Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Unlocked by Courtney Milan

One of the best novellas I have read. This is a truly heartbreakingly beautiful story of a woman who was ridiculed her first season out and how she has dealt with the aftermath. When the man who started the taunting returns ten years later to make amends, you get to see the ostrich bloom into a beautiful swan. She stands strong against temptation and will make you shed a few tears throughout the process. A truly excellent story of overcoming bullying that is truly beautifully written and worth way more that the $.99 price tag! Oh, and the cover is spot on for a pivotal moment in the story which I love!

The Devil in Disguise by Stefanie Sloane

I have eagerly been anticipating the debut novel of Stefanie Sloane ever since I saw the gorgeous covers for all three back to back releases and then Julia Quinn added her recommendation of her to the mix as well. And I have to say, after months of waiting, I wasn't too disappointed. Yes, this is a storyline line that has been used often before...the secret spy, Lord William Randall, the Duke of Clairemont is tasked to protect Lady Lucinda Grey and the easiest way to go about this is to pretend to court her. But Clairemont has developed quite a rakish reputation through the ton (due to his work) and Lucinda has already turned down numerous suitors, who seem to mainly be after her for her fortune. Lucinda has a hard time believing that this rake is ready to settle down but Clairemont has the one thing that she most desires....a horse. He strikes a bargain with her and the courtship begins.

Lucindas three aunts, the Furies as they are known, add some wonderful fun characters to the book! They each have there own styles and give Clairemont quite the run about when they first meet him. They too have a hard time believing this rake is reforming but as they all want his prized stallion for their horse breeding business, they agree to let Lucinda entertain his courtship. Of course as the story progresses, the truth about Clairemonts "courtship" comes to life and Lucinda leaves him, breaking both of their hearts in the process, though Clairemont believes he is unlovable due to his rough childhood. Lucinda offers him her heart and he throws it back in her face, believing it is for the best.

Overall, this was an enjoyable book that was face paced with some danger and great characters. It just didn't have that 'wow' feel that I wanted. I didn't love Clairemont but thats ok, he did redeem himself. I didn't really like the ending that much...I mean, I'm glad Lucinda got to be the strong one but it did not feel totally right for me. I would have liked to seen a bit more of her aunts and I would have liked a bit more of Clairemonts history and his work with the Young Corinthians. But still, I enjoyed reading this and am looking forward to the next two books and many more from Ms Sloane!! 4 stars

(On a total side note, I was really disappointed with the editing of my ebook. I mean, I paid $7.99 for this thing and I wish there had not many so many errors. I wish I would have kept track when I was reading it, rather annoying)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Silk Is for Seduction by Loretta Chase

Marcelline Noirot is on her way to becoming the greatest dressmaker in all of London, she just needs one big splash from a high profile client and she has found it in the the future Duchess of Clevedon. But since Lady Clara is not officially the Duke of Clevedons bride yet, Marcelline and her two sisters create an elaborate plan to seduce Clevedon with their fashions and bring his new bride to them. Marcelline sets of to Paris where Clevedon has been the past few years, sowing his oats. She observes his habits and plans to make quite an introduction to him at an opera and her boldness captivates Clevedon immediately. When the heat gets to be a bit to much for Marcelline, she tries to make a quick exit to London but Clevedon follows her and surprises her by joining her on the return trip, which turns out to be a good thing as their ship encounters a rough storm.

Back in London, neither one of them can quite forget each other but Clevedon goes about his duty to pursue Lady Clara, with whom he has had an understanding to marry since childhood. He does bring Lady Clara to Marcellines shop and she is able to secure her high profile client that she needs. Then a tragedy happens that throws everything into a tail spin and keeps the scandal tongues working overtime. After all, how can a duke fall for a lowly dressmaker, especially while his almost fiancee is watching?

This was such a fun, fascinating read! I loved how the sisters are dressmakers and we get to see quite a bit of that and how much fashion meant to them. I loved how self confident, bossy, and caring Marcelline was. I loved how Clevedon calls Marcelline Noirot through half the book because he doesn't know her full name. I loved how Clevedon starts out the book not caring about fashion at all but grows to notice it and develop his own ideas. Now, I was a bit concerned about the cheating angle but since Clevedon is never officially engaged to Lady Clara it was a concern that did not need to be worried about. I do hope Lady Clara is featured in a story sometime as it was wonderful to see her grow into herself throughout this story and she certainly deserves her own happily-ever-after! Sigh, when Clevedon tells Marcelline his true feelings for her and her reaction to that, so heartbreaking and sweet at the same time! But as Marcelline has never revealed her true past to him, she feels it is necessary. Thankfully, her sisters set her straight and all works out in the end. I am really looking for to the other two sisters books and hope, again, that Lady Clara turns up again as well. If you are looking for a fun (I laughed quite a bit at all the batter between these two!), sexy, fascinating read, grab this one! 4 1/2 stars

I received this ebook via netgalley.com

Sunday, May 22, 2011

How to Woo a Reluctant Lady by Sabrina Jeffries

Lady Minerva Sharpe has no illusions to marry as she writes gothic novels and refuses to bend to her husbands demands, but her grandmothers ultimatum that all her grandchildren must marry within the year to gain their inheritances throws a wrench in her plan. So when the roguish Giles Masters turns up and proposes marriage she decides to accept...but only to thwart her grandmother who surely will not want such a gambling rogue in the family! Too bad Giles is the man she has been in love with since she was a girl and he showed her tenderness at her parents funeral. Too bad these two shared a passionate kiss almost ten years ago that neither one has been able to forget.

Giles Masters arrives at Minervas home to stop her hair-brained idea to marry any old gentleman off the streets, which are all arriving at her home due to her published a request for all marriage minded men to arrive at her home, just to displease her grandmother. So Giles proposes marriage and agrees to her idea to try to rile her grandmother. Too bad he tells her grandmother everything as Giles has true feelings for Minerva and truly wants to marry her. But Giles also has another reason for approaching Minerva...she has based her evil character Rockton from her books on him and some private details from their past are a little to close to the surface and he needs her to stop writing him. Giles is actually a undercover spy for the government and can not have his past deeds come to light.

Watching these two resist each other when they obviously have feelings for each other was fun. I loved how Giles is a barrister and we got a glimpse of a trail which was different and enjoyable. I loved Minervas brothers and their over protectiveness of her, even though Giles is a family friend. They do not think he is a good match for her based on his past, but his past is all a sham to cover up him true past and shame. The story moved along very nicely with just enough intrigue to keep you going. Their is a continuing theme of the investigation into the Sharpes childrens parents horrible death so it may be a good idea to read the previous two books, but I think you could get along nicely if you choose not too. I know I am looking forward to the concluding two books in this great series! 4 stars

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Sweetest Thing by Jill Shalvis

Jill Shalvis has proven again why she is one of my favorite contemporary authors with her second book in the Lucky Harbor series. Tara, nicknamed The Steel Magnolia, has no true intentions on staying in Lucky Harbor after she helps her sisters get their inn up and running. After all, her past is all to real here and staring her in the face day in and day out in the form of the delicious Ford. The attraction that Tara and Ford had as teenagers is all too real still nineteen years later and Tara tries to ignore it but (thankfully) she loses the battle. Holy cow, hottness with these two! When Taras ex-husband arrives in town to try to win her back, she tells him absolutely not but that does not stop this small town from turning it into a competition and both males have no problem helping the matter along with displays of manly accomplishments. Another wrench gets thrown into the mix when Tara and Fords past comes back in a big way.

Overall, another fun, extremely sexy book that is a perfect beach read. Looking forward to the next installment Head Over Heels with all the sexual tension that was displayed in this book! Should be fun and hot again *g* 4 stars!

Monday, May 16, 2011

How to Marry a Duke by Vicki Dreiling

Tristan, Duke of Shelbourne, has decided it is time to leave his youth behind and get a wife and take his duties as Duke seriously. He has many requirements but wants a woman, not some young debutante girl. When he accidentally steps on a fan and meets the lovely gaze of a woman, he is smitten. But when he learns her identity as a matchmaker who has declared that she will never marry, Tristan decides to hire Tessa. Tessa enjoys her matchmaking business as she helps the painfully shy and overlooked wallflowers find their own happiness but she knows that a successful match of a duke will give her the coup she wants. But here the fun begins! Instead of having just one woman for Tristan meet, Tessa does something daring. She invites twenty some young ladies to her home all at once and announces that they are all competing for the dukes hand (very much like our modern day show, The Bachelor.) Tristan initially refuses, he is persuaded by Tessa that this is the best course of action....plus he has a hard time denying Tessa anything already *g*

Sigh, I really enjoyed this book. For a debut novel it was excellent!! It is funny, sweet, sexy, emotional and guaranteed to leave a smile on your face. I am sad that I do not have a back list to devour and I can not wait for the next book in this series, How to Seduce a Scoundrel to come out in July. It was so much fun watching Tristan and Tessa trying to ignore their growing feelings for each other, after all, Tristan had committed himself to finding a wife and he couldn't just stop the courtships and choose the matchmaker! I was happy that Tristan truly did not develop any feelings for any of the other woman, other than friendship. All his emotions were for Tessa alone. And oh, sigh, the ending...what a beautiful ending! I highly recommend this one and look forward to more! 4 1/2 stars

Cloudy with a Chance of Marriage by Kieran Kramer

This is book number three in Kramers Impossible Bachelors series, and for me, it was just kind of meh. Nothing really stood out as super funny or cute like with her previous two books, which each had moments of laughter and silly smiles. I read this book last weekend and now a week later I am having a hard time remembering what it was all about. Our heroine, Jilly, opens a bookstore on Dreary Lane, and yes, it is dreary. Her neighbor is Captain Samuel who lives life with much more ease than Jilly does, who is on the run from her hateful husband. There are some wonderful supporting characters that help this book move along and Jilly and Samuel have a very sweet courtship and when trouble arises, Samuel does turn his back on Jilly but thankfully is persuaded to remember the Jilly he knows in his heart, not what is thrown in his face.

Overall, not a bad book...just not what I was in the mood for I think so that is part of the reason for the short review. I still look forward to more from Ms Kramer! 3 stars

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Review featured!

Just saw that on Anna Campbells website she quoted a few lines for my review of her wonderful new book, Midnights Wild Passion! Eek! Super excited! :) Here is a link to her site, the May 2011 news: http://annacampbell.info/latest2011.html

Thanks Ms Campbell for including me with all the other fabulous quotes!!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Too Wicked to Love by Debra Mullins

We first met the mysterious John Ready in Tempting a Proper Lady and you could just tell that this well spoken coachman had been brought up proper and must have a good reason to be serving as his best friends coachman. We also met our heroine, Genevieve Wallington-Willis and saw her spiteful reaction to her sisters homecoming so I did not have the warmest feelings to her but the first meeting of these two in this book had the sparks flying and I just kept flipping the pages to see how these two would finally end up together.

The main plot of the story revolves around John Readys sorrowful secret and what he has had to sacrifice to stay alive and hidden from London society. You think you know what the secret is going to be but then there is another slight twist to have you thinking another way until the truth is finally revealed, thankfully about halfway through the book so it is not dragged out forever. When circumstances force him to finally confess his secrets to his friends, that includes Genny and he cruelly ends their budding flirtation in order to protect her.

Genny is hiding her own secret but as she grows to develop feelings for John, she decides to trust him and tell him the truth. Her secret has led to her spiteful attitude towards her sister and others around her and it was nice to see her grow from that one fateful mistake into a lovely, caring, strong young woman. But after she tells John her secret she is beyond hurt when his actions towards her lead her to believe she has fallen for a heartless man again and she goes into a heartbroken depression. John sees this and finally tells her why he keeps pushing her away and she refuses to leave him to face his uncertain future alone. The conclusion that these two finally agree upon was very sigh worthy! Once again, the horrible Earl of Raventhorpe is ever present as a vile villain who will stop at nothing to get revenge on those who have stolen from him and he is out to get John, who had a previous altercation with him.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was a wonderful story of deceit, love and forgiveness but it all moved along quickly. Even though I thought Genny was a bit immature in the beginning (she is only eighteen) she does blossom into a strong little warrior, as John nicknames her. And John secret was sort of what I thought, but not really at all what I thought which was great. I was very happy with the way it all played out and it showed a wonderful, strong, sexy man who is not afraid to put others happiness in front of his own. I would recommend reading Tempting a Proper Lady first as it is a continuation of that one and I am really hoping there is one more story featuring Annabelle and the mysterious highwayman Black Bill (who I believe I know who it is and there were a few hints dropped). A solid 4 heart warming stars

I received this ebook via netgalley.com

Monday, May 9, 2011

Her Little Secret, His Hidden Heir by Heidi Betts

I picked up this quick book from Harlequin Desire because I really enjoy Heidi Betts books and as her last couple of non-Harlequin books are vampire related and not my cup of tea really. This is the classic secret baby plot with a small twist. Marcus and Vanessa Keller were freshly divorced when she found out she was pregnant after trying for awhile to conceive. Even though they are divorced, she calls up Mark but gets his snarky assistant who tells Vanessa that Mark has nothing to say to her and she has nothing he wants to hear. Saddened by what has happened to her life, she leaves town and moves in with her aunt and together they open up a successful bakery.

It is now about a year later and Vanessa is in need of an investor to expand her bakery and Marcus happens to be a friend of the adviser she seeks out for help. When she sees Mark, she refuses his help but he follows her to her bakery and is meet with more resistance as that is where Vanessa has their son. Marcus quickly discovers Vanessa secret and is rightly upset but stays in town to try to work out some arrangements. They still have the spark that lite up their marriage and Vanessa tells him again why she ultimately gave up on their marriage. Marcus still doesn't really believe her and it takes a trip back to his home to finally clear away the fog and help this couple reunite as a family.

This is exactly what you expect from a quick, secret baby type story-fast moving storyline with lots of hotness-but with the added bonus of some excellent writing. Heidi Betts wrote one of my favorite contemporary series (Chicks with Sticks) and I really hope she wraps up the vampire story lines soon and writes another longer format series as she write very well. Great characters, smokin hot and fun reads...even in a Harlequin book! Overall...4 stars for this one because it did leave a smile on my face :)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Secrets of a Proper Countess by Lecia Cornwall

Lady Isobel Maitland is trapped in a life that she can not stand. She is basically being held hostage by her late husbands mother and brother, as his will stated that they would be in charge of their son and her fortune. Isobel is forced to stay in her widow weeds far longer than normal and is not allowed to cause any scandal, for fear that her harlot blood from her mother will ruin the good name of the family and damage her son the future Earl. But one night at a masked ball, where her in-laws did not attend, she lets down her guard for a moment of passion with the scandalous Marquess of Blackwood, Phineas Archer (every time I saw the name Phineas all I could think of was Phineas and Ferb, lol).

Blackwood has his own agenda for attending the ball but has no problem being swayed by the lovely 'Yasmina' and when she departs with out telling him her true name, she is all she can think about. Imagine Isobels surprise when Blackwood turns out to be the brother of her new friend and then her hurt and anger as he does not even recognize her or bother to give her a second glance. As Blackwoods mystery he is investigating, as he is an undercover spy, unravels clues start to point to the mysterious Yasmina as being involved possibly in the plot to distract him. When Blackwood finally realizes who exactly his mystery woman is he is stunned! How can this dowdy lady be such a passionate, warm women away from everyone but him? His investigation continues and Isobel is drawn deeper and deeper in as it becomes clear who has been pulling the strings of her life and many others.

This is Lecia Cornwalls debut novel and I very much enjoyed it. Her writing was excellent and I just wanted to keep turning the pages to find out if my suspicions were correct (some were some were not). Yes, everything was wrapped up nice and neat at the end. Yes, this plot has been used quite a bit before and isn't overly fresh this time around. Yes, the romance between Isobel and Blackwood didn't seem too real to me..more lust like. Yes, I wanted to smack some of the secondary characters and even Isobel and Blackwood at times but his family does add a nice sense of evenness. But even with all that, to me, this was still a great debut novel and I look forward to more from Ms Cornwall! 3 1/2 stars

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Sins of Viscount Sutherland by Samantha James

Claire Ashcroft despises Viscount Grayson Sutherland for killing her brother in a duel and sending her life into loneliness. She devises a plan to make Grayson fall in love with her and then turning him away, thus breaking his heart and causing him some of the same heartbreak she has had to endure. But she does not expect the attraction and sparks that fly between them. Grayson believes the lovely Claire is a widow and therefore fair game for his rake hellish lifestyle. Imagine his surprise as he pursues Claire and she is as skittish as a virgin! He just chalks it up to a short marriage with not much passion but when they share a passionate morning together he learns the truth of her deception and is furious and they part on bad terms.

Claire returns to her family home and is preparing to move forward with her life when Gray suddenly appears and puts an end to that as he is faced with the consequences of their time together. They return to his country home, a place he has avoided for two years as it holds very painful memories and has helped shape him into the man he is today. His mother arrives for a time and welcomes Claire with open arms and pushes for Gray to let go of his past and move forward with his future. This brings forward a game that Claire and Gray liked to play....move forward one step, then back two huge steps. Claire is having a hard time dealing with her feelings for this man who killed her brother and gets more frustrated when Gray refuses to tell her the truth of that day. She wants to know about his past and when he finally tells her what happened, sigh, heartbreaking. Gray doesn't think he can be happy again and when something goes wrong Claire gets a bit hysterical and thinks it's the universe telling her she is horrible for loving this man.

Now there are many times I wanted to smack these two. Claire gets upset with Gray and orders him to leave a few times and he just high tails it out without fighting for what he wants. But at the same time this was a moving story of two people who are not looking for love who have a lot from their past to overcome to find happiness together. This story starts off with a women bent on revenge but it finishes with the women helping her man let go of his tragic past and build a new life together while embracing the past and growing from that. This was my first Samantha Jones book and I look forward to more! I believe there are going to be four books in this series as there was a mention of four friends with this rakish life and I will be reading their stories! 4 stars

I received this ebook via netgalley.com

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Tempting A Proper Lady by Debra Mullins

Captain Samuel Breedlow had returned home after being missing for nearly two years to find his fiancee announcing her engagement to another man, a man he hates, the Earl of Raventhorpe. As he storms forward to announce that Annabelle is his fiancee, Priscilla Burke sees her future as wedding planner to the ton going up in smoke. She tries to dissuade Samuel but he know the true nature of the Earl, after all, it was he who left Samuel for dead on a deserted island. Samuel finally leaves the party but not without giving a few glances to the lovely Cilla.

Cilla has her own reasons for her first wedding as the wedding planner to go off without a hitch. She needs the income that the position would give her as her husband has passed away and she refuses to marry again, as she was burned badly by her husband. So when Samuel comes to her and proposes that they stop this wedding, she is appalled. But Samuel persists and is able to show some of the true evil colors (really low, vile things) of Raventhorpe to Cilla. Cilla realizes she must help Samuel as she cannot allow her friend to marry this villain so she proposes a plan to Samuel...he will teach her the ways to please a man so she may become a mistress if her wedding planner job falls through.

I very much enjoyed this book. Watching the attraction turn from lust to love was very well done (and quite steamy!). There is a wonderful set of secondary characters that add just enough to the story without overpowering it but leave you ready for more of their stories. (And I am happy to see that Samuels friend, John Ready is the hero for the next book, Too Wicked to Love.) Overall, this is a good romance book with a bit of intrigue and suspense to help it move along but not overwhelm the storyline of two people who are not looking for love but finding it anyways. This was my first Debra Mullins book and I will be looking for more! 4 stars