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review 2017-06-28 17:24
Last Night With The Duke by Amelia Grey
Last Night with the Duke (Rakes of St. James) - Amelia Grey,Alison Larkin

A sexy duke needs to hire a chaperone to escort his two younger sisters and keep them safe from the vipers out to ruin them as they make their debut amongst the ton. He fears someone will harm their reputations to pay him back for a prank he played out years earlier. While visiting the local governess/chaperone business, he witnesses a sassy young woman instruct one of her underlings on the proper way to keep a boy in line and decides then and there that Miss Esmeralda Swift is the only woman able to do the job. It doesn’t matter that she’s probably too young, doesn’t particularly want the job and has a few unconventional demands, such as bringing her little sister and their dog along for the duration. He meets all of her demands and offers her a deal so good she cannot refuse. All of this happens after only one conversation simply because she is the most beautiful woman he has ever set his eyes upon . . .

 

 

Esmeralda, her bratty little sister and her rascally dog move into the duke’s home and chaos and kisses ensue. But do you know what doesn’t ensue? The darn revenge plot line that was set up in the first very long scene! That whole “someone is out to get my innocent sisters, whoever must it be?” part of the story never happens. It was just thrown out there to have a reason for these two to meet and that bugged me and a second or two of conflict. Now I’m not a huge fan of mysteries but I’m thinking a little mystery would not have hurt this story because it was a little bit boring. There wasn’t much going on and there was very little actual conflict between the two characters.

 

Esmeralda was born to the snootier class but she’s been forced to become a manager of the governess/chaperone agency because her mother was disowned when she decided to marry a penniless poet. Esmeralda spends a lot of time longing for the life the she should’ve had by birthright and, I’m not going to lie, that got a little tiresome, boo-hooey, poor me after a bit but she also does right by her little sister and that balanced things out for me. Because she is an employee the duke doesn’t want to mess with her, so instead he flirts and teases and leads her on which I found a little mean. They long for each other but don’t take much action until he learns of her fancy family ties. Meh. As I said, there’s not much of a conflict here. There is a lot of time spent talking about wardrobes, chasing after dogs, going to balls and such but there isn’t any deep relationship development happening. Mostly they like each other’s faces and other body parts and it feels like surface attraction and little else and that isn’t why I read these kinds of books. I want angst, drama, true love. But mostly I want to feel something besides vague boredom. That didn’t happen here.

 

Narration Notes: Alison Larkin narrates this lackluster story beautifully. She has a very engaging voice and was the only reason I was able to keep going. If you plan to read this series and you enjoy audios, this one is the way to go!

 

2 ½ stars for the story but I am bumping up this unabridged audio version to a 3 because the narration is lovely and made me tune in to the very end.

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review 2017-04-06 16:53
Review: Courting Chaos (Dunaway's Daughters Book 2) by Lynne Barron
Courting Chaos (Dunaway's Daughters Book 2) - Lynne Barron

Second Installment in Dunaway’s Daughters series and set several years after the first one. It may be best to read the first one in order to fully enjoy and follow the pace of this one.
One thing I love about this author’s heroines is that they are all uniquely independent, astute, and unafraid to follow their own paths. There are so charismatic if not blindingly beautiful that even the most stubborn of men tend to fall prey to their captivating charms without a second thought about their physical appearance.
In the case of Phineas Griffith, the new Viscount Knighton, he was not only attracted to our heroine’s outward looks but also fascinated and even “terrified by her intelligence.” In the case of our heroine Harry O’Connell, I’m going to have to say so much intelligence hindered the romance and put a damper on the whole story.

I had some trouble following the fist half of the book. I believe there was too much talk, secrets, and misunderstandings that just made me keep frowning at the pages. Harry’s “oddities” made me wonder if she suffered from some kind of mental illness but that was never explained or even referred to in the story so I don’t think that was the case. The thing is that it was as if she suffered from some kind of OCD because she had a strict schedule and became extremely distressed if anyone disrupted it. Not only that, to me it was like she was using and hating Phineas for something he had yet done. On the other hand, it seemed the true purpose of her life was motivated by revenge and sentimentalism. I liked Harry’s street smarts and quick wit but I think it was that juxtaposition of being a stickler for doing things a certain way and then letting her emotions control her actions that got me confused and didn’t let me enjoy the story to the fullest.

Fast-forward to the second half and everything changes. Harry’s thoughts and actions become more aligned, and not because she grew as a character but because that’s where the arc got her. Either way, Phin and Harry start getting closer and the tone of the story moves to a more subtle yet exciting place. And of course the writing throughout was impeccable and the banter between H/h was nothing if not sexy and smart. I only wish the whole book would have focused more on both Phin and Harry as opposed to only one side of them.

3.5 stars.

*** I received this book from the author at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.**

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review 2017-03-07 13:22
Last Night with the Duke
Last Night with the Duke (The Rakes of St. James) - Amelia Grey

'Last Night with the Duke' by Amelia Grey is book One in the "The Rakes of St. James"series.  This is the story of Griffin and Esmerelda.   Griffin is getting ready to present his twin sisters to the town. But fears that without proper supervision for his sisters and that his wild past might hurt their them he thinks to get a competent chaperone.  When he overhears Esmerelda talking to one of her employees he knows that she would be strong enough to handle his sisters and his past behavior.  But what they don't count on is their attraction to each other which is pretty instant.  Esmerelda does try to talk him out of her being the one for his sister but he is not having any of that.  Esmerelda is the granddaughter of a Viscount but her grandfather disowned her mother when she up and married what he thought was beneath her.  So Esmerelda has settled into her life as a worker, servant, and businesswomen.   Their story did play out somewhat slow but for me I loved watching it happen.  Ms. Grey is one of the authors I go to when I want a good Historical Romance and this did not disappoint. "My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read."
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review 2017-02-14 04:13
Last Night With the Duke by Amelia Grey
Last Night with the Duke (The Rakes of St. James) - Amelia Grey

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

 

Esmeralda is a viscount's granddaughter but after her mother was disowned by the family for marrying an Irish poet, she finds herself overseeing a chaperone and governess business.
Griffin might have been a wild youth, but as the Duke and head of the family now, he wants nothing to go wrong when his twin sisters make their debut.
With the possibility of someone out to hurt Griffin's sisters he hires Esmeralda as their chaperone, thinking she has the fortitude to keep them out of mischief.
Sisters, dogs, young bucks, and finding love in a surprising place will make this a season Griffin and Esmeralda won't forget.

"Surrender, Miss Swift. I have won this battle."

Last Night With the Duke is the first in a series and introduces us to Griffin and Esmeralda. I found the beginning to be a very slow start with their first conversation taking 20-30% of the story. There was also a feeling of insta-lust/love as they were both very physically attracted to one another immediately. The slow start feed into a very slow half, the story doesn't really get going until the second part. The whole point of Griffin hiring Esmeralda is to keep his sisters in line and safe during their season debut. When Griffin younger, he and his two other Duke friends (the author acknowledges the stretch it would be to have three young and unmarried dukes at one time) committed a prank where they set up a situation where debutantes were tested to see if they would show up to meet a secret admirer. There's a rumor going around that someone is still upset over how that might have affected a debutante and is going to ruin Griffin's sisters to get back at him.

This was a good plot to create some mystery, it's brought up and worried about by Griffin, but then that was it. The danger, villain, or storyline never came to fruition and fizzled at the end. With the mystery plot not going anywhere I turned to the romance. I'm personally not a fan of insta-lust/love, so I started off on the wrong foot with this one. I also never thought Griffin and Esmeralda spent enough time together to develop any sort of relationship. Griffin was instantly an invader of Esmeralda's space and by their third conversation he was rubbing his nose against hers but since they didn't have any emotional connection, the tension felt off and misplaced. This also could have been a personal issue too, but since Esmeralda worked for Griffin, the unequal power dynamic gave his looming an uncomfortable feel.

The secondary characters of Griffin's sisters seemed nice if a little airy and spoiled while Esmeralda's younger sister seemed kind of bratty to me. Her attitude at times was obviously allowed to create angst and emotion but for me, I would have sent her to her room more than once. Griffin's friends are obviously introduced and set-up for books of their own, they didn't make a strong appearance but they were genial enough.

The biggest problem I had with this book was that I felt it was slow and nothing seemed to be happening until the very end when the last 10% rushed to wrap up the plots. Except for a very, very at the end bedroom scene, this was an extremely clean read with just a few kisses, which bedroom closed readers may appreciate.

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review 2017-02-14 03:44
Review: Rake to Riches (The London Lords #2) by Nicola Davidson
Rake to Riches (The London Lords Book 2) - Nicola Davidson
Rake to riches is the second in the series but can be totally be read as a standalone.
Set in regency England, Louisa’s heart is more into the perils of science and experimentation (all kinds of it) than in fulfilling her parents’ wish of marrying a man of title if not money. Unfortunately the only man that could have at one time changed her mind about marriage holds no title and little can be said about his financial situation. Apparently something happened in the past that drew an edge between the two and made them become some sort of enemies after they had been good friends since childhood. Now Louisa wants nothing to do with the man but fate puts him again in her life and neither one of them have a choice but to learn to trust one another as they once did.

I adored the voice of this author, it just held my interest from page one. The dialogue was funny and engaging. The way she gave life to the characters was different from what I have read in the past. Each character was unique in their own way and not one of them tried to hide that uniqueness. For instance, George could have very well been the typical rake that sought pleasure because other things were denied from him but instead he simply rolled with the punches. Yes, he resented many things but he looked for solutions and not culprits. Another favorite of mine here was that Louisa was more concerned with being catalogued as a renowned scientist than a refined lady of the ton. She had her silly moments but she was at least trying to better herself. The romance was sweet yet passionate. The way George managed to keep Louisa to task with science was both endearing and entertaining. To me that said how much he knew her and that he truly care about her.
The rake to riches arc was interesting as well. If anything I would have loved to see what would have happened if George’s social circumstances had not changed at all or perhaps not so drastically. Either way the story ended in a satisfactory way and of course I will continue reading the series and anything else written by this author.

*** I received this book from the author at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.***
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