Tag: Isabella Bradford

Guest Review: When the Duchess Said Yes by Isabella Bradford

Posted December 18, 2012 by Ames in Reviews | 0 Comments

Ames’ review of When the Duchess Said Yes by Isabella Bradford.

The romantic escapades of the irrepressible Wylder sisters continue in Isabella Bradford’s fun, charming, and breathtakingly passionate series—as the wildest of the Wylders turns an arranged marriage into a game of desire to tame a wayward duke.

Notorious for her free-spirited antics, Lady Elizabeth Wylder revels in attention—but not the sort that leaves her humiliated when her future husband, the Duke of Hawkesworth, fails to appear for their much-anticipated first introduction.

So when a chance encounter leads to a sizzling kiss with a dangerously handsome stranger, she nearly succumbs. The shock of finally meeting her betrothed only to come face to face with her rakish would-be seducer inspires fury—and fans the flames of a fire that both Lizzie and the Duke acknowledge is a most agreeable way to start a marriage. In her husband’s arms, Lizzie knows she has found love. But is the passion that accompanies endless nights of erotic discovery enough to persuade a duke whose scandalous lineage and lifestyle prevent him from giving his heart completely?

I read and enjoyed When You Wish Upon a Duke earlier this year so I was looking forward to the second book in the Wylder Sisters series.

Lizzie Wylder, Charlotte’s younger sister, is betrothed to the Duke of Hawkesworth, or Hawke, as he is known to his friends and family.  Hawke’s father left a stipulation in his will that he must marry Lizzie before her 19th birthday or he won’t inherit a dime.  He will be a penniless duke.  Hawke didn’t have an easy relationship with his father, so the betrothal irks him.  He actually lived in Italy for the past ten years to stay away from his father and any mention of him.  But he’s back in England to marry his betrothed before her 19th birthday, and he didn’t give himself a lot of time.  He’s really dragging his feet.  Then on the night before he’s supposed to meet his future wife, he sees an enchanting woman at the opera.  They share a look and then he loses her!  He becomes a bit obsessed with his mystery woman, more so when he runs into her again at another event (where he’s supposed to meet Lizzie).

Of course we know that his mystery woman is Lizzie herself.  When they finally meet face to face, with proper introductions all around, Lizzie is furious.  For the sake of everyone involved, they decide to put their initial scorn for each other behind them.  And then they begin to appreciate each other’s sense of humor and that initial attraction between comes forward again and then they begin to fall in love.

I thought When the Duchess Said Yes was uneven.  I thought the beginning was slow, all the run-ins and Hawke dragging his feet to meet his intended.  Like he was so desperate not to meet her, he focuses on his mystery woman.

Things did pick up though once they finally got married.  That part was enjoyable to read.  The conflict was internal, with Hawke wanting to return to Italy once his duty was done and how Lizzie finds out about it and her reaction.  I did like Hawke and Lizzie and their story was cute.  But that beginning dragged.

I’m going to give WtDSY a 3 out of 5.

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

You can read more from ~ames~ at Bookish Ames.

Guest Review: When the Duke Found Love by Isabella Bradford

Posted November 29, 2012 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Tracy’s review of When the Duke Found Love (Wylder Sisters #3) by Isabella Bradford

The youngest of the Wylder girls—and the last left unwed—Lady Diana is also the most willful, a trait that’s leading her ever closer to dishonorable disaster. While her family’s solution is a fast and excruciatingly respectable marriage, Diana can’t imagine being wed to the very staid and dull Lord Crump. But while wedding plans are being made, a chance meeting at a gala turns Diana’s world upside down.

A kiss from a dazzling stranger gives Diana a most intimate introduction to one of the ton’s most resolute and scandalous bachelors, the Duke of Sheffield. Torn between family duty and her heart’s desire, Diana recklessly surrenders to the headiest of passions, recognizing that she has found a kindred soul in the handsome young duke. Soon it’s clear that seduction is no longer the game: Something deep and lasting has come to bind their hearts, and the stakes are nothing less than true love.

The third Wylder sister, Diana, is just 18 years old and has been living in London with her sister Charlotte for the past 2 years. She is quite excited about the balls she goes to and the clothes and hats she gets to wear and she loves the flirtations. She’s fun, has a quick wit – she’s young and free and she’s beautiful. It’s a good time in her life. Unfortunately she’s not the best judge of character and has had an “almost” scandal that the gossips are still whispering about from the previous summer. Now it’s April and she’s told one day by Charlotte and her mother that they worry that no man will marry her after her scandal and so the mother has accepted an offer of marriage from a Maquis named Lord Crump. Diana is not happy about this to say the least but when her mother explains to her that if she’s to become accepted she needs to be married to a respectable man. Diana knows she has to step up and be the daughter that her mother expects her to be so she reluctantly accepts a meeting with the man. It’s a good thing too since her mother and sister tell her all this on the way to meet the guy! Nothing like springing it on a girl!

Lord Crump is stern, tight-lipped and not pleasant at all. From moment one Diana wants out of the marriage but what can she do but go along with things. She certainly doesn’t expect to meet the Duke of Sheffield and fall in love with him, but she does.

Sheffield is more like Diana and unfortunately he’s gotten himself into one scandal or another as well. The king now wants him to marry to prove that he has changed his ways (like that would do it) and has even picked out a woman for him. Lady Enid, however, is in love with someone else and doesn’t want to marry Sheffield. He agrees that marriage would be a bad idea, especially as he finds himself falling for Diana and even arranges for Enid and her love to be together. But how can he get Diana away from Crump when she’s determined to do the right thing?

Oh, this book. It made me a little crazy at times. The first part of the book when the mom and Charlotte are talking to Diana about responsibility and then pairing her with this awful man saying that he will “tame” her so to speak. The fact that they say they love her and then force her to be with this awful man is just beyond me. If they loved her at all they wouldn’t have tried to crush her spirit. Crump is an awful man from moment one and I was so agitated at the mom and Charlotte (who, if you read book one was also a bit of a free spirit but is now a stuffy – and I do mean stuffy – duchess) that I almost didn’t continue reading. Not to mention the Duke of Breconridge aka Brecon who is cousins to Sheffield, March and Hawke and even helped with the Crump/Diana match. I just saw him as a pompous interfering busybody and wanted him gone from the book entirely. But I did and things got a bit better.

Sheffield was so cute in his pursuit and the fact that he was trying to help Lady Enid warmed my heart. He didn’t have to do anything to help them but he did and I loved that. He may not have gone about everything perfectly but his heart was in the right place and I had to admire him for it.

Diana was just confused and I didn’t blame her. Her family wanted her to be someone she was not and didn’t see how they were hurting her by forcing her to marry Crump. He’s SO awful I can’t even tell you. At one point at a dinner the family finds out that he’s allergic to cats because he starts to sneeze and asks if there’s a cat in the house. Fig is a cat that is Diana’s love and she’ll never be parted with. This is what happens and it will give you a taste of the ass that is Crump:

“Cats,” he finally managed to say. “Forgive me, Your Grace, but is there a cat somewhere in this house?”

“I have a cat,” Diana said, stepping forward. “Her name is Fig, and she is my dearest pet.”

He held up his hand to keep her at a distance. “I cannot tolerate cats,” he said. “They are the devil’s own creatures, and as poison to me. Your cat must be sent away at once.”

“No!” exclaimed Diana. “I love Fig! She is coming with me tomorrow. I already have her basket prepared for traveling.”

“If you bring that cat, Lady Diana, I shall myself wring its neck and fling its body from the carriage,” Crump declared, his red-rimmed eyes so determined that there was no doubt he’d do exactly as he said. “Unless you wish to become a widow as soon as you are a wife, you will never bring a cat near me, nor suffer one to soil your person with its vile scent.”

Oh boy. I wanted to Diana to finally stand up to her mother and say – oh HELL no I won’t marry this man – but no, she’s the good little daughter. *Sigh*

Ok, so eventually Diana realizes that she needs to be with Sheffield and things work out for them but it was kind of a slow road getting there. When that did happen and everyone found out I expected speeches and tears but everyone was just kind of resigned once they married. I didn’t think the reactions were appropriate for how the family acted throughout the book and that was frustrating as well.

In the end it was a love/hate relationship with the book. I guess I should look at it as the author certainly knows how to write a “villain” so to speak and she did it well. I just wish the beginning and end would have been as good as the middle. Still a good book but I have to say that my favorite of the series was definitely book 1.

Rating: 3 out of 5

The series:
Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

You can read more from Tracy at Tracy’s Place

This book is available from Ballantine. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

What I Read Last Week

Posted November 20, 2012 by Tracy in Features | 6 Comments

Salvete (supposedly that’s Latin for Hello but my friend may have been pulling my leg. :))

So another week has gone by and life is still a bit strange. There’s only 3 working days this week for me because of the Thanksgiving holiday so that’ll be nice.

I didn’t mention this in last weeks post because it just seemed a bit too much but there was another death – this time my aunt Marilyn. With my friend Rey dying and then his funeral and then finding out about Marilyn I just couldn’t write about it. Though I didn’t know her extremely well she was always more than kind to me and was a wonderful 1st grade teacher for many years. I’m not sure where this picture is from, and it’s obviously an old one as she was 82 when she died, but when I found it online today I just knew I had to post it to show you what a beauty she was. She will be missed.

Anyway, on to happier things…I’m sure there are some. 🙂 Not much happened this week in Tracyland but that was MORE than welcome.

So on to what I read…

I started off the week with What an Earl Wants by Kasey Michaels. This was the story of an Earl and his eventual wife trying to solve a mystery about a hellfire club and falling in love at the same time. You can read my full review here. 3.5/3.75 out of 5

Next up was Lord’s Fall by Thea Harrison. This is book 5 in the Elder Races series (if you don’t include the in-between novellas) and it was a good one. The story takes us back to the romance between Dragos and Pia and has them in separate states dealing with different issues – until war brings them together. It was an excellent read and a great addition to the series. You can read my review on Book Binge on Wed. of this week. 5 out of 5

Men of Smithfield: Adam and Holden by LB Gregg is the revised version of her book In and Out. The story was just as good and definitely made me happy I read it again. I’ll post my review for this one on Friday.

My Tracy’s TBR Challenge read for the week was Dream Lake by Lisa Kleypas. This is book 3 in the Friday Harbor series and has us reading about Alex who is the third Nolan brother. He’s married and getting a divorce, he’s a miserable man and thinks he unlovable and of course therefore cannot love anyone else. He’s an alcoholic and drinking himself into the grave. He is visited – in a roundabout way – by a ghost who has no idea why he’s attached to Alex but slowly starts to remember stuff. Then there’s Zoe Hoffman who hires Alex to do construction on a house for her and her grandmother who has dementia. The story was unexpectedly good. I know I should expect it from Kleypas but I as these contemporaries have a paranormal bend to them I wasn’t sure how the ghost story would work out. I’m glad I read it as it was definitely worth it. 4 out of 5

Last for the week was When the Duke Found Love by Isabella Bradford. This story was about the 3rd Wylder sister and I liked the book and hated it in almost equal parts. The sister is engaged without her knowledge to a man who is respectable and supposedly a “good man” to save Diana from scandal (which wasn’t that bad and certainly didn’t require marriage in my mind) and to “tame” her a bit. He’s horrid and Diana ends up falling in love with her sisters’ cousin the Duke of Sheffield who is supposedly a rake. The couple carry on behind their families backs as well as their fiancé’s backs and end up falling in love. Diana’s family really pushed me over the edge in this one. I guess I can understand the mother wanting a good match but her sister – who from the first book when she was a wild tree climbing woman turned into a starchy fuddy duddy – I expected better. I think this is one of those that you just have to read and see if it works for you. 3 out of 5

My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:
Wolfishly Yours by Lydia Dare

Happy Reading!

Guest Review: When You Wish Upon a Duke by Isabella Bradford

Posted August 31, 2012 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Tracy’s review of When You Wish Upon a Duke (Wylder Sisters #1) by Isabella Bradford

Raised in the Dorset countryside, Lady Charlotte Wylder doesn’t care one bit about well-bred decorum. The dark-haired, blue-eyed beauty would rather ride a horse than attend a stuffy ball. So when Charlotte learns that she is to leave immediately for London to wed the Duke of Marchbourne, a perfect model of aristocratic propriety, she is less than enchanted with her arranged marriage.

But to her delight, their first encounters are brazenly flirtatious, and their wedding night burns with passion. March’s broad shoulders and dark countenance make Charlotte want to rip every button off his waistcoast. She may even be falling in love with her new husband. Yet whenever their desire boils over, March reluctantly pushes Charlotte away. Will past secrets and present misunderstandings mire their marriage in scandal, or serve to strengthen a bond that is destined to last a lifetime.

Charlotte is shocked and a bit dismayed to find out that she’s been engaged to a Duke practically since birth. Her father and his ducal friend had arranged the marriage and after Charlotte’s father died her mother just didn’t mention it. When the Duke of Marchbourne’s man of business shows up in the middle of the night to let her know Charlotte’s not sure what to think.

The Duke of Marchbourne, March to his friends, has known for years that he will be married and has known exactly to whom. Because of his family’s past and his father’s debauchery he has held himself up to a very high standard and takes being honorable to a new level. He’s actually kind of excited to meet his soon-to-be bride and actually plans a “chance” meeting with her which doesn’t go anything like he had planned. He actually gets physically hurt during the meeting but is completely enchanted with his fiancé.

Charlotte is enchanted as well and when the duke actually moves up their nuptials by months she’s scared but thrilled as well. The now married couple start their lives together and like each other very much; in fact their each falling for the other every day. The one dark spot on this happy marriage is in the bedroom. Charlotte is excited and happy after her wedding night as March’s passion meets hers. March, however, feels that he has completely disrespected Charlotte by acting like a crazed lover. He has his idea about how a perfect & respectable duke should act with his wife and that wasn’t it. He apologizes and next time their in bed he’s calm and courteous and gets the job done with no excessive passion – and no fulfillment for Charlotte. To say Charlotte’s confused and hurt, thinking that she’s done something wrong is putting it mildly.

The couple eventually work out their differences but March’s honor just might break them up forever – especially if a duel kills him.

This story started out slow for me but then ended up being so unexpectedly good I was thrilled. I like arranged marriage books but I think this is the first I’ve read (that I can recall) where the people have liked each other so much that they can’t wait to get married. Yes, Charlotte was shy but she felt so comfortable with March so immediately that it was charming to watch the two of them together. Now March had his issues and when we find out the full story of those issues later in the book I really felt for him and all that he’d had to live through. I loved that Charlotte was the one that made March see the light and that just brought them closer together.

Bradford has written a great historical that kept me turning pages both because of her writing and the characters in the book. She created a great story that will stick with me for a while. Now the next two books in the story involve her sisters that we just got a glimpse of in this book. We didn’t get to know them very well at all but I can’t wait to read their stories.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

You can read more from Tracy at Tracy’s Place

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

What I Read Last Week

Posted August 13, 2012 by Tracy in Features | 7 Comments

It was a much quieter week this week – thank heavens! lol I did have to register my oldest for High School which was a bit painful for me – emotionally, not physically – but I made it through. Both girls start school on Thursday and they’re both excited.

Not much else happened – of which I was completely thrilled with so I’ll get on to what I read this past week:

My first read was for Book Binge and it was a historical called When You Wish Upon A Duke by Isabella Bradford. The story was about an Earl’s daughter who had been living in the quiet countryside with her sisters and mother after the death of her father years earlier. The oldest daughter is shocked when a man of business shows up and lets her know that she’s been engaged for most of her life and to a Duke no less. While Charlotte isn’t sure what she should expect she’s thrilled when she meets the duke and he is all that is kind and handsome. The duke is thrilled with Charlotte as well but he has some past issues that keep the pair from moving to a deeper relationship. I really liked this book a lot. I liked the characters and the fact that they weren’t hateful to each other but attracted and kind to one another. The duke issues weren’t as bad as I thought they would be, when revealed, but I could see why he would have them. Overall it was a good story. 4.25 out of 5

Next up was One Real Thing by Anah Crow and Dianne Fox. In this story we have two friends – one taking care of the other when he’s hit rock bottom and coming to realize that he loves his friend in more ways than one. The other friend who is thrilled to be helped but tormented by the feelings he’s always had for his good friend. They help each other in many different ways throughout the book and it’s very good. I really liked both the men in this story and liked the story itself. I did think that the story ran on a bit long after the I Love You’s were said – just pages of the reaffirmation of their love, really, and it got a bit old. I also didn’t really care for the odd and semi-sudden appearance of submission by one of the men. It was touched upon earlier in the book but not enough for me to think that level of submission would appear. Maybe it was just me. shrugs Still a really good story and definitely worth reading. 4 out of 5

The Reluctant Amazon by Sandy James was next. This is the first book in a new series by Sandy and it was darned good. Rebecca is a Kindergarten teacher and was planning on getting married until her fiancé left her at the altar and she then finds out she’s an Amazon. What? lol It’s much more in depth than that and I’ll go into it more when I post my review later in the month. 4.25 out of 5

A Lady by Midnight by Tessa Dare was next and it was Oh. So. Good. I love her Spindle Cove series and she didn’t disappoint with this book. The story revolves around the local music teacher, Kate Taylor, and Corporal Thorne of the local militia. Kate’s an orphan but then is possibly a Marquess’s daughter. She hates Thorne, but then she loves him. Oh it was so good. I’ll post my review next week of this wonderful book. 5 out of 5

Pyromancer by Amanda Young was my Tracy’s TBR Challenge read for the week. This is the story of Christian who has some weird powers having to do with fire. He can sometimes control it but he can supposedly hurt someone when he gets too emotional . He’s not been with a man for a long time and decides to call and escort service. He gets hooked up with Tanner and after that one night can’t stop thinking about Tanner. He ends up helping Tanner after he gets beaten up and the two end up in bed together. They have communication issues about what their relationship is and it causes great angst. I liked this book and the whole premise behind it all. The problems I had with the story were that A) We’re told that Christian can hurt someone with his powers when he gets too worked up but we never actually see that. He gets plenty worked up with Tanner during sex but the powers never appear to be a problem. B) We have to wait until the end of the book to find out that Christian has no clue why he has the powers – he just does. It would have been lovely to have known that ahead of time. I didn’t feel that that info should have been held back. Besides those niggles I really liked the story and read it quite quickly. 3.5 out of 5

Last for the week was the Real Men Do It Better anthology by Carrie Alexander, Susan Donovan, Lora Leigh and Lori Wilde. I read this one for my monthly TBR Challenge and will post my review on Wednesday.

My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:
Wild Texas Rose by Jodi Thomas

Happy Reading!