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review 2020-05-04 12:59
Scent of Darkness by Christina Dodd
Scent of Darkness - Christina Dodd

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I enjoyed this book quite a bit. This was a re-read for me. I first read this book around the time of its original release, which was 2007, and didn't remember a whole lot about it besides the fact that the Hero is able to turn into a wolf and I liked it. As I read the book, there were some things that were somewhat familiar but in a lot of ways, it was like experiencing the story all over again for the first time. I am really glad that I decided to pick this one up again.

I love the set up for this series. The Wilder family is descended from a man that made a deal with the devil years ago. Since that deal was made, only male children have been born and each of those children is able to transform into a predator once they reach puberty. These are violent men who don't form attachments or marry but take what they want. Jasha's father broke tradition when he married his mother and hid his family from the larger family.

Jasha knows that his family is in danger from his mother's prophecy. Jasha is the oldest and is quite the businessman, owning a winery. He is the oldest of the four children in his family and he is able to turn into a wolf at will. Ann works for Jasha as his assistant but has wanted him for a very long time. She doesn't realize that when she goes to see him at his home that she is going to get more than she bargained for.

I found this book to be really exciting. I think that the fact that these characters are faced with a situation that is bigger than they are is really interesting. Their goal is really just to keep their family safe and despite the fact that their abilities come from a deal with the devil, they do want to do the right thing. I liked that the enemy could pop up anywhere and really that anything could happen.

I did like Jasha and Ann and thought that they did make a good pair. They did have a lot of chemistry and liked each other before the book actually began. I thought that Ann's history was really interesting and I liked the fact that she was able to accept everything going on as quickly as she did. Jasha really did care for Ann although he sometimes did need to learn to include her in the decisions that were being made.

I would recommend this book to fans of paranormal romance. I found this to be a fast-paced story with a rather unique premise. I am looking forward to continuing my re-read of the series very soon!

Initial Thoughts
This was a re-read for me. I think that I originally read this book sometime around its release in 2007. I didn't remember a whole lot about the story besides the fact that the Hero could turn into a wolf. I also remember really enjoying the book. I still enjoyed it but I think that I probably had more problems this time around. It was a quick read and I definitely plan to re-read the rest of the series.

Book source: Purchased

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review 2019-11-12 03:34
The Greatest Lover in All England by Christina Dodd
The Greatest Lover in All England - Christina Dodd



Since childhood, Rosie's life has been the stage—passing herself off as a boy playing women's roles in the somewhat disreputable theatrical troupe of actor Danny Plympton, Rosie's adoptive father. But when unanticipated danger confronts them, they must flee London, taking refuge at the estate of Sir Anthony Rycliffe. A handsome, devil-may-care rakehell, Tony quickly sees through Rosie's disguise. But a lush, womanly form and eminently kissable lips are not the ravishing young beauty's only secrets—and the burning attraction Tony feels for her does not lessen the peril she has brought to his doorstep. The dashing rogue is determined to strip the irresistible lady of her mysteries—and her masculine garb—using all of his fabled seductive powers. After all, Tony has a reputation to uphold, as . . .The Greatest Lover in All England




Rosie (aka Rosencrantz) is no stranger to life on the streets of 17th century London. She travels around with a group of performers, led by her adoptive father, Sir Danny Plympton (he "knighted" himself), singing for food or dollars. Though illiterate, Rosie has one illustrious benefactor in her life, the one and only "Uncle Will" --- William Shakespeare.


*BTW --- each chapter in this book opens with a quote from one of Shakespeare's plays.


Our girl is rocking one secret on the cusp of having an unplanned reveal: only those closest to her know she is female, everyone else has always accepted Rosie's masculine presentation as the truth. Sir Danny took Rosie in as a little girl and made the choice to raise & present her as a boy for her own safety. Only now, with Rosie's introduction to Sir Anthony Rycliffe (legitimately knighted), is that coming into question.

When it's suggested that Rosie may possibly be the true, lost heir of the estate Sir Anthony calls home, Anthony proposes they settle the dispute by marrying and combining their lands and wealth. The long-term benefits of the arrangement take some convincing for Rosie, but eventually she agrees to Anthony's idea. Naturally, because this is a romance novel, what starts as a seemingly straightforward business arrangement shortly turns into something much more feelings-infused.


But if you think that's all there could be to this story, oh no no. Dodd throws some fun intrigue her readers' way! We got the Earl of Southampton, a patron of Shakespeare's theater, asking him to put on a production of Richard III (the Earls of Southampton and Essex harbor secret hopes that it will incite rioting against Queen Elizabeth I); Is Sir Danny looking at a chance at love?; Then there seems to be a secret assassin targeting either Anthony or Rosie... or both... but who wants them dead so badly? And then we have a friend of Rosie's sent to Newgate Prison and Anthony does his best to charm the proverbial pants off the queen to get the friend released. But oooh, the scene where Anthony takes things too far and his flirtatious words happen to contain a verbal knock on Earl of Essex, one of the queen's current favorites... so Anthony ends up getting his ears boxed, repeatedly! There's no shortage of entertainment in these pages!


For a romance novel, this ended up feeling quite literary. The writing is wonderfully clever, with all sorts of bookish references woven in. The dialogue is light and cheeky, such as the line, "... the cat who got the canary...I can almost see feathers protruding from your lips, what do you have planned?" Anthony and Rosie have an adorable, realistic "I'm calling you on your BS" banter between them that kept me laughing and nodding. Those who have been in long-term relationships will appreciate the style of playfulness these two have. You can just imagine the twinkle lights going off in the eyes of these characters --- Great fun!

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text 2019-10-27 22:43
Try to Keep Up . . .
A Night Like This - Julia Quinn
Married By Morning - Lisa Kleypas
Rules of Surrender - Christina Dodd
The Dream Hunter - Laura Kinsale

Okay, we all understand that genre fiction is so pleasurable because writers take a relatively set structure and group of accepted conventions and make new stories out of them again and again. Here's a chain of books that have some very specific details in common:



1. Julia Quinn's "A Night Like This" is a book that uses the "Lady hiding from her dangerous past by working as a governess" plot. The female hero's "governess name" is Anne Wynter. 


2. Lisa Kleypas' "Married by Morning" is also a "Lady hiding from her dangerous past by working as a governess" book.


3. Christina Dodd's "Rules of Surrender" is part of the author's "governess" series. Its plot is focused on "taming the wild male hero," rather than female hero in jeopardy, but the hero's name is . . . Lord Wynter.  This Lord Wynter ran off to the Middle East and lived among the people there for a long while then comes back to England to wreak havoc on everyone's ideas of "convention." 


4. Laura Kinsale's book "The Dream Hunter," (the best one on this list) also features a hero who lived in a Middle-eastern culture, specifically among the Bedouin, then comes back to England and faces his "adjustment." His name: Lord Winter. 


So there you go. Random details among the genre, lined up in a neat little row. 



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review 2019-09-21 23:21
Review: Strangers She Knows by Christina Dodd
Strangers She Knows - Christina Dodd

Reviewed for Wit and Sin


The Cape Charade series comes to a thrilling conclusion in Strangers She Knows. Christina Dodd knows how to up the tension and I was seriously questioning how Kellen Adams, survivor and soldier she may be, would survive and protect her husband and daughter from the vicious and clever Mara Phillipi.

It has been three years since Kellen had a bullet removed from her brain and she’s still recovering and working on restoring a full range of motion to her hand. She’s not in peak condition when her husband, Max, suggests they head to a remote island off the California coast to hide out while the authorities hunt Mara. On top of that, her daughter Rae is in full pre-teen hormone swing, so a remote island with no technology isn’t always a peaceful place. Max is sure they’re safe on the island, but Kellen knows Mara better than anyone else. The serial killer will never stop hunting her and Kellen needs to be prepared.

The isolated locale and a very small number of unusual characters brings a tight, tense atmosphere to Strangers She Knows. I can’t say much about the book without spoiling it because the entertainment is watching the ongoing game of cat-and-mouse between Mara and Kellen unfold. I loved that Ms. Dodd didn’t make it easy, kept me guessing how things would work out, and didn’t make Kellen superhuman. She’s a strong yet vulnerable heroine with a big heart and powerful reasons to defeat the psychopath hunting her family. I devoured this book in a day because I had to know how it would end.

Strangers She Knows finishes the Cape Charade series perfectly. I highly recommend reading Dead Girl Running and What Doesn’t Kill Her before this book to get the history of the characters and the relationships. But even if you want to jump right in with this book, you’re sure to enjoy this tight, tense thriller.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: witandsin.blogspot.com/2019/09/review-strangers-she-knows-by-christina.html
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review 2019-08-04 07:32
One Kiss From You (Switching Places duology #2) by Christina Dodd
One Kiss From You - Christina Dodd

A bold woman known as the "duchess of Magnus" was wagered—and won—in a card game. But the woman who arrived was her shy, quiet cousin Eleanor.

Eleanor de Lacy must have been mad to agree to exchange identities with her stronger-willed cousin. She would never convince Remington Knight of the folly of this union—especially since the man seemed so determined for it to take place. Worse still, she finds Remington dazzlingly attractive—and she's charmed by his attempts to seduce her, even though he believes she is already his. But if he ever learns of Eleanor's deception, this daring rogue will wreak havoc . . . upon her reputation and her heart.

Remington had expected a haughty, unbending aristocrat who would ensure his entrance into good society. But this "duchess" is a most pleasant surprise—modest, warm-hearted, endearingly awkward, and a delight to the eye. In short, she is exactly the sort of bride Remington could fall passionately, completely in love with . . .

. . . if he weren't so intent on his revenge.






In this sequel to Dodd's Scandalous Again, we get a follow-up episode regarding what happened to Madeline de Lacy's meek cousin Eleanor after she was foisted (in a way) onto Madeline's intended, Remington Knight.


So if you missed or forgot Book 1, here's the deal. Madeline de Lacy, duchess of Magnus, was promised in marriage to American businessman Remington Knight, after Madeline's father lost a card game to Knight. She goes on the trip to meet up with Knight, her cousin Eleanor in tow as an escort, but en route, Madeline comes up with this plan where Eleanor is to go on ahead and present herself as Madeline, while the real Madeline goes in disguise to another high stakes poker tournament to try to find a way to win back the family fortune her father lost. It's explained in the first book how the two look enough alike to often pass as siblings and often enough have been mistaken for each other, so she figures it's a solid plan. Madeline has every intention of Eleanor only being in this position temporarily, but as it often goes with these kinds of things, the plan in reality turns a lot more complicated than it went in Madeline's mind. 


Unbeknownst to either Madeline or Eleanor, Remington is seeking revenge against the de Lacy family, so he knew exactly what he was doing going after Madeline. It is Remington's belief that Madeline's father is responsible for the demise of Knight's family; now Remington is set on taking down every de Lacy one at a time. He hears rumors that Madeline is bold and outspoken in nature, so he's looking forward to the challenge of "breaking" her. Imagine his surprise when "Madeline" arrives but instead of the expected strong-willed, spoiled snob he's looking to train down, he meets with Eleanor's (posing as Madeline) humble, kind, demure way of moving through the world. Remington is also thrown by her bookish tendencies... not something previously attributed to Madeline, as he understood. Regardless, he admits he's looking forward to seducing his beautiful bride-to-be... while also carrying out his revenge plot, of course. 



"I thought you would object. I find it easier to ask forgiveness than beg permission."


~ Remington's reasoning on why he bought Eleanor a whole new wardrobe without consulting her on anything



Eleanor likewise comes into this meeting with preconceived notions of Mr. Knight. She's heard this Boston native described as an "American barbarian from the colonies"... but on first sight, her initial impression decides he is "hewn from rugged granite and adolescent dreams". Someone catch this girl, she's falling! LOL Still, she must keep her cool and ride this charade out just long enough for Madeline to arrive and come clean to Knight about all this. Until then.... she'll just have to dodge his questions about her repeatedly speaking in third person. 


Madeline's aunt is called in as a chaperone for Eleanor until the wedding date. Knight might throw some sly looks his fiancee's way, maybe a naughty hand once in awhile, but for the most part he wants to keep things above board until the wedding night. But as you'll see, easier said than done with these two. Madeline's aunt naturally realizes it's really Eleanor from the start but for her own reasons she'll later explain, decides to keep mum about it. It's mentioned that Eleanor and Madeline's aunt are not related, so I'm guessing that means Eleanor is a cousin on the father's side? 


Eleanor's anxiety doesn't end there. This poor girl spends the majority of the story in fear of having the secret revealed. During one ball, she figures her cover is blown for sure when she runs into a best friend of Madeline but soon realizes the girl won't stop talking long enough to notice it's not really Madeline she's speaking with! In several other moments, Eleanor has the repeated occurrence of people saying "so nice to meet you again", believing they are speaking with Madeline. Eleanor wonders if maybe she might actually pull this off! And then she comes face-to-face with her own evil stepmother. But here again is a relative who seems to have their own motives for going along with the ruse, at least for awhile.


The story in this sequel takes longer to get off the ground than its predecessor, but once again Dodd crafts a truly interesting and cute coupling. There's just the right amount of early dislike, mystery around Knight's background --- Dodd initially writes him as a bit of a thug type, but is he really? --- and there's good character development all around to boot! While Eleanor starts out as the meek, skittish push-over type, it is wonderful to see her find her backbone later in the story. Everyone has their "enough is enough!" line and I inwardly cheered to see a liberated Eleanor find hers. And funny thing, her bold, confident side ends up being a huge turn-on to Remington, much to his surprise! He spends all this time thinking he's going to love training his wife into this broken, submissive thing but sure enough having a woman call him out and say NO from time to time ends up being the unexpected aphrodisiac for him! 


The ending was a bit sappy-sappy for my taste, but overall it was a nice wrap-up to the adventures of the de Lacy ladies. Fun, lighthearted escapism... no complaints here! 



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