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: Covet by Rosanna Leo

Reviewed by Debz

Dana Hamill is having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Not only has she just been told that she is infertile, her fiancée and support system, Tommy Parker has just dumped her as well. His reasoning, he want biological children of his own and cannot continue the relationship. And this is doubly worse because he does this unceremonious dumping in the cafeteria of the hospital, immediately after the diagnosis. What a dickhead.

She meets Alex Markov, (unbeknownst to her) a hotel magnate and the new owner of the hottest hotel on the Vegas strip, Vice at a hole-in-the-wall bar in Vegas. Alex and Dana are both there to drown their sorrows in relative anonymity and darkness. They strike up a conversation, however, when Alex advices Dana not to get the white wine on the menu. As they continue talking, sexual tension builds up between them and they decide to let go of their pent emotions via a quickie in the bathroom. Dana regrets this instantly, and runs away hoping to never hear from the hot stranger Alex anymore. [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: Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews

Reviewed by Jen

Ilona Andrews probably could have written Kate Daniels books for another 10 years and made a fortune. They are wildly successful and even after 10 books, fans love them every bit as much as they did years ago… if not more. I know I do. But that makes it all the more impressive that they decided to end this series on top. They finished Kate’s story and they did it in spectacular fashion, giving me everything I wanted and needed from an epic conclusion. I can’t imagine the kind of pressure they were under to satisfy their readers with Kate’s swan song, but somehow, they pulled it off with their trademark blend of humor, action, and heart.

There are so many things that make this book awesome, but the clearest front-runner is an adorable, fascinating, and powerful one year-old named Conlan Lennart. That’s right, Kate and Curran’s baby is born in the prologue and we scoot ahead in time a bit for the bulk of this book. It was a brilliant move, because Conlan has grown enough to feel like a real character here. He is clearly smart and extremely gifted with magic, but at the end of the day he is also a toddler that loves his mommy and daddy. And man, do they love him too. [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: A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole

Reviewed by Sara

A Duke by Default is the fantastic second book in Alyssa Cole’s Reluctant Royals series. The book’s main female character is Portia, a wealthy former party girl from New York City who has decided to turn over a new leaf. No drinking, no random hook-ups and she’s taken an internship with a sword maker in Scotland. She is determined to show her friends and family that she’s not flaky and that she can commit to a career path just like her extraordinary twin sister. This becomes difficult when she meets her hot boss and he doesn’t trust her enough to let her use her expertise to help the business.

Tavish MacKenzie doesn’t have time for an American woman who’s constantly looking at her phone. With a failed marriage and a business that’s going the same way he’s doing everything in his power to shut down Portia’s ideas for the business and his attraction to her. When he discovers he’s up for a Dukedom, his entire world turns upside and the fledgling romance between himself and Portia will either withstand the new realities of his life or go the way of history. [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…]

Joint Review: Dr. Strange Beard by Penny Reid

Reviewed by Caitlin & Sara

Caitlin: I’m a Penny Reid fan, and her last several books have been, in my opinion, her best. Marriage of Inconvenience and Dating-ish were the two best books in the Knitting in the City series by a mile (thanks to a complete lack of slut-shaming that plagued the earlier books), and I’m very much enjoying her Winston Brothers series.

Sara: I’m also a Penny Reid fan and I agree. It’s great when you can see an author grow. Gone is the problematic slut shaming and completely monochromatic cast of characters and in their place are thought provoking commentary on current events and more diversity. I’m really happy with the way Reid’s writing and this series in particular is going. [Read more…]