Publisher: Avon

Review: Cold Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas

Posted April 11, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Cold Hearted Rake by Lisa KleypasReviewer: Rowena
Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Ravenels #1
Also in this series: Devil in Spring
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: October 27th, 2015
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 419
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four-stars

A twist of fate...

Devon Ravenel, London's most wickedly charming rake, has just inherited an earldom. But his powerful new rank in society comes with unwanted responsibilities... and more than a few surprises. His estate is saddled with debt, and the late earl's three innocent sisters are still occupying the house... along with Kathleen, Lady Trenear, a beautiful young widow whose sharp wit and determination are a match for Devon's own.

A clash of wills...

Kathleen knows better than to trust a ruthless scoundrel like Devon. But the fiery attraction between them is impossible to deny—and from the first moment Devon holds her in his arms, he vows to do whatever it takes to possess her. As Kathleen finds herself yielding to his skillfully erotic seduction, only one question remains:

Can she keep from surrendering her heart to the most dangerous man she's ever known?

Cold Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas is the first book in the Ravenels series. It’s a book that I’ve been meaning to read but never got around to until now. What a great historical romance this book turned out to be. I shouldn’t have doubted Kleypas’ ability to entertain me but it’s been so long since I’ve read one of her historicals and I forgot how great she is at writing entertaining characters who make me laugh, happy sigh and love to death.

Devon Ravenel has just inherited an earldom from a cousin he despised. So he’s stuck with a title he doesn’t want, estates that are falling down around their ears and with each passing day, he’s getting responsibilities that he hates. He also inherited his cousin’s widow and three younger sisters. He has no idea what to do about any of it and he doesn’t want to figure it out.

Kathleen’s husband is dead and the new earl that took over his title is moving in and making changes. She needs him to fix things around the estate but he plans on selling the place and she has to figure out her next move…with her three young sisters in laws in tow.

Devon was a solid hero that came full circle. He was a complete douche in the beginning but the more invested he became in Ravenel House and the title that he inherited from his bastard cousin. I thought he was a good brother, and then a good cousin to Ladies Pandora, Cassandra and Helen. He was also really good to his bastard cousin’s wife, Kathleen. Kathleen nagged him into caring and he started caring about more than his family, his responsibilities and everything around him. He started caring the most about Kathleen and he wanted her with a fierceness that surprised him. I really enjoyed seeing him come into his own. He was older and he was overwhelmed but he didn’t shy away from his new life and I loved him for that.

Kathleen started off with such promise. I did love how much she adored and wanted to protect her late husband’s sisters. They were important to her and she cared about them so she took on the responsibility of making sure that they were taken care of in their brother’s absence. I also really liked her form of nagging the present earl into doing his duties.

The romance between Devon and Kathleen steamed up the book. I enjoyed getting to know them both. The slow progress of their relationship over the course of the book was interesting and it was fun. It was classic Kleypas historical romance and I enjoyed the heck out of it. The characters weren’t perfect but they didn’t need to be. I loved how flawed they were, how much color they brought to the story. I enjoyed getting to know Devon and Kathleen, West and the sisters. They were all such great characters and I couldn’t start the next book fast enough. This was an enjoyable book and a fabulous start to a series. I recommend.

4 out of 5

four-stars

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Guest Review: Immortal Unchained by Lynsay Sands

Posted March 28, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Immortal Unchained by Lynsay SandsReviewer: Tracy
Immortal Unchained by Lynsay Sands
Series: Argeneau #25
Also in this series: Immortal Ever After, Runaway Vampire, Immortal Nights
Published by Avon
Publication Date: March 28th 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 400
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four-stars

Ever since Domitian Argenis recognized Sarita as his life mate, he’s been waiting for the perfect moment to claim her. Those fantasies did not include him being chained to a table in a secret lab or both of them being held hostage by a mad scientist. Somehow, they have to escape…

Sarita has seen some crazy things as a cop, but nothing to rival Domitian. A vampire? Seriously? But his healing ability, incredible powers, and their mind-blowing physical connection—none of it should be possible, yet her body knows differently. Now, not only do they have to save each other, but other innocent lives are at stake. Failure is not an option, for Sarita intends that Domitian show her exactly what an eternity of pleasure feels like…

Domitian is an Immortal but also a chef.  He takes a job with Dr. Dressler thinking that he can get onto the doctor’s island and find all the Immortal’s who have gone missing.  Unfortunately he ends up on a small island with his life mate, Sarita.

Sarita’s grandmother has worked for Dr. Dressler for many, many years.  When the doctor calls and tells her that her grandmother has taken a fall she heads straight from Canada to Venezuela to see her grandmother.  After hanging out at Dressler’s house for a few days thinking he’s off-island she finds out he’s on-island and in his labs.  She heads into the labs and finds a what looks like a corpse cut in half.  When Dressler comes in and brings the man back to life she’s shocked but doesn’t have time to voice this as she’s then sedated.  She too wakes up on a small island with a man chained to a table who is supposedly her life mate.

While Domitian tries to woo Sarita they both try to find a way off the island.  They both know that Dressler wants them for something but they can’t figure out what it is.  When they finally do make it to the doctor’s island once again they must try to find a way to save the kidnapped immortals, the innocents who are on the island along with each other.

I can’t believe this is book 25 in the Argeneau series!  How Sands keeps coming up with good stories is amazing to me.  This one was definitely a keeper.  I really liked both the romance portion of the book as well as the bit of mystery that was involved with Dressler and what he was doing with the Immortals and others on the island.

Sarita was a bit of a stubborn woman but she was tough cop so I didn’t hold it against her.  She had been told that Domitian had known she was his life mate for 15 years and had been having her followed so she was a little leery of him.  When he explained about that she was much more open.  I liked how they talked about themselves and got to know each other.  Of course they’d had sex by that time but…ok, it worked.  The thing that really didn’t work for me was the sex.  Not that the description of the sex was bad just that I wasn’t feeling the attraction between the pair at that time and that’s what felt off about it.  They didn’t seem like two people who would jump into it like that but yet they did.  I would have loved to have seen that the author made them wait, but that’s me. 🙂

The issues with the Island and the horrific things that Dressler was doing on it were written really well. Dressler was a monster and Sands didn’t sugar coat anything for us – she went for it and I liked that.  We really needed to see what a bastard the man was to appreciate all the horrible things he’d done.

Overall it was a good addition to the series and a good PNR in general.  I’m not sure where the series is headed next but wherever it goes I’m looking forward to it.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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Retro Review: Mr. Cavendish, I Presume by Julia Quinn

Posted March 22, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 19 Comments

Retro Review: Mr. Cavendish, I Presume by Julia QuinnReviewer: Rowena
Mr. Cavendish, I Presume by Julia Quinn
Series: Two Dukes of Wyndham #2
Published by Avon
Publication Date: September 30th 2008
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 370
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four-half-stars

THERE WENT THE BRIDE ...
Amelia Willoughby has been engaged to the Duke of Wyndham for as long as she can remember. Literally. A mere six months old when the contracts were signed, she has spent the rest of her life waiting. And waiting. And waiting ... for Thomas Cavendish, the oh-so-lofty duke, to finally get around to marrying her. But as she watches him from afar, she has a sneaking suspicion that he never thinks about her at all ...
It's true. He doesn't. Thomas rather likes having a fiancee --- all the better to keep the husband-hunters at bay --- and he does intend to marry her ... eventually. But just when he begins to realize that his bride might be something more than convenient, Thomas's world is rocked by the arrival of his long-lost cousin, who may or may not be the true Duke of Wyndham. And if Thomas is not the duke, then he's not engaged to Amelia. Which is the cruelest joke of all, because this arrogant and illustrious duke has made the mistake of falling in love ... with his own fiancee!

*****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.

This review was originally posted on September 26, 2008.

This is the second book in the Two Dukes of Wyndham series. The first story follows the long lost son of John Cavendish, Jack Audley. John died before he could become the Duke, leaving his younger brother the Duke. Years later, John’s son, Jack tries to rob the Dowager Duchess of Wyndham who recognizes him as her grandson. John was the Dowager Duchess’ favorite son so she did everything she could to make sure that Jack became the true duke of Wyndham. The first book follows Jack and the Dowager Duchess’ ladiesmaid Grace while this book follows the other Duke, the acting Duke of Wyndham, Thomas Cavendish.

Thomas was made the Duke when he was very young and so being the Duke of Wyndham was all he knew, it was all that he was. So then this new guys comes in and might be the true Duke of Wyndham which means that everything he knows and everything he is will be stripped from him and in this book, we find out how he deals with it. The first book shows us Jack’s point of view. We see the story unfold and we’re in one duke’s head. This story tells us the same exact story, only in the other’s duke’s head.

When I was reading the first book, I often wondered what Thomas was thinking, why he did certain things he did. Reading the first book with all of these questions about Thomas made for some frustration moments but all of my questions were answered in this book and even though it was the exact same story, I really enjoyed it.

I wasn’t a big fan of Thomas in the first book. I liked him well enough but for me, it was all about Jack. The same could be said for Amelia. I wasn’t a big fan of hers, for me it was all about Grace but I can say with all certainty that I’m a fan of both of theirs now.

I really enjoyed both of their characters. In the first book, we don’t get to see much of what they’re thinking, what they’re feeling so it was really easy for me to overlook them but in this book, I got to know them, I grew to like them and I’m so glad to have the whole story in front of me. My nosy self is very happy right now. =)

I really enjoyed Thomas’ character. He was such a stand up guy, a very honorable man and I found myself growing to like him more and more. To have everything he was and everything he lived for stripped away from him by a long lost family member that he never knew existed had to have hit him like a freight train but he handled himself in such a way that blew my mind. He could have gone along with Jack but because of the kind of man he was, he didn’t. He almost lost the woman that he had come to love by giving up the title but he did what was needed to be done and then he made sure that Jack would honor his word, so that Amelia didn’t have to worry about her future.

So sweet.

The only thing I didn’t quite understand was why he waited so long to marry Amelia but whatever, he fell in love with her and that’s all that matters to me.

Amelia’s character kinda got on my nerves in the first book but I couldn’t fault her for being the way she was, she was engaged to be married and her fiance’ knew nothing about her. He didn’t care to get to know her and he completely ignored her. He kept saying that he would marry her but year after year after year she stayed unmarried. Having gotten to know her a lot more in this book, it made me like her so much more than I thought I would. I loved the way that she was with her sisters and I loved the way that she was with Grace and then how she stood by Thomas, I really liked that. She was a great heroine and the perfect match for Thomas.

This book was like getting the other pieces of the puzzle and putting them in place. Everything made sense and everything was made whole. It was a great story with great characters and I liked how even though I hecka loved Jack and Grace and loved seeing them again, I loved how JQ didn’t make them so great in this book that they took away from Thomas and Amelia. It was the perfect mixture of everything I loved about both couples and I really enjoyed it.

I still hated the grandmother, she was still a horrid grandmother and that didn’t change in this book, I didn’t care for Amelia’s father but they didn’t matter in the big scheme of things. What mattered was that Thomas was a great hero and Amelia turned out to be a fantastic heroines. I loved the scene at the end when Grace and Amelia, pissed as all hell start swapping curses, that was too funny. I really enjoyed this book and thought it was a great sequel.

Fans of JQ should definitely read this, it’s a good one.

four-half-stars

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Review: Seven Minutes in Heaven by Eloisa James

Posted February 8, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Seven Minutes in Heaven by Eloisa JamesReviewer: Rowena
Seven Minutes in Heaven by Eloisa James
Series: Desperate Duchesses by the Numbers #3
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: January 31st 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 384
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four-stars

All of Eugenia Snowe’s problems start when Edward Reeve, an arrogant bastard son of an earl, bursts into her registry office. He wants a governess and he wants her. She gives him the governess he demands, but she refuses to give herself.

No question that Eugenia enjoys crossing wits with the brilliant inventor, but she will never tarnish her reputation with an affaire, particularly with a man who doesn’t realize she’s a lady!

She holds her ground…until he kidnaps her.

Ward will stop at nothing to convince Eugenia that they’re meant to be together. He promises her heaven.

She gives him seven minutes.

Seven Minutes in Heaven is the third book in the Desperate Duchesses by the Numbers series by Eloisa James and it was a romance that was so easy to fall into and love.

Mrs. Eugenia Snow is a widow who owns a registry. That registry pairs up governesses with families that need good governesses. She’s good at her job but when Edward Reeve, the bastard son of an earl comes to her office and kind of bulldozes his way into her life, she’s taken by surprise. She knows that she’s lucky to have found love once before so she wasn’t expecting Ward. She wasn’t expecting to fall in love with not only Ward but with his young siblings.

Ward is desperate. He needs to find a governess for his two young siblings that he just found out about before their grandmother gets her way and takes them away from him. These two young children have been through a lot in their short lives and they need someone in their corner. They need stability and they need someone to take care of them. Ward isn’t the best choice for them but they’re his to take care of and he doesn’t care what he has to do to keep them away from their grandmother, he was going to fight to keep them and that is why he needs Mrs. Snow so much. He needs her to send one of her governesses to teach his siblings how to act, teach them life lessons and all the stuff they need to learn to prove that he’s a good choice as guardian.

When his siblings run off one more governess from Mrs. Snows Registry, Ward becomes even more desperate. He goes right off the crazy train and before we know what’s what, Mrs. Snow herself is staying at his place, acting as governess to his siblings and things are turning around. She’s good with kids and even though his siblings grew up in a colorful environment, thanks to their mother’s colorful life (his mother ran away from the aristocracy with a much younger man causing a giant scandal), if he has any prayer of keeping his siblings, he has to live a life on the up and up. It doesn’t matter that he’s the only person that wants the best for his brother and sister. It doesn’t matter that they want to live with him. What matters is the case coming up. What matters is sacrificing his own happiness for them.

Ward’s happiness is wrapped up in Eugenia Snow. Their relationship has grown by heaps and bounds ever since she came to stay with them. In such a short amount of time, she’s become important to him and the same can be said for her. The chemistry between them was sweet and it was strong but it doesn’t last as long as I was hoping because Ward doesn’t know who Eugenia is. He’s the bastard child of an earl so it made sense to me that he wouldn’t know who she is. How connected she is. He gave her up because he felt he had to and my heart hurt for the both of them.

Eugenia’s love for Ward and the kids really shines in this book. The way that she stood up for herself when she finds out why Ward turns her away. The way that she stood firm in what she thought was right, really worked for me. Eloisa James wrote a wonderfully romantic historical romance that hit me in the feels, made me laugh, sigh and cry a little bit. This book was great and I’m so glad that I read it.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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Review: Fury on Fire by Sophie Jordan

Posted February 7, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Fury on Fire by Sophie JordanReviewer: Rowena
Fury on Fire by Sophie Jordan
Series: Devil's Rock #3
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: January 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 368
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three-stars

When you live next door to the big bad wolf . . .

After years in prison, North Callaghan is finally free. But the demons haunting him still make him feel like a caged beast. He loses himself in work and hard living, coming up for air only to bed any willing woman to cross his path. So when his new neighbor snares his interest, he decides to add another notch to his bedpost. The only problem? Faith Walters is a white picket fence kind of girl.

Prepare to be devoured.

Faith’s new neighbor is the rudest man alive. He’d rather grunt at her than speak and he takes her “welcome-to-the-neighborhood” scones without a thank you. She knows she should run for the hills from the ex-con. If only he weren’t so smoldering sexy…if only the sounds of him with other women didn’t drift through their shared wall and fill her with longing…and if only he didn’t look at her like they were a collision waiting to happen.

Fury on Fire is the third book in the Devils Rock series and even though I enjoyed it, I think I’m done with this series (if there will be more books). This book follows North Callaghan, Knox’s (hero from the first book) little brother that was left behind in jail. North doesn’t hold anything against Knox, life isn’t fair sometimes and he gets it. Life wasn’t fair for their cousin Katie. Life wasn’t fair for a lot of people. He was in jail, paying for what he did to his cousin’s rapist.

North has been out of jail for about two years and he’s keeping his head down. He’s got a job that he doesn’t really care for but helps pay his bills. He’s got a side job that he likes more than the real job and he’s got a roof over his head that is all his. He’s got some hangups about what he’s seen, what he’s done in jail and he’s not real proud of any of it so he keeps to himself. He has the usual hook up and that’s it. All of that changes when he gets a new neighbor in the form of Faith Walters.

Faith is ready for her own space. She’s lived for most of her life with her family but she’s ready to have her own things. Her own space. The men in her family are pretty protective of her and since her father is the old sheriff of their small town and her brother is the current sheriff of the same small town, it’s not a surprise. Everything was going great in her new house until her next door neighbor has an overnight guest over and she is right up against the wall and hears everything. She’s not going to let that get to her though, or scare her off from her new house because for the first time in her life, she’s got her own place.

With each passing day, Faith and North circle each other. They have the normal neighbor gripes with each other. Faith thinks that North is a jerk because he’s shown her nothing but that and North thinks that she’s an interfering do-gooder. They circle each other because North is waiting for her to admit that she wants him just as much as he wants her. They both have their reasons for not going there but North doesn’t hide from the fact that he does want Faith. I liked that. I liked that Faith stood up for North when she needed to but the romance felt rushed between them.

I’m not sure what it was but I didn’t really get the romance. One minute they’re hating each other and then the next, it felt like they were automatically in love with each other. I’m not sure if it was because the story was so short or what but I didn’t buy that they fell in love so quickly. Still, it was enjoyable if a bit unbelievable but I felt the same way about the other two books in this series so that shouldn’t be surprising.

Fury on Fire is a solid, can’t believe that this would happen in real life romance with two characters that really got each other. It was an entertaining couple of hours, kind of fluffy but still decent.

Grade: 3 out of 5

three-stars

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