Jen’s Favorites of 2018

I read some amazing books from old favorites and made at least one new favorite this year!

The Sins of Lord Lockwood by Meredith Duran. Tortured heroes are my jam and Lockwood fits the bill in spades. The man was kidnapped right after his wedding and sent to a penal colony under a false name. The wife he left behind is heartbroken, but instead of seeking the answers she wants, she asks only for an heir. Lots of feels in this one.

Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs. As much as I love the Mercy Thompson books, I adore the Alpha and Omega spinoff books even more. Here, Charles has been put in charge of the pack in Bran’s absence. We get to spend some time with the Wildlings in this one and get a peek behind the curtain of Leah’s character. Anna and Charles are so great together. I can’t get enough of them.

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Caitlin’s Favorites of 2018

by Caitlin

I read some really wonderful romances (and some romances that I did not love quite so much) in 2018. Some of them were novels that came out this year, while sometimes I caught up on an author’s backlog (Jennifer Ashley and Elizabeth Hoyt come to mind for that).

There were also a few books that got some much-deserved heat this year – like Cat Sebastian’s Unmasked by the Marquess and Talia Hibbert’s A Girl Like Her – but both of those authors made my list for different books they published this year.

For my money, the most underrated romance this year was Meredith Duran’s The Sins of Lord Lockwood. Duran’s books are all incredible, but I’m especially floored this came and went without the pomp and circumstance it deserved. A sort of retelling of Count of Monte Cristo with a heroine who needs an heir (as opposed to the hero who needs it) and a historical romance where the heroine inherits her own lands and is genuinely powerful in her own right, Lockwood was an angsty masterpiece. Lord Liam Lockwood is brooding and a little broken and very sexy when the book starts and a sweet little puppy dog during the flashbacks. He is the best of both worlds. Lady Anna Lockwood is a role model with close female friendships and the weight of the world on her shoulders. I would recommend this book to literally anyone.

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Review: The Sins of Lord Lockwood by Meredith Duran

Reviewed by Jen

This is book six in Meredith Duran’s Rules for the Reckless series, but if you haven’t read the earlier installments, don’t worry. I didn’t read them either and not only does this book stand-up fine all on its own, I didn’t want to put it down. I read the whole thing in one sitting.

Tortured heroes are my jam and Lockwood fits the bill in spades. The man was kidnapped right after his wedding and sent to a penal colony under a false name. For years, he was subjected to one misery after another. Only his survival instinct kept him alive and helped him topple his cruel captors. Now that he is back in England, he is on a mission for vengeance against the greedy cousin who arranged for his captivity. Sadly, he wasn’t thinking much about the wife he left behind. [Read more…]

Review: Wicked Becomes You by Meredith Duran

wicked becomes youReviewed by Janell

I’m nearing the end of my stack of borrowed paperbacks, but I’m still mostly finding winners. I’ve read a few books by Meredith Duran and enjoyed them all, including this one.

The book takes place in 1890, and I don’t know the proper name for that time period other than post-Regency, or, “still all about Society but they have electricity and trains.” Gwen Maudsley is a wealthy merchant’s daughter who was shipped off to be raised in Society and given a very attractive dowry. Gwen knows how to be nice and polite, how to embroider handkerchiefs for charity and how to decline wicked parlor games. But she’s just been jilted for a second time and fears that no amount of handkerchiefs can restore her reputation. [Read more…]

Review: A Lady’s Lesson in Scandal

Reviewed by Jen

Nell is a woman who has lived a hard life and things look like they’re only getting worse. She works in a factory, barely scraping by in the slums of London’s Bethnel Green. Her mother is dying and her step-brother is ready to whore her out for money. On her deathbed, Nell’s mother reveals that Nell’s father is a highborn lord who may be willing to help her financially. But when her letter to him is ignored and her mother dies, Nell decides to get her revenge by killing the man in his sleep.

Only, when she arrives at the home of Lord Rushden, she doesn’t find her father. He’s been dead for months. Instead, she finds his heir…. a distant cousin. The new lord proposes a shocking idea. If she marries him, he’ll help her establish her claim to her inheritance. In exchange, she’ll help him shore up his empty coffers. What choice does she have, but to agree?

From here, the story reminds me a little of My Fair Lady, as Rushden tries to help transform Nell from a guttersnipe into a genteel aristocrat. But we get the added bonus of a little sexual heat. Nell and Rushden share a fiery attraction, which travels the course from tension, to action, to tender feelings. Nell’s life begins to transform itself into a fairy tale, but she can’t let go of the lessons learned in the slums; she can’t trust that her happiness will last.

I enjoyed watching Nell drop her defenses as she fell for Rushden.  And I definitely enjoyed their love scenes. There are bumps along the road as they try to reach their happy ending, but the obstacles are worth it. Perhaps what’s most refreshing is how Nell manages to make it through the story with her character intact… her changes are merely superficial, except for her newfound ability to trust in the man she loves. 4 stars.

*ARC Provided by Pocket Books

A Lady’s Lesson in Scandal
by Meredith Duran
Release Date: June 28, 2011
Publisher: Pocket Books