Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Review: The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare

Publication Date: August 22nd 2017 by Avon
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

About the book:

When girl meets Duke, their marriage breaks all the rules…

Since his return from war, the Duke of Ashbury’s to-do list has been short and anything but sweet: brooding, glowering, menacing London ne’er-do-wells by night. Now there’s a new item on the list. He needs an heir—which means he needs a wife. When Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter turned seamstress, appears in his library wearing a wedding gown, he decides on the spot that she’ll do.

His terms are simple:
- They will be husband and wife by night only.
- No lights, no kissing.
- No questions about his battle scars.
- Last, and most importantly… Once she’s pregnant with his heir, they need never share a bed again.

But Emma is no pushover. She has a few rules of her own:
- They will have dinner together every evening.
- With conversation.
- And unlimited teasing.
- Last, and most importantly… Once she’s seen the man beneath the scars, he can’t stop her from falling in love…
My Thoughts:
Tessa Dare’s writing is brilliant!  She’s one of my all-time favorite historical romance writers, so it’s no surprise that The Duchess Deal was utterly fun, with clever banter, but also emotional and touching. 

The Duke of Ashbury is a dark and difficult man after the war left him a scarred shell of his former self.  His fiancée could hardly bare to look at him so their engagement came to an end, but Ash still needs to produce an heir to inherit.  As he’s mulling this over, Emma crashes into his life, a seamstress demanding payment for his former fiancée’s wedding dress, and the solution seems to appear right before his eyes.

I had so much fun reading as this marriage of convenience inevitably turn into more.  Emma wants more than just a physical relationship, and that more gradually pierces Ash’s poor, scarred heart.  His insecurities over his injuries make it hard to believe that Emma could ever actually desire him, and Emma worries that if she falls in love she’ll get her heart trampled, as has happened in the past; so they each have hurdles to overcome. It took some time for the emotional barriers to come down, but their physical relationship turned hot right away.  In the interest of producing an heir neither holds back, and, oh my, did they burn up the sheets!  Pretty hard to keep someone at arm’s length when you’re lusting after them all the time!

Witty, hilarious, sizzling and emotional, The Duchess Deal was a splendid start to Tessa Dare’s newest series: Girl Meets Duke!

4.5 Suns

Connect with Tessa Dare:

Friday, August 18, 2017

Review: Before the Dawn by Cynthia Eden

Publication Date: July 25th 2017 by Harlequin Books
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

About the book:

The Killer Instinct series from New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Eden continues as an FBI profiler tracks a case that resurrects ghosts from his past

Ex-SEAL Tucker Frost knows that the world is full of evil. He saw it in the face of his own brother, Jason Frost, a cold, methodical, sadistic killer. A killer Tucker put down with his own hands in order to save Jason's final victim--Dawn Alexander, the only girl who got away from the infamous "Iceman."

It's Tucker's up close and personal experience with evil that's made him perfect for Samantha Dark's experimental profiling division in the FBI. And when women start turning up murdered with the same MO used by the Iceman, Tucker is sent back to Louisiana to investigate.

Seven years have passed since the night that Tucker faced down his brother...and since he last saw Dawn, his one-time lover. But as Tucker and Dawn grapple with a desire that never died, they must also face the shared shadow from their pasts. Both have the same question--has Jason Frost come back from the dead to hunt again? And this time, will he succeed in killing the victim who got away?
My Thoughts:
Cynthia Eden’s Killer Instinct series focuses on FBI Agents that have had up-close and personal relationships with killers.  Their dark pasts provide a unique perspective into the minds of killers, making them better at catching them. Or so they hope.

FBI agent Tucker Frost found out his brother, Jason Frost, was the infamous serial killer “The Iceman”, seven years ago, and killed him the same night to save his girlfriend, Dawn.  Dawn and Tucker couldn’t get past the tragedy, and parted ways.  Tucker wasn’t surprised, how could she look at his face, a face that closely resembled her torturer and not be scared?  But Tucker has never got over Dawn. 

Tucker left his heart and Louisiana soon after, but returns for a case when a woman is found murdered in the same way Iceman killed.  Is this the work of a copycat, or did Jason survive those bullets? Either way, Tucker must confront his past, because the victim turned up in the exact city where Dawn now lives.  Coincidence or sinister plan?

Dawn is the Iceman’s only survivor, but she no longer considers herself a helpless victim.  I admired the strength it took to cope and move on.  She’s worked hard to establish herself as a private investigator, earning a solid reputation for solving cases. Dawn’s street smart, and trained to defend herself, but finding out about a possible copycat rattles her, because Jason’s body was never found.  Even so, there’s no way she’ll stay on the sidelines of the investigation, even if Tucker wants her to keep safe.

Before the Dawn combines two of my favorite kind of stories: second chance romance and romantic suspense.  I know when I pick up a Cynthia Eden novel I’m guaranteed a sizzling romance and thrilling ride!  Even though I figured out the killer’s identity pretty early on it was still an exciting read; fast-paced, and full of action. This killer gets personal mighty quick, and it forces Tucker and Dawn to stick close, and overcome the past.  I love it when two people who should’ve been together get a second chance to make it right and get their HEA.  There are forces that try and separate and plant doubt between them, but I was pleased with this couple’s united front.  This romance doesn’t disappoint!

Cynthia Eden sets the stage for the next book in the series, Into the Night.  I know that Macey was a victim/survivor of a serial killer, but I’m not sure Bowen’s past. I’m looking forward to finding out!

4 Suns

Connect with Cynthia Eden:

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Review: Devil's Cut by J.R. Ward

Publication Date: August 1st by Ballantine Books
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

About the book:

In #1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward’s thrilling finale of the Bourbon Kings series, the Bradford family dynasty teeters on the edge of collapse after the murder of their patriarch—and a shocking arrest.

At first, the death of William Baldwine, the head of the Bradford family, was ruled a suicide. But then his eldest son and sworn enemy, Edward, came forward and confessed to what was, in fact, a murder. Now in police custody, Edward mourns not the disintegration of his family or his loss of freedom . . . but the woman he left behind. His love, Sutton Smythe, is the only person he has ever truly cared about, but as she is the CEO of the Bradford Bourbon Company’s biggest competitor, any relationship between them is impossible. And then there’s the reality of the jail time that Edward is facing.

Lane Baldwine was supposed to remain in his role of playboy, forever in his big brother Edward’s shadow. Instead he has become the new head of the family and the company. Convinced that Edward is covering for someone else, Lane and his true love, Lizzie King, go on the trail of a killer—only to discover a secret that is as devastating as it is game-changing.

As Lane rushes to discover the truth, and Sutton finds herself irresistibly drawn to Edward in spite of his circumstances, the lives of everyone at Easterly will never be the same again. For some, this is good; for others, it could be a tragedy beyond imagining. Only one thing’s for certain: Love survives all things. Even murder.
*****Spoilers ahead if you haven’t read the previous Bourbon Kings books.*****

Devil’s Cut was the perfect ending to J.R. Ward’s Bourbon Kings series. I loved how everything turned out for all couples, and the overall mystery of who killed William Baldwine.  

Lizzie and Lane are the heart and very center of the story, and I was pleased they faced all the problems as a united couple.  They had a personal issue that stirred up a little uncertainty between them, but nothing too worrisome.

I wasn’t really thrilled with Gin in the first book; she had so much opportunity with the wealth and privilege she grew up in and yet didn’t take responsibility or initiative in her own life.  By the second book Gin started making some positive changes, maturing, and I started to like her.  No longer was she just thinking of herself, or shallow vanities, her daughter become her priority, and she was finally willing to face the music with her past mistakes.  I really hoped for a HEA for her and Samuel T, but there was some danger due to her unfortunate marriage to Richard Pford in this installment, and I worried for Gin’s safety.  Gin and Samuel T’s storyline was the most exciting of the three couples to me.

With Edward in jail for the murder of his father, William, a future with Sutton seems impossible.  But I had faith J.R. Ward wouldn’t leave us hanging.  I really liked Sutton’s assertiveness, which is exactly what Edward needed. 

J.R. Ward’s love of the 80’s soap opera, Dynasty, inspired her to write this riveting trilogy.  Devil’s Cut was addictive, each chapter sort of ending in a little mini cliffhanger/hook so you want to keep reading to find out what happens.  Very reminiscent of Sandra Brown’s writing, or a TV commercial break during Dynasty.  I’ve enjoyed Ms. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series, but this series was a fun departure from what I’m used to with her.

4 Suns

About the Author
J. R. Ward is the author of more than thirty previous novels, including those in her #1 NYT bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood series. She lives in the South with her family.

Connect with J.R. Ward:
Facebook: J.R.WardAuthor • Twitter: @JRWard1 • Instagram: jrwardauthor • Website:

Monday, August 7, 2017

Excerpt & Giveaway: Chasing Red by Isabelle Ronin

Hello readers!  The lovely people of Sourcebooks Casablanca asked me to share in the new release of Isabelle Ronin's Chasing Red.  This story caught fire on Wattpad and now is releasing in an expanded print version for the first time on September 5th!  The story sounds amazing, just read the excerpt below!  In celebration of this new release Sourcebooks Casablanca is offering up a giveaway of an Autographed Print Copy of Chasing Red to one lucky reader, so make sure to scroll down to the bottom of the post and fill out the rafflecopter for a chance to win!

Chasing Red (Red #1) by Isabelle Ronin
Publication Date: September 5th 2017 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Purchase Links:

About the book:

Find out why millions of readers love Chasing Red

Chasing Red is the Wattpad phenomenon with over 130 million reads, and one million reads each week. Revised and with new original content, it will be published in two volumes, Chasing Red and Always Red. New readers and fans alike will fall in love with Red and Caleb--over and over again.

When cynical straight-A college student Veronica "Red" Strafford gets kicked out of her apartment, notorious basketball player Caleb Lockhart offers her a place to stay. Intensely drawn to her, Caleb wants something for the first time in his life. But Veronica's painful past makes trusting difficult, and her heart might just be the one thing Caleb can't win.

They said she was going to be my ruin...then let her ruin me.


This giveaway is for an Autographed Print Copy of Chasing Red by Isabelle Ronin.   The giveaway is open to US and CA residents only.  Fill out the rafflecopter below for a chance to win.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Review: Lucky Charmed by Sharla Lovelace

Publication Date: July 18th 2017 by Lyrical Press
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

About the book:

Charmed, Texas, is as warm and welcoming as it sounds. But even in a small town, when it comes to love, sometimes you’ve got to take the bitter with the sweet . . .

Carmen Frost hates honey. And bees. And in her hometown of Charmed, Texas, which practically invented the stuff, that’s a problem. The good news is that the summer Honey Festival is finally over. Even better, so is the annual Lucky Hart carnival, a road show that made off with her dreams years ago—including the boy she loved. Now she’s got a divorce behind her, and a successful law career in front of her, but in a tiny town, big memories die hard. Or they don’t die at all—as Carmen discovers when she runs into an all too familiar pair of eyes—older, wiser, and just as heart-melting as ever . . .

Sully Hart has had enough of the nomad lifestyle. Travelling with his father’s carnival gave him adventures, but it cost him much more. Now he’s home to stay, contracted to create an entertainment complex in Charmed. He wants roots, a house with a yard and all the mundane pleasures that go with it. But the girl he loved has become a woman who still wants freedom. Can she still want him? It seems he and Carmen are at each other’s throats one minute—and on each other’s lips the next. Someone’s gotta give . . .
My Thoughts:
Lucky Charmed was times fun, and sexy, but I didn’t love it like A Charmed Little Lie.  I won’t bother to summarize the story because the description does a good job of that. Instead, I’m just going to list what I liked and didn’t like about this installment.

What I liked:
Sully.  He was such a sweetheart and was back in Charmed to stake his claim on happiness. He was nice and professional to everyone in spite of the unfair treatment from those such as Carmen’s mom, and Dean, Carmen’s ex-husband.  I thought he was super patient to Carmen even though she was pretty hostile.  In her defense, she didn’t have the whole story so I can kind of give her a pass. Up to a point.

Sully and Carmen’s chemistry.  Every time she’d let her shields down they burned up the pages!

Even though Carmen was pretty upset with Sully, she came to his defense basically every time someone got critical.

I enjoyed how it all turned out.

What I didn’t like:
Carmen’s mom.  Seriously, this woman was something else. So critical of Sully when she had absolutely no reason to be! When everything was revealed I couldn’t believe that it was swept under the rug and forgiven so easily by Carmen!

Carmen’s ex-husband was a total piece of work, too! He had a sneaky part in the past, too, but things didn’t work out so well for him in the end, so there is that.

Carmen constantly running away from Sully, right when they were on the verge of getting close again, and finding out exactly why Sully left.  

Carmen hated on the town of Charmed for much of the book; talking about getting out of there every chance she got, then all of a sudden, she does a complete 180 turn around with her opinion at the end. I got tired of her negative attitude.

In spite of my issues, I did have fun with Lucky Charmed.  I’m looking forward to the next in the series: Once a Charmer out in October. 

3 Suns

Connect with Sharla Lovelace: