Review: Lady Rogue by Theresa Romain

Reviewed by Jen

I wanted to love this book. I mean, a romance between a lady and Bow Street Runner, one that would be forbidden in the eyes of society… that is right in my lane. I adore pairings where the hero is below the heroine in social station. But for a number of reasons, this book did not deliver in the ways I had hoped.

The biggest fail, for me, was that the first hook up for these two happened before the book ever began. Yes, it tells you that in the blurb, but reading this book gave the distinct feel that I was jumping into a series already in progress. The was disappointing for the romance to be sure, but it was downright overwhelming with the giant infodumps in the bigger story. No standalone book has a history for its characters so detailed and complex, so I did some research and sure enough, this book was born out of the events of The Royal Rewards series. (*This is clearly stated now on Amazon & Goodreads, but was not made obvious when I accepted the ARC.) There is a whole thing about a gold heist and a dead brother for the hero… all it did was bog me down and take away from the story at hand. Even worse, I couldn’t tell what stuff had actually happened on page in other books and how much was backstory for the characters that no one had read anywhere. [Read more…]

Review: Love in the Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas

Reviewed by Jen

In the books leading up to this one, I was deeply curious about how Lisa Kleypas would fashion a romance involving the youngest member of the Hathaway family. Beatrix was always painted as a strange bird, more interested in animals than people. I wondered what kind of hero would fit with her quirky personality. And I have to say, Kleypas didn’t disappoint. What better match for a woman who collects and cares for wounded animals than a man who so wounded, he needs her special blend of tender loving care?

It takes a while for the love story between Beatrix and Christopher to really get off the ground. That’s because for the first several months…years…of their relationship, Christopher was at war. They grew close through an exchange of letters over time. The thing was, he thought he was writing to someone else, a deception she perpetuated as a kindness, until she realized she was falling for him and he was was falling in love–with a lie. [Read more…]

Review: The Thief by JR Ward

Reviewed by Jen

With her Black Dagger Brotherhood books, JR Ward has excited me, enraged me, made me fall in love, and occasionally made me scratch my head. This is the first time she has left me completely cold. The installments in the main series (less so with the spinoffs) generally have so many subplots, there is at least one that I’m interested in. Not here.

I wasn’t terribly intrigued by Assail and Sola when they were first introduced. Here, they were downright anemic. Assail had been going crazy from his withdrawals from cocaine for a while now. We could hear him screaming in the background of the past few books. As this one begins, though, he is in a coma and on the verge of death. His cousins track down Sola to talk him back from the Fade. There is nothing sexy about a man clinging to life. This was equally true in the novella which directly preceded this. The best Ward could say was that the man’s boner was undiminished by his illness. No matter that he is skin and bones; he is bald; he can’t use the bathroom or bathe himself. But his junk works and is as big as ever. Hallelujah.  [Read more…]

Review: Married by Morning by Lisa Kleypas

Reviewed by Jen

All hail Lisa Kleypas. Two books back, I had absolutely no interest in this couple whatsoever. It seemed like it was going to be a tired rehash of reformed rake in an enemies to lovers situation with an uptight governess. But somehow, Kleypas made it so much more. She made me root for Leo and Miss Marks to make it work. Not only that, but she piqued my interest by giving me a little nuggets and breadcrumbs to follow in their backstory.

When the last book ended, we knew there was some kind of secret between Lord Ramsey and his sisters’ governess. As this story begins, we learn that they shared a kiss in the aftermath of Leo’s discovery that Catherine was related to Harry, Leo’s brother-in-law. It doesn’t take too long to work that out, but what does develop over the course of the book is the story of why she has hidden herself away as a domestic servant when her brother has more money than King Midas. I won’t spoil the particulars, but I will say it’s pretty gnarly. [Read more…]

Review: Ivan by Kit Rocha

Reviewed by Jen

It has to be a difficult balance for authors who have created a sweeping world and a massive cast of characters. On one hand, you have the flock of longtime fans who’ve been with you since the beginning. The ones who remember every romance, every rivalry, every child. Then on the other hand, you have newer readers who just want to enjoy the story you’re telling today. I try very hard not jump into a series in progress and I thought I was safe entering this world with Ashwin.

I was wrong.

Don’t get me wrong. I Loved Ashwin with a Capital L. And I didn’t really feel lost reading it, even though I hadn’t read the O’Kane books. The authors did a great job easing me in with enough information that I didn’t feel my own ignorance of the events of the Beyond series. Not so with this book. There were so many people and events referenced here that it was just too much. My brain was in overload with all the characters who weren’t main players in the last two stories. I’m sure it was gift for longtime readers, but for me, it detracted from a romance featuring two of my favorite tropes: a forbidden relationship and a hero who thinks he isn’t good enough for his heroine. [Read more…]

Review: Tempt Me at Twilight by Lisa Kleypas

Reviewed by Jen

As much as I loved the book before this in the Hathaways series, I have to admit that I wasn’t super excited to keep reading for this installment. Honestly, I thought we were going to get Leo’s book and I was not all that jazzed about the set up with the governess. Then I discovered this is actually Poppy’s book. I still wasn’t terribly excited, because she has probably been the least developed character among the Hathaway siblings. I didn’t feel like I knew her, and I did not particularly care to. But people love Lisa Kleypas for a reason. The lady knows what she is doing. I ended up really enjoying this book, and even more, I am actually now looking forward to Leo’s book when I wasn’t before.

The reason Poppy always faded into the background is because she is the Hathaway sibling who longs for normalcy. All she wants is a nice quiet life in the country. But what we want and what we need aren’t always the same thing. Hotel owner Harry is exactly what Poppy needs. Unfortunately, she is in love with another man. Michael is the son of a peer and the feelings between him and Poppy are real. His father would never approve of the match, though. So when Harry meets Poppy and is taken by her, he makes quick work of his nemesis by exposing the clandestine relationship to dear old dad. The result? Michael drops Poppy like a hot potato. [Read more…]

Review: Midsummer Delights: A Short Story Collection by Eloisa James

Reviewed by Jen

This short anthology consists of just three stories, all by Eloisa James, followed by a teaser, so there’s only about 65 e-pages of content here. As a result, none of the offerings is really developed.

The first short is A Midsummer Night’s Disgrace. Here, Cecilia has suffered through two failed seasons and has decided to risk her reputation by wearing a shocking red dress to a musical performance at a duchess’ house party. Cecilia’s been ignored by the gentlemen because her brother had been dropped on his head as a baby and is now mentally disabled. The men fear the disability will run in the family. Anyway, Cecilia is taken with the pianists and deems to ruin herself with him. Only, there is more to the musician than meets the eye.

This is five chapters long and suffers from a ferocious case of insta-love. The hero and heroine haven’t seen each other since childhood and they end up engaged after a dance and a handful of words exchanged in a matter of hours. [Read more…]

Review: Seduce Me at Sunrise by Lisa Kleypas

Reviewed by Jen

I loved this book. Loved it. Loved it. Loved it! Lisa Kleypas did a phenomenal job setting up this love story between Kev and Win in Mine Till Midnight… so much so that just the little glimpses of these two excited me more then the main romance in that book. And as revved up as I was to get to their romance, it would’ve been very easy to be disappointed. I am so happy to tell you that it lived up to its promise.

Kev is a gypsy who came to live with the Hathaway family when he was just a child. He was a wild thing, thanks to the brutality of his upbringing. But from the very beginning, he was captivated by Win. He thought he would only be able to love her from afar, especially after her health grew imperiled by scarlet fever. But now, she is determined to grow strong again and claim the unspoken love that they share. [Read more…]

Review: Dearest Ivie by JR Ward

Reviewed by Jen

Confession time: I’m not sure I can ever quit JR Ward. Time may prove me wrong, but even though her books can be over the top, trite, silly, or even downright infuriating, I keep coming back for more. Because sometimes, she pulls off sexy, captivating, and emotional along with–or instead of–the stuff that drives me crazy. Case in point: I actually worried that the hero of this book was going to die. Hell, Ward has killed a heroine before. Add to that, I had a really hard time getting into the story. Yet despite that… and even some other issues… I read it all in one sitting and didn’t want to put it down in the second half.

As advertised, this is set in the BDB world, but it’s not a Black Dagger Brotherhood story. None of the brothers make an appearance, but the king gets a shout out and we do see some familiar faces from the main series. It’s enough. [Read more…]

Review: Mine Till Midnight by Lisa Kleypas

Reviewed by Jen

I should probably start by saying how much this book was universally loved. It has tons of five star reviews out there… hundreds maybe. I have read and loved Lisa Kleypas books as well; it’s why I read her back list when my TBR get slow. But while I liked this book, there were a few things about it that kept me from truly adoring in the way so many other readers did.

Amelia is the responsible oldest sister in the Hathaway family. Her brother has recently and unexpectedly inherited a title, which would be a boon if he would actually behave as an adult. He lost his love to scarlet fever, though, so he is currently drinking and wasting his life away, regardless of the effect it has on the rest of his family. [Read more…]