Monthly Archives: July 2017

Phoebe and the Doctor by Sandy Raven

Phoebe and the DoctorPhoebe and the Doctor by Sandy Raven
Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Caversham-Haberdasher Crossover, Book 1

Release Date: July 30, 2017

This is the story of Harry Manners-Sutton and Phoebe Grenard. Its tie to the Caversham series is through Harry, his sister is Amelia, Duchess of Caversham (you can read Amelia’s story in the novella Miss Amelia Lands a Duke).

Phoebe has had a couple of rough years, her half-brother Wally was impressed into the Navy with four of his university friends just months before they were set to take their final exams. Five were taken, but only three survived. Just months before Wally was set to come home he contracted Dunga Fever and died. In addition to this, her parents ran an inn in London, but when her mother died, her father packed up Phoebe and her younger sister Lydia (who hasn’t spoken a word since the night Wally was taken) and left them with their Aunt Frances and her cousin Francine aka Francie Walters. Just over a year later, her father died, followed by their Aunt a year after that! The girls have tried to continue the dress shop they had with their Aunt, but business is not doing well and the girls wonder how long they will be able to keep the shop going.

It doesn’t seem like things could get much worse for Phoebe, but they do! A very rough looking man comes looking for Phoebe and informs her that her father owed a huge debt to a moneylender by the name of Donovan and if that wasn’t bad enough, her father used his daughters as collateral for the loan and he has come to collect – either she pays the outrageous sum or she and her twelve year old sister will be sent to Donovan’s brothel to work off the debt. Furious, Phoebe threatens the man with a gun and tells him to leave. He does, but warns her not to leave and assures her he will be back.

Still shaken, Phoebe hands the gun to Francie, who promptly fires it when the door is reopened. Only she hasn’t shot Donovan’s man, she has shot a stranger. The strangers turn out to be Harry and his friend Reggie – Wally’s friends who were taken at the same time as Wally. They promised Wally on his deathbed that they would see to his sisters. Harry was attending school to be a doctor when he was taken and immediately takes charge. Francie shot Reggie in the arm and need to be attended.

Once Reggie has been taken care of Harry speaks to Phoebe and learns of her troubles. He vows to help her by taking her to London to sort things out with the moneylender. Harry has decided that he will pay the debt himself, but Phoebe insists on speaking with the man and trying to work out a “payment plan”.

They leave for London with Lydia, leaving Reggie behind to watch out for Francie. When they arrive, Phoebe is horrified to learn that Harry has ties to society and that his sister is a duchess, because over the course of a few days, she had begun to fall in love with Harry, but now believes that he is out of her reach. For his part, Harry is just as smitten with Phoebe, but wants to get the business with the moneylender taken care of before he declares his intentions.

When Phoebe learns that Harry met with Donovan without telling her, she is furious and hatches a plan. But as they say, the best laid plans………………………. And trust me, this was not a well thought out plan to begin with.

Can Harry save the woman he now realize he loves with all his heart? Will Lydia ever speak again? Will Phoebe ever be free of Donovan? And what about Reggie and Francie? To find out, you will have to read the book!

I liked the idea of the story, but the first half of the book seemed to drag and was repetitious. But once they reach London the story takes off like a rocket. It was lovely to see Cav and Amelia, but for this reader it was also bittersweet (if you have read the Caversham Chronicles, you will know what I mean), I loved Harry, Reggie and Francie, but I found Phoebe to be a bit too naïve and stubborn to be truly likable. I did admire her determination and her desire to save her sister, but she really should have thought things out better and ended up coming across as a pattern card, TSTL heroine. And while this book was not as steamy as the previous books, it was just right for this story. The ending was very satisfying and of course there is a HEA.

All in all, it was a good read and I would recommend it to followers of the series, but I wouldn’t consider this book a keeper.

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

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Where Dreams Merge by Maureen Driscoll

Where Dreams Merge (Jasmine Cottage Book 2)Where Dreams Merge by Maureen Driscoll
Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Released: July 20, 2017

Series: Jasmine,Cottage, Book 2

Grace Moore and Carter Beckett, Earl of Wainwright meet for the first time at Arabella and Jonathan’s wedding (Where Hearts Meet), but the two are known to each other because Carter writes political articles for a London paper and Grace delights in writing to him to comment on his work and to correct his spelling errors. When Carter finally meets her, he realizes he has met his muse.

Carter has been staying with Christopher Aston, Lord Audsley trying desperately to write his novel, but the words will not come – that is until he meets Grace. He convinces her to work with him as his editor and the two form a friendship and exchange some very amusing letters. Carter is attracted to Grace, but a long standing family agreement prevents him from declaring himself to her. He hopes that he will be able to work things out so he might be able to offer for Grace, but until he does, he cannot make her any promises.

Grace is aware of Carter’s prior understanding and wishes with all her heart that they could be together, but she also concedes that she is not of his world and they will probably never be anything more than friends. When Carter tells Grace he must return to London for the Holidays, she believes that will be the end of their relationship – but Carter insists that she and Emma come to London, he promises to help the sisters contact their grandfather’s solicitor and try to help them contact their parents. He makes arrangements for them to stay with Audsley and has Audsley’s widowed cousin, Lady Endicott chaperone them.

In anticipation of Grace’s arrival, Carter meets with Lady Cecile – the woman his parents hoped he would marry, though no formal betrothal was ever made, there has always been an understanding between the families. Carter believed that when Lady Cecile became linked to another Lord, that their “understanding” had ended, but he is dismayed to find that Cecile has been jilted and expects Carter to marry her. He tells her in no uncertain terms that he will not marry her and that he has met another woman, he asks Cecile to release him from the “understanding”. Cecile agrees, but begs Carter to pretend to court her for a few weeks to help ease her back into society after being jilted. Carter is reluctant, but feels he owes her that much and decides to recruit his brother Jeremy to escort Grace while he attends Cecile.

Enter Jeremy Beckett, the younger brother, dashing, handsome and a former spy – the man has hero material written all over him! Jeremy and Grace become fast friends – which leads to a lot of hilarious scenes with Carter becoming jealous and imagining all the ways he could beat his brother to a pulp. But when Jeremy’s life is threatened and by extension Grace – Carter will stop at nothing to save them both.

I really loved this book, it is well written, it flowed well, it has some laugh out loud moments, a little bit of angst, some nail biting moments, a couple of plot twists that change everything for the sisters, a bit of steam and finally a beautiful soulmate type of love.

While this is the second book in the series, it could easily be read as a stand alone title. I highly recommend this book and am looking forward to reading the next installment!

Romancing the Rogue by Lana Williams

Romancing the Rogue (Regency Rendezvous Book 9)Romancing the Rogue by Lana Williams
Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Release Date: 07/28/17

It is no secret that Lana Williams is one of my favorite authors. I loved her Medieval series, the Victorian/Paranormal Secrets trilogy and most recently her Victorian Seven Curses series and now she has taken the plunge into the Regency era!
Regency era romance is one of my favorite subgenres in the world of Historical Romance and while I am not overly picky, most authors stumble when they delve into this era – so as much as I love Lana’s work, I was leery. I am happy to say with the exception of a couple minor things and one title flub – she nailed it!

This is the story of Richard Walker, the Earl of Aberland and Caroline Gold, eldest daughter of Sir Reginald Gold. Caroline’s father made his fortune in shipping and he was awarded a Knighthood twenty years ago for his service to the crown. Sadly, her father has recently begun to show signs of dementia and combined with some bad investments, the family is on the brink of ruin. She feels guilty that unlike her sisters, she has no talents that would enable her to contribute to the family’s coffers. So in an effort to save her family, Caroline has been trying to encourage the Duke of Wakefield to propose. With his wealth and connections, Caroline is sure that he is the answer to her all her problems.

After sharing a dance with the duke, she is sure he will propose, but when their conversation is interrupted and he walks away, Caroline makes an impulsive decision to follow him.
Richard is on a mission, he is an agent for the crown and lost his partner and best friend just over a year ago – betrayed by a woman whom he trusted. He is determined to find the traitor that killed his friend and his former lover. He has narrowed his suspects down to 3 members of the ton and has returned to England to deliver justice. The ton know him as a penniless rogue, which works for his purposes. He sees Caroline follow Wakefield out to the gardens and as Wakefield is one of his targets, he follows them. When Wakefield abruptly leaves, Richard confronts Caroline about her conversation – at this point he is not sure if she is innocent or if she is in cahoots with Wakefield. Unfortunately, when she tries to leave, he grabs for her arm and they end up in a compromising position, which is witnessed by not only her mother, but the hostess.
Caroline is horrified and tries to explain her way out of the inevitable – Richard must propose to save her reputation – but marrying him will ruin her family. She is also concerned with him finding out about her father’s condition. They reluctantly agree to a betrothal – but neither actually plans to marry the other.
As Caroline and Richard get to know each other, they both wonder if perhaps there could be something more between them. But the each have secrets and a villain is determined to destroy them both.
The book is well written, flows nicely, the secondary characters are wonderful, it has secrets, some action, a bit of intrigue and a dash of angst. While this book is not a steamy read, there are a few passionate kisses and stolen moments.

I would be happy to recommend this book because I really enjoyed the story and sincerely hope that Ms. Williams has plans to write stories for Caroline’s sister and Richard’s brother!

*I was provided a copy of this book by the author and am voluntarily leaving a review*

Release Day Recap – Releases Between July 18, 2017 and July 25, 2017

A Dance with Seduction (A Spy in the Ton, #1)A Dance With Seduction by Alyssa Alexander

Barbara’s Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: A Spy In The Ton #3
Publication Date: 07/24/17

See Our Review Here


Too Scot to Handle (Windham Brides, #2)Too Scot to Handle by Grace Burrowes

Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Windham Brides #2
Publication Date: 7/25/17

See Our Review Here


Lord of Night (Rogues to Riches, #3)Lord of Night by Erica Ridley

Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Release Date: 07/22/17
Series: Rogues to Riches, #3

See Our Review Here


Never Kiss a HighlanderNever Kiss a Highlander by Michele Sinclair

Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Release Date: July 25, 2017

Series: The McTiernay’s, #6

See Our Review Here


A Diamond for a DukeA Diamond for a Duke by Collette Cameron

Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Release Date: July 24, 2017 (tentative)

Series: Seductive Scoundrels, #1

See Our Review Here


The Importance of Being ScandalousThe Importance of Being Scandalous by Kimberly Bell

Tracy’s rating: 2 of 5 stars

Series: The Tale of Two Sisters, #1
Release Date: July 25, 2017

See Our Review Here


 

Lord of Night by Erica Ridley

Lord of Night (Rogues to Riches, #3)Lord of Night by Erica Ridley
Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Release Date: 07/22/17
Series: Rogues to Riches, #3

I’m giving the book 4 stars, because it was well written and entertaining, but if you are a stickler for “by the book” true Regency protocol, this book is not for you.

This is the story of Dahlia Grenville (sister of Camilla from Lord of Pleasure) and Simon Spaudling.

Dahlia has runs a boarding school for girls in St. Giles, she has a huge heart and can’t bring herself to turn away any girl in need. Problem is, she has used all her own funds and she can’t afford to keep the school running without more donations, which are bascially non-existent since Lord Wainwright inadvertently scorned her school. Unwilling to close the school, Dahlia does what she thinks she must to keep the school going. She becomes a thief, does she know that it is wrong? Yes! But to her mind, closing the school and returning the girls to the streets is far worse.

Simon is an inspector for Bow Street, he is dedicated to his job and is a stickler for the law – there is no gray in Simon’s world. He is the bastard son of a marquess and has strong feelings about the “upper class”. He is still angry and bitter about the relationship that he had (or more aptly, didn’t have) with his father and is incredibly jealous of his half-brother, Lord Hawkridge. He has put all his passion for injustice into his career and has been very successful. So successful that the Justice of the Peace has been tasked him with finding the “Thief of Mayfair” and Simon will stop at nothing to find this criminal and bring them to justice.

He meets Dahlia by chance, he was on his way home when he came upon two women running from an attacker, he chases the thug and takes him into custody. He returns to St. Giles to let Dahlia know that the attacker was caught and thinks that will be the end of their association. But Simon is intrigued with Dahlia and returns to the school a few days later.

Dahlia is also taken with the handsome young inspector, but she has no room in her life for a romantic relationship nor can she risk what little social standing she still has by engaging in an affair. She vows to keep Simon at arms length. But she can’t seem to stop herself from drawing Simon into her life and for his part, Simon can’t seem to stay away.

As these two spend more time together and fall in love, it seems like they will have an easy path to a HEA. But what fun would that be??

When the truth is revealed about Dahlia’s “fund raising” efforts, will his love for her be enough for him to change his black and white view? I honestly wasn’t sure and didn’t see how this book could possibly have a positive ending! Of course it does, but it is touch and go until the very end 🙂

The book is well written, flows nicely, has a couple of warm love scenes and very likable characters (I will be honest, I didn’t like Dahlia in the previous book and didn’t expect to like her in this one, but she won me over). On the downside, their is little to no adherence to Regency proprieties and the idea that a young unmarried woman from a good family could do the things that Dahlia did and not be a complete outcast is unbelievable. However, if you can bear in mind that this is a work of fiction and can overlook this, you will not be disappointed with the story!

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

My Fair Lover by Nicole Jordan

My Fair Lover (Legendary Lovers, #5)Barbara’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Legendary Lovers #5
Publication Date: 8/29/17

Delightfully enthralling tale of love tempered with wit and adventure. Nicole Jordan has added another delightful read to the Legendary Lovers series.

Brandon Deverill is in love with Lady Katherine Wilde – but he doesn’t know it and neither does she. She loves him too – and she doesn’t know it and neither does he. What a delightful, tangled, twisted set of emotions these two unleash on each other.

The one sure thing is – Brandon wants Katherine and has for several years. He’s American, but he has English relatives and was in England visiting those relatives when he met Katherine’s family and became close friends with them. However, being the honorable man he is, he made the decision to return to America and fight on the side of his country in the War of 1812. During all the time he was gone he never forgot Katherine and wanted to go back and claim her for his own. Then, his relative passed away and Brandon inherited a title. He could care less about the title, but it gave him just the excuse he needed to go back to England and marry Katherine.

You’ll absolutely love Kate’s matchmaking family and the stunts they pull to get Brandon and Kate together. You’ve met them if you read the other books in the series, but if you haven’t, you’ll get to catch up with them in this book.

Kate is a little spitfire who wants absolutely nothing to do with Brandon Deverill. You see, like the honorable gentleman he is, he spurned her advances on the night before he left for America and she will absolutely never forgive him. However, when Kate’s very-much-loved aunt asks Kate to fill in for her in helping Brandon gain some polish and find a bride, Kate can hardly refuse because the aunt has been unavoidably detained at a lying-in.

Sparks fly as the two of them square off and do their best to keep their jealousy from showing as the other dances and flirts with others. Brandon has absolutely no intention of finding any bride other than Kate, but watching him convince her is wholly entertaining.

Then comes the adventure – a trip to France and an encounter with a pirate with whom Brandon has a history. Will they escape in one piece – if they do, it will be a close call.

I hope you’ll give this delightful, can’t-put-it-down book a try – I am sure you’ll enjoy it.

“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.”

The Barbary Mark by Anne Cleeland

The Barbary MarkBarbara’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: None – Standalone
Publication Date: July 1, 2017

What a heroine!! What a story!! I love Anne Cleeland’s Acton and Doyle series and the heroine in this book is an ancestor of Doyle. I believe this book actually began as a serial on Cleeland’s website and was so popular that they published it. So, let me be honest – this is a book I would not normally have chosen for myself. Not even close. It doesn’t take place in England, Scotland or Ireland and it isn’t about a polite subject. However, I am so glad I have it and I think you will also love it if you give it a try!

Sionnan (Nonnie) Rafferty (yes, she is Irish) is washed ashore in Algiers and is taken to the Dey where she comes into contact with some good people and some very bad people. She meets the necromancer and there is definitely more to him than is apparent at first glance. Then, there is the Agha who is cruel and evil. The necromancer, of course, is another story. He is enigmatic and mysterious – and very, very enticing.

Nonnie and her friend Jamie have been sent to Algiers by the English Crown to find and eliminate whoever is funding and abetting Napoleon in escaping his imprisonment on Elba.

You’ll find Nonnie is fearless, brave and very intelligent in trying to keep herself (and others) out of the hands of the slave traders and to complete her mission. Then, we’ll have to add love into the picture for there is indeed love abounding in this book – we end up with more than one HEA.

It is an intriguing and interesting tale of the slave trade and the journey to its end. There are many twists and turns, but you’ll always find your way through. Also, be prepared for great waves of sympathy for the back stories of both Nonnie and Jamie.

An all-around interesting read and I hope you’ll give it a chance.

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