So I Married a Sorcerer by Kerrelyn Sparks

So I Married a Sorcerer (The Embraced, #2)So I Married a Sorcerer by Kerrelyn Sparks
Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Embraced, #2

Release Date: August 29, 2017

4.5 stars

Another exciting and entertaining tale in the Embraced series! This story picks up shortly after the end of the previous book (How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days). Brigitta and remaining “sisters” have left the Isle of Moon and are traveling to visit their sister Luciana and her husband Leo. Brigitta and her “sisters” are all embraced and each have been abandoned on the Isle of Moon by their families – the embraced are feared by the people of Aerthlon, if exposed it would mean certain death. But now that Luciana and Leo are ruling the kingdom of Eberon and are both embraced, their home is a safe haven. However, fate has other plans for Brigitta, who like all the other girls has no knowledge of her life/family before coming to the Isle of Moon. On the way to Eberon, Brigitta learns the truth of her past – she is Princess Brigitta, her half-brother Gunther is King of Tourin and he wants her back.

During the standoff with the Tourinian Navy, the pirate Rupert swoops in and kidnaps Brigitta, he has a vendetta against her brother and will not rest until he sees him destroyed – he plans to hold Brigitta for ransom. But when they meet and she touches him, Brigitta is overcome and faints – Brigitta’s gift is the ability to find lost/hidden items and this includes memories, so when she touched Rupert, she was overwhelmed by grief, pain and loss. She is determined to learn Rupert’s secrets and when she does, she wants to right the wrongs of the past.

Rupert is also embraced and he has the power to control the wind. His sole mission in life is to avenge his family and destroy King Gunther. Rupert’s father was King of Tourin and Gunther’s father proposed an alliance between the families, Prince Ulfric would be betrothed to Brigitta. On the way home from the ceremony, Rupert’s father was ambushed and killed, troops were then sent to his home to kill his mother and younger brother. Rupert was saved by a family retainer and has spent the last 19 years plotting his revenge. Brigitta is a dilemma he doesn’t need, but when he learns her brother’s true plans for her, he cannot return her to him.

Gunther needs an heir, so he has concocted a plan, he will host a completion and the winner will get to father his heir – that is why he needs Brigitta. And that is exactly why Rupert doesn’t want to turn her over to him.

Everything starts to fall into place for Brigitta, who Rupert is, what her family has done and what she has to do to make it right. She tells Rupert that she will help him regain his throne, she convinces him to return her to Gunther and enter the competition himself. Although he doesn’t want to have Brigitta anywhere near Gunther, he realizes that her plan has merit and when Leo and Luciana agree to help, it seems like Rupert might finally see his plan succeed.

This book is brimming with action, adventure, pirates, shifters, magic, dragons and secrets. It is well written, flows perfectly, it has some steamy love scenes, excellent secondary characters (Sister Fallyn – OMG – She is priceless!), cameos from Luciana and Leo, nail biting moments and finally a very well deserved HEA.

It is the second book in the series, but it could easily be read as a stand alone title. The only reason I gave this book 4.5 stars instead of 5 is because it is billed as a Historical Paranormal/Fantasy Romance, but the dialogue is definitely not historical, but in all honesty, it didn’t really diminish my enjoyment of the story.

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher*

A Gentleman Never Surrenders by Lauren Smith

A Gentleman Never Surrenders (Sins and Scandals #2)A Gentleman Never Surrenders by Lauren Smith

Barbara’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Sins and Scandals #2
Publication Date: 9/12/17

Great characters with compelling stories populate this delightfully entertaining series of novellas by Lauren Smith. I highly recommend reading the series in order, but you can certainly read this as a stand-alone. In the first book, we met Leopold Graham, Lord Hampton who needed to marry for money. It was his intention to propose to Millie, the daughter of a very rich Viscount while she was attending his house party. But then – love got in the way and Leo married Ivy.

In that book, we also met Owen Hadley, a gentleman who was desperate to marry for money. He tried to compromise Ivy so he could marry her, but he was unsuccessful. He and Leo came to blows and Owen left the house party. I tell you all of this so you’ll understand when I tell you that I thoroughly disliked Owen and thought he was totally irredeemable. In this book, he is somewhat redeemed – in my eyes. I say somewhat redeemed because I don’t like what he did and thought it was very selfish. I know he was desperate, but – well – I still didn’t like what he did – but if he hadn’t, then there wouldn’t be a story now would there. He does end up with his HEA and you’ll find he isn’t who you thought he was.

Leo finds Owen in London after Owen had left the house party on bad terms with Leo. They make amends and Leo invites Owen to another house party. Owen is desperate at this point and the only way he can save his estate is to marry a wealthy heiress. Owen is determined to choose one of the unmarried ladies attending the house party and compromise her so they have to marry. He settles on Rowena, who is Millie’s sister. Rowena is very beautiful but young and this is her first season. After everyone has gone to bed, Owen sneaks down the hall and into what he thought was Rowena’s room – only to find Millie in the bed fast asleep. Before he can retreat, they are discovered by Millie’s mother and a maid. So, Millie and Owen are forced to marry to avoid scandal.

Millie actually wants to marry, but fears she’ll never find anyone in England who would meet her criteria. You see – she wants someone who not only loves her but treats her as an equal partner in the marriage rather than as just another piece of chattel he owns. So, Millie has built up a persona that she displays in public. She is very cold and condescending, especially to the men who approach her. She has actually consigned herself to spinsterhood because she’s sure no man will treat her as she wishes to be treated. So, she feels that Owen is a monster and that her life is ruined when she is forced to marry him.

In his heart, Owen really wants a wife that is an equal partner in all things and he is beside himself with guilt at the way he acquired his bride. He plans to do all he can to woo his wife and get her to fall in love with him.

This is a lovely story of redemption and a growing relationship filled with trust, respect, and love. We learn that there is a different side to each of the characters we met and disliked in the first book. I love that they get their HEA together. Now – can’t wait for Rowena’s story in book 3.

“I requested and received this book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

To Love a Highland Rogue by Collette Cameron

To Love a Highland Rogue (Heart of a Scot Book 1)To Love a Highland Rogue by Collette Cameron
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Heart of a Scot, #1 (also part of the anthology The Forbidden Highlands)

Release Date: August 28, 2017

Another charming novella by Ms. Cameron! My understanding is this novella is part of the anthology titled : The Forbidden Highlands and inspired Ms. Cameron to begin a new series, Heart of a Scot.

I really loved this novella, Logan and Mayra have been betrothed since they were children, yet they have only seen each other a few times since the contracts were signed.

Logan had no desire to marry Mayra, but when he learned his father spent her dowry and they had no means to repay it, he left his home hoping to make his fortune and escape the arranged marriage. Unfortunately his hopes were not realized and he returned home shortly before his father died. He also learned that his intended had been writing to him and requesting the contract be voided – but that cannot be, he must marry her because he cannot repay the dowry.

Remembering a promise he made to her father to woo her, Logan sets out to meet his betrothed. He is stunned to find the gangly girl he remembered has blossomed into a stunning beauty. He decides that he will get to know her, but does so incognito – he pretends to be his cousin, Coburn. Logan is a bit jaded and distrustful of beautiful women. He wants to get to know Mayra to determine if she is like his spoiled stepmother.

As he gets to know her, he realizes that she is a truly wonderful person and he wants to marry her, but he has yet to reveal his true identity and fears her reaction.

Mayra has been raised knowing she will have to marry Logan, but after her father dies and the clan starts to decline, she begs Logan to release her, so she can use the dowry to help her clan. She is immediately attracted to Logan/Coburn, but knows she is not free to indulge her desires with him.

Logan declares his love to Mayra and attempts to tell her the truth, but they are interrupted and his secret is revealed before he can explain himself.

Mayra is heartbroken, she fell in love with Logan, but feels betrayed and more than a little bit angry. She listens to Logan’s explanations and even understands his position, but something has broken in her that she is not sure she can regain. She tells Logan that she needs time and will talk to him when she returns from Edinburgh.

This was a very sweet story, I really liked both Logan and Mayra and felt their connection and hoped that they would be able to overcome the secrets and lies that drove them apart. The writing was excellent and the story flowed nicely, there are not really any love scenes, but the story does not suffer the lack, there are very few secondary characters in the book, but Logan’s cousin Coburn is priceless (in the notes at the end of the book, Ms. Cameron promises the next book will be about Coburn – he was such a scamp in this book that I can’t wait to meet the woman that brings him to his knees!!).

All in all, this was a great little novella and I am happy to recommend it.

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an arc provided to me by the author*

Lady Lorena’s Spinster’s Society by Charlotte Stone

Lady LorenaLady Lorena’s Spinster’s Society

Barbara’s Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Series:  Spinster’s Society

Publication Date:  08/07/17

A lovely, entertaining book by a new-to-me author.  I actually believe she is a fairly new author as well and you can see that in the polish and flow of the book and some of the societal norms she missed for the time period.  That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the story.

The main characters are like pyrotechnics – every time they are in the vicinity of one another some disaster or another happens and the sparks fly.  Yes, disasters from the mundane falling flat to burning an entire townhouse down.  There are no dull times when these two are around.

I believe this will be part of a series, and I’m not clear what the series will be about – I assume that it will include either the Spinster’s Society ladies or the group of ten gentlemen known as the Men of Nashwood.  Nashwood was a tavern, close to Oxford, that the young men had more or less taken over when they moved to Oxford to complete their education.  I believe this book may only be available on Amazon.

Emmett Starr is the Earl of Ashwick and a member of the Men of Nashwood.  His early life was a very sad one.  Both parents were cold and uncaring and his mother even actively disliked him.  No reason for it – it was just who they were.  So, when he became a member of the Men of Nashwood, it became his family.  He felt especially welcomed and at home when he visited the family of Francis Cullip, heir to the Duke of Valdeston.  They were a warm and loving family who welcomed Emmett with open arms.  The very first time Emmett saw the daughter of the house, he was totally besotted and from that point on, in his mind she belonged to him.

Lady Lorena Cullip was raised in a warm and loving home – though it was nearly penniless.  She was a sweet and caring young lady who always wanted to make others feel safe and comfortable and she was very gifted at doing that.  She was also very curious and mischievous.  Around Emmett, she seems to trip over her own feet – she burns him with coffee, sticks him with a toga pin and – oh yes – she burns his house down.

I won’t give you a twist-by-turn description of the book because you can get that from the book blurb.  I will tell you that I did enjoy the story itself, but if you are a historical fan, some of the details will make you cringe.  For instance – Lorena is living alone in her own townhouse (she’s maybe 19-20 years old) with no chaperone or even any servants.  That just isn’t done.

“I received this book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

 

Francie & the Bachelor by Sue London

Francie & the Bachelor: A Caversham-Haberdasher CrossoverFrancie & the Bachelor: A Caversham-Haberdasher Crossover by Sue London
Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Release Date: August 08, 2017

Series: Caversham-Haberdasher Crossover, #2

I really liked this installment of the Caversham-Haberdasher Crossover.

We were introduced to Francie and Reggie in the first book – Phoebe and the Doctor. And this book starts with the same scene, but this time it is from Francie and Reggie’s perspective.

The story again opens with Francie accidently shooting Reggie. Reggie and Harry have come to bring her cousin Wally’s effects to Phoebe and check on the girls wellbeing before Reggie heads out to Bermuda and Harry goes to Scotland.

When they learn of Phoebe’s problems, Harry offers to escort her to London, but doesn’t want to leave Francie alone with the thugs stilling hanging around, so it is decided that Reggie will stay with her. At first these two dance around each other, but after a couple of days, they form a friendship of sorts. Each harbors an attraction to the other, but they are both determined to ignore it. When things begin to heat up between the two of them, Reggie decides that he will marry Francie and he has a plan. Unfortunately, Francie is not privy to the “plan” and assumes that Reggie wants her as his mistress. When the thugs make a move against Francie, Reggie puts his plan in motion and takes her to London.

I really liked a lot of things about this book, the first being that they declared themselves well before the end of the book. I also loved that all the Haberdashers (including Jack’s sister Sam) and their husbands where included in the story.

The book was not perfect, it is a bit slow to get going, there are some typos, some incorrect formal address and no real conflict. But, it is well written, has steamy love scenes, Sue London’s signature witty banter and Haberdashers! So overall, it was a fun read and I would be happy to recommend it.

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC I received from the author*

Charlotte & Thomas Pitt #1 and #2 by Anne Perry

The Cater Street Hangman (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, #1)The Cater Street Hangman by Anne Perry

Barbara’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nobody does Victorian mysteries better than Anne Perry. Her grasp of the culture and mores of the times is unparalleled and her descriptions of the area just make you feel like you are right there in that time and place.

I recently read a later book in this series and enjoyed it so much I wanted to start at the beginning and read them through, in order. This was certainly a great beginning to a long and enduring series.

The bloody and mutilated bodies of lovely young women are showing up on Cater Street. Cater Street is home to the rich gentry of London and they are not happy to have the police nosing around looking for a murderer.

Inspector Thomas Pitt, a very large, tall, perceptive and intelligent man is assigned to investigate the case and it is really baffling. There just isn’t any commonality among the victims and that will make solving the case next to impossible unless the perpetrator is caught in the act

When Pitt shows up at the Ellison’s door to interview the family he is taken with Charlotte. This is during the period when there is a definite separation of classes and the police are considered a very low rank. However, he is still smitten.

Charlotte is a very outspoken, intelligent young woman who chafes at the restraints placed on her gender during that time. She isn’t supposed to read the news papers or be interested in anything other than fashion, embroidery and how to run a home.

You’ll be guessing right until the end – when Charlotte’s life is threatened.

A great read — I highly recommend this book and the series!


Callander Square (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, #2)Callander Square by Anne Perry

Barbara’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nobody does a Victorian mystery better than Anne Perry and there isn’t a better sleuthing team than Charlotte and Thomas Pitt! Winners all around.

Charlotte and Thomas met in the first book of the series and they are now married and expecting their first child. Charlotte’s younger sister has also married her titled suitor from the first book. Everybody is happy, but Charlotte’s sister is getting a little bored with her aristocratic existence. So, when the skeletal remains of three babies are found in Callander Square she decides that she and Charlotte need to help Pitt solve the case.

Add two more murders to the list and the local residents petitioning the government to end the investigation and poor Inspector Pitt has his hands full. It is a good thing he has the help of Charlotte and her sister — isn’t it?

Can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

A Love to Remember by Bronwen Evans

A Love to Remember (The Disgraced Lords, #7)A Love to Remember by Bronwen Evans
Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Disgraced Lords, #7
Release Date: August 29, 2017

I LOVED this book, if you have been following the Disgraced Lords series then you already know Philip and Rose and you have probably been wondering why they haven’t married. If you haven’t read the series, you will still enjoy this book as Philip and Rose have primarily been secondary characters and Ms. Evans give more than enough back story to make this a stand alone title.

The book opens with Philip Flagstaff, the new Earl of Cumberland standing at the grave of his older brother Robert, the previous Earl. Philip is overwhelmed with grief and guilt, he blames himself for his brother’s death as Robert sacrificed his own life to save Philip at Waterloo. At that moment, Philip makes a vow, he will never marry or have children, so the earldom he feels he stole from his older brother will go to Thomas, his younger brother. He believes the only way he can honor his brother is by sacrificing his own happiness. As he is standing there he is approached by Rose Deverill, Duchess of Roxborough. Rose has long admired Philip and had secret hopes to one day marry him, but her father sold her into marriage at 18 to a man old enough to be her grandfather. She endured marriage to him and was rewarded with the birth of her son and widowhood on the same day. She has no desire to remarry and has spent the last few years as a “wicked widow”, taking lovers and refusing all offers of marriage.

Fast forward two years, Rose and Philip have been exclusive lovers since that day at the graveside, but now Rose wants more. She loves Philip and wants to marry him, her young son adores him and she would love more children, but she is afraid to broach the topic with Philip. For his part, Philip loves Rose and can’t imagine a life without her and if not for his vow, he would marry her. So when the topic comes up, Rose is crushed to learn that Philip does not want to marry. She believes that he will marry, but not her. When a misunderstanding at a ball occurs, these two are forced to have the conversation they have both been dreading. Philip again says he will not marry and Rose tells him that she can no longer be his lover, she will remarry for the sake of her son, but if Philip cannot be her husband, she must be free of him so she can move on. Heartbroken, they spend one last night together and part ways.

Over the next few weeks, they dance around each other and each are subjected to jealousy when they are seen with other people. The tension between them is white hot and again Philip asks Rose to reconsider and again she refuses. When her son’s guardian learns of their split, he tells Rose it is time for her to remarry and expects her to find a suitable groom by the time her son goes off to school. Rose is still holding out hope that Philip will change his mind and asks Lord Kirkwood to invite him to his house party. He agrees but tells her if Philip does not propose, she must move on and find someone else. Rose knows there will never be anyone else and has a secret that could force Philip to marry her – but that is not what she wants, she wants him to let go of his guilt and choose her.

At the house party Rose decides that she must tell Philip her secret, but when an attempt is made on her son’s life and threats are made to her, she doesn’t know who she can turn to. She decides that she must leave and returns to London without telling Philip anything. Philip knows that someone is trying to hurt Drake and enlists the Libertine Scholars to help him. He knows he loves Rose and will do anything to protect her – even if that means they must marry. When he learns she left the house party without telling him, he is furious.

He returns to London to confront Rose and tells her they will marry. Rose refuses, she tells him that she loves him, but if he can’t choose her over his guilt, they would both be unhappy. Philip does not take this news well and is determined to change her mind. But before he can the villain strikes again. And Philip must decide if being a martyr is worth losing the only woman he has ever and will ever love.

OMG! This book was amazing, it is well written, flows perfectly, has super hot love scenes, a lot of action, a bit of angst, moments when you want to smack the hero, a couple of misunderstandings, cameos by the former Disgraced Lords and their ladies and finally a hard won HEA.

I highly recommend this book, even if you haven’t been following the series, this book is not to be missed!!

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to my by NetGalley and the publisher.*

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