Monday, March 2, 2015

Kisses, She Wrote (Prince Catchers #1.5) by Katharine Ashe

“Let the fantasy begin.” 

Oh, how I love this story! And what a surprise, that, because I absolutely loathed Charles Camlann Westfall, the Earl of Bedwyr, in I Married the Duke and could not, for the life of me, understand how this vile man could be deserving of his own story. Well, I was wrong about him, and I am so glad I was!!

Blurb...

Handsome as sin and scandalously rakish, Cam Westfall, the Earl of Bedwyr, is every young lady's wickedest dream. Shy wallflower Princess Jacqueline of Sensaire knows this better than anyone, because her dreams are full of the breathtaking earl's kisses. And not only her dreams—her diary, too.

But when Cam discovers the maiden's not-so-maidenly diary, will her wildest Christmas wishes be fulfilled in its pages . . . or in his arms?

My thoughts...

I agree with other reviewers who said that this novella doesn't read like a novella. We had learned enough about both characters in I Married the Duke that the author didn't need to waste pages on their back-story and history. Instead, we get to dive right in to Cam and Jacqueline's tale and I loved every word of it.

Ms. Ashe really outdid herself with the beautiful prose and poetry. At the start I thought I'd be bored with it but, in truth, it took my breath away. This storytelling is sheer brilliance and I'm so very glad I didn't pass it over!

An ARC was provided by Avon Books. In appreciation I'm giving them an honest review.


Sunday, March 1, 2015

I Married the Duke (Prince Catchers #1) by Katharine Ashe

There were moments I loved this story, and moments I wanted to scream because things were taking so long to work out, but all in all I Married the Duke is an entertaining tale!

Blurb...

Arabella Caulfield, one of three orphaned sisters, has clung to an ancient gypsy prophecy as the only way to save her family from endless heartbreak. Now she has twelve days to reach a remote French castle and fulfill her destiny: to marry a prince.

Along the way, Arabella meets Lucien Westfall, decorated naval captain and the new Duke of Lycombe. She thought he was a pirate. He thought she was a governess. Two wrongs have never made such a scandalously perfect right.

My thoughts...

It's interesting that as I read other reviews of this book, many people loved the beginning and hated the end, saying that things dragged. I feel just the opposite! The beginning drove me crazy with what felt like dialog that was forced and slow. That said, by the end of the story I was hooked and immediately started reading book #1.5, Kisses, She Wrote, which is fabulous!

I truly enjoyed the secondary cast, and some of my favorite scenes were those spent aboard merchant brigantine Retribution. Unique locales and quirky characters have made this a story I won't soon - if ever - forget!

The bottom line...

I highly recommend I Married the Duke to anyone who loves Regency era romance, but please don't be discouraged by the slow start. For while there, I had a tough time feeling much of anything except annoyance at Bella and Luc. But again, by the end of the story I was completely invested in them and fell in love with their much deserved happily ever after.

An ARC was generously provided by Avon Books. In appreciation I'm giving them an honest review.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Diary of an Accidental Wallflower (Seduction Diaries #1) by Jennifer McQuiston

Oh, how I enjoyed this story! I laughed out loud, I fanned myself, and found myself teary-eyed, more than once. This is, without a doubt, a series you won’t want to miss!

Blurb…

Pretty and popular, Miss Clare Westmore knows exactly what (or rather, who) she wants: the next Duke of Harrington. But when she twists her ankle on the eve of the Season’s most touted event, Clare is left standing in the wallflower line watching her best friend dance away with her duke.

Dr. Daniel Merial is tempted to deliver more than a diagnosis to London's most unlikely wallflower, but he doesn’t have time for distractions, even one so delectable. Besides, she's clearly got her sights on more promising prey. So why can’t he stop thinking about her?

All Clare wants to do is return to the dance floor. But as her former friends try to knock her permanently out of place, she realizes with horror she is falling for her doctor instead of her duke. When her ankle finally heals and she faces her old life again, will she throw herself back into the game?

Or will her time in the wallflower line have given her a glimpse of who she was really meant to be?

My thoughts…

I’m a fan of Jennifer McQuiston’s writing, so I knew Diary of an Accidental Wallflower would be good, but I wasn’t prepared for just how good this story is. In some ways it’s your typical historical romance with Seasons, titles, and “perfect” marriages the theme throughout, but what sets this apart is just how well represented the difference between the ‘classes’ is.

Not to worry, though! There was no ‘boo-hoo, I’m not worthy of your love’ yada-yada-yada, from the hero. He’s intelligent, strong, clever, and realistic. Class seems to mean nothing to him when it comes to true love, though he is bound by the rules of the ton. I love that Daniel is proud of who he is, of his family, and his contributions to society. He’s one of the most solid non-titles historical romance heroes I’ve read, and I feel in love with him early on. So, you see, he is a big part of why I adore this book.

Our heroine, Clare, rather is a typical London princess, something that would normally wear on me a bit. But deep down in a place she’s not supposed to think about, there are questions. This is what made her an intriguing woman, someone who had to battle what she was expectedto do with what she should do. So, the truth is, rather than be annoyed by her ‘status matters’ attitude, I couldn’t help but cheer her on as she begins to understand what is truly important in life; family and love.

The supporting cast – brilliant!! Clare’s brother and sister, Geoffrey and Lucy, are seriously funny, and I cannot wait to get their stories!!

The bottom line...

This is definitely one of my favorite historical romances. If you’ve not read Ms. McQuiston’s writing, give Diary of an Accidental Wallflower a shot! You’ll be so very glad you did!

An ARC was generously provided by Avon Books via Edelweiss. To show my appreciation I’m giving them an honest review.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Viscount Vagabond (Regency Noblemen #1) by Loretta Chase

Loretta Chase is one of my favorite historical romance authors. She writes complex characters who become ‘real people’ whose stories I adore reading. Viscount Vagabond is a fun, unique story, and I enjoyed it very much!

Blurb…

FROM DISTRESS TO DISASTER

Catherine Pelliston simply would not abide by her father's wishes and marry the slovenly Lord Browdie. But her escape through the streets of London only seemed to lead her from bad to worse. First, she was robbed. And then, her supposed "rescue" by a kindly old woman stranded Catherine in a bordello -- where the handsome Viscount Rand was intent on sampling her wares! A dire predicament indeed-especially when the dashing aristocrat decided to assume full responsibility for the ravishing runaway by taking her, quite against her will, into his home. But little did Catherine know that her struggle to preserve her virtue had inflamed the debauched gadabout's heart ... and might well net her a husband worth desiring!

My thoughts, quickly…

This is definitely an entertaining story, but I’ll be honest – I knew without looking that this must have been one of her earlier works. It was good, not great; entertaining, but not unputdownable. That said, the time I spent reading was time well spent, and I’m hoping to read more of the series, soon!


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Catch a Falling Heiress (An American Heiress in London #3) by Laura Lee Guhrke

Catch a Falling Heiress is the 3rd book in Laura Lee Guhrke’s An American Heiress in London series. Historical Romance is probably my favorite genre, and it’s because of stories like this.

Blurb…

She's an American heiress. He's a devilish earl. When these two collide, the sparks ignite a shocking scandal in USA Today bestselling author Laura Lee Guhrke's unforgettable Victorian-era romance.

Linnet Holland wants nothing to do with fortune hunters. No, she’s determined to marry a man who loves her. But just as she’s about to accept the perfect marriage proposal from the man she wants, the rakish Earl of Featherstone interrupts and ruins everything, including her reputation, with his smoldering kiss.

Jack Featherstone knows all about Linnet’s “intended”, and he’s determined she won’t fall prey to that villain as other women have in the past. But when his attempt to save Linnet ruins her instead, he knows he has to make things right. So he sets out to win this golden beauty . . . and prove to her that being ruined by him was the best thing that could have happened to her.

My thoughts…

I’ll say this right up front, Catch a Falling Heiress is my favorite book in this series, so far. It overlaps slightly with book 2, How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days, so it’s important to read these in order because we get the details on what actually happens to Van Hausen - the vile man with no conscience, no care for anyone but himself. Details… that’s what I wanted and that’s what I got in this book!

I fell madly in love with our hero, Jack, the second son of the Earl of Featherstone. He was not loved by his father and older brother - that I can tell, anyway - and he learned early on that he’d have to make his own way in life. His early years were rough, but with determination and great friends he became an amazing man whose story needed to be told.

Linnet … such a stubborn woman, but it seems to me that’s the way the “American Heiresses” are. They’re so very different from the usual London princesses, and that’s what makes these stories shine – well, that and the amazing heroes!

It’s so much fun watching these men of the ton try to understand (and woo) these women who are nothing like the simpering little chits they’ve been exposed to, and that - along with a great storyline - is what makes Catch a Falling Heiress so entertaining.

The bottom line…

Laura Lee Guhrke’s historical romances are magic, and if you haven’t yet given her stories a read, you’re missing out! The An American Heiress in London series sits proudly on my “must read” shelf, and I can’t wait for the next installment!

An ARC of this story was provided by Avon Books. To show my appreciation I'm giving them an honest review.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Forbidden (Under the Skin #2) by Charlotte Stein

Forbidden has all the things I most hate about the New Adult Genre - the angst, the drama, and the growing pains experienced by the characters - but it also has the brilliant storytelling I've come to expect from Charlotte Stein...

Blurb...

They say I need help. Another exorcism. This is not new. This is my life. Today, I expect to suffer at the hands of a man as warped by superstition and fear as my mother. A man who will torture me in order to save me from things that don’t exist.

But the man who actually comes to me is different.

Killian is good and decent and he sees what’s good and decent in me. And I don’t mean for it to happen, but every time he looks at me his gaze sets me on fire. He brings me to the light, gives me back my life. For the first time, I see a future for myself. A future with him.

I burn for Killian - a man who’s intent on protecting me. On healing me.He doesn’t get it. The only thing that can heal me is him. But Killian will soon be a priest. Untouchable. Forbidden.

How can I ask a man to choose between me…and God?


My thoughts...


One of the things I most love about Ms. Stein's writing is how she takes us deep into the heart and soul of her characters, which she does once again in Forbidden. That said, one of my least favorite things about her writing is how much we 'hear' rather than 'see' take place. We spend the majority of this book inside Dot's thoughts as she struggles to understand her feelings. While this gives us a deep insight into hers, it made the story feel very one-sided and left me wondering what Killian was truly thinking and, more importantly, feeling.


The bottom line...


Charlotte Stein is a brilliant storyteller in so many ways, and anyone looking for a dark, anxious, sexually intense New Adult read need look no further. If this story doesn't sound like your cuppa, be sure to check the author's back-list for a storyline more to your taste. Granted, many readers gave a love/hate relationship with her - as her ratings will prove - but don't pass up the opportunity to find out if she's your kind of author.

An ARC was provided by Avon Books/Avon Impulse


Monday, January 26, 2015

Desperately Seeking Fireman (Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel #4.5) by Jennifer Bernard

The Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel is one of the few “must read” series on my shelves. The stories make me laugh, make me think, and have me falling in love again and again. Desperately Seeking Fireman is a shorter story, but it’s filled with all the things I love most about Jennifer Bernard’s writing!

Blurb…

Fire Captain Jeb Stone and incredibly successful press secretary Nita Moreno have both been burned by love before. That's why neither of them is looking for more than a few steamy nights of passion.

When circumstances find them stranded on an island together, babysitting a cross-dressing senator and the very pregnant wife of San Gabriel's most famous captain, they allow the sparks they feel to take center stage. But as their feelings grow, can they each allow the other past the barriers both have built to protect their hearts?

My thoughts…

I have to be honest, I loved this story and even though it’s a novella, I’m giving it 5 stars because of Jed and Nita. They are great people, the kind I’d love to count amongst my friends. Apart they’re amazing, together they’re perfect! My only complaint about this story is that I would have loved to spend more time getting to know them.

The bottom line…

Jennifer Bernard is a fantastic storyteller, and this series is wonderful. The stories are about real people and the ups and downs of finding that one person who makes you complete, and no matter how many times I read these books, I never get enough!

If you’re looking for something new to dive in to, something romantic, exciting and steamy, then look no further than The Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel!

An ARC of this story was generously provided by Avon Books.