Tag: Meredith Duran

Summer Reading Challenge Review: The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran

Posted August 21, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Summer Reading Challenge Review: The Duke of Shadows by Meredith DuranReviewer: Holly
The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: May 8, 2010
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 388
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge, Holly's Summer Reading Challenge, New to Me Challenge, Summer Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

In a debut romance as passionate and sweeping as the British Empire, Meredith Duran paints a powerful picture of an aristocrat torn between two worlds, an heiress who dares to risk everything...and the love born in fire and darkness that nearly destroys them.

From exotic sandstone palaces...

Sick of tragedy, done with rebellion, Emmaline Martin vows to settle quietly into British Indian society. But when the pillars of privilege topple, her fiancé's betrayal leaves Emma no choice. She must turn for help to the one man whom she should not trust, but cannot resist: Julian Sinclair, the dangerous and dazzling heir to the Duke of Auburn.

To the marble halls of London...

In London, they toast Sinclair with champagne. In India, they call him a traitor. Cynical and impatient with both worlds, Julian has never imagined that the place he might belong is in the embrace of a woman with a reluctant laugh and haunted eyes. But in a time of terrible darkness, he and Emma will discover that love itself can be perilous -- and that a single decision can alter one's life forever.

Destiny follows wherever you run.

A lifetime of grief later, in a cold London spring, Emma and Julian must finally confront the truth: no matter how hard one tries to deny it, some pasts cannot be disowned...and some passions never die.

I remember when The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran was first released. There was much fanfare and everyone seemed to love it. I often have bad luck when it comes to books everyone else loves, so I put off reading it. Years went by and, though it’s been sitting in my TBR pile for a decade, I never did read it. Casee chose it as one of her picks for me for our Summer Reading Challenge, so I dug it out. It turned out to be a lovely read.

This is a dark, complex read. Emmaline, our female lead, suffers much trauma. A shipwreck, then war in India. She is much affected by her trials and tribulations, and that came across well on page. I was fully wrapped up in her journey. Part one, especially, was hard to get through. So much violence. There was somewhat of a disconnect in Part two, however. I found myself getting impatient with the story, and also struggling to readjust to life in London ballrooms. Which, I think, speaks well of the author and how well she brought me into Emma and Julian’s story in India.

As for the romance, I truly felt the connection Julian and Emma had. I also felt their anguish at all that had come between them. I did find some of their actions not in keeping with their characters, however. Especially when they reunite in England. But I was able to move past it. Something I had a harder time moving past was all the exclamation points Duran used! They were relentless! Sometimes two or three per paragraph!

Still, all in all, I think Casee chose well for this one. Shocking, I know.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: The Sins of Lord Lockwood by Meredith Duran

Posted March 1, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: The Sins of Lord Lockwood by Meredith DuranReviewer: Tracy
The Sins of Lord Lockwood (Rules for the Reckless #6) by Meredith Duran
Series: Rules for the Reckless #6
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: February 27th 2018
Format: eARC
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 368
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

BACK FROM THE DEAD, AN EARL SEEKS VENGEANCE...

Liam Devaliant, Lord Lockwood, was born into a charmed life. Charismatic, powerful, and wild, he had the world at his feet—and one woman as his aim. His wedding to Anna was meant to be his greatest triumph. Instead, in a single moment, a wicked conspiracy robbed him of his future and freedom.

...BUT WILL HIS LONG-LOST COUNTESS PAY THE PRICE?

Four years later, Liam has returned from death with plans for revenge. Standing in his way, though, is his long-absent bride. Once, he adored Anna's courage. Now it seems like a curse, for Anna refuses to fear or forget him. If she can't win back Liam's love, then she means at least to save his soul...no matter the cost.

Four years ago he married a Anna.  It was supposed to be a marriage of convenience but they had each fallen in love.  They never got to tell each other, however, as he was kidnapped, put on a ship and sent to Australia to live through starvation and torture.  He managed to escape, while getting all the others in the camp out as well, and now he’s back in London and ready for revenge on the man who had him kidnapped.

Anna knew that it was a marriage of convenience but she thought that feelings had been involved.  When her husband disappears right before they’re supposed to set sail to Paris on their honeymoon, Anna’s unfortunately, not surprised.  Her whole life people had been leaving her and while she expects it, it still hurt.  Not knowing where her husband has run off to, she returns to the island she inherited in Scotland and stays there for the next four years.  When she hears that her husband is back in London, and has been for the past nine months, Anna is pissed. He’s there spending her money and she’s ready to give him a piece of her mind.  She also demands an heir but what Anna thinks of as Liam’s sexual deviancy is actually Liam protecting them both from, what he believes, are the horrors of his body.

Liam was a good man.  He’d not always been so but when he married Anna he intended to be a good husband, especially after falling head over heals for her.  After his horrific ordeal he is a changed man.  He has some of the convicts he freed working for him in his house as he has a kind heart, but his brain is stuck on revenge.  When Anna shows up he tries to get rid of her, for her own good.  She refuses and then demands a child.  Still in love with her he agrees but wants to tie her up and blindfold her so that she can’t see or feel the scars on his body from years of torture.  This creates issues, of course.  Despite his thoughts of revenge he still loves Anna and in now way wants her around to get hurt.

Anna is stubborn to the core!  That woman knew her mind and wasn’t afraid to speak it.  I loved that about her!  She wasn’t shy and retiring and wouldn’t put up with Liam’s shit and that’s exactly what he needed to get himself out of his own head.  I loved the way she went about matters in the book and was proud of the woman that she became after all was said and done.

I admit it’s been a long time since I’ve read a Duran book so after finishing this one I decided it was the perfect book to be reintroduced to her writing.  The love, heartache and revenge that play the biggest roles in this story were written so well and I thoroughly enjoyed the book because of it.

Rules for the Reckless Series


Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: What Happens Under the Mistletoe by Sabrina Jeffries, Candace Camp, Karen Hawkins, Meredith Duran

Posted January 5, 2016 by Whitley B in Reviews | 4 Comments

Guest Review: What Happens Under the Mistletoe by Sabrina Jeffries, Candace Camp, Karen Hawkins, Meredith DuranReviewer: Whitley
What Happens Under the Mistletoe by Sabrina Jeffries, Karen Hawkins, Candace Camp, Meredith Duran
Series: Sinful Suitors #1.5
Also in this series: The Study of Seduction
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: October 27, 2015
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

New York Times bestselling authors Sabrina Jeffries, Karen Hawkins, and Candace Camp, and USA TODAY bestselling author Meredith Duran come together for a sizzling historical romance holiday anthology.

Stunned by the heat of an unexpected kiss on a cold winter’s eve, two strangers from vastly different worlds turn hotheaded principles into burning passion in Sabrina Jeffries’s delightful yuletide story, "The Heiress and the Hothead".

In the snowy Scottish countryside, Karen Hawkins’s rakish duke has an unforgettable holiday encounter in "Twelve Kisses" when the alluring lady he surprises under the mistletoe is not who he expected, but a long-lost love with a score to settle.

In "By Any Other Name", Edinburgh is aglitter for Christmastime as Candace Camp sends a curious gentleman in hot pursuit of an intriguing lady in disguise—one who refuses to reveal her true identity, though she fears he has already stolen her heart with his kiss.

In "Sweet Ruin", will the festive spirit of the season sweep Meredith Duran’s feisty heroine beneath the mistletoe—and back into the arms of the dashing rogue whose carelessness soiled her reputation and sent her into exile in London?

In this all-new story collection sparkling with sexy charm and heartwarming wit, four beloved bestselling authors reveal the mix-ups and make-ups, the missed chances and golden opportunities that come but once a year.

Whitley’s review of What Happens Under the Mistletoe by Sabrina Jeffries et al.

The Heiress and the Hothead

A sweet enough story, about a reporter who’s tackling inhumane working conditions in mills and a woman who owns a mill.  They get off to a bad start when the reporter (quite understandably) is wary of anyone who runs a mill, and our American heiress’s delicate sensibilities are upset by this. (Okay, so, clearly I’m biased in their argument.  The whole thing had shades of #NotAllMillOwners to it.  And FFS, the guy wasn’t even all that offensive; it felt like the woman was just upset that the reporter guy didn’t immediately assume she was an angel.)  Once they got over their Required First Meeting Misunderstanding and down to the business of shutting down the local, heinous mill (and making out a lot in the process), things got a lot better.

Twelve Kisses

A noble at a masquerade plans to kiss his mistress under the mistletoe, but his old lover is dressed in the same costume and Murphy’s Law applies.  After being caught in such a scandalous embrace, the two try to go get the woman’s father and convince him to help ease the gossip, but they’re stuck in a snowstorm instead.  They find a secret cabin in the woods (it makes sense in the end, really) to hide out, and that’s when things actually get interesting.  I could have done without the party set-up, as it doesn’t seem to have added anything and all the good stuff was during the storm.  I very much enjoyed these two characters fighting and slowly discovering what broke them up as a couple before the story’s opening.  It was a very believable, human sort of misunderstanding, and they were sweet while working it out.

By Any Other Name

I straight-up DNFed this crap.  The guy is an unrelenting jackass and the whole setup is creepy as all get out.  The girl is cross-dressing to try and find her wayward brother, who likes to hang out in gambling halls.  The guy saves her from a mugging attempt and discovers her true gender.  All is well and good, except then the girl repeatedly, emphatically says “Don’t try to find me, leave me alone, stop, no, don’t” while the guy just gleefully runs around tracking her down and stalking her to various events anyway.  I stopped after the guy realized she’d told him a lie and he mournfully thought “well, that must mean she wasn’t interested in me.”  NO, SHITHEAD, ALL OF HER REPEATED CRIES OF “STOP FOLLOWING ME” MEAN SHE’S NOT INTERESTED, WTF IS WITH GUYS WHO IGNORE BOLD-ASS STATEMENTS AND THEN READ 8000 MEANINGS INTO RANDOM ACTIONS YOU ARE AN IDIOT AND I HATE YOUR FACE.

ahem  Yes, anyway.

Sweet Ruin

Without a doubt my favorite short story of the bunch.  The lady is the daughter of a diplomat who has to play hostess after her father is called away from a house party.  One of the guests has stolen an important document, so her father sends in one of his (ish) employees to help covertly search for it.  Only Daughter and Employee had a bit of a fling a few years ago which ended badly, so they are none too pleased to see each other.  I loved the interactions between these two.  So cutthroat while staying (technically) civil.  And while they find out that their breakup was a misunderstanding, said misunderstanding isn’t dragged out to the point of frustration.  It’s handled perfectly, with just enough double-talk to make you cry “no, mush faces already!” but before that gets old they do.  And the ending when they confront the conniver that broke them apart was beautiful.  A+, perfect short story.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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What I Read Last Week

Posted September 2, 2013 by Tracy in Features | 0 Comments

Hey there!

Happy Labor Day! (to those in the US)  I hope you have the day off and are enjoying it in a relaxing way.

Giveaway Winner: Kris M. was the winner of the giveaway of Self’s Blossom by David Russell.  Congrats Kris!

This past week went by really fast. There were lots of things to do at work that I don’t normally do and that was keeping me on my toes.  Then there’s my oldest is still giving me fits.  I swear that child is making me age rapidly. sigh 🙂

On to what I read this past week:

I started off the week with Things Good Girls Don’t Do by Codi Gary.  This was a sweet story of two people coming together and finding love.  Sounds simple but when you have a whole town that thinks you’re “too good” for the guy when he’s a really nice guy it makes things difficult.  You can read my full review here. 4 out of 5

Next up was Ablaze by Morgana Black.  This is a very short story that has to do with a girl who is supposed to meet one guy and ends up stranded in a blizzard with another.  It read more like a very short first chapter of a book which made it ok but obviously an entire story doesn’t get told in a single chapter.  Hopefully the next part of this series have more to it and be longer than 26 pages.  2 out of 5 (read for Book Binge)

My next read was Heavy Metal Heart by Nico Rosso.  The story is about a “man” who is both elemental and demon who is a rock star.  He meets one of his fans who is human but is his Muse – his other half.  Trevor never believed that his (or anyone else’s) Muse actually existed.  Trevor and Misty spend one night having sex, running from the bad guys and falling in love.  I had a few niggles with the story but it was good.  3 out of 5 

Your Wicked Heart by Meredith Duran was a great story about Amanda who was going to marry a man who is an viscount but he never showed up.  When she heads to his hotel she meets a man who says he’s the real viscount and that man thinks that Amanda is all part of the identity theft scheme.  He takes her with him when he sets sail to follow the imposter and the two end up falling in love.  Now Spence was a jerk at times but I really liked the story overall.  4 out of 5

Blue By You by Rachel Gibson is a standalone novella about a man and a woman meet after 22 years to find that their attraction hasn’t died.  I’ll post my review for this one later this week. 3.5 out of 5

Headfirst Falling by Melissa Guinn is the story of a couple who both have issues.  Jackson has come back from Iraq a changed man and has his demons, of course.  Then there’s Charlie who has been in love with Jackson for years and she’s not about to let him go now.  But Charlie has her own multitude of issues that have to be dealt with.  This was a good story but really quite dark emotionally.  I’ll post my review for this one later this month. 3.5 out of 5
On a side note I really like this cover but not as it pertains to this story. Jackson just got back from Iraq.  He’s supposedly buff and you know that he doesn’t have long hair after having been in the military.  sigh Bothersome.

Rachel’s Totem is a the first novella is the Cougar Falls series by Marie Harte.  The story is about a girl whose aunt dies and she is to take over her house, land, and totem guardian for the town.  Of course Rachel had no idea when she arrived in Cougar Falls what a totem was or that shifters existed.  It’s all a bit of a shock but she manages to get through with help from Burke who shows her the ropes – and a 4some with his brothers. 😉  Cute story. 3 out of 5

After that I re-read the next book in the Cougar Falls series, In Plain Sight, which is about Sarah who is thought to be the town whore but has gotten a bad rep and not done anything wrong. Cullen is an eagle shifter, like Sarah, who has been in love with Sarah for forever.  When he protects her from an attack and takes her home to recuperate they fall in love.  It was cute and I loved Cullen. I didn’t like it this time quite as much as I did the first and if fell half a rating point.  3 out of 5 

Last for the week was The Untamed Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley.  This is Lloyd Fellows’s story and I’m so glad we got one!  Lloyd is the illegitimate son on the former Duke of Kilmorgan.  His father never acknowledged him but after he died Lloyd’s brother, Hart, did.  He’s smitten with Louisa, the sister of Isabella who is married to his brother, Mac. When she’s thought to have murdered a bishop Lloyd will stop at nothing to clear her name.  It was a great story and I’m so happy that Ashley gave Lloyd his own.  Well done.  4.25 out of 5 (read for Book Binge)

My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:
crickets


Happy Reading!


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What I Read Last Week

Posted July 11, 2011 by Tracy in Features | 9 Comments

Here we are again! It doesn’t seem possible that a whole week has gone by since I wrote last Monday’s post. Time flies when you’re old! lol
I was totally correct last week – getting up early is killing me! lol It’s definitely not easy getting up early in the morning and it’s really hard to go to bed so much earlier than I normally do just so I can get a decent amount of sleep. Luckily this is only for 3 more weeks. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right? Please say right. lol
This past weekend the fam and I headed down to San Diego to see my sister who was down there for work. We ended up going to the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla and then having a picnic in Balboa Park in SD. The aquarium was small but there was a lot of interesting things for the kids to do and we had a lot of fun. The park was beautiful and the it wore the kids out so that was nice. lol
Here are a few pictures:
The view from the aquarium
My sister
My fam, my niece, her boyfriend and his kids
Checking out the tide pools
My reading wasn’t squashed as much as I thought it would be this past week. I did read shorter books in between the longer ones which was nice.
First up was Brightest Kind of Darkness by PT Michelle. This was a YA novel that I really loved. You can read my review here. 4.5 out of 5
Next up was book 2 in the Lessons in Love trilogy by Suzanne Enoch called London’s Perfect Scoundrel. This was Evelyn’s book and it was great! Evelyn decides that she’s going to volunteer some time at an orphanage that she passes all the time. But she finds that she must past muster with the Board of Trustees before she can do anything and that’s where she runs into the Marquis St. Aubyn. St. Aubyn is a rake and a scoundrel and no one that a proper lady should be associated with. St. Aubyn decides he wants to bed Evelyn but he gets much more than he bargained for when he decides to pursue her. This was a great book. Once I picked it up I had a very hard time putting it down. I loved that we got such a great deal of page time with St. Aubyn as I just loved his character. I did have a little bit of an issue with Evelyn’s family. She was seen as a total dimwit by her family but she was really pretty smart. I just couldn’t understand how they could view here that way – just because she went along with what they said all the time. That was just a little niggle and didn’t effect my overall enjoyment of the book. I can’t wait to read the next book. 5 out of 5
Next up was Muffled Drum by Erastes. This was the story of two men who fall in love and are almost torn apart by a case of amnesia. Good stuff. 4 out of 5 You can read my review here.
Next was Sympathy by Jordan Castillo Price. While delivering plants to a house in his neighborhood that always scared the bejeezers out of him as a kid Tony meets David, the new owner of the house. The story was of David and Tony getting to know each other and the strange connection David had with Tony. Good story. 3.5 out of 5
Addicted to You by Bethany Kane was my next read . This is an erotic romance but there was a great story involved here that I really liked. Katie heads to southern Illinois to try and help her friend Rill. Rill’s wife had died two years before and Rill had ended up drinking himself silly in a small town. Katie and Rill end up in bed together but during that time the two find out quite a bit about themselves. I liked the characters in this one a lot and loved seeing each of them grown during the story. 4 out of 5
Next was a short called Jennifer’s Lion by Lizzie Lynn Lee. The story was that a woman is drugged dumped in the Savannah by her so-called fiancé so that he can collect the insurance money. But Jennifer is found by a shape-shifting lion clan who takes her in. Of course the alpha wants to claim her and they’re having sex not an hour after she wakes up from certain death. I didn’t care for the story much at all – the instant sex was off-putting and there was no real depth to it at all. Then I got to the epilogue where the man goes down on the woman in his lion form – Oh heeeeeelll no. I didn’t bother reading further even though there were only 2 pages or so left. Not my cuppa, thank you. 1 out of 5
Slings & Arrows by Josh Lanyon was another short I read. This was about a college student who has a crush on one of his teacher’s assistants, Walter. He likes Walter but the pair is awkward around each other. It was very sweet and I really loved how the pair came together despite their huge communication issues. 4 out of 5
Last for the week was A Lady’s Lesson in Scandal by Meredith Duran. This was an unusual historical romance. Nell grew up in one of the worst parts of London. She finds out from her mother, right before her mother dies, that she is the daughter of an Earl. She thinks she’s a bastard daughter and goes to kill the man when she asks for money and is ignored. She finds out that not only is her father dead but she’s not the bastard daughter – she is the missing daughter who was kidnapped when she was 6 years old. The current earl wants to turn her into a lady so that she can be recognized as who she truly is as well as get the money that is due her and that they will split. Simon marries Nell but originally plans to annul the marriage if she isn’t recognized as the long lost daughter. The pair end up falling in love, but there are many people who get in their way of happiness, including themselves. A really good book that has Duran’s typical wonderful writing. The book almost had a kind of Pygmalion feel to it but it was so much more. 4.25 out of 5
My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:
Happy Reading!


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