Tag: Kasey Michaels

Guest Review: A Reckless Promise by Kasey Michaels

Posted July 21, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: A Reckless Promise by Kasey MichaelsReviewer: Tracy
A Reckless Promise by Kasey Michaels
Series: The Little Season series #3
Published by HQN Books
Publication Date: August 1st 2016
Genres: Romance, Historical
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three-half-stars

It's the kind of vow often made on the battlefield. Darby Travers, Viscount Nailbourne, never imagines he'll have to honor it. Yet here she is on his doorstep—his late comrade's young daughter, and Darby's new ward. Worse, she comes with the most overprotective, mistrustful, bothersome chaperone—the child's aunt, Sadie Grace Boxer. Darby is quite sure that behind her lovely facade, the woman is guarding a secret.

Sadie Grace faced many trials working in her brother's surgery, but none prepared her for the world she's thrust into with his passing. Navigating the ton, with its endless ball gowns and parade of parties, is difficult enough, but hiding the truth about her niece while the sophisticated viscount watches her every move proves nearly impossible—particularly when his searing gaze tempts her to bare all. But when her family's past catches up with her, she'll have to trust in Darby…no matter the cost to her heart.

Sadie Grace Hamilton shows up at the home of Viscount Nailbourne with his new ward, her niece Marley.  Darby aka Viscount Nailbourne, had made a promise to Marley father while they were both in a POW camp that if anything happened to John Darby would take his daughter as his ward.  He never thought anything would happen to John (or he might not have made the promise) so when he got a letter stating that John had died he was a bit upset.  When Darby sees Sadie Grace he at first thinks that she’s his ward.  No, Marley is just seven years old and her aunt states that she will stay with the girl.  Darby didn’t expect that but goes with the flow.  He knows that propriety won’t let Sadie Grace stay in his home without having some sort of occupation like governess but he doesn’t want to do that to the aunt.  He takes them to London and foists them on his friends the Duke and Duchess of Cranbrook. Darby knows that there’s something off about the story Sadie Grace told him about why she is with her niece and why she used the world “safe” to describe his household so he needs to go off and do some digging.

The duchess takes Sadie Grace and Marley under her wing and is thrilled to have them.  She’s not used to be pampered so she does so with reluctance.  When Darby shows back up and proposes to her she’s shocked. She realizes that what he says is true – her being in his household unchaperoned brought this on them but this also lets her stay with her niece and she agrees.

Darby worded his proposal as a marriage of convenience and a business matter but he wants Sadie Grace for his own.  He knows that she’s keeping secrets but will get them out of her.  He just needs to romance her a bit and then she’ll fall for him as much as he’s falling for her.

This was a story that, imho, was a bit backwards.  The H/h became engaged and then started a romance rather than the other way around.  I have to admit I felt it was a bit sudden for Darby to propose out of the blue.  I couldn’t understand his thinking until later in the book when it was explained about his attraction to her.  If the author had told us of his attraction or showed him acting attracted in any way then maybe I wouldn’t have been thrown off by his proposal but that didn’t happen.  Despite my surprise I thought that from there the story unfolded nicely.  Darby and Sadie Grace were good for each other and I liked seeing Sadie Grace come out of her shell little by little.

There was very little angst in the story and I liked that.  This was book 3 in this series but I didn’t feel lost because I hadn’t read books 1 & 2 – it was a good standalone.  The secondary characters played a big role in the story and made me laugh as well.  Humor in historical romances is always a good thing in my opinion.

If you want to read a nice, fun historical romance then this one would be a good one for you to read.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars

Guest Review: What A Gentleman Desires by Kasey Michaels

Posted October 17, 2013 by Judith in Reviews | 0 Comments

What a Gentleman DesiresJudith’s review of What a Gentleman Desires (The Redgraves, #3) by Kasey Michaels

Plagued by the scandal that once destroyed his father and now threatens his family, Valentine Redgrave dreams of dark justice. Brother to the Earl of Saltwood, with secret ties to the Crown, he won’t rest until he infiltrates and annihilates England’s most notorious hellfire club. To cross its elite members is to court destruction, yet he’s never craved a challenge more. Until he encounters enigmatic governess Daisy Marchant, who behind a plain-Jane guise harbors a private agenda and appeals to his every weakness and desire.

Valentine’s hunt for revenge is Daisy’s key to finding her sister, who may be lost in the clutches of a deadly Society. But his seductive charm unlocks passion that can undo them both. Now, the only way to escape death and rescue their families is to trust each other in love and loyalty even as they tread deeper into danger.

Having read the three previous novels in this series, I was delighted to receive this ARC from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.  I have been looking forward to reading Valentine Redgrave’s story as the youngest brother, a man deemed frivolous and without a serious bone in his body.  Yet underneath all the superfluous fluff of his appearance and his lifestyle, Valentine is a man on a mission, one who is serious about overthrowing the Society begun by his grandfather, perpetrated by his father, and who has been resurrected in order to compromise important and powerful people in England’s government.

The other main character, Daisy Marchant, is a woman who is also living in disguise, so to speak.  She has successfully lived “under the radar” as she keeps her focus of finding her sister who she believes has fallen victim to member(s) of the Society.  It is Valentine who comes to recognize her beauty and her inner strength and as their attraction for one another grows into a hot kind of love that they don’t work very hard to resist, each realizes that the other is indispensible for achieving their mutual and individual goals.

This is another fine read from an exceptional author.  The tension and suspense in this book is every bit equal to those previous novels in this series.  That’s not ever an easy quality to maintain.  The family is as fascinating as ever with the intrepid grandmother–stepping out and flying high as she pursues her wild and wolley life among English aristocrats even as she finds the man who can finally tame her hurting heart.  There are some secrets that even she is loathe to reveal but Valentine and Daisy are as committed to ending the curse of the  Society as any of the family and they don’t allow anything to stand in their way.   There are a number of occasions in the book that can be styled as “nail biters” and these are balanced by some sizzling love scenes between Valentine and Daisy.  It is a book that speaks openly of betrayal and disappointment as often as it celebrates renewal and second chances.  All the characters are written with a deft hand and I think each is the kind of character that will resonate in some way with most readers.  I have no doubt that all of us will be cheering for Daisy as she never gives up the search for her missing sister.

Ms Michaels has given all of us another fine romance set in a historical context that she has carefully kept as authentic as possible.  It is educational in many ways and often reads like an enlightened history text without the dryness, of course.  She is careful to balance the internal monologue with the external dialogue, a feat that I personally appreciate.  And most of all, however she did it, she kept my interest from start to finish.  It is a book that deserves to be read and appreciated and enjoyed.  I think all historical romance fans will find this a very readable and enjoyable novel.

I give it a rating of 4 out of 5

The Series:
Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

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

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

Guest Review: What A Lady Needs by Kasey Michaels

Posted April 26, 2013 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Judith’s review of What A Lady Needs  (The Redgraves #2) by Kasey Michaels

From USA Today bestselling author Kasey Michaels comes the second book in her captivating series about the Redgraves—four siblings celebrated for their legacy of scandal and seduction…

Lady Katherine Redgrave has one mission—to find her deceased father’s journals, which may hold the key to a traitorous conspiracy that puts Kate’s family in danger. Kate vows to let no obstacle stand in her way . . . but when she meets Simon Ravenbill, Marquis of Singleton, her attention is diverted as the sinfully handsome nobleman tempts her beyond reason.

Simon has a mission of his own: to uncover the truth about the secret society he believes murdered his brother. All he needs is to get to the Redgrave journals before Kate does. The solution is simple—he’ll romance the fiery beauty in hopes of distracting her from her quest, all while covertly searching for the diaries himself. Yet what begins as a charade soon becomes an all-consuming desire . . . one that could lead them down the most dangerous path of all.

 
It’s probably not as popular today as it once was, but celebrating family heritage, knowing the roots of one’s heritage and those who have come before — all that was really important when I was growing up.  My Kentucky grandmother always counseled me to ” . . . never forget who your people are.”  And I took that seriously.  In the years I was teaching school, I was appalled at how few of my students really know anything at all about their family, where they came from, their ethnic heritage, their countries of origin, etc.  That was always important to me and still is.  And in this second novel in this historical series, it’s vitally important to the main characters whose fathers were drawn into a society that capitalized on pandering to the darkest desires of its members, all in the pursuit of pleasure, of extreme hedonism, and in achieving their greatest ambitions of power wealth.  Now the hero and heroine are thrown together as each search for the journals that were required of all members and which have been hidden by one of its past leaders.  Members are dying, making it even harder to follow leads and make sense out of clues.  Add in the intrepid grandmother, wife of the founder of this society, and you have a cast of characters, some of whom are left from novel one, that will make this a truly fine mystery all mixed up with a sizzling romance.
I also find it fascinating at how those who are bent on expressing their sexuality in spite of the iron-clad social boundaries and the prohibitions against involvement sexually by young ladies of good reputation with men who society allows to live openly and freely as rakes.  Perhaps the the lure of historical romance as most of us are intrigued at how inventive and creative some of these characters are at getting around society’s rules while engaging in some pretty raw and raucous affairs of heart and body.  Yet there is a sense of honor about these characters here–wanting to put away the threat to one’s family while recognizing that one’s love interest  could make for additional problems.  It’s all snarled up together and makes for really fun reading.  I have to admit that the grandmother is one of my favorite characters, “sticking it to” polite society in general and yet who is so deeply lonely, fearful of allowing her life to become entangled long-term after being scalded by the blatant disregard of her husband and son.  It’s all that is truly fine in historical romance fiction and a book that  I really loved reading.
I recommend that you read both the books in this series and appreciate the fine writing of an author who seems to know how to put a good story together and base it in the realities of this historical period.

I give it a rating of 4 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 Harlequin HQN. 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: What An Earl Wants by Kasey Michaels

Posted November 16, 2012 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Judith’s review of What An Earl Wants by Kasey Michaels.

Gideon Redgrave, eldest child of the late Earl of Saltwood, refuses to be humbled by the scandal that once tore his family apart. He’s built his life in London society around one rule: trust no one. So the last thing he wants is to play guardian and role model to a headstrong boy . . . or to engage in a battle of wills with the boy’s spirited half sister, who is fighting Gideon for custody.

Beautiful and bold, young widow Jessica Linden proves to be a formidable and passionate adversary. But the more they lock horns, the more Gideon realizes he’d prefer to have Jessica on his side . . . and in his arms. Especially now that a new threat—sprung from his father’s supposedly defunct secret society—is poised to destroy the Redgraves once and for all.

This is the first book in a new series by an author who has written some fine historical romances in the past and who has launched another series that appears to be a winner.  Yes, it seems to have many of the same aspects as other historical romances, but within what seems like a predictable context, the characters and the strands of several situations bring creativity to the story.  Of course, there is the independant, wealthy, free living aristocrat who has every intention of remaining so until the very last minute when he must face marriage in order to secure the family line.  That’s sort of a given.  There is a young widow who is doing everything she can to simply earn a living and keep from living on the streets.  It is her deep concern for her half-brother that drives her into Saltwood’s life–for some reason he has been given guardianship over hapless young people almost endlessly.  His guardianship over Jessica’s half-brother is like a hair shirt for him, and when Jessica finally meets him, she agrees that he is not someone she would want to be around very much at all.  Way too much time on his hands, no real desire to  make anything of himself except a nuisance and possible the newest fashion plate.  Yet she loves him and wants what is best for him.

The relationship between Jessica and Gideon began like many others in Jessica’s life–she was a widow who was seen as being “available” to an aristocrat who wanted to sample her charms.  Yet their coming together wasn’t quite the “hit and run” that characterized most of Gideon’s sexual encounters.  And for Jessica, whose emotions had been locked away for a very long time, this encounter seemed to awaken something in her that wasn’t exactly welcomed.  The other characters in this story form a wonderful backdrop–Gideon’s grandmother, the mother of the earl featured in the Prologue, was a free wheeling lady who did exactly as she pleased, who looked twenty years younger than her chronological age, and whose memories and knowledge of her son’s involvement in the “secret society” were quite a surprise to her grandsons.  So this story is indeed a romance of a rather intense nature and is, at the same time, a historical mystery that involves Gideon and his brothers by way of contemporary murders of men who were friends and “playmates” of their grandfather.  There’s just a lot going on in this story, and if the reader really likes a certain level of simplicity, then this is not their kind of book.  As for me, I like the multi-layered thing — it is almost like trying to unravel a ball of yarn that seems beyond redemption.  The ending of this tale is quite surprising.  I thought I had it all figured out and I was wrong.

Fans of well-written and thought out historical novels will like this book, I think.  Ms Michaels is an author who have given her readers some very good books and I think this new series will not disappoint.  I really felt like these characters had a greater sense of reality than is sometimes the case, and appreciated the attention the author paid to make the story as well developed as she did.  Not any loose ends that I could perceive.  Just a really terrific historical romance all spiced up with a dark mystery as well as meeting Gideon’s rather unusual brothers, all of whom are going to have their own stories.

I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

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

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