Tag: Tracy’s Reviews

Guest Review: Only a Duke Will Do by Tamara Gill

Posted February 17, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Only a Duke Will Do by Tamara GillReviewer: Tracy
Only a Duke Will Do by Tamara Gill
Series: To Marry a Rogue #2
Published by Entangled: Select Historical
Publication Date: February 20th 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance
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four-stars

Without a Season, Lady Isolde Worthingham captured the Duke of Moore’s heart at a country dance. But on the eve of her wedding, a scandal that rocked the ton and sent her fleeing to Scotland alone and unwed, leaves her perfectly planned future in a tangle of disgrace and heartbreak.

Merrick Mountshaw, the Duke of Moore, loathes the pitiful existence he portrays to the ton. With a scandalous wife he never wanted, who flaunts her many indiscretions, life is a never-ending parade of hell. When the one woman he loved and lost returns to London, he knows he can no longer live without her.

But vows and past hurts are not easily forgotten. Love may not win against the ton when a too proper lord and lady play by the rules.

Isolde and Merrick are so excited to get married.  He saw her on the dance floor at a country dance a year ago and knew that she was the one for him.  He wants nothing more than to get married to Isolde and start their life together.  Unfortunately Isolde’s friend is a jealous bitch and finds a way to drug Merrick and make sure that Isolde finds her in his bed.  The little bitch then goes on to force Isolde and her family to watcher her marry Merrick the next day while Isolde’s heart breaking.

Five years have passed and Isolde, who has been living in Scotland at a family property, decides that it’s time to face life again.  She knows that she may run into Merrick and her bitch of a friend who’s now his wife, but she decides that she wants to get married and have a family.  She knows that she can never love a man like she loves (yes, she still loves him) Merrick but she can be comfortable with a man and will be happy to have children.

Isolde doesn’t plan on having such strong feelings about seeing Merrick again but she’s determined to ignore her feelings and move on.  Many men are interested in Isolde, including Merrick’s best friend.  Merrick and Isolde obviously still love each other very much and both were betrayed horribly but as much as they love each other how can they ever be together when he’s still married to the evil bitch duchess.

This was a great story of love and betrayal.  The sadness and angst was heart-wrenching and I totally understood the pain that both Isolde and Merrick felt.  We only got to see Isolde and Merrick as a couple for a very short time at the beginning of the book before it all went to shit but in that short amount of time the author did a great job of showing us how much the couple loved each other. It was so sad to see them separated.

Merrick was a great character.  I really liked him.  He had been wronged so badly but despite that he was a great father to his son.  His wife was, of course, an evil witch but he couldn’t leave her because she threatened to spread rumors about their son.  He wouldn’t allow that to happen so he stayed miserable.  I had to give him props for his love for his child and putting him first.  He was a strong man and I really liked him.

Isolde was pretty damned strong as well.  To have to live with the betrayal of her best friend and then the man she loved.  Not fun.  Despite it all she wasn’t too, too bitter and I liked her a lot as well.

Overall the book was really good and one I recommend.  If you don’t like highly angsty books then you might not like this one but if you do then this will be right up your alley.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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Guest Review: Half by Eli Lang

Posted February 15, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Half by Eli LangReviewer: Tracy
Half by Eli Lang
Published by Riptide Publishing
Publication Date: February 13th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance, m/m
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four-stars

Living between worlds has never been comfortable, but it’s where I’ve always fit: between human and fey, illness and health, magic and reality.

I’ve spent the last six years looking for a cure for the nameless sickness eating me up. If I believed there was one out there, I would keep searching. But there isn’t, so I’ve come back home, where my past and present tangle. Come home to live . . . and to die.

But my father insists I meet Kin. He’s a healer, and determined to help, even though I’m not so hopeful anymore. But Kin isn’t what I expected, in any way. He sees me, not my illness. He reminds me of what it’s like to be alive. And I can’t help falling for him, even though I know it isn’t fair to either of us.

Kin thinks he has the cure I’ve been looking for, but it’s a cure that will change everything: me, my life, my heart. If I refuse, I could lose Kin. But if I take it, I might lose myself.

Luca is half human, half fey.  He is very sick and has been for quite some time.  No one that he’s seen can figure out what is wrong with him.  He’s convinced that the fey half of him is poisoning his human half.  He doesn’t know how long he has to live so when he meets the healer, Kin, it’s a mixed blessing.  He loves that he falls for him but he hates that he won’t be able to live a full lifetime with him.

Kin didn’t expect to like Luca when he told Luca’s father that he would check him out to see if he could heal him.  He was very wrong about that and almost immediately fell for the man.  The connection was obvious from minute one so he’s determined to find a solution that will keep Luca alive.

Kin tells Luca that he thinks he might have found a cure.  It’s really a legend about his people, the ningyo (they are water people/fey and have scales).  The legend says that if you eat one of a ningyo’s scales then you will be immortal.  Now, Luca wants to find a cure and live a long, full, happy life but he’s not sure that he’s willing to become immortal.  Kin’s not sure that the scale will work but if it does, what will that mean for Luca? Is he willing to take the chance?

This was such a good but sad story.  It was a very evenly paced story – nothing too, too exciting happens during the course of the book, but almost from the start I was intrigued by Luca and Kin and couldn’t put the book down.

Luca had been gone for six years traveling all over the world trying to find a cure and also living.  He had finally decided that he needed to be back home with those he loved because he realized there is no cure to what he has.  While he was once close with his sister, Saben, who is wholly fey, they are now near strangers.  Luca hadn’t contacted anyone in the time he was gone hoping that they would forget about him as he knew he wasn’t long for this world.  That kind of shot him in the foot and the strain it put on the relationship with his sister was a big one.  I loved watching Saben and Luca kind of dance around each other at first and then finally start to get to know one another again.  You could tell that they loved each other but there was a lot of hurt on Saben’s side as she had looked up to him and he left her.  She had felt abandoned.  Luca didn’t really know how to cross the divide but they managed it by the end of the book  and I felt they had reached a point that they could both be happy with.

The main part of the story was the relationship with Luca and Kin.  It definitely wasn’t a typical romance as it happened very quickly but it was still really good and very emotional.  The decision that Luca had to make about the scale really effected everyone.  Kin, of course, didn’t want to lose Luca.  Luca didn’t want to lose Kin either but he wasn’t sure that he could live forever and be a happy person.  That thought, however, brought him back to the fact that he thought he’d do anything to find a cure and now here it is staring at him in the face and he wasn’t sure he wanted it.  I can’t say I blamed Luca for his indecision.  I’m not sure I’d want to live forever.  I loved the tension that this brought to the relationship – it was written in a really great way. I also loved the way they talked things out in the end and loved each other enough to respect Luca’s decision.

The story was an emotional rollercoaster that had me turning page after page.  I’m not a huge fan of first person POV as we don’t get to read everyone’s thoughts and only get things from one angle, but I thought the author did a great job conveying Kin’s POV through Luca.  I definitely recommend this book but I’d say only read it when you truly want an emotional read.   It’s a very good book but it’s not a light and airy story.

Rating: 4 out of 5

 

*While this story invovles a few Fey people I wouldn’t consider this a paranormal romance.

four-stars

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Guest Review: Bluebeard’s Curse by Regine Abel

Posted February 13, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Bluebeard’s Curse by Regine AbelReviewer: Tracy
Bluebeard's Curse by Regine Abel
Series: Dark Tales #1
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: February 15th 2017
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 82
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three-half-stars

King Eric Thorsen, also known as Bluebeard, is once more widowed. Like all the others before her, his late wife succumbed to the lure of the curse that plagues him and threatens the realm. Willing maidens gather at the castle in the hope of becoming the next Queen. However, that title comes with a steep price: the King’s new bride must first resist temptation for one year and one day, or die trying.

Eric is tired of getting married.  He’s at a ball and he has to pick a new bride – his 28th bride to be exact.  All of his previous brides have died as he is cursed.  The bride must outlast the curse for 1 year and then it will be broken but so far the longest one has lasted only 6 months.  When Eric sees Astrid he’s intrigued.  She’s not his normal type but he can’t take his eyes off of her.  He thinks that maybe because she’s not like the others she can break the curse.

The pair marry and Astrid seems to be doing well but soon the temptation starts to get to her.  Eric has done the worst thing possible and fallen in love with Astrid.  Knowing she will probably die tears him apart but he hopes she can beat the curse.  Unfortunately, other people get involved and after that breaking the curse may become impossible.

Bluebeard’s Curse was a good story.  It was definitely different from your average romance and had a bit of a twist that was unexpected.  I wasn’t quite sure what the time period was or where it was set – seemed like an old Viking story but I wasn’t sure.  Despite that the added paranormal twist/curse was a wonderful aspect to the story.

Eric and Astrid were pretty great characters although since the book was so short it really focused on the “now” and didn’t get too much into their pasts.  We knew why Astrid had gone to the ball to be picked for the bride and eventually we learned of why Eric was cursed but that was about as deep into the past as we got.  Their relationship was the main focus it was definitely erotic as Regine Abel wrote some pretty wicked sex scenes.

Overall I liked the book a lot.  If you’re looking for a short fantasy/paranormal read that doesn’t involved vampires or werewolves then this would be a good one to pick up.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Guest Review: The Duke by Kerrigan Byrne

Posted February 9, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: The Duke by Kerrigan ByrneReviewer: Tracy
The Duke by Kerrigan Byrne
Series: Victorian Rebels series #4
Also in this series: The Highlander
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: February 7th 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance
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three-half-stars

He is noble, notorious, and takes no prisoners...

They say that now His Grace, Collin Talmage, Duke of Trenwyth has only one hand, he might finally be a mere mortal, but no one seems willing to test the theory. Rich as Midas, big as a Viking, beautiful as Adonis, and lethal as a feral wolf, he is the English Empire’s golden son. But now he’s lost everything. Most of his family died in a terrible accident, his protégé and closest friend betrayed him on the battlefield, and his left hand was cut off while he was a prisoner of war. The only thing that’s kept him going until now is the memory of a night spent in the arms of a mysterious raven-haired woman almost a year ago…

Imogen Pritchard is a nurse by day, but a fallen woman by night. Seduced on the job years ago by a Duke who mourned for the loss of his family, Imogen has never shaken the memory of the man’s despair—or the fathomless depths of pleasure he brought to her. But as the threat of betrayals, blackmail, and secrets abound, Imogen and Collin are thrown back together in a dizzying swirl of dangerous games and earth-shattering desire. But can their love overcome the everything that threatens to tear them apart?

Imogen is a nurse who works at a hospital by day and then by night works as a serving girl at the Bare Kitten trying to pay off the debts that her father left when he died.  She’s just a serving girl and worked out with the owner that she would never be required to prostitute herself out as he had plenty of girls for that.

On a night that Imogen in working she services a group of soldiers.  When one gets a bit rowdy she’s saved by the new Duke of Trenwyth.  After a long night of him drinking and her sitting on his lap he pays the proprietor 10 pounds to spend the night with “Ginny” as she’s known there.  As it will wipe out about a 1/3 of her debt she agrees. She’s intrigued by and attracted to the new duke whose family had just died in a train crash.  She wants to comfort him and they share a beautiful night together.

One year later Imogen is working when she’s told that the missing Duke of Trenwyth is in the hospital with typhus.  Since she had it at one point she was immune so was assigned to him.  She takes care of him and soon figures out that he doesn’t have typhus and correctly diagnoses him.  When he awakens, however he doesn’t recognize her as she had worn a black wig when she was Ginny but really has blonde hair.  After a series of events where Imogen is let go from the hospital and then attacked the same night she is desperate and almost ends up a thief but for a kind patient who offers his help.

Fast forward to two years later and Cole, the Duke of Trenwyth has recovered and is still looking for Ginny.  He can’t forget her but can’t find her anywhere. On top of his frustrations is the woman next door who seems to be opening her home to criminals and prostitutes that she is attempting to reform but according to him it’s bringing down the whole neighborhood. He also believes that since she is young and her deceased husband was quite old that she took advantage of him.  Despite his annoyance with Lady Anstruther, his neighbor, he finds himself attracted to her and unable to do anything about it.

I’ve really liked the Kerrigan Byrne books I’ve read so far.  They seem to have interesting premise’s and intriguing characters – The Duke was one that had both.  First Imogen’s circumstances when the book first opens.  Not so unusual to see a woman working off her father’s debts but I liked how the author kept her relatively innocent until the duke came along.  Imogen ended up being an incredibly strong character who could give as well as she got – especially with Cole – and I admired her and the work she was doing to help the less fortunate.  She knew what it was like to be in a desperate place and she wanted to help those that found themselves in like circumstances.

Cole was a hard man to like.  He had serious anger issues after his capture and captivity and they manifested in strange ways at strange times.  I liked his possessiveness of Imogen but not so much his condescension toward her.  Imogen never let him get away with it and that I was happy about.  He was so set on finding Ginny that he couldn’t see what was right in front of his face.  Because he had changed so much Imogen didn’t feel that he was the same person he was before so kept her identity to herself.  It was a good push and pull romance, that’s for sure.

Now, that being said I did think that the book, at times, tilted toward the side of melodramatic and that was something I didn’t care for at all.  There was a lot going on in the book and there was a lot of introspection as well.  With all of that the drama got to be too much at times and I admit I found myself rolling my eyes a bit.

Overall it was a good read, and a good romance that I just had a few issues with.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Guest Review: Someone to Hold by Mary Balogh

Posted February 6, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Someone to Hold by Mary BaloghReviewer: Tracy
Someone to Hold by Mary Balogh
Series: Westcott series #2
Also in this series: Someone to Love
Published by Jove Books
Publication Date: February 7th 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance
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four-half-stars

Humphrey Wescott, Earl of Riverdale, has died, leaving behind a fortune and a scandalous secret that will forever alter the lives of his family—sending one daughter on a journey of self-discovery...

With her parents’ marriage declared bigamous, Camille Westcott is now illegitimate and without a title. Looking to eschew the trappings of her old life, she leaves London to teach at the Bath orphanage where her newly discovered half-sister lived. But even as she settles in, she must sit for a portrait commissioned by her grandmother and endure an artist who riles her every nerve.

An art teacher at the orphanage that was once his home, Joel Cunningham has been hired to paint the portrait of the haughty new teacher. But as Camille poses for Joel, their mutual contempt soon turns to desire. And it is only the bond between them that will allow them to weather the rough storm that lies ahead...

Camille Westcott was once Lady Camille Westcott but now that her father has died and it’s been discovered that his marriage was bigamous, Camille is just Miss Camille Westcott.  Everything that she has striven for her entire life is now…gone.  She’s at loose ends to say the least and after leaving London and hiding in her maternal grandmother’s house for a while she finally decides that she needs to do something.  She decides to take a teaching position at the orphanage where her half-sister, Anna, grew up and taught as well.  She also takes Anna’s old room at the orphanage even though her grandmother lives not that far away.  She needs to do this on her own – be independent and learn how to live without all the comforts. Yes, it’s about changing from who she was but it’s also a bit of a punishment – at least that’s the way she thinks of it.

Joel Cunningham is a portrait artist that volunteers at the orphanage where he grew up.  He comes in and teaches art a couple of times a week.  When he sees that Camille is to be the new teacher he’s not happy at all.  Anna was his best friend and he even offered her marriage at one point and to see the sister that spurned Anna now taking her place makes him mad.  She’s all tied up and military efficient and after just having a teacher that wouldn’t let the kids be kids he thinks she’ll fail as a teacher.  Except when he first comes in he sees the kids engaged and happy and Joel starts to see Camille in a different light.  He is also commissioned by Camille’s grandmother to paint portraits of both Camille and her sister Abby so he is constantly observing Camille to find out who she truly is.  He finds that she’s so many different people all rolled into one and even she’s not sure who she is.

Joel and Camille start a friendship that soon turns to more but neither one of them is sure where it’s going, if anywhere.  When Camille’s large family descends upon Bath she gets an earful from a couple of different family members that give her a lot to think about.  Likewise, Joel, who grew up an orphan finds out who his family is which ends up changing his life forever.  The lives of both Camille and Joel are in such flux that neither one is sure where they’re going but they each know who they want with them as they go.

This was a wonderful romance that I very much enjoyed reading.  I wasn’t a huge fan of Camille’s in the last book as she was, let’s face it, a total bitch to Anna.  I can understand why that was but it didn’t endear me to her at all.  Despite that I knew that Balogh would show us another side of Camille and make me like her so I was excited to read her book.  I’m so glad I did.  It was an unusual romance but it was oh, so satisfying.

To say that Camille had no idea who she was after the big reveal of her illegitimacy would be putting it mildly.  She was at such loose ends but was determined to be independent.  She had turned down her half-sister’s offer of a quarter of her fortune but her grandmother had given her a large allowance.  Camille wanted none of it because she didn’t feel she deserved it.  She had tried her whole life to be perfect.  The perfect daughter, the perfect lady, the perfect everything.  Part of this was because of her father.  She wanted his love and figured if she did no wrong he would love her and forgive her for not being a boy (she was the oldest).  That didn’t end up happening and it certainly didn’t help her when her fiancé found out she was illegitimate.  He dumped her as well.  She needed to find out if she could be imperfect and still lead a good life.  With Joel she found a friend and confidante but it was still hard for her to let herself go and just…be.  He was also confusing in his affections so that turned her round and round.  I loved reading Camille’s transformation.  The realizations she came to and decisions she made about herself and her life were sometimes harsh but that made the end result so much more satisfying.  I ended up really liking her and who she had become by the end of the book.

Joel thought he knew exactly who he was – until the information about his family came to him.  He was then at loose ends himself because he thought he never cared to know about them but when he did he found he wanted more and more.  Unfortunately he didn’t have the opportunity to learn more after a while and that depressed him.  He found that he loved being with Camille despite his first impressions of her but he didn’t know how to handle his feelings towards her and made a mess of things.  Luckily he recovered in the end and got his HEA with Camille.  He took a little long, yes, but I thought he made up for it in the end.  He was in a state of flux too so I could cut him some slack.

The book told a lovely story about Joel and Camille finding themselves.  I loved the way Balogh brought them together and had them figuring it all out while falling in love.  It was an emotional book that I found to be sweet, tender, touching, funny and romantic – all the things I love. I can’t wait to see what Balogh brings us next in the Westcott series.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars

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