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…]

Review: Breathless by Celeste Bradley and Susan Donovan

Reviewed by Sara

In Breathless, Celeste Bradley and Susan Donovan have taken two stories and woven them together into an epic love story that crosses centuries and continents.

The historical portion of the book centers on The Swan, London’s premiere courtesan. The Swan has worked her way up from the bowels of Newgate Prison to the height of the London ton. She is independently wealthy, dictates fashion, and can have any man she wants. A man, however, is how she finds herself shipwrecked with amnesia on the coast of Catalonia. Here, she is taken in by The Artist, an immensely private, British deserter of the Napoleonic Wars. As The Swan finds herself in The Artist’s humble, coastal cottage, as well as on The Artist’s canvas she also finds the greatest love of her life.

In the Contemporary portion of Breathless, we meet Brenna Anderson, an Art History professor who, like many in the art community, is obsessed with a series of painting of a woman known as The Siren. When she discovers that The Siren may in fact be The Swan, a courtesan of renown who disappeared out of history she believes she may have the key to a centuries old mystery. However, to prove her theory correct she’ll have to except the help of her rival, Fitch Wilder, a treasure hunter with no formal training who seems to always be two steps ahead of her professionally. Brenna knows men like Fitch and refuses to be swayed by his charm, but the closer they get to uncovering the mystery of The Siren, the harder it is for her to deny her feelings for the handsome adventurer. [Read more…]

Review: The Duchess Diaries by Jillian Hunter

Reviewed by Debz

It’s a graduation ball in 1819 London and Lady Charlotte Boscastle, the headmistress of Scarfield Academy for young ladies has just spotted the man of her dreams. Of course, when he asks her to dance she has to say no. It’s one thing to fantasize about the Duke of Wynfield, it is another to know that he has been forced, eh…encouraged to dance with her by her cousin.

Gideon, Duke of Wynfield, accepts his friend’s manipulation into dancing with his cousin Lady Charlotte, but alas the cold schoolmarm refuses to engage in conversation or even accept his dance proposal. Her loss; he has better things to do anyway. She is out of sight and out of mind until he comes across her diary on the floor of his coach.

You see, Lady Charlotte doesn’t write about the mundane happenings at her school but her erotic exaggeration of events witnessed by her and her scandalous family. Not only is she explicit in her writing, in her musings, she and the Duke of Wynfield have been carrying out an illicit affair for a year. Gideon is amused, a little aroused and a lot pissed that Lady Charlotte has done this without even changing the names of the characters in her diary. [Read more…]

Review: Too Wilde to Wed by Eloisa James

Reviewed by Jen

Though I enjoyed the romance in the first book of this series, it was almost overshadowed by my interest in the secondary couple, the hero’s brother and his betrothed. So I was more than excited to start this book and read their full story.

North, heir to the Dukedom, and Diana were engaged in book one, but it seemed that she was far less enamored of the match than he was. In fact, she ran away and jilted him before that book was done. It ended with him finding her hidden away in a cottage with a crying baby. All signs pointed to her having given birth, but we learn quickly that the child actually was a bastard born of her deceased sister. Diana refuses to let the baby grow up in an orphanage, so she has taken responsibility for him.

Anyway, North disappears for a while and goes off to fight in the American revolution. When he returns, he discovers that she is now living in his family home, raising the baby and acting as a governess to his niece. Society believes the child she brought with her is his. But rather than lashing out, he is surprisingly magnanimous. It’s sets the stage for us to see his true character. [Read more…]