Tag: 4.5 Reviews

Review: If I Only Had a Duke by Lenora Bell

Posted May 19, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: If I Only Had a Duke by Lenora BellReviewer: Rowena
If I Only Had a Duke by Lenora Bell
Series: The Disgraceful Dukes #2
Also in this series: How the Duke Was Won, Blame It on the Duke, How the Duke was won
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: August 30th, 2016
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 384
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four-half-stars

After three failed seasons and a disastrous jilting, Lady Dorothea Beaumont has had more than enough of her family’s scheming. She won’t domesticate a duke, entangle an earl, or vie for a viscount. She will quietly exit to her aunt’s Irish estate for a life of blissful freedom. Until an arrogant, sinfully handsome duke singles her out for a waltz, making Thea the most popular belle of the season.

The duke ruined her plans and he’ll just have to fix them.

Garrett, Duke of Osborne, is far too heartless for debutantes or marriage—he uses dalliances and public spectacle to distract from his real purpose: finding the man who destroyed his family. When his search leads to Ireland, the last thing he needs is the determined, achingly innocent Thea, who arrives in the dead of night demanding he escort her to her aunt. His foolish agreement may prove his undoing. The road to the Emerald Isle is fraught with unforeseen dangers, but the greatest peril of all might just be discovering that he has a heart . . . and he’s losing it to Thea.

I was mighty curious about this book because it featured the drunken friend of the hero from the first book and the woman that the heroine of the first book pretended to be. I didn’t know what to expect since Dorothea had such a small part in How the Duke was Won and while I knew that I was going to love Dalton, I wasn’t prepared for how much I was going to love him.

I loved him a lot.

So this book follows James’ friend, the Duke of Osborne as he finds his happily ever after with the real Lady Dorothea Beaumont. You see, Garrett (the guy we know as Dalton from How the Duke was Won) knows all about who Lady Dorothea is. He knows that with her mother’s help, she tried to trick his friend into marrying her and he’s not a fan of hers at all. Lady Dorothea has plans that don’t include snatching up a titled gentleman for husband. She wants to retire to her Aunt’s estate in Ireland and all she has to do is get through one more season without a marriage proposal. Everything was going swimmingly until he danced with her. After that waltz, Dorothea was whisked out of the shadows and into the spotlight. She’s got gentlemen callers and while her mother is thrilled at her instant rise to popularity, Dorothea is pissed. All of her plans to retire to Ireland are in jeopardy and it’s all Osborne’s fault. Dorothea’s mind is made up and Osborne is going to be the one to fix the pickle she’s found herself in. He is going to escort her to her Aunt’s estate pronto.

Osborne thought he was doing the woman a favor. She wasn’t going to get anywhere sitting in the shadows of every ballroom. She wasn’t going to find a husband and if he got a little thrill out of embarrassing her, he figures that’s what she gets for misleading his best friend. Nobody is more surprised than Osborne is when Dorothea shows up at his house and demands that he escorts her to Ireland. He doesn’t have time for a shrew dodging his every step and since he was already on his way to Ireland, Garrett finds himself taking Dorothea with him. He’s got plans and things to do and Dorothea is not included in any of that but over the course of the trip, plans change and Dorothea becomes a lot more important to him than he imagined.

What a fun book this turned out to be. I already loved Dalton before but I really enjoyed Dorothea’s character. The chemistry between Garrett and Dorothea was off the charts and their romance hit all of my love buttons so of course I was a happy camper.

Lenora Bell cemented a spot for herself on my auto buy author list with this book and I’m so glad that I finally took a chance on this new to me author. Her romances are charming, fun and her characters are colorful and full of life. This was a great story with fantastic dialogue and characters that wormed their way right into my heart and stayed. I definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a charming historical romance full of love and laughter.

Grade: 4.5 out uof 5

four-half-stars

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Retro Review: Craving Beauty by Nalini Singh

Posted May 3, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 6 Comments

Retro Review: Craving Beauty by Nalini SinghReviewer: Casee
Craving Beauty by Nalini Singh
Series: Zulheina #2
Published by Silhouette
Publication Date: July 1st 2005
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 184
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four-half-stars

Marc was dangerous to her in the way that only a strong, sexy male could be to a woman. Even knowing that, she'd agreed to marry him.

Hope blossomed in Hira's heart. Perhaps she'd married a man with whom it might be worth building a life. Her mother had worried that he was scarred, but the lines on his face did nothing to lessen his raw masculine appeal. If anything, they gave him an even more dangerous male air, enticing the feminine core of her to thoughts that shocked her.

What did a man's face matter anyway? She had no use for handsome men.

But for a man with a heart? For such a man...she might risk everything.

******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 October 5, 2007.

Harlequins are one of my favorite guilty pleasures. I love how I can pick up a book that is less than 200 pages long and be completely immersed in the story almost immediately.

Though I’m a huge Nalini Singh fan, this is only the 2nd series romance I’ve read by her. This book makes me want to run out and hunt down the rest of her OOP Silhouettes.

When Marc went to Zulheil on business, he never expected to return home w/ a foreign bride. From the first moment he laid eyes on Hira, he was captivated not only by her flawless beauty, but also her smile. When given a choice between being married and having her as his own or not having her at all, Marc did not hesitate.

Hira was used to being looked at as nothing more than a pretty face. When she first saw Marc, she hoped that he was different and would see her as the intelligent and capable woman that she was. Unfortunately that was not to be and Hira soon found herself married to Marc and leaving the only home she’d ever known.

It sounds like a simple enough plot, no? In a way, it was. There was no BIG MISUNDERSTANDING in this book. Both Hira and Marc agreed to the marriage for reasons that were not at first clear to them. Marc soon learns that his wife is far from the icy beauty he first assumed her to be. However, having been burned once by a beautiful woman, Marc has no desire to repeat the experience. Under Marc’s loving care (doesn’t that sound all Harlequin-ey?), Hira realizes that not all men are controlling tyrants like her father. Given freedom to pursue her own desires, Hira finds herself falling in love with her husband more as each day passes.

As in every romance novel, there is conflict between the characters. These are two very strong willed people who have been hurt in the past. Marc by a woman and Hira by watching how her father treated her mother. This is a classic story of the Beast trying to tame his Beauty, soon learning that taming is the last thing he wants of his wife. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone that can find it.

4.5 out of 5.

four-half-stars

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Retro Review: Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh

Posted April 5, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 9 Comments

Retro Review: Angels’ Blood by Nalini SinghReviewer: Holly
Angels' Blood by Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter #1
Also in this series: Archangel's Kiss, Archangel's Consort, Archangel's Storm, Archangel's Legion, Archangel's Legion, Archangel's Shadows, Archangel's Shadows, Angels' Blood, Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart (Guild Hunter, #9), Archangel's Kiss (Guild Hunter, #2)
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: March 3rd 2009
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Paranormal, General
Pages: 368
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four-half-stars

FIRST IN THE GUILD HUNTER SERIES from “a major new talent” (CHRISTINE FEEHAN).
View our feature on Nalini Singh’s Angels' Blood.
Nalini Singh introduces readers to a world of beauty and bloodlust, where angels hold sway over vampires.

Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux is hired by the dangerously beautiful Archangel Raphael. But this time, it’s not a wayward vamp she has to track. It’s an archangel gone bad.
The job will put Elena in the midst of a killing spree like no other—and pull her to the razor’s edge of passion. Even if the hunt doesn’t destroy her, succumbing to Raphael’s seductive touch just may. For when archangels play, mortals break.

*****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 11, 2009.

As many of you know, I have an aversion to vampires. A big one. I kind of have a mental block in place when it comes to them, as a matter of fact. So I put off reading this for quite some time. I’m sorry for that now. What an amazing story. The world-building and characterizations were fabulous. Casee already reviewed this book here, so I’m not going to go into the plot too much.

Elena was strong and witty. I might want to be her when I grow up. I love that she was independent and strong, but not the point of stupidity. I understood her fierce need to be in control of her own life and appreciated the way she stuck to her personal values and morals. I love that her attraction to Raphael didn’t stop her from standing up for herself, or doing what she felt was right.

Is there anything better than seeing an (arch)angel fall? Raphael started out cold and harsh, but really melted as the story progressed. Even though he was obviously dangerous and his motives were murky I still adored him right from the beginning. I think Singh really did an excellent job of writing him so he was the perfect anti-hero; Dark and dangerous, but lovable in spite of that.

I think one of the best things about this was how subtle the changes in their feelings for each other were. It’s obvious from the beginning that Raphael is attracted to Elena. But that doesn’t really mean anything to us as the reader, because we know he thinks of her as a toy. Watching his feelings slowly morph and change into something more was truly wonderful to watch.

I enjoyed the storyline, too. It was a different take on an old theme (angels and vampires) and I was drawn in from the first page. I do have questions about the Archangels and the major conflict of this novel, but I have a feeling the answers won’t be revealed until later in the series. I’m reserving judgment for now.

This was a fresh and amazing start to a new series. Singh has proven herself to be a master storyteller already, and this novel just secures her status.

4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars

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Review: Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs

Posted March 20, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Silence Fallen by Patricia BriggsReviewer: Holly
Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson, #10) by Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson, #10
Also in this series: Night Broken, Shifting Shadows, Blood Bound, Fire Touched, Moon Called
Published by Ace Books
Publication Date: March 7th 2017
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 371
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four-half-stars

In the #1 New York Times bestselling Mercy Thompson novels, the coyote shapeshifter has found her voice in the werewolf pack. But when Mercy's bond with the pack and her mate is broken, she'll learn what it truly means to be alone...
Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe...
Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise...

Mercy runs to the local convenience store for some last minute baking items when she’s run off the road and kidnapped. She wakes alone, in Europe, with no way to contact the pack. Mercy is no stranger to saving herself, but she’s never been completely alone and cutoff from everyone she knows and loves.

When Adam discovers Mercy’s wrecked vehicle and can’t contact her through their mating bond or by more mundane means, he nearly loses it. Thankfully cooler heads prevail and the pack starts hunting for Mercy. Once they realize she’s been whisked away to Europe as some kind of power-play between the vampires, Adam is able to settle enough to make plans to retrieve her. Unfortunately, Mercy escapes before he’s able to get to her. But Adam trusts Mercy to take care of himself, so he continues on his diplomatic trip to see the Master of Milan.

In the meantime Mercy finds herself in Prague, dealing with a Golem and a not-quite-enemy werewolf alpha who grants her sanctuary, but seems to have a vampire problem himself.

More from Adam’s POV!!

We have to hunt, Adam whispered to the wild spirit who shared his body, the wild spirit he both despised and gloried in. We have to hunt, find Mercy, and destroy the one who took her from us. And teach them that Mercy is ours.
And inside him, the wolf paused, considering Adam’s argument. After a moment, the beast agreed.

One of the things I love best about this series is the progression of the relationship between Mercy and Adam. They’re a solid couple who rely on each other, but also trust one another enough that they don’t need to live in each other’s pockets. Now that things have settled down with Mercy and the pack, the strength of their relationship really shines through.

Briggs took us into Adam and another’s points-of-view, which was a nice change from the previous books. I feel like we got a better sense of Mercy for having seen her from an outside perspective (the books are generally told first person from Mercy’s point-of-view). This from Marsilia, Mistress of the local vampire seethe, especially stood out for me.

“It doesn’t do to underestimate Mercedes, Jacob, something that I had to learn, too. Did she give you the spiel she likes to bring out now and again, about how she’s mostly no more powerful than the average human? It is a most effective speech because I think she actually believes it.”

We learned quite a bit about Bran and Mercy in this book. It was good to get another perspective when it comes to some of the relationships Mercy has formed. We see more how Marsilia, Bran, and others view Mercy.

“Bran could not love Mercy more if she were his own daughter. He’s funny about family. The last person who hurt one of his children was his own mother … you do know the story of Beowulf?”

Although the tone of the series tends to be kind of dark, there’s some levity. I actually laughed out loud a few times.

“So,” he said softly, “where is your pet werewolf whose job it was … to keep Mercy here, I think you said?”
There was a pause, then the beautiful male vampire to his left said, a hint of amusement in his voice, “She was hit by a bus and is currently recovering.”
And just that easily, Adam’s equanimity was restored.
Adam nodded. “People who stand in the way of my mate’s ability to get herself out of trouble often feel like they were hit by buses. I think this might be the first time it is literally true, though.”

The story jumps around quite a bit and Briggs does a lot more head-hopping than usual, but it really worked. The story was gripping. I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next.

4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars

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Review: Dungeon Royale by Lexi Blake

Posted February 16, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

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, A View to a Thrill
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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