Source: Publisher

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
Add It: Goodreads
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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Take a position in a crumbling manor...especially if the household staff has been replaced by unruly former soldiers.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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Throwback Thursday Review: A Lot Like Love by Julie James

Posted February 18, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 11 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: A Lot Like Love by Julie JamesReviewer: Rowena
A Lot Like Love by Julie James
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: March 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 304
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars

Previous edition for this ISBN found here

The FBI wants her cooperation. As the daughter of a billionaire and the owner of the city's top wine store, Jordan Rhodes is invited to the most exclusive parties in Chicago. But there's only one party the FBI wants to crash: the charity fundraiser of a famous restaurateur, who also happens to launder money for the mob. In exchange for her brother's release from prison, Jordan is going to be there—with a date supplied by the Bureau.

Agent McCall just wants her. As the top undercover agent in Chicago, Nick McCall has one rule: never get personal. This "date" with Jordan Rhodes is merely an assignment— one they're both determined to pull off even if they can't be together for five minutes before the sarcasm and sparks begin to fly. But when Nick's investigation is compromised, he and Jordan have no choice but to pretend they're a couple, and what starts out as a simple assignment begins to feel a lot like something more.

This review was originally posted on February 23, 2021.

Julie James has written another contemporary romance novel that I thought was fantastic. This book follows Special Agent Nick McCall and billionaire heiress Jordan Rhodes as they go undercover as a couple to try to bring down more of Roberto Martino’s minions who are trafficking his drug money through legit businesses and the guy that they’re targeting and going after is Xander Eckhart, a business friend of Jordan.

How did they get Jordan to take part? They offered her a deal that she couldn’t and wouldn’t walk away from.

Once again, James has written a heroine who is both strong, smart, and totally capable and I adored her. I thought Jordan was a great part of this book, her character might have been totally loaded but I connected with her dilemma and I connected with her as a person. Watching her fall in love with Nick was a delight to read about and she was a fun person to get to know.

Then there’s Nick. I’m a sucker for the name Nick. If you want me to love your hero, you’ll get off to a great start by naming him Nick because there’s something about that name that totally gets me. Nick McCall was a sexy beast that I enjoyed getting to know. I loved his manly man attitude and while some might find him a little over the edge (because of his refusal to drink anything pink, haha), I adored him. I loved his overt manliness and I adored that he called Jordan, Rhodes. The way that he said Rhodes, got me each and every single time.

Julie James does such a great job of making the reader feel like they’re apart of the stories she writes and this book was no exception. When everything is going down, I can see it all coming together like I’m apart of the action and I appreciated that. I loved that I could feel Jordan and Nick falling for each other. I was right there, anxious and nervous when Nick and Jordan arrived at Xander’s party. My heart was pounding when the shit hit the fan and I was annoyed as all get out Lisa came back into the picture.

Another thing that I absolutely loved about the story was the inclusion of Jack and Cameron. They were a part of the story but they didn’t take over the story and I liked that. It was so good to see them again and see how they’re doing so I loved that James included them.

I’m a blood-thirsty bitch and I wanted something to happen to Lisa. I wanted to see Nick tell her where to shove her love for him and I wanted to see Nick with his Mom. It would have been nice to see Nick with his family but aside from wanting those things, I still enjoyed the book quite a bit and am sure that fans of Julie James will not be disappointed with this new book. Julie James wrote another winner for me and it was such a fast read that I’m already anxious for more from Julie and I cannot freaking wait for Kyle’s book. Holy goodness, I was so excited to see that Kyle’s story is next. Woo hoo!

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

FBI-US Attorney

four-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: The Heiress by Lynsay Sands

Posted February 11, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: The Heiress by Lynsay SandsReviewer: Holly
The Heiress by Lynsay Sands
Series: Madison Sisters #2
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: February 22, 2011
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 382
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Desperately seeking a husband...

Suzette is not like other heiresses; she wants a poor husband, a gentleman who will be so grateful for her dowry that he will allow her access to it so that she can pay off her father's gambling debts. When this alluring beauty encounters Daniel Woodrow—handsome, titled, single . . . and even more impoverished than she could have hoped for—it seems Suzette's wildest dreams have come true.

But Daniel has not been truthful. Tired of being accosted by an endless stream of vapid coquettes and their fortune-hunting mothers, Daniel has decided to plead poverty to stop them in their tracks. Yet here is a most refreshing and delectable lady, who claims to be thrilled by his penury. Now all Daniel has to do to find true happiness is to keep a little white lie alive . . . while avoiding a villain who's determined to prevent this union by any means necessary.

This review was originally posted on February 15, 2011.

I confess I read these books out of order. Even though this is the second book in the series, I read it first not realizing it. Because it runs parallel to the first book, The Countess, I didn’t enjoy the first book nearly as much as I did this one, since I found it rather redundant. I think had I read The Countess first, I would have liked this one less than I did. Just a warning for those of you who want to read the series.

I’ve been referring to this book as a historical Weekend at Bernie’s. With a zany plot, silly antics, and a corpse that turns up in the most unfortunate places, this is a fun romp.

Suzette, Lady Madison is in a bind. Her father has gambled them to the edge of ruin – for the second time in a year – and she must marry in order to save the family. She’s only got two weeks before her father’s markers come due, which doesn’t leave much time to find someone. She isn’t interested in marriage in the least, so she devises a plan to give her as much power as possible in the union: In exchange for the bulk of her dowry (which is rather substantial) her new husband must agree to give her a portion and her freedom. She figures if she finds a titled gentleman desperately in need of funds she should be married in no time.

Daniel Woodrow is only trying to help his friend, Richard, reclaim his identity, so he’s shocked when Suzette proposes marriage to him. To put her off he claims to be poor, but that only seems to make him more perfect in his eyes. Determined to keep her from marrying for the wrong reasons, he agrees to consider the proposal while he and Richard investigate the death of Richard’s twin and the circumstances behind Suzette’s father gambling all their money away.

But there is more going on than meets the eye, and between corpses, murder attempts, family obligations and an overwhelming passion neither could have foreseen, they’ll need all their wits about them. This is rather unfortunate since good sense seems to disappear when they touch each other.

Suzette really made this story. She is honest and forthright and isn’t afraid to speak her mind, no matter how unflattering the truths she reveals. The word that kept coming to mind to describe her was termagant, and I mean that in the nicest way possible.

Daniel is a stand-up kind of guy, the type many women dream about. Where others might have been horrified by the heroine, he adored her. Though he isn’t sure he wants to marry her, he does want to ensure her future is secure, one way or another. I thought it was hilarious that he wouldn’t let anyone tell her the truth about his financial state for fear she’d decide not to marry him, even when he wasn’t sure he wanted marriage.

Though I enjoyed it, this novel requires the reader to suspend a huge amount of disbelief in order to make it work. This was hard at times because the plot was so unbelievable. The basis of the plot is so flimsy I really struggled to accept it. The antics of the characters were amusing, but Sands pushed it too far on several occasions.

I will say, despite the lighthearted nature of the book, there’s enough depth to keep it from being over the top. The love story is shaded with flashes of the deep emotion that reel the reader in.

If you’re in the mood for a lighthearted comedy, I recommend this. Just remember to go into it expecting a plot on the unbelievable side.

3.75 out of 5

Madison Sisters

three-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Scandal of the Year by Laura Lee Guhrke

Posted January 28, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 6 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Scandal of the Year by Laura Lee GuhrkeReviewer: Rowena
Scandal of the Year by Laura Lee Guhrke
Series: Abandoned at the Altar #2
Also in this series: Trouble at the Wedding (Abandoned at the Altar, #3)
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: January 25, 2011
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 372
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

ONE TRYST WAS ALL SHE WANTED ...

From their very first meeting, Julia knew that Aidan Carr, the oh-so-proper Duke of Trathen, had a bit of the devil in him, a devil who secretly yearned for what he could not have, a devil who harbored a desire for her. So when she needed to be caught in a compromising situation, Aidan was the answer to her prayers.

ONE TRYST JUST WASN'T ENOUGH ...

Aidan is supposed to be looking for a bride, yet his scandalous liaison with Julia is all he can think about. Hot, erotic memories of kissing her skin, falling into her bed, pulling her naked body on top of his own continue to torment and tempt him. What is it about this brazen seductress that he finds so hard to resist? And how can he stop himself from falling into her bed a second time?

This review was originally posted on January 25, 2011.

This is the second book in the Abandoned at the Altar series and I ate this book up. As much as I enjoyed the first book, Wedding of the Season, I enjoyed this book a little more. I knew that something was going on between Julia and Aidan in WotS and I knew that it was going to be a good story and boy was I not disappointed.

Julia wants a divorce and she’s desperate enough to go to any lengths to secure a divorce and when Aidan gets caught in the middle of it all, she’s sorry for it but she doesn’t regret it. Aidan, on the other hand, is furious but because he’s a gentleman, he doesn’t give Julia the cut direct like she was expecting.

After Julia finally gets her divorce, she’s faced with a freedom that she’s always craved and while she’s excited about that, she’s also trying to clear up the debt that she racked up while being married to Yardley. She got the divorce for herself but she’s turning her life around for her family. She’s put them through the wringer with her antics during her marriage and she’s determined to make things right for them. She’s starting with cleaning up her debt problems, only she has no idea what she’s going to do about it because the small allowance that Paul gives her won’t put a dent in it. So she goes to the one person who would know what to do but who probably wants nothing to do with her.

She goes to the Duke of Trathen, of course.

I loved how Julia was the one woman that Aidan could never have but the one woman that he always wanted. I loved how he disapproved of everything she did and judged her but deep down, he craved her like a pregnant lady craves cake. I enjoyed watching both of them fall for each other and I thought that Julia and Aidan were so perfect for each other.

This pairing is my favorite of the two books and I thoroughly enjoyed the romance, it was cute and steamy and I ate it up. I loved getting to know both Julia and Aidan separately and then getting to know them together. They were interesting characters and my heart went out to both of them. To Julia for what she went through with her first husband and to Aidan for feeling helpless to help her.

My one gripe with this story was Julia’s reasons for not wanting to marry Aidan. Ugh, that whole thing made me want to smack Julia upside her head because to put Aidan in the same catagory as Yardley made me want to smack some sense into her but in the end, it worked out so I wasn’t too unhappy with that part of the story.

I really enjoyed this story and am anxious for more from the other characters in this series. I’d love to see more from Paul as I am very fond of her character. I think the set up between him and his wife would make for a wonderful story. All in all, this was a great story and I thoroughly recommend it.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

Abandoned at the Altar

four-half-stars


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Guest Review: Emerald Blaze by Ilona Andrews

Posted September 21, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Emerald Blaze by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Tracy
Emerald Blaze by Ilona Andrews
Series: Hidden Legacy #5
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, Wildfire
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: August 25, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 391
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

As Prime magic users, Catalina Baylor and her sisters have extraordinary powers—powers their ruthless grandmother would love to control. Catalina can earn her family some protection working as deputy to the Warden of Texas, overseeing breaches of magic law in the state, but that has risks as well. When House Baylor is under attack and monsters haunt her every step, Catalina is forced to rely on handsome, dangerous Alessandro Sagredo, the Prime who crushed her heart.

The nightmare that Alessandro has fought since childhood has come roaring back to life, but now Catalina is under threat. Not even his lifelong quest for revenge will stop him from keeping her safe, even if every battle could be his last. Because Catalina won't rest until she stops the use of the illicit, power-granting serum that's tearing their world apart.

Catalina Baylor is wrapping up an investigation for House Baylor Investigative Agency, her family’s PI firm, when she’s attacked by beasts she’s never seen before.  She discovers that they are a blend of mechanical and biological constructs that are controlled by magic, which aren’t supposed to be able to exist together.  Since she is the Deputy Warden of the State of Texas, she calls the Warden, Linus Duncan, and tells him.  He immediately instructs her to go to Montgomery Investigations, Inc. and take over a case.

The case involves the death of Prime Felix Morton from House Morton.  He was one of five Primes from different Houses that were working on a reclamation project. They were trying to reclaim The Pit, which is a flooded, swampy area in the middle of Houston.  Catalina must now interview the other four Primes to try to discover who killed Felix.  She certainly doesn’t expect to run into Alessandro Sagredo when she gets to MII, as she hasn’t seen him in six months, but that’s what happens.  Alessandro was hired by Lander Morton to kill whoever murdered his son, Felix, once the killer is exposed.

Catalina is determined to keep her distance from Alessandro, despite the fact that he’s resumed his bodyguard-of-the-Deputy-Warden duties.  Alessandro has discovered that a man that he has been after for years is now looking to kill Catalina, if not her whole family.  He’s going to keep Catalina safe if it kills him.

Catalina has to deal with her feelings for Alessandro, keeping herself and her family safe, dealing with her grandmother Tremaine who is a wolf in wolf’s clothing, and balancing her House duties as well as her Deputy duties.  It’s a lot, especially with finding out that there is something in the Pit that is sentient, and it plans on taking over Houston completely.

I love Ilona Andrews books.  Seriously, I’ve never read an IA that I didn’t like.  The world building alone rocks my world, then they add in some romance and boom, I’m hooked.  This book was another amazing addition to the Hidden Legacy series.

I really didn’t like Catalina the first time I read Sapphire Flames.  Amazing book, but I was on the fence about her.  The “I love you” when it came to Alessandro was out of nowhere and based on nothing, and I wasn’t feeling it.  I recently reread SF and Catalina grew on me.  I still didn’t like the “love” part of the story, and actually disliked Alessandro somewhat during the second read, but the book was still crazy good.

In Emerald Blaze all of that dislike went away.  Though it’s only been six months since the last story ended, I felt Catalina had grown.  Becoming Deputy Warden of the State of Texas, and working with Linus, did her a hell of a lot of good and I could see the changes in her.  Alessandro, as well, was a different person.  His snarky personality wasn’t completely gone, but he seemed to take life more seriously and he was actually open and communicative with Catalina.  Loved it!

The rest of the story, besides the romantic parts, was super great.  Not that they weren’t, but they weren’t the focus.  I love the creatures that IA comes up with and it blows my mind that their minds work like that! The fact that the Baylor family, as well as Alessandro, have to work out these puzzling details and use their wits and intelligence to solve whatever issues arise makes me like them and the book even more.

I can’t tell you much about it as that will completely ruin the story for you, but I highly recommend this book.  If you haven’t read this series yet you are definitely missing out!  Start with Burn for Me and don’t stop until you’re done with Emerald Blaze.  You can thank me later.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

four-half-stars


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