Author: Tracy

Guest Review: An Earl, the Girl and a Toddler by Vanessa Riley

Posted May 19, 2021 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: An Earl, the Girl and a Toddler by Vanessa RileyReviewer: Tracy
An Earl, the Girl, and a Toddler by Vanessa Riley
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: April 27, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: 1st & 3rd
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 320
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three-stars

A witty and moving story from the acclaimed author of A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby, about the lengths to which a woman will go for the love of her child…and the love of a man who knows her worth. Breaking with traditional Regency rules and customs, Vanessa Riley pens an unforgettable story perfect for fans of Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton, Evie Dunmore, and Eloisa James looking for something fresh and stirring!

Masterminded by the ton's most clever countess, the secret society The Widow's Grace helps ill-treated widows regain their reputations, their families, and even find true love again--or perhaps for the very first time...

Surviving a shipwreck en route to London from Jamaica was just the start of personal maid Jemina St. Maur's nightmare. Suffering from amnesia, she was separated from anyone who might know her and imprisoned in Bedlam. She was freed only because barrister Daniel Thackery, Lord Ashbrook, was convinced to betray the one thing he holds dear: the law. Desperate to unearth her true identity, Jemina's only option is to work outside the law--which means staying steps ahead of the formidable Daniel, no matter how strongly she is drawn to him...

Married only by proxy, now widowed by shipwreck, Daniel is determined to protect his little stepdaughter, Charlotte, from his family's scandalous reputation. That's why he has dedicated himself not just to the law, but to remaining as proper and upstanding--and boring--as can be. But the closer he becomes to the mysterious, alluring Jemina, the more Daniel is tempted to break the very rules to which he's dedicated his life. As ruthless adversaries close in, will the truth require him and Jemina to sacrifice their one chance at happiness?

Jemima St. Maur was put into Bedlam after a shipwreck.  She has amnesia and couldn’t remember who she was, she still can’t remember and seeks the truth of her past.  She’s saved (in book one of this series) by Daniel Thackery, a barrister who helps his aunt get widows out of trouble.

Daniel was married by proxy to Phoebe, who was also on the ship that went down, but his wife didn’t survive.  He was presented with a baby who he believed was Phoebe’s child, even though she had never mentioned a child in her letters.  He decides to raise the child as his own.

Two years later Jemima and Daniel have a bit of a love/hate relationship.  They don’t necessarily get a long, but when they’re together there’s a very strong attraction.  Daniel finally decides that he has mourned for Phoebe long enough and wants to make Jemima his mistress.   Jemima’s not opposed to the idea, but she is wary of Daniel as she’s positive he’s keeping information from her about her past and the shipwreck.

This was my first read by Vanessa Riley.  I’ll admit, I wasn’t a fan of the writing style as it seemed a bit all over the place.  I also didn’t feel that the hero and heroine actually had a lot of chemistry.

I liked Jemima…to a point.  She was pretty headstrong, and I liked that about her.  That said, I felt the author took that too far and went into I’m-so-headstrong-I’m-going-to-make-stupid-decisions territory. There was also the constant on/off with Daniel as Jemima couldn’t decide if she was going to trust him or not.  Granted, she had every reason not to trust him as he’d kept a lot of stuff (about her) to himself. She wasn’t even aware she’d been in a shipwreck until he told her – two years later! Still, the on-again off-again love was annoying at times.

Daniel was a smart man – a barrister who worked for the crown.  Even so, he was looked down upon because he was mulatto.  Even when he inherited an Earldom, people still turned their noses up at him.  He was a good man for taking in the baby (Hope) and raising her, and he was a good father.  He helped his aunt with her business of saving widows and their families.  I admired his dedication to his aunt and her cause, as well as his dedication to Hope and fatherhood in general.  Unfortunately, I just didn’t like him all that much as a man.  He kept so much a secret, even when his marriage was failing, he still couldn’t come completely clean.  I found it so frustrating.

Overall I didn’t find the story very satisfying.  Not liking the couple as a couple put a damper on the whole experience.  While I really loved the blurb for this book, the story itself just didn’t do it for me in the end.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Guest Review: Tempting Fate by Kerrigan Byrne

Posted May 12, 2021 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Tempting Fate by Kerrigan ByrneReviewer: Tracy
Tempting Fate by Kerrigan Byrne
Series: Goode Girls #4
Publisher: Oliver-Heber Books
Publication Date: May 11, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 236
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Disfigured in fighting pits as a lad, Gabriel Sauvageau has lived his entire life without the touch of a woman. As the brains and brawn behind London’s most ferocious smuggling syndicate, he knows he doesn’t deserve shy, bespectacled Felicity Goode. But that doesn’t stop him from watching her. Guarding her.
Wondering if her gentle touch would soothe his savage soul.
Though she wiles away hours immersed in the pages of romance novels, shy and anxious Felicity Goode has vowed never to become a bride. How can she share a life—not to mention a bed—with a man if she can’t bring herself to share a simple conversation without trembling and stuttering? Once news of her obscene inheritance circulates through the ton, she is barraged not only by a slew of suitors, but also several distressing threats against her life.
What she needs is a bodyguard.
The large, scarred ruffian she finds on her stoop is exactly what she has been looking for.
So why does his presence make her tremble in ways that have nothing to do with fear?

Felicity is the youngest of four girls.  Her parents have died and her siblings have married.  She is now not only in charge of her household, she’s in charge of her father’s fortune.  His will specifies it is all hers, including his shipping business, if she marries a title – but only if it’s a Viscount or higher.  (He’s not asking for much, really.)  Unfortunately, Felicity isn’t the type to care about titles – she’s a quiet, kind, giving person who wants to work in her garden and take care of those she loves.

When Felicity is attacked she puts an advertisement in the paper looking for men who can be her personal protection.  She finds Gareth Severand in her yard and brings him in for an interview.  When Gareth finds out why she needs protection, he immediately wants the position.  Felicity hires him and moves him into her house.

Gareth is actually named Gabriel Savageau.  He and his brother Raphael ran a notorious smuggling ring until they decided to get out of the business.  Both Raphael and Gabriel then faked their own deaths. Raphael is married to Mercy, Felicity’s sister.  The first time Gabriel saw Felicity he knew she was his, but at the time his face was disfigured.  He has since had reconstructive surgery and was only at Felicity’s house to have one last look at her before he left the country.  Obviously, he gets waylaid and is more than happy to protect her from whomever is out to hurt her.

Gareth and Felicity work to find out who keeps attacking Felicity and why.  Gareth believes it is his old second in command, Marco, out to get Felicity to get to Gabriel.  But there are other forces at work and many secrets being hidden from Felicity and Gareth.

I really enjoyed this story.  I hadn’t read the first three books in this series, so I wasn’t sure if this was “standalone” enough for me to fall in.  Luckily for me, it was, and I was able to enjoy the story without feeling like I was left in the dark about some things.

I really enjoyed Felicity in this story.  Even though she’s pretty low-key, she stands up for what she believes in and is fiercely loyal to those she loves.  She had her hang-up, but she didn’t let them take over her life and rule it.

Gabriel was not someone I thought I would enjoy as a hero, but he worked for me.  He loved Felicity and was willing to do what needed to be done, and change what needed to change in order to be with her.  Luckily for him, he didn’t need to change that much.

Overall it was a great story. Byrne added a twist at the end that I wasn’t expecting and that was a nice surprise.  In the end I was quite happy I read the book.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Darkfire Kiss by Deborah Cooke

Posted April 29, 2021 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Darkfire Kiss by Deborah CookeReviewer: Tracy
Darkfire Kiss by Deborah Cooke
Series: Dragonfire #6
Also in this series: Kiss of Fate
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Publication Date: April 29, 2011
Format: eBook
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 419
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

For one woman, he will risk more than his life...

Rafferty Powell has exchanged challenge coins with his arch-nemesis Magnus Montmorency, and their next battle will be their last. But Rafferty never expected to meet a woman whose desire for Magnus’ downfall matches his own—and whose presence sparks Rafferty’s long-awaited firestorm.

Since facing her own mortality, investigative reporter Melissa Smith has resolved to live without fear. She’s determined to make the seemingly untouchable Magnus pay for his role in ending her friend’s life – no matter the price to herself.

When her quest entwines with Rafferty’s, Melissa finds herself risking more than she ever thought possible. Because the heat between them unleashes the darkfire—an awesome force of Pyr legend, one that won’t be sated until everything they know has been tested and remade.

This review was originally posted on April 28, 2011.

Rafferty is outside the home of his enemy, Magnus, when he spies a thief. She is trying to get into the house and doing a surprisingly easy job of it. He follows her and ends up saving her from Magnus’s fury. Rafferty eventually tracks the woman down while in his dragon form with the intent of getting information from her. Not only does he not get the info he needs but the woman, an out of work journalist, takes pictures of Rafferty fighting another dragon and posts them on her blog.

Needless to say this is horrifying for the Pyr who pride themselves on secrecy but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the shit hitting the fan. You see, Rafferty and the woman, Melissa, are mates and during the eclipse their firestorm begins. But their firestorm contains darkfire and because of extenuating circumstances the firestorm cannot be sated. Darkfire means that life is changing for the Pyr and not everyone is happy about it – especially Erik who is the leader of the Pyr. While Erik deals with his thoughts on the discovery of the Pyr and what that will mean for their kind, Rafferty and Melissa work together to find a solution to not only deal with the discovery but how to deal with Magnus as well as the legacy that was left to Rafferty by his grandfather.

This was a really great book in the Dragonfire series. I was very much looking forward to Rafferty’s firestorm after reading the first five books but wasn’t sure what to expect. I loved that Cooke gave us another view into not only the Pyr but to Rafferty himself. With the firestorm not being able to be sated in the usual way – via conception – Rafferty and Melissa worked together to find a solution. Working so closely with each other and not depending strictly on sex to further their relationship really worked for me. I think showing the reader the intellectual side of the couple during the firestorm was a great idea and was done very well.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens next with the Pyr. We’ve been set up with some stories and I think they’ll be great. There was also an excerpt in the back of the book for Cooke’s spin off series of the kids of the Pyr that were, in this book, toddlers, that was quite good. I’m not sure how that will work with the kids being teens so my curiosity is definitely piqued.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Dragonfire

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Guarding a Notorious Lady by Olivia Parker

Posted March 25, 2021 by Tracy in Reviews | 3 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Guarding a Notorious Lady by Olivia ParkerReviewer: Tracy
Guarding a Notorious Lady by Olivia Parker
Series: Devine and Friends #3
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: May 31, 2011
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: No
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

Exquisite trouble...

A woman of pristine breeding, Lady Rosalind Devine is also an unrepentant meddler and snoop—which is why her brother refuses to leave her to her own devices while on his wedding trip. But Rosalind will not make things easy for any unseen, unwanted "nursemaid"—and vows to use her considerable wiles to expose her mystery guardian.
Nicholas Kincaid, the Marquess of Winterbourne, agreed to secretly guard his friend's spoiled, stubborn sister, though her infuriating penchant for mischief is causing him to question his decision. Though bound by the rules of society—and friendship—Rosalind's spirit and sensuality have sparked a fierce desire in Nicholas to play a very different role in her life, one that entails passion, ecstasy...and unavoidable scandal.

This review was originally posted on May 27, 2011.

Rosalind’s brother, Gabriel, is going on his wedding trip for three months. Gabriel knows that his sister is very sought after and that the minute he leaves town the men that have been after her beauty and money will come calling. All those men that Gabriel has been successful in keeping away will now pounce since he’s gone. So he decides to get someone to watch over Rosalind while he’s gone.

Rosalind is determined to find out who her guardian is so that she can either charm him into laying off his guard – or paying him off. But when she finds out that her guardian is Nicholas Kincaid, the man she’s been in love with for years, she realizes that her hopes of shaking the man are completely dashed.

For Nicholas the whole guarding of Rosalind is complete torture. He has to watch a woman that he’s been in love with for years – even though he won’t admit to himself that’s he’s in love with her – and it’s making him a crazy man. He tries to keep his distance but Rosalind draws him like a bee to honey. Even though he knows that at times he’s unnecessarily mean he can’t seem to be completely cruel when all he wants is to be near her.

Do you ever read that just hits all your buttons and you end up finishing it with a great big smile on your face? This was that type of book for me. I really liked book one in this series and book two was good too, although not as good as the first for me…but this one just worked for me in almost every way.

I loved Nicholas – he was gorgeous and strong but he could be gentle and humble as well and it made his character on the page just come alive that much more for me. Rosalind was so much more fun in this book than she seemed in other books because we got to know her better and we didn’t just see the face that she was showing to the world. She was only 24 but had been out for so many seasons. Sure she’d gotten marriage offers but she had been in love with Nicholas for years and wasn’t willing to marry anyone, including Nicholas unless she knew that the man truly loved her. Parker showed us Rosalind’s vulnerability and I really liked that about this book. The banter back and forth between the h/h was just fantastic and made me laugh on occasion.

Just a great love story that I will definitely be reading again in the future.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Devine & Friends

four-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Seducing the Governess by Margo Maguire

Posted February 25, 2021 by Tracy in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Seducing the Governess by Margo MaguireReviewer: Tracy
Seducing the Governess by Margo Maguire
Series: Regency Flings #4
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: February 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 370
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A Proper Governess Should Never...

Assist a handsome stranger, alone on an unfamiliar road...unless the rake happens to be her new employer.

Take a position in a crumbling manor...especially if the household staff has been replaced by unruly former soldiers.

Allow her young charge entrée to her heart...for once done, it will be impossible to maintain proper distance.

Permit her charge's uncle a breathtaking kiss under a star-lit sky...henceforth she will most certainly lose composure whenever he is near.

And above all, she should never, ever fall completely, irreversibly in love with her employer...for nothing good can possibly come of it.

This review was originally posted on February 19, 2011.

Mercy Franklin was desperate after the death of her mother and decided to advertise as a governess. She only had one reply and so she took off for the Lake District. She’s not exactly sure she can do the job since she’s just a vicar’s daughter and hasn’t done anything like this before but she’s determined to do her best.

Mercy is a bit surprised when she sees the hall for the first time. It’s falling down around their heads, dusty and dirty. Emmaline, her charge and the current earl’s niece is a quiet and reserved 8-year old who hardly speaks. On top of that, the earl himself isn’t a thing like she would imagine an Earl would be like – but Mercy finds him extremely handsome despite the scars on his face. Mercy knows that she needs to stay far away from the man but she keeps finding herself in his presence. The earl is a bit harsh but Mercy finds that she enjoys verbally sparring with him and the tension between the two of them is extremely high. Mercy finds herself falling for the earl while the earl can’t seem to stay away from her either.

There are other issues going on with all of Ashby Hall’s’ residents. The earl is trying to deal with the deaths of his two older brothers, the fact that he’s now an earl and must try to marry to beget an heir, the demise of Ashby Hall and its lands, and the lack of coin to get the whole place back to its shining glory (and a dowry, if he does marry, would come in quite handy). Emmaline despite her young age is dealing with the deaths of her parents as well as the deaths of her uncle and aunt after that. I believe she finds it hard to trust anyone as she feels that they might leave her – just as the earl feels. Then there’s Mercy who is dealing with the death of her mother too soon after the death of her father – but her mother told Mercy, just before she died, that she was indeed not her daughter and they had taken her in when she was three years of age. Even though she eventually reads her “mother’s” journal and is understandably upset by the insensitivity of it she feels adrift not knowing who she really is or where she came from.

Throughout the book there’s also another story going on at the same time. This one is of a dying duke who has decided that he needs to find his two granddaughters who he so callously sent off to be placed with other families as he wanted nothing to do with them after the death of their parents. Now he wants to make amends, find the girls and bequeath to them the monies and lands of his that are unentailed. We follow Captain Gavin Briggs as he seeks to follow a 20-year-old trail and find the girls. But there’s someone else who is looking for them as well and the other person doesn’t want the girls found at all – they’ll stop at nothing to keep them hidden.

This book is really the first part of a two-part story and frankly, I’m very interested to read the second part of the book. Now, because of the two-part issue, I think that there were some things that I would have liked to have seen accomplished in this book…like Mercy (who you know from minute 1 is one of the dying duke’s granddaughters) meeting her grandfather and dealing with that mess as well as coming to terms with the family that raised her, that wasn’t and I can only assume…and hope, that those things will be dealt with in the next book.

That being said I really enjoyed this story. I thought that the tension between Mercy and Nash was wonderful and compelling and I kept turning pages to see what was going to happen next. Once the pair started the sexual part of their relationship – even though they weren’t married (scandalous, I know!) the story moved pretty quickly and things were wrapped up in about 30 pages but that was ok – it worked!

A quick, easy read that was quite enjoyable. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait too long for the second part!

Rating: 4 out of 5

Regency Flings

four-stars


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