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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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review 2017-02-10 03:33
Fortune Favors the Wicked by Theresa Romain
Fortune Favors the Wicked - Theresa Romain

I read this for the Love square for Romance Bingo.

Benedict Frost currently lives on half pay after being forced out of the Navy due to an illness that caused his blindness. With a sister to help support, getting the reward put up by the Royal Mint for a cache of coins stolen would go a long way to solving some of his problems.
Charlotte Perry has lived the life of a vicar's daughter and a courtesan but has only ever wanted to be free and happy. With rumor of the stolen gold coins in her home town, she sees an opportunity to fund her escape.
Benedict and Charlotte are both after the coin treasure but they might find a different treasure worth more than they could imagine.
 
Fortune Favors the Wicked is first in the Royal Rewards Duo but the next in the series, Fortune Favors the Bold, coming out February 28th, looks to be about Benedict's sister and be concurrently happening. We get a little look at Georgette and Benedict's friend Hugo and how their adventure starts here. I'm so looking forward to their story and how Georgette is going to ruffle Hugo's feathers. While I thought the search for the gold coins was mostly shoved to the side here and felt more like a colorful reason/device to get our couple together, I think the sense of adventure I missed in this one will shine brighter in the next.
 
"You are brave, Miss Perry."
"I am what I have had to be, Mr. Frost." Her hand turned beneath his, and for a second they were palm against palm. "As are you."

 
While I missed some of the adventure I thought would be more prevalent in this one, I was blown away with how emotionally engaging Benedict and Charlotte were. The quote:
“They slipped briskly into an intimacy from which they never recovered.”
-F. Scott Fitzgerald

feels completely about this couple. The natural way Charlotte and Benedict interacted and came together reminded me greatly of Grace Burrowes' couples and the tone felt a lot like Marrying the Captain by Carla Kelly. Benedict was a lieutenant in the Navy and Charlotte a courtesan, not typical romance hero and heroine fare. I loved how the author had Benedict's blindness a part of him instead of a defining characteristic, it was simply who he was, not something that made him special. In a little bit of a different way, the author pulled off Charlotte being a courtesan the same direction, it didn't define her. These two were fully fleshed out characters that have me almost talking about them like they were real people and I find myself wanting to type I missed seeing more of their backstory lives, but it probably is my selfish need just wanting more of them.
 
In a room with a man who had ruined her and man who wanted revenge on her, there had also been a man who took her part.
 
Quite frankly, I could sit and listen to this couple read the phone book to each other. I savored their sexual teasing, humor, friendship, and love that radiated from their conversations. Benedict and Charlotte made this book for me.
 
I felt a little bit in the middle the story slowed somewhat and I think that was due to me wanting more searching or adventure in regards to the missing coins, it seemed that storyline was muddled and couldn't find a way to work into the story even when it was supposed to be the catalyst for it. I do think if you look at it as more of a stepping stone to the next book coming out, you won't look for it the same way I did. I also thought the villain of this piece was not needed or needed to be more involved, the whole thing came off a bit obvious mechanism. With such a powerful connection between the leads, the usual romancelandia flare of treasure and villains maybe could have been replaced with more of Charlotte's parents' relationship issues, which were only able to be hinted at (who couldn't help but feel for anxious Mr. Perry and lonely Mrs. Perry). Although, I'm sure that kind of category romance would be harder to sell as I myself was drawn in by the lure of treasure.
 
This author is someone who only keeps improving for me and if you like Burrowes or Kelly, you'll definitely want to pick this one up. I can't wait for the next in the duo to be released.

 

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review 2017-02-08 00:03
Historical with not much romance
Regency Romance: The Prequel - The Marquess' Temptation (The Fairbanks Series - Love & Hearts) (CLEAN Historical Regency Romance) - Jessie M. Bennett Hamel

The Marquess' Temptation is my first book by Jessie Bennett.  Ms Bennett has delivered a book that is well-written.  It is a somewhat depressing book though.  I also thought the dialog was a little stiff.  The characters are fantastic and my favorite part of the book.  I am really sitting on the fence trying to decide how I feel about this book.  This is a prequel to The Marquess' Curse, so maybe the rest of the story is a little happier.  There is no HEA here but it is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger.  

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review 2017-02-07 12:21
The Devil's Submission by Nicola Davidson
The Devil's Submission - Nicola Davidson

After the first book in the series, this one was quite a disappointment for me. I simply hate miscommunication stories, because they're a cheap way of creating conflict, and everything can be resolved by a mere conversation.

In this one, six months of estrangement, and two people feeling inferior and inadequate could be solved by the same two people actually talking to each other...And when they finally did, it was almost too late, and still not enough, since the heroine had to go to a third party to actually find out how to please her husband. An idiotic husband that feared revulsion and ostracism because of his sexual preferences and practices...Hello? Aren't you the owner of one third of the most scandalous and talked-about sex club in London? In the regency period? And you're afraid, people will shun you because you want your wife to hurt you during bed play?

And the entire story stood on this wobbly and weak premise. Is it any wonder I was disappointed?

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