Guest Review: One Fine Duke by Lenora Bell

Posted July 22, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: One Fine Duke by Lenora BellReviewer: Tracy
One Fine Duke by Lenora Bell
Series: School for Dukes #3
Also in this series: What a Difference a Duke Makes (School for Dukes #1), What a Difference a Duke Makes (School for Dukes, #1), For the Duke's Eyes Only (School for Dukes, #2)
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: July 23, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Ready.

Raised in the countryside by her overprotective uncle, Miss Mina Penny's dream of a triumphant London season is finally here. She determined her perfect match long ago: Rafe Bentley, the wickedest rake of them all. There's only one very large, very unyielding obstacle: Rafe's brother Andrew, the reclusive Duke of Thorndon.

Aim.

This was supposed to be simple. Duke goes to London. Duke selects suitable bride. Love match? Not a chance. But when Drew meets Mina, she complicates everything. How can a lady armed with such beauty and brains fall for his irresponsible degenerate of a brother? Drew vows to save her from heartbreak and ruin, no matter the cost.

Desire!

But Mina is no damsel in distress. She's daring, intuitive, passionate...and halfway to melting Drew's cold heart. And although Mina thought she knew exactly what she wanted, one breathtakingly seductive kiss from Drew changes everything. Now Mina must decide between long-held dreams and dangerous new desires. Could her true destiny lie in the arms of a duke?

Mina wants nothing more than an adventure.  Her parents were spies but they were killed when she was just 10 years old.  She didn’t really know her parents as they were always gone, but she remembered how glamorous her mother was and wants to be like her. After her parents died Mina lived with her uncle who was incredibly protective.  Her uncle is a spy master and his nemesis had killed Mina’s parents as well as the uncle’s wife and daughter.  Because of this he was really over-protective.  When Mina finally talks her uncle into a Season in London Mina is very excited and wants an adventure.

While Mina just wants to have fun, her uncle has put together something called The Duke Dossier.  It’s info about every available duke currently in London. After talking it out, however, the uncle decides that the only duke that will do for Mina is the Duke of Thorndon.  He is a man who used to be a rake but is now a stodgy man who lives in the country, or so Mina thinks.  Mina is sick of the country and wants to live in London full time – to be a spy of course!  When she finally meets, and dances with, the duke she borders on rude because she wants to put him off as much as possible.  She has no idea it will only pique his interest.

Mina is actually interested in the duke’s brother.  She knows she can have a marriage of convenience with him and since he’s one of her uncle’s spies, she can share that part of his life as well. The duke isn’t thrilled with Mina being interested in his brother, as he wants her for himself.  When Drew, the duke, finds out that his brother is up to something, Mina and Drew decide to figure out what it is.  Drew to help his brother and Mina because she knows it has something to do with her uncle’s nemesis.  She wants the nemesis dead and plans to kill him herself.  As much time as the duke and Mina spend together, they couldn’t help but fall in love, but how can they be together when they want different things in life.

This was a cute book.  I thought at first that Mina was going to annoy me with all of her thoughts of adventure and spies and that she was going to be TSTL.  Fortunately that wasn’t the case.  While I didn’t adore Mina, I thought she was level-headed and intelligent.  I liked the romance between her and Drew and could definitely see them together.

I was a little put off by the author having Mina be ridiculously foolish when it came to facing the bad guy.  I mean there’s bravery and there’s sheer recklessness.  The author went too far in her rah-rah for girl-power. Don’t get me wrong, I would have rolled my eyes if it was a man being that reckless as well.

Overall I liked the book and thought it was cute.   A pleasant way to spend a bit of time.

Rating: 3 out of 5

School for Dukes

three-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean

Posted July 21, 2019 by Rowena in Features | 8 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Brazen and the Beast is the second book in Sarah MacLean’s Bareknuckle Bastards series and it promises to be just as bomb as the first book was. I really enjoyed Wicked and the Wallflower so I’m really looking forward to jumping into this book to see what magic Sarah MacLean brings for Hattie and Whit.

Sunday Spotlight: Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLeanBrazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean
Series: The Bareknuckle Bastards #2
Also in this series: Wicked and the Wallflower (The Bareknuckle Bastards, #1)
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: July 30, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

The Lady’s Plan

When Lady Henrietta Sedley declares her twenty-ninth year her own, she has plans to inherit her father’s business, to make her own fortune, and to live her own life. But first, she intends to experience a taste of the pleasure she’ll forgo as a confirmed spinster. Everything is going perfectly…until she discovers the most beautiful man she’s ever seen tied up in her carriage and threatening to ruin the Year of Hattie before it’s even begun.

The Bastard’s Proposal

When he wakes in a carriage at Hattie’s feet, Whit, a king of Covent Garden known to all the world as Beast, can’t help but wonder about the strange woman who frees him—especially when he discovers she’s headed for a night of pleasure . . . on his turf. He is more than happy to offer Hattie all she desires…for a price.

An Unexpected Passion

Soon, Hattie and Whit find themselves rivals in business and pleasure. She won’t give up her plans; he won’t give up his power . . . and neither of them sees that if they’re not careful, they’ll have no choice but to give up everything . . . including their hearts.

I’m super excited to be featuring this book on this week’s Sunday Spotlight, so check out a sneak peak into Brazen and the Beast, which comes out next week!

Excerpt

Chapter One

September 1837
Mayfair

In twenty-eight years and three hundred sixty-four days, Lady Henrietta Sedley liked to think that she’d learned a few things.

She’d learned, for example, that if a lady could not get away with wearing trousers (an unfortunate reality for the daughter of an earl, even one who had begun life without title or fortune), then she should absolutely ensure that her skirts included pockets. A woman never knew when she might require a bit of rope, or a knife to cut it, after all.

She’d also learned that any decent escape from her Mayfair home required the cover of darkness and a carriage driven by an ally. Coachmen tended to talk a fine game when it came to keeping secrets, but were ultimately beholden to those who paid their salaries. An important addendum to that particular lesson was this: The best of allies was often the best of friends.

And perhaps first on the list of things she had learned in her lifetime was how to tie a Bosun knot. She’d been able to do that for as long as she could remember.

With such an obscure and uncommon collection of knowledge, one might imagine that Henrietta Sedley would have known precisely what to do in the likelihood she discovered a human male bound and unconscious in her carriage.

One would be incorrect.

In point of fact, Henrietta Sedley would never have described such a scenario as a likelihood. After all, she might have been more comfortable on London’s docks than in its ballrooms, but Hattie’s impressive collection of life experience lacked anything close to a criminal element.

And yet, here she was, pockets full, dearest friend at her side, standing in the pitch dark on the night before her twenty-ninth birthday, about to steal away from Mayfair for a night of best-laid plans, and…

Lady Eleanora Madewell whistled, low and unladylike at Hattie’s ear. Daughter of a duke and the Irish actress he loved so much he’d made her a duchess, Nora had the kind of brashness that was allowed in those with impervious titles and scads of money. “There’s a bloke in the gig, Hattie.”

Hattie did not look away from the bloke in question. “Yes, I see that.”

“There wasn’t a bloke in the gig when we hitched the horses.”

“No, there wasn’t.” They’d left the hitched—and most definitely empty—carriage in the dark rear drive of Sedley House not three-quarters of an hour earlier, before hiking upstairs to exchange carriage-hitching dresses for attire more appropriate for their evening plans.

At some point between corset and kohl, someone had left her an extraordinarily unwelcome package.

“Seems we would’ve noticed a bloke in the gig,”

“I should think we would have,” came Hattie’s distracted reply. “This is really just awful timing.”

Nora cut her a look. “Is there a good time for a man to be bound in one’s carriage?”

Hattie imagined there wasn’t, but, “He could have selected a different evening. What a terrible birthday gift.” She squinted into the dark interior of the carriage. “Do you think he’s dead?”
Please, don’t let him be dead.

Silence. Then, a thoughtful, “Does one store dead men in carriages?” Nora reached forward, her coachman’s coat pulling tight over her shoulders, and poked the dead man in question. He did not move. “He’s not moving,” she added. “Could be dead.”

Hattie sighed, removing a glove and leaning into the carriage to place two fingers to the man’s neck. “I’m sure he’s not dead.”

“What are you doing?” Nora whispered, urgently. “If he’s not dead, you’ll wake him!”

“That wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world,” Hattie pointed out. “Then we could ask him to kindly exit our conveyance and we could be on our way.”

“Oh, yes. This brute seems like precisely the kind of man who would immediately do just that and not immediately take his revenge. He’d no doubt doff his cap and wish us a fine good evening.”

“He’s not wearing a cap,” Hattie pointed out, unable to refute any of the rest of the assessment of the mysterious, possibly dead man. He was very broad, and very solid, and even in the darkness she could tell that this wasn’t a man with whom one took a turn about a ballroom.

This was the kind of man who ransacked a ballroom.

“What do you feel?” Nora pressed.

“No pulse.” Though she wasn’t precisely certain of the location one would find a pulse. “But he’s—”

Warm.

Dead men were not warm, and this man was very warm. Like a fire in winter. The kind of warm that made someone realize how cold she might be.

Ignoring the silly thought, Hattie moved her fingers down the column of his neck, to the place where it disappeared beneath the collar of his shirt, where the curve of his shoulder and the slope of…the rest of him… met in a fascinating indentation.

“Anything now?”

“Quiet.” Hattie held her breath. Nothing. She shook her head.

“Christ.” It wasn’t a prayer.

Hattie couldn’t have agreed more. But then…

There. A small flutter. She pressed a touch more firmly. The flutter became firm. Slow. Even. “I feel it. She said. “He’s alive.” She repeated herself. “He’s alive.” She exhaled, long and relieved. “He’s not dead.”

“Excellent. But it doesn’t change the fact that he’s unconscious in the carriage, and you have somewhere to be.” She paused. “We should leave him and take the curricle.”

Hattie had been planning for this particular excursion on this particular night for a full three months. This was the night that would begin her twenty-ninth year. The year her life would become her own. The year she would become her own. And she had a very specific plan for a very specific location at a very specific hour, for which she had donned a very specific frock. And yet, as she stared at the man in her carriage, specifics seemed not at all important.

What seemed important was seeing his face.

Clinging to the handle at the edge of the door, Hattie collected the lantern from the upper rear corner of the carriage before swinging back out to face Nora, whose gaze flickered immediately to the unlit container.

Nora tilted her head. “Hattie. Leave him. Let’s take the curricle.”

“Just a peek,” Hattie replied.

The tilt became a shake. “If you peek, you’ll regret it.”

“I have to peek,” Hattie insisted, casting about for a decent reason—ignoring the odd fact that she was unable to tell her friend the truth. “I have to untie him.”

“Not necessarily,” Nora pointed out. “Someone thought he was best left tied up, and who are we to disagree?” Hattie was already reaching into the pocket of the carriage door for a flint. “What of your plans?”

There was plenty of time for her plans. “Just a peek,” she repeated, the oil in the lantern catching fire. She closed the door and turned to face the carriage, lifting the light high, casting a lovely golden glow over—

“Oh, my,” she said.

Nora choked back a laugh. “Not such a bad gift after all, perhaps.”

The man had the most beautiful face Hattie had ever seen. The most beautiful face anyone had ever seen, she imagined. She leaned closer, taking in his warm, bronze skin, the high cheekbones, the long, straight nose, the dark slashes of his brows and the impossibly long lashes that lay like feathers against his cheeks.

“What kind of man…” she trailed off. Shook her head.

What kind of man looked like this?

What kind of man looked like this and somehow landed in the carriage of Hattie?

The Bareknuckle Bastards

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: July 2019

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Sarah MacLean

"Romance novelist Sarah MacLean has reignited the genre with a bolder edge." - The New Yorker

New York Times, Washington Post & USA Today bestseller Sarah MacLean is the author of historical romance novels that have been translated into more than twenty languages, and winner of back-to-back RITA Awards for best historical romance from the Romance Writers of America.

A columnist for The Washington Post, Sarah is a leading advocate for the romance genre, speaking widely on its place at the nexus of gender and cultural studies. Her work in support of romance and the women who read it earned her a place on Jezebel.com's Sheroes list of 2014 and led Entertainment Weekly to call her "gracefully furious." A graduate of Smith College & Harvard University, Sarah now lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.


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What Are You Reading? (+ Jennifer Ryan Giveaway)

Posted July 19, 2019 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 10 Comments

Casee: I finished Wild Like the Wind by Kristen Ashley last night. I loved it. I wasn’t too sure about the heroine at the beginning, but she really came through for me by the end of the book. Classic Kristen Ashley. I’m now reading Wolf Rain by Nalini Singh. This book has been out for awhile, so I’m not quite sure why I haven’t read it. All I do know is that I can’t wait to get into it.

I’m listening How to Date Your Dragon by Molly Harper, which is one of my Summer Reading Challenge books. I’m not that far into it, but what I have listened to is funny as hell. I’m enjoying the characters immensely, though the narrators aren’t all that great.

Holly: I had a much slower reading week. I had every intention of reading all the books, but life got in the way.

I reread Broken Dove by Kristen Ashley (yes, I did reread that series all out of order, thanks for asking) and Down London Road by Samantha Young.

For new reads, I finished Sweep of the Blade by Ilona Andrews. I love that series so much, and I’m so happy to finally have it. It’s been a loooong wait. I’m currently reading Beginner’s Luck by Kate Clayborne and listening to The Duchess War by Courtney Milan.

Rowena: It’s been a pretty slow reading week for me. I had such high hopes for lots of reading time but most of my time this week was spent with my nephew, Luke. I could tell that he missed his Mom who has been in Samoa for the South Pacific Games (the Olympics for the South Pacific) since July 4th. Of all of his Aunts, he’s closest to me so he needed extra cuddles this week so I spent a lot of time with him. I did manage to finish Beginner’s Luck (Chance of a Lifetime #1) by Kate Clayborne, so that’s something.

Now I’m going to jump into Daisy’s Back in Town by Rachel Gibson for a buddy read with Holly, oh wait, I have to finish my listen of Like the Wind by J. Bengtsson for my buddy read with Casee and Holly. Lots of buddy reads this month!

Giveaway Alert

We are very fortunate here at Book Binge. We have loads and loads of books to read and we want to share the wealth so each week, we’ll be tacking on a Freebie Friday giveaway to our What Are You Reading posts. This week, we’re giving away…

What Are You Reading? (+ Jennifer Ryan Giveaway)True to You by Jennifer Ryan
Series: Montana Heat #2
Also in this series: Tempted by Love (Montana Heat, #3)
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: February 27, 2018
Format: Print
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: three-stars

A Montana Man risks everything for the woman he loves . . .

Undercover DEA Special Agent Dawson King spent five months in a Montana prison establishing a fake identity to take down a ruthless drug dealer and put him behind bars. Except there’s a wild card . . . the killer’s beloved daughter. Cara Potter may appear to be on the right side of the law, but King has learned the hard way to trust no one—even someone as tantalizing as the coffee shop owner. She’s irresistible . . . but is she also dangerous?

From the moment he enters her life, King makes Cara . . . nervous. The handsome drifter says he wants to get his life together . . . but there is something about him that doesn’t quite ring true. Cara wants to believe in him, yet she holds back despite the way he awakens dormant dreams and leaves her breathless with his sexy smile, steamy kisses, his every touch.

When the explosive truth comes out and she’s betrayed by the ones she loves, Cara must decide—can she trust her heart, or should she listen to her head?

What Are You Reading: True to You by Jennifer Ryan

What are you reading this week? Any new favorites or books that drove you crazy? Share!


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Review: Come As You Are by Lauren Blakely

Posted July 19, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Come As You Are by Lauren BlakelyReviewer: Holly
Come As You Are by Lauren Blakely
Narrator: Andi Arndt, Sebastian York
Series: One Love #5
Also in this series: The Sexy One (One Love, #1), The Only One (One Love #2), The Hot One (One Love, #3), The Knocked Up Plan
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 16, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 334
Length: 7 hours and 29 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

I couldn’t have scripted a more perfect night.

For one fantastic evening, at a masquerade party in the heart of Manhattan, I’m not the millionaire everyone wants a piece of. Fine—multimillionaire. But who’s counting all those commas? Not me, and not the most intriguing woman I've ever met, who happens to like dancing, witty banter, and hot, passionate up-against-the-wall sex as much as I do.

There's no need for names or business cards. And that’s why I’m eager to get to know her more, since my mystery woman seems to like me for me, rather than for my huge…bank account.

Everything’s coming up aces. Until the next day when things get a little complicated. (Newsflash — a lot complicated.)

***

He's charming, brilliant, an incredible lover, and right now I want to stab fate in the eyeballs.

I've had one goal I've been working toward, and lo and behold, my mystery man is the very person who stands between me and my dream job. A job I desperately need since my hard-knock life has nothing in common with his star-kissed one.

But it’s time to put that fairytale night behind me, and focus on learning what makes him tick. Too bad it turns out his quirks are my quirks, and his love affair with New York matches mine.

And as we spend our days together, I discover something else that feels like a cruel twist of fate — I’m falling for this naughty prince charming, and that’s not an ending I can write to our story.

Come As You Are by Lauren Blakely is the 5th book in the One Love series. I really enjoyed the previous book and I couldn’t wait to see what happened with Flynn. I ended up loving this book. I think it might be my favorite of the series. Andi Arndt and Sebastian York narrated, which probably helped. They’re my favorite duo.

Flynn Parker and his twin brother Dylan sold their start-up for millions. Now they’re working on a fully automated home system. He’s a hot, young millionaire at the top of the tech industry. But he never knows if people want him for him, or for his money. A masquerade ball gives him the chance to reinvent himself for a night- to remain anonymous. He could never have guessed he’d meet the woman of his dreams there, but that’s exactly what happened.

Sabrina Granger has been unlucky in love and business lately. But all that turns around the night she meets a mystery man at a masquerade ball. After the hottest encounter of her life – with the possibility of more – she’s offered her dream assignment – the chance to interview Flynn Parker, with the potential to make this a full-time writing gig with a prestigious magazine. She’s flying high – until she and her masked mystery man from the night before meet up in the daylight and she realizes her hot library fling is none other than Flynn Parker, in the flesh.

She needs this job more than she needs orgasms, so she tells Flynn they have to keep things professional. But that’s easier said than done when New York’s hottest bachelor turns out to be the Prince Charming she’s always wanted.

Flynn was such a sweetheart in the previous books, I knew I was going to love him. He was everything I expected him to be. He was sweet, funny, generous and kind. But also dirty, sarcastic and not afraid to take chances. Sabrina was the perfect partner for him. She was adventurous, kind and quirky. I loved the way they explored the city and got to know one another.

This was a sweet romance filled with witty banter and a lot of chemistry. I absolutely loved it.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

One Love

four-half-stars


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