Review: The Vixen by Christi Caldwell

Reviewed by Jen

I am a big fan of angst in my romance. I actively seek it out and the blurb on this story promised me a healthy dose. It did not disappoint.

Ophelia grew up on the streets of Saint Giles, the daughter of its worst criminal. She did what she had to in order to survive, from picking pockets to using her knife, to putting herself at risk among those who would take advantage of a beautiful young girl. She was hard and tough, but for some reason she could not follow one particular order. She could not force her self to kill the boy who her father called “the one who got away.”

Connor refused to join the gang of the man who killed his parents. He knew he risked his own life with that refusal, but on three different occasions, Ophelia found him and each time she let him escape. So when she was almost arrested for picking the wrong pocket, he sacrificed himself and claimed the crime as his own. It changed his life forever. [Read more…]

Review: The Warrior of Clan Kincaid by Lily Blackwood

Reviewed by Jen

This third book in Lily Blackwood’s Highland Warrior series tells a familiar story, but one I did not mind retreading. The titular character here is Cull the Nameless, a man who was kept as a slave for many of his formative years before someone bought him his freedom and lead him to a life as a soldier of the king. As the story begins, his benefactor has tapped him to lead a mission to relieve the Kincaid clan of their land.

Wait, you may say, the book is called of The Warrior of Clan Kincaid, but our hero is fighting against that clan? Well, yes and no. You see, the Kincaid men are missing one of their brothers. Or rather, he was presumed dead when their parents were killed. And did I mention that Cull has no recollection of his life before slavery? I don’t mean to spoil anything, really, but it does not take a rocket science to connect the dots. You would have figured it out on your own pretty quickly, I promise. And even though it takes a little while to spell it out on page, the big reveal is in the book’s blurb, so I don’t feel too guilty for mentioning it here.

This is a premise I have read several times over the years, but Lily Blackwood does a pretty good job with it. [Read more…]

Review: My Lord, Lady, and Gentleman by Nicola Davidson

Reviewed by Caitlin

I first decided to check out Nicola Davidson on a recommendation by Sarah Maclean and burned through almost her entire backlist. Back then, this book hadn’t been released yet, but I couldn’t wait for it to come out. The first two novellas in the series – “My Lady’s Lover” (f/f romance) and “To Tame A Wicked Widow” (BDSM with experienced widow submissive and virgin dominant) – were excellent, and I was very much anticipating this entry into the series.

It did not disappoint.

Clayton Irving is a third son of a lord whose parents expected him to be a vicar. Clayton, however, is not really cut out for the cloth. He drinks, he gambles, and he has plenty of sex – with both men and women. His parents have disowned him, so he supports himself as an artist of a… sensual nature. He’s very talented. [Read more…]

Review: Born to Be Wilde by Eloisa James

Reviewed by Jen

Generally, I’m down for a good enemies to lovers story, mostly because they’ve usually got a fair amount of fire and angst. It was the reason I was looking forward to this book. Eloisa James did a good job laying the groundwork for this constantly sniping duo over the course of the series’ first two books. The story itself was slightly less exciting.

I feel like I already knew Lavina from her association with the first two heroines. She is lovely, though maybe a bit flighty, and there isn’t a man around who doesn’t want to make her his bride. Well, nobody except for Parth. For some reason, the adopted brother of the Wilde clan treated her with mild disdain and she reciprocated with unflattering nicknames every time she spoke of him. But now, as this story begins, she is ready to propose to him. [Read more…]

Review: The Duke I Tempted by Scarlett Peckham

Reviewed by Jen

There is more to cheating than just having sex with someone. I say this because other readers might argue with me when I say there is cheating in this book. But there is. And for me, it ruined what was otherwise a very well written, sexy, and angsty read that was so cracktacular, I had to fight the urge to open my Kindle app while I was driving home from work. IT RUINED IT. And it’s the kind of spoiler I don’t feel bad about writing, because if I had known this was going to happen before I started reading, I would have walked the other way. I would have never chosen to invest in these characters, to yearn with them–and for them–the way I ultimately did.

I would have never been so thoroughly disappointed.

So now you’re warned. Let me go back to the beginning. [Read more…]

Review: Disciplined by the Duke by Alyson Chase

Reviewed by Caitlin

Disciplined by the Duke is the first in the Lords of Discipline series. So far there are three books out, and so far all three are very good. I might like this first one best because the build up is so incredibly hot, but the other two are definitely worthy follow-ups.

The year is 1813. Elizabeth Wilcox is being blackmailed by the Earl of Westmore. Her sister, Amanda, is in Newgate for murdering their father – sticking a knife in his ribs after years of sexual abuse when it became clear he was about to move on to Elizabeth. Westmore is corrupt and has the ear of the judge in Amanda’s trial. He will release Amanda if Elizabeth does what he asks.

It’s been a year of living under his awful thumb, doing unpleasant tasks that aren’t always quite legal. Now, though, he has given her the final task that will ensure her freedom. If she gets a certain letter currently in the Duke of Montague’s possession and brings it back to him, Westmore will free Amanda. Westmore has even gotten Elizabeth a job as a chambermaid at Montague’s country estate. [Read more…]

Review: A Gentleman Never Keeps Score by Cat Sebastian

Reviewed by Caitlin

A Gentleman Never Keeps Score is the second installment of Cat Sebastian’s “Seducing the Sedgwicks” series. Sebastian has been an autobuy for me since I read The Soldier’s Scoundrel (book 1 of “The Turner Series”), but this book is far and away my favorite since that series.

It’s 1817. Hartley Sedgwick is a 23-year-old gentleman and a social outcast. He inherited a house in Mayfair from his godfather, Sir Humphrey Easterbrook, with whom he carried on a sexual affair. Hartley has told himself he did it to get his brother Will a commission in the Navy and to make sure his other brothers had food on the table because the truth – that he was too young to make such a choice and was taken advantage of by someone who was supposed to care for him – makes him feel even weaker. At least this way, he was an active participant, rather than a victim. [Read more…]

Review: The Allure of Attraction by Julia Kelly

Reviewed by Jen

I somehow missed that this was third book in a series when I picked this up, but it held up fine as a standalone. In fact, I would go so far as to say that despite the fact this is dubbed a Matchmaker of Edinburgh story, I’m skeptical about the matchmaker element at all, because though a matchmaker character existed, I don’t think she had anything to do with the hero and heroine getting together at all.

This is both an enemies to lovers and second chance at love story. Andrew and Lavina were teenage sweethearts who were deeply in love. Andrew went off to make a name and money for himself on the high seas, but was in a terrible accident and presumed dead. When he made it back home a year later, Lavina was married to someone else. Understandably, he was heartbroken, but he was also cruel, lashing out at her and turning his back on his old life, planning never to return to it again. [Read more…]

Review: A Place in Your Heart by Kathy Otten

Reviewed by Jen

I am a big fan of historical romance, though usually my preference is for the Regency era or the occasional Highlander offering. But the blurb on this Civil War romance caught my attention. It centers on an Irish nurse named Gracie and the disagreeable surgeon who drives her crazy.

Charles constantly makes cracks about her tender sensibilities and insists that the medical ward is no place for a woman. What seems like arrogance, though, really masks a complete inability on his part to connect to other people. It is never explicitly stated, but I feel like he may have had mild Aspergers or fallen somewhere on the autism spectrum. He could not express his feelings; he did not understand humor. He was ostracized his entire life but just could not find his place. Except with medicine.

This is definitely an enemies to lovers story. Charles makes Gracie crazy, but over time she grows to appreciate his skill and realizes there is more to him than meets the eye. It doesn’t hurt that he excites her with his unbidden kisses. Still, she doesn’t feel like any man can ever replace her late husband. This is a slow burn romance for sure. (And a virgin hero, BTW.) [Read more…]

Review: Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean

Reviewed by Jen

Man, I really enjoyed this book. To be fair, Sarah McLean is an auto by author for me at this point. But that isn’t what made me love it… The story featured some of my favorite tropes, done to perfection, along with two main characters who I simply adored, both together and apart.

Felicity is a 27-year-old wallflower, who actually used to be a darling of the ton. I liked her in The Day of the Duchess, as one of the ladies who was “trying out” to be that hero’s new wife. Obviously, she was not meant to be the heroine of that tale. Still, her family is pushing hard for her to have a good match because they are in dire financial straits and they need a rich husband for her to solve their problems. Unfortunately, since she has fallen out of favor with those who were once her friends, it is a task that is growing increasingly difficult.

Those “friends” have actually grown quite cool. As the story begins they are teasing and pushing her too far, so far in fact that she declares that she is engaged to the duke who threw the ball they were attending. With that pronouncement, she unknowingly threw herself into a battle between two brothers with a deep grudge against each other. [Read more…]