Tag: Avon

Guest Review: Her Night with the Duke by Diana Quincy

Posted October 12, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Her Night with the Duke by Diana QuincyReviewer: Tracy
Her Night with the Duke by Diana Quincy
Series: Clandestine Affairs #1
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: September 29, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars


Desire knows no reason...

When Lady Delilah Chambers finds herself stranded at a country inn on a rain-swept evening, she’s forced to fend off a group of ruffians with the help of a handsome gentleman. Irresistibly drawn to each other, Leela and the stranger spend one reckless night in each others’ arms—and then go their separate ways. But the very next day Leela receives the shock of her life when she meets the duke who is set on wedding her beloved stepdaughter.

When it finds two destined hearts...

One night isn’t enough with a woman as fierce, fiery, and brilliant as Leela. Elliot Townsend, Duke of Huntington, cannot believe his good fortune when their chance encounter leads to an unforgettable evening of passion. Yet Hunt’s luck runs out when he is introduced to his prospective mother-in-law. Dowagers aren’t supposed to look like this... 
Leela and Hunt are determined to keep each other at arm’s length, which should be easy enough for two intelligent adults with reputations to uphold. The problem is all logic is lost when it comes to a passion that refuses to be ignored.

Warning: This review contains small spoilers.

During a rainstorm both Leela and Elliot Townsend get stranded at a roadside inn. To save Leela from the unruly pub population, he offers to share his private parlor with her.  One thing leads to another and they end up spending a passionate night in the private parlor.  When Leela wakes up Elliot is gone but she can’t forget their wonderful night together.

Imagine Leela’s shock when she arrives at her former home (she a widowed Countess) and finds Elliot Townsend aka the Duke of Huntington there.  He’s there because he’s “almost” engaged to Leela’s 18 year old step-daughter.  Leela is completely taken with Hunt, but would do nothing to hurt her step-daughter, Tori, for any reason, so she makes every excuse to stay away from the duke.  When he infers that they should continue their affair, Leela declines and Hunt ends up asking Tori to marry him.

While Hunt is getting used to the idea of marrying Tori, she’s falling in love, but not with Hunt.  When their engagement ends, Leela is concerned for Hunt’s well-being and seeks him out.  He’s an ass to her, but they end up together. From there their relationship is off and on like a faucet, but eventually they get their HEA.

This book.  It was recommended as the next big thing, and supposedly very good.  Yeah, not my cuppa at all. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked Leela.  She was brave, strong, independent, loyal, and she definitely knew her own mind.  Hunt, on the other hand, was an ass.  I’m sure I can come up with much stronger adjectives, but I’ll leave it at that.  He ruined the book for me.

Leela is the daughter of a Marquess and was born and raised in England.  Her mother was Levantine, which makes Leela half Levantine.  Of course, people see her as a heathen even though she’s as English as anyone else.  She is a Countess by marriage, but people sometimes still treat her like a servant before they find out she’s a Lady.  She loves traveling and has even written a travelogue and had it published, with wonderful results. She was really a great character and quite steadfast in her beliefs and desire to continue traveling, continue writing and live life on her terms.

Hunt was a man who was determined to be as unlike his dissolute older brother as possible.  When his brother died he decided that he would avoid scandal at all costs and marry a quiet, biddable woman to be his wife.  After spending the night with Leela he decided that he wanted her no matter what.  He was disappointed when she said no and almost to spite her he got engaged to her step-daughter.  When the engagement ended, he was a complete jerk to Leela time and again.  He made me so mad at times!  I don’t think I’ve disliked a hero this much in years.

While I didn’t mind Quincy’s writing, and as I’ve said, I really enjoyed Leela, the overall book was not to my liking.  It was a bit all over the place and irritated me more often than not.  I think I’m in the minority in my feelings for this book so you probably should make up your own mind about it.  That said I was intrigued by Hunt’s friend Griff whose parents were murdered while he slept in the same house and everyone believes that he killed them.  I’m pretty sure his book is next in this series and I will definitely pick that one up when it’s released.

Rating: 2.75/3 out of 5

two-half-stars


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Guest Review: Beauty Tempts the Beast by Lorraine Heath

Posted September 28, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Beauty Tempts the Beast by Lorraine HeathReviewer: Tracy
Beauty Tempts the Beast by Lorraine Heath
Series: Sins for All Seasons #6
Also in this series: Beyond Scandal and Desire, Beyond Scandal and Desire, When a Duke Loves a Woman, When a Duke Loves a Woman (Sins for All Seasons, #2), The Scoundrel in Her Bed (Sins for All Seasons, #3), The Duchess in His Bed, The Earl Takes a Fancy
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: September 29, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

She wants lessons in seduction

Althea Stanwick was a perfect lady destined to marry a wealthy lord, until betrayal left her family penniless. Though she’s lost friends, fortune, and respectability, Althea has gained a scandalous plan. If she can learn to seduce, she can obtain power over men and return to Society on her terms. She even has the perfect teacher in mind, a man whose sense of honor and dark good looks belie his nickname: Beast.

But desire like this can’t be taught

Benedict Trewlove may not know his parentage but he knows where he belongs—on the dark side of London, offering protection wherever it’s needed. Yet no woman has ever made such an outrageous request as this mysterious beauty. Althea is out of place amongst vice and sin, even if she offers a wicked temptation he can’t resist. But as the truth of his origin emerges at last, it will take a fierce, wild love to overcome their pasts.

Althea Stanwick is a Duke’s daughter working at a tavern in Whitechapel.  Strange?  Yes.  Unfortunately her father was tried and hung for plotting to assassinate the queen and then the title, lands and money were stripped from the family.  Althea and her two brothers were ostracized and ended up moving to Whitechapel, which is the only place they could afford.  After taking care of the house (hovel) for a while, Althea decided that she needed to contribute.  Her brother Griff was working the docks, but they needed more money to survive.

Althea ends up working at Gillie Trewlove’s tavern and is only there for a short time when she meets Gillie’s brother, Beast.  Beast (Benedict) is completely taken with Althea personally, but he also sees in her someone who was educated and trained in the finer arts.  He proposes that she become a tutor for the prostitutes that live in his building so that they may find other professions.  Althea agrees to his terms, after driving a hard bargain with her pay, but also requires that Beast teach her seduction so that she may become the most sought-after Courtesan in London.  Beast agrees, but he’s not sure he can complete his end of the bargain without losing his heart.

I’ve liked all of the books in this series, but we never really got to know Beast all that well.  He was pretty absent in the other books, and when we did hear about him there was very little info.  I loved getting to know this man and the huge heart he had in him. I won’t ruin the surprise of how he got where he is now, but he was just as determined as his siblings to make something of himself.  He wasn’t a brothel owner, nor did he run it, he just allowed the brothel to be in a building he owned so he could watch over the girls.  He never took a penny from them and made sure they were always taken care of.  In taking care of them, he helped them to learn other professions so that they could stop being prostitutes and make better lives for themselves.  I seriously loved that.  He deserved a good woman and one that appreciated him. Althea was that woman.

Althea was strong.  She had been through hell and never imagined that she’d be living and working in the dregs of London. (Althea’s brothers were in the story somewhat as they are trying to clear the family name but that was all hush-hush.)  All of her “friends” had turned their backs on her because they didn’t want to be near the daughter of a traitor.  She wasn’t the traitor, but she was treated as though she was.  It’s in the blood, right? eyeroll Though I couldn’t agree with her decision to become a courtesan, I did admire the fact that she had set a goal for herself and was working her way to accomplishing that.  She liked Beast from minute one, but never thought to fall in love with him.  Their slow burn romance was wonderful, and I so enjoyed watching these two characters fall in love.

Overall a great book and a wonderful end to the series.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Sins for All Seasons

four-stars


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Guest Review: Emerald Blaze by Ilona Andrews

Posted September 21, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Emerald Blaze by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Tracy
Emerald Blaze by Ilona Andrews
Series: Hidden Legacy #5
Also in this series: Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Wildfire, White Hot, White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3), Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3), Diamond Fire (Hidden Legacy, #3.5), Sapphire Flames, Diamond Fire, Wildfire
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: August 25, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 391
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

As Prime magic users, Catalina Baylor and her sisters have extraordinary powers—powers their ruthless grandmother would love to control. Catalina can earn her family some protection working as deputy to the Warden of Texas, overseeing breaches of magic law in the state, but that has risks as well. When House Baylor is under attack and monsters haunt her every step, Catalina is forced to rely on handsome, dangerous Alessandro Sagredo, the Prime who crushed her heart.

The nightmare that Alessandro has fought since childhood has come roaring back to life, but now Catalina is under threat. Not even his lifelong quest for revenge will stop him from keeping her safe, even if every battle could be his last. Because Catalina won't rest until she stops the use of the illicit, power-granting serum that's tearing their world apart.

Catalina Baylor is wrapping up an investigation for House Baylor Investigative Agency, her family’s PI firm, when she’s attacked by beasts she’s never seen before.  She discovers that they are a blend of mechanical and biological constructs that are controlled by magic, which aren’t supposed to be able to exist together.  Since she is the Deputy Warden of the State of Texas, she calls the Warden, Linus Duncan, and tells him.  He immediately instructs her to go to Montgomery Investigations, Inc. and take over a case.

The case involves the death of Prime Felix Morton from House Morton.  He was one of five Primes from different Houses that were working on a reclamation project. They were trying to reclaim The Pit, which is a flooded, swampy area in the middle of Houston.  Catalina must now interview the other four Primes to try to discover who killed Felix.  She certainly doesn’t expect to run into Alessandro Sagredo when she gets to MII, as she hasn’t seen him in six months, but that’s what happens.  Alessandro was hired by Lander Morton to kill whoever murdered his son, Felix, once the killer is exposed.

Catalina is determined to keep her distance from Alessandro, despite the fact that he’s resumed his bodyguard-of-the-Deputy-Warden duties.  Alessandro has discovered that a man that he has been after for years is now looking to kill Catalina, if not her whole family.  He’s going to keep Catalina safe if it kills him.

Catalina has to deal with her feelings for Alessandro, keeping herself and her family safe, dealing with her grandmother Tremaine who is a wolf in wolf’s clothing, and balancing her House duties as well as her Deputy duties.  It’s a lot, especially with finding out that there is something in the Pit that is sentient, and it plans on taking over Houston completely.

I love Ilona Andrews books.  Seriously, I’ve never read an IA that I didn’t like.  The world building alone rocks my world, then they add in some romance and boom, I’m hooked.  This book was another amazing addition to the Hidden Legacy series.

I really didn’t like Catalina the first time I read Sapphire Flames.  Amazing book, but I was on the fence about her.  The “I love you” when it came to Alessandro was out of nowhere and based on nothing, and I wasn’t feeling it.  I recently reread SF and Catalina grew on me.  I still didn’t like the “love” part of the story, and actually disliked Alessandro somewhat during the second read, but the book was still crazy good.

In Emerald Blaze all of that dislike went away.  Though it’s only been six months since the last story ended, I felt Catalina had grown.  Becoming Deputy Warden of the State of Texas, and working with Linus, did her a hell of a lot of good and I could see the changes in her.  Alessandro, as well, was a different person.  His snarky personality wasn’t completely gone, but he seemed to take life more seriously and he was actually open and communicative with Catalina.  Loved it!

The rest of the story, besides the romantic parts, was super great.  Not that they weren’t, but they weren’t the focus.  I love the creatures that IA comes up with and it blows my mind that their minds work like that! The fact that the Baylor family, as well as Alessandro, have to work out these puzzling details and use their wits and intelligence to solve whatever issues arise makes me like them and the book even more.

I can’t tell you much about it as that will completely ruin the story for you, but I highly recommend this book.  If you haven’t read this series yet you are definitely missing out!  Start with Burn for Me and don’t stop until you’re done with Emerald Blaze.  You can thank me later.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: When Marrying a Scoundrel by Kathryn Smith

Posted June 18, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: When Marrying a Scoundrel by Kathryn SmithReviewer: Holly
When Marrying a Scoundrel by Kathryn Smith
Series: Victorian Soap Opera #2
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: May 25, 2010
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 385
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A lady must be prepared for anything . . . when marrying a scoundrel.

Sadie Moon once thought she was in love. Then her dashing husband left her to seek his fortune, and she had no choice but to transform herself from a heartbroken waif into London Society's favorite fortune-teller. But even she could not have foreseen Jack's return—until their paths cross in the last place either would have expected: London's most exclusive house of pleasure.

Now wealthy and successful, Jack Friday has everything he'd ever dreamed of . . . except Sadie. He swears he will never trust the woman who broke her promise to wait for him, though his passion for her burns as hotly as ever before. But love, like the past, comes back to haunt them—drawing them into a web of intrigue and betrayal that could save or destroy them both.

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on June 18, 2010.

Kathryn Smith is hit or miss for me. I’m never sure which way a novel is going to go for me with her. Some are fabulous and others leave much to be desired. This one falls under the “hit” umbrella.

I really like the “reunited lovers” plot device, and I think Smith did a good job with it here. It was easy to see why both parties felt they were the ones who got abandoned. I really liked that Jack never stopped loving Sadie, and had no problem admitting it. He no longer trusted her, but he still loved her. I really loved that though Jack and Sadie had issues with each other, they were able to set them aside to help one another when they needed it. They were very adult about their relationship, which was refreshing.

Jack frustrated me at times because he refused to believe in Sadie, especially early in the book. When he called her a fraud my heart broke along with hers. My frustration didn’t last long, though, because Sadie kept belaboring the point, ad nauseum.

I know why Sadie felt so angry toward Jack, and he toward her, but I found myself getting frustrated with Sadie as the novel progressed. Her reasons for pushing him away seemed contrived and silly. She didn’t think she was good enough for him or the class he belonged to, but that didn’t hold water since she’d already married him once. I also had an issue with the way she kept the nature of her relationship with Jack a secret from Mason, the man who was courting her. They had no formal arrangement or agreement, but it was obvious they both thought it could go somewhere. Sadie owed him more than lies, IMO.

I was able to let it go, however, since she realized the problem was hers and made it right.

Though I had issues with both main protagonists, they weren’t enough to detract from my overall enjoyment. Yes, I became frustrated by their actions at times. But more, I was swept up in their rekindled romance, waiting to see when they’d finally realize what we as the reader knew all along – they were meant to be together.

4 out of 5

Victorian Soap Opera

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn.

Posted May 21, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn.Reviewer: Rowena
Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn
Series: Bevelstoke #3
Also in this series: What Happens in London (Bevelstoke, #2), Ten Things I Love About You (Bevelstoke, #3)
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: May 25, 2010
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 454
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Ten things you should know about this book....

1. Sebastian Grey is a devilishly handsome rogue with a secret.
2. Annabel Winslow's family voted her The Winslow Most Likely to Speak Her Mind and The Winslow Most Likely to Fall Asleep in Church.
3. Sebastian's uncle is the Earl of Newbury, and if he dies without siring an heir, Sebastian inherits everything.
4. Lord Newbury detests Sebastian and will stop at nothing to prevent this from happening.
5. Lord Newbury has decided that Annabel is the answer to all of his problems.
6. Annabel does not want to marry Lord Newbury, especially when she finds out he once romanced her grandmother.
Number 7 is shocking, 8 is delicious, and 9 is downright wicked, all of which lead the way to:
10. Happily. Ever. After.

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on May 25, 2010.

This review will have all kinds of spoilers so if you don’t want to be spoiled, I say you come back after you’ve read the book. This is your warning, there will be spoilers!

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When we got this book for review, I couldn’t read it fast enough. I hadn’t (still haven’t come to think of it) read Miss Miranda Cheevers but I inhaled What Happens in London and loved it. I thought it was such a cute and funny story that I was waiting most excitedly for this book to come out. I had to find out if this was Sebastian’s story and …IT IS!

I really enjoyed getting to know Sebastian in Harry’s book and I am happy to say that Chantal was totally right! Sebastian is definitely the author! Man, the way that we find out how Sebastian started writing, it made me sigh because Sebastian is a dream boat and I just love him to pieces.

This book brought the laughs and the dialogue was great as well. I laughed out loud more than once while reading this book and I think Sebastian is my favorite hero in this series. The way that Sebastian thinks and the way that he let people perceive him just had me in fits of giggles. I loved everything about him. From his insomnia to the way that he treats Harry and Edward and the way that he treats Olivia. The first meeting between Sebastian and Annabel was great too. The way that he plotted his first story out, loved it! It was great.

Annabel was a great heroine as well. She wasn’t one of those heroines that was overly dramatic, she knew what her duty was and she knew what she was supposed to do and even though she didn’t like it one bit, she was going to go through with it anyway. All in the name of saving her family. It was noble and I didn’t find myself getting annoyed with her all that much while reading this book. It’s not that she was perfect but she was the kind of historical heroine that I could see myself being. I could say that I wish I would have been my own woman but if my family needed me to marry for money, then I totally would. There’s nothing that I wouldn’t do for my family and as annoyed as I would be, I would do it. So to say that I liked Annabel is exactly right.

Sebastian and Annabel together were great, I loved reading every scene they were in together because the chemistry between these two jumped right off the pages and I loved how flirty spice Sebastian was. He was such a great character and man, I’m kind of sad that I finished his story so fast, it was good and worth the money that you’ll spend to read it.

The secondary characters were great as well. I adored seeing Harry and Olivia and it never fails to bring me joy when authors bring characters from other stories back and give them a role in these new stories instead of just mentioning those characters. I enjoyed seeing Harry and Olivia again and I was glad to see that they’re doing well and that Olivia is pregnant and in good spirits. It was also good to see Harry’s brother again as well. You can never get enough of those folks, they’re always good for a laugh or two.

The new secondary characters were great as well, I adored Annabel’s cousin, Louisa. I so hope that she’ll get a story or maybe get a story with…Harry’s brother, Edward. Ooh that would be a good pairing. I loved that Annabel had a great ally in Louisa. I loved Annabel’s grandmother too, oh goodness the scenes at the end of the book with Sebastian, Annabel, her grandmother and Sebastian’s uncle had me roaring with laughter. It was too funny. I wouldn’t mind reading another story with these guys in there, it was just too funny.

Seeing Sebastian and Annabel grow to love each other was a fun treat and this story was a delightfully entertaining book that I can’t wait for others to enjoy as well. This is JQ the way we all know and love her, you won’t be disappointed.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

Bevelstoke

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

four-half-stars


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