Less Than A Lady

Less Than A Lady by Eva Devon

 

Overview by Netgalley:

less than a lady

 

Less Than A Lady by Eva Devon

Overview by Netgalley:

Darcy Blake, Earl of Chase, is a solider, rogue, and a loyal king’s man. Commanded to spy on the luscious actress Amelia Fox, Darcy must pretend to be her student for a Court theatrical. He is certain he can school her in the art of seduction while discovering if she is a traitor. To his shock, he finds Mrs. Fox teaching him an entirely different kind of lesson.

As London’s most popular actress, Amelia is famous at Court, and she doesn’t have a husband to tell her what do. Unfortunately, the king has ordered her to train the rakehell Lord Chase to act. Before long, the earl is driving her wild with desire and awakening her heart to love. As an actress, society dictates she can never be more than Lord Chase’s mistress, but Amelia has vowed never to be less than a lady.

When Darcy learns the witty actress is indeed linked to a traitor, he’ll have to decide if love or loyalty to the king will rule the day.

Wow! I really enjoyed this book! I really find that I appreciate historical romance books that veer away from the traditional time period of the Regency age. This story takes place during
the Restoration Period. I don’t know a lot about the time, but the author weaves the politics and religion of the day through the love story.

Amelia is an actress who has been charged by King Charles to train one of his courtiers as an actress. It is really a ruse to get Darcy close enough to her to find out if she is a traitor. And so begins the cat and mouse game between the two.

Darcy is a natural flirt. I found him to be an amusing character who loves to spar with the enticing Amelia. It was amazing to see him fall for Amelia – the unexpected feelings he experiences were such a validation and vindication as the reader. I wanted him to fall for her and to protect her. The theme of betrayal runs throughout this story. Who will betray whom and how will it all turn out?

Amelia is such a complex character. I was really curious how the author would play out her storyline. Unlike today, actresses did not have a great reputation in the past. How would the author make Amelia into a lady? Well, this character was so fascinating. Her past and present were slowly shared and each revelation was interesting and moved the plot forward. I understood how she felt about her brother and her interest in protecting him, yet I understood how Darcy wanted to shake her for her blinding loyalty.

This was a well developed story. I especially enjoyed the scenes with the King. His speeches in the third person were hilarious and added some levity to the story. I loved the banter between Amelia and Darcy when they were just a man and a woman getting to know one another. The love scene between the two was really hot and also very surprising. The model on the cover of the book was perfect and I could just imagine Darcy like that!

This book was really great for many reasons, but the setting of a different time period made it stand out for me!

A Brazen Bargain

A Brazen Bargain by Laura Trentham

a brazen bargain

Overview by Netgalley:

 

Love soothes the deepest of scars.Spies and Lovers, Book 2

Minerva Bellingham is at her wits’ end. Her younger brother, Simon, will have them penniless and on the streets if his extravagant gambling habit isn’t curtailed. An enormous debt to Lord Rafe Drummond is the final indignity.Signing over her dowry is their only choice. Until Lord Drummond suggests something much more scandalous. She can keep her dowry—in exchange for the Bellinghams working three months as a housemaid and stable boy.

 

Scarred from his service to the Crown, Rafe recognizes the young Simon Bellingham has the makings of a good duke. Minerva is a different story. Her pure, delicate beauty only underscores Rafe’s tarnished, bleak soul.Yet he delights in cracking Minerva’s icy reserve to reveal a fiery, stubborn woman. And Minerva discovers the gruff master of Wintermarsh has the heart of a poet. But before they can find a future safe in each other’s arms, a menace from Simon’s licentious past slithers back into their lives, forcing Rafe to plan the most important rescue mission of his life.

 

Warning: Contains a paragon of the beau monde who gets the hang of polishing silver, and a master of the house who’d like her to make his bed—preferably with him in it. Also passion unleashed with the mere touch of a finger. Readers are encouraged to swoon.

 

I feel like I have read this book before – do you ever get that feeling?  It could be that this trope has been a favourite with authors.  Whatever it reminds me of, I really enjoyed reading this book.

 

Rafe was just my kind of guy.  Big, brawny and confident.  While he has a dark past, I never felt scared for Minerva or worried that he would hurt her.  I really liked how the author explored the trauma men experienced returning from the war with Napoleon.  Many books have touched on this, but for some reason, it really resonated with me this time.  I think it has to do with the skilled story telling of Laura Trentham.  While Rafe’s issues don’t overwhelm the book or the characters, it has enough of an impact that it really stayed with me as the reader.

 

Minerva was a great character.  I really admired how she dealt with her wastrel brother.  While young, Simon was being led astray with devastating consequences.  It also made me love Rafe even more for taking Simon on as a worthwhile challenge. Minerva has to accompany Simon to do his penance and yet she made it seem like a wonderful adventure.

 

The relationship between the two lead characters was a slow burn, but not one that left you frustrated.  Rather, it was a perfect build up to the ultimate conclusion.  Minerva and Rafe both had to bend in order to make the relationship viable.  I adored seeing them inch one step closer.

 

I found this to be an exciting and interesting book.  While Minerva was never really a servant, she learned just as much from the experience as Simon.  I kind of fell in love with Rafe and really liked the character.  For all his bluster, he was a truly great man!

 

Definitely check out this book!  Hot and steamy and pulls just enough heartstrings to make it more than just a quick read.

Susana and The Scot

Susana and the Scot by Sabrina York

susana and the scot

 

Overview by Netgalley:

 

Scotland, 1813.

A SCANDALOUS TEMPTATION
Andrew Lochlannach is famous for his conquests, on and off the battlefield. When a fellow warrior challenges him to a kissing contest, he wastes no time in planting his lips on ninety-nine lovely lasses-an impressive feat of seduction that gets him banished to the hinterlands. Still, Andrew has no regrets about his exploits-especially his embrace with the most beguiling woman he’s ever met…

AN UNDENIABLE PASSION
With flaming red hair and a temper to match, Susana is not some innocent farmgirl who gives herself over easily to a man, even one as ruggedly handsome as Andrew. The wicked Scot may have won a kiss from the headstrong beauty in a moment of mutual desire, but Susana refuses to be just another one of his conquests. Andrew must convince the fiery lass that even though he is not playing a game, losing her is not an option…

 

The first book in this series, Hannah and the Highlander, was such a pleasant surprise!  I loved every minute of reading that book, so of course I had to snatch up the next book when I saw it on Netgalley.

 

This time, the story revolves around the home that Hannah left behind and her sister, Susana who is guarding the keep.  Susana was a great character! She is feisty and quick witted.  I loved that she would shoot her would-be-suitors in the arse to keep them away!  Her daughter Isobel was such a treasure.  Many question if Isobel is really only five years old and I had the exact same thoughts! I loved the pair that the two made.

 

Andrew has come to secure the keep and provide additional forces.  From the start it is a battle of wits and control between Andrew and Susana.  But it is about more than the protection of the keep.  In a past life these two knew each other and the story revolves around them finding their way back to each other.

 

So why will you like this book?  Why should you invest time in this series?  Well, there is a very hot Scot who has a wicked sense of humour and a great smile to charm with.  Second, I am such a sucker for the reunited lovers trope.  Sabrina York does a great job in keeping the reader on the edge of their seat to see who will capitulate first and it’s delicious when they do!  Finally, this book is more than just a book about Scotland, or keeps or danger.  It has all of those things, but the underlying themes of forgiveness, family and redemption are so finely developed.  I love a story where the undertones and themes breathe life into the characters and make them multi-dimensional.

 

If you are a fan of Scottish historical romances, then add this book, along with Hannah and the Highlander to your list!  ASAP!

New Year Musings

So 2015 is almost over!  It’s hard to  believe that I have been blogging for a full year!  This past year was just amazing!  I have learned so much about blogging, reviewing and reading!  Here are my highlights of the year!

Authors

I like keeping up with celebrity gossip.  But to me, the biggest celebrities are the authors that I have immortalized due to the words they put on the page.  So many authors that I adore have been beyond gracious to me this year!  Whether it was sending me an email to say thank you for a review, sending me hard copy of a book I loved or re-tweeting my review links, it has ALL been awesome!  Just like readers, authors talk and share.  I have had referrals from authors to new authors looking to get their work read.  I feel so blessed that my little blog would be on that list.  The established authors that I frequently gush over have actually noticed!  I can’t even begin to tell you how exciting it was to have someone like Shana Galen or Monica McCarty or Samantha Young read my review and COMMENT!!!  Totally geeking out!

Fellow Bloggers

Just like romance writers, the blogging community is tight.  I have been impressed time and time again by the generosity of my fellow reviewers and bloggers.  So many take time out of their day to read my reviews or thoughts and to comment.  I can’t even describe how validated that makes me feel – I’m not writing to thin air!  I am so grateful for the bloggers who share my reviews and re-tweet them.  Thank you so much Carol for all your support!  I’m your biggest fan!

Fifty Shades of Grey and Outlander

Both of theatrical releases came out this year and they have had a huge impact on my blog.  My posts on the Fifty Shades series, movie and actors have been a big hit.  Hopefully, my thoughts are better written than the original content (heehee).  Outlander has been one of my favourite things to blog about.  I picked up the series in the middle of the season, so in honour of Jamie and the upcoming Season Two, I will be visiting the first part of Season One and sharing my thoughts on the episodes.  It’s not like watching Claire and Jamie again will be a chore – although my husband wouldn’t agree!

New Genres

This year I really stretched myself as a reader.  I began to embrace other genres and tropes.  I have really fallen in love with time travel romance.  I think it is because it is a blend of historical and contemporary.  I have also read a lot more paranormal than I ever have and find it an interesting new genre to me.  I don’t want to think it is a departure from the name of my blog, but I have definitely taken a shine to reading more contemporary novels.  While a braw Scottish Highlander will always be at the top of my list, a clean cut suit isn’t far off!  So, as the readers, I hope this has been a welcome addition to the reviews!

Exciting things in 2016

I am so excited for the new year because there are some awesome books coming out!

  •  Madeline Martin has Enchantment of a Highlander
  • Lauren Smith’s sexy Step-Brother series is out
  • Shana Galen’s latest Covent Gardens book is out
  • Crossfire finale comes out in April
  • Samantha Young has a new contemporary series starting
  • Outlander is back
  • Fifty Shades starts filming (can’t wait for all the leaked photos)
  • The final Highland Guard book, The Ghost is out!  Can’t wait for Monica McCarty’s final book in the series!

I want to wish everyone a wonderful New Year’s Eve and an excellent 2016!  Thank you for reading and sharing!

Lindsay

Stripped

Stripped by Piper Lawson

stripped

Overview by Netgalley:

Ava Cameron has stars in her eyes. When the feisty designer moves to NYC after graduation with her best friend, things are finally clicking into place. 

But now their brand new label, Travesty, is under attack. The man leading the charge is the hottest hookup Ava ever had. One she never wanted to see again…

Nate Townsend might be from the right schools, the right neighborhood and the right family. But under the surface, his scars run deep.

When the society prince and the loud designer come face to face on a case that could decide Ava’s future, sparks fly. Nate’s not about to let Ava forget she’s the only person who knows his secrets. And Ava’s walking the line between getting Travesty back on track and being dragged into the gutter by one stubborn young lawyer planning to take her down.

If only Nate Townsend didn’t make the gutter look so damn good… 

I have been SO excited to write this review!  I loved this book!  I adore female characters that are sassy, outspoken and smart mouthed.  I think it’s because they say the things I wish that I could say!

Ava is hilarious!  She literally has no filter!  She shares a hot and steamy one night stand with a beautiful stranger, only to face him months later at a boardroom table.  Her sexy bedmate is the opposing counsel on the lawsuit she is facing.

Things could go predictable…but they don’t!  I love how Ava handles her re-acquaintance with Nate.  She insults him, flirts with him, dates his friend and spends time with him.  This book could be classified as New Adult, because both characters are in their twenties.  Nate is still articling for his law career and Ava is just starting her fashion line.  Nate isn’t a Christian Grey or Gideon Cross.  He is making his way in the world, but under the thumb of his family.  I found it refreshing to read about characters that more realistic, although neither of them seemed to worry much about money.

There is a lot of conflict in this book.  The conflict is appropriate and moves the story along.  I found myself relishing what would happen next.  How would Ava put her foot in it?  How would Nate navigate the waters?  I adore books like this that make me pant for the coming pages.  It’s not often you find a book like this that makes you excited to keep reading.  In fact, I stayed up all night reading.  I kept telling myself, just one more chapter, knowing full well that I wouldn’t be putting it down!

In some respects, Ava reminded me of Alexa from Hero.  There is a vulnerability to the characters that peeks through the bravado and wise cracks.  I really enjoyed this book.  It has the sparks of great chemistry, the sexy couple, the New York scene and a great love story.  I can’t wait to read what happens in the next book!

High Interest

High Interest:  The Paragon Series, Book One by Leigh James

high interest

Overview by Netgalley:

Silicon Valley’s rougher than it looks.

Being a scientist gives Lauren Taylor a purpose in life. At twenty-five, she’s the CEO of a billion-dollar biomedical company, Paragon Laboratories. On the brink of a major discovery, Lauren lets nothing interfere with her work. The only thing she’s not prepared for? Her overwhelming attraction to Gabriel Betts, the gorgeous and brilliant CEO of another Silicon Valley startup.

Billionaire Gabriel Betts is a successful scientist in his own right. He’s made his way in the world by being an early adopter and never losing focus. Captivated by Lauren’s brilliance and unselfconscious beauty, he’s determined to win the reclusive female CEO over.

But what neither Gabe nor Lauren expects is the white-collar danger that’s lurking in Silicon Valley… The danger that threatens not only their companies, but their very existence.

This is the first book in a new series and it really caught my attention!  It takes place among the high stakes of Silicon Valley bio medics field.

Lauren is a complete workaholic.  She lives and breathes her work, trying to make medicine more adaptive and responsive to the needs of everyday people.  While altruistic, she is also a billionaire at twenty five and heads up a corporation.  While mature in the business world, Lauren is socially stunted.  She has had her head down for years, ignoring a social life – basically any life at all.

She is almost ready to launch her prototype when corporate espionage sabotages her efforts.  The charming Gabe has entered her life right at the same time, but he has an interest in saving her and getting to know her more than just as a business partner.

Gabe has a similar resume, but he has definitely subscribed to the playboy lifestyle of a billionaire CEO.   He is charismatic and fun.  When he talks about punching someone, I wanted to laugh because he has a wicked sense of humour.  He also has a really sexy style to him.

The characters are well developed and are interesting to read about.  I loved learning more about the corporate world of Silicon Valley.  I found this element of the book to be really fascinating and it definitely added drama and conflict to the story.  This is a solid book to start a new series.  Definitely add it to your list!

 

Healing Eden

Healing Eden by Rhenna Morgan

healing Eden

Overview by Author Page:

A reluctant warrior in a rebellion he abhors, Reese Theron has buckled beneath blackmail to keep the circumstances of his birth on lockdown. He’s lost everything that counts—the right to fight for his king, the trust of his best friend, and any hope for a family of his own. Death seems preferable, until Galena Shantos meets him at his fateful crossroads and saves his life.

Galena’s loyalty to her brother, the king, is. Healing his warriors on the sidelines of war, she’s witnessed too many rebellion atrocities to be swayed for mercy. Yet something about Reese blurs the lines of allegiance, the call to her heart raw and primitive.

When Reese ends up a prisoner of war, he’s visited by a mysterious being of another race and learns he’s the linchpin in a battle between good and evil. The lovers will face choices-Galena between family loyalty and championing Reese’s cause, and Reese between keeping his shameful secret, and saving all races by leading the darkest of his kind to redemption—starting with his own confession.

This is the second book in the Eden Series.  I read the first book, Unexpected Eden a while ago so it took me a little while to get into the story lines again.  What is so unique about this book is the total devotion to the realm of Eden.  They speak differently, dress differently and have their own royalty.  At first, it’s startling to read them cursing to a different God, but you fall into the routine and then the story picks up.

All is not well in the realm of Eden.  The King Eryx, has a rebellion on his hands and the leader, Maxis is not going to roll over.  There is lots of action in this book and while they fight differently than humans do, since they have special powers, it is fierce and exciting!  I love a romance book with a great suspense element to it.  The politics, the drama, the coalitions and the subterfuge is exciting and really captivating.

This is a romance novel however and we have two star crossed lovers to follow.  Galena is Eryx sister and a healer.  She heals Reece during a rebellion attack and so begins the drama.  Reece and Galena have known each other for years since he used to be best friends with her brother.  He has always wanted her and with Reece Galena is more than just a sister, a healer and a royal.  He makes her feel like a woman, again and again and again!  The passion between the two is really hot and the high stakes take it from a blossoming romance to one fraught with danger and tempers.

Reece is a great character.  I could really feel his inner struggles to do the right thing and deny himself the future he wanted.  Reece is a strapping young man who has a warrior spirit.  I loved how gentle he could be with Galena.  The path for Galena was one of claiming her independence.  She has been under the protection of her brothers her whole life and now is stepping out to take control of her destiny and what she wants.

While the first book featured a human interacting with this new world, this story has characters who have lived with their gifts all their lives.  There is less time spent explaining the differences and more time on the romance and the intrigue.  If you are into science fiction and romance, then this is a great book that will transport you to a wonderful new world!

The Protector

The Protector by Allison Butler

the protector

Overview by Netgalley:

The Scottish Highlands meet The Bachelorette in this new historical romance from Allison Butler…

Heiress of clan Gordon, Mairi has been given a gift: the choice of her husband. Her father has found three worthy suitors and each is coming to the Keep. She will spend time with every man and make her decision. But love is not a luxury Mairi allows herself: she is driven by duty, driven by the memory of the failure eleven years earlier that cost her father everything. She will choose a worthy husband, one who will serve the clan wisely, and take nothing for herself – especially not the dark-haired stranger tasked with her protection while she makes her decision.

Lowlander Duff may not know his origins, but he knows how to wield his sword. Granted one year’s leave from his duties to the Elliot Clan, Duff travels to the Highlands in search of his past. Instead he finds an arrogant beauty in need of rescue. Impressing her father, the head of clan Gordon, he is named her temporary protector and must keep her safe as she is courted by three potential husbands. What Duff doesn’t expect is the low hum of jealousy and the rising wave of attraction that makes protecting Mairi easy, but keeping his distance impossible.

While on the surface this book could be seen as just the Laird’s daughter falling for her bodyguard instead of the men selected by her father, it is much deeper than that.

Mairi is a complex character.  We view her through Duff’s careful observations.  She holds herself back and doesn’t show her emotions, although they are straining to come to the surface.  Slowly as the book progresses, Mairi’s story evolves and we learn about her past and why she holds herself back.  You know that something shattering has happened, but the author does a good job of unwinding her life and peeling back the layers.

Duff also has a past.  He is searching in the Highlands for his family.  He doesn’t know where he belongs, although he has been part of Clan Elliot for a while.  I wish the author had given more details of his birth and his year long journey, as I still felt that he was a mystery at the end of the novel.

His intentions and honour are not a mystery.  He has to be one of the most perfect characters I have ever read.  Careful, honest and considerate are just some of the characteristics I would apply to Duff.  I almost wished he had been less of a gentleman and just grabbed Mairi and smooched her silly.  But the author is quick to underscore that his reluctance doesn’t come from lack of self confidence, but rather his inability to know his last name.  He carries that weight around with him and it taints his interactions with Mairi.

Mairi is being courted by three men her father has selected.  Her ‘dates’ with them are a fun take on the tv show The Bachelor.  I liked the plot and found it engaging.

The author has taken modern day storylines that audiences like (The Bodyguard, The Bachelor) and adeptly woven them into a historical romance story.  A fun read with well developed characters with a depth that was a pleasant surprise.

Hard to Forget

Hard to Forget by Bella Jewel

hard to forget

Overview  by Netgalley:

Delaney is a professional bodyguard who’s spent years trying to prove herself in a male dominated industry. Now she’s facing her greatest challenge yet.

Bad boy billionaire Jax Shields has made plenty of enemies on his climb to the top, and now his life is at risk.

When he hires a bodyguard, he never expected to put his life in the hands of a petite woman with a big attitude. Jax demands the best in everything, and he doesn’t think Delaney has what it takes to protect him. He’d rather have her on her back then covering his.

Will Delaney be able to prove herself to the most arrogant—and devastatingly handsome—man she’s ever met?

Jax was one of the most interesting characters I have read in a while.  He’s a big guy – I kept imagining him with a physique like the Rock, with a larger than life attitude.  He’s in danger and hires personal security.  He is not impressed with being assigned to a female bodyguard.

Laney is just getting started in the personal security business.  The author spends a lot of time exploring Laney’s self esteem and doubts.  This is her first big job and she doesn’t make a good first impression.  She has a lot going for her and it bothered me that she doubted herself so much.  Her victories were bittersweet because she had to prove herself as a female first.

Laney breaks all the rules getting hot and heavy with Jax.  As the reader, I didn’t mind as the sexual chemistry between the two was off the charts.  Jax isn’t a perfect man, but he is definitely a take charge, alpha male who knows how to please a lady.

The secondary characters make strong appearances in the book.  They create a lot of conflict for Laney which moves the plot along quickly.  The best scenes are between Laney and Jax when the author lets their chemistry shine through.  This book is a good book to curl up with over the holidays and enjoy an alpha male doing what he does best!

The Highlander Who Loved Me

The Highlander Who Loved Me by Adrienne Basso

the highlander who loved me

Overview by Netgalley:

Scottish Highlands, 1329. Sir James McKenna, second son of the powerful McKenna Chief, knows he has found his destiny when he falls in love with sweet Lady Davina Armstrong, niece of the Armstrong Chief. Orphaned in childhood, Davina has always felt like an outsider, and with James finally feels that she belongs. But their plans for a happy future are shattered after a brutal attack by a band of rogues. Horrified, Davina’s overprotective family quickly shelters her from everyone–including James. . .

Five years later, James is a changed man. His fighting skills sharpened to perfection, he is hardened by the war and destruction he’s endured as a Scottish knight–and by the loss of Davina. Weary, he returns home–and is shocked to find Davina there. Is it too late for them to start anew, or will the past dare to lay claim to their future once more?. . .

You know, just know that when a book opens with the two lovers being very young that something bad is going to happen to drive them apart for years.  Young love characterizes James and Davina’s passion for one another.  James is a second son and Davina is an orphaned relative to her clan.  They quickly fall in love and what should have been the happiest moment of their lives turns into the worst.  Disaster ensues and the two are separated.

What I really liked about this book is that it starts with the death of Robert the Bruce.  If you follow my blog, you know that I love Monica McCarty’s Highland Guard series which takes place during the reign of Bruce.  The history in this book was really interesting as it highlights the politics of the time after his death and the inclusion of the Crusades in Scottish life.

Davina suffers from severe anxiety after the break with James.  She is a prisoner of her mind and body.  I really related to how Davina felt and how she longed to actually live her life.  She is a very well developed character that the author took the time to let the reader get to know.  Her reunion with James scares her to her bones, but there is something magical about your first love.  The reunion, the chase and the capture of Davina and James was really well done.  I was totally rooting for these two to find a way back to each other.

The secondary characters are fantastic in this book.  I loved James’ family and how they welcomed Davina into their clan.  I am really hoping for a book featuring James’ brother Malcolm as I want a sexy tale featuring him and Lineas needs a mother!

If you like sexy highlanders and tales of reunited lovers, then check out this wonderful story!