Funny and fast paced for the most part. Some areas dragged considerably due to misconceptions and prejudices though. Our MCs were delightful and th...more3.5
Funny and fast paced for the most part. Some areas dragged considerably due to misconceptions and prejudices though. Our MCs were delightful and their slow conversion from enemies, to friendship, to love was well done. I definitely want to read book 2 and the fall of horseman #2. :)(less)
Favorite Quote: “Never make your decisions for a man, no matter how stupid over him you are.“
Avery Marks and Roman Forsyth were childhood best friends and sweethearts. When Roman is drafted into the NHL after high school, his only contact with Avery is the expensive guilt gifts he sends home. Avery was heartbroken by his abandonment. She loved him with everything she had and he willingly let her and their love go. When Roman comes home for a rest before the next season opener, he can no longer deny the chemistry that still exists between him and Avery. But Avery isn’t as willing to let bygones be bygones. Roman broke her heart and no matter what the town seems to think, she is not Cinderella, waiting to be swept off her feet by the town’s Prince Charming. Avery is ready to close the book on her past and look towards her future. Can Roman show her that he is ready to be the man Avery fell in love with so many years ago, or has their time for a happily ever after passed them by?
Just In Time is the third book in Addison Fox’s Alaskan Nights series. Fans of the series have been waiting for this installment since first meeting Roman and Avery in book one and getting clues to their broken relationship throughout the series. Though the first two installments were light hearted, this story is definitely emotionally weighted. Our couple has a deep past filled with heartbreak and pain. Add in a small Alaskan town whose prime entertainment is butting into each others business and a pair of grandmothers who have romance on the brain and you have a recipe for disaster as our two protagonists attempt to redefine their relationship.
Avery has spent her whole life in Indigo, Alaska. Having spent a good portion youth caring for her alcoholic mother, Avery now runs the bar in Roman’s mother’s hotel. Having recently returned from Ireland where she studied hospitality, she is seeing her future has more options than she ever imagined. She is a self assured, witty, warm hearted person that takes no crap from anyone. She comfortable in her own skin and it shows when dealing with the town and Roman. What I really liked about Avery is she isn’t into games or deception. She has no issues with telling you exactly how it is.
“I know who you are. I’ve always known who you are. But if you don’t know I can’t fix that for you.”
Roman was harder to pin down. We never really got to know him as well in the series because he isn’t around much. Most of what we do hear is from other points of view. Considered a god on the ice, he has some issues (both professionally and personally) that has him reevaluating his life and future. A life that defines him, or so he thinks. He is angry at the town for the pedestal they have placed him on and the fact that he has to deal with the feelings he has buried for the past fourteen years. Yet, he isn’t a prima donna. He has a large giving heart and does a lot to show his love for the town and residents.
I enjoyed the main element Fox choose to build this story on. Reconnection. Roman and Avery need to reconnect. They need to reacquaint themselves with the adults they have become and learn to let go of the past. That is easier said than done. Avery holds a lot of resentment towards Roman. She has been there, done that, and has the broken heart to prove it. Part of her pain is not only did she lose her lover…but she lost her best friend too. Blaming him for her lack of direction she comes to learn that her choosing to stay in Indigo was not Roman’s fault. She owns up to the fact that her life, such as it is, was by her own decisions. Roman also has to learn that he did in fact abandon Avery to achieve his dreams. The gifts he sent home were nothing more than ways to assuage his guilt. He behaved childishly by staying away from Indigo and Avery and it takes a lot for him to finally realise that. Even once he and Avery seem to overcome the past and look towards the future, Roman’s insecurities reared their ugly head and we see him being an arse again.
The chemistry these two generate is a personable presence in the story. Their anger makes the sexual tension singe the pages. These two weave, bob, and bicker with each other throughout the entire story. There are multiple sub plots that branch out from the main storyline. We see a secondary romance blossom for a special character and we learn that not everyone is happy with the town’s gossipy nature. Roman’s issues are eventually brought out in the forefront and we begin to understand his fears better.
“I got my dream and gave up every single thing of value in my life to get it.”
The secondary characters continue to amuse and exasperate. Such an eccentric group. This town is a perfect example of small town residents. Nosy, gregarious, and truly caring about everything going on. We see more of Grier and Mick and get to watch Sloan and Walker tie the knot. Their lives are on track and I enjoyed visiting with them again. I especially loved Avery’s and Julia’s relationship. Julia is one of the few people who doesn’t see Roman through rose colored glasses and truly understands Avery’s reluctance to go down this path with him again.
“You can’t erase years of bad behavior and just expect things to go back to the way they were.” “No, you can’t.” “You also can’t live your life for other people’s expectations and that’s the biggest reason I wish people knew when to keep their mouths shut.”
A few things that bothered me was the amount of time it took Avery and Roman to finally address their problems. So much rehashing of old resentments and feelings with little advancement and even less honest communication. I felt like we were listening to a broken record that can’t skip to the next song. The pacing is extremely slow up and doesn’t execute well. I was ready to slap Roman for not coming clean about his feelings or his problems. He has a bad habit of assuming things and making decisions that affected the both of them. Avery does a much better job of moving forward and I liked that she was willing to fight for what she wanted even if he wasn’t.
“I’ve loved you always. Before I even understood what it was, I loved you. But I love me, too. And I won’t spend my life worrying if I’m enough to make you happy.”
Even with Roman’s stupid moments (and there were quite a lot of them), the story was still a enjoyable to read with plenty of humor and laugh out loud scenes. The ending comes fast; wrapping everything up nice and tight and giving us a sweet HEA and epilogue.
Recommended to me by fellow blogger mad4rombks. A sweet yet poignant historical romance about a young woman who is forced to marry the Laird who shame...moreRecommended to me by fellow blogger mad4rombks. A sweet yet poignant historical romance about a young woman who is forced to marry the Laird who shamed her and now they both struggle to make the marriage work. Just loved. Watching Mary struggle to forgive Alexander while watching Alex struggle against the guilt he feels for his previous actions made for an engaging storyline. Humor, action, a taunt plot line, and various sundries make Teresa Reasor an author I plan on reading more of. (less)
Favorite Quote: “I’d rather leave you then have you taken from me.”
As chief surgeon for the Wardens, Evelyn Stone fears her own life is on the line when she is kidnapped by a band of pirates—only to discover that the airship captain is Gavin “Mac” MacRae—her former lover. The man whose life she once saved. The man she abandoned.
Since Evelyn left, Mac made his mark as both a pirate and a pilot. But his true allegiance isn’t known. So when he asks Evie for help with a wounded woman onboard, he tells Evie that the woman is his wife—even if his feelings for Evie have never waned…
As the days pass, however, the unease between Evie and Mac gives way to the old comfort they used to have. Yet, their newly ignited romance is complicated by conflicting loyalties and desires, and a betrayal that may cost them both their love and their lives. (Goodreads)
Breath Of Iron, the third in Ms. Cross’s dark and intriguing Clockwork Agents series, submerges us back into the wonderful world of Victorian sediments and steampunk adventures. Riveting action, dangerous spies, steamy romance, and an all-star cast keep us on our toes. Lush world building continues to evolve as we divulge deeper into the mechanics behind the Wardens of the Realm and their arch enemies, The Company. The Wardens are a secret government group who work behind the scenes to protect the monarchy and it’s hierarchy, while The Company seeks to destroy it. In this installment, Cross crosses the continent and brings us the Wardens and The Companys Russian counterparts.
Our story begins with the kidnapping of Dr. Evie Stone, the Warden’s English doctor. Evie knows her kidnappers but is shocked when she is drugged and wakes upon The Queen V; her ex lover’s ship. Evie left Mac three years ago after she saved his life once again. She couldn’t stand his being a pirate nor his propensity for getting hurt. She feared for the day she would not being able to save him and so she left. Mac, a previous Warden who left the agency for calmer waters, has never forgiven Evie for leaving him while he recuperated in the hospital, but he needs her skills as a surgeon to save a very important life. In order to keep Evie safe and his heart protected, he lies about the young woman he needs Evie to save.
Evie knows something is wrong with the entire situation but believes Mac has moved on from her and reluctantly accepts his marriage. When Mac is attacked and a crew member is killed, all evidence points towards a traitor on board. Evie’s investigation reveals the whole story behind Mac’s marriage and the real reasons he’s back in England and consorting with Wardens.
Both Mac and Evie are interesting protagonists and I enjoyed learning their backstory. Evie’s fear of commitment and distrust of love stems from her parent’s relationship and her father’s desertion of her and her mother. Mac has a hero complex that places his life in continuous danger. Both are extremely brave and stubborn. There were times I felt neither really listened to what the other was saying. Pages of dialogue show them bickering back and forth; both still hurt by their failed affair. It slows the story line down. Though they seemed at times unable to get past that day three years ago, they did have a delightful banter between one another that is both sensual and amusing. Witty dialogue and little digs will have you smiling as their two square off against each other. Their strong chemistry singes the pages as the main conflict unfurls amongst suspicion and distrust. I did feel that the romance overshadowed the story and didn’t blend as well with the storyline as it did in the other two installments. Everything happens fast and there are some situations that do not fully reveal, leaving me at a lost to what exactly happened.
Ms. Cross’s continues to write well developed and personable secondary characters whose individual storylines spike your curiosity. Ned, Mac’s sister, is a jovial character whom I forsee has having some further conflict with the Wardens. We get an interesting look at the director of the Warden’s personal life that was shocking. Ms. Cross allows us time with Lucas and Arden and Clair and Alister; giving us intimate glimpses into their lives. What I normally enjoyed about this series is that everyone has hidden agendas; making for a more exciting story filled with many twists and turns. In this installment I felt we didn’t get that as much. The story lines revolves almost singularly around Evie and Mac’s romance. I missed the cutting action and suspense from the previous two installments. I also missed the usually strong Warden presence.
Regardless of my qualms, Cross continues to pen an engaging steampunk romance that is sure to appeal to fantasy and romance fans alike.
Sexy, intense, harlequin-esque love story. Both MCs are prickly, prideful, and prone to jumping to conclusions. Smoking hot love scenes and a lovely e...moreSexy, intense, harlequin-esque love story. Both MCs are prickly, prideful, and prone to jumping to conclusions. Smoking hot love scenes and a lovely enemies to lovers plot. I do wish it hadn't ended so abruptly though. (less)
Stoneybrooke is a small town, located on the west coast of Ireland. Multi generational families all live, love, and gossip there together. When locale girl, Chicky Starr, runs away to find love with a visiting American boy, she has no idea that she will end up abandoned thousands of miles from home. Using her wits, Chicky secures employment and invents a plausible story to explain away her ‘errant husband’. When she learns that an old historic mansion, the Stone House, is up for sale back home, she uses her savings and purchases the home, intent on making it a bed and breakfast. With the help of her niece Orla, the previous owner, and an old friend’s son, Chicky gets Stone House up and running and ready to welcome her first guests.
A Week in Winter is a series of character novellas all contained within a larger story, intertwining and feeding off one another. A lovely fictional contemporary that explores the expectations of family and the fine line we walk in order to save face and keep the peace. I have always enjoyed Binchy’s books. My two favorite books from her are The Glass Lake and Circle Of Friends. Set amongst the Irish, a fascinating group of people to begin with, I find her in depth characterization and flowing storylines gently draw you in and transport you to easily into her world. Romance flavors the air though her stories often take a more pragmatic view of life and love in general with bits of advice and morality lessons tossed in for contrast. Dry wit and humor balances the story well. We aren’t always guaranteed a happily ever after for some couples but they are always given an adequate ending that serves them best.
Meeting each guest was an interesting experience. Some come to Stone House with a purpose and some arrive by chance. Each come with preconceived notions, only to be caught unawares of the gifts they will be given. It’s all done in a very subtle way that sneaks up on them, leaving almost all the guests content, if not happy, with the new paths that have been opened to them. We first meet Winnie and Lillian. Winnie is in love with LIllian’s son Teddy but Lillian doesn’t want Teddy to have a new woman in his life. When Winnie plans a get away week for her and Teddy, things get confused and she finds herself arriving in Stoneybrooke with Lillian. John is a famous actor travelling incognito who finds himself at a loss when he is pushed, career wise, in directions he doesn’t want to go. Fredia is escaping a bad relationship, Henry and Nicola are escaping a tragic loss, and Anders is escaping a forced destiny. The Walls arrive, disappointed in having won second place in a contest, and a disgruntled retired school principal Nell Howe brings gloom and doom in her wake.
Each individual story explains how they came to Stone House and the reasons behind their dissatisfaction. They learn that life often throws obstacles in your path and sometimes all it takes is a neutral ear to listen for the problems to sort it all out. The stories circle each other, coming together at the end to give us an ending that reassures us that these people are more than ready for the next step in their lives.
Though Ms. Binchy passed away last year, her writing will continue to appeal to everyone who enjoys timeless heartwarming journeys into small towns and the people who inhabit them.
An enjoyable visit back to Petal, GA and the wonderful Murphy family. I loved the beginning of the story. Beth is filled with snarky goodness and Joe...moreAn enjoyable visit back to Petal, GA and the wonderful Murphy family. I loved the beginning of the story. Beth is filled with snarky goodness and Joe is unbelievably hawt. Their chemistry was apparent from the beginning. Unfortunately, there really isn't much conflict beyond Joe fighting against being with his best friends baby sister. After a while, I lost interest and wondered why Beth didn't do the same. (less)
Favorite Quote: “My reputation has no importance when it comes to you…”
Sarah Osborne is the daughter of the Hawkins family gardener. Having been raised and educated with the Hawkins children, she straddles a very fine line in the family. Not their equal as head chambermaid, but held in higher regards than the average servant. She has loved Simon since she was a child. He rescued her from a mishap with a blackberry bush and he became her knight in shining armor. Sarah had no idea Simon felt the same until they shared a passionate kiss but then Simon fled to London the next day and she has not seen him since.
Simon Hawkins has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. Having held the title of Duke since a young man, he has weathered scandals, rumors, and innuendos concerning his family for years. His main goal now is to bring respectability to the House of Trent. Summoned home when his mother suddenly disappears, he is unsure whether she let of her own accord or through nefarious means. This brings him back into Sarah’s life and he is unhappy to see that his feelings for her have not faded. He stayed away from the family estate for years, ashamed for what he saw as taking advantage of Sarah. He knows he and Sarah have no real chance at a true relationship but his heart doesn’t care.
With his mother’s disappearance in mind, Simon decides to move his sister, Lady Esme and Sarah to London for safety reasons. The move puts Simon and Sarah into closer contact and their passion for one another only burns brighter. Their already doomed love affair is further tested by a very determined debutante and papa who sees Simon as her way to become a Duchess and uses any means necessary to achieve their goals. As Simon struggles to maintain status quo and do the right thing by his family and Sarah, the choice is suddenly taken from him and he finds himself hurting them all.
The Duchess Hunt is a Cinderella-esque story that tells of the forbidden love story between a duke and a servant. As these two destined soulmates navigate the shark filled waters of the ton and its social rules, I was astounded by the poise and depth of emotion Ms. Haymore is able to impart into their story. I admit to being wary to how Ms. Haymore would pull this off. Dukes do not marry servants. Dally, maybe, but never marry. Complex and seductive, Haymore gently peels apart the layers of their feelings, expectations, social obligations to being us the true hearts of Sarah and Simon.
Sarah and Simon are honorable strong individuals who despite their respective stations in life, truly love one another. Sarah’s strength is especially noticeable as we watch her very realistic mannerisms and emotions. Though Sarah is well aware of her station in life, she is not one to settle on what is expected of her. She knows who and what she wants and while she may never get it, she won’t accept second place from or for anyone. She has a quiet boldness to her that made her a heroine worthy of a Duke.
Simon is just as wonderful as we get an intimate look at his true emotions and the agonizing choices forced on him. His wants and needs war with his unbending honor, yet he’s not so embroiled in society’s rules that he isn’t willing to bend or break a few when needed-especially when it comes to the woman he loves. His love for his family is heartwarming as are the sacrifices he makes for their happiness.
I loved how Ms Haymore didn’t allow Sarah and Simon an easy HEA; it’s quite dramatic in its unfolding. The sexual and emotional tension keep you on edge and becomes almost unbearable as Haymore introduces even more angst and hard decisions that test our protagonists and their resolves. The mystery behind the Duchess’s disappearance is ripe with intrigue and speculation. It blends seamlessly with the romance and brings us a deeper understanding of the House of Trent and it’s inhabitants. I did wish we would have gone little more deeper into the mystery and the reasons behind it as I felt we really didn’t learn much once the book ended.
The secondary cast of characters add delightful depth and balance to the story. Ms. Hayward crafts them each with such vivid individuality that each begs have their very own story told. The Hawkins family is delightful in their love and camaraderie. We learn so much about them as a family unit and as individuals. Luke’s story is next and I am anxious to divulge deeper into his secrets.
The ending brings us a predictable outcome but the journey there was anything but. The mystery is ongoing so don’t expect a resolution in that storyline. I suspect it will continue to the end of the series; each book giving us more clues and insights into the Duchess, her deceased husband, and the problems festering in the House of Trent. I look forward to more of the series and will continue to keep Ms. Haymore on my list of must read historical romance authors.
A beautiful contemporary love story that spans the lifetime of a woman, her rockstar husband, and their best friend. Love, laughter, anger, grief, and...moreA beautiful contemporary love story that spans the lifetime of a woman, her rockstar husband, and their best friend. Love, laughter, anger, grief, and second chances. A wide range of emotions will assault you as you follow their lives and love from start to finish. (less)
Favorite Quote: “Life had not shown her a string of honorable men.”
When Annalise Hadley marries the man of her dreams, she never imagines he would attempt to kill her on their honeymoon. Tossed overboard and left for dead, Annalise manages to make it to shore before collapsing. Rescue comes in the form of a recluse hero whose secrets bind him tightly to the shadows.
Owen Crawford, The Earl of McDowell, home from the war, doesn’t want any responsibility in his life but Annalise intrigues him with her incredible courage and strength. He agrees to help her heal and teach her never to be a victim again…then he will send her away before she discovers just how unheroic he really is.
Loss and regret are a powerful mixture but sometimes when the right man and woman meet…the past can be forgiven and the future explored if they are both willing to take the chance.
How To Lose A Bride In One Night is the final installment of Sophie Jordan’s Forgotten Princesses series. More emotionally weighted and melancholy than the first two of the series, this story focuses on the marriage of the last daughter, Annalise Hadley. The illegitimate daughter of the infamous gambling den owner, Jack Hadley, Annalise agrees to marry the man her estranged father has chosen for her. With her physical deformity, Annalise is considered lucky to even be marrying, much less a handsome Duke. As Annalise prepares for her wedding night aboard the barge her and her husband are honeymooning on, she is shocked when her husband attacks her, attempting to choke the life from her. She falls unconsciousness and awakens when he tosses her overboard. Struggling against the rivers raging currents, Annalise is injured and falls unconscious again, only to awaken in the arms of a stunningly handsome man.
Owen Crawford has just returned from war. The traumatic memories combined with discovering the woman he loved has married his brother, he buries himself in the countryside, effectively divorcing society. Unsure what to do with the injured woman he finds, he takes her to a gypsy caravan and bargains for healing. Unable to get any information from Annalise concerning her name or reasons she was in the river, Owen decides to take her to his estate to complete her healing.
I wish I could say this story blew me away me, but I cannot. An interesting premise and intriguing plot elements never seemed to quite gain a foothold and expand. A deliciously decorated package that when opened, lacks substance. I found the energy and exuberance that ran through the first two books in this series was missing here. This story moves slow and steady; focusing singularly on our protagonists and their respective journeys. A familiar often told story that revolves around a tortured hero and heroine. Both are rather mild mannered in their outward appearance, only giving in to their turbulent emotions in their own thoughts and internal dialogue. If that energy and emotion had released into the open earlier, I would have enjoyed the story more. It was if I was reading two stories-one for each character-that just happened to exist in the same book. It was just all so…polite. I never connected to either of them and found them both boring at times.
Both Annalise and Owen have strong emotional barriers that not only kept them at arms length with each other but also from the reader. Annalise has known nothing but heartbreak from men-starting with her absent father. Her trust is extremely limited. Owen has scars from his time in the war and hurt from losing the woman he thought he loved. It’s compounded by the fact his brother married her and now they are expecting a child. Annalise seeks to be more than just a victim in life while Owen seeks forgiveness and redemption.
A majority of the book is spent with Owen and Annalise in seclusion, fighting their attraction for one another and keeping close hold to their secrets. I could understand Annalise’s fears, in the beginning, that kept her from confiding in Owen. Her husband just tried to kill her. Should Owen know the truth, he could legitimately return her, as she is legally her husband’s property. I did feel that with the time they spent together, she should have realized that had she told him the truth of the matter, he would never had returned her to her husband. What I didn’t understand is why she never attempted to contact her sisters or her father for protection. I was hard pressed to believe that they would have forced her return to her husband after she told her story, even if she had only known them for a year. The romance develops slowly, a tedious tug of war as Owen and Annalise admit to attraction and then run from the attraction. It’s only towards the end that they open up to one another and the chemistry is finally felt. I enjoyed the love scenes; tasteful yet steamy.
The climax of the story, Annalise’s confrontation of her murderous husband, is resolved in a chapter and fell into the unbelieveable realm.There were just too many non sequiturs. Even though she has only been missing a few months, her husband isn’t in mourning and is already pressing suit to another woman. How is that possible? Even as a Duke, society would have frowned upon that. The woman in question would have been gossiped about terribly. I was shocked she and her father had no qualms about it. They were both actually upset that Annalise returned from the dead and ruined their plans. I was also somewhat put out we don’t really get any scenes with her family after she returned from the dead. A few lines is all. Of course we get our happily ever after but even then, we are only given a sliver of the emotional scene.
Overall, I felt the story was weak, poorly executed, and I couldn’t relate well to the hero and heroine.
Favorite Quote: “One heartbeat past forever, that’s how long I’ll love you.”
Welcome back. Once again Ms. Thomas takes us back into Harmony, TX and submerges us in the lives and loves of this fictional town. In Can’t Stop Believing, we see the true meaning of forgiveness, second chances, and love.
Cord McDowell lost six years of his life when he went to prison at age eighteen for a crime he didn’t commit. Now, ten years later, he’s being asked to give up his freedom again. His last name for a piece of prime land.
Nevada Britain, Harmony’s premier wild child, needs Cord McDowell to marry her and offers up a 300 acres of land to sweeten the deal. She refuses to explain all the reasons why she needs him but Cord knows he’s getting the better end of the deal. He only has one condition. She has to sleep next to him every night while they are married.
As Cord and Nevada settle into their lives and pseudo marriage, Cord soon learns that Nevada’s reasons for wanting to marry him involve more than just saving her ranch. Someone wants Nevada to suffer for her choices in life. And if it takes her death to make her pay…so be it.
Ronnie never forgot Marty or the gifts he gave her, even after he disappeared from her life two years ago. When a mysterious man shows up and offers her a chance to see Marty again, Ronnie begins the adventure of a lifetime. One that proves how wondrous and heartbreaking true love can be.
Jodi Thomas’s Harmony series remains one of my favorite romantic contemporary series to date. I adore the continuously evolving small town atmosphere and the eclectic characters who live there. Brimming with gossip, news of family, and well wishes; you find yourself waiting with anticipation for the next batch to arrive. A smoothly written romantic contemporary that goes beneath the facade of a small town and examines and reveals the love, laughter, pain, and heartbreak that resides within.
Mystery, suspense, and surprises build a solid storyline in this installment, creating an intriguing read that fills you with strong emotions as you watch those you have come to love fight through the pitfalls of life. Two main storylines build slowly and allow the players involved to deal with and heal past issues that have frozen them in a certain point of life. Ms. Thomas continues to create multi dimensional characters, expanding and evolving their lives and the world they live in. Not one of them is perfect though each one is a vibrant personality that takes command and dominates the scenes they are in. Ms. Thomas has such a wonderful gift for creating memorable and witty characters. She writes with such intimacy that we are instantly drawn back into their lives as if we never left. These are folks you can find anywhere. They are your friends and loved ones. I like we aren’t promised a happily ever after. The story always leaves off with the promise of more to come and that works because no one’s journey is ever truly over.
Strongly character driven; it’s the steady and humorous dialogue keeps you entertained and laughing throughout the book. We see old and new faces; each one an important part of the storyline. Martha Q is back and noisy as ever as her bed and breakfast is soon overrun with sleuthing widows, a vegetarian slob, and a mysterious man who peaks more than Martha’s curiosity. Beau’s found himself some “trouble” but as we soon learn, he may have bitten off more than he can chew. Tyler and Kate have some fabulous news to share as bits and pieces of all the town residents make their way into the story, which rounds it out beautifully and left me satisfied though sad as one storyline concludes in a rather shocking way.
This series continues to delight me and I recommend it to everyone who wants a small town contemporary series with realistic characters, charming romances, strong friendships, and interesting lives that will have you waiting anxiously each new visit. Even though this could be read as a stand alone, I recommend reading the first in the series, Welcome To Harmony. This is a continuation and is written as such.
Favorite Quote: Jason stood mesmerized as her breasts moved up and down. All that creamy skin covering those enticing globes had reduced him to a randy youth. He placed her hand on his arm. Just before they reached the others, he murmured. “Do not take any more deep breathes tonight.”
When Jason Coventry, The Earl of Coventry, discovers his father is still trying to ruin his life from the grave by arranging his marriage and demanding he either go through with it or he loses his title; Jason rebels and arrives at his ceremony foxed and incoherent. After the ceremony, where he manages to make a complete arse of himself and humiliate his bride, he passes out and wakes up only to take the coward’s way out by running back to London without ever speaking a word to his bride. He knows he behaved terribly but he consoles himself that it wasn’t what he wanted and he will give his bride time to calm down, then head back to their country estate to talk to her.
Lady Olivia Jane Grant was also blindsided by the arranged marriage but managed to hold herself to a higher standard than Jason. She is devastated by his treatment of her and decides to travel to London to visit a friend. Once Lady Olivia arrives in London, she is dismayed that no one knows she and Jason are married and he is carrying on as though he is still a single man. Olivia decides enough is enough and proceeds, with the help of her best friend, to have the season she was denied by this marriage. Getting to send all the bills to Jason is just an added bonus.
Jason isn’t quite done with his humiliation of Olivia though. When she and Jason finally come upon each other at an event, she realises he has no idea who she is. He doesn’t even remember what she looks like and now he is flirting with her, trying to arrange an annulment. Olivia decides to repay him for his treatment of her and spends her nights flirting with him, leading him on with no intention of ever letting him know who she really is. When fate intervenes and Jason discovers Olivia is actually his wife, he floored by how much he actually likes her. He tries to entice her into accepting the marriage and him, however, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Olivia has no intentions of ever accepting Jason…no matter how much her heart wants him.
The Elusive Wife is a cute, romantic, and humorous Regency romance that centers around a clueless Earl whose realizes, a little too late, his mistake in callously disregarding his wife right after the ceremony and his wife who’s not going to be placated easily. Well written with a smooth storyline, engaging characters, and witty dialogue that will have you giggling as you watch these two go in a non violent version of War of the Roses.
I adored Olivia and Jason. Both are lively individuals with a quick wit and strong convictions who are well matched despite their tremulous beginnings. I loved how Olivia choose not to become a watering pot and wring her hands over her fate. She took her life into her own hands and her actions are cause for lots of laughs and fist pumping. Watching her spar with Jason is hilarious. She is no simpering miss. Jason, though a total arse in the beginning, does grow on you as you learn his back story which explains why he acted like he did. It doesn’t excuse his actions and neither does he, but is does soothe your anger towards him. What I really enjoyed with this couple is Jason could have easily made Olivia accept being his wife by force and he choose not to. He swallowed his pride and did what he should have done from the beginning. He wooed her. Courted her. Got to know her better. Once he realized what a beautiful, exciting, and intelligent wife he had, the battle to win her heart was on. Watching his jealously rear it’s head as he discovers others find his wife as attractive as he does is quite amusing.
“Are you feeling a bit chilled tonight, Lady Coventry?” “Indeed not my Lord, why would you ask?” “Because a great deal of your skin is showing, and I tremble to think you may catch a lung fever.” “I assure you my lord, my gown is the height of fashion, and the neckline is no lower than any other women here tonight. “Every other women is not my wife and I take exception to Carstairs practically falling into your bosom.”
The lack of “insta-love” was also well done. Neither of them knew each other well and Hutton takes great pains in allowing them to each come to terms with their feelings at their own rate. Though there is a bit of a conflict towards the end that felt out of place in the story, it didn’t take away from my enjoyment in the least. The Elusive Wife is an enjoyable historical romance about a marriage of convenience and the rocky, laughter filled journey our heroine and hero take as they struggle to find their way to love and their happily ever after.
Favorite Quote: “I do not judge you for your past and I will defend against anyone who do.”
Viscount Neville, Leif Riley, is considered a scoundrel who enjoys the attentions of wealthy woman for money. Though many only see a charming seductive rake, not many know of the reasons behind his facade. He is desperate to restore his ancestral home to its former glory and hopefully break the curse that has repeatedly destroyed his family through the ages. When he sees Abbigael Granger, he thinks he has found a way to make all his dreams come true.
Irish Heiress Abbigael Granger (Abby) has come to London in order to secure her future. Circumstances from her childhood has left her with a secret that could destroy her chances of a normal life with a husband and children. She has only one chance to make her dreams come true and a scandalous rake doesn’t figure into those plans.
Circumstances force Leif to kidnap Abby and spirit her away to Gretna Green. He does offer Abby a choice in the matter and she agrees; she will get her husband and children and he will get the money he needs. But Abby and Leif soon find that love has a funny way of deriding all the best laid plans. As Abby and Leif discover overwhelming pleasure in the marriage bed, both wonder if they can find pleasure out of it.
When I first requested Reckless Viscount by Amy Sandas, I was sure I was going to get a lightweight humorous marriage of convenience romance. I was wrong. Reckless Viscount is a emotional love story about two completely different people who meet and discover the missing pieces to their soul. A visually impacting romance that focuses heavily the protagonists and their journey towards love, forgiveness, and redemption. Delicious emotional dialogue and lush sensual scenes paint a vivid picture that stays with you long after the end. Sanda’s has an intriguing prose that speaks directly to the romantic at heart.
I absolutely adored Abby and Leif. Two intelligent, strong, witty people who find themselves attracted despite their misgivings. They were a joy to get to know. So different yet so much alike. It’s their loneliness that calls them to one another. Their dialogue is humorous, sexy, and heartbreaking as we watch Abby and Leif struggle to adjust to their impulsive marriage and the consequences that come with it.
Leif is a delightfully sexy beta hero with a heart of gold and a gentle commanding nature. Though tragic circumstances forced him into a role he now plays somewhat unwillingly, I found he is so much more than he allows you to see. His lighthearted commentary and abundant flirting belies the darkness that he harbors in his soul.
Abby delights the reader as we peel back her layers and find she isn’t the normal innocent miss whom is usually found on the marriage market. Nor is she as malleable as Leif thinks. She has a unique way of looking at people and situations and instantly knows the best way to handle them. Though this wasn’t the way she wanted to get married, she is attracted to Leif and agrees to go through with the “kidnapping.” She is honest with him from the start, telling him about her secret and goes into their marriage with hope for their future.
The chemistry between them sparks from the first moment they meet and only continues to flame brighter and brighter as time passes. Though not an erotic romance, Sanda writes some incredibly sensual and racy love scenes that she uses to explore our hero and heroine’s physical and emotional hearts. We are able to see past their public facades and into their very souls.
“You unravel me,” he whispered against her panting mouth.
Leif knows he is not what Abby needs. His past has his heart securely caged and he feels he is undeserving of her happiness and love.
“Love is just a word men and women toss around when they are trying to get something from each other.”
Regardless of Leif’s thoughts, you can’t help but fall in love with him. While he is manipulative to certain extent, he isn’t a chest beating alpha. He carries a lot of guilt for forcing Abby into marriage and also for his attraction to her. Watching Leif fight his attraction for her is heartbreaking, especially when you realize the reasons he is doing it. He feels deep inside that he isn’t any good for her. His past has left him cold and unable to completely trust anyone and he honestly believes he carries a taint that he cannot bear to see touch Sara.
“He had never felt so deeply entangled in a woman’s reaction. There was an odd hint of desperation hovering in the muted light of the room. He feared the desperation came from himself and that suspicion created a feeling in his bones that was both disturbing and incredibly arousing.”
Fear soon overrides his common sense and we watch as our couple begins to disintegrate as Leif is unable to stop the loathing that resides within him.
“He hadn’t realized until just now that lately he had been playing the game with only the necessary physical facilities, allowing his internal involvement to withdraw further and further. But last night, he had been present and invested in every moment. [...] There was just no way he could have anticipated what that would do to him in turn. And now he paid the price for it, feeling coldly stripped bare.“
It is at this point that we see what Abby is truly made of. And she is glorious in her fight for Leif’s love.
Though we don’t see much of the secondary characters, they are prominent in our protagonists lives. Humor intertwines within the story, balancing nicely with the emotional angst and drama. I especially liked that Leif wasn’t a jerk. Not to say he wasn’t an arse at times, because he was. But he doesn’t treat our heroine like she is less than him or that she should be embarrassed by anything she feels or does. When they get together, Leif treasures and nurtures everything about her-never breaking the vibrant spirit that originally attracted him to her.
As per most romances, Leif and Abby have to run a pretty rough gauntlet in order to overcome obsticles that block their path to their happily ever after. Sandas’ chooses an interesting abet often used set of circumstances that allows Leif to understand and accept the depths of his love for her.
Ah l’amour. I enjoyed this story and the wonderful hero and heroine who shed all their inhibitions and face their greatest fears in order to go on the most powerful and painful journey they ever embarked on…falling in love.
Tessa Dare's return to Spindle Cove in her latest release, Any Duchess Will Do, is an emotional, heart lifting, funny, earthy romance where laughter a...moreTessa Dare's return to Spindle Cove in her latest release, Any Duchess Will Do, is an emotional, heart lifting, funny, earthy romance where laughter and heartbreak go hand in hand when a Duke and a serving girl find love.
Favorite Quote: “If you think I’m going to be the first female in my family to go to the altar a virgin, you’re mistaken.”
The Taming of Ryder Cavanaugh is a romance story in the truest form and provides us with a wrap up to the original Cynster series. We witness the last Cynster (of age) to marry-Miss Mary Cynster. I have been a huge fan of this series since reading the first book-Devil’s Bride. Mary is first seen in Devil’s Bride as a young child who holds vigil with the rest of the family when her brother Tolly is killed. That being the catalyst to bringing Honoria and Devil together. I am astounded that it’s been fifteen years since the first book published .
Mary Cynster is thrilled when her sister, Henrietta, finally finds her true love and the family necklace comes to her. This talisman is supposed to direct the wearer to her hero. Unfortunately for Mary, it seems to be directing her towards someone she is positive is not the one for her-Ryder Cavanaugh, the Marquess of Raventhorne. Mary doesn’t want a man whose temperament and willpower rivals hers. She wants a man that she can direct; as to retain her independence. Mary knows deep down that Ryder is not a man who will ever dance to her tune. Besides, she is convinced it is his half brother, Randolph, who is her perfect match.
Ryder Cavanaugh has never been particularly interested in marriage, but from his first meeting with Mary and her seemingly lack of interest in him, he finds himself taken with this woman and the challenge she presents. Everyone knows the quickest way to send Ryder running the other way is to lavish him with attention; her lack is her undoing. Once Ryder learns she has her eye on his younger brother, he proceeds to shadow her, showing up at various functions and striving to prove to her that Randolph is definitely not the one for her. Ryder decides she is to be his future marchioness and proceeds to set the stage for her conquest. Mary has other plans, though .
“I’m not going to allow you to seduce me.” A reckless challenge. He was curious as to how she thought she might stop him, but all he said was, “Just don’t try to avoid me-trust me, that won’t work.” He wouldn’t allow it.
When Ryder is attacked by footpads and suffers a potentially fatal wound, Mary finds him and uses her formidable skills to rally the troops and saves his life. She decides to stay at his home to oversee his recovery. Ryder’s stepmother swoops down on them with two gossipy friends in tow, effectively catching Mary and Ryder together alone. She seals their matrimonial fate and Ryder finds himself getting exactly what he wanted.
Though still not as action packed as earlier novels, The Taming Of Ryder Cavanaugh did have the dry humor and a steamy romance that are trademark to Ms. Lauren’s novels; it just lacked the intrigue and suspense. You discover early on who the villain is and the reasons behind their criminal activities. A smooth plot line that delicately reveals itself along a steady paced story, I found it was the characters who completely dominate this story. Mary and Ryder are perfect for each other. Both are intelligent, sensuous, natural born leaders who complete each other-like two halves of a puzzle. While Mary have never seriously contemplated marriage to Ryder, she realizes once he proposes that she has already begin to fall for him. He effectively wooed her all those weeks as she was chasing his brother. Mary decides that she will tame her “lion” and her plays of seduction leave him both confused and enchanted. He has met his match in Mary and he, unlike some alpha heroes, chooses to nurture and uphold her spirit rather than attempt to crush it. Ryder doesn’t want or need to dominate her, though he is fiercely protective of her. He doesn’t ask she surrender all her control to him. They are equals and that in itself further wins Mary’s heart.
Ryder is quite the gentleman though when his growly side comes out, you understand just why Mary went willingly into marriage with him. Seductive, playful, and experienced; he uses all his tricks to bind Mary to him both in and out of bed, but only ends up trapping himself. A place he is very happy to be. This is not to say he is a pushover. Not at all. He is just like Devil (Devil’s Bride-book one) in alpha-ness, but he realizes that his happiness is dependent on Mary’s so he does everything possible to make sure she never regrets marrying him. Their love scenes are more tell then show (Laurens has always had a bit of a heavy hand with the lyrical prose in her love making scenes) but their smoking hot chemistry leaps from the pages. I love that while Ryder may be the more experienced, he has no qualms about letting Mary take control in the bedroom. And when he realizes she likes to watch him undress…the gloves, err, I mean, the waistcoats, come off slowly. Plenty of humor in their relationship makes for some hilarious scenes and dialogue.
Ryder cast his eyes assessingly over the mare, then lifted Mary to her saddle. He watched as she settled and accepted the reins from the groom. “I take it she’s from Demon’s stables?” “Yes.” She looped the reins through her gloved fingers with casual expertise. “He provides all the family’s horses.” “I’ve heard he’s careful about matching horses to riders.” Clearly recognizing the question behind his statement, she smiled and nodded. “Indeed—he refuses to let us ride any beast we can’t control.” Leaning forward, she smoothed a palm over the mare’s glossy neck. Arched a brow as she met his eyes. “So we all learn to control the animals we ride.”
The majority of the book is watching Mary and Ryder dance, spar, fall in love, and settle into marriage. No real conflict between them at all. That surprised me. I expected a bit more coercing on Ryder’s part. Maybe a past lover putting up a fight to keep Ryder in her bed or resistance from the Cynster circle as to Ryder’s age or past escapades.. Their journey to marriage and even beyond is all very easy and tame. The action doesn’t pick up until the last quarter as our villain goes to extreme lengths to destroy this couple. I would have liked some explanation as to some of the accidents that happened. We never learn exactly HOW they were accomplished and it bears reasoning that in some instances, they should have never been able to happen. I did enjoy the various Cynsters that were woven in throughout the story. It isn’t often we get so many of them in one book and with such stage time. The main conflict is climatic in that all is explained (though, as I stated earlier, it’s very easy to figure out) and the ending wraps everything up nice and neat. We even get a wonderful long epilogue showing all the Cynsters, what they have been up to, and their plans for the future.
All in all, I enjoyed this installment though I would venture to say that unless you are a faithful reader of this series, this one may be a tame historical in comparison to what’s available and also very confusing in relation to all the characters involved.
Lady Nell Daughtry has arrived with her family to help get her sister down the aisle and safely married to Prince Frederick of Lautenberg. It’s not that her sister doesn’t want to marry Frederick, she adores him and wants to be his wife one hundred percent. Unfortunately, her family suffers from a family phobia certain ailment that causes them to undermine themselves before their big day. Basically, they freak out and run away. Nell is there to make sure this does not happen. She, however, never expected to be faced with her own failed engagement.
Nine years ago, Robert Knightley was convinced Nell loved him as much as he loved her but when she began to grow distant and pull away from him, he decided to cut his losses and walked away from her. Now the diplomatic envoy to Lautenberg, Robert is shocked to see Nell appear with the wedding party but soon decides that they can behave as adults. His job is to oversee everything in the wedding goes smoothly.
Nell tries to hide her sister’s increasing panic attacks, but Robert notices and confronts her, demanding the truth. She tells him everything and soon they make a pact that places them in close quarters for the rest of the week. As Nell and Robert reconnect, confidences are shared and both realize that they have been given a second chance to correct the mistakes they made ten years ago.
A Return Engagement was previously released in the anthology, Royal Bridesmaids. Now, released on its own as a novella, Stephanie Laurens brings us a sweet story about true love and second chances. Nell never understood why Robert just walked away from her and their relationship. She was expecting a proposal and instead was left with a broken heart. I enjoyed meeting Nell and Robert. I liked we were dealing with two older, more mature characters. Their romance flourishes beautiful amidst the main storyline in a slow manner, giving us and them time to realise their mistakes and unfounded assumptions. The ending gives us our happily ever after in a cute and delightfully sweet manner.
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