Dark Historical Romance: Duke of Desire

Maiden Lane Series by Elizabeth Hoyt

Historical Romance

 

Duke of Desire

This is the 12th book in the Maiden Lane Series. I have not read the previous books so I can attest to the fact that this can standalone on its own. I received a free copy of this book and decided to review it because I liked it a lot and wanted to refute some of the negative reviews I have read.

 

Overall Rating: 3.5 (sXe)

duke of desire

Quick & Dirty summary: Lady Iris Jordan is almost certain she’s going to die. After being abducted by the vile Lords of Chaos on the way home from a wedding, she’s determined to fight no matter how hopeless the situation may be. When one of the (naked) Lords carts her off, she sees her chance and shoots him, not realizing that he’s trying to save her. Ralphael, the Duke of Dyemore cannot sacrifice the lovely Iris, even if saving her might reveal to the Lords that he is a traitor. He’s determined to bring them all down, but the price may come at the expense of a life, not his life as he was expecting.

I really enjoyed this book. Besides the obvious parts about Elizabeth Hoyt’s smooth writing style, great dialogue and steady plot development, I love Raphael’s psychological depth. I think broody heroes can be a tad overrated, but Raphael certainly earns his status. I admire Lady Iris and think she’s a good match for Raphael.

Character development aside, I think the novel also address some really important themes. Sexual abuse is a sensitive topic, and this book warrants a trigger warning, but what this book does more than others is shows the deep psychological damage and cost long-term abuse can cause. That there are two contrasting characters helps to show that the same abuse does not affect everyone the same way. So kudos to Hoyt on addressing this weighty issue and helping to diminish some of the stigma.

My one complaint is the lack of insight into Raphael’s emotional changes. He’s pretty consistent all the way through the book, but towards the end there are some important shifts and there’s not a whole lot of transition between them. As the reader, I’m not really sure why things change and that’s a little frustrating. I think a few sentences could have made the changes a little easier by providing some transitions and insight without adding too much verbage.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $7.99)

The kindle version of this book is a steep $8. I just don’t believe in paying $8 for an ebook unless it’s nonfiction/reference. BUT, the trade paperback is only $7.19 and I think 7 bucks is a good price for a book you can hold in your hands and share widely with friends. Buy the paperback.

Something else you might enjoy:

Try Julia Quinn’s The Duke and I. It’s the first book of the Bridgerton series, which is in my all time top 3 favorite series. The similarities are obvious.

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2017 Book Challenge: A Book with a Blue Cover

A Man Called Ove by Fredric Backman

A Man Called Ove

Synopsis: Ove spends his days patrolling his neighborhood, making sure the bikes are placed in the correct area, that cars obey traffic signs, and that his garage is locked. But when new neighbors move in, they prevent Ove from carrying out his plans. As Ove’s solitary existence is challenged by neighbors left and right, Ove realizes that he still has more to fight for.

I love this book. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me think of my grandpa. Ove is the quintessential grumpy old man, but as the story progresses; we get a glimpse as to why Ove ignores some basic social rules. What we, as the reader, begin to see is that Ove is not a modern man. He is a man who only says what he will do—little more, little less. What’s also amazing about this book, besides Ove as a character, is the love story that is revealed through flashbacks. It’s always a little annoying when a male author writes a male lead character that the novel isn’t characterized as anything other than fiction. But, in my opinion, this is one of the greatest love stories. Rich and deep, it is poignant and bittersweet. Love, not just romantic love, is represented in all of its forms. A great picture of the beauty of life. I can’t say enough about this book.

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

image

Synopsis: Nella Oortman can’t help but be offended by the wedding present from her new husband; what eighteen year-old woman, newly married wants to play with a toy? Nella quickly feels neglected and lonely as the new Mrs. Johannes Brandt but can’t help but be captivated by the exquisite details and beauty of the miniature home, their home. Nella begins to believe that the miniatures, and the miniaturist that supplies them, are much more in tune to her household than she.

I picked up this book at a store in a mall in England (yes, in England their malls still have bookstores) because the title and the time period interested me. Although the cover is not completely blue (the back cover and spine are solid blue), I am going to cheat and use for the challenge because it is set in Amsterdam and everyone is familiar with Delft Blue. In this plot-driven story I kept finding myself thinking it was getting “curiouser and curiouser”. And to its credit, I only mildly suspected one of the many twists and turns throughout the novel, but was more often sitting on the couch with my eyebrows raised making my surprised face. So put away your verkeerspel, put on your patterns, get your favorite puffert or oliekoechken, and spend some guilders for this story.

New Release Review & Giveaway: Breakaway

Breakaway
Sophia Henry
Published by: Random House: Flirt
Publication date: September 5th 2017
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Sports

In a standalone hockey romance that tugs at readers’ heartstrings, a broken ex-pro learns to live and love again—all thanks to the complicated, wonderful nurse who gives him a second chance.

Brianna Collins needs to break away from her overbearing family. Her parents expect her to “fix” her brother after a series of concussions derailed his hockey career. Unfortunately, no doctor will give him clearance to play, and she’s finished with being the person they rely on to perform a miracle that will never happen. For Bree, a six-month nursing assignment at a hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina, is the perfect escape.

Luke Daniels, former forward for the NHL’s Charlotte Aviators, has spent close to a year rehabbing a career-threatening injury—and distracting himself however he can. Worlds collide when Luke realizes that the girl from his latest one-night-stand happens to be the new nurse at the hospital where he volunteers in the pediatric unit. What’s more, Bree’s the only person who makes him excited about life again.

Despite her initial reservations, Luke can’t help pursuing sweet, beautiful Bree. Then he realizes it was her brother whose career he ended with an accidental hit, and he falls back on the thing that’s always helped suppress his demons: alcohol. But if Luke doesn’t kick his old habits, he just may lose the one thing he loves more than hockey.

Don’t miss any of Sophia Henry’s exhilarating Pilots Hockey novels:

DELAYED PENALTY | POWER PLAY | INTERFERENCE | UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT | BREAKAWAY

Praise for Sophia Henry

“Sophia Henry’s hockey novels are fun and flirty, warm and sweet, with relatable heroines and swoon-worthy hockey heroes. They’ll bring a smile to your face and warmth to your heart.”USA Today bestselling author Kelly Jamieson

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Books-A-Million / Google Play

 

Author Bio:

Award-Winning Author, Sophia Henry, is a proud Detroit native who fell in love with reading, writing and hockey all before she became a teenager. She did not, however, fall in love with snow. So after graduating with an English degree from Central Michigan University, she moved to the warmth of North Carolina for the remainder of her winters.

She spends her days writing books featuring hot, hockey-playing heroes. When she’s not writing, she’s chasing her two high-energy sons, watching her beloved Detroit Red Wings, and rocking out at concerts.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

GIVEAWAY!

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BOOK REVIEW

Breakaway (Book 5)

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I decided to review it because I like this book, as well as all the other books in the series. While this is book 5, it can be read on its own. To read reviews of previous books, please follow this link.

Overall Rating: 3.5 (sXe)

Quick & Dirty summary: Breanna Collins needs to get away from her parents, her brother, and her ex-boyfriend. When she’s heartbroken over a hockey player she met through her brother, she decides to move across the country to North Carolina to be a traveling nurse. Knowing her assignment will only be about 6 months, she’s only interested in a hookup when she meets sexy Luke Daniels. Luke is just beginning to come to terms with being out of the starting lineup of the Aviators. When he meets Breanna, he can’t help but be attracted to this confident, beautiful woman. But Luke has a lot of things he hasn’t dealt with, his career being one of them, and when his past reappears, Luke has to decide what he wants his future to look like, including who is in it.

Overall I enjoyed this book. I enjoy the hospital backdrop of Breanna’s job and the idea that Luke is struggling with his transition from player to coach. While I’m not sure Luke’s angst is resolved at the end of the book, it added a unique element.

What I wasn’t as thrilled about in this book compared to other books in this series is how much internal dialogue there is compared to conversations between characters. In general, stream of consciousness slows down a book and this one slowed quiet a bit in the middle of the novel. That being said, this is almost always a preference and so for others, you may not feel the same way.

Like all of Sophia Henry’s books so far, there is a lot of stuff going on psychologically for the characters. It’s interesting because there’s a lot of time spent in providing backstory to Luke and Breanna so that we know their whole lives didn’t begin when they met each other. This is an instant attraction book that takes it’s time in building an emotional connection between two characters.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $4.99)

I think this is a bit steep for an ebook. If this is a bit high for you too, I’d highly recommend asking your local library to buy the book, along with the rest of the books in the series, so you can enjoy it that way.

Something else you might enjoy:

You have to read The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen. It’s a college romance, but it is amazing! Similar theme, but with a few unexpected twists.

McGavin Brothers Book 5

The McGavin Brothers Series by Vicki Lewis Thompson

Contemporary Romance

 

A Cowboy’s Courage (Book 5)

I received an advance copy of this book. I chose to review it because I like it and I think you will too. If you’d like to read my reviews of the previous books in this series, please click here.

A Cowboy's Courage

Overall Rating: 3.5 (sXe)

Quick & Dirty summary: Trevor McGavin has a busy life. He’s a volunteer firefighter on top of a full time construction worker. He enjoys building things and he enjoys protecting those things from fire. Olivia Shaw has been Trevor’s mom’s accountant for a few years now, but Trevor’s never paid much attention because Olivia was married. It’s been three years since her husband died and Trevor is working hard to save her house from a random fire. As Trevor pays more attention to Olivia, he can’t decide if she’s the one who needs saving, or if his heart will need saving.

I really love Trevor. He’s sweet, strong and incredibly kind. Olivia is a bit annoying and she’s the primary reason I didn’t rate the book higher. While there is a lot of action in the book that show Trevor’s sterling personality, Olivia seemed a bit oblivious. It is a little frustrating.

Despite that, the pacing of the novel is great. There is a lot going on that reveal the hero and heroine’s character and the McGavin brothers all appear in this book, so we continue to see their happily ever afters. This is a fun book to read with wholesome characters who do not engage in unnecessary drama. Just real life situations that would get the best of anyone, and sweet couples who work their way through them.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $0.99)

Yes, this is some change well spent. Enjoy the weekend or relax one afternoon with this sweetheart.

Something else you might enjoy:

If you enjoy firefighters, you might enjoy Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts. It’s really exciting with a very attractive smoke jumper!

Review & Giveaway of Beg, Borrow or Steal

  Title: Beg, Borrow or Steal
By: Susie Tate

Publication Date: Sept 28, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance
#begborroworstealtour

Jamie is proud of everything he’s achieved. A consultant anaesthetist and the Medical Education Director – he’s a pretty big deal. So when one of his medical students falls asleep, right in the middle of a tutorial, he is furious. He’s a bloody good teacher, damn it!

Maybe he could have been a little more understanding. Maybe he didn’t have to try and humiliate her. But the shock of how beautiful this particular student was when she finally opened her eyes, and his inappropriate reaction, only fuelled his anger. He’s tired of lame excuses from wild party animals burning the candle at both ends, and he’s going to make an example of this one.

For Libby, pride is a luxury and beauty is currency. Pregnant at seventeen and an aspiring doctor, she couldn’t afford to be proud, so she cashed in on her looks instead. She will beg, borrow or steal to achieve her dreams and give her daughter the life she deserves, even if she has to forgo sleep – even if she has to leave her dignity behind.

Only now that she’s not just sitting in lecture theatres like her first two years of medical school, now that she’s working in a real hospital, Libby is realizing that the thread she’s been hanging onto for so long may be about to snap. The last thing she needs is to have riled the gorgeous, judgmental Head of Medical Education. But there’s only so far you can push yourself, only so much pressure you can be under until you break. Libby’s been on that cliff edge for a while; her health may just tip her over.

A kick in the shin from a gorgeous little four-year-old girl and a confrontation with her tearful, exhausted mother soon forces Jamie to see what a bastard he’s been. Libby may not accept his help, but he’s relentless when he wants something, and it’s not long before he realizes that this mother and daughter belong with him. So when a stag night he’s on ends up in the best strip club in England and he sees who the main attraction is, his reaction is explosive.

Despite everything, Libby finds she still has some pride left. This man has made her feel small twice now. He won’t be getting a third shot. No matter how gorgeous he is, no matter how persistent …

This book is a full-length contemporary romance of approximately 90,000 words with no cliffhanger and its own HEA.

AMAZON UK – https://goo.gl/6wrFtP
AMAZON CA – https://goo.gl/2oYCwv

Susie Tate is a General Practitioner and when she’s not working she’s looking after her four yummy boys under nine (okay, well one is actually over thirty-nine but it’s the mental age that counts!). She loves hearing from anyone who has taken the time to read her books.


REVIEW

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Overall Rating: 4 (sXe)

Quick & Dirty summary: Libby will do anything to achieve her dreams. The fact that her dreams are centered on giving her daughter a wonderful life with a mom she can be proud of is not a secret. What is a secret from everyone except her best friend is how Libby is supporting her daughter and paying her medical school fees. Jamie knows medical school is difficult, but he’s shocked when Libby falls asleep in his class twice. Jamie knows what beautiful women like Libby do late at night to keep them up late, and he tells her in no uncertain terms that she needs to grow up if she’s to be a good doctor. However, when Jamie realizes that the assumptions he’s made about Libby are wrong, he can’t figure out how to make it right. Jamie continues to get it wrong with Libby and Libby isn’t sure when he’ll ever get her.

 

The primary storyline is one that most of us have heard before, if we’ve ever watched Grey’s Anatomy. However, I think Susie Tate is very successful at delving more deeply into the characters who make up this drama. Their motivations, their pasts, and their hurdles are on display in their interactions, conversations and choices.

 

I especially like Libby. She is this wonderful combination of vulnerability and self-doubt, while also being strong and determined. It would have been so easy to make Libby into a flat character either extremely self-confident to the point of arrogance or full of shame and low self-esteem, but she’s a beautiful, realistic mix of confidence and guilt.

 

There is a little dip, for me, with the action about two-thirds of the way through the book, but its pretty minor. I enjoy the secondary characters as well and look forward to the next books in the series to follow their journey. I will definitely be reading more of Susie Tate.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $2.99)

Yes! I think it’s worth buying. And if you have Kindle Unlimited, it’s free, which is always worth it.

Something else you might enjoy:

Kristin Ashley wrote Daisy and Marcus’ tale in a short story in Rock Chick Reawakening. It’s a kind of prequel to the Rock Chick series, but you can read it as a standalone (except for the epilogue). Daisy is happy with her profession, which I love.

 

Final Book in the Strange Luck Series

It’s out! A Darling Secret, the third and final book in the Strange Luck Series by Amie Irene Winters is out today. Below is my book review.

Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Strange Luck Series by Amie Irene Winters

Young Adult/Fantasy

 

A Darling Secret

 

I received an advanced copy of this novel. I choose to review the book because I enjoyed it and think you might too. You can read reviews of the first two novels by clicking their titles below.

WARNING: This is the third novel in a three book series. Book 2 ended in limbo, so some of the summary of Book 3 will be a spoiler if you haven’t read the first two books.

Read my reviews on the first two books: 

Strange Luck (Book 1)

Nightmare Birds (Book 2)

Overall Rating: 3.5

Quick Summary: After the thrilling ending of the Nightmare Birds, Daisy Darling is driving into the unknown. While she has her twin sister at her side and a crew of family members she didn’t know existed, Daisy is scared at all she must still face. A part of her just wants to go back to the way things were before, but she knows that cannot happen. She must face the Realm of the Shadow Gods and help to destroy an evil she never saw coming.

 

This is a fantastic ending to an exciting and thrilling series. Amie Winters continues to offer up surprising twists in this last installment, along with a very sweet and satisfying ending. Of particular note is the great evil that rules the Realm of the Shadows Gods. Complex even in its horror, the villain of this series is not a simple caricature of the devil.

I found the beginning of the book to be a bit slow, primarily because Daisy kept breaking down. This is understandable, given everything she’s been through, but it seemed a bit out of character for her. In the end though, I thought the difficulty Daisy has at the beginning of the book add a bit more depth to her romantic relationship, especially since the climax of the novel has her facing off with the Shadow Gods with only her twin sister at her side.

Thinking about this series in its entirety, I am awed at the imagination of Winters. Each book offers a different world to explore. It lives up to the fantasy genre and offers interesting twists on old classics like witches, evil, and the afterlife.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $2.99)

If you’ve been reading the series then of course you need to know how it ends. Luckily, if you have Kindle Unlimited, the entire series is free. All three books can be bought bundled together for $8.97, which for an ebook is a lot, but compared to paperback novels is a steal.

Something else you might enjoy:

I love Cat Winter’s young adult novel, In the Shadow of Blackbirds. It has a fantasy feel with an added historical element. You can read my review of Winter’s book here.

Free Book: Limited Time Only!

FREE!!! Just an Illusion – Side A by D. Kelly is free for a limited time!!!

Just an Illusion is sexy, addictive, and emotionally satisfying… a definite Must Read!” ~ Goodreads reviewer

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One night changed her life…
Bestselling author Amelia Greyson has grown up in the music industry and isn’t the slightest bit fazed by fame or celebrities. However, when she attends a Bastards and Dangerous concert with her best friend Belle, her world shifts on its axis.
Double trouble…
Sawyer and Noah Weston are the front men of BAD. They’re fraternal twins and sexy as sin. When they hear the author of The O Factor is in their green room, they’re intrigued. She’s just the person they need to write their farewell story. The brothers offer Amelia the opportunity of a lifetime, which she reluctantly accepts.
Three hearts…
Noah is sweet and considerate, working hard to make Amelia feel at home on the road. Unfortunately, the closer they get, the more obnoxious Sawyer becomes. Sawyer is arrogant and distant and he wants Amelia, even though she’s not his for the taking. Only during stolen moments does Sawyer show her who he really is.
Can Amelia maintain a safe distance from Sawyer and keep her heart intact? Or will she shatter Noah’s heart by giving hers to his brother instead?

Just an Illusion – Side A is the first book in The Illusion Series

*Mature Content- This book contains situations not intended for persons under the age of 18. Including, but not limited to – open door sex, cursing, alcohol and/or drug use, and possible triggers.*

ALSO AVAILABLE IN THE ILLUSION SERIES

#2 Just an Illusion – The B Side

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#3 Just an Illusion – EP

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