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review 2017-08-27 01:14
4 out of 5 stars for Traitor in Her Arms (The Scarlet Chronicles #1) by Shana Galen ~ ARC Review
Traitor in Her Arms: A Scarlet Chronicles Novel (The Scarlet Chronicles) - Shana Galen

Published August 22nd 2017 by Loveswept

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2w7PHkQ

B&N: http://bit.ly/2w7oa2L

iBooks: http://apple.co/2w7XrU2

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2weFJwm

 

 

First book in a new series by the author but just as great as any of her other series.

Widowed Gabrielle has no other choice but to resort to thievery to pay off her late husband’s gambling debts or she will have to face a fate much worse than jail. It’s not what she would have wanted to do with her life but at the time there was not much choice left for her. Lord Ramsey never thought Gabrielle would become the remarkable thief she seems to be, but then again they hadn’t talked to each other since before she got married to no other than to one of his good old friends, and way before he got involved in serious troubles of his own.

 

The love story was fabulous! I was drawn to the couple from page one. The relationship they built felt real and feasible and although there was a clear physical attraction they didn’t jump into each other’s bed at the first chance they got. Gabrielle was smart and cautious and even when she started developing feelings for our hero she didn’t let her emotions rule over her instincts and that to me it’s the best kind of heroine there could possibly exist. Ramsey was charmer with a guilty conscience so although he had a mission of his own and tried to convince himself he only had to care for himself, he always tried to protect Gabrielle as much as he could. He truly was the best kind of rogue.

 

We know it’s a romance story and that you know, HEA, but the way the city of Paris during the Reign of Terror was described- it seriously gave me goosebumps. The gory details and that feeling of fear that felt so palpable and real, and the fact that the author didn’t shrink away from any of it for the sake of romance made this book an even more rewarding and enjoyable read. It was a great read indeed and I definitely will continue reading the series.

 

 

** 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.***

 

 

Traitor in Her Arms

Traitor in Her Arms 
Goodreads

 

 

Now Available!

 

"The intensity of Traitor in Her Arms reaches out and grabs you from the opening page and does not let up until the thrilling climax."
   —Ashlyn Macnamara

 

"If you are looking for a fast-paced adventure combined with a passionate romance, then you will enjoy Traitor in Her Arms."
   —Rakes and Rascals

 

After her late husband leaves her in debt to some dangerous people, Lady Gabrielle McCullough is forced to become a thief. In the intervening years, her skills have not gone unnoticed. After being recruited by the Scarlet Pimpernel, the mysterious do-gooder spiriting aristocrats out of revolutionary France, Gabrielle crosses the Channel for the most daring mission of her life. Accompanying her is the Earl of Sedgwick, a thief in his own right and an enticingly masculine presence. The man is not to be trusted—nor is Gabrielle's body when he's near.

 

Ramsey Barnes would not say he is an honorable man. His whole life has been based on a lie; why change now? Although it pains him to deceive the tantalizing Gabrielle, he's working toward an altogether different objective: unmasking the Scarlet Pimpernel. If Ramsey fails, his blackmailer will ruin him. But when Ramsey's confronted with the carnage of the Reign of Terror, he seeks refuge in Gabrielle's heated embrace. Now he faces a terrible choice: betray the woman who's stolen his heart—or risk losing everything.

 

Read an excerpt

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review 2017-04-02 02:56
Sinclair (Tales of Tooley Street Book 1) - Julia Herdman

As a debut novel, Sinclair boasts the musical language of a practiced craftsman.  The characters are vibrant, each man and woman is lovely, but terribly complex.  Although it is fiction, the struggles of the human heart are illustrated with great care.  James Sinclair is driven by his need for acclaim, only to discover that the love of a good woman suits him fine. Charlotte Leadam is a hard-headed widow, sure she will never love again, only to discover that she has the heart for new romance.  The sinking of the Sherwell, a ship from the East India Company's fleet, sets off a tale about the human capacity to make mistakes, to love the wrong people, and to ultimately find forgiveness in seemingly impossible circumstances.

 

I was enraptured by the multitude of plots that intercepted each other with grace. Much in the same style as the prolific Diana Gabaldon, Herdman made true on her statement to write stories of love while simultaneously introducing characters and story lines one after another.  Written in third person omniscient, the reader is privy to the internal turmoil of all the characters, eliciting, for me at least, a strong affinity with the honorable Frank Greenwood, James Sinclair's loyal companion.  Although the novel is entitled after the dutiful doctor from Tooley Street, Herdman divides her attention among his friends, his relatives, and the neighboring English milieu.  I was surprised that she had not elected to tell the tale in first person, but I was pleased with the final product nonetheless.

 

In conclusion, the story moved at an easy pace, made all the more enjoyable by Julia Herdman's humor and her careful execution of historical fact telling.  I can easily see how further stories may be written to expand on the lives of minor characters like Lucy and the rest of the family at Beverly, Connie and her new role as wife and mother, and William's crush on Alice.  All in all, it's safe to say I'm in need of book two!

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review 2016-12-28 16:22
The Devil's Prayer
The Devil's Prayer - Luke Gracias

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley
in exchange for an honest review.

 

In the 13th Century, in order to save his life, a monk did a deal with the Devil, and as a result the Codex Giga, the Devil's Bible, came into being. It was lost for centuries, then rediscovered, but by this time, twelve pages of the original manuscript were missing, the twelve vitally important pages known as the Devil's Prayer.

 

It is said that one day a woman will give birth to the child of the Devil. And if this person ever gets his hands on the pages of the Devil's Prayer, then all Hell will be let loose on the world.

 

When the story opens, we are in the convent of Sancta Therese, a few miles north of Zamora, Spain. There, during the Semana Santa (Easter Week), a secret ritual is enacted, as it has been every year since the 1200s, but this time, at its climax, a nun commits suicide by hanging herself from the bell-tower.

 

Meanwhile, in Australia, in a world as different as it can well get, a young woman called Siobhan Russo is informed by a priest that her mother, Denise, who has been missing from home for six years, has committed suicide in Spain. That she was a nun going by the name of Sister Benedictine. And that she, Siobhan, must travel at once to Spain, to collect in person a message her mother left for her.

 

It turns out that Denise, the mother, had done a deal with the Devil years earlier, in order to get revenge and healing after she had been raped and left paralysed. This rape and its consequences form a vivid short story which stands out as rather different from the rest of the book, and after reading it we identify with Denise quite as much as we do with her now grown-up daughter Siobhan. At that time, the Devil had healed Denise in exchange for the souls of her attackers. But her dealings with the Devil had not stopped there. The Devil later brought the child Siobhan back to life after she had drowned in their swimming-pool.

 

But I am telling you too much of the story. Read it for yourself. It is brilliantly researched and replete with fascinating details. And don't be put off by all this about "the Devil". This is a very real, very evil, Devil, a Devil it is almost impossible to say No to - and as the author says in the book, "God and the Devil - one does not exist without the other." It is a story I shall never forget, and full of characters I shall never forget.

 

I visited the website www.devilsprayer.com and found some marvellous photos of the scenes where the more bizarre sections of the story are set. Here is one of them:

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review 2016-12-28 01:26
#CBR8 Book 129: Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
Because of Miss Bridgerton - Julia Quinn

Sibylla "Billie" Bridgerton has always been a tomboy. As a girl, she ran wild with the neighbouring Rokesby children, and it's been long expected that she'll end up marrying either of the younger sons, Edward or Andrew. She's doesn't really mind the idea herself, but marriage is the furthest thing from her mind, even after her best friend, Mary Rokesby goes off to marry her eldest brother George's best friend. After all, if Billie gets married, whose going to oversee the running of the Bridgerton estate? Her brother Edmund is still away at Eton, far too young to take charge. The only Rokesby Billie doesn't really get along with is the heir, George Rokesby, Viscount Kennard. He's always so serious, clearly disapproving of her un-ladylike ways.

 

So when Billie falls out of a tree, twists her ankle badly and ends up stranded on a deserted cottage roof, having tried to rescue a stray cat, she really wishes that anyone else in the neighbourhood except the supercilious George is the one to come to her rescue. Things do not improve when circumstances cause the ladder he's used to get up on the roof to fall over, stranding them both. While no one in their right mind would think that George Rokesby had compromised Billie Bridgerton on a roof in the middle of the countryside, propriety would demand that the Viscount offer for her hand if they are stranded there for too long. Luckily, Andrew Rokesby, home on leave from the navy with a broken arm, comes along and rescues the two of them, but is very amused by the predicament they've found themselves in. George also insists on chivalrously carrying the wounded Billie back home, and after their little adventure, the two suddenly see each other differently.

 

As the son and heir, George has never been allowed to go off and see the world. His brother Andrew is in the navy, while Edward is over in the Colonies, scouting in the Revolutionary War. As the eldest, he has always observed his younger siblings and the vivacious eldest Bridgerton daughter run around and cause trouble. Even now, although Billie is universally loved in the neighbourhood, she has a tendency to get into unlikely scrapes, and it annoys George immensely. Almost as much as the thought that she may some day end up marrying one of his brothers. After their little interlude on the roof, George suddenly finds himself very bothered by the idea of Billie marrying anyone...except him. Could he be falling in love with the exasperating Miss Bridgerton?

 

While most of Julia Quinn's books are set in the Regency era, this new series is set a generation before her most famous Bridgerton books, in the Georgian era, but do in some ways still involve Bridgertons, as the title suggests. Billie Bridgerton is in fact the aunt of all the various Bridgerton siblings, whose father Edmund, Billie's younger brother, never actually appears in the series, except in the heroes and heroine's memories, as he died tragically before his youngest daughter was born. He's only mentioned in passing here, as he's away at school, but it seems likely he may make an appearance in later books. There is certainly another Bridgerton sister to marry off, as well as two Rokesby brothers, one of whom is missing in the Americas in the midst of the Revolutionary war for much of the plot of this book.

 

I've said in previous reviews that the best Julia Quinn novels don't have overly complicated plots or outside forces trying to get between the lovers. She's really not very good at writing villains. Happily, this is one of the books where the only thing keeping our couple apart is their preconcieved notions of one another and the fact that they've just not realised that they've got their perfect partner a few miles away, on the neighbouring estate. Billie and George just need to forget the impressions they made of each other growing up, and see each other as the adults they've become. Their families are clearly perfectly happy for them to end up together and it's quite sweet how they scheme to throw them together.

 

I wish I could say that this is Julia Quinn's triumphant return to truly great romance, after her previous years' efforts have mainly been rather forgettable, but I can't. I absolutely enjoyed this book, and appreciated that it didn't feature a lot of complicated drama, just two people learning to see the other in a new light and falling in love. Yet I doubt it's going to be one of the Quinn books that people remember in years to come, and it's certainly not a timeless classic like some of her Bridgerton novels. I don't regret buying it when it came out, but I suspect I will wait until her books are on sale before getting more of them. The next book in the series, involving lost brother Edward, set in Revolutionary era wartime America, will be an interesting departure from her previous books, though, so I imagine I'll be reading it, just to see her do something different.

 

Judging a book by its cover: There's a lot I like about this cover. The gorgeous green of the gown. The fact that it's only saucily slid off one shoulder rather than all undone in the back with anachronistic lack of undergarments. The cover model's little smirk in the mirror. The crossed fingers behind her back. There's also things I don't like. The cover model is way too old to be a 23-year-old Billie Bridgerton. This book is set in the Georgian era. That is not a period appropriate dress! Great for Regency, wrong for the previous generation.

Source: kingmagu.blogspot.no/2016/12/cbr8-book-129-because-of-miss.html
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review 2016-12-05 16:31
I Spy a Duke by Erica Monroe
I Spy a Duke (Covert Heiresses Book 1) - Erica Monroe

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

One year after his sister's death at the hands of a sadistic French spy, James Spencer drinks alone in his study, not even bothering to hide from the memories or his guilt, when an unexpected and not unwelcome intrusion comes in the form of his younger brother's governess, Miss Vivian Loren. She's different from the women he knows, she doesn't get queasy at the sight of blood, she drinks brandy like a man, and knows how to perform a field dressing of a wound...But most importantly, she knows grief like James does.

Vivian Loren never meant for the lord of the house, the Duke of Abermont, to notice her. Her entire being depends on not being noticed, since she's in Abermont House under false pretenses, spying in order to learn the name of the man who killed her brother. Unfortunately for her, it soon comes to light her benefactor has no intention of fulfilling his noble promise of providing her with the name, quite the opposite in fact, and Vivian has no choice but to confess everything to James. Fortunately for her, James isn't one of those foppish, disinterested, arrogant dandies strolling through society, and he decides to help her by providing a safe haven for her with his name. She'll become his duchess in order for him to protect her, and she'll help him uncover the true identity of the puppet-master that brought her to his doorstep.



I love it when an author surprises me. In a good way. Ms Monroe was a new-to-me author, with this book available on NetGalley, and boy am I glad I went for it. I'm sorry, I didn't read it sooner.

Grippingly intense and intriguing from the start, this story was a breath of fresh air in the field of historicals available these days. For one, this was a suspense story first with a romance as a bonus and not the other way around as is often the case. The spy-talk, subterfuge and lies that come with the profession weren't sidelined only to be brought up at opportune moments to embellish the overall plot, they were the plot with all the risks the profession brought back in the day of no gadgets and the spies having to rely solely on their own wits, abilities, and intelligence. The action scenes (both the training ones, which were pretty informative, might I add, and that big final showdown) were nicely written, vividly intense, and well-paced.

As I wrote numerous times in the past, it's the characters that make or break the story for me, and the characters in this one were absolutely perfect. The main couple, with their similarities and differences, was a beautiful match of (almost) equals. I loved how, due to the fact of having four stubborn sisters, James knows what women are capable of, what they can endure, and doesn't make an ass out of himself by trying to underestimate Vivian, while also being determined to protect her at all costs, but knowing just what and how to say (showing your emotions is key, here, guys) it to make her see reason without caging or limiting her.
Vivian had her TSTL moments, but that was to be expected due to her grief over her brother, her limited knowledge of self-defense, and her newfound resilience not to let the stubborn man she loved die for her. So, despite those few TSTL moments, she wasn't annoying, and her character developped and evolved nicely throughout the story.
Also, a breath of fresh air in the communication department where the main couple is concerned. The usual trope in historicals is the dreaded miscommunication or inability/unwillingness to communicate between the characters that leads to a misunderstanding that drags on too long and isn't resolved almost until the very end. This one also had one of those (mostly due to the hero's inability to tell the heroine everything, due to his profession), but it was resolved in a matter of pages, because both the hero actually talked to the heroine, and she actually listened and used her brain to process the information instead of letting it fester and drag on and on. Kudos for that.
What was also a breath of fresh air, and dare I say, quite original, was the intimate interaction between James and Vivian. While in (most) other historicals, there's the requisite "seduction scene" somewhere before the hero and heroine actually manage to truly get to know each other, the romance between James and Vivian was utterly chaste until the wedding. Some would say that's because the wedding happens to soon in the book, but even afterward, they actually got to know each other, discover each other's secrets (at least on Vivien's part) before becoming truly intimate, before becoming truly husband and wife. If this story wasn't a good example of how a relationship must be built on trust, I don't know what is.

The supporting cast, although not very involved (except for the younger Spencer sibling), was also well-written and well-characterized, the villain was creepily intense, and I really can't wait to read about the rest of the Spencer sisters (I hope I'm not wrong about Elinor's hero).

I loved this story from beginning to end, the characters were wonderful and they perfectly complemented each other, the romance was "original" and refreshing, so was the foundation of the story and the plot, the villain provided just the right amount of danger and lurking-of-doom without even appearing in the scene, the pacing was spot-on, the action intense and gripping...Perfect.

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