Monday, April 25, 2011

To Tempt a Rake by Cara Elliott

Kate Woodbridge had a very unusual childhood for a granddaughter of a duke. She traveled the world with her parents acquiring expertise in botany and has no real claim for all the traditional English customs. But a promise to her dying parents forces her to return to London and try to build a relationship with the stogy old duke. Thankfully she meets up with the other intellectual ladies in the 'Circle of Sin' and has somewhere where she feels like she belongs but she still does not tell the ladies all her shameful secrets of her past.

When she meets the cousin of one of her friends, Marco, the Conte of Como, she is quite flustered as they have met in the past and she just hopes Marco does not remember her. Too bad he eventually places her unique scent and remembers where and why they have meet before. By this time they are both at her grandfathers country home for a party, Kate is there at her grandfathers request, and Marco is there on some secret business for the government and everything goes into a tailspin when there is a murder and the blame is pointed at Kate.

This is the third book I have read from Cara Elliott and I have enjoyed every single one. It has a wonderful mix of heated romance, mystery and touching relationships between family members. There is a small side romance between a couple of the older characters that I very much enjoyed and thought it added a nice warmth to the storyline, along with a few chuckles, watching those two hard headed people butt heads. You can feel the attraction between Kate and Marco right away, and even though they previously met in the second book (To Surrender To A Rogue) you don't need to read them in order, though you do get more of a sense of their early relationship. When Kate and Marco must embark on an adventure together that neither one expected, Marco finally comes to terms with why his is such a rogue (this part I thought could have been expanded upon a bit more to give him a bit more history) and Kate finally finds the love she has been missing since her parents death from more than one place. This is an excellent trilogy and I look forward to future books from Ms Elliott. 4 stars!

I won this book on through their first reads program, thanks!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Till Dawn with the Devil by Alexandra Hawkins

This was yet another enjoyable, quick read for me from Alexandra Hawkins. This is the story of Gabriel Housely, Earl of Rainecourt aka "Reign". Reign catches a glimpse of a pretty woman with blue bows on her gown and when he finally finds her in the room, Lady Sophia is chatting with a man he believes is of questionable character and sweeps her off to dance. Little does he know that Lady Sophia suffered an horrible accident as a child and her vision is damaged and she avoids dancing as she can not see well enough to keep up in an unfamiliar surroundings. When Reign calls her clumsy, she about bits his head off!

Now Reign and Sophia share a terrible tragedy from their childhood and when Reign discovers who she is he tries to put his feelings aside. But he happens upon her in town one day and show her a bit of archery...and I guess they had several encounters like this, but like the previous book, this was all off the pages. Not quite sure why both books had so much of the developing relationship take place off the pages but its the one major thing that bugged me about both books.

Anyways...Sophias brothers force her into accepting marriage to help cover their gambling debts and Reign catches wind of this plan and comes to Sophias rescue by offering marriage to himself so he can protect her. Now Reigns first wife died a tragic death that he is blamed for, though he had no part in it, and has vowed to never be duped by love and happiness and marriage again. But something about Sophia settles in his heart and just never lets go. When they are forced to leave London and return to his country home, the scene of the tragedy of their young lives, there is quite an odd twist that I did not see coming. Again, a tad unbelievable like the first book, but it had me turning the pages quickly to see how it all unfolded. This is a great story of love and trust and healing huge hurdles and the added bonus of a visually impaired heroine that is not afraid to speak up for herself makes this a good book not to start before you go to bed...unless you want to stay up all night reading it! Looking forward to more of these Lord of Vices, I believe there are seven men so hopefully we get seven books! 4 stars

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

All Night with a Rogue by Alexandra Hawkins

Hmmm, what to say, what to say? This book is full of all those cliches you love to hate. First, the book opens with our hero, Alexius Braverton, Marquess of Sinclair, aka Sin, having a pleasurable moment in the garden with another mans wife. But when he sees a small white plume float down on the ladys head, he glances up into the tree and meets the terrified glance of Lady Juliana Ives. Juliana has scaled the tree to get away from a persistent sutior...she does not expect to witness a rendezvous between her hostess and the decidedly handsome man. As Alexius helps Juliana down from the tree she refuses to give her name and hurries inside, leaving Alexius a tad befuddled.

Then, Alexius is summoned to his sisters and she begs of him to seduce this women whom she believes is stealing the attention of her suitor. Alexius reluctantly agrees to look into the matter so imagine his surprise when he is secluded at yet another ball in a room with yet another woman when in bursts Juliana being tailed by Alexius friend. He is more than happy to see her but when he learns her name finally, he is stunned when he realizes that this is who is sister wants him to seduce and ruin.

Oh, and ruin her he does! First there are pearls and a carriage ride. Then there is the music room scene. Then all of a sudden they are lovers all the time but this is never shown, just skipped over which bothered me. We were just supposed to believe they became lovers and developed feelings for each other, but that relationship was really never shown after their first time. But wait..we have a few more cliches that happen! Her mother gets into too much trouble gambling and is forced to make Juliana marry a vile man to settle the debt. But there is more of a twist there with a cousin and there is a big scene at the opera that shatters Juliana when she realizes that Alexius can not see the truth of the matter. She finally learns the truth of what Alexius was asked to do and refuses to speak to him. But naturally, she forgives him in the end and they get to live happily ever after.

Even though this book had many things I don't normally like in a book, I still stayed up late to finish it (and with a 3 and 4 year old, that doesn't happen often!). I just wanted to keep turning the pages to see what unbelievable thing could happen next. I have already started the next book, Till Dawn with the Devil and it has me turning the pages just as quickly (though not as many train wrecks this time). Overall though, if you can suspend reality a bit this is a great quick, steamy read. 3 1/2 stars

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Ripe for Pleasure by Isobel Carr

Viola Whedon, former courtesan, is woken out of sleep one night to hear intruders in her home. She hears the men whispering that whatever they were looking for had to be there and as Viola was finishing writing up her second memoir of her past protectors, she assumes they are looking for it so it can not be published. She know she has hidden it well she flees from her room only to be saved from the villains by Leonidas Vaughn. Little does she know that Leo is somewhat involved in the burglary, through his cousin. Leo had came across some letters leaving him to believe that there was some hidden treasure stashed in her home and he shared this news with his cousin, who took it upon himself to proceed with his plan of finding the treasure no matter what the cost. Leo, on the other hand, has his own plan. He plans to seduce the lovely Mrs Whedon and secretly search him home. He does not count on his own feelings that start the moment he meets the slightly terrified eyes of Viola.

Viola also does not count on her own growing attraction to Leo. She shares her bed with him, without the formality of a contract, because as a younger son, he could not afford her anyways. But there is a much deeper reason she agrees to be in his bed and she refuses to believe it, just shoves it away. She has already been hurt in the past, becoming a penniless widow at seventeen and shunned from her family, she has a hard time accepting that Leo loves and accepts her as does his family. They have many hurdles to overcome though until they can reach their happily ever after. First, Leo is hiding the true reason she keeps getting attacked. Viola continues to believe it is about her manuscript and it takes Leo quite awhile to finally tell her the truth. Then Viola is abducted by Leos mother, but that, thankfully, was a pleasant altercation. One of the bright spots of this book was Lady Beau, Leos sister. She is headstrong and impulsive and always near a scandal. I am so happy to see that she is the heroine in the next book, Ripe for Scandal!

Overall, this was my first read from Isobel Carr, who has also written as Kalen Hughes. I enjoyed her writing and thought her characters were smart, funny and sexy. There is lots of drama fueled by the jealously of Leos cousin, passion, heartache and happiness. Even the inclusion of wigs and hoops and such for the time period of 1783, which I personally don't really enjoy, was done in a way that it did not hinder the story. I would have liked to have seen more of Violas back story though. We didn't really get a full sense of it until the end and I think it might have helped me understand her a bit more in the beginning had it all been spelled out earlier. There were a few loose threads that were left open also I thought but still, this was an enjoyable, steamy (always an added bonus when the lady is a courtesan) read and I will definitely be reading more from this author! 4 stars

I received this ebook via

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The School for Brides by Cheryl Ann Smith

Miss Eva Black has worked hard to conceal her mothers past life as a courtesan and it has led her to open a school for courtesans who want to give up that lifestyle and settle down and be married. Eva keeps her life, personal and professional, very quiet and is quite surprised one stormy night to have an angry duke appear on her doorstep. Nicholas, Duke of Stanfield, is furious with this plain looking spinster for "stealing" his mistress and he wants her back, after all....he "owns" her. Needless to say, that gets Evas back even straighter than it already is and she tells Nicholas she is gone and married and happy. He is not happy with this turn of events, after all it took weeks to even locate Eva, and plans to get revenge on Eva by either having one of her current courtesans replace his lost one or Eva herself. As he finds the key to getting her to accept his proposal, he learns all of Evas secrets she has worked so hard to protect and she is forced to agree as she refuses to send one of her girls to him.

I really don't want to say much more about the story because it has quite a few surprises that I think are best read for yourself and enjoying in the moment. I will say though, that I really enjoyed this story. I liked the premise of it and I enjoyed Evas feisty and somewhat bold nature and Nicholas' deep desire for her and to protect her and their hot love scenes. I liked that both Eva and Nicholas had good relationships with their mothers. I liked all the little twists that popped up throughout, I just wished the ending would not have had so many within a short period of time. Overall, is this book going to wow you? Probably not. Is it something that will help pass away the time and help you forget a stressful day? It certainly could. I thought the characters were written well and the author did a good job with the storyline, even if the ending had a bit too much happening at the end. I know I will be picking up her next book, The Accidental Courtesan when it releases in October and I look forward to more from this author! 3 1/2 stars

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Wow, what a book. I don't normally write up books I listen to on audio, why, I don't know, but I just wanted to say a few things about this one. First, the narrator was excellent. They can make or break a book and this one (Jennifer Ikeda) did an awesome job. From Matthews slight accent to when he dipped back into his roots and spoke more Frenchly to all the different woman, Diana, Aunt Sara, Emily (please forgive me if I am spelling anyones name wrong, I have not seen the book to confirm) she delivered a great performance that had me keep on going with all 20 cds. That is the second thing about this is loooong (24 hours of listening) but gooood. Deborah Harkness is obviously a gifted writer to be able to weave all the history, real and fantasy, and keep the reader hooked on the tension between our couple, Matthew (a vampire) and Diana (a witch) and all their extended families.

I do believe the back of the book sums this book up perfectly so I am just going to copy what was written:
Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. . . . This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but is contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series--with an extra serving of historical realism.

Sums it up about right for how I felt. If you are looking for something to fill that void of Twilight but with a more mature sounding voice (their is nothing really explicit, just more grown up sounding) than try this one. I am eagerly looking forward to two more books and seeing what the future holds for these star-crossed lovers. 4 stars

Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart by Sarah MacLean

Finally....Juliana and Simons story, and what a story it was! We first meet the lovely, feisty, bold, impulsive Juliana Fiori as she is thrust in London society into the care of her twin half brothers, whom she had no clue existed and vice versa, in Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake and we get a couple glimpses of Simon, Duke of Leighton. Simon is known as the Duke of Disdain as he has no tolerance for anything but a pristine reputation. So when he learns that Juliana is barely a respectable lady in Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord due to her mother, he knows they can never be as he needs his perfectly polished reputation now more than ever. As a result, he knows he must propose marriage to the perfectly proper Lady Penelope Marbury. Oh, but it can not just be as simple as that. Juliana proposes a dare to Simon that she can bring him to his knees in just two weeks. He agrees and puts of his proposal until that time. And let the fun begin!

There is just so much to love about this story! Juliana is always muttering in her native Italian and when she realizes that Simon is fluent in Italian, whoops! I enjoyed her confusion with the English language, even though it happened quite often, it's just part of her. We get to see more of her yummy brother Gabriel and Nick and their reaction to certain situations involving their sister and this stuck up duke, priceless.

Sigh, watching these two fall in love was such fun. Simon is determined to resist her and help his family overcome a shattering secret, even if it breaks his own heart in the process. There is a scene where he sees Juliana in the gorgeous black dress pictured on the front and you just know he is done for, because, really, who would be so bold to wear black to a ball when not in morning? Ah, on one but the feisty Juliana who is determined to prove that Simon needs passion in his life.

I could prattle on and on about this wonderful book but really, all you need to do is read it and savor it. Sit outside one afternoon with some wine and just enjoy it. I personally loved Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake and it is what started my new obsession with the historical romance genre, and while Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord was good, it just was not as good as Nine Rules. Oh boy though, Eleven Scandals may be my new favorite now...I just can not quite decide. All three are on my keeper shelf though and I am sad to see an end to this series and these characters. I was hoping Callies brother got a HEA and since Ms MacLean is working on a new book, I really hope he is featured sometime! I have no complaints for this book except I wanted more, not a bad thing to want :) I first read this book when I got the ebook two months ago and I had to skim it a bit to refresh the details and it was still just as good. I can not wait to purchase my own copy and read it again and again. It is that type of book, something to make you smile, laugh, sigh and wish for your very own duke. 5 wonderful stars!!

Thanks to for providing me with this ebook!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Everyone Loves A Hero by Marie Force

After hearing many good things about Marie Force and her books, I am happy to add to the great praise she gets. This is a sexy book about love at first sight and some bumps along the way to their happy ever after. First Officer Cole Langston landed a plane during some unfortunate circumstances and is reluctantly a hero and in the spotlight. Just when the hoopla is finally settling down a bit, he stops to get some Mentos at a shop in the airport and sees a man giving the cashier a hard time. When he asks the man to back off, he gets a fist to the face and the next face he sees is that of the beautiful cashier, Olivia. There is a jolt between them and then he is carted off to the hospital with just her face burned into his memory. The next time he is in Olivias airport he seeks her out and the relationship goes full steam from there. They start up a hot, sexy long distance relationship. Cole plans some sweet surprises for Olivia and it is clear that these two have fallen hard for each other, fast.

This is a great contemporary novel to soak away a day with. Yes, Cole is a bit too perfect and I wanted to smack Olivia a few times for her insecurities with him and I really didn't care for the wrench that was thrown in at the end with an ex, but overall, it still made me smile, sigh, sweat, and cry a bit at the end. Looking forward to getting to the rest of Marie Forces books! 4 stars

The Duke and I by Julia Quinn

Just a quick, short review about a series most people have already read but as I am late to the historical romance bandwagon, I'm still catching up!

Fun, light hearted romance with a big, loving, noisy, bossy family. While not perfect (didn't quite agree with Daphnes actions at one point even if they were unintentional) I enjoyed Simons struggles to get over his horrible childhood with his horrible father, if you can even call him that. Very excited that there are seven more siblings to enjoy! Oh, I love the ABC naming thing....helps me as the reader keep track of birth order, lol

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Computer down

My computer has not started since Friday so sorry for no new posts! Hopefully tomorrow it will be fixed finally and I can get caught up this weekend. So annoying when you don't have your computer...!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Royal Weddings: An Original Anthology by Stephanie Laurens, Gaelen Foley, and Lorreta Chase

These are three very short stories to keep up with all of the excitement around the big real life royal wedding this April. This first short is by Stephanie Laurens and is the longest and was just ok for me. It is about a wedding planner, which I loved, and an old crush that comes home to his royal cousins wedding. The attraction is still there naturally and he bids his time with the lady. Nothing spectacular but I do believe it features a few characters from previous books of Laurens. Having read none myself, I'm not quite certain. 3 stars

Next is Gaelen Foleys story and really the best of the bunch. It is about a married couple who have lost that spark and are not communicating with each other. One good slap changes that and you get a nice, quick, sexy read set during Princess Charlottes wedding. It worked very well for the length of the story. 4 stars

Finally is Loretta Chases story. Hers is about a titled male who needs to marry a wealthy women to pay his debts. However, at the last minute the young lady decides she wants to marry for love, just as Queen Victoria is. As the heiress loves the male and she believes he cares nothing much for her except for her fortune, she calls off the wedding. This drives the man to despair and true love comes out in the end. I liked this one but felt the storyline would have benefited being full length, or a longer short story. 3 1/2 stars

Overall, a nice addition to the Avon Impulse line and worth the $1.99 price. Just a nice bit of HEAs with a bit of royal wedding history to keep in line with the current royal wedding celebration.
I received this ebook via