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: 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…]

Review: The Duke Buys a Bride by Sophie Jordan

Reviewed by Sara

The Duke Buys a Bride is an Historical Romance by author Sophie Jordan. The male main character and aforementioned Duke, is Marcus Weatherton the fifth Duke of Autenberry. While running away from his life in London to a long forgotten Scottish property, he comes across Alyse.

Alyse was raised by loving and educated parents. Unfortunately, due to their untimely demise, Alyse is auctioned as a wife to an older member of her village. She works as the housekeeper and care provider for his children until that man is ready for a “real” wife and arranges to auction Alyse. Alyse is frightened, but arranged with a childhood friend that he would buy her and they would leave for London. Unfortunately, Alyse’s friend never shows up and when Marcus first sets eyes on her, she is alone on the auction block at the mercy of the local townsmen. Marcus is immediately struck by Alyse’s bravery and places the winning bid. Marcus’ plan is to install Alyse as the housekeeper of his Scottish estate, but over the course of their journey and against the better judgement of both Marcus and Alyse, the two fall in love. [Read more…]

Review: An Earl Like You by Caroline Linden

Reviewed by Jen

Generally, the Big Secret trope is one of my least favorites, but I like Caroline Linden and I enjoyed the first book in this series, so I decided to give this book a try. I’m glad I did, because while the secret was, indeed, the driving plot device of the story, I thought it was well done and it didn’t prevent me from rooting for this couple to make things work.

Eliza is the daughter of a successful businessman. Her father is ruthless in his dealings, and as a result, he has more money than Croesus. But that money can’t buy his daughter’s way into the ton. Not that such a thing really matters to her. At the end of the day, she is happy with her friends, her home, and her beloved dog. She has no idea that her father has a plan in place to blackmail an earl into becoming her husband. [Read more…]

Review: The Illegitimate Duke by Sophie Barnes

Reviewed by Jen

I have consistently enjoyed all three installments in the Diamonds in the Rough series. Each followed the love story of one of the Matthews siblings, a trio who grew up in poverty only to join the ton later in life.

The focus on this book is Juliette, the sister who struggled with her health as a child. More recently, she contracted a bout of the measles, which is how she got to know our hero, Florian. He is a serious and dedicated physician, and now he is also the unexpected heir to a dukedom.

The promise of nobility has made Florian irresistible to the ladies of high society. Only Juliette seems to see him as a man instead of a potential title. She is intelligent and selfless, and she actually seems interested in what he does for a living. She would be a perfect wife, if only he ever planned to marry. You see, Florian is hiding a devastating secret. He is actually a bastard and his true father is a criminal of the worst sort. Most people thought the man, Bartholomew, had been hanged for his various other crimes, but as this story begins, Florian learns the man is alive and well. He would never expose Juliette to the potential scandal or danger involved with becoming his wife. [Read more…]

Review: The Governess Game by Tessa Dare

Reviewed by Jen

I always look forward to reading a new book from Tessa Dare. They are always so witty and charming. This book was no exception, although I felt that the laughs were just a little fewer and further between.

Our heroine is Alex, friend to Emma, the last book’s heroine. We do not know a lot about her off the bat, except that she is interested in astronomy, she is an orphan, and she struggles to support herself. She first met Chase at a bookstore, although met may be too strong of a word. They bumped into each other and shared a bit of a moment… a moment she has spent the past several months fantasizing about in her head.

She doesn’t truly meet Chase until several months later when she shows up at his home, hoping to set his clocks. Imagine her disappointment to find the object of her affection is really a bit of libertine. He seems interested only in picking up women and shoving off responsibility for his two young wards. He doesn’t seem to recall their meeting in the bookstore in the slightest, and in fact, mistakes Alex for a possible governess and hires her on the spot. [Read more…]

Review: The Duke With the Dragon Tattoo by Kerrigan Byrne

Reviewed by Jen

Oh wow. If you’ve been following my reviews for a while, you may remember my epic love for The Highwayman a few years back. This book is every bit as good as that one was. It gave me all the same feels. It was just as riveting. And it was the exact same brand of tortured hero catnip. Did it feel like a rehash? Absolutely not. It just recaptured the magic of that first book and I didn’t want to put it down from the first page to the last.

This is Rook’s story—and it’s not too much of a spoiler for fans of the series to reveal that Rook is actually Dorian Blackwell—the REAL Dorian Blackwell, whose identity Dougan Mackenzie co-opted in book 1. You don’t have to have read the prior books to appreciate the import of this, though I would recommend that you at least read The Highwayman. It’s not a hardship. I promise. Anyway, this nugget revealed in the very first chapter and you know immediately that his history is every bit as dark as Dougan’s was. After all, they were brothers-in-arms, facing the challenge of Newgate. Only, Dorian was supposedly killed while the bad-guys mistook him for Dougan. He was beaten and burned.

But he didn’t die. [Read more…]

Review: Diamond in the Rough by Jane Goodger

Reviewed by Jen

I’ve never read anything from Jane Goodger, including the two books before this one in the Brides of St. Ives series, but the premise of this story intrigued me enough that I wanted to give it a try. It’s a twist on a romance between a hero and heroine of different stations, which happens to be one of my favorite tropes.

Nathaniel is an impoverished Baron who is in search of a rare diamond his grandfather buried in St. Ives. The old man told him the story of the gem on his deathbed, but passed away before he could give more than the name of the property it was hidden. So Nathaniel decides to go undercover as a gardener at the home, hoping to find the lost rock and use it to put his lands back to rights.

Clara is one of the daughters who lives there. Her family is wealthy, though far from nobility. It’s her mother’s greatest wish for Clara to marry into the peerage, but even with all their money, it’s not very realistic. Blue bloods are so very disdainful of the lower class. Still, Clara tries to please her mother, even if in her heart, she wants nothing less than to surround herself with snobs. [Read more…]