Joint Review: The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare

Reviewed by Joanna & Jen

Jen: Oh wow! How I loved this this book. It had two things going for it right off the bat. One, it was written by Tessa Dare who is one of my absolute faves in historical romance. And two, it is a Beauty and the Beast trope, which is also a favorite of mine. I am thrilled to say that not only did it come through on the promise of its premise, it was even better than I expected.

Joanna: I have something to admit. *looks embarrassed* I’ve never read any Tessa Dare.

Jen: Jo! I am so sorry for you.

Joanna: I know! I can’t tell you how it happened, but I have settled the score with this beauty. It’s sparkling, pacy and lighthearted, and I laughed out loud time and time again. [Read more…]

Review: A Rake’s Guide to Seduction by Caroline Linden

Reviewed by Jen

Generally I am a fan of all things Caroline Linden, but this re-issue from nine years ago is not one of my favorites from her. It’s sort of a second chance at love story, except the hero and heroine never really made it to the “love” stage the first time around.

Linden introduces us to Celia and Anthony four years prior to the main events of the story. She is a debutante in her first season and he is the disreputable friend of her older brother. Everyone knows that Anthony is a rake of the first order, and a gambler too. The gossip sheets report on him constantly, but Celia remembers the boy he was as she was growing up and isn’t so quick to judge him on his reputation. He is taken by the way she sees him, but he is too late when he asks her brother to court her. She has already accepted another man’s proposal. [Read more…]

Review: Just Another Viscount in Love by Vivienne Lorret

Reviewed by Jen

I have read and enjoyed all three books in this series, but this installment was considerably weaker for me. Part of it might be because of the inherent problems which often come with novellas. The story is very very simple and the love is Insta. Honestly though, my biggest issue was that I was a little bit bored.

Poor Samuel definitely deserved a happy ever after, considering he was cast aside by the other heroines in the series through no fault of his own. He is handsome, kind, and really quite a catch. Gemma, on the other hand, is essentially a pariah. Her father was a villain in a previous tale and now she is unsuitable in the eyes of the time because of his evil deeds. [Read more…]

Review: Sinful Scottish Laird by Julia London

Reviewed by Ronelle

On his deathbed, Daisy Bristol’s husband imparts his final edict; after his death, she must remarry within three years or forfeit their son’s inheritance. News of Lord Chatwick’s command sweeps through London like wildfire, leaving the newly widowed Lady Chatwick with more suitors than she can shake a stick at. It might not be so bad if any of them were truly courting her, rather than the purse they would gain by marriage.

She has all but given up hope when she receives a letter from her long-lost love, now a captain in the British Royal Navy. Hoping to give him time to reach her and pledge his suit, Daisy takes her cousin and young son to her Scottish Highland estate. She doesn’t expect said estate to come with a powerful, breath-taking laird as a neighbor. [Read more…]

Review: Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn

Reviewed by Jen

The first book I ever read from Julia Quinn was the second book in this series, and I’ve been a fan of hers ever since. I’m not sure why it took me so long to go back and pick this up, but I’m glad that I finally did.

The older brother’s best friend trope is one we’ve all read time and again. But this story is a little different in that Honoria hasn’t been nursing a secret crush on Marcus all these years. She cared about him. She considered him part of the family. But it wasn’t until he drifted away and came back into her life that their relationship started to change. And even then, it was anything but quick. [Read more…]

Review: The Girl With the Make-Believe Husband by Julia Quinn

Reviewed by Jen

I am such a fan of Julia Quinn, at this point I will read anything with her name on it. Even a book with my least favorite trope: the Big Secret. And the Big Secret in this book is a pretty big one.

Cecelia jumps on a ship and sails for the colonies when she finds out her brother has been wounded in battle. Her father is dead and her odious cousin is sniffing around her, trying to force her into marriage. She really has nothing to lose. Unfortunately, when she arrives, there’s no sign of her brother at all. There is, however, the man who had become his best friend in service, Edward Rokesby. [Read more…]

Review: An Affair With a Notorious Heiress by Lorraine Heath

Reviewed by Jen

I wasn’t sure how I would feel about this book when I started it. I was on the fence about the premise, but I have read some books by Lorraine Heath that I absolutely adored, so I decided to forge through. I’m glad that I did, because I ended up enjoying this story.

Our hero is the Marquess of Rexton. Though he is obviously of the nobility, he grew up a little bit of a black sheep among his peers because his mother was a bookkeeper before she married his father. Rex loves his mother and would not trade her for anything. However, his childhood was difficult. And he resolved that he would never put his own children through the same thing. He planned to marry a woman of impeccable reputation, one that would never be a cause for ridicule or ostracism for his own kids. But you know what they say about the best laid plans. [Read more…]

Review: Corralling Callie by Amelia Smarts

Reviewed by Ronelle

Callie is determined to make a life for herself away from the orphanage. When her friend Sam suggests she send off as a mail-order bride, she does, and the response she gets from Albert seems to be a dream come true. He lives in California, is wealthy, and his letters to her are sweet and hopeful. What she tells him in return might be stretching the truth a little. When he sends her a stagecoach ticket so she can join him, she’s more than ready to go.

As a stagecoach driver for Wells Fargo, Jude has no time or tolerance for nonsense. And when Callie comes running up to him with a clearly altered ticket, he sees nonsense and a healthy dose of trouble behind that pretty smile. Against what may turn out to be his better judgement, he agrees to let her travel with them. The other passengers are less than thrilled to have the mouthy, undisciplined, and troubled woman in their midst. [Read more…]

Review: You May Kiss the Bride by Lisa Berne

Reviewed by Jen

Eh. This book didn’t do much for me one way or another. I didn’t dislike it necessarily, but I found it pretty superficial. It didn’t make me feel anything…though I did roll my eyes a few times.

Livia is an orphan who was raised on the charity of an aunt and uncle who never really cared about her. No one has ever really cared about her. For some reason, her snotty, beautiful neighbor has made her into a charity case, but she uses every opportunity to remind her of her low social station. Anyway, the snotty girl is set to marry a rich, handsome catch of the ton, but Gabriel is taken by Livia’s beauty and kisses her in the garden during a ball…and gets busted. From there, he has to propose in order to maintain his honor and reputation. [Read more…]

Review: Blame It on the Duke by Lenora Bell

Reviewed by Jen

This is my first book from Lenora Bell and my feelings for it is pretty lukewarm. I found the premise a little intriguing: The hero is a sexually experienced rake who refuses to fall in love because he is afraid he is going to go mad one day like his father. And his match is the smart, independent lady who only marries him for the freedom to live her life as she pleases. Together, they agree to a short time together –basically to get it on– and then go their separate ways to live their lives married, yet apart.

Raise your hand if you think that is how things will play out. [Read more…]