punch those of the first novel did.

Still, I enjoyed the underlying message of women empowerment and truly love the relationship between Angelique and Delilah. Their friendship remains my favorite part of this series. The books are well done and I enjoy the romances, but they’re worth reading simply for Delilah and Angelique.

“And he wants to open a gaming hell . What manner of pastime is that for a grown man?”

“A lucrative one, I should imagine,” Delilah said practically.

Angelique went mute in astonishment. “Do you see?” she said darkly after a moment. “Usually I’m the one who says things like that. And then you exclaim ‘Angelique!’ in shock, and I laugh, and you learn. He’s already upsetting the natural order of things.”

Parts of the story were a bit too neatly done, but I can’t deny I enjoyed spending time at The Grand Palace on the Thames.

And yet, for a mad, mad moment, if time had stopped and left him sitting here forever, watching her knit, he might not have objected.

Full of angst, romance and a beautiful friendship between two unlikely women, Angel in a Devil’s Arms doesn’t disappoint.

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Palace of Rogues

four-stars


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Review: Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne Long

Posted April 30, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne LongReviewer: Holly
Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne Long
Narrator: Justine Eyre
Series: The Palace of Rogues #1
Also in this series: Angel in a Devil's Arms
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: February 26, 2019
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 373
Length: 9 hours and 13 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Historical Challenge, Holly's 2019 Historical Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
five-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

A mistress. A mountain of debt. A mysterious wreck of a building.

Delilah Swanpoole, Countess of Derring, learns the hard way that her husband, “Dear Dull Derring,” is a lot more interesting—and perfidious—dead than alive. It’s a devil of an inheritance, but in the grand ruins of the one building Derring left her, are the seeds of her liberation. And she vows never again to place herself at the mercy of a man.

But battle-hardened Captain Tristan Hardy is nothing if not merciless. When the charismatic naval hero tracks a notorious smuggler to a London boarding house known as the Rogue’s Palace, seducing the beautiful, blue-blooded proprietress to get his man seems like a small sacrifice.

They both believe love is a myth. But a desire beyond reason threatens to destroy the armor around their hearts. Now a shattering decision looms: Will Tristan betray his own code of honor…or choose a love that might be the truest thing he’s ever known?

Lady Derring Takes a Lover is the first book in Julie Anne Long’s Palace of Rogues series. I’ve been waiting years for JAL to return to historicals and y’all, I am not disappointed. This book was everything I needed it to be.

When Delilah Swanpool, the Countess of Derring’s husband unexpectedly dies, she’s left completely destitute. Even the gloves she’s wearing were bought on credit and not paid for. The only thing she’s left with is a building on the docks. With help from a most unlikely source, she decides to turn it into a boarding house. A respectable place where guests feel like family.

Captain Tristan Hardy is hunting for a smuggling ring at the King’s request. He’s ready to retire as the King’s man and he’s having a ship built, but he has to finish this job first. When signs point to Lady Derring’s late husband as a player in the smuggling ring, he decides to investigate. He’s sure The Palace of Rogues – newly renamed The Grand Palace on the Thames – is somehow involved, but he isn’t sure if the lovely new proprietors are smugglers or not. He takes a room to investigate and finds himself oddly smitten with Lady Derring herself.

I absolutely adored the unlikely friendship between Delilah and Angelique. I cannot say enough about the two of them forming a partnership and how empowering that was. I loved the romance, but these ladies 100% made the book for me. Delilah’s personal growth and the way her friendship grows with Angelique was also lovely to read about.

Tristan and Delilah had boatloads of chemistry, and I loved their wit and banter. Their connection came through as strong and special.

I’ll be honest, as much as I loved the romance, the book could have focused solely on Delilah and Angelique and I’d have been happy.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Palace of Rogues

five-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne Long

Posted March 10, 2019 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 6 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

I know I’ve said it before, but I am so glad Julie Anne Long is returning to historicals. Lady Derring Takes a Lover is the start of a new series and I’m so thrilled to be able to share an excerpt with you today.

Sunday Spotlight: Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne LongLady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne Long
Series: The Palace of Rogues #1
Also in this series: Lady Derring Takes a Lover , Angel in a Devil's Arms
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: February 26, 2019
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 373
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: five-stars

A mistress. A mountain of debt. A mysterious wreck of a building.

Delilah Swanpoole, Countess of Derring, learns the hard way that her husband, “Dear Dull Derring,” is a lot more interesting—and perfidious—dead than alive. It’s a devil of an inheritance, but in the grand ruins of the one building Derring left her, are the seeds of her liberation. And she vows never again to place herself at the mercy of a man.

But battle-hardened Captain Tristan Hardy is nothing if not merciless. When the charismatic naval hero tracks a notorious smuggler to a London boarding house known as the Rogue’s Palace, seducing the beautiful, blue-blooded proprietress to get his man seems like a small sacrifice.

They both believe love is a myth. But a desire beyond reason threatens to destroy the armor around their hearts. Now a shattering decision looms: Will Tristan betray his own code of honor…or choose a love that might be the truest thing he’s ever known?

Order the Book:

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Excerpt

“Do you snore, Captain Hardy?” she said softly.

She saw the breath leave him. His gray eyes flared to black.

It was the most thrilling, vixenish thing she’d ever done, that subtle question, which was born of real curiosity. But she knew immediately that she was quite in over her head.

She pivoted to leave, and swiftly.

She’d taken two steps when he said, his voice raised only a little, “Lady Derring . . . something puzzles me.”

She halted. Closed her eyes.

Took a shuddering breath for courage.

Turned back to him. From the relatively safe distance of three feet, she said, “Surely not. We’ve established you know everything.”

His smile was small and patient. “You seem to excel at so very much here at The Grand Palace on the Thames. Yet you can’t seem to disguise how much you want me.”

One of the things Tristan excelled at was ambush. Her eyes grew enormous as his words sank in.

She looked both stricken and resigned, like a thief nabbed in the act.

Finally she drew in a breath and resettled her shoulders, as though she’d been ruffled by a stiff wind.

“Well, Captain Hardy, I must take issue with your assessment, on the grounds that I’m not trying to dis- guise it at all.”

Holy—!

His breath left him in a gust.

And as she turned again to walk away his hand shot out.

It was a primal reflex, but not the about-to-fall-off-a-cliff sort. It was somewhere in between a cat with prey or a miser with gold.

He got hold of her forearm.

He held her like that long enough to feel brutish. Three seconds all told, though something had gone wrong with time—it seemed to have stopped—so it was difficult to know.

She ought to slap him. He ought to let go.

Unless one counted lungs moving in and out, color flooding into cheeks, pupils flaring to shilling size, neither of them moved.

And then he slid his hand down, down, down along her arm to bracelet her wrist.

He felt her heart drumming against his fingertips.

At least as hard as his was beating. It was what he needed to know.

He tugged her up against his body.

It was nearly as much a collision as a kiss, at first, fierce and hard, as if they were both intent on punishing themselves and each other for wanting this.
This was a mistake. He’d known it was, and he could not stop himself from making it.

He fanned one hand against the small of her back; with the other he cradled her head, threaded his fingers up through her hair. And tugged her head back to take that kiss mercilessly, greedily, carnally, deeper. She moaned softly. And opened to him with a sweetness and hunger that stunned him, then made him nearly savage. Her hands rose to grip his shirt and she pulled him hard up against her. He slid his hands down beneath the curve of her arse and scooped her up hard against the swell of his cock and he felt her ribcage jump against him as her breath snagged.

And then she shifted to fit him more snugly between her legs and pulled him closer and lust threatened to tear the top from his head.
It was already out of hand.

The hallway spun, as if he’d staggered from an opium den.

Her finger remained curled into his shirt. Her body was still crushed to his, and he could feel her heart beating against his body, in counterpoint to his. He could rest his cheek on the top of her head if he wanted to. It was as seductive as those pillows in his room, a moment of infinite weakness.

God, how he wanted to. Which was why he didn’t.

“I’m not a gentleman,” he said gruffly. Finally.

He didn’t know why these should be the first words he said after he surfaced from the kiss. A warning, perhaps. Or an explanation. Not an apology.

He would never apologize for something that could not be helped.

She finally stepped back from him and drew in a breath that shuddered.

Her hands rose, and he thought for a moment she meant to cover her face. But she dropped them again. And she stared at him. Not censorious. Assessing, perhaps. Amazed, certainly. Her eyes were hazy and soft.

“No. You certainly aren’t,” she said finally. He said nothing.

She adjusted her shoulders, as though realigning herself with propriety.

And then she turned and went down the stairs without another word.

Albeit carefully, and a little more slowly, as though she were finding her footing in a world that was still shifting beneath her feet.

Palace of Rogues

Angel in the Devil’s Arms(October 2019)

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: March 2019

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Julie Anne Long

Julie Anne Long originally set out to be a rock star when she grew up, and she has the guitars and the questionable wardrobe stuffed in the back of her closet t prove it. When playing to indifferent crowds at midnight in dank clubs lost its, ahem, charm, she realized she could incorporate all of the best things about being in a band—namely, drama, passion and men with unruly hair—into novels, while at the same time indulging her love of history and research. So she made the move from guitar to keyboard (the computer variety) and embarked on a considerably more civilized, if not much more peaceful, career as a novelist.

Julie lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with a fat orange cat. (Little known fact: they issue you a cat the minute you become a romance novelist.)


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Guest Review: Hot in Hellcat Canyon by Julie Anne Long

Posted June 9, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Hot in Hellcat Canyon by Julie Anne LongReviewer: Tracy
Hot in Hellcat Canyon by Julie Anne Long
Series: Hellcat Canyon #1
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: May 31st 2016
Format: eARC
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Add It: Goodreads
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three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

A broken truck, a broken career, and a breakup heard around the world land superstar John Tennessee McCord in Hellcat Canyon. Legend has it that hearts come in two colors there: gold or black. And that you can find whatever you’re looking for, whether it’s love . . . or trouble. JT may have found both in waitress Britt Langley.

His looks might cause whiplash and weak knees, but Britt sees past JT’s rough edge and sexy drawl to a person a lot like her: in need of the kind of comfort best given hot and quick, with clothes off and the lights out.

Her wit is sharp but her eyes and heart—not to mention the rest of her—are soft, and JT is falling hard. But Britt has a secret as dark as the hills, and JT’s past is poised to invade their present. It’s up to the people of Hellcat Canyon to help make sure their future includes a happily ever after.

J.T. McCord is an actor who is in Hellcat Canyon to kind of check things out as he’ll be filming in the area and wants to see the area and get a feel for the people.  He meets Britt when he eats in a local diner and they have an instant connection.  They start to see each other regularly but tell each other that it’s just a fling and not anything real, even though they’re both feeling the “real” of it.   When it comes time for J.T. to head out for a friends’ wedding will J.T. leave for good or realize that he can never leave Britt behind.

I have to admit that I started it and then put it down and went back to it a later date as I just wasn’t feeling it and that was a bit shocking as I’ve never done that with a Julie Anne Long book.  When I picked it back up I got a bit more into it but honestly never really felt a great connection with the characters.  At some points I thought that the conversations between J.T. and Britt would have been better in one of JAL’s historical romances but didn’t quite work in the contemporary setting.

Britt was a woman who had been hurt in the past and was telling herself she was just living her life but she hadn’t actually lived since moving to Hellcat Canyon.  Meeting J.T. changed all that but she still wasn’t able to admit to herself that what she was feeling was real. I understood her hesitancy as J.T. was a famous guy and she was just your average woman – not a celebrity.  I was happy that J.T. finally was able to get through Britt’s head that she was the one he wanted.

Overall the story was cute but I’m sorry to say not as good as I expected it to be.  It wasn’t, imho, on par with JAL’s historical novels.

Rating: 3/3.5 out of 5

three-stars


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Review: The Legend of Lyon Redmond by Julie Anne Long

Posted December 31, 2015 by Holly in Reviews | 6 Comments

Review: The Legend of Lyon Redmond by Julie Anne LongReviewer: Holly
The Legend of Lyon Redmond by Julie Anne Long
Series: Pennyroyal Green #11
Also in this series: Like No Other Lover, I Kissed an Earl, What I Did For a Duke with Bonus Material, How the Marquess Was Won, It Happened One Midnight

Publication Date: September 29th 2015
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

Bound by centuries of bad blood, England's two most powerful families maintain a veneer of civility . . . until the heir to the staggering Redmond fortune disappears, reviving rumors of an ancient curse: a Redmond and an Eversea are destined to fall disastrously in love once per generation.

An Enduring Legend

Rumor has it she broke Lyon Redmond's heart. But while many a man has since wooed the dazzling Olivia Eversea, none has ever won her—which is why jaws drop when she suddenly accepts a viscount's proposal. Now London waits with bated breath for the wedding of a decade . . . and wagers on the return of an heir.

An Eternal Love

It was instant and irresistible, forbidden . . . and unforgettable. And Lyon—now a driven, dangerous, infinitely devastating man—decides it's time for a reckoning. As the day of her wedding races toward them, Lyon and Olivia will decide whether their love is a curse destined to tear their families apart . . . or the stuff of which legends are made.

The Redmonds and Everseas have been rivals as far back as anyone can remember (it’s rumored one killed the other in 1605 over a stolen pig..or something…and that started the feud). When Lyon Redmond sees Olivia Eversea at a ball, he’s immediately draw to her, despite knowing his family’s history with hers. They can’t stay away from each other. ..until the night she betrayed him and forced him to leave.

For five years, Lyon hasn’t been seen nor heard from and Olivia decides it’s time to move on with her life, so she accepts the proposal of Viscount Lansdowne. She doesn’t love him…yet. But they have a strong affection for each other and she knows he’ll be easy. If she still isn’t quite over Lyon Redmond, well…no one has to know.

Lyon knows he and Olivia have unfinished business, so he engineers it so they have a week together. But this time he’s not going to bend to her. It’s time Olivia fought for him…for them.

I was worried this book wouldn’t live up to all the hype. Especially since their story was drug out over the course of the entire series. I’m happy to report I really enjoyed the book.

Lyon and Olivia’s story is told in alternating past and present chapters, so their story – both past and current – is revealed slowly. Their situation has never been black or white, but rather several shades of gray, some lovely and light, others dark and barren. Their love for one another came across easily, but both felt betrayed by the other, and letting go of those feelings was the true struggle.

Throughout the series, I’ve had the hardest time with Olivia. She seemed haughty and put on an air of being too good for others. That may not have been the case, but that’s what I took away from her actions in previous books. When we saw a bit of the situation from Lyon’s point of view in I Kissed An Earl, my negative feelings for Olivia solidified into outright dislike. Yet Olivia won me over and I was really pulling for her and Lyon. She ended up being a complex character who had many layers.

In the years since Lyon left, Olivia has lived in a suspended state, alternately praying for his return and cursing him for leaving. She finally realizes he isn’t coming back and decides to move forward with her life.

Which is, of course, when Lyon decides to kidnap her and take her aboard his ship. He’s spent his time away from Olivia alternately hating her and trying to become the man she expected him to be. But he can’t move on until they resolve what’s between them, and he doesn’t believe she can either. She nearly broke him when she sent him away from her the first time, but he realizes she’s worth fighting for..as long as she’s willing to fight as well.

At the heart of this story is Lyon’s determination to force Olivia to face her fears about them and the future.

“I believed you saw something fatal and irredeemable in me, and I quite simply couldn’t bear it, Olivia. Now I know that you were just a coward. It really wasn’t more complicated than that.”

 

Olivia could have been too much, but her quick acceptance of her part of the blame for their separation redeemed her.

All the rumors and legends were right.
She had broken his heart.
And in so doing, she had willfully, perhaps permanently, broken her own.
And everyone else’s who loved him.
All because she’d been too afraid to fight for him.

That’s not to say Lyon was completely blameless. When Olivia calls him out for leaving and not coming back, my heart nearly broke. For all her outward dismissal of his absence, her sense of abandonment and feelings of betrayal were almost palpable.

For all that, I believe their breakup and subsequent separation allowed them both to grow into the people they needed to be for their relationship to truly work. Both needed to grow up a bit, and accept their faults as well as develop their potential. Lyon especially needed to be out from under his father’s thumb.

I did become frustrated with Olivia at the end. I’m not sure why it took her so long – or, more to the point, why she let it go as far as it did – before she ceded to the inevitable. I was literally cursing her at the end. Yet I can’t deny the final resolution worked for me in a big way.

The epilogue was strange and I’m not quite sure how to feel about it. Is it the start of something new, or just a way for the author to end the series? I’ll be interested to see what happens with that.

This was a lovely tale, both heart-wrenching and exciting. Long excels at writing complex, beautiful stories and The Legend of Lyon Redmond was no exception. Despite their trials and tribulations, their story could have ended in no other way.

At the quiet heart of the storm of sparks around them was a strange, peaceful certainty. This person was meant for me.

4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars


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