Good Dukes Wear Black

Good Dukes Wear Black by Manda Collins

good dukes wear black

Overview by Publisher:

A writer for the Ladies Gazette, Miss Ophelia Dauntry’s passion is her pen. So when she sees a fellow writer kidnapped before her eyes—and the trail of evidence leads to the Lords of Anarchy—Ophelia vows to find her friend and take down the notorious London driving club in her column. But before she can 
argue her case, she needs the inside scoop from its newest leader: Piers Hamilton, the Duke of Trent.

Headstrong, handsome Trent joined the Lords of Anarchy after a decade in the British Army. He’s made it his business to tame the misbehavior within the driving club—and the infuriatingly attractive Ophelia is only getting in his way. The deeper she digs into the case, the more she puts her own life at risk. Can Trent convince Ophelia to trust him to seek justice…and find protection, and passion, in his arms?

This book reminded me a lot of Stephanie Lauren’s Bastion Club series.  I think there is something so fun about a Regency romance that features some dangerous plot.  Ophelia is a writer for the Ladies Gazetter, along with her friend Maggie.  When Maggie goes missing, she unexpectedly turns to Piers for help.  He is the new leader of the infamous Lords of Anarchy.  He is trying to tame the wild club and make it more sedate.  Maggie is the wife of one of the new members, so he takes an interest because of this connection, but also because he is drawn to Ophelia.

Piers and Ophelia are often in each other’s company due to their mutual friends marriages, but it’s one of those situations.  You know, you never notice the person until you look at them with fresh eyes.  All of a sudden, Ophelia and Piers begin to see each other as more than acquaintances.

Piers naturally takes the lead on the investigation as he is a Duke and a military man, but he finds himself exasperated and amused that Ophelia is just as involved as he is.  Of course, this puts our two leads together frequently and able to develop their relationship.  Ophelia is anxious to find her friend, but she can’t help falling for Trent (as he is known).

The relationship between Trent and Ophelia is only one part of what I enjoyed about this book.  The author delves deeply into the scandalous behaviour of the medical profession and the treatment of those with mental problems.  Maggie has been taken to an asylum as her husband has declared her insane.  I enjoy when a book doesn’t just entertain, but educates as well.  These asylums and doctors are part of the misguided history of mental health and it makes the reader realize how horrible things were for people in the past.  The fear they feel for Maggie is well founded and it brought a sense of purpose to the story.

The romance between Trent and Ophelia is developed over the course of their investigation.  It takes a while for the first kiss to happen, but after that it’s not very long until a special license is procured.  There is a subplot of Ophelia’s mother pushing the annoying Lord Goring on her, but it was just another awesome opportunity for Trent to flex his ducal muscles.  I found Trent to be uptight at times, but when he would act possessive, it was really hot.  I liked that Ophelia and Trent had a friendship before they got romantically involved.  You have to wait a while for the love scene, but it’s definitely worth the wait.

I liked Ophelia and Trent.  Their story was engaging and interesting.  The secondary characters have had their stories told in previous books, but I enjoyed catching up with them.  This is one Duke that is run to spend time with!

The Billionaire’s Intern

The Billionaire’s Intern by Crystal Kaswell

billionaires intern

Overview by Publisher:

She needs this opportunity. He needs her tied to his bed and screaming his name.

Lizzy Wilder is desperate to stay in New York City with her sister Kat, the one person she trusts. Lizzy’s only hope is a programming internship at hot tech startup Odyssey. But there’s a problem: the company’s CEO is enigmatic billionaire Nick Marlowe–the impossibly sexy one night stand she never expected to see again.

Nick wants to pretend their encounter never happened, but Lizzy can’t forget it… and soon it’s clear that the in-control billionaire wants her too. They begin a secret affair, but it comes at a price: Lizzy’s total submission.

What’s scary is how much she wants to surrender to him.

When Nick’s past comes back to haunt him, threatening everything he’s built, Lizzy faces an agonizing choice. Can she give up the man who’s stolen her heart? And if she does, can he forgive her?

I haven’t read the story that precedes this one The Billionaire’s Deal, but it doesn’t matter as the story can be read on it’s own.  While this is a good book, it requires a healthy dose of suspending belief.

Nick as in Phoenix is a wealthy entrepreneur who runs a tech company in New York.  Lizzy is looking for an internship, even though most tech is in California as is her school.  Lizzy and Nick quickly realize that they know each other.  They had a one night stand a couple of months ago.

Nick gives Lizzy the internship, but from then on it’s Lizzy chasing Nick to sleep with her again.  I found her amusing and interesting, but at times she could be ragingly annoying.  The author never paints her as desperate, but the lengths she goes to secure Nick in her bed were at times startling.

Through the course of the novel, we get to know the characters and the challenges they face in life.  Lizzy has attachment and loss issues and Nick has been violated and abused.  The push and pull between them was interesting as they fight the attraction they feel based on their pasts.

The sex between the two is hot and kinky.  Nick likes to be in control and they both like to get it on outside of the bedroom.  Nick is into control because of his past and we see Lizzy help him to break down some of the barriers.

The book is well developed and the plot line is an intriguing look into the artificial intelligence world.  I liked the injection of Lizzy’s sister and future brother-in-law as they brought some perspective to the storyline and Lizzy’s actions.

I enjoyed Nick more than Lizzy.  Lizzy was charming and unique, but she felt draining after a while.  I would love to say that her pushiness and demanding nature were strong female traits, but the spontaneity she demonstrated seemed more impulsive and bratty.  I make it sound as if I didn’t enjoy her – I did, but I personally found it hard to relate to her actions.

This book has an interesting plot and really hot sex.  If you are into two damaged characters who find each other and help the other heal through great sex, then check out this one!

When a Laird Loves a Lady

When A Laird Loves a Lady by Julie Johnstone

when a laird loves a lady

Overview by Amazon:

A need to belong drives her. A longing to forget compels him. Fate may send them into each other’s arms, but only love can mend their hearts. 

An Outlander 

Raised by a tyrannical father, Marion de Lacy yearns for the comfort of belonging to a loving family. So when her father announces her betrothal to an evil knight in exchange for his help to overthrow the king, she concocts a desperate scheme to avoid the marriage: feigning her own death and then fleeing England. But when her plan goes terribly awry and she’s captured by the knight, not even her careful preparations could ready her for the Scottish barbarian who rescues her and then informs her that he’s to marry her by edict of her king. Certain her father will defy the king’s orders and wed her to the knight if she refuses the Highlander’s hand, Marion agrees to marry the strangely compelling but obstinate laird of the MacLeod clan. 

A Highlander 

After the death of his beloved wife, Iain MacLeod has no desire to marry ever again. Yet when he finds himself obliged to do so to secure the freedom of his childhood friend and king, he reluctantly travels across England to collect his unwanted bride, expecting to find a cold Englishwoman. Instead, he discovers a fiery, bold beauty who is fiercely loyal, protective of those she loves, and defies him at every turn, challenging his certainty that his heart is dead. 

Ensnared 

Following a hasty marriage and perilous journey to Scotland, Marion harbors no illusions that her new husband loves her. Still, her heart cannot resist the noble, brave warrior, and she cannot suppress the hope that she has finally found where she belongs. However, the harder she tries to fit in with the clan and gain Iain’s love, the farther away her dreams drift. Iain is more than willing to give his respect to his courageous wife—her kisses and caresses even ignite his blood and demand his passion—but he refuses to give up his heart. That is, until enemies near and far threaten to take Marion from him. Now the demons that haunt him can only be conquered by surrendering body and soul to Marion, if only it’s not too late… 

I LOVED this book! Julie Johnstone is such an amazing author! This book was just what I was craving and it did not disappoint!

Marion is an English Lady and a pawn in the games of her horrible father and the politics of England.  She attempts to fake her death to get away from her fiancé Froste, but of course her plans fail.  Instead of being dragged back to the Castle, she is rescued by her new fiancé, Laird Iain MacLeod.  I love the history of the MacLeod Clan.  I have read a lot of it from Monica McCarty’s amazing series, The Highland Guard and The MacLeods of Skye trilogy.  They are a really fascinating clan and the fact that they occupy the Isle of Skye makes them seem even more magical.  I seriously want to visit Dunvegan Castle.

Marion is not a typical English bride that simpers and cowers.  She has backbone and spirit.  She helps those within her home who have suffered under her father’s hands.  While she hoped for love in her marriage, she sees that marrying the handsome Iain is better than being a political pawn in the battle between King Edward and King David.  I didn’t know a lot about the history of this time period, but it was really interesting to have explored in the book.

Iain is a widowed Laird.  He loved his frail wife Catronia and can’t imagine ever loving another.  He marries Marion with haste as it is part of the deal to free King David, but he isn’t disappointed in his bride.  Not only is she beautiful, but she has compassion and intelligence.

Iain was such an awesome character.  Strong, manly and intelligent, I really liked him.  I enjoyed the internal  battle he had over his feelings for Marion.  He was kind to her and listened to her feelings, which for the time was quite extraordinary.  He saw her as a partner and when they travel across Scotland together the bond was solidified.

Love is the challenge between the two.  Marion wants it and Iain is afraid to give it to her.  It takes politics, from the clan and the Kings to make them face their feelings.  Iain and Marion were just so hot together.  Like sparks coming off the pages.  The consummation of their marriage was amazing.  My only (minor, minor) complaint is that I wish there was more time devoted to what does on in the bedroom since these two are smoking up the pages with their looks and words.

Iain is a fierce warrior and the reader gets many opportunities to see him in action.  I loved how he battled for the King and for Marion.  Marion also did her share of battles.  She fought for Iain’s heart, her spot in his bedroom and with the Clan.  Julie Johnstone shows how hard it is for an Englishwoman to come to a Scottish Clan and take charge.  I really just adored Marion’s spirit and in turn that made me so invested in her happiness.

At the heart of this book is the love between Marion and Iain.  Since I found both characters to be so amazing, it was easy to fall in love with them.  I adored the plot since it had the perfect combination of politics, strife, war and hope.  This is an amazing book and the first in a new series!  I can’t wait to read the next one!

Top Ten Tuesday – 5 Star books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.  Each week features a different theme that can be applied to any genre of books.  This week the theme is five star books I have read in the past while.

I Kissed a Rogue by Shana Galen

i kissed a rogue

Forbidden:  Her British Stepbrother by Lauren Smith

forbidden british stepbrother

Lexington and 42nd by Kim Carmody

Lexington and 42

Cold Fury Series by Sawyer Bennett

ryker

Ruined by Jess Michaels

ruined

In the Kingdoms Name by Amy Jarecki

in the kingdoms name

Hot For the Scot by Janice Maynard

hot for the scot

 

The Art of Taming a Rake by Nicole Jordan

the art of taming a rake

Sutherland’s Secret by Sharon Cullen

sutherlands secret

Last Call Series by Sawyer Bennett

I haven’t written a review for this series, but I loved all of these books!

last call

The Study of Seduction

The Study of Seduction by Sabrina Jeffries

the study of seduction

Overview by Publisher:

A marriage of convenience ignites into a passionate love affair in the hotly anticipated second novel in New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries’s addictive Sinful Suitors series!

When Edwin Barlow, the Earl of Blakeborough, agrees to help his best friend’s impetuous ward, Lady Clarissa Lindsey, in her time of need, he knows he’s in for trouble. He’s been hunting for someone to wed, and she’ll just get in the way. Although captivated by the witty, free-spirited beauty, he fears she’d be all wrong as a wife…if she would even take such a gruff cynic for her husband. Yet he wants nothing more than to have her for his own.

Clarissa has no intention of marrying anyone—not Edwin, whom she’s sure would be an overbearing husband, and certainly not the powerful French diplomat stalking her. But when matters escalate with the diplomat, she chooses Edwin’s gallant offer of a marriage between friends in hopes that it will deter her stalker. She expects nothing more than an amiable union, but their increasingly tempestuous kisses prove more than she bargained for. When her stalker’s vow to expose the lovers’ deepest secrets threatens to destroy their blossoming attraction, will their tenuous bond withstand public ruin, or will Edwin lose all that’s important to him to protect his bride?

I really loved this book!  I found Clarissa and Edwin to be great characters and the plot was just so interesting!

Clarissa has been out in society for a while.  She has no intention of marrying, but has to fend off the very persistent attentions of the French Ambassador, Count Durant.  Her cousin has to leave England to help her brother on the continent, so Edwin has been entrusted with keeping her safe.

From the start there is passion between the two.  At first, it’s expressed through frustration and snippy remarks, but neither can deny to themselves that they are interested and attracted to the other.  I like this trope – not quite enemies, but forced into companions and partners.  Edwin is different than most men of his ilk.  He is quiet, studious and blatantly forthright.  Clarissa on the other hand, is the life of the party.  She is witty and enchanting and has the ton by the tail. I really enjoyed how they balanced each other out.  While Edwin was uncomfortable and stilted in society with small talk, Clarissa supported him and eased his way.  I liked that Sabrina Jeffries didn’t emasculate Edwin by having Clarissa help him, rather they were on equal footing.

They make a deal.  Edwin will accompany her and protect her and Clarissa will help him find a wife.  As the reader, you just know that of course they are perfect for each other and the fun part is watching how it happens.

The Count is extremely persistent.  He forces Clarissa and Edwin to fake an engagement, which becomes reality.  But we know that they are secretly excited to spend time with each other as they get to know one another better.  Clarissa has a reason to remain unmarried.  Her traumatic past has made her convinced that remaining a spinster is her only option.

When her stalker forces an actual marriage to happen, Edwin and Clarissa must navigate married life.  I loved how Edwin met Clarissa’s fears and worked to help her overcome them.  I think the trust she puts in him was one of the best ways I have seen intimacy develop between a couple in a romance book.  Plus, Edwin was hot once he stopped talking about his automons!  I think it helped that I really liked both characters and I wanted them to be safe from the Count.

Sabrina Jeffries is always a stellar choice when selecting a historical romance book.  You really can’t go wrong with her work as she is consistent with her development of a great romance story that has you enchanted.  It was great to read about characters from other novels in the series as they enhanced the story.

Heat it Up

Heat it Up (Off the Ice Series) by Stina Lindenblatt

heat it up

Overview by Netgalley:

Sofia Phillips feels cursed. Her father cheated on her mother, her boyfriend cheated on her―she’s done with dating. A summer work-exchange program in Finland is the perfect escape. But instead of gaining experience as an athletic trainer, she’s cleaning toilets. Awesome. The trip is a disaster, and even better, she meets Kyle Bennett. In the sauna. Naked. 

Sexy hockey player Kyle was the star right wing for an NHL team. But after an accident killed his wife and left him injured, Kyle has appreciated the “therapeutic” benefits of booze and puck bunnies. Now in Finland for the summer, he’s coaching in an elite hockey-training camp for teens. When Sofia’s grandmother decides to set her up with a nice Finnish man, Sofia recruits Kyle as her make-believe boyfriend. Neither expects their first kiss to sizzle. And neither expects, while stranded on an island during a storm, to have a scorching night of passion. 

But as their charade, and then their attraction, develops into something deeper, the past comes back, threatening to destroy them. They must decide if their feelings for each other are strong enough to survive―or it will be game over.

This is the zillionth hockey contemporary romance book I have read in the past while.  One thought I keep having is how all these hockey players are getting married when they are super young.  Kyle is no exception to this as he was married young and widowed.  He is in Finland for the summer to help out with a hockey camp.  Due to a deadly car accident, he lost his wife and his career when he was injured.

Sofia is in Finland for the summer to do a work program and to run away from her life in Minneapolis.  It makes sense that the two people running away would find each other.

I found it charming that Sofia didn’t speak Finnish and her constant thoughts about the language barrier were funny.  Sofia and Kyle were realistic characters.  They both had flaws and were pretty realistic.  Sometimes it was a bit too real, such as Kyle’s womanizing ways and his hard drinking.  It made it challenging to like him at times and see him as worthy of Sofia.  I sometimes felt that if I was Sofia’s friend and encouraging her to have a summer fling, I’d be pushing for the hot Finnish fellow that persistently chased after her.  It also really bothered me that Sofia didn’t know who Kyle was.  Who in this world doesn’t turn to social media to vet a new potential love interest?

The author shows her love for Finland through the sight seeing Kyle and Sofia do.  If you are interested in learning more about the country, then this book will provide some great insights.

What I liked about this book was the narrative from both Kyle and Sofia.  It provided a lot of insight into the characters emotions and thoughts.  It helped to explain why Sofia feared intimacy and Kyle drank.  At times this felt like a YA story and then it would surprise me by a maturity beyond the years of the characters.

While this book features hockey, it’s not the action of the NHL.  It’s a former NHL player coaching young players and trying to hold on to his dream.  Things wrap up nice and tidy in the end and they get their happily ever after.  While I enjoyed this book, it was different from what I was expecting.  I liked the romance, but I think learning about Finland through the character’s eyes was the best part.

Honor & Roses

Honor and Roses (Swordcross Knights Series) by Elizabeth Cole

honor and roses

Overview by Amazon:

The knight Alric of Hawksmere has endured years of war and survived dozens of battles in the service of the king. A new challenge awaits him when he returns home to renew his bond with a childhood friend. Alric instead discovers she is now a spirited woman of rare beauty whose kiss makes his blood burn. But the lady Cecily de Vere has been offered in marriage to another man, and Alric’s duty is to escort her to the wedding.

Cecily wants to behave as a proper lady. But she yearns for her childhood flame and knows he shares the same desire. When a sudden twist of fortune puts Cecily in mortal danger, Alric takes an unimaginable risk to rescue her. Left alone in the wild, Alric and Cecily must make a choice that will change their lives forever.

Elizabeth Cole is a great author!  She came to my attention with her series, Secrets of the Zodiac.  I really enjoyed the series, so when Elizabeth announced she had a new series starting, I was very interested in seeing what she had started.  I did a Q & A with Elizabeth a few weeks ago and it made me even more excited to read the book!
Honor and Roses is the first book of a medieval series.  The story is full of great historical information, if that is important to you in a book.  I find the lives of the wealthy and servant class to be so interesting.  The class structure is important to the story as Alric is a Knight that serves Cecily’s family.  While he has the distinction of being a Knight, he is really another vassal to the Lord.  I guess I didn’t realize that a Knight was so constrained in his freedom and choices.  In some aspects, this book reminded me of the movie, First Knight.  A Knight in love with the lady who can never be his.

I’ll get to the romance between Alric and Cecily in a moment, but first I want to continue with the politics of the day.  Cecily has been betrothed to a Northern Lord.  Alric and the other Knights are to take her to him for the wedding.  This is after Alric and his fellow soldiers have returned after five years of fighting for King Steven.  This is a time when loyalties are shifting like quick sand and it’s challenging to know who is a loyalist and who is engaging in treason.  All is not well in Alric’s circle, as his closest friend is acting suspicious as well as others in the castle.  While Alric wants to be with Cecily, he is honour bound to protect her and deliver her to the wedding.  What could possibly go wrong?

A lot!  Cecily has always harboured a crush on Alric.  Now that he has returned to her home, she is excited to spend time with him and the relationship between the two changes from friends to longing glances and a few kisses.  Alric is very aware that he can’t have Cecily.  She is sheltered enough that she harbours hopes they can be together, until she finds out that she has been betrothed.

I really liked the character Alric.  He is full on honour and strength.  Exactly what you would want in a medieval Knight.  He knows that it is wrong to want Cecily, but he truly can’t help himself as he loves her.  Through that love he seeks to protect her.  When Cecily is in danger, he does what he can to help her.  Cecily may have been sheltered in the home she shares with her indifferent Uncle, but she is smart and strong.  I think people had to be strong in those days otherwise they wouldn’t survive the harsh living.

This book is full of twists and turns.  I never saw the big reveal coming – it was so surprising!  I did know that Alric and Cecily would have a happily ever after, but it was difficult to see how it would come about.  The social hierarchy, her betrothal, betrayal and greed all play a part in bringing them together, yet also keeping them apart.

This is a great start to a new series and I really enjoyed the medieval setting!  Can’t wait for the next book!

Top Ten Tuesday – Series I LOVE

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.  Each week features a different topic that can be applied to whatever genre of books you like to read.  This week the theme is “ten books I really love but feel like I haven’t talked about enough/in a while”.

This is so easy…and yet so hard!  There are SO many books that I love that I can gush about them all day, however, it makes it hard to just pick 10!  So I’m going to cover series that I love so that there is more than just one book for you to enjoy!

I have been really in love with Sawyer Bennett lately.  I have read her Wicked Horse erotica series, ALL of the Cold Fury novels (read my review of Hawke and Ryker), Sugar Daddy and ALL of the Last Call series.  I haven’t posted reviews on the Last Call books, as I just blasted through hawkethem this weekend, but man, they were great!  I think what I like the most about her books is that she writes amazing male characters.  They are strong and sexy, but flawed.  This author writes about the kind of sex that I wish I was having.  I highly recommend the Cold Fury novels and the Last Call series!

 

 

 

 

Outlander is about to come back to our televisions – thank god!  There is a new series out hot for the scotby Janice Maynard about three young ladies that travel to Scotland to spend the summer.  They are inspired by the Outlander series and all secretly hope to find their own Jamie.  The first book in the series is Hot for the Scot and it was so charming and lovely!  I loved the characters and it was the kind of adventure I would love to experience.  I found this book a great way to spend the time waiting for Jamie and Claire to come back.  The second book in the series, Scot of my Dreams, is about to publish, so there is more Hot Scots to go!

 

 

 

I started this blog because I was deeply, deeply in love with Monica McCarty’s Highland the ghostGuard series and I was desperate to get my hands on an ARC copy of the Arrow.  This is the best series I have ever read – heck, all of her books are!  To say I am a super fan would be accurate.  I can’t recommend these books enough.  Fantastic history, amazing characters and spell binding bedroom scenes.  You can’t go wrong with this series.  When I find a new series, I actually like it when I am late to the party.  You know?  It kind of sucks to have to wait months for the next book to come out.  Well, fear not with this series!  The final full length novel, The Ghost comes out in May and a novella in June.  So you have TONS of books to read.  If you are a fan of Outlander, Navy SEALs  and hot men, then these are books you need to check out!

 

 

Another series that I am totally gaga for is the Inevitable Series by Janet Nissenson.  I find splendorher work to be similar to Samantha Young.  Her stories feature amazing and captivating characters with plotlines that you just can’t imagine.  Not in a crazy way, but just realistic and engaging.  Janet creates sizzling chemistry between her leads and the emotions of the stories just pull you in as the reader.  I have read all the books in the series and I can honestly say they have made my top ten list.  She capably does what ever author hopes to accomplish – write love stories that make you desperate to keep reading.  I have become devoted to her work and keep offering my services as a beta reader because I am so excited for what comes next!  Serendipity, Splendor, Shattered and Sensational.

 

 

Georgia Cates came to my attention through the Sin Series, a great series featuring the beauty bundleScottish mafia.  I took a further look at what she has written and came across the Beauty Trilogy.  This series was even better than the Sin Series.  I loved the characters, the drama, the turmoil, the sex and the happily ever after!  It’s hard to describe what sucked me into a story with a playboy millionaire having a no-strings attached affair with a young college student, but while it may sound like Fifty Shades or Crossfire, this series is actually even better than them.  I loved how the books made me feel.  I think that is when you know that you are reading a great book.  I felt so involved and engaged in what was happening to the characters.  I felt every emotion, I longed for their kisses and their troubles became mine.  Even if you don’t read a lot of contemporary romance, this is one series you should check out!

 

once a wallflower, at last his loveOne author that I follow on Facebook is Christi Caldwell.  I really enjoy her books!  What fascinates me about Christi is her writing process.  Christi writes every single day.  When not taking care of her toddler twins, her school aged boy, and a family home.  She is so devoted to the process and in turn has amassed a large book list.  Her characters ‘her muses’ speak to her and each one has a story that begs to be told.  She is so versatile that one book features a spinster, the next a bluestocking and a shy, young thing.  Christi crafts great historical romance stories that make it exciting to read!

 

Vonnie Davis has written one of the best series I have read, Highlander’s Beloved!  It bearing it allfeatures a clan in the modern day Highlands who happen to be shifter-bears.  While I am not big on science fiction romance, this series is one that just sucks you in!  I think it is because it’s what I imagine the Scottish Highlands to be like today.  Hot men who are strong, brawny, smart and sexy as hell.  It doesn’t hurt that the secondary characters are just fantastic and I have really enjoyed the love stories she has told!  This series is like a blend of historical and contemporary romance!

 

 

 

 

must love chainmailAnother series that I have really enjoyed is Must Love Chainmail and Must Love Breeches by Anglea Quarles.  I feel like I haven’t raved enough about these books lately!  I want everyone to check out these books because they are just SO great!  In Must Love Breeches, a young lady time travels to Regency England and it’s just so much fun to see it through her perspective!  I love time travel books!  In Must Love Chainmail the heroine ends up in Medieval times and it’s just so exciting it gave me heart palpitations!  Angela is hard at work on her next book, Must Love Kilts.  I’m sure you don’t need me to explain why I am chomping at the bit to get my hands on it!  You really can’t go wrong with these amazing time travel books!

 

 

 

One of my all time favourite series is the Sam Jellicoe books by Suzanne Enoch!  I knowbillionaires prefer blondes that people love them too, because they are a topic I have written about in the past that keeps getting looked at.  Sam Jellicoe is a reformed cat burgler and the original sassy heroine!  In fact, when I read about a snarky, cheeky heroine, I immediately compare her to Sam.  Sam has a rich boyfriend, Rick.  Together they are just all sorts of hot!  This series has fantastic sexual chemistry as well as moments of hilarity and plots that would make anyone laugh! It’s really hard to take life too seriously when reading about Sam.  I highly recommend this series.  If we all read the books, then maybe Suzanne’s publisher will contract her to write another one!

 

it happened one autumnThis should come as no surprise, but a great series that has the hearts of readers across the world is Lisa Kleypas’ The Wallflowers.  Each book takes place in a different season of the year.  My personal favourite is It Happened One Autumn.  I loved Lillian and Marcus!   I know that Sebastian’s deliverance is very popular, but there is just something so great about how Lillian tweaks Marcus’ nose.  Plus, who can possibly forget what happened in his library?!  This series is kind of a standard.  So if you are just getting into historical romance, this is a fantastic way to get going!

 

Rushing the Goal

Rushing the Goal by Toni Aleo

rushing the goal

Overview by Publisher:

Lucy Sinclair was no stranger to pain. 

She grew up with three younger brothers, met a bad boy, got pregnant by him, married him, and then suffered through a nasty divorce from him. Pain. That was pain. To top it off, she even had to go through the heartbreaking divorce of her parents. Through it all, she survived. All she cared about was making sure her daughter was happy and taken care of. Despite an ex-husband hell-bent on ruining her life, she fought to overcome. She’s gotten to the point that she’s okay with being just okay. She never cared about herself because she never had the time. It was Angie and only Angie she focused on, but that all changed when Benji Paxton offered to help her daughter on the ice. 
Benji knew the moment he saw Lucy, he’d never be the same. Especially when she came with the bundle of crazy that was her daughter. His heart wasn’t ready for them. After years spent sobering up and finding who he was without the alcohol, he never forgot he was being punished for not appreciating the love he had when he was younger. Because of his past, he had gotten used to being alone, a recluse, but even he had to admit it was getting old. He was lonely. Hockey wasn’t enough anymore. He wanted a family; he wanted his true love, and Lucy and Angie were just that. 

Benji and Lucy were just two lost souls. 
Floating through life with no purpose. 
But finding each other gave them direction, a chance at a future. 

And that had them both Rushing the Goal to be together.

This is a long book.  Don’t let that deter you from reading it though.  While this book could be classified as a sports-contemporary romance, it is really much deeper.  The characters explore guilt, forgiveness, trust and love.

Lucy is the sister to three NHL hockey brothers.  She can definitely hold her own and is routinely referred to as a bitch.  She is just living life and reacting to the events that happen to her. She is a single mom to an adorable, funny little girl and has to deal with quite possibly the worst ex-husband ever.  His nickname ‘bag of dicks’ doesn’t even begin to describe how terrible of a person and father he really is.

Benji is an NHL defenseman who plays with her brother Jayden.  He’s a good guy who has a sordid past.  A recovering alcoholic who blames himself for the death of his young wife and child due to his neglect and bad behaviour.  He’s grown up and like Lucy is missing the excitement and joy that life can bring.

The relationship between the two was sexy and yet sweet.  Lucy calls him a big dork and his is adorably one.  Benji could be so playful and fun with Lucy and took so quickly to her daughter.  The relationship moves quickly and Lucy is constantly waiting for Benji to push them away.  Her insecurities are well founded, but her lack of trust in Benji wears on the relationship.

I found this book a very emotional read.  The antics of Lucy’s ex were truly terrible, yet really realistic in this litigious world that we live in.  The author really develops the story and the emotions of Lucy’s battle for what is best for Angie.  I could understand how Lucy felt like things were to good to be true with Benji because all she has known is disappointment and fighting.

The book is quite long, but it gives the author the opportunity to really delve deeply into the emotions the characters are feeling.  She has the time to explore Benji’s grief and guilt, as well as Lucy’s anger and stress.  I didn’t feel like any plot was missing explanations.  I did really like the moments where hockey took centre stage, as well as the comraderie between the hockey players.

Both Benji and Lucy have had dry spells in their sex lives and they definitely make up for it.  The sex was hot, sweaty and fun.  Yes, fun!  Benji and Lucy really enjoy each other and the sex between them isn’t about domination or kink.  It was two people who are just crazy about each other and they can’t believe their luck.

I haven’t read other books in this series and a lot of the plot references the past, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pick up this book and get started right away!

 

Final Target

Final Target (Dublin Mafia:  Triskelion Team #1) by Zara Keane

final target

Overview by Publisher:

 

This book reminded me a lot of Georgia Cates Sin series.  Instead of being centered around Scottish mafia, it’s Ireland.  Both books feature a female lead who is an agent for the FBI/MI6.  So, I had high hopes that this book would be similar in style and plot.

This is a stand alone book within the new series.  Unlike the Sin Trilogy, the next story will feature another family member instead of continuing Lar and Moira’s saga.

A lot of this story is centered around the events of five years ago when Moira was undercover in Boston and dating Lar.  She has come to Dublin to get close to Lar’s uncle Frank who she thinks was responsible for the bomb that killed her family in Northern Ireland.

There is a lot of plot in this story – but somehow is all seems to work.  I am just realizing how much complexity there is to the story and how many pieces there are to the puzzle.  Moira is a tough cookie.  She is a strong woman who is willing to do whatever it takes to get her results.  I think this is how this book differs from other contemporary romance novels.  Neither Lar or Moira are innocent.  They have done things that are considered contemptible in our society.

The romance between the two isn’t really romance.  It’s lust and possession.  Lar in still in love with Moira, regardless of the strippers and porn stars who grace his bed.  Although he did think she was dead.  Moira can’t stay away from Lar and keeping secrets gets even harder.

This book was really about two people reconnecting and working together to find the truth about the twisted past of the Irish mafias and IRA.  I found the mystery plot intriguing and it looks like I will have to read the next book to find out as the story ends on a cliffhanger.  I liked the connection between Lar and Moira and how they found their way back to each other.  While Lar and Moira are not the most likeable characters, they fit in well with the circumstances and the setting.  While this book isn’t the same as the Sin Series, it’s still an interesting look at the IRA and the mafia in Ireland.