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…]

Review: When a Duke Loves a Woman by Lorraine Heath

Reviewed by Jen

Lorraine Heath follows up the first book in her Sins For All Seasons series with this story, featuring another one of the Trewlove siblings. This is Gillie’s story. She is a tall, independent, self-made woman, who owns her own tavern. She has never needed or even wanted a man. She can take care of herself and she likes it that way.

But everything changes when she stumbles on the duke of Thornley, moments after he is attacked by a band of the thieves. The only reason Thorne was in the seedier part of town is because his fiancée left him at the altar and he had a tip she was hiding out there. But instead of finding her, he met the wrong end of a knife.

 

[Read more…]

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…]