Tag: Sabrina Darby

Guest Review: Entry Level Mistress by Sabrina Darby

Posted February 11, 2014 by Judith in Reviews | 0 Comments

Entry Level Mistress Judith’s review of Entry Level Mistress by Sabrina Darby

Daniel Hartmann and Emily Anderson have every reason to hate each other. Her father destroyed the lives of his parents and he in turn sent her father to jail. Now Daniel’s a successful billionaire and artsy Emily is his newest employee. Both of them intend to make the other pay for the sins of the past, but revenge has never been so sweet.

This novel has been on the market for a number of months now and yet I just recently received it from Net Galley.  I have to admit that the title let me to believe that the story would go in a particular direction and I don’t think ultimately that was the case.  Yet it is a story that is full of anger and angst, old wounds and upsets, emotions that just won’t go away because there doesn’t seem to be any way to resolve the issues that caused the hurts in the first place.

This story is built around the demise of a business relationship, one that involved betrayal of one partner over the other.  Now the offspring of those two business partners have been brought together by the need/desire for revenge.  One is the billionaire CEO of the corporation and the other is the daughter of the partner that landed in jail and whose deep family loyalty almost demands that she find a way to revenge the damage to her father as well as to their family name.  All this is taking place within the context of an intense personal and deeply sexual attraction.  How the story develops and how these two characters figure out how to manage this attraction–where it is leading and what to do when it gets to where it is moving–is the substance of this novel and is all mixed up with emotion and danger and the pain that is often caused when the truth emerges in its bare-bones, no frills reality.

I’ve read Ms Darby’s work previously so I wasn’t surprised to encounter a book that was well written grammatically and which flowed seamlessly from scene to scene.  It was a very pleasant reading experience, one that made me feel that I have read a really good story by the time it was all done.  Don’t get me wrong:  this wasn’t a fluffy boy-meets-girl-and-they-float-off-into-love-land.  There are real problems between these two families and every nuance of the dissolution of the partnership and all the attendant hurts and sense of betrayal is present from the start.  The fact that they are drawn so strongly to one another doesn’t make the realities that have separated the partners and their families didn’t go away.  Love really couldn’t conquer all in this instance.  But like all good stories and the crises that arise within the narrative, the ups and downs, the emotional highs and lows, the plot surprises all combine to make this a book that keeps the reader moving forward from page to page.  As one reviewer observed:  when you encounter a book that seems to keep you fixated on each page and whose story stays in your brain when you aren’t reading it, that’s a really good story.

There is no doubt that romance novels are literally flying off the presses these days and with the dawn of e-publishing it is so easy to have a plethora of new fiction on one’s eReader at the flick of the wrist and a healthy credit card.  But we often forget that there are heaps and heaps of really good books that have been around for months and maybe even years and we owe it to ourselves to enjoy and appreciate the really good ones.  I think this book is one of them.

I give it a rating of 4 out of 5

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

This title is available from Sabrina Darby. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Lightning Review: The Short and Fascinating Tale of Angelina Whitcombe by Sabrina Darby

Posted March 14, 2013 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Published by Avon, Harper Collins

Holly‘s review of The Short and Fascinating Tale of Angelina Whitcombe by Sabrina Darby

Wanted:

A beautiful young woman—preferably one with no connections, who won’t ask too many questions—to spend two weeks in the North of England with an obstinate, aloof, and utterly handsome man.

Must love dogs, fixing up crumbling castles, and gorgeous and complicated war heroes who may or may not be hiding hearts of gold under their gruff exteriors. Must not, under any circumstances, fall in love . . .

Simpering misses need not apply

This is a smart retelling of an old tale. I wasn’t sure what to expect going in, but I really ended up enjoying it.

Angelina was basically run out of London. She was a very sought after actress with many prospects until another actress took her place. Now she’s in the country licking her wounds and doing a job. She was hired to seduce the earl. His mother thinks he needs to get back in the saddle in order to move on with his life after war.

Both Angelina and John are broken. John’s wounds were more obvious, since he was holed up in crumbling castle. Angelina was just as broken, however. Her life before leaving London hadn’t been a great one. Add to that the scandal now attached to her and she could barely hold her head up. As they spend time together, their wounds open, then begin to heal. I enjoyed that just as much as the romance.

I hated that Angelina kept her true reason for being there from John, but I understood the necessity behind it. Even after she changed her mind it wasn’t an easy topic to broach.

Though the story is a short one, it was well written and engaging. Once I started I couldn’t stop.

4 out of 5

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

Review: The Short and Fascinating Tale of Angelina Whitcomb by Sabrina Darby

Posted July 31, 2012 by Tracy in Reviews | 4 Comments

Wanted:

A beautiful young woman—preferably one with no connections, who won’t ask too many questions—to spend two weeks in the North of England with an obstinate, aloof, and utterly handsome man.

Must love dogs, fixing up crumbling castles, and gorgeous and complicated war heroes who may or may not be hiding hearts of gold under their gruff exteriors.

Must not, under any circumstances, fall in love . . .

Simpering misses need not apply.

John Martin’s mother takes her cousin’s advice and ends up advertising for someone to come and seduce her facially scarred son who she thinks might not be able to satisfy a woman because of war. Angelina is a former actress and courtesan who had some bad luck in both professions and is looking to A) Get out of London and B) Make some money. She takes the job from John Martin’s mother with the knowledge that once she finishes the job she will leave 100 pounds richer.

Angelina approaches the ruined castle that John supposedly lives in with a bit of caution and with the story that she is in the countryside to draw the beautiful scenery. She meets John that first day but he is none to happy at having visitors and quickly gets her off the property. The next day she shows up again and then again. Eventually the pair are sharing lunches and conversation together and slowly getting to know each other. Angelina’s a bit confused as to why he’s not taking her up on her not-so-subtle advances and wonders if she’s lost her touch.

After hearing Angelina’s story John knows that she is emotionally hurt more than she lets on. He realizes that a friend is exactly what she needs – not someone who will take advantage of her sexually from the get go. Angelina however, is feeling guilty for the part she’s playing in John’s mother’s scheme and doesn’t know if she can keep up the ruse.

This was a surprising book for me. While I wasn’t too sure about Angelina’s part in the whole scheme the way that Darby wrote it worked for me incredibly well.

John had Angelina pegged when it came to her emotional needs. He saw below the surface to the distress she was truly feeling and didn’t push her. Though Angelina thought that she was, at first, doing this great service for John she quickly realized that they were healing each other.

The fact that the pair started off as friends really worked for me. The quiet meals they shared together and the work they did on the castle together brought a different aspect to the romance that I very much liked. When they did eventually have sex it was sweet and slow and showed the way they felt without words.

The whole story was wonderful and I definitely recommend this short, sweet novella.

4.5 out of 5

Sabrina Darby

What I Read Last Week

Posted July 30, 2012 by Tracy in Reviews | 11 Comments

Happy Monday!
It IS a happy Monday even if I had to come back to work today after some time off last week.
On Wednesday RWA had their Literacy Signing and it was HUGE. Seriously. There were so many authors there and the ballroom was massive. I loved that the authors were given so much space to work but man, trekking that thing was exhausting. lol I got to meet and talk to a lot of great authors and get pictures with some of them. I had a handy sheet with all the authors and the table layouts and I STILL managed to miss some of the authors I wanted to talk to. Pooh. But here are some pics I got:
LB Gregg – Always beautiful with a wonderful smile on her face!
HelenKay Dimon – Such a cutie
Holly, Jodi Thomas and moi.  Jodi is so very sweet and I loved listening to her accent.
Kira Brady – Haven’t seen her in years (since SF RWA).  Love the hair!
Julie Anne Long – OMG total fan girl moment.  I tried not to make a complete fool of myself but it wasn’t easy.
Sabrina Jeffries – Sweet and funny – she was cracking me up
Jessica Scott – So good to finally meet her after emailing back and forth.  She’s adorable.
Elizabeth Hoyt – Another total fan girl gush over Elizabeth.  Yes, it was embarrassing.
Sarah MacLean – We saw her right after she had her own meltdown over meeting Linda Howard. 🙂
On Friday I drove back down to RWA (after taking Thursday to recover) and the So Cal Bloggers had lunch with Thea Harrison and her agent, Amy Boggs. We had a great time talking about Thea’s books, paranormal reads in general, books that we were looking forward to releasing and just lots of great stuff. Julie James popped by near the end and we all managed to get a picture together.
Renee, Wendy, Holly, Rosie, LB Gregg, Me, Julie James, Rowena & Thea Harrison
I loved just hanging with my buds.  I love talking books and family and just “being.”  That’s almost the best part of these things.
Wendy & LB Gregg
Rosie and her drink (ok, it was only a Pellegrino)
Rowena, Holly and I had lunch with Julie James on Saturday and then dinner with Carina editor Mallory Braus and Vivian Arend. OMG talk about a roaring good time. I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in a darn long time. Vivian kept Rowena and I in stitches, lemme tell ya.
Me, Holly, Mallory Braus, Vivian Arend & Rowena
I of course got to see all of my wonderful blogging friends, Renee, Rowena, Holly, Rosie, Wendy and honorary So Cal blogger, Lisabea aka LB Gregg and I met new ones as well. Overall it was a really fun time and I’m so glad I went. Next year I think I’ll have to save my money and register for the conference, I think it will be worth it.
Wendy, Rosie and LB dressed to kill for the RITA’s.
While everyone was at the RITA’s, Holly Rowena and I went back up to our room where Rosie texted us to the minute info on the RITA winners (she’s such a giver, that Rosie). Somehow Holly and Wena got on a conversation about multiple partners and they started telling me about Coulter’s Woman by Maya Banks and how the men were all brothers. Now, the girls ask me, when said brothers are all doing their woman at the same time, wouldn’t one brother be tea-bagging another? And then went on to describe positioning, etc. I played dumb and they decided to reenact the scene for me, how gracious of them. Wena’s the woman, Holly is 1 brother, the pillow is another and well, the invisible one is behind Wena. Do you see the pillow tea-bagging? I gotta hand it to them, they did a fine job showing instead of telling. lolol 
Wena and Holly and their teabaggin scene.
Because of all this wonderful fun I had I didn’t get much reading done but it was all good.
I started the week with Return of the Viscount by Gayle Callen. This was the story of a woman who marries an old friend of her father’s by proxy as she’s in England and he’s in India. She never thinks to see him and frankly thinks he’ll be dead soon as he’s old. Yeah, he’s not old and he shows up on her doorstep. You can read my full review here but it was a really good story. 4 out of 5
Next was Now or Never by Michele Bardsley. This is the second book in the Wizards of Nevermore series and while it was a great paranormal it had basically no romance to speak of. Yes the hero and heroine were drawn to each other and it was made to read at the end like they would be together but really, no romance. Bummer. The story of the House of Ravens trying to take over the world was really good though and that saved the book. I read this for Book Binge. 3.5 out of 5
The Short and Fascinating Tale of Angelina Whitcombe by Sabrina Darby was a short historical novella having to do with an actress and courtesan who is hired by a man’s mother to bring him out of his war induced shell. I’ll post my review for this one tomorrow.
Last for the week was Men of Smithfield: Mark & Tony by LB Gregg (previously released as Gobsmacked). Yes, the Men of Smithfield are being re-released by Carina Press and this first book comes out next Monday. I’ll post my review of this one this week.
Well that’s it for the week. I KNOW not a lot of books but it’s hard to read when you’re having so much fun! 🙂
My Book Binge reviews that posted this week:
Happy Reading!

TBR Challenge Review: On These Silken Sheets by Sabrina Darby

Posted August 17, 2011 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

This months TBR Challenge was Steamy reads (Erotic romance, erotica, something spicy!) and when I saw that I knew exactly which book I’d pull off of my shelves. I bought this one a while back (as I’ve met Sabrina at our So Cal blogger get-togethers) but I found I need to be in a certain mood for erotica. This was definitely steamy and was just the perfect book for this challenge.

What happens in Harridan House stays in Harridan House.

It is Regency London’s most exclusive after-hours club, catering to the erotic fantasies of randy lords and inquisitive ladies, each discreetly masked to guard every delicious indiscretion. Under the proprietorship of the notorious Madame Rouge, virgins, rakes, bachelors, and courtesans intimately mingle, free of the suffocating moral rules and restraints imposed upon them by good society.

Harridan House: where forbidden pleasures always take place on silken sheets.

When I picked up the book I wasn’t sure what to expect. It’s actually a book with four historical erotic romance stories that all intertwine in some fashion.

Part I – Against the Wall

This was, I think, my favorite of all the stories. Carolina has witnessed, when she was just 12 years old, Lord Henry Bosworth tupping one of the maids at her fathers house when he was a guest. He saw her and after he sent the maid off they had a conversation. To say she was smitten from that time forward would be putting it mildly. Now she’s 18 and in her first season when she finds herself in a library at a ball when Henry walks in with a woman. He notices her once again and send the other woman on her way. Henry and Carolina end up having a tryst there in the library and Henry is shocked when he finds out who she really is. It doesn’t stop him, however, from seeking her out at her house time and again. Henry knows that Carolina is on the marriage market but doesn’t think too much about it until he figures out that Carolina might be carrying his child.

This was a sexy, hot story that had me turning pages as fast as I could. I loved Henry and Carolina together and of course wanted them together forever. Sure Henry was that age old character who only wants one woman but has no clue that he’s in love with her until the last dog bark, but it worked really well in this story.

We’re introduced to Harridan House in a rather roundabout way in this story because it’s a place that Carolina’s father loves to frequent and at one point Henry takes Carolina on a tour of the house to view all of it’s debauchery.

Part II – The Education of Lord Oakley

Lord Oakley was to marry Carolina from our first story but she jilts him for the man she loves – how dare she? Oakley had never heard of Harridan House but it was reported that Carolina had been seen there. He goes with his acquaintance, Sir Robert George, to check it all out but is a bit overwhelmed by it all…until he sees a goddess. He believes her to be dressed as Ampitrite, Poseidon’s wife, and is immediately drawn to her.

Amphitrite is actually Maggie who is the widow of a barrister and cousin to Diana Blount who owns and runs Harridan House – though most know Diana as Madame Rouge. Maggie is visiting the house to see what all the talk is about when she meets Oakley. She too is visually smitten and the pair begin a sexual relationship but only when previously arranged and always with their masks on.

On night at a ball Maggie recognizes her lover and finds out who he really is. She makes a move to entice him into a relationship and eventually it works – but only after Amphitrite ends her trysts with Oakley.

Oakley eventually realizes he loves Maggie but it practically takes an anvil dropping on his head for him to figure out that Maggie and Amphitrite are the same woman. Really? Her eyes, her voice, her body, the sounds she makes when you have sex with her – none of this set off the old recognition meter in your head? sigh Men can be so dense sometimes! lol  Despite Oakley’s ignorance it was a lovely story also filled with steamy sex as well as romance.

Part III – Roses are Rouge

This is the story of Madame Rouge aka Diana Blount whose very elderly husband had left Harridan House to her in his will. Her deceased husband was a very sexual man and not always in a good way. He had taught Diana all the depravity of sex and apparently wanted her to continue after this death. Diana takes great care to cover her identity so that her reputation in society is not harmed. But Jason Blount – a relative of her husbands who inherited her husbands title knows about her and the house and disapproves greatly.

Jason is at sixes and sevens with Diana. He’s wanted her from the moment he saw her but he hates that she runs the House. The pair eventually work out their differences enough to spend time together after the season while in Brighton. Diana even starts to think that maybe she can have a normal life…and one with Jason. One horrible event with an opium high friend has Diana returning to London thinking that she can never have a normal life. But what is Diana’s life and how exactly can she live it without Jason in it.

My second favorite story in the book this was very erotic but had less actual sex involved. It was the verbal erotica between Jason and Diana that was so enticing. I felt horrible for Diana after the incident in Brighton and the fact that it had an effect on the relationship between her and Jason but it made the story that much better.

Part IV – A Maid for the Taking

The final story in the book was about a lady’s maid who worked for Madame Rouge at Harridan House, Lucy. When Diana wasn’t around Lucy would dress like Madame Rouge and play the part – per Diana’s request. The strictest rule for Lucy was to take no lovers from the House under the guise of Madame Rouge. Lucy is breaks this rule with Sir Robert George and they become lovers.

Robert finds out in a strange way that Lucy isn’t actually the real Madame Rouge but he still wants the woman. He makes her his mistress and ends up spending more time with Lucy at her house than he does his own. He considers, quite seriously, taking a wife but he can’t seem to get Lucy off of his mind.

This was a cute story that I knew would end in a love match but I found it highly unlikely. Lucy, after all, was a maid. I liked the way that Robert worked it all out in his head but this was the least reality based story of the bunch.

Overall I liked the book. I thought the stories were done quite well for being as short as they were and it hit the spot in the erotic department. I also loved that as bold and steamy all of the stories were they were also quite heavy on the romance – which we all know I love.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5