Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Review: The Temptation of Laura by Rachel Brimble

Paperback246 pages
Published February 1st 2014 
by Kensington Publishing Corporation 
(first published January 1st 2014)
My Rating: 
Genre: Historical Romance

Laura Robinson has always been dazzled by the glamour of the stage. But perhaps acting and selling one’s favors are not so different—for Laura must feign pleasure with the men she beds to survive. Now, with her only friend at death’s door and a ruthless pimp at her heels, escaping her occupation seems impossible. Hoping to attract a gentleman, she attends the theater. Yet the man Laura captivates is no customer, but a rising star and playwright…

Adam Lacey has been driven to distraction since the moment he saw Laura. She is his ideal leading lady come to irresistible life—and so much more. Certain they can make the perfect team on and off stage, he is determined to win her heart—and discover her story. But that is precisely what Laura fears. And she has no idea that Adam harbors shameful secrets of his own. Will the truth free them to love—or destroy all their dreams…?

This was a very refreshing read. I don't think I've encountered many historical romances that don't feature members of the aristocracy (or of the the upper classes) in historical romances set during this time--which if this reader is right, is the Victorian era. Our heroine is a former prostitute who is attempting to better her lot in life, and has dreams of one day performing on the stage. Our hero is clearly from the upper classes, but has rejected the society in which he was raised, and is instead pursuing a life as both an actor and a writer of plays. 

I therefore love it. I am always delighted to happen on romances that are daring in this way, especially in historicals--possibly because historical romances are my favourite in the genre. Laura is a spitfire. She's had to carve her life out of nothing, and has been able to leave the lifestyle she had been raised to, and is managing to survive and provide for her ailing best friend Bette. Even though she lives in poverty and her friend is seriously ill, Laura manages to dream and to hold her head high. She seeks employment at the theater as a vendor, and it's there that she captures the attention of Adam Lacey, the star of the show. 

Adam, despite being a handsome actor, is falling on hard times. With the play about to end, and no work lined up, he has little prospects. But he does have a play he's written himself--and once he sees Laura, he knows he can bring it to life, if he can find a backer. Which isn't easy. And this is what I loved about this novel. There were no easy answers to the hardships faced by these characters. They both have to work hard to live, and make choices that hurt them as well, but which they hope will bring them to a better end. It's a darker read for historical romance, but it has characters that are innately kind and good, which lends it an air of hopeful light that I found refreshing and uplifting.  For those of you daring to sample something a little different in your historical romances, I'd recommend this novel. It proved an invigorating read.

I would like to thank the author for providing me with a copy of the novel, in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Review: Beguiled by Her Betrayer by Louise Allen

Paperback288 pages
Published July 15th 2014 
by Harlequin 
(first published January 1st 2014)
My Rating: 
Genre: Historical Romance


Falling unconscious in the Egyptian sand at Cleo Valsac's feet is not part of Lord Quintus Bredon Deverall's plan. He's supposed to be whisking this young widow away from her father's dusty camp and back to England—to her aristocratic grandfather and a respectable husband. 

Despite Cleo's strong-willed nature, she can't help but feel comforted by Quin's protective presence. But she has no idea of this wounded stranger's true identity…or of the passion that will begin to burn between them under the heat of the desert sun!

I was swept away by this novel. Utterly and completely swept away. I read it in one day. The setting was new and refreshing for a historical romance, and the characters and plot were sharply written. It made for a reading experience that was awing and richly enjoyable. I want to read this book all over again. 

I adored Quin. He appears reserved in many ways, but he's also daring.  If I had to pick one word to describe him, I would say honourable. The cuckoo in the nest of an aristocrat, Quin is determined to make his own place in the society in which he was raised, with a title and land of his own. He also wants to do right by Cleo, who he both admires and respects, but he feels he needs to keep his promise to return her safely to her grandfather even though he knows that it is the last thing Cleo wants. 

Our heroine has led a very unconventional for the granddaughter of a duke. Born raised in the east, she is used to hard work, and she is also used to being unloved. When Quin arrives, she sees him as an inconvenience, someone she'll have to tend to until he's well enough to move on. She never expected him to be her salvation, her ticket to freedom. But that is what Quin becomes because his arrival means that she and her father will be moving from Egypt. Unfortunately, Quin doesn't deliver her freedom in exactly the way she expected. Cleo yearned for independence, and being molded into the granddaughter of a duke doesn't fit who she is at all. 

I absolutely loved the conflict in this novel. I wanted to applaud Cleo for fighting as hard as she does throughout the whole novel, and I wanted to kiss Quin for realizing that Cleo was far more important than the perfectly planned life he had aspired to, and for making Cleo his in such a romantic (if scandalous) way--it gave me that lovely le sigh feeling. The lush setting, sharp writing and polished characters made this a read I will return to again and again.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Review: Captured by Moonlight by Nancy Gideon

Paperback368 pages
Published July 27th 2010 
by Pocket Books
Series: Moonlight, #3
My Rating: 
Genre: Paranormal Romance


Detective Charlotte Caissie is growing used to the secrets that come with loving the mysterious leader of a shape-shifter clan. But that doesn’t mean she has to like it. She’s avoided complications of the heart all her life, but when it comes to irresistible Max Savoie, she’ll force the truth out of him if she has to.


Hunted by the deadly trackers his nefarious father warned him about, Max is transforming into a preternatural force he can’t explain and Cee Cee will never understand. He’s tempting the dangerous limits of their love, but it’s her curiosity that could get them both killed. WILL THEY EVER REALLY BE TOGETHER?

When Max discovers the enemy’s true target is someone far more vulnerable than he, he must do the unthinkable to save his own flesh and blood. But he can’t fight this battle alone, and Cee Cee faces the ultimate test of loyalty: the man she’d sacrifice everything for . . . or the laws she swore her life to protect.

The third book in this series made for delicious reading. But then, every book in this book so far as made for delicious reading. I love Nancy Gideon's writing style, and the characters in this series are vivid and compelling. 

Something is going on with Max in this novel. He's at war with his shifter side, feeling wild primal urges and as a result, he's afraid for Charlotte. He knows he could hurt her, and Max would never survive if Cee Cee came to any harm. If she was hurt because of him, well, I don't know what Max would do, nor do I even want to imagine it. I love how passionately in love Max is with Cee Cee, how unconditional and consuming that love is. It makes me melt. 
Start with Book One!

Cee Cee has no idea what is going on with Max. She fights him because she knows he's not himself, but I have to admire her strength in not doubting him, and in staying with him even through the worst. In demanding that she be his one and only knowing that the consequences could be deadly for her. Girl's got courage in a big way. 

The end of the novel made me want to cry, and added on an unexpected layer. Because there's no denying that Charlotte is now...different. We don't get a lot of clues about this, but something is different in Cee Cee, which leaves us with questions. And what has happened to Cee Cee isn't the only question we are left with. I'm dying to find out more about Oscar, his connection to Max, and the Trackers.

I adore finding out out more about this world. The story is being developed with layers that are intiguing and leave you wanting more. Each book is richly depicted and palatable with emotion. Nancy Gideon has crafted novels that are pure reading pleasure, and I cannot get enough of this wonderful series.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Review: Hillbilly Rockstar by Lorelei James

Paperback400 pages
Published August 5th 2014 
by NAL Trade
Series: Blacktop Cowboys, #6
My Rating: 
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance

Country music star Devin McClain understands there’s a downside to life in the public eye, but the laidback Wyoming cowboy has never imagined he’d attract crazed fans who would do anything to garner his attention. When veiled threats become real, he agrees to hire a discreet security detail. But Devin is shocked when that bodyguard is a hard-bodied woman. He’s even more stunned to be attracted to the steely-eyed stunner.

Former soldier Liberty Masterson’s return to civilian life has been wrought with challenges until she lands a job with a prestigious security firm. But when she agrees to provide personal protection during a cross-country tour, she doesn’t realize she has signed up to masquerade as the playboy star’s girlfriend. Though she’s more comfortable in combat boots than high heels, she has no choice but to appear to be the sexy groupie Devin prefers.

Living in close quarters causes the chemistry between them to ignite, and Devin realizes he wants to turn their charade of a romance into reality. Although Liberty surrenders to his every whim behind closed doors, she fears the sexy country star doesn’t see the real her; and Devin can’t help but worry when the tour ends that there might not be enough between them to build something that won’t fade away...

Lorelei James is an author I was introduced to some years ago, and I was thoroughly impressed with how much romance she infused into her erotic romances. And this one is no different--the main characters are well developed, they clearly have strong feelings for another and the bedroom antics are, as usual with Lorelei James, smokin'.

Devin is a sweetheart--he isn't at all an arrogant rock star, which you might expect when a character is a celebrity. But he instead he's a good ol' boy, with charm and old fashioned pride which made him so easy to like. Add in the things he gets up to in the bedroom and he's a rockin' hot hero. I liked that it was Devin who was the first to really admit his feelings in this relationship, and the one to pursue it even when it seemed that his life and Liberty's life were so different. 

I've noticed that Lorelei James likes to craft very strong, independent heroines, and Liberty is no different. She's got something of a mouth on her, but she's also vulnerable at times and well balanced, not afraid to get in Devin's face--which made her very attractive to him. And which made her a lot of fun to read. I was glad she wasn't stupidly stubborn about her conviction that she and Devin couldn't realistically build a life together, something some heroines are which tends to get a bit exasperating. 

The story had a bit of suspense element to it that keeps you wondering throughout who is targeting Devin, and why. It's not however the focus of the book, but it added a refreshing element to an erotic romance--at least in my reading experience. So, all in all, this book had it all--tight, logical plot, great character development and erotic romance that did leave me feeling warm and fuzzy. So why only the three star rating? I think that's because that's all I really experienced--a warm and fuzzy feeling. I can't honestly say I went in with certain expectations that weren't met, but the novel didn't wow me. I like to be wowed, or at least highly entertained and in the case of this book, I didn't get exactly those things in the dosage that I needed. 

Overall, a well written erotic romance with some refreshing elements make this a thoroughly hot novel. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Review: Archer's Voice by Mia Sheridan

Kindle Edition345 pages
Published January 25th 2014
My Rating:
Genre: Contemporary Romance

When Bree Prescott arrives in the sleepy, lakeside town of Pelion, Maine, she hopes against hope that this is the place where she will finally find the peace she so desperately seeks. On her first day there, her life collides with Archer Hale, an isolated man who holds a secret agony of his own. A man no one else sees.

Archer's Voice is the story of a woman chained to the memory of one horrifying night and the man whose love is the key to her freedom. It is the story of a silent man who lives with an excruciating wound and the woman who helps him find his voice. It is the story of suffering, fate, and the transformative power of love.

I seriously loved this book. It had a wonderful premise, was well written and beautifully told. I will be reading more by Mia Sheridan. Archer's Voice touched me in its constancy and depiction of unconditional, true love. 

The story begins with Bree escaping a traumatic event, and the loss of her father. She finds a little lakeside town and begins forming relationships with the friendly locals. The break and quieter setting are exactly what she needs. One local that especially catches her attention is Archer Hale. Archer is mute, and Bree feels connected to him because her father was deaf, and she reaches out to Archer, hoping to strike up a friendship with him. Archer is at first cautious of her, but slowly they begin to spend time together. 

And it isn't long before things start to sizzle up. It was wonderful seeing Archer, who was a damaged character, come into his own. Because of Bree, he dared to begin leaving his home and start building a life for himself. And with Bree, Archer begins to heal from a long ago trauma. He also helps Bree move beyond her flashbacks and fears, and to move forward when the investigation into her father's death picks up again. Archer is also forced to make hard decisions about his life with Bree--choices that hurt Bree, but in the end proved that this couple was fated. Considering how broken these characters were, and the ups and downs they face as a couple, this novel might as read as angsty--but it totally didn't. Everything Bree and Archer endured was realistic, and I thought dealt with maturely. 

I loved this couple together, and I loved the story. It had some heartbreaking moments, ups and downs, but through it all, Bree and Archer are honest with one another, give each time and space and find their way back to one another despite the odds that seem to be against them. And if you are looking for a sweet hero, you'll be hard pressed to find one sweeter than Archer Hale.

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