Review: The Silent Duke by Jess Michaels

Reviewed by Jen

I one clicked on this bad boy the minute I finished reading the blurb, and it gave me everything I wanted. Namely a mute and abused hero fighting himself over a chance at happiness with the woman he has loved his entire life. Yes, yes, 100 times yes.

Ewan (I even love his name) spent 10 years in the home of the father who hated him. It wasn’t until the man threatened to put him in an asylum over his inability to speak that his aunt and uncle took him away and decided to raise him as their own. Charlotte was only seven, but she felt a special connection to her brother’s friend, so much so that she developed a special sign language that allowed the two of them to talk. [Read more…]

Review: Someone to Wed by Mary Balogh

Reviewed by Jen

I’ve enjoyed almost every book I’ve read by Mary Balogh, and this was no exception. One of the reasons I like her is how well she does characters with a tortured past. Most often, it’s the hero, but occasionally, she gives us a heroine who must overcome something horrible. In this case, it’s a burden that’s changed the woman’s entire life.

Wren has a purple birthmark that covers one side of her face. In many historical romances, that would be her obstacle to overcome. And it is here too, but only tangentially. The real problem is the psychological damage she has to overcome from a lifetime spent in isolation. [Read more…]

Review: A Daring Arrangement by Joanna Shupe

Reviewed by Jen

I read a lot of historical romance, but it was fun to step out of the ballrooms of regency England for a change in order to enjoy this love story set against the New York City of the late 1800s. I really liked the change of pace.

Lady Honora is in America because her father shipped her off there after she was caught in a compromising position with an unsuitable man. All she wants to do is get back to her beau. So she concocts a plan to tie herself to a man even more unacceptable then her Robert. Surely, if she becomes betrothed to a wild gossip magnet like her neighbor Julian, her father will force her to come home. [Read more…]

Review: Hamilton’s Battalion by Rose Lerner, Courtney Milan, Alyssa Cole

Reviewed by Jen

This anthology cashes in on the popularity of Hamilton with a trio of love stories against the backdrop of characters marginalized by race, religion, and sexuality. I haven’t seen the musical that has captured the hearts of so many, but you really don’t need to be familiar with it to understand what’s going on here. Eliza Hamilton is collecting stories from her husband’s soldiers after his death about their history with him. Hamilton, the Yorktown, and the Revolutionary are the threads that hold the novellas together. [Read more…]

Review: The Scot Beds His Wife by Kerrigan Byrne

Reviewed by Jen

I’ve been a fan of the Victorian Rebels series since the first installment, The Highwayman, rocked my socks off. Each book has filled in stories of the Mackenzie brothers, all deeply damaged by the father who tormented them in their youth. This book’s hero was the youngest legitimate son, Gavin, who is now the Earl of Thorne.

The legacy his father left behind is one Thorne completely rejects. He took his mother’s last name and wanted to divorce himself of everything to with being a Mackenzie… not just wanting distance from his long dead father, but his brothers too. If you read the previous books, you know the truth behind their history, but Thorne has only his own perspective and believes his brothers are as much monsters as their sire ever was. He’s still tied to Liam, not only because his brother is the Laird, but also because he works in the man’s distillery. His deepest desire is to forge is own path, free of everything Mackenzie. [Read more…]

Review: Pleasure Me by Monica Burns

Reviewed by Jen

Somehow I missed out on this book when it first released back in 2011. That was a pretty spectacular feat, looking back and seeing how much some of my book buddies really loved it. Pleasure Me is chock full of some of my favorite tropes and while it wasn’t 100% perfect for me, I really enjoyed the story.

Lady Ruth is a 41-year-old courtesan who has just lost her protector to a younger woman. She must face the reality that she is growing too old to be an ideal mistress. It makes her question her self-worth and convinces her she will never find another man. Instead, she decides to focus on the orphanage that she runs. [Read more…]

Review: War Flower by Mary-Anne O’Connor

Reviewed by Elle

In 1965, 18 year old Poppy meets a beautiful boy named Ben on a Sydney train. Poppy is instantly besotted with him, but disappointed when Ben begins dating Poppy’s arch nemesis Barbara. Barbara and her squad have always made Barbara and her twin sister Rosemary, feel like wallflowers, teasing them mercilessly throughout their high-school years. [Read more…]

Review: Gentlemen Prefer Heiresses by Lorraine Heath

Reviewed by Jen

Though I enjoyed the last book in this series–the one that introduced this couple–I was a little underwhelmed by this novella.

We first met Gina as the sweet, innocent younger sister of a scandalous woman. Her uncle had bribed a duke to show interest in her, but the man ended up falling for her sister. Gina was OK with that; she even encouraged it, and she developed an interest in the Duke’s brother, Andrew. [Read more…]

Review: Hard-Hearted Highlander by Julia London

Reviewed by Jen

Let me start by saying I have read other books by Julia London and have enjoyed them. I say that so you know it’s nothing I have against the author when I say how abysmal I found this book. This is the story of Rabby MacKenzie, a Scotsman being forced into marriage with a young English miss, then falling for her governess. I hated every minute of it.

Let me tell you about Rabbie. He is the most morose, maudlin, douchebag of a “hero” I’ve read in ages. To be fair, the love of his life was killed in the Jacobite rebellion. He’s got a reason to be sad and to hate the English, but this guy is miserable for the entire book. Not only that, he is thoroughly awful to everyone around him. He only agreed to marry Aveline because of some convoluted land issue that would allow his family to keep smuggling. OK. But good grief, he is constantly contemplating suicide. He is a boor, not only to his betrothed, but his entire family. And when he falls for the governess, Bernadette, he becomes no more likable. [Read more…]

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…]