Review: A Scoundrel by Moonlight by Anna Campbell

scoundrel by moonlightReviewed by Jen

I have been a fan of the Sons of Sin stories since book 1, when Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed rocked my world.  I know, though, that even from an author I enjoy, not every book can make my favorites shelf.  This isn’t a bad book, but I had some issues with it and it’s probably my least favorite in the series to date.

The premise seemed interesting. Nell Trim is a woman set on vengeance for her half-sister who was seduced, impregnated, and discarded, only to die after losing her baby. On her deathbed, her sister named the Marquess of Leath as her debaucher and told Nell she was just one of a legion of women he took advantage of. After that, Nell became determined to expose him for his misdeeds. [Read more…]

Review & Giveaway: What a Duke Dares by Anna Campbell

what a duke daresReviewed by Jen

So far, I have enjoyed every installment in Anna Campbell’s Sons of Sin series. Each one has maintained a unique personality, but what I really like about Campbell’s writing is her ability to make me feel her characters’ emotions… even when (like in this case) they do their very best to ignore their own feelings.

Penelope has been in love with her brother’s best friend Camden since she was a child.  He was always there for her. He was attractive and was even going to be a Duke. What woman wouldn’t be crazy about him? The problem is that she knew he would never be crazy about her[Read more…]

Review: A Rake’s Midnight Kiss

rakes midnight kissReviewed by Jen

Not every man responds to ridicule and derision in the same way. It’s so interesting to see how each of the heroes in the Sons of Sin series is shaped differently by his experiences as a bastard. In the case of Sir Richard Harmsworth, his life has been about crafting the perfect façade of indifference. He is outwardly perfect: handsome, charming, fashionable. But he is not immune to the barbs of society or the constant reminders of his questionable parentage. So he goes on a quest to find a jewel that would confirm his claim as the rightful heir to his title. Unfortunately, the woman who owns it has no intention of handing in over. [Read more…]

Review: Days of Rakes and Roses

Reviewed by Jen

If you are looking for a sweet and sexy second-chance- at-love story, look no further.  This one hit the spot for me!

Lydia has spent the last 10 years mourning her chance lost love with Simon. They were caught in her father’s barn together –just before they could, er, cross the threshold in their relationship.  Her father tossed him out and Simon left the country.  Even though her father died five years ago, she has heard nothing from him. And no man has ever made her feel what Simon did.  At some point, though, she realized that he may never come back and she made herself move on.

Now Lydia is engaged to be married to another man. She doesn’t love him, of course, but it’s a good match.  It’s at her engagement ball that Simon makes his comeback. Lydia’s brother summoned him to stop the wedding.  He’s sure that his sister would be miserable with a man she doesn’t love.  But it’s not as easy as he hoped to reunite her with his old friend.  She was so hurt by Simon’s abandonment and it has eradicated her ability to trust a man.  How could she trust him, of all people, with her heart again?

What I liked about this story was that Simon was just as miserable as Lydia over the past decade. He left to protect her reputation and muddled through life just as heartbroken as she did.  And when they were reunited, they both still felt that long ago love for one another.  Yes, there were roadblocks, but there weren’t too many and they didn’t feel contrived.  It was just right for the length of the story.

This is part of Anna Campbell’s Sons of Sin series, and while I loved Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed (and totally think you should read it) you don’t have to be familiar with the previous book to enjoy this one.

Rating: B

*ARC Provided by Forever via NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
Days of Rakes and Roses
by Anna Campbell
Release Date: July 2, 2013
Publisher: Forever

Favorites From… Anna Campbell

Anna Campbell
Peabody for President!
By Anna Campbell

Hi Jen! Thank you for having me as your guest today. I love the idea of asking authors to share recommendations for their favorite books. The hardest part was deciding just which books to choose – there’s such a wealth of fantastic reading out there.

Recently I’ve tempered my diet of wonderful romance novels with mysteries. I love how in a good mystery series, we follow that single character through what is often a very long arc (for something like the Nevada Barr series, there are at currently 17 books!). I also love how in many of these series, there’s a romantic subplot that occasionally pushes its way up to become center of attention. Think C.S. Harris’s brilliant Viscount Devlin series set in the Regency period, starting with WHAT ANGELS FEAR.

Yeah, I know, I’m cheating. I’m fitting some extra recommendations in before I get to my ACTUAL recommendation! No mystery there.

The Amelia Peabody books by Elizabeth Peters are absolute corkers. They’re a recent discovery for me, but they’ve been around for yonks. CROCODILE ON THE SANDBANK, the first book, was published back in 1975. The latest installment A RIVER IN THE SKY came out in 2010. Talk about longevity! A RIVER IN THE SKY is number 19 and more are promised. Huzzah! Long live Amelia and her many cohorts.

You might worry about the earlier books seeming dated. And they are – right back to late in Queen Victoria’s reign. One of the advantages of writing historical mysteries is that it really doesn’t matter if flares go in and out of style in the current era, the specificity of period is part of the charm.

In CROCODILE, we meet Amelia Peabody, forthright, brave, self-opinionated (although often wrong) spinster. When Amelia unexpectedly inherits a fortune, she fulfills her dreams of travel to Egypt in the golden age of archeology. There she meets irascible, disheveled and extremely sexy Radcliffe Emerson, “the greatest Egyptologist of this or any other age” as we are told at least once in every book (the running jokes are one of the joys of this series). Sparks fly, romance ensues, and in between, there are dead bodies galore. Some of these dead bodies are meant to be that way – mummies feature strongly – but some aren’t. Amelia and Emerson play amateur sleuths in between their digging. “Every year, another dead body” as their overseer Abdullah puts it.

CROCODILE ON THE SANDBANK sets the pattern for future books. There’s fun and sparkling wit. There’s romance. There’s danger and intrigue. There’s fascinating information about Egypt, both ancient and (relatively) modern. Amelia and Emerson have one son, the dashing, mysterious and charismatic Ramses who becomes the swashbuckling hero of later books. Do you remember I mentioned extended romance plots? Ramses’s path to true love is littered with drama and heartache and by the time he gets his happy ending in THE FALCON AT THE PORTAL, the reader (and Ramses) have been through the wringer. Great stuff!

Another joy is the huge cast of characters who swing in and out of the stories. Eccentric scholars, master criminals, young lovers, Egyptians, uppity servants, spies, suffragettes, rotters, real people like Howard Carter or Lawrence of Arabia. Not to mention cats who are characters in their own right. You’re never quite sure what you’re going to get in an Amelia Peabody novel apart from rollicking enjoyment, a great story and a plethora of corpses.

The tone is dry and witty with hints of high Victorian. Surprisingly the humor doesn’t jar with the dramatic or tragic elements. There’s Bronte-esque melodrama and Austenish wit and Dickensian universality, yet somehow the books emerge all of a piece. As a writer, I’m in awe every time I read one.

If you haven’t read Amelia Peabody, I highly recommend her. If you have, I’m sure I’m speaking to the converted. If possible, read the books in order. Many of plot strands about the family run from book to book with revelations timed for maximum effect. I’m currently up to number 14, THE GOLDEN ONE, and I’m loving it.

If you’d like to read more about Amelia, her family and her adventures, here’s a link to the official website: http://www.mpmbooks.com/peabody/index.html

So are you a fan of historical mysteries? Do you like a little (or a lot!) romance mixed in with other genres? Have you read any of the Amelia Peabody stories? What’s your favorite? 

Thank you to Anna Campbell for sharing her recommendations today. I asked Anna to be a part of this feature because I absolutely adored her Beauty and the Beast themed Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed.  It follows a woman willing to pay off her sister’s debt in the bed of a scarred recluse.  It was one of my favorite books this year.

Now is your chance to check out one of the Amelia Peabody books. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below for a chance to win The Ape Who Guards the Balance by Elizabeth Peters. This one is open US/CAN. 

Be sure to check out all of the Favorites From My Favorites posts and giveaways this month, by clicking here.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

*”Favorites from…” photo: Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos  

Review: Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed

Reviewed by Jen

I love a good Beauty and the Beast story –and this one delivered in every way.  My only complaint is that it’s over.

Sidonie’s sister Roberta has amassed an enormous gambling debt and the man she owes it to, is her husband’s greatest enemy, Jonas Merrick.  There is no way Roberta will be able to pay back the money, so Jonas agrees to let her repay him in trade.  What better way to get revenge on his horrible cousin, than to cuckold him?

The thing is, Roberta’s husband is violently abusive and if he were catch wind of any of this, Roberta’s life could be forfeit. So Sidonie agrees to take her place in Merrick’s bed.  When she arrives at the castle, she is expecting a monster. After all, Merrick is horribly scarred and must be a brute to have put her sister in such a position.  But she finds that she barely notices his scars. In fact, she is even drawn to him, and he, to her.

Merrick doesn’t force Sidonie into his bed.  Instead, he makes a deal with her.  She’ll give him one week to seduce her.  It will be her choice whether they make love.  And from there begins a seduction that is only partly of the flesh.  Because while Sidonie does fall captive to his body, she also ends up connecting to the broken, lonely man within.

The development of the story was a bit predictable, but I absolutely 100% did not care.  I loved watching their journey.  Merrick is so damaged both physically and emotionally.  He has been branded a bastard, which has ostracized him, and Roberta’s horrible husband –his cousin– has the title that should have been his.  The peerage rejects him, but he holds himself away as well, refusing to let them hurt him. Yet he falls so hard for Sidonie and her innocence, her goodness.  He begins to feel his broken heart growing whole again –and I just wanted to climb inside the book and give him a hug.

I liked Sidonie. She is practical and loyal.  And she has to make some tough choices, with one that you know is going to come back and bite her when it comes out.  When it all comes crashing down, it’s hard to bear, but it’s riveting. I couldn’t put it down.

Anna Campbell gave me two main characters I truly cared about and a villain easy to hate. The plot was interesting.  And the sex was just right. It was hot and plentiful, but it never overshadowed the story. I just… loved it.

Rating: A

*ARC Provided by Forever via NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed
by Anna Campbell
Release Date: September 25, 2012
Publisher: Forever (GCP)

5 for Friday – September 21

A sick husband and a sick kid this week.  Plus the other kid had a birthday. Throw in a cheerleading/ football game event, various sports practices, cupcake making, and school projects –and I am desperately in need of some “me-time.” I have no idea when it will happen, but I can dream.  Let’s talk about fun stuff.

5. I have been stalking Sherrilyn Kenyon forever since I found she was planning this Styxx book.  Now she’s got more deets about him on her website. She says, in part:

…(I)n many ways, it’s another story of Acheron. You will see events that weren’t in his book and I know Styxx will win you over. In all honesty, he was done wrong and it will break your heart.  Misjudged, condemned, betrayed and abandoned… There is a whole side of him that no one knows.

I am so anxious!! Only 11 months to go.

4. Shiloh Walker, aka JC Daniels, has revealed the cover for book two in her Colbana Files series.  Take a look at Night Blade:

Kit Colbana is always biting off more than she can chew. She has a knack for finding trouble. This time, though, trouble finds her. Someone from her past drops a case into her lap that she just can’t refuse…literally.

People on the Council are dying left and right and she’s been requested to investigate the deaths. The number one suspect? Her lover, Damon. If she doesn’t clear his name, he gets a death sentence. Even if she succeeds? They still might try to execute him. Oh, and she’s not allowed to tell him about the case, either.

The stakes are high this time around, higher than they’ve ever been. Kit may be forced to pay the ultimate price to save her lover’s life…a price that could destroy her and everything she loves.

I really enjoyed Blade Song so I have high hopes for this one.

3. JR Ward is sharing tidbits on the next Fallen Angel book, Rapture. Every day, she is releasing a new little video on her Facebook page, which is evil and refuses to allow me to embed her clips. However, you can click on the pretend video player below and it will take you to the clip where she is talking about the heroine.

Rapture is out Tuesday.  Please, JR, you must fix this Eddie thing.

2. I really loved the ARC of Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed by Anna Campbell. It’s a Beauty & the Beast type of historical romance (also out Tuesday.)

Forever is giving away seven copies. You can win it before you can buy it. Check out the giveaway here.

1. And finally, Karen Marie Moning is answering some of the big questions about the next book in her Fever series, ICED.  If I wasn’t nervous before, I definitely am now. (I was totally nervous before, but now it’s worse.)

Here are some of the high points:

  • The next three books will be Fever #6-8
  • The titles are ICED, BURNED & FLAYED
  • They will be Dani POV
  • She will be 14 at the beginning of her 3 book arc and 17 when it’s over
  • Dani will have sex with one of the guys who is in ICED
  • Books #9-10 will be Mac POV
  • These are not teen fiction
  • ICED will not end in a cliffhanger

Without crossing the line into too much information, I know all too well that teens Dani’s age have sex.  But if it’s with a being who is hundreds (or thousands) of years old, I’m out.

I loved the Fever books. Loved.  But I am scared. Somebody needs to read this for me and give me the all clear.

I’ve got big news coming next week!  I can’t wait to share.  Until then… stay to the light!

XOXO,
Jen