Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Accidental Duchess (Fairbourne Quartet #4) by Madeline Hunter

I really enjoyed this book! There was something so fresh and compelling about Lady Lydia and Penthurst's relationship that I just couldn't help but be drawn in and held captive by their story!

When Lady Lydia Thornton is blackmailed over the shocking contents of a manuscript she once wrote, she must go to the most desperate of measures to raise the money to buy back the ill-considered prose: agreeing to an old wager posed by the arrogant, dangerous Duke of Penthurst. At least Penthurst is a man she wouldn’t mind fleecing—and she’s confident she’ll win.

Penthurst long ago concluded Lydia was a woman in search of ruinous adventure, but even he is surprised when she arrives at his house ready to bet her innocence against his ten thousand pounds—a wager he only proposed to warn her off gambling.

When she loses to a simple draw of the cards, Lydia is shocked. Now, her problems are twofold: a blackmailer determined to see her pay and a duke determined to tame her rebellious ways. One misstep and Lydia could find herself ruined—or bound to the seductive man who would make her his duchess.
Reviewed for Affaire de Coeur Magazine

Author: Madeline Hunter
Title: The Accidental Duchess
Publisher: Penguin/Jove
Format: Paperback
Pages: 400
ISBN: 978-0515151312    

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Midsummer Moon (Audio Review) by Laura Kinsale and Nicholas Boulton

I loved this story. Loved it! Not just a little, but over the moon loved it! Fun, romantic, sexy, poignant... I'm heartbroken that it's over.

When a powerful, decisive aristocrat undertakes to protect an absent-minded young inventress from England's enemies, he finds his orderly world turned into chaos. Merlin Lambourne's stubborn dream of flight puts her at risk, not to mention driving Ransom crazy. In spite of himself, he's oddly enchanted by this muddled miss and her eccentric ways... but can he overcome his own fears and realize her invention may be the answer to saving both their lives?

A whimsical Regency-era tale of flying machines, fancy, and love among the hedgehogs.
I've read some reviews and it seems that Merlin, our 'genius with little common sense or social skills' heroine, grated on some people's nerves, but not mine. Oh, no. Not mine! I love her! In fact, I found her to be refreshingly unique and completely endearing, and she's now one of my all time favorite heroines. She and Ransom, so different, so completely and totally different... but absolutely brilliant together. They made me laugh, made me sigh, kept me listening through the wee hours of the morning.

Nicholas Boulton is an amazing narrator. I wish he'd narrate ALL audio books. Heck, I wish he'd narrate my name! Just my name... I'd play it over and over and over. Such a deep, rich, sexy voice.

*sigh* I'm just rambling, so I'll quit here, except to say that Laura Kinsale and Nicholas Boulton are, hands down, my favorite author/narrator team. I can't get enough of them! Ms. Kinsale personally chose Mr. Boulton to bring her stories to life, and I hope that she'll have him narrate all her books.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My Sweet Folly (Audio Review) by Laura Kinsale and Nicholas Boulton

Poignant, romantic, mysterious...

When I'm in a reading slump I turn to authors who I know will put a smile on my face and a sigh in my heart. Kristen Ashley, Pamela Clare, Sarah MacLean, Lisa Kleypas, to name a few... and the Kinsale/Boulton author/narrator team. Without fail I have loved each book I've listened to and find it hard to leave them behind when review obligations demand I move on. But as soon as time permits I'm right back with them, escaping to new worlds and new adventures.

“My dear girl! I could never fall in love by letter. Though I have no doubt you are a notorious breaker of hearts, not to mention a princess in disguise, and if I were a few miles closer to Toot-above-the-Batch I would be in great danger. From the safe distance of another continent, I will admit to a modest desire to see how your pearl becomes you, even to know the color of your hair and eyes, but this is mere curiosity, I assure you.” -- Your knight, Robert

Through their innocent correspondence, a lonely young wife grows to love an imaginary man thousands of miles away. But when Folie finally meets him in truth, reality is turned upside down. She cannot find her own cherished Robert in the frightening stranger who claims her love.
My Sweet Folly is such a unique story. There were moments that things seemed to drag, but Nicholas Boulton's performance is brilliant, as always, and I loved every minute I spent with Folly and Robert!        

Monday, November 24, 2014

Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover (Rules of Scoundrels #4) by Sarah MacLean

Nothing short of amazing!

This final book in Sarah MacLean's Rules of Scoundrels series is brilliant! The way Chase's story unfolds and comes together with Duncan West's is storytelling at its best!

She is the most powerful woman in Britain,
A queen of the London Underworld ...
But no one can ever know.

He is the only man smart enough to uncover the truth,
Putting all she has at risk . . .
Including her heart.

By day, she is Lady Georgiana, sister to a Duke, ruined before her first season in the worst kind of scandal. But the truth is far more shocking—in London’s darkest corners, she is Chase, the mysterious, unknown founder of the city’s most legendary gaming hell. For years, her double identity has gone undiscovered . . . until now.

Brilliant, driven, handsome-as-sin Duncan West is intrigued by the beautiful, ruined woman who is somehow connected to a world of darkness and sin. He knows she is more than she seems and he vows to uncover all of Georgiana’s secrets, laying bare her past, threatening her present, and risking all she holds dear . . . including her heart.
My review...

Sometimes a story will be so exciting, so poignant, and so romantic that I just can't put it down, nor can I put into words all the emotions it made me feel. Never Judge a Lady By Her Cover is one of those stories. Heartbreaking one moment, uplifting the next, and burn up the pages passionate yet another, start to finish Duncan and Georgiana grabbed hold of my heart and still, a couple months after reading their story, they haven't let go. Theirs is a romance for the ages, and I'm so very glad Sarah MacLean gave it to us.

To say I was captivated is to say the least, and to say I'll miss the world of The Fallen Angel is putting it mildly. Thankfully Sarah MacLean is a master at telling a story and I have no doubt I'll love whatever tale she tells next.

An ARC was generously provided by Avon Books, and to show my appreciation and gratitude I'm giving them an honest review.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Once Upon a Rhyme: Volume I of The Charming Tales by Jack Henckel

The dragon is dead. The princess has been saved. There is but one problem: Prince Charming had nothing to do with it.

So here I am with another book that I normally wouldn't read, but found very entertaining. Once Upon a Rhyme is a mish-mash of fairy tales all brought together in this first volume of The Charming Tales.

In order to save his royal reputation, Prince Charming must begrudgingly enlist the help of accidental hero William Pickett. The two set out on an adventure that has them fighting trolls, outwitting a scoundrel, and drinking the foulest ale ever, collecting bruises to both body and pride along the way. Meanwhile, the rescued princess, Gwendolyn, turns out to be one dangerously distressed damsel, and an evil presence takes over Castle White in Charming's absence …

Enter this rollicking world and discover just what happens when a fairytale leaves the well-trodden path of "once upon a time."
My thoughts...

This is a very clever story that reminded me of a cross between The Princess Bride and Robin Hood: Men in Tights because of the humor - some laugh-out-loud, some tongue-in-cheek, some dry wit, and some just plain eye-rolling. It's a fun read and might be okay for younger kids if you don't mind explaining things like what 'tryst' and 'making love' mean, or why the Prince might not want to leave a certain woman's bed chamber. **wink, wink** That said, there's nothing even close to descriptive sex but it's up to you to decide if it's suitable for your younger readers.

The story continues with Happily Never After: Volume II of The Charming Tales.

My thanks to HarperCollins Voyager for providing me with a copy of this story.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Christmas at Tiffany's by Karen Swan

Christmas at Tiffany’s is an absolutely wonderful story, and even though chick-lit isn’t my genre of choice, this book had me laughing, sighing, and wishing it would never end! No, seriously… I did not want this story to end!

Three cities. Three seasons. One chance to find the life that fits.

Cassie settled down too young, marrying her first serious boyfriend. Now, ten years later, she is betrayed and broken. With her marriage in tatters and no career or home of her own, she needs to work out where she belongs in the world and who she really is.

So begins a year-long trial as Cassie leaves her sheltered life in rural Scotland to stay with each of her best friends in the most glamorous cities in the world: New York, Paris and London. Exchanging grouse moor and mousy hair for low-carb diets and high-end highlights, Cassie tries on each city for size as she attempts to track down the life she was supposed to have been leading, and with it, the man who was supposed to love her all along.
My thoughts…

I can’t put my finger on what makes this story so perfect, and I think that’s because Christmas at Tiffany’s has it all – poignancy, great friends who’ll see you through the rough times without coddling you, romance, passion, and true love. Honestly, start to finish I was totally drawn into Cassie’s world, cheering her on as she left her past in the past to focus on the future and discover who she was really meant to be.

One of the very best things about this story is that it spans a full year, each friend taking Cassie in and giving her the chance to experience life in ways she’d never otherwise been able to. Because of this, there was no single “ah-ha!” moment in Cassie’s journey. Instead, there were several life defining moments, and I love the way those moments came to be – each an eye-opening experience, a lesson learned, and sometimes a heart broken.

Luke, Claude, and Henry… I loved them, hated them, loved them, hated them… but because they each played a very important role in Cassie’s… awakening…I wouldn’t change a single thing about them or their relationships with her. It’s an incredibly romantic and passionate story, even though there are no explicit sex scenes.

I’ve read a couple of reviews in which people have said that they feel the title, Christmas at Tiffany’s is misleading - perhaps because the story unfolds over the course of a year. I don’t really understand that at all because two of the sweetest, most romantic scenes take place during Christmas, and at Tiffany’s… and in my opinion, this story couldn’t have been more aptly titled.

And I’m going to stop now because truly, there’s really nothing I can say – no words I can come up with that will capture the emotions I felt while reading this story, and how happy I am that I did. Being chick-lit this would have never made it on my radar, and what a horrible loss that would have been.

To Maria Silva at HarperCollins who sent Christmas at Tiffany’s and asked me to take a peek, to give it a chance… thank you. Sincerely, thank you!

Buy links:
Barnes & Noble
Googlebooks Books-A-Million   

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Rajmund (Vampires in America #3) by D.B. Reynolds

This is a great book. A fantastic addition to the series, and a more in depth look at this incredible world and its hierarchy. If the romance between Raj and Sarah had been more on than off, this story would have been perfect!

RAJMUND GREGOR is a vampire . . . and the undisputed Master of New York City. He bows to no one but his Sire, Krystof, who is the Vampire Lord for the entire Northeastern U.S. Based in Buffalo, NY, Krystof is an old vampire—-too old, it would seem, because he’s slowly losing his mind. Summoned back to Buffalo by his Sire, Rajmund finds his master out of touch and rapidly weakening. He knows the territory will crumble if something isn’t done, and he’s the only one of Krystof’s children strong enough to seize power. But there’s also the matter of some missing women and a rogue vampire who seems to be moving in for the kill.

SARAH STRATTON has a secret, one she’s never shared with anyone–—at least not anyone who knows her now, not even her good friend Cyn. It’s a secret that could destroy her carefully constructed life, but it’s one she may have to share with a vampire, if she’s going to save the lives of the missing women.
Vampires in America has turned out to be a fantastic series, so far. I'm pretty blown away by the unique world D.B. Reynolds has created in a genre that's been overrun with vampires!