Monthly Archives: March 2018

The Determined Duchess by Erica Monroe

The Determined Duchess (Gothic Brides, #2)The Determined Duchess by Erica Monroe
Tracy’ rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Gothic Brides, #2 (previously published in the Charmed at Christmas Anthology)

Release Date: March 27, 2018

Felicity Fields has lost everyone she has ever loved to death, but she plans to change that. She is close to figuring out the formula for the Elixir of Life, an ancient alchemy recipe that promises eternal life, healing powers and possibly the power to raise the dead. Since the death of her adopted mother, Margaret, Countess of Tetbury, Felicity has been consumed with unlocking the secret of the Philosopher’s Stone and reviving Margaret. She has gone to great lengths to ensure success, but she is running out of time and now with the return of Nicholas, Duke of Wycliffe, she is not sure she can continue her experiments without alerting him.

Nicholas, had not seen Felicity in six years, but he spent many summers with his Aunt Margaret and knows Felicity very well, she is by far the smartest person he knows and the most socially inept. Now that Margaret is dead, Felicity is his ward and he feels it necessary to take her to London and find her a husband. But he is not prepared for the attraction he feels towards her or for the secrets she is hiding.

This a very well written novella, it is a tiny bit on the creepy side, but it packs a powerful punch of emotion and the power of friendship and love. My heart broke for Felicity and I loved Nicholas, these two sort of reminded me of Brennan and Booth from Bones – they are complete opposites, yet perfect for each other. The story has some heartache, some fascinating scientific theories and a very touching ending.

This novella was originally released in the Charmed at Christmas anthology and it is the second in the Gothic Brides series, but it can absolutely be read as a stand alone title with no problem at all.

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

My Lady Captor by Hannah Howell

My Lady CaptorMy Lady Captor by Hannah Howell

Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Release Date: March 27, 2018 (Re-issue)

Someway, somehow I missed this gem when it originally released in 1996 AND when it was re-issued in 2009 – This book is classic Hannah Howell and I am so glad I finally got to read it!

Lady Sorcha Hay finds Sir Ruari Kerr injured on the battlefield while she is searching for her brother Dougal. She learns from Ruari that Dougal was taken by the English and will be ransomed back. While she is talking to him, her cousin Margaret finds another survivor, who turns out to be Ruari’s cousin Beatham.

Sorcha is dismayed, her clan has no coin to pay the ransom and her brother is Laird, they need him! So being the smart, resourceful girl she is, Sorcha hatches a plan, she will raise the ransom by holding Ruari and Beatham for ransom! She takes them back to her keep and hopes she can keep them from learning the secrets of the Hay clan. She tends Ruari’s wounds and tells him that he is her prisoner, Ruari is beyond angry and vows revenge.

Once they are back at her keep, Sorcha waits for the ransom demand from the English and tries to ignore the attraction she feels towards Ruari all while attempting to keep him from learning that most of the Hay clan are women, that she has the power to see and speak to spirits, that her cousin Euphemia is transitioning into womanhood and all the trouble that comes with that for a Hay woman. Not to mention trying to keep her cousin Margaret and Beatham from forming an impossible attachment and thwarting Ruari’s escape attempts.

Sorcha meets with the English and becomes the object of Sir Simon Treacher’s unwanted attention, she manages to negotiate a ransom and hopes to never see Sir Simon again. She sends the ransom demand to the Kerrs and informs Ruari. Ruari is still angry, but he wants Sorcha with a desire stronger than any he has ever felt. He proposes that they become lovers, no promises, no commitments. At first Sorcha is opposed, but she is attracted to him and will probably never marry, so she agrees. They share three incredible nights together before his family comes for him. They part and words are exchanged. But as he rides away, Sorcha knows that he is taking her heart with him.

She gets her brother back and is again subjected to Sir Simon, the man is obsessed! They manage to evade him and make it back to their keep. Six months pass and it finally seems like he has given up, so when Dougal suggests they attend the market fair, she looks forward to the chance to get out of the keep, she is still nursing a broken heart, but is not nearly as dramatic about it as Margaret is. She convinces Margaret to attend and even with a warning of trouble given by Effie, they set out.

Trouble finds them almost as soon as they reach the fair, Ruari is there and when he sees her, he is ready to take his revenge.

This book is great, there is a lot going on, but it never seems busy and all the various characters and story lines all tie neatly together in the end. The love scenes are steamy, the dialogue is amusing, the villain is vile, the problems keeping them apart seem unsurmountable, the declaration scene is very sweet and the epilogue is completely delightful.

I have no idea how I missed this book years ago, but I am so delighted to have found it! I would highly recommend this book and will be looking to see if there are any other books I missed!

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

With Love in Sight by Christina Britton

With Love in Sight (Twice Shy, #1)With Love in Sight by Christina Britton
Tracy’s rating: 3 of 5 stars

Series: Twice Shy, #1

Release Date: March 27, 2018

Imogen Duncan is a plain, shy, spectacle wearing, twenty-six year old wallflower. She is participating in the season for her younger sister Mariah. While watching her (or trying to since her mother won’t let her wear her spectacles in public) beautiful sister dance, she happens to overhear some matrons talking about her sisters, but when the talk turns to her, she gets upset and needs to escape the ballroom. She runs out to the gardens and straight into the arms and lips of Caleb Masters, Marquess of Willbridge.

Caleb has a tragedy in his past that he can’t move on from, he drinks too much, wagers too much and wenches too much, all in a futile effort to escape the guilt and pain he feels. He is surprised by Imogen and tries to comfort her. But she refuses to tell him her name and returns to the ballroom.

By chance they meet again the next day at her home, he has joined his friends in calling on her sister Mariah. He is delighted to see her again and a bit dismayed to see how she is treated. He begins to seek her out and they strike up a friendship. With Imogen, Caleb finds peace, she grounds him. When his friends comment on the attention he pays her, he backs off, he doesn’t want to ruin her, but Imogen stands up for herself and demands to know why he is ignoring her. She tells him she wants his friendship and doesn’t care what anyone thinks. He apologizes and she asks for a favor, she wants adventure and hopes he can give it to her.

He agrees, but he is starting to desire Imogen and needs to be careful. When one of their adventures goes too far and they end up in bed – Caleb insists that they will marry, Imogen knows she loves him, but will not marry him. Caleb can’t understand why she is refusing to marry and sets out to woo her. He will marry her!

He invites her and her father to his country seat and she meets his family. Immediately she knows something is wrong and wants to fix it – even though she has no intention of marrying him. Caleb is terrified that one of his siblings is going to tell her his dark secret and she will never marry him, so he decides to tell her everything, but every time he tries, they are interrupted. He can feel her slipping away, but is helpless to stop it.

I personally loved this book UNTIL they went to his estate, then it just became a giant pity-party, I feel like the miscommunication dragged on way too long and Imogen’s reason was flimsy – everyone and I mean everyone, knew she loved him and was sure he cared for her, but she was adamant and this dragged out until the last few pages of the book AND then there was no epilogue! If ever a book NEEDED an epilogue – it was this one. I thought the writing was good and I won’t rule out reading this author’s work in the future, but this book didn’t do it for me.

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

His Wicked Charm by Candace Camp

His Wicked Charm (The Mad Morelands, #6)His Wicked Charm by Candace Camp

Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Mad Morelands #6
Publication Date: 3/27/18

This book is absolutely perfect! It begins with a wedding and ends with a wedding and sandwiched between is a kidnapping, a mystery, an unexpected villain, mysticism, jealousy, unwelcome suitors, paranormal powers, and a lovely romance. I cannot believe that I have missed the first five books in the series and I certainly intend to remedy that! I had no trouble reading and following the book without having read the others in the series.

Constantine (Con) Moreland is the son of a Duke and publicly portrays himself exactly as he is. He’s fun-loving, nice (very nice), appealing, humorous, irreverent, impulsive and feels that the rules, at best, are just guidelines. He’s also handsome as sin, never gets lost, and just doesn’t know what to make of Lilah Holcutt. With Con – what you see is what you get.

Lilah Holcutt is the exact opposite of Con. She follows the rules, abhors scandal, is ever the prim and proper miss, likes her feet planted firmly on the ground, – and maybe she’s a bit judgmental. She is NOT flamboyant, she doesn’t crave excitement and adventure and she isn’t driven by wild uncontrollable passion. She doesn’t like Con because he is a rule breaker and – well – he teases her and that makes her think that he doesn’t like her.

We begin our story with the wedding of Alex, Con’s twin brother, and Sabrina, Lilah’s best (and only) friend. Not long after the wedding festivities are over and the happy couple has left for their honeymoon trip, Lilah’s life is back to its normal, prim, proper and boring ways. Her very, very, very staid aunt and uncle are back to finding her a proper, appropriate husband. On a particularly boring day, Lilah remembers that she promised to loan Olivia (Con’s sister) a book and decides to take it over to her. When she arrives, she learns that Olivia is out with her mother and sisters and Lilah decides she’ll just leave the book – but – Con intercepts her. As they are speaking, they learn that Con’s mother and sisters have been kidnapped. Con dashes out to the location and Lilah insists on accompanying him. Chaos, pure chaos is the scene that greets them when they arrive at the location. The Duchess and her daughters and daughters-in-law have been kidnapped and there are no clues.

After some consultation with the family, Con and Lilah take off in pursuit of the kidnappers. Con has always had the unique ability – he doesn’t get lost – and always seems to know which direction he should go. That is certainly useful when trailing the kidnappers. Strangely, that ability seems to be stronger, more acute when Lilah is near him. Luckily, they find the duchess and the ladies with her and just as Con and Lilah are rescuing them – they rescue themselves.

That begins a story filled with more twists and turns than a knotted rope. Who was the real target of the kidnapping? Was it really the duchess? Was it Kyria? Was it Sabrina? Did the kidnappers miss their real target? Who was the villain? Was it Sir Jasper? Was it the Dearborn’s (again)? Was it somebody totally new? What key is the villain looking for? What does it open? Where could it be? Oh! What an exciting adventure. You’ll love the search and the discovery and you’ll absolutely love Con and Lilah finding their HEA. I adored Lilah’s growth as she discovers who she really is and what she values in life.

I highly recommend this book and I can assure you I’ll be catching up with the rest of the series very, very soon!

Please check out my reviews at:
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“I requested and received this e-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 Secret of Flirting by Sabrina Jeffries

The Secret of Flirting (Sinful Suitors, #5)The Secret of Flirting by Sabrina Jeffries
Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Sinful Suitors, #5

Release Date: March 27, 2018

The first time Gregory Vyse, Baron Fulkham and Monique Servais meet after he sees her in a play, it is definitely not love at first sight, yet neither ever forgets the other.

Three years later Monique is still an actress in Dieppe, France, but due to the decline of her grandmother, she no longer has the lead roles, she wonders how much longer she can care for her grandmother working as an actress. Life has not always been kind to Monique and she doesn’t trust love, from her perspective love equals pain. But just when it seems she will have to do the unthinkable to support her grandmother, she gets a surprise visit from her grand-uncle, Count de Beaumonde comes to see her and makes her an offer that could solve all her problems. Her grandmother is Princess Solange of the royal family of Chanay. Her family disowned her when she married an actor, but now the Count (Solange’s BIL) will take them back to the palace and see to Solange’s care, if Monique will impersonate her cousin Princess Aurore and travel to England for the selection of the new monarch of Belgium – Aurore is the top candidate, but is deathly ill since arriving in France. Monique agrees, she and Aurore look almost identical and she is already familiar with Chanay thanks to her grandmother – what could go wrong?

The first gathering she attends, Monique discovers exactly what could go wrong – Baron Fulkham! Gregory can’t believe his eyes, the actress from Dieppe is impersonating Princess Aurore and as a member of the delegation, he cannot not let this imposter take the throne – but first he wants to know what their scheme is and sets out to unmask Monique.

Monique and Gregory are priceless together, he trying to get her to confess that she is Monique and her maintaining her role. But when her life is put in danger, Gregory doesn’t care who she is, he will protect her. Monique tells Gregory the truth of her ruse and begs him not to reveal the deception. Gregory agrees, but he will find out who is trying to kill the princess.

When Gregory learns that some is looking into his past trying to uncover his secrets and another attempt on Monique’s life is made, Gregory forms a plan. A plan that ends in him marrying Monique, but will she agree?

This is a very fast paced, well written story with wonderful characters, witty dialogue, steamy love scenes, a bit of intrigue, secrets and seemingly no chance for a HEA. But this is Sabrina Jeffries and she is able to make the impossible possible – with a surprising twist!

This is the fifth book in the series, but it is very loosely tied to the previous books and could easily be read as a stand alone title. I highly recommend this book and am looking forward to Hart’s story.

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

It Happened In The Highlands by May McGoldrick

It Happened in the Highlands (The Pennington Family, #2)It Happened in the Highlands by May McGoldrick

Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Pennington Family #2
Publication Date: 3/27/18

This exciting and interesting tale is the second installment in May McGoldrick’s Pennington Family series. It is well paced, well written, and well plotted. Don’t let the book blurb fool you, he didn’t exactly walk away from the betrothal because of the gossip. So, if that description puts you off – as it did me – I’d say give it a chance – because it isn’t exactly accurate. I won’t give you his reasons because you need to read the book to find out. Now, I WILL say that I understand his reasoning, but NOT his timing. He was a very smart and capable man and should have recognized his dilemma long before he did. So, as I said – if that trope bothers you and you are thinking of not reading it because of it – give it a chance, I think you’ll like it.

We met Josephine Pennington (Jo) in the first book of the series – Romancing the Scot. You couldn’t help but like her in that one. She’s no less likable in this one, but I did feel she was a bit of a doormat. I really did enjoy watching her grow a spine. It wasn’t that she wasn’t smart and decisive, she just couldn’t stand conflict – especially when that conflict involved her. She allowed others to gossip viciously about her without any confrontation at all – she’d just run away. That forced everyone who loved her, especially the males, to be more and more protective of her. I was so very happy to see her grow a spine – and use it toward the end of the book. There is a scene with Lady Nithsdale at around the 95-96% mark that you will absolutely LOVE!

Captain Wynne Melfort is the younger son of a hateful, vindictive, spiteful, bigoted Baron – and his mother is as bad as his father. It would take a lot for a very young man to go against them and society. I was glad to learn that he found his bravery and was an accomplished leader in the Royal Navy. I think it took him a while, but he did get there. I believe my main reservation about him is his timing. I do sort of understand his reasoning for jilting Jo, what I question is his timing. Early on in the relationship, he knew ALL of the things he used as an excuse – he could have just skipped the proposal altogether or given her a choice to jilt him earlier. Instead, he made the decision for both of them. Then, he tells her in a letter! Granted, he called on her, but when she was out he left a letter breaking their engagement – say what! Talk about cowardice.

Sixteen years after the broken betrothal, Wynne is retired from the navy and has gone into partnership with his ship’s surgeon. They have opened an innovative hospital for people with mental illness. Wynne is the director of the hospital and the surgeon, of course, is the doctor. (BTW – you’ll love the doctor and I’m sure we will see him in his own story later). Wynne is also a widower with a son, Cuffe (wish I knew how to pronounce that). They are in the Highlands and Cuffe is having a hard time adjusting to the changes in his life.

They have a patient in their hospital who is uncommunicative – but he keeps sketching pictures of the same woman. Once Wynne sees the sketches, he recognizes the woman immediately – it is Jo. Wynne knows how important it is to Jo that she find her origins and Wynne thinks maybe this patient might hold a clue to those origins. So, he has Dr. McKendry write to Jo and include a copy of the sketch. Wynne knows that Jo will come to the hospital to see the patient, and he plans to be away while she is there – except she shows up earlier than expected.

The story leads the two of them into discoveries of many kinds. Discoveries about themselves, discoveries about their feelings for each other, discoveries about how strong they really are – so many things. As they search for Jo’s origins, they have to deal with villains, love and a lonely, unhappy little boy.

While I liked the first book better, this one is still a great read and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Please check out my reviews at:
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“I requested and received this e-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.”

Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon by Kerrelyn Sparks

Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon (The Embraced, #3)Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon by Kerrelyn Sparks

Series: The Embraced, #3

Release Date: March 27, 2018

Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Gwennore is the 3rd “sister” of the Embraced from the Isle of Moon, she is Elven, but this doesn’t stop her sisters from trying to find a match for her.

While avoiding her matchmaking sisters and rude courtiers, she slips away with Luciana’s daughter Eviana to pick flowers. Far away from the others, they become easy prey when a dragon swoops down and snatches Eviana. Gwen is not letting her go without a fight and grabs the dragon as it is flying away. When the dragon shakes her loose, she is caught and saved by another dragon. This is when she learns that she can communicate with dragons, her dragon tells her he will return her and Eviana unharmed, but she must be patient. Gwen asks the dragon’s name and when he doesn’t respond, she names him Puff. The dragon sets her down on the ground near Eviana and tells her to trust the General.

Gwen and Eviana are escorted to the palace by guards and the Queen Freya announces that Eviana is her daughter. When Gwen touches the Queen her gift activates and she learns the Queen is being poisoned and is dying and going mad. The Queen demands that Gwen be arrested and thrown in the dungeon, Gwen calls out to Puff but just then, the most gorgeous man Gwen has ever seen arrives and saves her – General Silas Dravenko

Gwen and Eviana are taken to the nursery and everyone believes that Gwen is Silas’ mistress, she is shown a room and while she is changing she sees the sifter Brody, she lets him in her room and tells him what has happened. Silas enters and tells Brody that he will return them tomorrow, but he begs Gwen to stay and help save the Queen and his people.

Gwen agrees, but is not happy that everyone thinks they are lovers, Silas flirts shamelessly with her and she doesn’t believe that he is sincere as she has always been shunned for her heritage. But as they work together, Gwen begins to believe that he does accept her, but Silas has many secrets and she doesn’t know if she can trust her heart to him. When they learn that the poisoning of the Queen may lead back to the Chameleon, secrets will have to be revealed and Gwen will have to decide if she can forgive Silas for his deception or walk away and return to her sisters.

This is a wonderful story, but before these two get their HEA there will be tons of witty dialogue, excellent secondary characters, lots of secrets, shocking twists, trolls, dragons, shifters, surprise revelations, new villains joining old villains, some tears and a couple of steamy love scenes.

This is the third book in the series and while it can be read as a stand alone, it is best to read the series in order. I knocked off a 1/2 star for modern verbiage – which may or may not be fair – this is a fantasy world but the author portrays it as a medieval type world, so when a heroine wearing a gown, worrying about her reputation being ruined, while in a castle lit by candles spews out phrases like – hitched a ride, jump his bones and I’m pissed – it seems out of place. But please don’t let a little modern verbiage stop you from reading this series – it is fantastic!

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


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