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review 2018-09-25 09:24
The Wicked Rebel by Mary Lancaster
The Wicked Rebel - Mary Lancaster

Lady Arabella Niven, the youngest daughter of the Duke of Kilburn, is exiled into Blackhaven for not accepting the man her father had chosen for her. One day she's taking a boat ride alongside the shore, when she goes to the rescue of a supposedly drowning man.

Yet Captain Alban is far from drowning and the two strike a strange friendship that quickly blossoms into romance as both discover they can finally be themselves when the other is around.

But their love is star-crossed, since she's the daughter of a duke, while he's only a lowly sea captain...Or is he?


This was the best story in this series so far. The romance was solid on both parts, the supporting cast was a hoot (especially Bella's two aunts), it was lovely seeing Kate and Tris again), the suspense, though rather faint, struck the right notes.

I loved the two protagonists; Captain Alban with all his mysteries, idiosyncrasies and impeccable sense of honor and the sickly (it was all stress, mind you), quirky Arabella. I admit she started to get a little annoying in her incapability (or was it unwillingness) to stand up for herself, especially with that ass she had the misfortune to call a father and her smothering aunts, but as her true self slowly emerged, I (almost) forgot that particular character flaw.
Alban's don't-care-what-anyone-thinks-about-me attitude brought out the fighter in Bella, while her gentle nature smoothed out his harsher edges and showed him what he could have if he stopped being stubborn about it.
These two, utterly opposite characters, came together rather perfectly and created a sweet romance that brought a genuine smile on my lips. They were super cute together.

The rest of the story more-or-less paled in comparison to the two and their quest for a future together, but the tempo was spot-on with barely a lagging moment here and there, the supporting cast provided a good backdrop, the action scenes were intriguing, the humor was added at the right moments...

A very good read.

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review 2018-09-23 17:30
The Wicked Lady by Mary Lancaster
The Wicked Lady - Mary Lancaster

Lady Kate Crowmore is finally free of her monstrous husband, but the ton that expects her to mourn the bastard, has also turned her back on her, since she was found in her lover's bed the night she got the news of Crowmore's death. So Kate has come to Blackhaven to lick her wounds and to forget about the scandal...Yet the townsfolk also cut her. Except the mysterious curate, Tristram Grant.

Grant knows there's more to the wicked lady that meets the eye, but he'll need all his cunning and perseverance to get under Kate's protective armor. He just hopes, he's in time, before someone kills her.


This story was love-at-first-sight on steroid. They only met and he already said he wanted to marry her. Sheesh. Needless to say, I wasn't convinced about the romance. I wasn't really convinced about the main protagonists, in fact. I found facade of wicked lady a little too abrasive at times (I know she had her reasons not to let anyone close, but still), and he came across as too much of a doormat sometimes. In the end, I felt they worked better as friends and confidantes than love interests.

It was really the supporting cast that saved the day. From the supposed French spy who turned out to be Tris's half-brother (I didn't really care much about the other brother, though), Kate's maid, the good doctor (some other man than in the first book) and his wife, the magistrate and his wife, the Muirs and the happy couple Wickenden (I liked the "wicked baron" better than in his own book, he sounded lighter and happier, I guess).

And then there was the suspense. A little less prominent than in the previous book, but still intriguing, even though the big mystery was revealed quite early on. Still, it kept the reader guessing just what might happen next and just how the hired hands would get about ridding the world of Kate Crowmore.
It was the "resolution" that left a big question mark on everything. Why was the suicide needed?

The romantic sub-plot also had a slightly iffy resolution with all the passing of Kate between the two brothers (figuratively speaking) and I'm still not sure just what was with all the haste. She's already made up her mind, couldn't he wait another day?

It felt like the story was all over the place, really, with various plot elements not really connecting fully, creating a rather disjointed reading experience. It would've helped a little if the romance was solid.

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review 2018-09-22 08:39
The Wicked Baron by Mary Lancaster
The Wicked Baron - Mary Lancaster

Gillyflower "Gillie" Muir is straddling a line. She needs to host card parties at her home, a mere six months after her father's death, or risk destitution. On the other hand, she's ostracized by the "good" women of the little town of Blackhaven, including a countess, because of those parties. It looks like no one truly knows what is looks like to have to earn a living. And then an enigmatic stranger enters Gillie's dull and dreary life.

David Keath, the tenth Baron of Wickenden, is bored and tired of his persona of the Wicked Baron. So he decides to come to the coastal town of Blackhaven partly as a favor to his ex-mistress and partly to relieve his boredom. Little does he know the "hussy" that's supposedly bewitched his ex-mistress's son, is as far removed from a gaming-den temptress as she could possibly be...And that he will end up bewitched in the end. But first, he has to save Gillie from her various messes...And then from the one he put her in.


This was a cute, funny, quirky little story that certainly would've deserved a higher rating if it wasn't for the fact it didn't seem it took itself very seriously.

I loved the heroine. She was a genuinely good person, thinking of everybody else first (even the Wicked Baron) but herself and when she loved, she loved fully, without reservations, and was willing to do anything first to save the man she loved and then to keep him.
The Wicked Baron, on the other hand, needed some marinating time to ingratiate himself. He always seemed to have an ulterior motive for all he did. Even after the original ulterior motive was known, there still seemed like there was something brewing in his head, and he pretty much remained an enigma for the entire story and even at the end. I actually more scenes told from his point of view, since his feelings for Gillie seemed rather rushed and out-of-the-blue.

The rest of the cast provided a nice little backdrop for these two protagonists, from the brawny servant, to the slightly deaf aunt, the seemingly flighty brother, the earnest pretender for Gillie's hand, the dragon-y matron, the good-natured count and his sisters...They were a quirky bunch and they worked both inside the story and to compliment the two protagonists.

Then there were the various sub-plots. The romance was as quirky as the rest of it, sweet from the heroine's part, slightly hole-y from the hero's part (it felt like there were scenes missing, to connect the appropriate dots and believe what we were presented). The suspense seemed added more as an afterthought than an actual sub-plot in order to push Gillie and Wickenden together and once more, there appeared to be something missing. Why was Wickenden on the beach that night when the traitors were captured? Did he come to Blackhaven for that as well, or did he just tag along for the fun of it? Also, what happened to the traitors afterward?
This wasn't the only hole in the plot, or a loose end. We never got to learn the truth about the Spanish woman, for example. Was she who she claimed to be or just someone seeking a better life? Why didn't Kit make a bigger fuss that night on the road? Supposedly, Gillie made him see reason, but we didn't see that scene at all, etc.

There were bits and pieces missing throughout the story; scenes or mere sentences to bring it all together and make everything make sense in the end. Hence the quirkiness. Not only in the cast of characters, but in the story itself.

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review 2018-09-18 18:22
How to Tempt a Rogue Without Really Trying: Heart of an Heiress (Regency Hearts Book 4) by Ava Stone
How to Tempt a Rogue Without Really Trying: Heart of an Heiress (Regency Hearts Book 4) - Ava Stone

Sweet, cute story with plenty of light moments and interesting characters. 
Cait is a strong-willed woman but not to the point of being annoying, and that is something I like in heroines. She has trust issues when it comes to men, mainly because one broke her heart not long ago but also because she’s tired of being treated like a witless person just for being a woman. I liked the way Daniel treated her from the beginning. He had an easygoing personality that didn’t clash with Cait’s strong one. If anything, I think they brought out the best in each other and complemented each other flawlessly. The one thing I didn’t like about Daniel, and as usual this is a personal preference, is that I like my rogues to be more roguish in action and not so much in description. He spent too much time smiling wolfishly and winking wickedly but other than that he wasn’t much of a rogue. That being said, I liked how they took their time to know each other and how the pace of the relationship felt real. I was glad that even though there was an instant attraction, neither one of them rushed into anything. As a side note, there are no graphic intimate scenes in case you were wondering. Just a peck here and there and some harmless flirtation, nothing more. 

Other characters helped moved the story along but to be honest, there were times there was too much going on and I felt I needed to read the other books (which I haven’t read yet) to understand better what was going on. Thankfully, that was later remedied when all knots were tied, so I think I can safely say this can be read as a standalone. 

I received this book 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 2018-09-15 08:13
The Scandalous Widow by Erica Monroe
The Scandalous Widow - Erica Monroe

***copy provided by publisher through NetGalley***

Three years ago, she got married to help her younger sister return home after a scandal. Now, her sister is still in the same convent she's been when Jemma had married, and Jemma's husband is killed in front of a notorious brothel.

She knows it wasn't a common mugging, but murder. She also knows who did it, she just needs help in proving it. And the only one she can turn to is the man she left behind after marrying his best friend.


This one had huge potential. Unfortunately, it didn't use it.

The characters were once again rather one-dimensional and flat, there was a jarring imbalance in "power" between the hero and heroine, and I felt absolutely not chemistry between them. Which made the supposed conflict even harder to swallow, since it all stemmed from a single kiss between two friends. For friends is what these two actually were. There was no tension, no chemistry, no passion...Just two people who were supposedly comfortable with each other, and that single drunken kiss three years ago.

Then there was the suspense. It would've definitely worked better if the mystery of the killer was kept longer and the two had to discover his identity along with the proof needed to put him away. The fact we all knew who the killer was from the start, diminished the intensity and interest of the plot itself, also slowing the pace (which was already slow to begin with) even more.

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