Friday, May 25, 2018

Review of The Prince, A Devil's Duke Novel by Katharine Ashe

I absolutely loved this beautiful and original book by Katharine.  The amount of research that went into this story is amazing.  I expect no less from this author. This book is inspired by a real-life woman who disguised herself as a man to become a Doctor.  In the year 1825 in England woman were not allowed to have a trade, anything that was outside of their homes was considered too complex for the fragile feminine brain.  There was a lot of woman with more intelligence than men, but they were considered abnormal or a bluestocking to be avoided at all costs.  This is not to say that there were no enlightened men, but they were few and far between. 

Libby Shaw is a young lady determined, she is a force to be reckoned with.  The daughter of a Doctor who grew up without the influence of a mother.  Libby is going to become the best surgeon in Edinburgh, Scotland or die trying.  

She has been fascinated with medicine and the human body since she was old enough to understand what her father did for a living.  She went with him to house calls and assisted him in his office.  When her father leaves her in Edinburgh with friends while he accepts a year-long post in London,  she decides it is time to begin her education as a surgeon.  She disguises herself as a man to attend lectures and wants to be accepted as a student of a surgeon.  To pull off her disguise she must live someone who knows she is a girl and can keep her secret.   

Ziyaeddin Mirza is a deposed Prince of Tabir,  a small Middle Eastern country.  He was forced to flee with his mother as a child when his father was killed in a coup.  He has been waiting for the moment when he can go back and take his place on the throne and rescue his sister.  For now, he must bide his time and having discovered a rare and wonderful talent, he paints portraits and is very popular and sought after.  When he sees Libby disguised as a man at a surgeons theater watching a human dissection he is intrigued.  They met briefly years ago and he was fascinated by her and as an artist obsessed with capturing her image, especially her lips, which he could never get right.  Now she has an outrageous plan to become a medical student and she needs his help.  She convinces him to let her live with him disguised as a man and he agrees knowing that it is the only way to keep an eye on her and keep her out of trouble.

Ziyaeddin is determined to resist Libby's siren call and protect her from his desire for her.  Libby has other ideas.  She wants him and she never gives up when she wants something.  When Ziyaeddin has to go to London for a few days, Libby is left alone in the house. Libby doesn't do well with sudden changes, she has had episodes of irrational behavior when she feels compelled to do everything exactly right and will keep doing it again and again until she gets it right.  If she can't she shuts down goes inside herself until she can cope again.  When Ziyaeddin returns and finds her crawled up in a ball in his bed he realizes how much he loves her.  Libby is astounded that Ziyaeddin understands what is happening to her and wants to help her any way he can.   What Libby experiences is like an anxiety attack.  In 1825 Doctors called these episodes hysteria, which would get you declared insane and put in Bedlam.  

I already have given away more of the plot than I usually do in my reviews, but what Libby goes through is an important part of the love story.  Libby knows that he will have to leave to go back to his country.  Ziyaeddin has commitments that require his presence in his homeland.  Will this be the end of their love affair?  There is so much more to this story than I can ever explain in a review.  It is a riveting read from beginning to end.  If you have never read a book by Katharine, this is the one you should start with, even though it is the fourth book in the series.   I guarantee you will be hooked like I am.  Katharine weaves a tale of two people who should never have even met in the normal course of their lives and the journey they take will affect more than just them.  Katharine is an amazing talent in the Historical Romance Genre and every book she writes is more creative and ingenious than the last.  This book is a must-read!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Review of Lord of Pleasure by Erica Ridley Book Two in the Rogues to Riches Series

I thought the first book in this Series was going to be my favorite, this one is even better,  Hard to believe, I know.  Camellia and Michael's story is wonderful.  Cameillia is a wallflower who has never stepped into the light,  She is the oldest of three girls.  She loves her younger sisters and will do anything for them. If that means marrying an older man and moving away from the only home that she has ever known, it is what she will do, even if it is breaking her heart.

Michael Rutland, Earl of Wainwright is a man misunderstood.  Sure he loves women and makes sure every one of them walks away from his bed pleasured and satiated.  He has never been in love.  The Ton and Scandal sheets only see the fun-loving Gentleman.  He is much more.  He takes his Title and responsibilities seriously.  Is active in The House of Lords and he enjoys the respect and admiration of his close friends, even though they love to rib him about always being in the Scandal Sheets. Cameillia despises him because of a careless remark that hurts her younger sister.  

Camellia is determined to enjoy the last month at home and her younger sisters talk her into going to a masque ball that no proper young lady would be caught dead at.  Wearing a beautiful risque dress and a facemask she arrives at the ball.  She is immediately accosted by a drunk.  Another man comes to her rescue and she is immediately enchanted.  He is well built, has wonderful manners and makes her feel beautiful like a Princess. They spend the rest of the evening talking about things that she has never told anyone else and he makes her promise to come back next week.

Michael has never met a woman like her.  There is something about her that enchants him and he doesn't want her to leave.  He tells her about his parents, which he never talks about to anyone.  He misses them every day and the love that was a daily part of his family life.  He talks her to coming back the next week.

They meet three more times and fall in love, even though they do not know each other without their masks on.  Michael wants to find out her identity and convince her to marry him.  She accidentally finds out who he is and is appalled that she could love a man like him.  She has been a fool.  One result of the month is that she has decided that she is not going to marry the man her parents want her to.  She is going to do what makes her happy and make sure her sisters are too.  Michael is desperate to find out who she is, he loves her and will not stop until he finds her.

Erica has written a wonderful love story that reminds me of the tale of Cinderella.  Her characters are marvelously flawed and lovable.  I also loved the sisters and the Rogues who will get their own stories.  I have the next two books in the Series and cannot wait to read them.  I highly recommend Erica's books.

Review of The M├ęsalliance (Rockliffe Book 2) Audiobook by Stella Riley Narrated by Alex Wyndham

The second book in the Rockliffe Series features Tracy Wynstanton, Duke of Rockliffe aka Rock.  I enjoyed this book very much.  I have always preferred The Regency Period and never really read any books that took place in The Georgian Period.  I find I like this time period for the same reasons that Stella does.  The men are sexier and masculine in their wardrobes and Stella's descriptions are like the cream on top of the ambrosia. 

Rock is a Duke whose gravitas makes him a figure to be admired by men and women alike. He has a wicked wit with a mischievousness that his friends encourage.  He is a perfect Gentleman who will protect his family with his life.  He is handsome and charming on the outside with a heart of gold hidden beneath his lace and brocade.  A side that he shows only to his family and closest friends.  He has never had a serious romantic relationship with any proper lady.  He realizes that now at the age of
36 he must start looking for his Duchess.  His requirements for a wife are simple, be well bred with the grace to be his partner in promoting and protecting his Dukedom and advancing the causes that are important to both of them.  She must be willing to chaperone his younger sister through Society and most of all, SHE MUST NOT BORE HIM.  The last requirement is going to be difficult.  He has no interest in empty-headed chits.

He younger sister Nell is so excited that her brother is chaperoning her to the house party of her friend Diana.  Rock is not impressed with Diana and most of the guests at the party.  Two weeks of hell!! The lady of the house was a simpering sycophant that Rock planned on avoiding at all costs.  Matchmaking mothers are to be avoided at all costs.  When he is introduced to the lady's companion he is intrigued. He knows her, he encountered her numerous times while out riding in the country.  She was young, vivacious, and full of life.  Time has not been kind to her.  He is surprised in the change in her, now a poor relation with a spiteful tongue.  He is intrigued and is determined to bring her out of the shadows and find out what happened to her.

Adeline wants nothing to do with anyone at the party and especially Rock.  She is not the same young girl she was years ago.  Life has not been kind to her, an orphan who now exists on the perimeters of dead mothers family.  Her Aunt and Cousin have drained any desire for life with their constant cruelties, insults and forced servitude.  She has learned the best way to survive is to be invisible.  Now Rockliffe remembers her and is making her life difficult.

When Adeline's aunt informs the guests that the party will have an odd number of ladies due to one of the guests declining due to illness.  Rock immediately suggests that Adeline could even up the numbers and insists that she be able to join the party.  Adeline is furious with Rock for bringing her out of the background.  Her Aunt and Cousin Diana are going to make her sorry.  Diana is a spoiled, selfish, spiteful brat that knows the world revolves around her and is livid at Adeline.  Rock knows exactly what kind of young lady is and wants nothing to do with her.  Diana is furious that Rock is paying more attention to his mouse of a cousin then her.  She decides it is time for Rock to make her his Duchess and sets up a trap for him that will result in her being compromised and he will have to marry her.  Only Adeline finds out about it and rescues Rock.  Diana is beyond angry and attacks Adeline after Rock has left the room.  When Rock comes back to check in on her, he is furious at her condition and tries to help her repair her gown.  Impulsively he drops a brief kiss on her lips and of course, that's when they are discovered. 

Rock is surprised how much he wants her and he really does want to marry her.  Adeline is confused, and afraid but agrees to the marriage.  Rock has never felt this way about a young lady before and is finding himself looking forward to all that this marriage will bring to both of them.  He knows that Adeline needs time to adjust to her new life and he agrees to delay the consummation until they know each other better.  Adeline is overwhelmed by his generosity, kindness, and respect.  She begins to believe that she could love him and be very happy. 

When Adeline's evil Uncle reveals something horrible about her mother she is shocked and pays him the money he demands to keep him from telling Rock.  It will destroy her and her marriage and she will do anything to protect Rock.  Things go progressively downhill from there.  Rock doesn't understand why she is pulling away from him and she won't talk to him.  He has such high hopes for this marriage and he suspects that Adeline is being threatened but she won't tell him.  They grow farther and farther apart and comes to a climax in a way that could be the end of any chance of a happy ending. 

Stella writes a stunningly beautiful story full of heartbreaking sorrow, and a love that will make you laugh and weep.  I loved the last few chapters when Rock opened himself up and let the world know how much he loved Adeline and will ruin anyone who hurt her.  You see a side of him that he has kept hidden away, how deeply he can love and how he will do anything to keep Adeline and make her happy.  I am actually tearing up thinking about the way Stella let Rock reveal his love for Adeline.  I highly recommend this book and I cannot wait for the next one.  Of course, listening to Alex Wyndham brings the book to life in a way only he can do.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Review of The Parfit Knight Audiobook by Stella Riley narrated by Alex Wyndham

This is my first Stella Riley novel and now I cannot wait to listen to the next one!  I will admit that I had to look up the word Parfit and it describes The Marquis of Amberley to perfection, a chivalrous knight. He is an honorable gentleman who happens to be handsome, wealthy, charming and witty. Having been out of England for an extended time he must leave London and it's amusements to meet with his man of business to discharge his duties to his estates.  On his way, his coach is waylaid by highwaymen, his coachman is shot and must have medical care immediately. The first shelter they encounter is a manor house and are welcomed in and a doctor fetched for his coachman.  Oh and it is snowing so hard that by the next day the roads with unpassable.  When he meets the young lady who lives there with her servants he is stunned, she is the most beautiful woman he has ever encountered.

Rosalind Vernon has lived in isolation since she was injured in an accident when she is a child, that left her blind. She is now twenty-two and has never been away from her home. When she meets the Marquis she is beyond excited.  She will finally have someone to talk to besides her dedicated servants. Her brother is almost always away from home and she is lonely. 

When Dominic meets Rosalind he is enchanted by her.  Due to the storm, he can't leave and he finds himself not wanting to.  He doesn't see her blindness as a handicap and encourages her to do somethings she hasn't done since she lost her sight.  He teaches her to dance, he takes her outside to enjoy the fresh air. He reads to her every night and they form a close friendship that is rapidly turning into something more.

When he discovers how she lost her sight he is horrified.  Stunned by her revelation he knows that he must leave her and it is breaking his heart.  Rosalind feels like she has not since she was a child.  She looks forward to seeing Dominic every day and never thought that she would ever find love.  Then he announces that he has to leave, she is devastated and thinks that she did something wrong.  He assures her that it is because he has estate business that is months overdue.  But instead of saying goodbye he says, Au Revoir.

The next time he sees her she is in London at a ball.  What follows is a plethora of misunderstandings that strive to keep them apart engineered by a thoughtless and cruel young man who finds himself in peril and sees Rosalind as the answers to his problems.

There are wonderful secondary characters that are intricate to the story and some of them, I hope will have their own books. Stella's books are going to become an addiction that I will gladly embrace.  I love how her stories are so historically accurate, the descriptions of the time period are impressive.  There is a lot of research that goes into this beautiful story.  Rosalind and Dominic are marvelous characters that you will fall for and cheer them on to their HAE. Alex Wyndham's narration is the icing on the cake.

I would like to thank Carol Cork and Wendy Loveridge for introducing me to Stella's books and audiobooks featuring Alex Wyndham.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a truly stunning love story that will make you laugh and cry.  On to the next one in the series!!!

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Review of The Luck of the Bride by Janna MacGregor

Another amazing book in The Cavensham Heiresses Series. Janna is a remarkable new talent in the Historical Romance Genre. This is her third book in the Series and my favorite. Her characters are amazing, her stories are full of heartache, courage, loyalty, and love. March and Michael are both responsible for their families and will do anything to keep them safe and happy. They both have secrets that could ruin them and destroy everything they hold dear. Both are strong, stubborn people who have to overcome their fears and trust each other. This one is a tear-jerker, have tissues handy. I absolutely recommend Janna's books!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Review of A Gentleman Never Surrenders by Lauren Smith

Sins and Scandals Book 2

A Gentleman who inherits a bankrupt estate has only one choice, he must marry an heiress.  A young lady with a large dowry knows that she is only being pursued by fortune hunters.  This is the story of a man who has tried to court young ladies honorably, but his reputation precedes him and no heiress will have anything to do with him.  Owen Hadley doesn't have a choice anymore, he will have to compromise an heiress and get caught to save his beloved home. 

The lady he chooses happens to be the younger sister of Mildred Pepperwirth.  Milly is an heiress who has perfected the art of being cold and unapproachable.  She doesn't flirt, dance or do anything that would cause a fortune hunter to pursue her.   The result is that men don't bother trying to court her, which is fine with her.  She has big plans and they don't include marrying a man who just wants her money.

When she finds out that Owen Hadley is going to be at the house party where her younger sister Rowena will make her debut in Society, she is on alert.  She knows that Owen is a rake and fortune hunter and will protect her little sister and do anything she has to to keep Owen away from Rowena.

Owen has a plan, he will find out what room Rowena is staying in, crawl into her bed and wait to be discovered.   He knows that is the only way he can achieve his goal of restoring his home to its former glory.  Only he picks the wrong room and winds up in Milly's bed.  They have to marry and the adventure begins. 

Milly is enraged that she has to marry Owen and will fight him all the way.  Owen wants to have a happy marriage and will do all he can to make Milly not regret their marriage.

I absolutely loved this book.  I actually listened to the Audiobook and then read the Kindle edition, just to make sure I didn't miss any of Lauren's wonderful story.  She is an amazing talent who makes her characters marvelously lovable, complex and lifelike.  A truly lovely story that will pull you into Owen's and Milly's journey through the ups and downs of a marriage that will test their hearts and hopefully bring them the joy of a HAE.  

I recommend this book, Lauren is an author not to be missed.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Review of After the Wedding by Courtney Milan

To say this is one of the best books I have read this year is an understatement.  I really don't even know where to start.  First,  I am pretty sure this is the first Historical Romance I have read where a hero is a black man. Second, the story has so many profound messages that I don't know if I can name all of them. Third, after reading this book, this must be how a foster child would feel being sent from person to person until all they have left is hope,  that is what it reminded me of, you might see and feel a different message.

I cried a lot while reading this book, I admit I am a big softie, but what Camilla goes through is tragic, heartbreaking and beautiful.  Adrian Hunter is just the man to love Camilla for a lifetime.  He is a Gentleman to his bones, he loves his family and wants nothing but to make them happy.  If you read the first two books in "The Worth Series" you have met Camilla.  

What I received from reading this book is that you should never give up hope that you will find love and in the most unexpected places.  Family is family, you may never get along all the time but if you need to go home, they are always there for you.  Sometimes you have to take a journey on your own to find what life gives you and for you to realize that you had it in you all along.

This is must read this book for all Historical Romance Readers and Writers!