Review: How to Forget a Duke by Vivienne Lorret

Reviewed by Jen

I have read a few different books from Vivienne Lorret now, and I have enjoyed them enough that I did not hesitate to pick this one up. It follows the story of a professional matchmaker who inadvertently falls in love with the man who has hired her.

That premise could’ve made it very trite. So too could the second major trope thrown in. The heroine gets amnesia. Though that is an eye-roller for some folks, it did not bother me here. I did have a few issues, but that wasn’t one of them.

I guess, for me, my biggest complaint is that I was slow to warm up to these characters. Jacinda, our matchmaker, is hell-bent on proving Rydsrom, the titular Duke, is hiding something. She dresses up like a maid to invade his private space and she tries to sneak in to his country home as well. She comes across as immature and, well, like a bit of a wrecking ball. It was kind of a blessing when she forgot who she was. [Read more…]

Review: Planet Dragos by Thea Harrison

Reviewed by Jen

This last novella in the Dragos & Pia POV reminded me quickly of why I fell in love with the Elder Races in the first place. It’s been an age since the last time we had a full length book featuring these two, but Thea Harrison has given us a half dozen novellas over the years to keep us in the loop with their relationship and growing family. With this story, they are visiting Las Vegas to see Rune and Carling get married. Pia is very pregnant with baby number two –and everything goes to hell when someone with an axe to grind with Dragos kidnaps her to hurt him.

The book isn’t very long and I don’t want to spoil the particulars, but I will say that I really enjoyed returning to this world and these characters. Dragos is so fascinating to me. He’s the alpha among alphas, so much of a dragon, even when he’s wearing his human skin. Yet his love for Pia shapes him. He worships her; he would burn the world for her, and more to the point, he could. It’s awesome. I love Pia, too. She has her own brand of strength. Though her husband has been around for thousands of years, and she is less than 30, she has a lot to teach him about other ways to see life and the world. And the best part is that he listens. [Read more…]

Review: Revival by S Usher Evans

Reviewed by Jen

I’m still reeling a bit from the ending on this one, folks. I don’t know if it counts completely as a cliffhanger, but it definitely pulled the rug out from under me and left me anxious to see what happens next.

This story picks up right on the heels of Resurgence, and if you haven’t read that one, go back now and pick it up. You don’t want to jump in to the action in progress. As we begin, demon-hunter Jack has gone on the run with (sort-of) reformed demon Anya, on a mission to understand the curse that has forced her path to redemption. There is a bit of an info dump recapping the events of book one, but it doesn’t last too long and may be a good refresher if it’s been a while since you read that installment. [Read more…]

Review: After the Wedding by Courtney Milan

Reviewed by Jen

Let me be honest. When I started this book I had absolutely no recollection of the first installment in the series. I wasn’t even sure if I had read it until I went back and looked on Goodreads. No wonder I had forgotten. It’s been three years since Courtney Milan wrote the beginning of this series. But don’t worry, you don’t need to remember of have even read that book in order to jump right into this one.

This is an interracial historical romance, which is a bit of a rarity. But one of the things I like best about it was how low key the race element was. Yes, the hero and heroine are of different ethnicities, but this love story isn’t about their race. It was about love and acceptance. About choosing someone to love and who chooses to love you in return. [Read more…]

Review: The Luck of the Bride by Janna MacGregor

Reviewed by Jen

This is my first read from Janna MacGregor. It’s the third in her Cavensham Heiresses series but it holds up easily as a standalone. It has an engaging premise and the writing is good. Despite a few–ok, one–thing that bothered me, I enjoyed it overall.

March’s parents died when she was just 17, leaving her to care for her three younger siblings. Her parents were of the nobility and there was plenty of money to keep them comfortable, but the man responsible for dispersing that money failed at the job. For years, she had to scrape and scratch to make ends meet. By the time she hit her 25th birthday, she was due her inheritance. But the latest trustee for the funds has been essentially ignoring her. In desperation, she begins forging his name to disburse funds from her own account to pay for necessities. [Read more…]

Review: A Duke Like No Other by Valerie Bowman

Reviewed by Jen

When I first picked this book up, I did it on the blurb alone. If I had any idea it was book nine in the Playful Brides series, I would have probably taken a pass– A) because Playful Brides do not sound like my cup of tea and B) I haven’t read the previous eight installments in the series. I’m happy to report that neither point became an issue. There were no playful brides to be found and this book holds up completely as a standalone.

This is a second-chance-at-love story involving a married couple that has been separated for the past ten years. There was a Big Secret/Big Misunderstanding that drove them apart after just a few months together. Now, though, the husband, Mark, is in line for a job he wants desperately–a job he can only win if he proves he is a family man. So her tracks down Nicole to come back and play the part. She agrees, but only if he promises to give her something she wants in return: a child. [Read more…]

Review: Someone to Care by Mary Balogh

Reviewed by Jen

40-year-olds exist as more than just the roles they play in life. They are more than just moms, grandmas, daughters, aunts, or even wives. It’s a point not often made in romance novels, especially historical ones. Let’s be real, a woman such as Viola is not generally heroine age material. She is 42. Her children are grown. She has three grandchildren. But she is first and foremost her own person. She just needs to figure out who that is. And she wants to be loved for it.

This is book four in Mary Balogh’s Wescotts series. You could probably read this as a standalone, but there are a lot of characters that may be hard to keep up with if you have not read the previous books. Suffice it to say, the premise of the series is that after the death of Viola’s first husband, she and her three children learn he had never been her husband in the first place. He was still married to his first wife and the daughter he had with her was the true heir to his fortune. The discovery made Viola a tainted woman and her children, bastards. At the start of this book, a couple of years have passed, but she is just starting to really deal with what happened to her. [Read more…]

Review: Dark Queen by Faith Hunter

Reviewed by Jen

I was completely and utterly blown away by this book. Each installment in the Jane Yellowrock series has been good, but this one took it to an entirely new level. So much is happening here. I was completely on the edge of my seat. And it was a gamechanger, guys. I had so many feels.

This is the book where we finally get the big face-off between Leo’s people and the European vamps in their long awaited Blood Duel. A huge event like that—I totally expected to take up an entire book on its own, but it doesn’t. In fact, there were so many other things happening in the first half of the story that I was sure Faith Hunter was saving it for the next book. [Read more…]

Review: A Scandalous Deal by Joanna Shupe

Reviewed by Jen

As much as I love the Regency romances that are the mainstay of my historicals, I am really enjoying the foray into New York’s Gilded Age I’m getting with this series. This is the second installment in Joanna Shupe’s The Four Hundred and–though I enjoyed the first one–if you want to jump in here, this holds up just fine as a standalone.

Lady Eva is a talented architect who learned her craft at the feet of her renowned father. Unfortunately, her dad has developed dementia and can no longer work. To make matters worse, he mismanaged their money and despite his success, she can’t pay the bills. So she decides to use her own skill to fix the situation. Of course, no one will hire a woman as an architect, so she takes a lucrative job in New York, pretending to serve in her father’s stead. After all, she’s been designing in his name for years. What could possibly go wrong? [Read more…]

Review: A Devil of a Duke by Madeline Hunter

Reviewed by Jen

Eh. I struggled with this book. It wasn’t bad necessarily, but it didn’t grab me. In fact, I had to push myself to get through it, largely because I didn’t connect with the characters or feel any real spark between them.

Amanda is a daughter of two thieves who is trying to make a respectable life for herself. She is serving as a lady’s secretary and is using her skills and her smarts to find success. Unfortunately, someone has kidnapped her mother and is now blackmailing Amanda into stealing stuff to keep her safe. First it was something in a museum… now it’s an object in a private collection. The owner of the house is out of town, but the only way she can access it is through the home next door… and she’ll seduce the man who lives there to get inside. [Read more…]