Review: Summoned to Thirteenth Grave by Darynda Jones

Reviewed by Jen

I almost didn’t read this book. Despite the love I had for the 12 books that came before it, the line in the blurb about 100 years passing was almost enough to make me skip this final book in the Charley Davidson series. And that would have been such a huge mistake. I don’t want to spoil the plot for you, but if this set-up is what’s holding you back, don’t let it.

Aw hell, I don’t know how I can talk about this book at all without at least a little bit of spoilage –at least on that front—so read at your own risk.

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Review: Warrior of the World by Jeffe Kennedy

Reviewed by Jen

I picked this up right on the heels of Jeffe Kennedy’s novella in Seasons of Sorcery. That Harlan short really primed me to continue the series. (You would be fine reading the book without it, but why would you want to?)

Anyway, this picks up immediately after the conclusion of Exile of the Seas. Jenna/Ivariel is recovering both physically and emotionally from her husband’s attack in the last book. It’s a struggle. She fears that a monster lives inside of her, one capable of killing without compunction. And she doesn’t want to harm the makeshift family she has grown to love.

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Review: The Duke I Once Knew by Olivia Drake

Reviewed by Jen

I enjoyed this first book in Olivia Drake’s Unlikely Duchesses series. This is a second chance at love story between a duke and the girl who grew up as his next-door neighbor. Max and Abby fell in love when they were teenagers, but tragedy tore them apart. When Max‘s mother died, his father took him away to London and they never heard from each other again.

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Joint Review: Nightchaser by Amanda Bouchet

Reviewed by Jen & Sara

Jen: As much as I enjoyed the Kingmaker series from Amanda Bouchet, I think I might like this foray into space opera even more. Here, Bouchet has created another great heroine, who is easy to root for, along with a conflicted, flawed, yet very sexy hero. Together, they make for an awesome, angsty romance, set amid a cool futuristic series arc.

You with me so far?

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Review: Not the Duke’s Darling by Elizabeth Hoyt

Reviewed by Jen

I am such a fan of Elizabeth Hoyt. Her Maiden Lane books are among my favorite historical romances. This new series has a bit of a different feel, though I did enjoy it. The story mixes tropes with the older brother’s best friend and enemies to lovers, set against an extortion scheme, a mystery, and a secret society. There’s a lot going on here.

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Review: Merrily Ever After by Jenny Holiday

Reviewed by Caitlin

Merrily Ever After is a novella in Jenny Holiday’s lovely Bridesmaids Behaving Badly series. It follows the story of Elise and Jay, who are the couple getting married in the first book One and Only and whose actual romance is told in the (free!) novella Once Upon a Bride (which I very much recommend).

Merrily Ever After might be a bit more women’s fiction than actual romance since it deals with overcoming an obstacle in a marriage rather than two people falling in love, but it does have a lovely HEA and is a great entry into a wonderful series, so I think it’s close enough. Any fan of Jenny Holiday should absolutely read this novella. [Read more…]

DNF Review: Earl To The Rescue by Jane Ashford

Reviewed by Sara

Earl To The Rescue is the story of Gwendeline Gregory, daughter of the Baron Gregory of Brooklands and his wife Annabelle. While she was young, Baron and Baroness Brooklands spent only a week out of the year with Gwendeline and were as uninvolved in her upbringing as possible. So, when they die in an ill-defined accident, Gwendeline, is less upset about her parents being dead as she is about the fact that they spent all of their savings and have left her penniless and soon to be homeless, since their debts require their estate to be sold off.

However, Gwendeline, is rescued by a the incredibly popular Lore Merryn, who, while surprised that Gwendeline is 19 years old and not an infant, is committed, along with a group of like minded gentlemen, to caring for her and helping her be introduced favorably into the ton. Gwendeline is whisked away to London where she is put up with Lord Merryn’s mother, a novelist, and begins making the round of parties. Here, she learns that her parents were general reprobates and begins to meet various characters. [Read more…]

Review: Death Knell by Hailey Edwards

Reviewed by Jen

Talk about a slow burn. I can’t think of a single romance I have become this invested in with so little physical payoff. Luce and Cole feel as inevitable as the tide, yet they move together in increments of inches. Millimeters. And even as slowly as they move, each hard won inch is a victory to celebrate. Hailey Edwards has sold me on this pairing, hook, line and sinker. And I may want this romance to happen even more than the characters do.

That being said, the book and the series aren’t romances; they’re urban fantasy. So there is a whole lot more going on on the pages. Luce is preparing for her sister, Death, to cross over into the world, and she is working with her new partner, Adam Wu, to figure out how when and where it’s going to happen. The bodies of corpses are reanimating and it seems a portend from Death herself. [Read more…]

Review: Someone to Trust by Mary Balogh

Reviewed by Jen

This book was not my favorite from Mary Balogh. It got off to a very slow start for me, though it did improve once it finally got around to the romance. This is book five in the Westcott series, and I have read the previous four books. Even with the backstory I know, however, there are just too many characters for anyone to keep straight. For the first 10 chapters, I found myself tempted to keep flipping back to the birth chart at the beginning, and that’s no way to really lose yourself in a story.

Probably the first third of the book was spent reminding us who everyone was, how they were related, and why they were all together for Christmas. There was a great deal of narration and very little feeling from either main character. Basically, the only thing established was that Elizabeth and Colin thought well of each other but were nine years apart in age. Yes, this is an older woman younger man story. And it completely dominated the dynamic of their relationship. [Read more…]

Review: The Other Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

Reviewed by Jen

Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton books consistently deliver for me. This one was fun and engaging, with a hero and heroine easy to love –both as individuals and as a couple.

Andrew Roskesby traffics information for the crown under the guise of a pirate captain. To protect his family and his identity, he does it under the name Captain Andrew James. He is about to embark on a trip to deliver information to Portugal when two of his men drag Poppy Bridgerton aboard his ship. The woman had stumbled across the cave where his men stored their booty and kidnapped her to prevent her from telling anyone their secrets. Andrew wants her nowhere near his mission, but the job can’t wait, so he takes her along with the promise to return her to her family once the voyage is complete. [Read more…]