Tag: Darcy Burke

Guest Review: The Forbidden Duke by Darcy Burke

Posted May 24, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Forbidden Duke by Darcy BurkeReviewer: Tracy
The Forbidden Duke by Darcy Burke
Series: The Untouchables #1
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: March 15th 2016
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Spinster Miss Eleanor Lockhart is suddenly homeless and employment is her only option. Ruined after succumbing to a scoundrel’s excessive charm nearly a decade ago, she’s lucky to obtain a position as a paid companion and committed to behaving with the utmost propriety. She definitely shouldn’t be in the arms of a man capable of utterly destroying what little remains of her reputation...

Titus St. John, Duke of Kendal, is known as the Forbidden Duke, a mysterious, intimidating figure who enters Society just once each year at his stepmother’s ball. A decade ago, he was a devil-may-care rake until his idle roguery brought about the ruin of Eleanor Lockhart—and his resulting self-imposed isolation. Now she’s back, and she needs his help. But by “saving” her, he may just ruin her life all over again.

Eleanor’s father isn’t good with money and constantly makes “investments” that never pan out. He finally goes one investment too far and breaks the bank. He now has to move to a relative’s sheep farm and Eleanor is stuck. She was part of a scandal 10 years earlier after she kissed a man she thought she was in love with. Of course the cad had no intention of marrying her and her ship was sunk. She went off to the countryside and was never heard from again in London society. She knows that none of her family will take her in because of the black cloud over her head. Her sister would love to but since she’s married to a vicar and he won’t let her stay that’s out too. Eleanor writes to an agency in London to try to become a companion. Just 10 days later she’s interviewing for a position and she gets the job.

Eleanor isn’t a companion too long as Lady Satterfield, her employer, decides that Eleanor is too young, too pretty, and too enchanting to be a companion and decides to sponsor another season for her. Eleanor is thrilled but then she meets Lady Satterfield’s step-son from a previous marriage. He is a Duke who is happier to be on his own than in society but appears just once a year at his step-mother’s ball. He was also the unofficial head of a group of rakes ten years earlier. He knows Eleanor by sight because one of “his” rakes was the one who scandalized Eleanor. He felt horrible about her scandal back then and has been living a quiet life ever since. When he sees Eleanor again he is fascinated by her. The more he gets to know her he knows that his life is, once again, going to change.

This was a sweet story. I felt horrible for Eleanor and her situation with the scandal. After one kiss she shouldn’t have been ostracized but I understand that’s how it was back then. She made the best of a bad situation and when her father screwed up she once again made a bad situation good again. I really admired her inner strength after having put up with so much in her life. Even though I thought that Lady Satterfield’s offer to sponsor her kind of came out of the blue it was nice to see her being accepted by the ton.

Titus was a quiet but interesting man. I loved that he came out of his shell for Eleanor but didn’t recognize that he was falling in love with her. The story was pretty angst free and that was refreshing. Though he had a hand in the scandal from 10 years earlier it became a non-issue and that, too, was refreshing.

The story overall was a good one and it was an enjoyable was to spend an afternoon. If you like a simple historical romance with very little heartache this would be a good one to read.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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What I Read Last Week

Posted September 4, 2012 by Tracy in Features | 3 Comments

Happy Tuesday!

I know I’m a day behind but I took yesterday off of blogging to be with the kids. We had a fun time watching movies and playing Fish with Attitude which my youngest is addicted to. lol

Last week was a pretty boring week in my neck of the woods and that was just fine with me. Calm and boring is a good thing. 🙂 I hope you all had a good week as well.

It was kind of a frenetic reading week for me. I kept picking up books, reading about 50 pages and then putting them down again and picking up another where I would do the same thing. It’s not that the books weren’t good (and I will go back and finish them), but they just weren’t hitting my “oh yeah this is what I want” button. Because of this I didn’t end up reading all that much (for me) but it was a good week.

I started the week with the 6th book in the Men of Holsum College series call Pride and Politics by Daisy Harris. This was Hunter’s story and for those who’ve read the series I think you’ll want to read this one as we see Hunter in a new light. I’ll post my review this week.

Next up was Primal Possession by Katie Reus. I read this one for Book Binge so I’ll let you know when my review posts. This is book 2 in the Moon Shifter series and continues the Cordona-Armstrong pack’s fight with the Anti-paranormal league. Sure the name of the League is ridiculous but those guys are wily and show up when you least expect it. They want all shifters gone and they’re not afraid to kidnap, torture and kill to get what they want. While that’s going on we get the romance between December and Liam that began in book 1. Liam isn’t leaving December’s side after all the crap she’s gone through but December has a huge reason that she hesitates getting involved with a shifter. Their romance is not a sweet romantic one but they have their moments during the book that were really great. Definitely worth reading. 4 out of 5

Then I read Mina Wentworth and the Invisible City by Meljean Brook. Though this book just came out it really takes place between books 1 & 2 in the Iron Seas series. This is a slice of life from Mina and Rhys’ marriage and has to do with their semi-adopted daughter Anne the Tinker as well as a murder that Mina is investigating and how those two are connected. It’s a fantastic story and I loved seeing how both Mina and Rhys were dealing with marriage and Mina’s job. 5 out of 5

My next read was Her Wicked Ways by Darcy Burke. I read my mom’s review for this one on Book Binge and got interested. Unfortunately I didn’t like it quite as much as she did. It was good but I did have some issues. The story is about a duke’s daughter, Miranda, who is reckless and is sent to live with her mother’s relatives in the country. She is banned from social visits and is not living in the riches she has been raised. She goes with her cousin to help at an orphanage and she’s disgusted but eventually warms to the place. Fox is a man whose family has run the orphanage for many, many years. He’s short on money though and turns to being a highwayman to get funds. He ends up falling in love with Miranda but she can’t marry him because really, he’s no one. The story was good and I really loved Fox so, so much. Unfortunately I didn’t love Miranda all that much. I would think that she was warming up and changing and then she’d do something heartless and ridiculously self-centered and she’s take a whole bunch of steps backward. It was frustrating. By the time that she realized she loved Fox it was way too late for me – I wanted him to have someone else. sigh It was still a good story though and Fox was worth reading about. 3 out of 5

Last for the week – and my Tracy’s TBR Challenge read was Redemption by Olivia Duncan Craig. This is the story of Jason who has decided to sell himself as a bond-mate. This means that whoever purchases his contract will have his services for the next 20 years. His contract is purchased by Devin who is a rich exec who wants a personal assistant who won’t leave (as previous ones have) and a companion. Both Devin and Jason have been instructed to not get attached but how can you not when you spend so much time with the other. There are definitely issues that Jason had to work through with Devin and some just broke my heart. On top of the relationship there was the issue of Jason’s family and why he went the bond-mate route. The time period was in the future where they have intergalactic travel and trade, they can fly shuttles as well as drive on the ground, they have these bond-mates, but really most of the rest of it was very contemporary. I liked that the world was “normal” yet futuristic. I didn’t have to learn 10 or 20 new words for money, food, etc. which I never really like in sci-fi or futuristic reads. It was easy to read and a really good story, imho. 4 out of 5

My Book Binge review that posted last week:
When You Wish Upon a Duke by Isabella Bradford

Happy Reading!


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Guest Review: To Seduce a Scoundrel by Darcy Burke

Posted August 26, 2012 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 1 Comment

Judith’s review of To Seduce a Scoundrel (Secrets & Scandals series #3) by Darcy Burke 

Quintessential debutante Lady Philippa Latham is determined to avoid scandal at all costs so that she may marry well. When her mother’s outrageous behavior threatens their family’s reputation, Philippa unwittingly follows her to a party no unmarried Society girl would risk attending. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Philippa is “rescued” from disaster by England’s most notorious scoundrel, which sets them both on a path to public and personal ruin.

Lord Ambrose Sevrin is infamous for ruining his brother’s fiancé and refusing to marry her. Content to remain among the fringe of the upper ten thousand, he is an intriguing enigma to London’s elite. Philippa thinks she’s met the true Ambrose—a gentleman who would fight to defend her and help her secure a husband before it’s too late. But he can’t be that husband, even for her. He won’t tolerate redemption—or love—for his crimes are far worse than anyone can imagine.

I don’t think most of us contemporary women really understand the terrible pressure that 19th century women faced when it came to the matter of “marrying well.”  Social ruin is not something we worry about all that much today — obviously one’s reputation is still very important, especially in smaller towns and communities.  But we have nothing in today’s American society that equals the bone-deep fear women experienced at the thought of being “ruined” so that they could not hope to make a socially acceptable and financially profitable marriage.  The heroine in this story is driven by that kind of fear coupled with the awareness that her parents were on the brink of marriage disaster–both mom and dad were carrying on with lovers in a less-than-discreet fashion–and that their actions were putting her future in jeopardy.

Lord Ambrose was a man whose life was in shambles on so many levels that the only true joy he had was in the Fight Club he considered his true family.  Yet when he found Lady Phillipa in a compromising position he put his own life in danger to keep her reputation intact, actions that convinced the lady in question that he was not truly the rogue society considered him to be.

This is a love story between two people whose expectations about the future were “slim to none.”  Lady Phillipa’s situation rapidly went from bad to worse, and Lord Ambrose was at the bottom of the pile already.  Yet this author seems to have the knack of making a literary “silk purse out of a sow’s ear” . . . a story with so many positive aspects with characters who have little hope of finding real happiness.  It’s a rockem’ sockem’ tale that involves boxing matches, hurts and wounds of body and spirit, disappointments, hopes, dreams, delights and difficulties, and two very, very stubborn people.  It’s the third book in a series by a new author and I think each novel has just gotten better and better.  I found Lord Ambrose to be a man with a curious mix of values–the negatives were mostly directed toward himself and the positives he knew were there but wouldn’t even give them the time of day.  The most endearing quality was his soft spot for Phillipa, one he tried to hide, coat over with cynicism, and wall up with the stones of indifference.  But love will always find a way . . . at least that’s what we romance fans really believe down deep.

This is really a terrific book and one I don’t think historical romance readers will want to miss.  Ms Burke has secured the recommendations of some very fine authors and I have to say that I agree wholeheartedly that this up and coming author is well worth watching and enjoying.

I give this book a 4.25 out of 5 rating.

The series:
Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

You can read  more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

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


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Guest Review: His Wicked Heart by Darcy Burke

Posted August 22, 2012 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 1 Comment

Judith’s review of His Wicked Heart (Secrets and Scandals series #2) by Darcy Burke

It’s hard to be respectable, when you’d rather be wicked . .

Jasper Sinclair, Earl of Saxton, made a bargain with his devil of a father to marry in one month’s time. But instead of shackling himself to an acceptable debutante, he indulges his baser needs. He joins a fighting club and pursues a delectable woman who may not be what she seems. Soon he finds himself battling addictions that threaten his already wicked heart.

Orphaned seamstress Olivia West wants the chance to lead an honest, respectable life, but the arrogant Earl of Saxton launches a daunting campaign to make her his mistress. Destitute and desperate, she agrees to one night with the dangerous lord, hatching a scheme to take his money and keep her virtue. However, Jasper uncovers her deception and vows to claim what he’s owed—not his money, her.


Heroes in most historical romance novels, especially the aristocratic variety, tend to go after what they want when they want it without consideration for any collateral damage.  But Jasper Sinclair is something of a surprise.  Here we have a man who is well saturated with the attitudes that are a product of his class and his wealth but in a pinch, he puts his sister’s happiness ahead of his own.  Yet that very bargain puts him in a bind and while he is searching for a wife–the kind with connections and acceptable family history to please his parents, he is also obsessed with a woman who refuses to be his mistress–a woman of honor and who is trying so hard to be independent and self-supporting.
This is book two in this series entitled “Secrets and Scandals”  and features the brother of the heroine in book one.  Once again you have a context that doesn’t back away from the hurt, nastiness, heartlessness, and degradation of a society greatly removed from the glitz and glitter of the ton.  Olivia deals with it every day and yet she, too, is caught in the machinery of a society that thinks nothing of chewing up and spitting out people it deems to be of no value.  Yet once again this author treats us to characters of depth and who finally become willing to look more deeply into themselves when they encounter society’s less attractive qualities.  The love story between Jasper and Olivia has many familiar aspects to it — it is, after all, a love story, but there are twists and turns, surprises all along the way as these two very different people make their way toward a possible future together.
This is only the second novel from this author, but she has already demonstrated an extraordinary ability to put together a really good story, do sound historical research, and use really good English in the telling.  That’s something I always appreciate.  Published by a small press there is nevertheless evidence of very good editing.  That’s also a plus.  So I highly recommend this historical romance, along with the first book, as really terrific reads and writing that is well worth a reader’s time.  It will keep you engaged and interested all the way through, and I think you will encounter some characters that will grab your imagination.

I give it a rating of 4.25 out of 5

The series:
Book Cover Book Cover

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place

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


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Guest Review: Her Wicked Ways by Darcy Burke

Posted August 11, 2012 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 2 Comments

Judith’s review of Her Wicked Ways (Secrets and Scandals series #1) by Darcy Burke

She was his savior . . . Banished from London for her reckless behavior, Lady Miranda Sinclair is robbed by a dashing highwayman en route to the country. By offering him a kiss in lieu of the jewels she had to leave behind, she commits the very type of act that caused her exile. When her dour guardians extend her punishment to performing charitable work at the local orphanage, she’s further tempted by the home’s owner, a provincial gentleman who stirs her passion in a most wicked way.

He was her downfall . . . Desperate to save his orphanage from financial catastrophe, Montgomery “Fox” Foxcroft leads a double life as a highwayman. The arrival of wealthy, well-connected Miranda, whose kiss he can’t forget, presents a lawful opportunity to increase his coffers. His problems seem solved—until she rejects his suit. Out of options and falling for the heiress, Fox must risk what principles he has left and take advantage of her wicked ways—even if it ruins them both.


We have all encountered spoiled aristocratic brats in historical romance novels.  They romp through the pages and usually get their comeuppance somewhere further on in the book at the hands of the hero who is a handsome lord for whom the develop a tendre..  But this book has a different twist on an old theme.  This author has given us a heroine who is indeed spoiled, pampered, and more willful than most.  In fact, her family has turned their backs on her with cold and calculating determination to bring her to heel so that she can benefit the family with a “good” marriage.  Lady Miranda has her own ideas about that, but first she has to find a way out of this terrible imprisonment she has now been forced to endure–sent into the country to live with a distant relative, no money, no resources, no power to determine her own actions.  She is disliked intensely by all and sundry, especially the daughter of her “keepers” who resents her and who does all she can to make Miranda’s life miserable.  
We also meet a gentleman, honorable and kind, but poor as a church mouse and needing funds to keep his decaying estate somehow glued together because of the homeless children housed there.  Miranda finds herself there, under duress of course, being asked to bump elbows with children from a much poor class, asked to do menial tasks which she has never done, and for which she is poorly prepared.  He inept performance draws no accolades from the owner, but he can’t escape the fact that her beauty entraps him.  What continues to fascinate him is the fact that Lady Miranda is slowly changing, slowly beginning to find the deeper, more noble qualities that have lain dormant beneath her selfishness and self-interest.
This is a novel that clearly demonstrates the difficulties embedded in the 19th century English class system.  Without title or funds, it was almost impossible to make any kind of impact on a society that discarded people and in which children were especially considered disposable.  The hero in this novel didn’t agree with that view and it was a time of personal re-education for Lady Miranda.   I think I most liked the fact that this book is an engaging and gritty story about real problems and tells a love story about two people who really have no realistic expectation for a future together because of the social distance between them.  Add in the fact that Miranda’s father is a Duke and you get that sense of the impossible when you read their story.  This novel has gained the attention of several well-known writers and I agree that it is a worthy writing effort and one that held my interest from start to finish.  There are some interesting twists and turns in the story that are built around local country politics, some of which are just as difficult to tolerate as those high flyers in London.  Yet it is a story about the determination of a man to provide for people who had no hope and no safety net much as we encounter in Dickens’ tales.  If for no other reason, this is a story worth reading.  But it has many other fine qualities to recommend it, not the least is the really fine way the author developed the story and the characters, the good editing, and the surprises that await the reader.
I liked this book a lot and I think it is one that historical romance fans would do well to read. It is a debut novel and demonstrates that this author has no where to go be “up.”

I give it a rating of 4 out of 5

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

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


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