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.


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


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.*


#2 Just an Illusion – The B Side


#3 Just an Illusion – EP


Heartfelt YA Novel by Anne Elliot

I finished reading The Runaway Girl by Anne Elliot and I love it! This is the first book, with a second book titled Runaway Heart. I’ll post a written review after the second book is out, but if you’re curious about why I love it, you can watch my book review video on my Facebook page. Be sure to like the page for more video reviews. 

Downloadable Bookmarks!

Paige at Books and Belle and Penny at Pebblepen put together a great blog tour where you can download a printable bookmark with the blog’s top 4 book recommendations in a particular category. Another blog had already covered the romance genre by the time I joined, so I thought I’d tackle classics, since I am a member of a classic lit book club in real life. Here are my top 4 book recommendations on a beautiful bookmark Penny designed.

Classic Lit bookmark

Be sure to visit the other blogs on this tour to see their recommendations and download their bookmarks. It’s totally free and fun to see what other’s recommend!

Fiction – Bookish Betsy (Betsy) –

Classics – Love Serially (Christine) –

Poetry – Fables and Tea (Hannah) –

LGBTQIA – Magical Reader (Lori) –

Fantasy – Books and Belle (Paige) – & Pebblepen (Penny) –

Magical Realism – The Introverted Book Nerd (Danielle) –

Romance – Little thoughts from little people (Eleanor) –

Sci-fi – Pebblepen (Penny) –

Thriller – Books and Belle (Paige) –

Historical – The Introverted Book Nerd (Danielle) & Pebblepen (Penny) –

Horror– All the Bright Places Blog (Beth) –

Here’s a hint at what you’ll find:

printable bookmarks all

EBook Giveaway!

Penny Reid is giving away an ebook copy of her book Dating-ish on my blog! Read why this book is my favorite book of 2017 here:

To Enter: Simply read the review, like it, and comment. Giveaway will close on June 17.

This giveaway is not sponsored by wordpress or any other company. It is free to enter. The winner will need to send me their email address so the ebook can be sent. The ebook will be in English.

My Favorite Book of 2017: Dating-ish


Dating-ish, an all new standalone from the USA Today bestselling Knitting in the City romantic comedy series by Penny Reid is available now!

20170306 Dating ish 01 (2)

‘Dating-ish’ can be read as a standalone, is a full length 100k word novel, and is book #6 in the Knitting in the City Series.

There are three things you need to know about Marie Harris: 1) She’s fed up with online dating, 2) She’s so fed up, she’s willing to forego the annoyance and consider more creative alternatives, and 3) She knows how to knit.

After the most bizarre and irritating first date in the history of humankind, Marie is looking for an alternative to men. With the help of her friends, she quickly identifies a few possibilities:

Need a cuddle? Use a professional cuddler. Need affirmation? Get yourself a life coach. Need an orgasm? Try orgasm meditation! Why does she need the hassle of a romantic partner when she can meet all her needs with paid services?

But then her irritating date resurfaces. And he’s not at all the person she thought he was. And he suggests a different–and crazier–solution to her dilemma . . .

As everyone knows (or will soon come to realize), traditional relations between humans are a thing of the past. Robots are our future. And if robots are our future, then why do we need other people at all?


He was quiet for bit, we both were, and I felt myself relax more and more. His palm took a detour every so often, dutifully skipping my hip and sliding along my side, and then back to my leg. Soon, I was so relaxed I felt drowsy.

I felt fingers in my hair, moving the mass away from my neck with treasuring strokes just before Matt nuzzled the back of my neck, causing goosebumps to scatter over my skin.

“Mmm.” I smiled. “Hey. Jared said no tickling.” My voice sounded sleepy.

“Does this tickle?” Matt asked softly, nuzzling me again. I felt the brush of his lips—not a kiss, a brush—paired with hot breath against the bare skin of my neck and a zing shot straight down my spine, making my toes curl and a sudden hot ache twist in my lower belly.

Oh no.

I knew that ache. I hadn’t felt it because of another person’s touch in quite a long time. Nevertheless, no one ever forgets that ache.

My back arched instinctively, my bottom pressing back against his crotch, and I stiffened. I felt my nipples harden, strain beneath the cotton of my bra. I was now fully awake. No longer drowsy.


Not even a little.

Matt stiffened, too. His movements abruptly ceasing.

“Are you okay? What’s wrong?” he asked, alarm coating his words, and in the next moment his hand was suspended in the air above me. “Did I touch something I shouldn’t?”

I exhaled a short, nervous laugh, gripped by the urge to sit up.

“No. No. You didn’t.” I moved to the edge of the bed, righting myself, away from Matt, needing distance. “I’m good.” I gathered a silent breath and released it slowly because my pulse was racing.

Crap, Marie. Get a grip. It’s Matt Simmons. Professor Matt. The big kid. Why are you reacting this way?

“Did I . . .” These initial words were hesitant, and a moment of silence stretched before he continued, his tone comically teasing as he finished his thought. “Did I arouse you?”

I snorted, shaking my head, laughing at his silly tone. Turning at the waist to peer at him over my shoulder, Matt was grinning at me, twisting a make-believe mustache between his thumb and forefinger.

But then he stopped.

“I did, didn’t I?” he pushed, his hand dropping. He looked pleased, if not a little amazed.

I sighed, feeling a smidge embarrassed, and nodded. “Actually, yes. That’s a sensitive spot for most women.”

“The back of your neck?” He lifted himself to one elbow, his eyes darting to my neck with keen interest.

“My neck in general, actually.”

“Huh.” Matt frowned thoughtfully. “Where else?”

I pressed my lips together and gave him an incredulous look. “I’m not telling you that.”

“Why not?”


“What if I needed it for research reasons?”


“What if I told you it was part of our questionnaire?” He tossed his legs over the side of the bed and stood, walking around to my side and offering me his hand. “You should give me a schematic of your body with the erogenous zones circled and rated.”

“Let me guess, you want them rated on a ten-point scale,” I deadpanned as I accepted his hand, stood, and stepped away to gain some distance and straighten my shirt.

He shrugged, crossing his arms, stalking after me. “Or exponential. I was going to say a Likert scale, but a logarithmic scale works, too.”

Chuckling, appreciative of his attempt to diffuse my embarrassment and awkwardness with the joke, I realized Matt Simmons wasn’t a bad guy. He might even be a good guy, just a little . . . peculiar.

And wants to replace romantic relationships with robots. Best not forget that detail.

Yeah, he’d make an interesting friend.

“Thanks.” I gave him a small smile.

“For what?” His eyes moved between mine.

“For the cuddle. Thanks for the cuddle, Matt.”

“Anytime, Marie.” He grinned down at me, his eyes dancing as he leaned forward and whispered, “Anytime.”


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Meet Penny Reid:

Penny Reid is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Winston Brothers and Knitting in the City series. When she’s not immersed in penning smart romances, Penny works in the biotech industry as a researcher. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.


Connect with Penny:



Twitter: @ReidRomance



The Knitting in the City Series by Penny Reid

Romantic Comedy


Dating-ish (Book 6)


While this book is sixth in the Knitting in the City Series, it can be read as a standalone. I received a complementary copy of this novel because I am a fan freak of Penny Reid’s. I voluntarily chose to review this book because this book is really great and I love it.


Overall Rating: 4.5 (sXe)


Quick & Dirty summary: Marie has been on more bad dates than she can count. Actually, she’s very smart so Marie can count them all; she’d just rather not. When she goes on her most recent crash and burn online date, she decides to swear off dating for a while. Instead she focuses on her work, and her work as a reporter leads her to the very interesting idea of replacing romantic relationships with paid services. Of course, she has to test out this theory, like any good scientist would, with a series of experiments. And who better than to help her with her experiments than an honest to goodness scientist. Never mind that the scientist in question is also the abovementioned crash and burn date. And never mind that the scientist in question also happens to have an insanely hot body, beautiful brown eyes, and a vulnerability that makes Marie’s lady parts melt. Never mind any of that.


There is so much about this book to love. I love, love, love Marie. She is another great example of how intelligent people come with different kinds of intelligences. For example, I could not possibly study for the bar and pass it without taking a class. That’s just not how my brain works and I like to think I’m reasonably smart. But Marie can do it! And she has the ability to ask the right questions, which get her interesting answers, which make her smart in this incredibly fun way. So yeah, I love Marie.

And then there’s Matt. Matt, Matt, Matt. My book boyfriend Matt. I love his vulnerability. His intensity. His desire to do good in the world. And, of course, his hot bod. And yes, I know Matt isn’t a real person. But I feel this way about him because this book is so good! He is not the quintessential alpha. But that’s not to say he isn’t an alpha male. He is, but he definitely complicates the stereotype, which is a signature of Reid’s writing.

So, here is where I explain why this particular book isn’t a five star. Despite it being a lovely book, the entire problem that the plot centers on is a little flimsy to me. Marie is so straightforward and honest. She doesn’t play any games and I love that about her. And Matt has his flaws, as any good character does, but I think the problem is a little unbelievable. I won’t say more because I don’t want any spoilers in my review.

Second, there were a few things that I’d like to see tied up. One is the question Marie poses to Matt about the ethics of personal robots. We have laws against animal abuse. Will there be laws against robot abuse? Not only is this an interesting conversation to have in general, but I think it’s an important one for Matt’s character development.

Second the gossip tree must be explained in more detail. It might not be necessary in this book, what is in this book is sufficient, but it must be explored more. I demand this Penny (if you’re reading this review)!

Third, I’d like to know how Marie’s article turns out in the end. Maybe that’s for another book. Maybe my answer is in this particular book and I didn’t read it closely enough. That’s one problem in devouring a book in a single day. But I like to write my reviews based on my first impression of the book, so as much as I would have loved to re-read this book already, I haven’t because I think what you are probably interested in when reading reviews is how did this book go over the first time. So my apologies if this last point is illogical, although who even remembers what my last point is in the midst of all this rambling.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $5.99)

Yes. You will want to read this book again and again.

Something else you might enjoy:

There isn’t a direct overlap in my recommendation, but I think if you like Dating-ish, you might also like The Gene Project. It’s about a very awkward nerd trying to find a spouse. I loved it!

Tempting Levi

Title: Tempting Levi
Series: Cade Brothers #1
Author: Jules Barnard
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 6, 2017


Off-limits never looked so tempting…problem is,
she’s my ex’s little sister.

Cade men are known for two things: arrogance and competitiveness. I grew up in
one of the wealthiest, most dysfunctional families in Lake Tahoe, and all I
wanted was to get the hell out. I thought I’d succeeded. Until an accident
burned up my firefighter ambitions. Then Dad died and left me in charge of the
family’s luxury resort.

Now I’ve got financially uptight advisors telling me what to do, and I need
someone I can trust working at my side. The perfect candidate walks through the
door in her pencil skirt, fitted white blouse, and that mass of wavy blond hair
she tries to contain.

The only problem? She’s my cheating ex’s younger sister.

Hell no. The last thing I need is another Wright female in my life.

But Emily’s good at the job, and she seems trustworthy. I should ignore the
desire I have for her. But after all I’ve lost, I’m tempted by what I can’t
have and ready to stoke the flame that smolders between us. As long as this
Wright sister doesn’t betray me the way the last one did.

Then again, I always liked playing with fire.

Purchase Links
99c for a limited time
She climbed to her feet and leaned into him, tracing the
scar above his eye. “I like this scar.”
He chuckled and dropped his cheek into her hand. “Glad it
pleases someone. It didn’t feel too good when it happened.”
“I don’t like it because you were hurt. It’s just—it brought
you to me. And it reminds me that you’re not the same person I met years ago.
That we’ve both changed… However”—she grinned saucily—“scars are pretty
He tugged at her top and kissed her collarbone, tickling her
with his lips, because the naughty man had quickly discovered a sensitive spot.
“My scar looks hot, does it?”
She laughed as he continued to pepper her skin with light
kisses. She lifted her shoulder in defense. “Very sexy.” 
“Hmmm, don’t give me ideas, Emily, or I won’t let you go
Also Available
Men of Lake Tahoe Series

Author Bio

RITA-nominated author Jules Barnard began her publishing
career in 2014 with her first contemporary series, Men of Lake Tahoe, making it
onto romance bestseller lists. In 2015, she launched, Fates Divided,
the first of a romantic fantasy series Library Journal calls
“…an exciting new fantasy adventure.” Whether she’s writing about
sexy men in Lake Tahoe or a Fae world embedded in a college campus, Jules spins
addictive stories filled with heart and humor.
When she isn’t in her sweatpants writing and rewarding
herself with chocolate, Jules spends her time with her husband and two children
in their small hometown on the California coast. She credits herself with the
ability to read while running on the treadmill or burning dinner.
To learn more about Jules, visit her website at:
Sign up for Jules’s Newsletter and receive access to
FREE extra scenes!
Author Links