Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Heir From Nowhere by Trish Morey

I needed a quick read for the night while I waited for all the new releases to come out Tuesday morning and since I had a special offer from my Kindle (spend $10 on certain books get a $10 gift card) I browsed the selection and picked up three Harlequins that sounded good and had good reviews already.  The Heir from Nowhere (Harlequin Presents) is about Angelina Cameron, a woman who had tried to have a baby for her husband but failed and has turned to IVF to be told that they implanted the wrong embryos into her.  When she refuses to accept the clinics offer to fix the situation, her husband leaves her to go to his young mistress.  Angelina decides to find the true parents of her baby and give them the baby they had hopefully been dreaming about.

When Dominic Pirelli receives a call with a woman telling she is pregnant with his and his late wifes baby, he is floored and suspicious.  He agrees to meet this woman and see how much money she wants, because it is always about money in the end, no woman could honestly just give up a baby she carries for nine months without compensation in his mind.  When he meets the scrawny, drained woman carry his baby he knows he needs to take care of her for the baby's sake.  In true Harlequin way, a situation arises that forces Angelina to live with Dominic and we get to watch these two slowly develop a happy, loving, hot relationship that forces both of them to let go of their pasts to find happiness together.  Overall, an enjoyable way to spend a night that left me happy with the depth of the characters presented in this short novel ...3 1/2 stars 

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Wild Marquis by Miranda Neville

The Marquis of Chase is not a reputable man but when he is directed to a bookseller to gain information and help purchasing rare books in an auction he meets Juliana Merton.  Even though she is dressed dowdily in her widow weeds, he can see her beauty beneath and the sparks start to fly.  Juliana is in desperate need of the funds she would receive by representing Chase at the auction and agrees to help him, even though she finds it hard to believe this notorious rake is truly serious about books.  Imagine her surprise when she discovers he is and is most interested in the rarest book being sold, The Burgundy Hours.  But Juliana also has another reason for wanting to be at the auction, some of the books being sold belonged to her benefactor who raised her and she believes some of them were her mothers, whom she never knew.  This begins an interesting mystery storyline that leads to discoveries about Julianas past but doesn't overshadow the love growing between Juliana and Chase. 

I really enjoyed this book.  I was not expecting the storyline to revolve so much around a bookseller and a book auction which I found fun and fascinating.  Chases history is dark and very sad and heartbreaking.  I thought I sort of knew why he was kicked out of his home at sixteen, but I was way off.  The truth, when Juliana discovered it, was definitely shocking and the more Chase learned of his own past, the more secrets are dug out.  I enjoyed watching Chase grow from a notorious rake barely tolerated by society to a gentleman that stands up for what he knows is right and protects what he loves.  Yes he is a bit overbearing and presumptuous with Juliana but she holds her own with him and together they heal from the hurt from their past to make a future together.  This was my first Miranda Neville novel and I already have the next in the series, The Dangerous Viscount (Avon) ready to go and the third, The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton (Burgundy Club) ready from Netgalley.  4 solid stars

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Tale of Two Lovers by Maya Rodale

Lady Julianna Somerset has worked hard after her husbands scandalous death to make her name proper and she has succeeded for the most part. Julianna reports on gossip and is the mysterious Lady of Distinction and one of her most reported on persons is the notorious rake, Lord Simon Roxsbury. Just after Simon is dealt an ultimatum from his father, Julianna reports a bit of gossip that makes Simons life much more difficult. In return to this nosy, attractive woman, Simon does something that makes Julianna the subject of untrue gossip and it puts her job in jeopardy. So what are two people surrounded by untrue gossip to do? The notorious rake and the scandalous lady wed in order to become respectable.

Watching the sparks fly between these two was quite fun! Even though Simon was a rake to top all rakes, once he meets Julianna she consumes his thoughts and there is no one else. Julianna is most hesitant about marriage to Simon as her first husband was a horrible rake and treated her shabbily and she does not think her heart can stand another heartbreak like that. Oh but when Simon decides to seduce his wife, sigh...very sweet, fun (boxing!) and hot! There is a bit of a mystery involving a rival gossip columnist, The Man About Town, that adds a little action near the end and sets up the next lead, I believe, for the next book. Even though this is book two, following A Groom of One's Own, this could be read as a stand alone. Another enjoyable, easy, fun, sexy read from Maya Rodale. 4 stars

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Groom of One's Own by Maya Rodale

Miss Sophie Harlow got the shock of her life when she was jilted at the alter and it forces her to leave her home and head to London to find a job...which she does as a newspaper writer and is part of a quartet of women known as The Writer Girls. She writes a column about all the society weddings but she is always nervous as she waits for the bride, as she can not bear to see anyone else get jilted and when at one such wedding it is looking like a jilt is in process she flees from the ceremony and bumps into a most handsome man who escorts who home and whom she believes is just Mr. Brandon. Imagine her surprise when she is asked to cover the Wedding of the Year and she meets the groom...her Mr. Brandon who is actually a double duke, the Duke of Hamilton and Brandon and he is set to marry the perfect Lady Clarissa.

As Sophie and the ladies confer over numerous wedding arrangements, Brandon keeps making appearances and the heated glances between them are noticed by all. By his mother with some delight (who believes true love conquers all), by Clarissas mother with horror (as the family desperately needs the infusion of cash that the marriage will secure) and some form of disinterest from Clarissa (as she is not truly in love with the duke). I wasn't quite sure how this story was going to play out, after all, I did not want Clarissa to end up jilted and alone but Clarissa gets her own prince charming and stands her ground with her over bearing mother.

This was my first Maya Rodale book and it was enjoyable. Her writing was fun and kept the story moving along nicely. There is no big misunderstanding and the focus on the two couples was done well...I just wanted to keep going and going to see how it was all going to end for our couples! I enjoyed how you could just feel the passion between Sophie and Brandon, and except for a few stolen kisses, not much happened until the end. It is truly a story of love growing from mutual attraction and laughter and companionship. Overall, a fun sweet read with a mad cap ending and I am looking forward to the other three writer girls stories! 3 1/2 stars

Sunday, June 19, 2011

How to Seduce a Scondrel by Vicky Dreiling

This is a delightful followup to Vicky Dreilings debut novel, How to Marry a Duke that features Hawk and Julianne. Marc Darcett, Earl of Hawkfield is asked by his best friend, Tristan, to be his younger sisters guardian for the upcoming season. Hawk reluctantly agrees and forgoes his rakish lifestyle for the season but is determined to just escort Lady Julianne to a few balls and events and keep at his lifestyle. However, something happens at the first ball that forces Hawk to play a much more prominent role that he intended.

Julianne has loved Hawk since she was a young girl (she has refused numerous proposals and even has not had a first kiss...she is saving that to share with him) and is thrilled to Hawk as her guardian in the hopes she can make him finally see her as a woman and fall in love with her. But one scandalous waltz later and Hawks deeply hurtful remarks afterwords leads to her almost scandal and Hawks fury, all while her heart is broken. She pulls herself together though, and with the help of her dearest friends and her sponsor, Hawks Aunt Hester who is rather plain spoken, gets some rather shocking advice and decides to follow through and publish a pamphlet titled The Secrets of Seduction.

I have decided that the older brothers best friend falling for brothers younger sister storyline is one of my favorites and this one does not disappoint. Yes, I wanted to smack Hawk for unintentionally hurting Julianne but as the story progresses, we learn that Hawk has a very deep, hurtful occasion from his past that is preventing him from letting go of his heart and causing him to act the way he does. I was a bit surprised at the depth of the hurt and scorn and the last little piece that fell into place near the end was a definite surprise and added a nice twist to the story. And yes, I wanted to shake Julianne a bit for her fear of a loveless marriage based on her mother but her feelings were understandable and I am proud of the way she stood her ground on the matter. The only part of the story that prevented me from giving this one 5 stars was the middle. There was a bit too much back and forth going on....small showing of feeling to just retract back the mask. I also would have liked to have seen a bit more of Hawks past sooner instead of dragged on for almost three quarters of the book. Even with those small complaints though, I still really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it! It is laugh out loud funny at times and sexy and will leave a happy smile on your face in the end! I have a new favorite auto buy author and I can not wait for Will and Amys story (How to Ravish a Rake)! 4 solid funny sexy stars

I received this ebook from the publisher via netgalley.com

Thursday, June 16, 2011

One Whisper Away by Emma Wildes

I really love when a title of a book just captures what the book is about and this one succeeded wonderfully. It all starts when at a ball when some champagne is splashed on Lady Cecily and the dashing, mysterious, half American, part Iroquois Earl of Augustine dries up the champagne....off her bosom much to the shock of the ton, and Cecily. But to make matters worse, he leans down and whispers something even more shocking in her ear that just leaves the ton all abuzz to know what was said by the 'Earl Savage'. And as Cecily refuses to repeat what was said, the curiosity grows and grows.

As much as Cecily is intrigued and attracted to Jonathon she knows he is not a suitable match for her, after all he has admitted to his illegitimate daughter and brought her to London instead of leaving her in America and he also has no real plans to stay in London after his half sisters are married off. But when her father is close to accepting the offer of marriage from a man Cecily's sister, Eleanor, is in love with she knows she has to take a drastic course of action to force Eleanor to stand up for what she wants. Cecily proposes a plan to Jonathon--they will pretend an engagement so that Cecily does not need to accept Lord Drury offer and in return Cecily will use her family and influence to help Jonathons sisters find suitable matches. As Jonathons eldest sister had a shameful encounter in her past, he is most intrigued by this and decides to consider it. But what he proposes back to Cecily has her doing a double take.

I really enjoyed this story. The instant attraction between Cecily and Jonathon, as he prefers to be called, was hot and sexy. I loved Jonathons relaxed view of the English views and his utter devotion to his daughter. It was enjoyable to watch the budding relationship between him and his three sisters and I very happy to see that the eldest has her own story next in Twice Fallen: Ladies in Waiting (and once again, the title seems like a perfect fit already!). I loved how Cecily loved her sister so much that she did whatever she could to make her happy. I also enjoyed how Cecily never saw Jonathon as 'Earl Savage', he was always just a man to her. Now the ending had a bit thrown in that I wasn't expecting and it seemed a bit out of place but it still worked out in the end. There is no huge misunderstanding which I was happy about...just a wonderful story of a man with different views falling for a woman brought up with totally different views melding together perfectly. Ah, and the final ending...ends with a whisper :) I look forward to more from Emma Wildes! 4 stars

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Kathryn, The Kitten by Lavinia Kent

This is a fun, fresh novella loosely based on Bravos The Real Housewives... series and as a fan, I could not wait to read it! Right off the bat it had me laughing as it opens just like the real shows do, with the women, in this case five women of society, and their little high-handed remarks they make of themselves. This story focuses on Kathryn, Duchess of Harrington and her lack of passion with her husband. Kathryn has been raised to be the perfect wife, hostess and mother but when she and her husband are dealt a tragedy it throws there already lukewarm relationship down the drain. Kathryn turns to her friend Linnette for advice as how to seduce her husband but even as Linnette helps her, Linnette is keeping a very hurtful secret from Kathryn and when it is exposed the fireworks explode.

I really enjoyed all five women that were brought together by a drawing of them in a newsprint, even though they previously had not all know each other, especially the new American (gasp!). They have that cattiness with each other just like the show but there are some true friendships that are severely strained when another drawing reveals a secret they all knew, save Kathryn. I also enjoyed watching Kathryn standing up for herself and telling her husband how she feels and how she wants their marriage to be, much to his surprise and delight. When they finally rekindle the flame, wowza, it grows into a huge smokin fire! And very true to the show, it ends with a cliffhanger and I am glad to see the next "episode" will be out mid July. I know I will by purchasing it to see what happens with these crazy women! This was such a fun idea that played out well for me...a historical twist on a modern show with just enough fun and heat to keep it moving along nicely. I have been meaning to read Lavinia Kent and this just sealed the deal that I need to get to her books soon! A solid 4 stars for this novella (as I would have loved these more I think as full novels).

I received this ebook from the publisher via netgalley.com

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Seduction & Scandal by Charlotte Featherstone

Wowza, what a good book. The writing was just excellent and beautiful. Sigh. Isabella Fairmont has had a scandalous upbringing due to her mothers many liaisons and it has made Isabella realize she needs a stable marriage, even if it is passionless. She has been writing a story about a handsome man with silver blue eyes named Death and that is where she pours her passion out. When she attends a ball one night with her cousin, Lady Lucy with whom she is living with now as her mother has passed away, she catches the eye of the smoldering Lord Black and is quite startled as to his resemblance to Death from her book. But there is no looking away as they dance together and so her long buried passion grows and grows.

Lord Black is one of the Brethren Guardians, along with his two friends, who are in charge of keeping a chalice, scroll and pendant from the public so the evil they posses together does not come to light. When the chalice and pendant go missing, the men start a hunt for them to keep them from the wrong hands. This sounds a bit over dramatic and I was a bit hesitant as to how much this dark magic was going to factor into the story but I was very pleased with how it plays out. Yes, there is a bit of a creepy, odd scene with Lucy but really besides that, there is really no supernatural elements present which I was happy about. The mystery is left hanging a bit and will be continued into the next story, Pride and Passion and I am eagerly waiting for it so I can follow up.

Throughout the story, little tidbits of the past of Isabella and Lord Black are revealed. We learn that there is an unfortunate incident from Isabellas past that takes quite some time to be revealed and I wished it had been delivered a bit bit sooner. Also, we learn that Lord Black already knows of this incident and in fact, has some sort of part in it. Again, it takes awhile to be revealed and I personally would have liked to have known a bit sooner in the story. But those are really my only quips about the storyline. I can not believe I have not read Charlotte Featherstone before! She is an incredible storyteller weaving a sinfully, hauntingly romantic story that I loved! I am guessing there are going to be three stories in this series and I hope she can spin it off into more because I loved all the characters, primary and secondary and can't wait to get my hands on more! 4 1/2 stars

I received this ebook from the publisher via netgalley.com

Monday, June 6, 2011

This Perfect Kiss by Melody Thomas

On the night of a masquerade ball, Christel goes in her cousins place so that she can try to get a moment alone with the dashing Camden St. Giles. She succeeds in keeping Camden in the dark as to her true identity and the two share a smoldering kiss that leaves a lasting impression on both of them. It is now nine years later and Camden is returning home to his castle in Scotland with his young daughter to deal with business and also confront his painful memories that reside there. As he is preparing his ship to sail, he learns that a woman wants to board as well and he is surprised to find Christel. As she is family (he was married to her cousin), he knows it is his duty to take her back but also remembers how he feels about her and the smoldering attraction between them is still very much there.

There is quite a bit going on in this story that help keep it moving along and fresh and entertaining. First, there is the mystery surrounding Camdens wife death. How could she jump to her death and leave her young daughter even though the couple was having problems? I must say, I really did not see the resolve of that issue at all! Also, there is Christels family issues with her shameful past and how that has affected her relationships with her half sister and cousin. Camden also has family issues involving his brother and his supposed involvement in a smuggling ring with some evidence pointing to Christel being involved in the smuggling and/or with Camdens brother that causes quite a bit of tension between Camden and Christel. The brothers also have a hurtful past that they must talk about to move forward, but of course, refuse. And of course we have the growing love and passion between Camden and Christel who must overcome all these hurdles to find their long awaited happiness with each other.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It is fact paced, sexy, has great characters, tension, and suspense. I thought all the different intertwined relationships played out well and were resolved quite nicely. This was my first Melody Thomas book and I will definitely be reading more of her work as her writing was excellent. 4 stars

I received this ebook from the publisher via netgalley.com

Friday, June 3, 2011

Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn

Ok, I am one on the only few people that has not read the entire Bridgerton series, only The Duke and I (note to self: get back to series soon!). But even from that one book I recognize the Smythe-Smith name and eagerly picked up this one to see their own stories. Honoria is in love with her older brothers best friend, Marcus and he returns the feelings but they both don't realize this until after Marcus suffers a life threatening infection and Honoria rushes to his side to care for him. I'm not going to go into the plot much because it is really about the infection and then the build up to the yearly musical but it is all done in Julia Quinns excellent lighthearted way. We get to meet the other three ladies that form the Smythe-Smith musical quartet and they add some fun bickering and are hopefully the other ladies that will each get there own stories. Overall, this is a sweet, happy book that should leave a smile on your face and cheering for Marcus and Honoria but I wish it would have just had something...more I guess. 3 1/2 stars