Thursday, February 28, 2013

Review: Lord of Darkness by Elizabeth Hoyt

He lives in the shadows. As the mysterious masked avenger known as the Ghost of St. Giles, Godric St. John's only goal is to protect the innocent of London. Until the night he confronts a fearless young lady pointing a pistol at his head-and realizes she is his wife . . .
Lady Margaret Reading has vowed to kill the Ghost of St. Giles-the man who murdered her one true love. Returning to London, and to the man she hasn't seen since their wedding day, Margaret does not recognize the man behind the mask. Fierce, commanding, and dangerous, the notorious Ghost of St. Giles is everything she feared he would be-and so much more . . .

When passion flares, these two intimate strangers can't keep from revealing more of themselves than they had ever planned. But when Margaret learns the truth-that the Ghost is her husband-the game is up and the players must surrender . . . to the temptation that could destroy them both.

The previous book in this series, Thief of Shadows, wasn't as enjoyable as I had hoped.  So I began Lord of Darkness with some trepidation, especially given that Godric St. John had been a minor character in previous books, and little was known about him.   I am so very glad I went into this book with an open mind.  

Godric St. John won me over.  100%.  

He's a very unusual hero: he's a widower, not particularly handsome, Megs even calls him old (Godric is 37), he loved his first wife, Clara, and loves her still -- desperately.  He's dark, moody, and not because it suits a purpose other than to comfort him because he is alone by choice.  Having been blackmailed in marrying Lady Margaret Reading, he's fine to go about his days while she lives in the country.  And he is above all a gentlemen who welcomes Megs to his London home as if she were merely on a shopping trip rather than a two-year absence.  

Megs has a single goal in mind when she returns to London: to find her deceased fiance's killer -- the Ghost of St. Giles.  She hangs on to what a life with Roger and their child might have been like, unable to move on.  Godric knows a portion of this pain, yet he is able to safely let go of his love for Clara and embrace a future with Megs.  

The subplot featuring Artemis Greaves, companion to Lady Penelope, and the Duke of Wakefield looks to be a good one.  Their story will play out in Duke of Midnight (October 2013). 

(A very special thank you to Forever Romance, Hachette Book Group, and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of Lord of Darkness.)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Review: The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan

She will not give up…

Three months ago, governess Serena Barton was let go from her position. Unable to find new work, she’s demanding compensation from the man who got her sacked: a petty, selfish, swinish duke. But it’s not the duke she fears. It’s his merciless man of business—the man known as the Wolf of Clermont. The formidable former pugilist has a black reputation for handling all the duke’s dirty business, and when the duke turns her case over to him, she doesn’t stand a chance. But she can’t stop trying—not with her entire future at stake.

He cannot give in…

Hugo Marshall is a man of ruthless ambition—a characteristic that has served him well, elevating the coal miner’s son to the right hand man of a duke. When his employer orders him to get rid of the pestering governess by fair means or foul, it’s just another day at the office. Unfortunately, fair means don’t work on Serena, and as he comes to know her, he discovers that he can’t bear to use foul ones. But everything he has worked for depends upon seeing her gone. He’ll have to choose between the life that he needs, and the woman he is coming to love…

Picking a favorite line from this book simply cannot be done.  The entire book is highlighted -- truth!  I began this book while working out, and I stayed on the elliptical longer so I could finish it.  I have so much love for The Governess Affair that I cannot adequately put it into words or form a coherent review.  And this has been my problem since I read the book in April. 

I will say this much:  if you like historical romances, if you ever wonder about the "downstairs" counterparts to the lords and ladies and dukes and duchesses, you should read this book.  I wouldn't steer you wrong.  You want to know all there is to know about Serena and Hugo.  

He liked her.  He admired her.  There was something about her that wouldn't leave him alone.        

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Review: Beach House No. 9 by Christie Ridgway

When book doctor Jane Pearson arrives at Griffin Lowell's beach house, she expects a brooding loner. After all, his agent hired her to help the reclusive war journalist write his stalled memoir. Instead, Jane finds a tanned, ocean-blue-eyed man in a Hawaiian shirt, hosting a beach party and surrounded by beauties. Faster than he can untie a bikini top, Griffin lets Jane know he doesn't want her. But she desperately needs this job and digs her toes in the sand.

Griffin intends to spend the coming weeks at Beach House No. 9 taking refuge from his painful memories-and from the primly sexy book doctor who wants to bare his soul. But warm nights, moonlit walks and sultry kisses just may unlock both their guarded hearts....

This is my first book by Ms. Ridgway, and I must say, it stuck with me long after I'd finished it.  Beach House No. 9 has romance at its core, but it's so much more than that.  

Griffin needs Jane's help; he just doesn't believe it.  Griffin has been contracted to write his memoir of his time imbedded with a squad in Afghanistan, yet he cannot overcome the bad memories in order to focus on the good ones.  Jane has a knack of getting to the heart of the problem with authors, but Griffin's problem is so much bigger than she's aware of.   They hurl insults at each other, all the while learning to depend on the other and reveal deeply hidden truths about themselves.  

The only aspect I didn't like was 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Review: Steel's Edge by Ilona Andrews

The Edge lies between worlds, on the border between the Broken, where people shop at Wal-Mart and magic is a fairy tale—and the Weird, where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny…

Charlotte de Ney is as noble as they come, a blueblood straight out of the Weird. But even though she possesses rare magical healing abilities, her life has brought her nothing but pain. After her marriage crumbles, she flees to the Edge to build a new home for herself. Until Richard Mar is brought to her for treatment, and Charlotte’s life is turned upside down once again.

Richard is a swordsman without peer, future head of his large and rambunctious Edger clan—and he’s on a clandestine quest to wipe out slavers trafficking humans in the Weird. So when his presence leads his very dangerous enemies to Charlotte, she vows to help Richard destroy them. The slavers’ operation, however, goes deeper than Richard knows, and even working together, Charlotte and Richard may not survive...

While I haven't loved every single moment of this series and all the characters it introduced, I am so sad that we won't have another full-length Edge book.  So although this is the end of the series, I still feel it went out a great note.  

Charlotte is an unbelievable character.  She's fully developed on the page, and I found myself rooting for her from the outset.  I wasn't as sold on Richard.  He's been mentioned throughout the series, starting with Bayou Moon, but he's not like the rest of his family.  Where Charlotte and Richard become equals is by their devotion, specifically to family.  Combined, they are a force to be reckoned with (or certainly Charlotte is).  

The one thing I didn't like is that the world isn't "ended" or made to be neat and tidy.  There's still badness within the Edge and abroad; there's still danger Rose, Jack, George, Sophie/Lark, Richard, and Charlotte must face -- but we aren't guaranteed a bird's eye view.   Still, a great urban fantasy series.     

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Review: Fated by Carly Phillips

New York Times bestselling author Carly Phillips presents a never-before-published novella set in a quaint upstate New York town—where Serendipity’s finest show exactly what they’re made of…

Kate Andrews is the original rebound girl. But she has had enough and has vowed to never be someone’s second choice again. Unfortunately, her undeniably intense desire for Nick Mancini is testing her best laid plans because Kate has carried a torch for Nick since high school—but she’s always been permanently in the friend zone.

Lately, Nick has definitely noticed Kate. Unfortunately he can't get her to take him seriously. He knows he's made some stupid moves in the past but he's determined to get Kate to act on their obvious and mutual attraction. However Kate's stubborn and she's been hurt before, which means Nick will have to pull out all the stops in order to convince her he's not the same boy she used to know, and she's not second best…

The backstory for Kate and Nick was revealed in Serendipity, and I think I would have preferred to have this novella released around the same time period.  While Fated was a short, quick read, it was nice to see Kate get her happily-ever-after with the man she's been in love with for such a very long time.    
(A very special thank you to Berkley Books, Penguin, and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of Fated.)

Review: Beach House Beginnings by Christie Ridgway

Christie Ridgway invites you to a special place of sun, sand and romance in her new series, Beach House No. 9. Enjoy this prequel novella and meet the people of Crescent Cove…

Two miles of magic. That's how Meg Alexander remembers her childhood home of Crescent Cove on the California coast. But Meg doesn't believe in magic anymore—not since heartbreak made her leave at nineteen and kept her away for ten years.

Yet Meg can't say no when her sister asks her to temporarily step in as the cove's property manager—and she can't deny her instant attraction to handsome guest Caleb McCall. He sparks a desire that Meg hasn't felt in a long time. But even as their incredible, incendiary kisses tempt her into a short-term fling, her head tells her to pull away.

Can Caleb convince her to give love a second chance?

Beach House Beginnings is a great introduction to Ms. Ridgway's upcoming trilogy.   We are transported to Crescent Cove and meet Meg Alexander, a woman who has returned to her childhood home reluctantly.    Caleb McCall is a man who wants to make a change in his life.  When he meets (or rather reconnects with) Meg, he knows she is what brought him to Beach House No. 9.  

There's an air of the magical around their connection, with coincidences that cannot be undone or ignored, though this novella and the upcoming trilogy are straight-up contemporary romances.  The only part I could have done without is

Monday, February 4, 2013

Best of 2012

While I didn't read as many books in 2012 as I read in 2011, there are still a number of books I loved.  I've listed those I consider amazing and awesomely good in alphabetical order.  


Silk is for Seduction is the first book I've read by Ms. Chase.  I first noticed it at the DABWAHA tournament.  I'm so glad I took a chance! 

Scandal Wears Satin was set up in Silk is for Seduction, but it was still a very good read on its own. 


I've discovered I cannot go wrong with Ms. Dare.  Of all her books, there have been only 3 I've felt "eh" toward.  Them's good odds!!  A Week to be Wicked has to be my absolute all-time favorite of hers though. 

The final book of Ms. Edwards' Rising Star Chef trilogy, I was so sad to see these characters go.  Beck was stand-offish yet loveable at the same time.  I was thrilled when Beck discovered he was exactly the kind of man he always wanted to be.   

The first book in a new series by Ms. Galen. This book was a real treat, and I'm very intrigued by the next two books.   

A Lady Awakened by Cecilia Grant

Baby tropes may be my favorite guilty pleasure in romances.  A Lady Awakened was recommended by Sarah at Smart Bitches, which is how I came to learn about it.  I may have to reread it so I can give it a proper review. 

Coming off a low point (for me) in this series with Serpent's Kiss, I was pleased that Oracle's Moon brought back what I'd originally loved: extraordinary characters.

The first in a new series by Ms. Heath.  I loved every angst-y moment of this book.  Unfortunately, the second book of the series doesn't measure up in my opinion.  But I loved She Tempts the Duke

Thief of Shadows was not my favorite book of Ms. Hoyt's, but I still enjoyed it enough to read it in a day.  Frustrating, especially when I wanted to savor the mysterious Winter Makepeace a little longer.  I am very intrigued by Ms. Hoyt's upcoming book, Lord of Darkness (February 2013).


A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James
When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James

I didn't formally review either of these books, but I sped through them quickly.  I'd never read Ms. James until these books.  I loved her voice as well as the structure and over-the-top-ness of these books.  

My main complaint about Ms. James is that she only releases one book a year.  I can't help myself; I can't put it down!  


I may have liked Blame it on Bath just a bit more than The Way to a Duke's Heart, though I did enjoy this entire series and the de Lacey Dilemma by Ms. Linden.  

My first book by Ms. Maclean, though I have her previous trilogy on my TBR pile at home.  I checked this book out from the library, and loved it!  Ooh, it's so good.  

The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan

There is too much I want to say about this novel(la), so I have yet to write a review.  I swear almost every line of dialogue is highlighted.  It's a problem, but a good problem to have, I think.  

The sixth book in Ms. Shalvis's Lucky Harbor series, Forever and a Day picks up with one of the Chocoholics, Grace, and Dr. Josh Scott.  It is my absolute favorite of this trilogy. 

Ms. Wilde ends her Jubilee, Texas trilogy on a high note in my opinion.  We've met Lisette throughout the course of the two previous novels, and she certainly shined in her own. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

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