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review 2017-05-24 07:41
Review 4/5 stars: Lord of Chance (Rogues to Riches, #1) by Erica Ridley
Lord of Chance (Rogues to Riches Book 1) - Erica Ridley

This is sort of a re-release since it first appeared in the Scandal’s Daughters Anthology, but fret not as this “is an expanded ‘Author Edition.’"

Charming and complex characters, well-told story, and not your usual rags to riches plot make this a delightful and engaging story. Anthony was a gambler down on his luck and up to his neck in debt when he met Charlotte. They were both fleeing from a dark past at the same time that they were looking for a different, brighter future. Unfortunately a play of words in a foreign place bound them together into marriage and their hopes at a brighter future just tumbled down.

The romance itself was emotive and believable. They grew to care for each other over a feasible amount of time to the point of willing to sacrifice their love for the sake of each other’s happiness. If anything, the only thing I didn’t find plausible is that they spent a lot of time together, alone, in a bedchamber, and there was no mention of any kind of sexual frustration. There were plenty of good reasons why the deed wasn’t done but I would have thought some tension would have been more palpable. Other than that, I loved their relationship because more than anything they were friends and they supported each other, even when they could become pariahs in society.

The settings were rich in detail and the story had that fluidity that I love because it keeps me engrossed in the story. I also loved that it dealt with deep themes such as addiction and prejudice yet it kept a light side and didn’t turn into a sob-inducing story. I do believe addiction is a tough subject and even harder to overcome however I’ve also witnessed that given the right circumstances and for the right reasons a person can actually beat it. That’s one of the reason I don’t think Anthony’s recovery was that far-fetched and it could very much have happened quickly indeed.

Twists and turns and the fact the story definitely did not have the ending I expected make this a most delightful and entertaining read and I definitely recommend it to those looking for a well-told, unique, romantic story.

*** 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 2017-05-16 23:09
Arc Review: Jane Grey: A Homage to the Brontë Classics (The Brontë Brothers #1) by Nina Mason
Jane Grey (The Brontë Brothers Book 1) - Nina Mason

 

I’ll start by saying that Jane Eyre happens to be my least favorite classic historical romance. So when offered the chance to read this story I was truly intrigued and couldn’t pass the opportunity to read it.

 

Well, Jane Grey was a great romance story indeed! I don’t want anyone to think it wasn’t based on my rating. I did enjoy it from start to finish, true, however I also did have a few issues with the story itself. At any rate, I still recommend it to any fan of the original and to those looking for a worthwhile happy ending.

 

Matthew and Jane have a lot in common and that’s obviously what drew them together. They were both hopeless romantics to the point they could both recite poems by heart and Matthew was a painter hoping to revive his then-dormant muse.

At the start of the story, Matthew was hurt and vulnerable, thus he gave me the impression of just having fallen in love with the idea of the perfect woman that could possibly be Jane as opposed to the woman herself. As the story progressed and they got to know each other better, his attitude left no doubt in my mind that he had in fact fallen for Jane as a woman so I was happy on that end.

 

Their relationship was endearing and heart-warming. The story was heart-wrenching at times and hopeful at others. The descriptive settings made me feel I was part of the story itself and the writing was as beautiful as ever when it comes to this author.

 

As for Jane, she was sweet and considerate, but to an almost maddening point in my opinion. Most of the time she showed strength of character and common sense but when it came to trusting unworthy people or when it came to continue on the path she had already set her mind to follow she was inconstant and mutable. That whiplash attitude was one of the reasons I couldn’t enjoy the story more.

Also, the story is set in a place where propriety is not as strict as it would have been in England at the time but I still thought Jane didn’t come up to scratch as a governess to some extent. I’m not going to give specific examples because I don’t want to give spoilers but suffice to say her pupil would act incredibly unlady-like and Ms. Gray would just stand there and do nothing. I know, I’ve been told I need to let go of certain things when it comes to historicals but I just can’t!

 

As I said earlier dear reader, it IS a lovely story, full of passion, regrets, ambition, and true love. If this sounds like your cup of tea then I’m sure you are going to love it. 

 

*** 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 2017-04-13 17:39
Review: Convenient Proposal to the Lady (Hadley's Hellions #3) by Julia Justiss
Convenient Proposal to the Lady - Julia Justiss

I’m in love with this series, not only because the so-called Hellions are more like gentlemen in disguise but because the author knows how to weave a solid and interesting plot with a good dose of romantic emotions.

The “Hellions” are labeled so because of some shenanigans of the past, but their life is different now and as politicians they are trying hard to better themselves and the society they live in. Ben for instance set out to warn Lady Alyssa as soon as he learned of the despicable plot that others planned to ruin her. He was an illegitimate son thus he knew what was like to be shunned in life and did not want that for her or anyone else.

I liked very much that Alyssa and Ben’s relationship was more than anything based on honesty and openness. That helped them learn each other’s fears, wants, dislikes, and dreams. So once it was time to move into the romantic spectrum of the relationship they both knew what they were walking into.

They both had demons to overcome, and in a way Alyssa’s approach to conquer them put me off. I also think it put a hinder in the romantic side of the story because it sounded as if she saw Ben as a savior rather than a lover. I suppose there was nothing wrong with that but I thought he deserved better. In the end I think they found common ground and they set out to find their own HEA, which is of course the point of it all.

*** 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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text 2017-01-31 18:32
Review: 4 out of 5 stars TO TAME A WILD LADY by Ashlyn Macnamara
To Tame a Wild Lady: A Duke-Defying Daughters Novel - Ashlyn Macnamara

TO TAME A WILD LADY (Duke-Defying Daughters #2)

 

To me this was a story of reverse roles where the rogue doing the seducing was the lady and the temptation was the gentleman.
We met Caroline in the first installment of the series as the second daughter of the Duke of Sherrington. Although a lady of good breeding, she had no interest in securing a husband and even the prospect of marriage was the least of her concerns. He main concern had always been her horses and more recently to take part in a very important race where only gentlemen were allowed. When Adrian was hired as the new estate agent some of his ideas did not sit well with Caroline because they would affect her horses and because they would only complicate her very private plans to be included in the men-only race she so desperately wanted to be part of.

Caroline and Adrian could sound the typical enemies-to-lovers trope but that could not be farther from the truth. Adrian is one of the most honest, caring, hard-working, loving heroes I’ve read in a long time, thus he really never behaved as an enemy to her; on the contrary, he was always protective and considerate. Every time Caroline tried to sound petulant or gave voice against one of his plans he very patiently explained why he thought his plans would work or simply put her mind at ease with straightforward logic. In other words, he always treated her with respect. Even when feelings for each other were expressed he clearly explained his position could never let him aspire to more with her and that for both their sakes he could not let her love him.
I liked how they resolved their love issues and how they reached their HEA. Throughout the book Caroline sounded impetuous, sometimes childish, and way too improper for a lady of her times (blamed it on her father that was never near to keep an eye on his unmarried daughters but was always willing to tell them what to do if he so saw fit) however the fact that she was willing to give up her most valued possession in order to see Adrian happy redeemed her in my eyes. I liked the first one better but this one is still another good read IMHO.

*** 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 2017-01-31 17:50
Review: 4 out of 5 stars MOGUL (The Knickerbocker Club #3) by Joanna Shupe
Mogul (The Knickerbocker Club) - Joanna Shupe

It took me a little while to warm up to the characters and the story, but I think that was because I didn’t quite get what was going on between the two main characters. It was just a serious case of miscommunication and mistrust but once the story got rolling and they had to work together it started to get better.
Calvin and Lillian lived a torrid yet brief romance four years earlier. They parted in the worst of terms, Lillian thinking the worst of Calvin and he thinking it was for the best. Fast forward four years later when she is pretty much forced to work alongside Calvin in order to find her missing brother.
Calvin sounded so arrogant and annoying that I really didn’t get how anyone could possibly like the guy. Lillian was strong-minded but acted so impetuously at times (and for the times) that made me wonder how she managed to stay alive that long. However, it turns out it was only a facade each of them created in order to atone for past mistakes and/or to forget about the love they once shared for one another. Their relationship was tempestuous at times, frigid cold at others but blazingly hot through and through.

I liked how the author made the story revolve around The Chinese Exclusion Act for so many people. I thought that was the event that added poignancy to the plot and pretty much helped the story stay on track. It also helped my mind stay in New York and not wander to England as I was reading. There were times I was starting to question an action and then I remembered Oh, this is New York, not England! Ok, back to the story now… Funny how the mind works some times. The book also included the novella Tycoon which was also a plus. I only wish it would have had a more climactic ending but other than that I liked it very much.

*** 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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