Publisher: Avon

Review: Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne Long

Posted January 2, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne LongReviewer: Rowena
Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne Long
Series: The Palace of Rogues #1
Also in this series: Lady Derring Takes a Lover , Angel in a Devil's Arms
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: February 26, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: five-stars

A mistress. A mountain of debt. A mysterious wreck of a building.

Delilah Swanpool, Countess of Derring, learns the hard way that her husband, "Dear Dull Derring," is a lot more interesting—and perfidious—dead than alive. It's a devil of an inheritance, but in the grand ruins of the one building Derring left her, are the seeds of her liberation. And she vows never again to place herself at the mercy of a man.

But battle-hardened Captain Tristan Hardy is nothing if not merciless. When the charismatic naval hero tracks a notorious smuggler to a London boarding house known as the Rogue's Palace, seducing the beautiful, blue-blooded proprietress to get his man seems like a small sacrifice.

They both believe love is a myth. But a desire beyond reason threatens to destroy the armor around their hearts. Now a shattering decision looms: Will Tristan betray his own code of honor…or choose a love that might be the truest thing he's ever known?

Lady Derring Takes a Lover is the first book in Julie Anne Long’s The Palace of Rogues series. I picked this book up because it came highly recommended by Holly. I wasn’t in the mood for a new to me historical romance for a while now, was content to re-read a bunch of Julie Garwoods and some Judith McNaught oldies but man am I glad that I finally picked this one up. I cried a lot while reading this book. Julie Anne Long had me in my feels. I loved everything about this book.

From beginning to end, Lady Delilah Derring rocked my socks. The amount of growth and spine that she showed throughout the entire book just really worked for me. I was invested in what she was building with her late husband’s mistress, of all people, and I just loved that there was no job too big or too small that she wouldn’t have done. She was a survivor through and through and in the end, I was so hot damn proud of her, I cried.

Lady Derring’s husband died, leaving behind more debt than she knows what to do with, a down on her luck mistress, and a run-down building that used to be The Palace of Rogues. Needing to figure out her next move, Delilah makes plans to turn the run-down building around and create a business that will help sustain a life for herself, for her young ladies maid that has nowhere to go, and a new friend that has lost her way. Unbeknownst to her, an investigation was opened on her late husband and Captain Tristan Hardy is on the case. While Delilah, Angelique, and their small staff are hard at work, trying to get this hotel up and running, Captain Hardy is running down every lead he can find that will lead him to some answers about some cigars that he thinks Lord Derring might have been involved with.

Tristan’s investigation leads him to go undercover and booking himself a room at The Grand Palace on the Thames. He needs to figure out if Lady Derring was in cahoots with her husband over the stolen cigars and what better way than to get some answers than by looking through the hotel room by room himself and asking questions of the staff and of Lady Derring herself?

Watching Tristan and Delilah battle wits throughout this entire book made me so happy. There were times when I wanted to smack some sense into Tristan but for the most part, they were a great pair. They complimented each other well and I loved seeing them grow closer and closer with each passing day. I loved all of Delilah’s rules, I loved seeing Tristan grow to love those rules himself and I loved seeing each of the roommates get to know each other. When we finally figure out who the bad guys are, I freaking laughed out loud but when everything comes out? I cried like a baby. It wasn’t an easy story to read but I thought Julie Anne Long did a wonderful job of building us up, breaking us down and then putting us all back together again. This was a wonderfully romantic story and I really enjoyed it. I can’t wait to read Angelique’s book.

Final Grade

4.25 out of 5

The Palace of Rogues


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Guest Review: When the Marquess was Mine by Caroline Linden

Posted December 31, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: When the Marquess was Mine by Caroline LindenReviewer: Tracy
When the Marquess Was Mine by Caroline Linden
Series: The Wagers of Sin #3
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

In the game of love…

Georgiana Lucas despises the arrogant and cruel Marquess of Westmorland even before learning that he's won the deed to her friend Kitty's home in a card game. Still, Georgiana assures Kitty the marquess wouldn't possibly come all the way to Derbyshire to throw them out—until he shows up, bloody and unconscious. Fearing that Kitty would rather see him die, Georgiana blurts out that he's her fiancé. She'll nurse the hateful man back to health and make him vow to leave and never return. The man who wakes up, though, is nothing like the heartless rogue Georgiana thought she knew…

You have to risk it all

He wakes up with no memory of being assaulted—or of who he is. The bewitching beauty tending him so devotedly calls him Rob and claims she's his fiancée even as she avoids his touch. Though he can't remember how he won her hand, he's now determined to win her heart. But as his memory returns and the truth is revealed, Rob must decide if the game is up—or if he'll take a chance on a love that defies all odds.

Georgiana Lucas is visiting her friend Kitty and her family when they receive a message from Kitty’s husband.  It just says that by no means are they to let the Marquess of Westmorland into the house.  The family has no idea what’s going on as Kitty’s husband is non-specific as to why.  When Georgiana is out riding with a groom, she sees a man being attacked and insists on scaring off the attackers and helping the man back to Kitty’s house.

When they finally get the man back to the house, some of the mud from the road rubs off and Georgiana sees that it’s the Marquess of Westmorland.  Georgiana knows that Kitty can be vindictive (at least she could be when they were in school together) and since her husband told her not to let Westmorland enter the house, Georgiana knows that Kitty might not help him, even though he’s injured.  Georgiana panics and tells Kitty that the man is her fiancé Robert Sterling.

Georgiana stays with Westmorland day and night while he fights for his life, and the family is touched by how dedicated she is when in fact she’s just scared he’ll wake up and utter his true identity.  Fortunately for Georgiana, Westmorland wakes up and has no idea who he is.  Before Georgiana can tell him the truth, the doctor spouts that he is Robert Sterling and that he’s Georgiana’s fiancé.  Oops.

So begins the romance of Georgiana and Rob. Rob believes that Georgiana is his fiance, so he treats as he would a fiance – with kindness, compliments and love. He’s also amazed that the beautiful woman by his side is his.  I loved watching Georgiana fall in love with Westmorland and learn that he wasn’t the complete ass she believed him to be. He’s actually very sweet and kind and I loved him to pieces! Yes, he liked to gamble and drink, but what young buck of that time didn’t?  Their time spent together was lovely and Linden did a great job with this couple.

When Rob gets some of his memory back, he’s not upset at Georgiana for not telling him the truth – he’s too in love with her by that time.  He’s encouraged by his family to forget her, but he just can’t.  He heads back to London and his friend reminds him how he had agreed to help him catch a smuggler.  This was subtly mentioned at the beginning of the book but not in any detail.  Though there was that mention, it still felt as if this part of the book was tacked on and I didn’t really care for it.

Overall I really enjoyed this book.  When I read a Linden book it reminds me of how much I like her as an author and now I need to go read more of her stories.

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Wagers of Sin

four-stars


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Review: Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

Posted December 27, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Wildfire by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Wildfire by Ilona Andrews
Narrator: Renee Raudman
Series: Hidden Legacy #3
Also in this series: Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Wildfire, White Hot, White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3), Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3), Diamond Fire (Hidden Legacy, #3.5), Sapphire Flames, Diamond Fire
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 391
Length: 12 hours and 44 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

Just when Nevada Baylor has finally come to accept the depths of her magical powers, she also realizes she’s fallen in love. Connor “Mad” Rogan is in many ways her equal when it comes to magic, but she’s completely out of her elements when it comes to her feelings for him. To make matters more complicated, an old flame comes back into Rogan’s life…

Rogan knows there’s nothing between him and his ex-fiance, Rynda Sherwood. But as Nevada begins to learn more about her past, her power, and her potential future, he knows she will be faced with choices she never dreamed of and the promise of a life spent without him.

As Nevada and Rogan race to discover the whereabouts of Rynda’s kidnapped husband and are forced to confront Nevada’s grandmother, who may or may not have evil motives, these two people must decide if they can trust in each other or allow everything to go up in smoke.

Wildfire is book 3 in the Hidden Legacy series by Ilona Andrews. The trilogy follows Nevada Baylor as she learns how to use her magic, tries to protect her family from threats on multiple levels, and uncover the plots of a mastermind with a huge group of followers who are trying to destabilize Houston. I highly recommend reading this series in order, as the storyarc and romance are completed over the course of the three books.

Wildfire picks up just where White Hot left off. Nevada and Rogan disappeared for some much needed alone time away. They’re called back when the threat of Nevada’s grandmother comes closer. Nevada and her family will have to decide if they’ll petition to become their own House, which will change things significantly for all of them. Meanwhile, Rogan’s ex-fiance, Rynda Charles, turns up looking to hire Nevada to find her missing husband. Though Nevada doesn’t want to be, she’s slightly jealous of the easy affection Rynda and Rogan seem to feel for each other. As the case heats up and the trials to become a House loom, Rogan and Nevada discover Brian’s kidnapping is connected to the greater plot to turn Houston into a New Rome.

Another fabulous book. Wildfire is action-packed with a full, colorful cast of characters, and a steamy romance. This novel delivers on every level.

Rating: 4.75 out of 5

Hidden Legacy

four-half-stars


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Review: The Governess Game by Tessa Dare

Posted December 5, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Governess Game by Tessa DareReviewer: Holly
The Governess Game by Tessa Dare
Narrator: Mary Jane Wells
Series: Girl Meets Duke #2
Also in this series: The Duchess Deal , The Duchess Deal, The Governess Game , The Wallflower Wager, The Duchess Deal
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: August 28, 2018
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Library, Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 373
Length: 7 hours and 23 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Historical Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 Historical Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

He’s been a bad, bad rake—and it takes a governess to teach him a lesson

The accidental governess.

After her livelihood slips through her fingers, Alexandra Mountbatten takes on an impossible post: transforming a pair of wild orphans into proper young ladies. However, the girls don’t need discipline. They need a loving home. Try telling that to their guardian, Chase Reynaud: duke’s heir in the streets and devil in the sheets. The ladies of London have tried—and failed—to make him settle down. Somehow, Alexandra must reach his heart... without risking her own.

The infamous rake.

Like any self-respecting libertine, Chase lives by one rule: no attachments. When a stubborn little governess tries to reform him, he decides to give her an education—in pleasure. That should prove he can’t be tamed. But Alexandra is more than he bargained for: clever, perceptive, passionate. She refuses to see him as a lost cause. Soon the walls around Chase’s heart are crumbling... and he’s in danger of falling, hard.

The Governess Game is the second book in Tessa Dare‘s Girl Meets Duke series. I was on a break from historical romance for years, so I missed out on this series when it was first released. I was anxious to read this book after I finished book 1, The Duchess Deal, since I wanted to know more about Alex and The Bookshop Rake. My library had the audio available, so I downloaded it to listen on my commute. When that took too long, I switched to reading the digital copy I had in my TBR.

I really enjoyed Alex and her two charges, Rosamund and Daisy. The girls were hilarious and adorable. My heart broke for them and their insecurities. Both Alex and Chase did very well with them, despite their own issues.

I didn’t enjoy the romance as much as the previous. Chase’s reasons for holding back seemed rather contrived, as I never fully connected with him on that front. That is to say, I wasn’t emotionally invested in him and his plight, so the whole thing came off as rather stupid, rather than heartbreaking. Still, I liked his friendship with Alex and how well he treated his wards. I also loved his relationship with Mr. Barrow.

The rest of the story kept me invested, however. Alex and her three friends, Chase and Alex’s friendship, the girls and even the Duke of Ashbury who comes to protect Alex’s honor…all of it was very well done.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Girl Meets Duke

three-half-stars


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Review: The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare

Posted November 29, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Duchess Deal by Tessa DareReviewer: Holly
The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare
Narrator: Mary Jane Wells
Series: Girl Meets Duke #1
Also in this series: The Duchess Deal , The Duchess Deal, The Governess Game , The Wallflower Wager, The Governess Game
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: August 22, 2017
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 370
Length: 7 hours and 56 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Historical Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 Historical Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars


When girl meets Duke, their marriage breaks all the rules…

Since his return from war, the Duke of Ashbury’s to-do list has been short and anything but sweet: brooding, glowering, menacing London ne’er-do-wells by night. Now there’s a new item on the list. He needs an heir—which means he needs a wife. When Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter turned seamstress, appears in his library wearing a wedding gown, he decides on the spot that she’ll do.

His terms are simple:- They will be husband and wife by night only.- No lights, no kissing. - No questions about his battle scars.- Last, and most importantly… Once she’s pregnant with his heir, they need never share a bed again.

But Emma is no pushover. She has a few rules of her own:- They will have dinner together every evening.- With conversation.- And unlimited teasing.- Last, and most importantly… Once she’s seen the man beneath the scars, he can’t stop her from falling in love…

The Duchess Deal is the first book in Tessa Dare‘s Girl Meets Duke series. I read and enjoyed quite a few Tessa Dare novels some time ago, but I went on a mini-historical hiatus and anything published after 2015 has been languishing in my TBR pile. I was searching for books narrated by Mary Jane Wells in my library and found this, so I decided to give it a go. It was such a fun, entertaining read. Wells did a fantastic job as narrator. The story truly came to life for me.

The Duke of Ashbury returned from war scarred both emotionally and physically. His mental state wasn’t helped any by his fiance freaking out at the sight of him, forcing him to end their engagement. When her dressmaker shows up demanding payment for the gown that was created for his wedding-that-wasn’t, Ash realizes this could be the solution to all his problems. So he offers her a proposition: If she’ll marry him and give him an heir, he’ll give her an estate of her own in the country.

Emma Gladstone knows what it is to have her heart broken. She’s not interested in being the plaything of a Duke. But she did offer to help a friend in need, and having her own country estate suits her purposes quite well. If it’s hard to keep her heart from leaping every time the Duke is near, well..no one but her has to know.

Filled with humor, wit and lovely banter, The Duchess Deal is the novel I didn’t know I was looking for. I easily fell into the story and found myself cheering them on. I laughed out loud on several occasions, and found my heart getting all melty whenever Ash did something sweet, in his gruff, surly way. I wasn’t ready for the story to end.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Girl Meets Duke

four-stars


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