Archives for September 2018

Review: Joy to the Earl by Nicola Davidson

Reviewed by Caitlin

I’m a sucker for a virgin hero, and this is Nicola Davidson’s SECOND virgin hero! I am usually not a sucker for a holiday romance, but I’ll make an exception for an author I like.

Jack Reynolds is a farmer in Yorkshire. He’s 6’5″ and muscled from labor, but he has a bad limp. He is socially awkward and painfully shy, which means he’s made it to the age of 28 without having had sex. A few days before Christmas, Jack finds out he was actually the son of the Earl of Lynthorpe, given away because of his “deformity.” Now he’s the next in line to inherit the title. He’s not sure he should – he knows nothing about being an earl – but the law is the law, and primogeniture insists he must be the next earl. [Read more…]

Review: Heir of the Dog by Hailey Edwards

Reviewed by Jen

After a lukewarm introduction to this series, I wasn’t sure that it would be a good fit for me. But Hailey Edwards has come through again and I am happy to report this installment has made me a fan of the Black Dog books. It makes sense, in a way, when you consider that Dog With a Bone was an added prequel to what was supposed to have been a trilogy that started here. This book is much more engaging and made me care about the heroine in a way that I just didn’t before. And if you choose not to read Dog With a Bone, I’m pretty sure you would be totally fine jumping in here. [Read more…]

Review: Last Night With the Earl by Kelly Bowen

Reviewed by Jen

The more I read from Kelly Bowen, the more I am convinced that her work is right in my lane. This second installment in Devils of Dover series features familiar characters from A Duke in the Night (which I loved!) but this holds up fine as a standalone. Honestly, I expected this installment to be the pinnacle for me. After all, it features a scarred hero, which is usually my catnip. And I did like it. There were just a couple of issues that kept if from being my all-time favorite from this author.

Eli Dawes, the Earl of Rivers, has been missing and assumed dead for years. Badly injured at Waterloo, he was ready to leave his old life behind and hide the disfigurement he endured from an artillery blast. But when solicitors tracked him down at a farm in Belgium after his father’s death, his regret and sense of duty finally drove him home to accept his title. Imagine his surprise to arrive to his family’s country estate to find it rented out to the Haywood family and their school for young ladies. [Read more…]

Review: A Notorious Vow by Joanna Shupe

Reviewed by Jen

I have enjoyed every installment in The Four Hundred series so far, but Joanna Shupe has outdone herself with this third book. It was fantastic.

The blurb sold at this as a young woman who escapes a repugnant suitor by making a marriage of convenience to a reclusive inventor. Let me just say, the blurb did not do this book justice. It leaves out so much about what makes it good. [Read more…]

Joint Review: The Lady is Daring by Megan Frampton

Reviewed by Jen & Sara

Jen: I have a hit and miss relationship with books from Megan Frampton. Sometimes I like them a lot, while some of them have just been OK. This third installment in the Duke’s Daughters series, I thought, was one of her better ones.

The heroine is intelligent, yet socially awkward sister, Ida. She is not exactly a darling of the ton as she would rather wax on about interesting facts she has learned, than titter about the weather or bonnets and fripperies. She has essentially resigned herself to a life without a husband. After all, who would welcome her eccentricities? All she wants is a little bit of freedom. That, and to find her older sister, Della, who ran away with the wrong man to elope. Ida’s timetable is pushed into high gear when her mother decides to marry her off to a man who is both dull and a little bit dumb. So at her first chance, she swipes a convenient carriage and runs away. Too bad Lord Carson is passed out in the back. [Read more…]

Joint Review: Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven

Reviewed by Jen & Ronelle

Jen: I first fell in love with Grace Draven’s writing when I read Radiance a few years back, and though I have liked some of her books better than others, I can say that she consistently creates worlds that are interesting, unique, and completely immersive. That is certainly the case here. From the lands, to the cultures, to the religions and rulers, everything comes together seamlessly in Phoenix Unbound. And each of those elements are a vital part of the whole.

Our heroine, Gilene, is a fire witch. She is able to manipulate fire and illusions to her will, but she doesn’t use them for her own benefit. She uses them for her village. Every year, the Empire forces all of the towns to give up a portion of their women as tributes and sacrifices. The so-called Flowers of Spring are first given to the gladiators to be used, then sacrificed on the pyre to gain the favor of the gods. For years now, Gilene has been changing her appearance to serve as one of the tributes. The fire won’t kill her, after all, but she suffers plenty… first being raped, then enduring burns and scars for using her gifts. [Read more…]

Review: Sugar by Lauren Dane

Reviewed by Sara

“Sugar” is Lauren Dane’s sequel to her 2013 short story “Cake” and is definitely not a standalone story. It is, however, an interesting peek at a great couple that I was happy to connect with again.

Gregori and Wren have been together for years, but only now have situations, personal circumstances and Wren’s career aligned to make marriage a possibility. Together, marching to the beat of their own drum, they decide to elope and spend a week living the high life in New York City. Unfortunately, mechanical difficulties ground their flight and storms make travelling forward to New York an impossibility. The two find themselves stranded in Iowa. Instead of giving up on their wedding they quickly tie the knot and embark on a roadtrip honeymoon. Over the course of their travels they meet some interesting characters and encounter some highs and lows, but the focus of the trip is always on each other and their changing life together. [Read more…]

Review: Box of Frogs by Helen Harper

Reviewed by Elise

I stumbled across Helen Harper’s novels entirely by accident one day, and from the first page I was hooked. The stories are quirky, upbeat and riveting. She quickly became a ‘one click’ author for me and I get a little bit fan girly when I write about her books. When Box of Frogs came up on my TBR it was a no brainer.

In Box of Frogs we meet No Name. I say this because our quippy and random heroine wakes up on a golf course next to a headless corpse and with no memory of who she is. When she saves her own life using magic powers, she is convinced she is a super hero and wanders around downtown Manchester in a leotard and mask, looking out for people to save. Her actions bring her to seemingly innocuous places and troubles. As the story progresses, we find that the events of the novel are not as random as they appear and we slowly learn more about Madrone. [Read more…]

Review: Dog With a Bone by Hailey Edwards

Reviewed by Jen

You may have noticed that I have been tearing through Hailey Edwards’ backlist lately. I love her Foundling series and Necromancer books too, but this first installment in the Black Dog series left me a bit lukewarm.

An author’s note at the end tipped me off that this is something of a prequel more so than really the first book in the series, and that gives me hope that the next installment will be more satisfying. This is a novella and it lacked the — I don’t know — oomph that I am used to from this author. In her other books, she made me care about the heroine. She made me have longing and lots of feels for her love interest. Less so here. It’s not a bad book at all. Don’t get me wrong. It’s just a bit superficial, both from a character perspective as well as a world building one… Or even much of a mystery. [Read more…]

Review: Untouchable by Talia Hibbert

Reviewed by Caitlin

Unabashed Talia Hibbert fan here (I think this is the third book of hers I’m reviewing?) and Untouchable is no different. The Ravenswood series is fire, and this one is my favorite so far.

Hannah Kabbah was a nurse in small-town Ravenswood, until she smashed her sister Ruth’s dickhead boyfriend’s car the night of his engagement party to another woman. Now she can’t get a nursing job – with the record and all – so she’s stuck in jobs that have absolutely nothing to do with her education.

She’s a smart woman, but she struggles with depression, and it makes her… not great at some of these jobs. When she’s fired from a coffee shop for erupting at a customer, Hannah is very worried about her future. That is, until Nate Davis – her old school crush – comes in to town. [Read more…]