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I Heart Romance

Registered Nurse by day | Romance Reader by night

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A Moment of Passion by Jess Michaels | Book Review

A Moment of Passion (The Ladies Book of Pleasures) - Jess Michaels

Series: The Ladies Book of Pleasures #2
Published by Samhain Publishing on 2014-10-14
Genres: Erotic Romance, Historical Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley

 

A Moment of Passion by Jess Michaels is the second book of The Ladies Book of Pleasures series and tells the story of Miss Jacinda Downing, a spinster brought to scandal by actions of a rogue who refused to marry her. Living in scandal, she is an unwanted companion to her Aunt Cornelia. She does have friends in the widowed Lady Grace and Lady Isabel (A Matter of Sin, Ladies book of Pleasures #1).

 

On her surprise birthday party, she is gifted by an anonymous person a scandalous book called The Ladies Book of Pleasures. Encouraged by her friends to read it, she does but is caught by the depraved Duke of Carnthron. He proposes that she becomes his mistress and she flatly denies him. Jason, the Earl of Northfield, a close friend of her brother, and someone she loved from a far since childhood comes to her rescue and proposes to help her find a husband. Jacinda bargains and asks him to teach her to be a mistress instead. So starts the romantic, steamy, and sizzling romance between Jacinda and Jason.

 

Although I liked Jason and Jacinda together, this book didn’t connect with me as much as I wanted it to. I thought that the reason behind Jason’s avoidance of love wasn’t as explored as I wanted it to be.

 

The story felt a little bit rushed to me and despite it being well written, I wasn’t wowed as I was with the first book, A Matter of Sin.

 

I am however, looking forward to the third book in the series, A Measure of Deceit!

The Earl’s Mistress by Liz Carlisle | Book Review

The Earl's Mistress - Liz Carlyle

Series: MacLachlan Family & Friends #10
Published by Avon Books, HarperCollins on 2014-08-26
Genres: Erotic Romance, Historical Romance, Regency Romance, Victorian Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss

 

Isabella Aldridge is in dire straights.  After being let go from her latest post, she is having problems landing a new one, owing to the fact that she is very pretty.  Her last interview did not go very well when she was propositioned by the Earl of Hepplewood to be his mistress instead of his governess.  Spitting mad, she refuses the offer, no matter that she still has two siblings to raise and to protect from her lecherous cousin.  Still desperate, she rethinks the mistress situation and asks help from her former employer, who was a courtesan, La Seductrice.  She makes inquiries and unknowingly pairs Isabelle with the Earl!  Without any other options, Isabelle agrees but then discovers the sexual depravity of the Earl.  When Isabelle responds to his sexual demands, a fine line between pleasure/pain ensues.  And when Isabelle’s family is threatened, Tony will do anything in his power to protect the woman he loves.

 

I really don’t know how to review this book.  To say this book is a shocker is an understatement!  I mean, I read erotic romance (in fact, I enjoy them!) but what shocked me is that I wasn’t expecting this book to be an erotic romance!  I honestly do not have problems with the unexpected BUT this book does veer from Ms. Carlyle’s usual historical romances.  To be honest, I had a hard time connecting with the hero and heroine at all.  I didn’t feel any emotion at all, other than the S&M aspect.  It wasn’t the sex scenes that did me in, I think it was the unexpected shock of reading this type of romance by Ms. Carlyle.

 

This book was an easy enough read for me, but I honestly had a hard time finishing it.  Fortunately, I did because it does get better, if you overlook the S&M, pseudo-masochist aspect of it.

 

The Earl’s Mistress feels like an erotic romance.  There is some graphic sex and S&M in the book.  Although there are scenes like this, it does not overpower the whole book.

Wild by Sophie Jordan | Book Review

Wild - Sophie Jordan

Series: The Ivy Chronicles #3
Also in this series: Foreplay, Tease
Published by Avon Books, Harper Collins on 2014-11-18
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss

 

Wild by Sophie Jordan is the third book in The Ivy Chronicles series. This is the first book in the series that I read and can be read as a stand-alone. Characters from the previous two books pop in and out all throughout the book but they do not add to any confusion if you haven’t read the other books.

 

I initially read this book because I was interested about the plot. Who doesn’t want to read about a good girl paired with a bad boy? I also do not read a lot of contemporary romance and surprisingly, I enjoyed this book! I love the balance between Georgia and Logan. Of course, the age difference between the two (Georgia is a few years older than Logan) adds a new angle to the good girl/bad boy trope. Despite Georgia being the older of the two, Logan seems to be more mature than she is. I love how Logan’s back story revealed the responsible man that he is and not the devil may care playboy that everyone believes him to be.

 

I was a little annoyed at Georgia, though. She wasn’t what I would call an awesome heroine. She was, as the blurb said: ‘Boring. Predictable. Tame.” Although I didn’t like her as much, I thought she was a good match for Logan and by the end of the book, she was able to stand up for herself.

 

Definitely a must read, Wild is a steamy NA romance perfect for reading before school starts!

 

eARC Provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Foreplay by Sophie Jordan | Book Review

Foreplay - Sophie Jordan

Series: The Ivy Chronicles #1
Also in this series: Wild, Tease
Published by HarperCollins on 2013-11-05
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

 

I was really surprised that I enjoyed Wild (Ivy Chronicles #3) by Sophie Jordan.  So much so that I read the whole series!  I really loved the story of the three best friends: Pepper, Emerson and Georgia!

 

Foreplay, focuses on Pepper’s love story to bar tender/owner Reece.  When shy Pepper finds out that the love of her life, her best friend’s brother breaks up with his serious girlfriend, she sees it as a sign!  She had been in love with Hunter since she was in high school and now want him all to himself.  But wait!  She has no experience in the flirting department.  Enter a hot bartender from Mulvaney’s rumored to be skilled and free of his uhmm favors.  When Pepper sees him in the bar, she is stunned and is attracted to the hottie bartender and immediately practices her wiles on him.  Incidentally, he is the hottie who helped her with her car when it stalled after her babysitting gig one night.

 

When Reece agrees to tutor Pepper with foreplay (and more), Pepper starts to fall but she still can’t let go of her love for Hunter, especially now that Hunter has started to notice her.

 

I love the sparks between Reece and Pepper.  Reece is the perfect badboy/goodboy/experienced older man (not so older though) for Pepper and naturally, they can’t keep their hands off of each other.  I also loved that despite having a bad boy image, Reece is responsible, which I really liked.

 

Foreplay was a quick and steamy read for me and I enjoyed it.  I was a little annoyed at Pepper a few times but she did redeem herself in the end (she saves a puppy from a fire and almost gets killed in the process).

 

Sophie Jordan has become a go to crossover author.  I love her historicals and now her new adult books!  I have also read her young adult Firelight series.

Tease by Sophie Jordan | Book Review

Tease - Sophie Jordan

Series: The Ivy Chronicles #3
Also in this series: Wild, Foreplay
Published by HarperCollins on 2014-05-27
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

 

Tease by Sophie Jordan is the second book in The Ivy Chronicles series (Foreplay #1, Wild #3) and is my favorite of the three.  The heroine in this book is Emerson, the tease/flirt/party girl who acts like she doesn’t have a care in the world.  However, she hides a deep dark secret that she has kept from her closest friends.

 

While at a biker bar, Emerson gets uber drunk and starts a brawl causing her so-called friends to abandon her.  She gets rescued by our hero, Shaw who also has a chip on his shoulder.  He is an ex-marine, come back from Afghanistan (or was it Iraq?) trying to forget about the cousin that died in the line of duty.

 

When our hero and heroine meet, Emerson gets labeled a cocktease and despite trying to suppress her attraction to Shaw, she cannot stay away.

 

This has become a favorite of all the three because I liked the darkness that Ms. Jordan added to the story.  The family issues that she added with blended families was done well although there were a few eyebrow-raising parts.

 

There are two things that I did not like about Tease, though.  First is Emerson.  Yes, she has scars but she was a little off putting at first.  A female “rake” that rubbed me the wrong way.  Second is the cover.  I did not like the cover AT ALL!  Not to mention that I already read a book with the SAME COVER a couple of years ago.  Yes, recycling covers is good but this one was not done right.

 

Tease is steamy, a little bit cheesy and a unique college romance that will keep you wanting more.

Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare | Audiobook Review

Narrator: Carmen Rose 
Series: Castles Ever After #1 
Published by Avon on 2014-01-28 
Genres: Historical Romance, Regency Romance, Romance 
Format: Audiobook 
Source: Los Angeles Public Library, Purchased 

 

Tessa Dare has done it again!  Romancing the Duke, the first book in her Castles Ever After series is an awesome read!  I have been reading Tessa Dare's backlist and I must say she has become an auto-click author for me!

 

Romancing the Duke is about Isolde Goodnight, a daughter of a well known children's author who has been gifted a castle by her godfather.  She has been left destitute by her father and had nowhere to go until she got word about her inheritance.  She immediately embarks on a journey to claim her castle without knowing that said castle came with a duke!  Ransom, the duke of Rothbury, has been in seclusion for the better part of the year due to an incident that has left him blind.  He doesn't know that HIS castle was sold by his solicitors until Izzy arrives at his doorstep.  What happens next is a story that had me giggling all throughout the book!

 

The story is unique in a sense that it brings a new flavor to the Beauty and the Beast story.  I love seeing the sparks between Ransom and Izzy.  I love Izzy so much because she reminds me or ME!  So yes, I am a little bit biased.  I love how Izzy still lived up to her father's memory by playing the "sweet little Izzy" from her father's stories and acknowledging and even playing along with her father's fans/devoted readers.  It was so fun reading about cosplay during the regency period.  In fact, this was the first historical romance book that I have read mentioning an author fan base like today.  So fun.

 

As fun as this book was, I was a little disappointed in the end.  I could not imagine how Ransom's solicitors, who were fleecing him and trying to have him committed to an asylum, got off without so much as a slap on the wrist when their duplicity was discovered.  I could not understand how the person handling the case (I forgot what he was called) just threatened the solicitors and telling them that the Prime Minister's (or head judge or whatever) son was a fan of the Goodnight tales.  I mean, it felt really frivolous to me and I was expecting it to be a serious matter.

All in all, I really recommend reading this book.  It was fun and enjoyable and I feel like there were no boring parts!

 

THE AUDIOBOOK

This book was narrated by Carmen Rose and I love her!  In fact, I have loved quite a few books that she has read.  The voices used are perfect and not annoying at all.  She also uses a light tone to match the humorous lighthearted parts of the story.

 

Hi readers, if you found my review helpful, please vote for it on Amazon.  Thank you!

Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins | Audiobook Review

Sweet Evil - Wendy Higgins

 The Sweet Trilogy Book 1
Narrated by: Erin Mallon 
 Young Adult Paranormal Romance 
 HarperTeen/HarperCollins 
 5/1/2012 
 Audiobook 
 Los Angeles Public Library

Originally posted on my blog I Heart Romance

 

I really don’t know how to review this book.  I initially borrowed it because I was intrigued by the premise – heroine is a daughter of a Fallen Angel and a Guardian Angel and falls in love with a son of a Fallen Angel.  Sadly, I was wrong.  Let me start by enumerating the things that I didn’t like about this book.

 

  1. Anna Whit was sickeningly sweet.  Okay, so just because you were a daughter of a Guardian Angel doesn’t mean that you have to be a goody-two-shoes and one really really sweet that it borders on annoyance?!  Heck, she was also a daughter of a Fallen Angel so that should negated some of her goodness, right?  Anyway, I just saw her as too perfect to be a real person and a teenager at that.
  2. Step mom, Patti is very concerned about daughter but then allows said daughter to go on a road trip with certified bad boy.  I mean, Patti is a stickler for propriety BUT she allowed her daughter to go on a road trip WITHOUT chaperone with her underage daughter and she warns the boy to keep her virtue intact?  There is definitely something wrong with that.
  3. Anna was just annoying as hell.  Yes, she really was.  When she was playing bad, I didn’t see her as bad.  Her antics were just cringe worthy.
  4. Kaidan Rowe.  Yes, I admit he is described as a hunk and is very dreamy. But please, he goes out and gets laid every freaking night with a different girl just because he has to do his job as the son of the Lord of Seduction (or Lord of Sex or something) while he is falling for Anna?!  I find that really offensive.  There were quite a few times where Anna caught him with another girl and despite being hurt she just shrugs it off.
  5. Kaidan is an emancipated minor.  Riiiight.

 

All in all, I had a hard time finishing the book but because I was listening to it, I was able to tune out the boring stuff.

 

THE AUDIOBOOK

Narrated by Erin Mallon, I found the book uninteresting.  The Southern accent that she used for Anna was annoying as hell.  But then again, Anna was annoying as hell, so I really can’t blame the narrator for that, right?  Unfortunately, I wasn’t hooked, her reading, apart from Anna’s accent was okay.  I was able to finish the audiobook, though so that is a plus.

 

Hi readers, if you found my review helpful, please vote for it on Amazon.  Thank you!

Boneseeker by Brynn Chapman | Book Review

Boneseeker - Brynn Chapman

 Young Adult Historical

 Month9Books, LLC

 6/17/2014

 ebook ARC | free in exchange for an honest review

 Night Owl Review

Posted on my blog I Heart Romance.

 

Boneseeker by Brynn Chapman is a Young Adult retelling of Sherlock Holmes which centers around his daughter, Arabella Holmes and Dr. Watson's son, Henry Watson.  Arabella and Henry have grown up together and are best friends, at least until they kissed each other.  Both didn't see each other for a number of years owing to the fact that they had to go to school - Henry to Paris and Bella to some finishing school.

 

Boneseeker is thoroughly entertaining and it feels Gothic-like but full of adventure.  It is written in first person by each character alternating every few chapters.  I love this twist in the first person character because it gives me a glimpse of each character's thoughts.  I also love that we get to see glimpses of Sherlock and Watson throughout the book even though they are not the main characters.

 

The only downside to this book is the mystery.  I felt that there was more relationship building between Henry and Arabella that the mystery kind of took a backseat.  Unfortunately, I would have wanted the author to focus more on the mystery, with the romance in the background.

 

Boneseeker is a fast paced, romance, adventure story perfect for reading in one sitting.  I hope the author plans to write sequels because I really want to read more about Arabella and Henry!

 

Read the full review on Night Owl Reviews.

 

Hi readers, if you found my review helpful, please vote for it on Amazon.  Thank you!

A Good Debutante's Guide to Ruin by Sophie Jordan | Book Review

A Good Debutante's Guide to Ruin: The Debutante Files - Sophie Jordan

 The Debutante Files Book 1

 Historical Romance

 Avon

 7/29/2014

 ebook ARC | free in exchange for an honest review

 Night Owl Reviews

Posted on my blog: I Heart Romance

 

 

A Good Debutante's Guide to Ruin is the first book on the new series The Debutante Files by Sophie Jordan and it does not disappoint!  It is heartwarming and adorable at the same time.  A little less on the spicy side but still very entertaining.

 

I really love Rosalie and Declan's story.  Although there aren't that much interactions between the two, they still sizzle whenever they are in a scene together.  Because of Declan's grudge with Rosalie's mother, he lumped her in the same ilk as she and had a hard time accepting her as a different person.  Rosalie, on the other hand, finds that she is coming to fall for her step-brother despite his sometime rudeness to her.  When the two finally kiss, they are now plunged into an awkward situation where they start to fall in love with each other.

 

For some reason, I breezed through this book fairly quickly.  There were no boring parts and I thought the situation was pretty much realistic.  I also love the fact that Rosalie and Declan did not immediately hook up from the get go because they were step-brother and step-sister.  I liked that they still held each other apart because of this and tried their best not to fall for each other.

 

I loved Declan's cousin Althea, though and I think she stole the book.  I found her more interesting than Rosalie which is not exactly a good thing because this is Rosalie's story.

 

Read full review on Night Owl Reviews.

 

 

 

Hi readers, if you found my review helpful, please vote for it on Amazon.  Thank you!

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins | Audiobook Review

Catching Fire - Suzanne  Collins

 The Hunger Games #2

Narrated by Carolyn McCormick

 Scholastic Audio Books

 9/1/2009

 Audiobook | Hardbound

 Los Angeles Public Library | Purchased

Originally Posted on my blog I Heart Romance

 

“Let the 74th Hunger Games begin!”

 

There is a lot to say about Catching Fire that I do not know where to begin.  This book is a precursor of the things to come in the next book, Mockingjay and it also lays the groundwork for the rebellion.

 

I could not stop listening to this book.  Not only is it amazingly written, I get to know all the characters more.  Katniss, Peeta, Gayle and Haymitch all reveal their characters here.  I also love the little hints sprinkled throughout the first part of the book, giving us a hint of what would happen in the arena.  We meet a lot of interesting characters and despite most of them dying or just having bit parts in the book, they make this read very interesting.

 

As I’ve said in my Hunger Games review, I love Katniss Everdeen and I think she is one of the most iconic characters in YA literature.  I absolutely love that she is NOT at the forefront of the rebellion.  And although a lot of people see her as a passive heroine, I do not.  Her defiance towards the Capitol is subtle and I love that she does not become a rebel leader.

 

In this book, I also see a different side of Peeta and Gayle.  Again, their love triangle is really unique in that Katniss is not really driven by love/lust that most YA books have but it is mostly driven by her fears.  With Gayle, she sees him as one of her best friends in a time where she just lost her father and had been struggling to feed her mother and Prim; with Peeta, she see’s him as someone who can relate to her experiences in the arena.  Because, let’s face it, surviving The Hunger Games was really traumatizing.

 

The changes that happen to the characters are just genius!  I like that Katniss feels like she is slowly losing her humanity.  Again, this is very unique nuance of her character because I feel that it is a realistic change from the trauma that she had experienced before.  While I like that Katniss feels like she is all negative, the balance that Ms. Collins added with Peeta was just genius!  Peeta now stands out as a representation of all that is good in Panem and he rises to the challenge, most especially in the arena.

 

Catching Fire is a must read.  It is an edge of the seat read that you just cannot put down once you start reading (or listening) to it.  I recommend reading this book right after reading The Hunger Games (if you haven’t already read it).

 

THE AUDIOBOOK

This books is again narrated by Carolyn McCormick and as I’ve said in my review for the Hunger Games, I felt like she was reading to a child.  Again, her narration did little to enhance the book at all and I still had to force myself to continue listening.  She still used the annoying voices for Effie, Prim, and other Capitol characters and I could not help but cringe!

 

5heartssweetCRB

audiobook2narration

A Matter of Sin by Jess Michaels | Book Review

A Matter of Sin (The Ladies Book of Pleasures) - Jess Michaels

 The Ladies Book of Pleasures
 Erotic Historical Romance 
 Samhain Publishing, Ltd. 
 7/15/2014 
 ebook ARC | free in exchange for an honest review 
 Author

Originally posted on my blog I Heart Romance

 

A steamy new romance by Jess Michaels, A Matter of Sin starts off her The Ladies Book of Pleasures series with a bang!  Highly sensual and romantic, A Matter of Sin, centers around widowed Lady Isabelle Avenbury who decides to take a lover after her youngest sister ties the knot.  However, when she meets Seth Rowland at his house party, her plans go awry.  Both of them are attracted to each other and start a sensual and steamy affair!

 

I love reading A Matter of Sin.  I was able to connect with Isabelle from page one.  She had sacrificed a lot for her family and despite, loving her husband in her own way, she didn’t experience the kind of love that she had been dreaming of.  When she sees a copy of The Ladies Book of Pleasures in Seth’s study, she borrows it and gets caught by Seth!

 

I also love Seth.  He is on a bride hunt – well, under the insistence of his mother, but is tired of all the simpering misses that are fresh from the nursery.  When he catches sight of Isabelle, he is entranced.  Seth, is a very likable character and I love that he wasn’t the typical rake.  He was the perfect lover for Isabelle.  Although there were minor obstacles that they had to face, in the end, I was glad that they found their HEA.

 

A Matter of Sin was a quick read for me and I was able to finish it in one sitting.  Yes, it’s that good.  The only complaint I have is that I expected it to be MORE steamy!  I give this book four stars and highly recommend it to readers who love steamy HEAs!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins | Audiobook Review

The Hunger Games - Suzanne  Collins

 The Hunger Games
 Suzanne Collins | Narrated by: Carolyn McCormick 
 Young Adult Dystopian 
 Scholastic Audio Books 
 10/1/2008 
 Audiobook | Hardbound 
 Los Angeles Public Library | Purchased

 

I don't know how to start reviewing this book at all!  I have been putting off reading this book since - well, forever and I regret it!  It was a few years ago when I started reading this book but did not finish it and last Christmas, I actually bought a hardbound set of the Trilogy.  It wasn't until last week (YES LAST WEEK!) that I decided to try it in audiobook format.  I wasn't disappointed.

 

Although I had seen the movie before, it hadn't ruined my reading Hunger Games.  The book feels more raw than the movie ever did (movie review soon).  I love Suzanne Collins' writing.  The first person narration was not annoying to read and I love reading Katniss' thoughts.

 

Katniss Everdeen is a very unique heroine.  I absolutely love her.  And since I have read all three books, I love her all the more.  Her multidimensional character is very unique, especially in the saturated YA genre with female heroines.  In fact, I have never read about any YA heroine that can match her.  I struggled with her and rooted for her throughout the Games.

 

Collins' world building is exceptional.  She describes everything with great detail where I can imagine what everything looks like despite of seeing the movie first.  All her characters are multidimensional, unique in their own way and very very different.

 

The Hunger Games is a masterpiece.  5 FREAKING hearts!

 

I also want to add that I do not like the cover.  In fact, when I saw this at the bookstore, it did not make me want to pick it up!  Maybe the book cover influenced my decision for not finishing it?

 

THE AUDIOBOOK

Narrated by Carolyn McCormick, I had a problem with the audiobook.  For the first few chapters, I felt her narration was a little bit stiff and monotone which felt a little bit like she was reading to a child.  Well, granting that this is a YA book, but still!  The voices that she used for Prim and Effie where very annoying.  I was able to tune out on the voices that she used after that and I was very glad that her narration did not turn me off from finishing the book!

SPOILER ALERT!

Evermore by Alyson Noël

Evermore - Alyson Noel

The Immortals #1
Alyson Noël | Narrated by: Katie Schorr
Young Adult Paranormal Romance
Macmillan Young Listeners
2/3/2009
Audiobook
Los Angeles Public Library

Originally Posted on my blog I Heart Romance

 

“Meh…unbelievable”

 

I don’t know how to start this review at all.  Having said that, I know that I am not going to pick up the sequels – ever (sorry for the pun)!  If you do want to try this out, check out your local library (which I thankfully did) to see if you like it.

 

The story starts of pretty strong.  Ever Bloom (right?!) is the only survivor in a fatal car crash and she moves to Laguna Beach, California to live with her father’s twin sister.  The result of the car crash?  She can see auras and can read minds that she blocks out by listening to music on her ipod and being an outcast.  Bring in a new student named Damen Auguste who is gorgeous, sexy, hot, mysterious – (you know the drill), a Mean Girls type clique and you get a typical YA novel that does not bring anything new to the genre.

 

The story starts to go downhill once Damen is introduced to the scene.  I had a hard time connecting with him at all!  He was acting hot/cold at odd moments and there are a lot of unanswered questions and things that do not make sense at all.  The author adds that Damen is an emancipated minor and does not need to go to school dragging along Ever to play hooky.

 

The villain is Drina Auguste.  Supposedly, she and Damen were married years and years ago BUT Damen doesn’t like/love her anymore and has set his sights on Ever.  I cannot grasp this!  This is just wrong in my book.  Apparently, Damen and Drina are immortals and have been married BUT their love didn’t pass the test of time?  What does this say about Damen?  And Ever still fell for him?!  Anyway, this Drina who is also gorgeous, wants Damen back and what does she do?  She causes the freaking accident and tries to kill Ever!  Please.  She also kills other women and is enticing Ever’s friend Haven to  become her posse.

 

I also could not understand Damen’s power.  He is immortal because he drinks a reddish fluid (that made me think of blood, by the way) and he can read minds too?  What?!

 

As the story continues, Ever becomes very annoying.  I also want to add that Ever is able to see her sister, Riley who is annoying as hell!  There were a lot of scenes where I just had to roll my eyes because of the ridiculousness of Ever’s actions.

 

Unfortunately, I did not like Evermore at all.  I felt that the theme has been done before and I do not recommend this book at all.  I will definitely not be reading the sequels.  I just hope this series would not be picked up for a movie!

 

THE AUDIOBOOK

I really liked Katie Schorr’s narration.  Had it not been for her, I would not have finished listening to this audiobook at all!  I was able to follow through with the story.  Her pacing and voice that she used was very good and I did not find her voice annoying at all.  She didn’t use a “childlike” voice which I really liked.

Deeply in You by Sharon Page

Deeply In You - Sharon Page

The Wicked Dukes #1
Historical Erotic Romance
6/24/2014
ebook ARC | free in exchange for an honest review
Netgalley

Originally posted on my blog I Heart Romance

 

“An erotic romance with an HEA”

 

Deeply in You is the first book in the new series The Wicked Dukes by Sharon Page and tells about Helena Winsome who is forced to spy on the Duke of Greyson in exchange for her brother’s debts.  She poses as a governess of the Duke’s sister but when she unknowingly captures his attention, she desperately decides to become his mistress instead.

 

I thought there was a good mix between the romance and the erotics in this story which is exactly what I want in my erotic romance.  Initially, we are introduced to Helena, a sister of a newspaper editor who is posing as a governess to try to save her brother and her family.  I see her as a strong and independent woman and it showed in the first few chapters.  There was a little bit of an about face once she became Grey’s mistress, though.  I felt that her strength and independence disappeared as she fell in love with Grey.

 

Grey is another dark hero and the type that I love.  He has been deeply scarred and abused as a child by both of his parents, no less and he views his life as dark.  He doesn’t let anyone close to him at all and only keeps mistresses for a short time.  That is, until her meets Helena.  With Helena, he becomes a changed man and changes for the better.

 

I also love the Grey’s backstory.  Because of an incident involving his younger sister, he is on a mission to save females from abuse and he gets blackmailed by someone who knows that his childhood friend, Lady Blackbriar is pregnant by someone other than her husband.  So yes, there are two blackmails happening in the story.

 

The mystery surrounding the two different blackmails is a little bit confusing.  In fact, I hard a hard time connecting the the person who was blackmailing Helena to spy on Grey so that she can find evidence that the Duke has been selling secrets to the French.  This was not very well explained and I could not understand why when the Duke didn’t seem to be involved in politics at all.  The blackmail between Grey and Lady Blackbriar was a good one but was also a little confusing.  By all accounts, he was not spending a lot of time with Lady Blackbriar and could not be suspected as the man who got her pregnant in the first place.

 

I also had problems with the title and the cover because they don’t feel like a historical romance but a contemporary romance.

 

I gave this 4 hearts because of the overall romance of the story and not the mystery.

 

 

A Dangerous Madness by Michelle Diener

A Dangerous Madness  - Michelle Diener

Regency London #3
Historical Romance
5/18/2014
ebook ARC | free in exchange for an honest review
Buried Under Romance

Posted on my blog: I Heart Romance

 

“A fast paced mystery with less romance”

 

A Dangerous Madness is the third book in the Regency London Series by Michelle Diener and it is also the first book that I have read from this author. This book reads like a stand alone and I was able to follow through with the story despite not reading the other two books in the series. I honestly had a hard time reading the first few chapters but as the story progressed, it became more interesting.

 

The story centers on James, the Duke of Whittaker who is living a lie, pretending to be someone he is not because he works as a spy for the Home Office and the newly jilted Miss Phoebe Hillier. The two get involved when Phoebe's ex-fiancé confessed that he had to leave the country because of something that had happened: the assassination of Spencer Perceval, the British Prime Minister, and he feared for his life.  James, on the other hand, had decided he wanted out of spying.  Unfortunately, he was called by the Home Office to find out who master minded the assassination. This brought him to Phoebe's doorstep.

 

I actually liked this story. The mix between romance and mystery is well written that I felt a little bit like Sherlock Holmes trying to solve the mystery. The story is fast paced and is filled with obstacles throughout the book which doesn't make the book boring at all.

 

I also liked James. He has been pretending to be a rake and a libertine for a long time that reality and pretense become blurred together. He felt sick of all of it and wanted to leave the spying business behind. Because Phoebe was indirectly involved in the investigation, she jumped at the chance to partner with James and see's it as a way to be free from the strictures of her station.

 

While both characters are admirable as an individual, I did not feel that both connected with each other. I felt a kind of disconnect between the romance of the story because I felt there was more emphasis on the mystery rather than their romance.

 

All in all it was an enjoyable fast paced read but I would have wanted more romance between James and Phoebe.  I will definitely be looking at Miss Diener's backlist!

 

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty - Rosamund Hodge, Elizabeth Knowelden

Narrated by: Elizabeth Knowelden
Young Adult Classic Retelling
Balzer + Bray
1/28/2014
Audiobook
Purchased at Audible

Originally Posted on my blog I Heart Romance

 

"Dark and Different"

 

I admit that I had never heard of this book before but when it was recommended at audible as something that I might like, I decided to buy it.  Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast.  I am a fan of Disney's version and I love Belle but this book is not it.  It is a classic retelling set in a different place interspersed with Greek mythology (Cupid and Psyche's story).

 

The place, Arcadia, is in a curse brought about by the selfish prince's bargain with the Kindly Ones.  Arcadia is a grey and sad place.  Crops have stopped growing, there is no sky, there is no sun.  People now rely on arcane-like magic for light and other things.  Nyx's father had bargained the Gentle Lord years ago for children and he was granted twins with the condition of giving up one when she comes of age so she can marry him.  Of course, everything you ask from the Gentle Lord has a price and for Nyx's father, it was the death of his wife in childbirth.  Because of this, Nyx blames herself and pushes everyone away, including her twin sister.

 

Why I like it:

  1. The story is odd, very odd.  The setting is different and the characters are different but I think it enhances the story.
  2. Dark.  I love that it is dark, a little bit Gothic.
  3. The world building was excellent.  Rosamund Hodge created another world and described it to detail where I can actually imagine what it looks like.
  4. It is very refreshing.  I love that Nyx, the heroine was not a damsel in distress waiting to be saved.  She was raised to defeat the Gentle Lord and save Arcadia and she tries to do it, despite knowing that she will die in the process.
  5. The mixture of the traditional Beauty and the Beast elements and Greek mythology are seamlessly written.  Although I did not see the fairy tale version of Beauty and the Beast because it was more based on Cupid and Psyche, it was mixed very well.
  6. Love that it is a standalone!  At LAST!

 

What I didn't like about it:

  1. The love triangle.  I've read a lot of long triangle stories but this just felt off and a little bit annoying at times.  When it is revealed who Ignifex and Shade are...well, let's just say that I thought it was a little stupid.
  2. I wanted the other twin sister Althea (?) to have her own story or to try to storm the Gentle Lord's castle and save her.  Or something to that effect.  She was planning to but she didn't follow through and she was a little bit selfish.
  3. The selfish father and the scheming aunt.  Need I say more?
  4. The story got a little confusing sometimes.  It was a little too much the last half of the book and if you aren't careful, you will get lost and confused.
  5. I hate the name Nyx.  Not very princess-y at all.

 

I know a few readers who didn't get it but I enjoyed this book a lot and gave it 5 stars because I listened to this via audiobook.  I might have felt differently had I read it instead.  A must listen.  Oh and yes, I had a hard time reviewing this book!

 

THE AUDIOBOOK

This was read by Elizabeth Knowelden and I liked it.  Her voice and pacing was perfect for the darker story, adding a sense of urgency to the story.  I probably wouldn't finish reading this book if I didn't listen to it in audio format because it did drag in certain parts.  However, with Knowleden's reading, it did not feel dragging at all and I did not have the urge to hit the forward button.  I give narration a 5.