Top Pick – Highly Recommended

The Sins of Lord Lockwood by Meredith Duran

The Sins of Lord Lockwood (Rules for the Reckless, #6)The Sins of Lord Lockwood by Meredith Duran

Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Rules for the Reckless, #6

Release Date: February 27, 2018

I loved this book, it is a complex story with many layers that converge into an intense and gripping read.

The book opens days after William Devaliant, the Earl of Lockwood aka Liam marries Anna Wallace, the Countess of Forth (in her own right). He is aboard a prison hulk being beaten, he was abducted and traded for another prisoner. Later he realizes who orchestrated his abduction, his cousin Stephen and he vows revenge.

Fast forward 3 years, 8 months – Anna has left Scotland and traveled to London to confront her errant husband, he disappeared on their wedding night and she hasn’t heard from him since. But she learns he is back in England and is spending HER money and sponsoring artists in his London townhouse and she is going to set him straight. She enters the house and there is a party in full swing, she is appalled by his servants and the debauchery going on around her. She finds Liam on a sofa with a courtesan attached to him like a leech. He rises to greet her and tells her to leave. She refuses and tells him to send his “guests” home. Liam is not in good shape, he took some drug to gain oblivion, but it has only made him muddled. He can’t believe Anna is here and needs to send her on her way. She flat out refuses to go and wants answers – answers he is not willing to give.

Anna makes herself at home and takes every opportunity to vent her anger on Liam. She has come to town to settle some business matters and to get answers – so far she has only more questions. Liam is not the young man she married, but she sees glimpses of him. Where has he been and why did he leave her? The next day they talk again and he tells her what happened to him, but she thinks he is lying. She makes accusations that he does not deny and she seethes.

Liam doesn’t want Anna in his home, he has put his plan into motion and she is a complication he doesn’t need. But seeing her again brings back something he thought he lost, feelings, he FEELS for the first time in years and feelings he thought gone forever. And when she demands he give her an heir and lays down her rules, he agrees, but has a rule of his own. The passion between them is white hot, but neither is willing to bend and they wage a major war of wills.

Liam is no longer the young love-struck boy she married, the past four years have changed him, irrevocably. But Anna is no simpering maiden and she stands up to this new callous Liam. And when she learns the truth, Anna will stop at nothing to save Liam.

The story has several flashbacks to their first meeting, their courtship, wedding day and the fight they had before he disappeared. These flashbacks are well placed in the story and give the read a much better understanding of these two people.

This is not a light read, but neither is it overly dark. It is a meaty, stick to your ribs kind of story with two very flawed people finding their way back to each other, it is a story of revenge, acceptance, forgiveness and love. I was hooked from the first page, it is extremely well written and even with flashbacks, it is paced perfectly. There are steamy love scenes, moments of heartbreak and sorrow, moments of horror, great secondary characters (including Julian and Emma), a shocking twist and a very sweet epilogue. This is the sixth book in the series, but it could be read as a stand alone title with no problems. I loved this book and would be happy to recommend it!

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

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The Woman In The Water by Charles Finch

The Woman in the WaterThe Woman in the Water by Charles Finch

Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

WOW! I am in awe of Charles Finch and his writing and I’d give this book more than 5-stars if I could. This has to be the absolute best book of the Charles Lenox Mystery series so far. While it is shown as book #0 in the series because it is a prequel, it is actually something like the thirteenth if you count the novellas. The writing is superb, the characters are fully developed and relatable, and the story is fast-paced, engrossing and detailed.

We are introduced to a young Charles Lenox, just twenty-three years of age and newly living in London on his own. He desperately wants to be a detective, but his few forays into it and his interactions with Scotland Yard have been very disappointing. However, being the tenacious young man that he is, Charles perseveres by honing his knowledge of crimes in London, how they are solved and the details behind them. He does that by buying copies of all of the newspapers and cutting all of the crime related articles out and filing them away.

When one of those newspapers carry the text of a letter claiming that the writer had already committed one ‘perfect’ murder and would be committing another soon, Charles knew he had to be involved. He and his valet, Graham, use the timeline given in the letter and find the case the letter writer must be claiming as his perfect crime. They are off to Scotland Yard to show them their conjecture and to offer their services. Of course, Scotland Yard wants no part of their help, but that doesn’t deter Charles. As he digs and learns more and more – he shares it all with Scotland Yard.

While the murder plot was interesting, detailed and engrossing, I think my favorite parts of the book were the more personal parts. Those are skillfully written and poignant, heartwarming, emotional and sad. We meet Charles’ mother and father and learn of the father, Edward’s, medical diagnosis. How Charles, his mother, and brother Edmund – his father too – deal with that is so bittersweet and lovely. I absolutely adored his father and the efforts he made to ensure that he spent time with each of the family members individually and that they knew he loved them. I loved the descriptions of his fence painting – and I loved that when he finally spoke to Charles about his leaving them he said – “The hardest part of losing a person, Charles, is that grief is only an absence. There is nowhere to go to touch it.”

It was fun to meet the younger, more immature versions of people we’ll get to know and love throughout the series. There is Jane, of course. She’s married to someone else and Charles is heartbroken over that. Graham, of course, is one of my favorite people. Then, we meet a very young and very mischievous John Dallington.

I usually don’t read prequels, especially if I know that someone doesn’t last through the series – especially because of a bad end. I am so very, very happy that I made an exception for this book. It is so well written, so well developed and just such a wonderful read that I cannot imagine having missed it.

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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.”

Beyond Scandal and Desire by Lorraine Heath

Beyond Scandal and Desire (Sins for All Seasons, #1)Beyond Scandal and Desire by Lorraine Heath
Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Sin for All Seasons, #1

Release Date: January 30, 2018

WOW, Just WOW! Anyone who follows my reviews knows I read A LOT of books, but rarely do I want to cry at the end of book as much I as did this one – not because it was sad, but because it was over! I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book! Ms. Heath has a way with words, she has the ability to draw a reader in and force them to become invested in her characters – their joy is your joy, their pain is your pain, their troubles become your troubles – it is a rare treat to find an author who has this talent and an amazing gift for anyone lucky enough to read the book.

This is the first book in the Sins for All Seasons Series, the series is centered around the Widow Ettie Trewlove and the children she raised, who are all illegitimate cast-offs. Ms. Heath sets up the series and introduces us to the future characters, but never does it feel like this book is just a set up for the series, Mick Trewlove and Lady Aslyn Hastings are truly the stars and the main focus of the book.

Mick knows that the Duke of Hedley is his father and wants to be acknowledged as such. He is a wealthy self-made man who literally pulled himself from the gutter and forged an empire. But he longs for the respect and acceptance of the nobility, he is sure if his father would acknowledge their connection, doors would be opened to him. He has written to the duke several times, but after responding that he has no bastard to the first letter, the duke has ignored him. Mick wants his acknowledgement more than anything in the world and hatches a plan. If the duke won’t accept him, Mick will ruin his heir.

Lady Aslyn Hastings in the orphaned daughter of an earl and the ward of the Duke of Hedley. She has lived with the family since she was a young child and though it has not been officially announced, she and everyone in society assume that she will marry Hedley’s son and heir, the Earl of Kipwick and affectionately known as Kip. Aslyn has been sheltered and knows little of the world, the duchess is a recluse and extremely over protective of her. Aslyn longs for excitement and begs Kip to take her to Cremorne Gardens. This is where Mick and Aslyn meet for the first time.

Mick along with his sister Fancy are at the gardens and “happen” to run into Kip and Aslyn. Kip knows of Mick and longs to gain entrance to his brother Aiden’s club – The Cerberus Club. After a bit of friendly chatter, Mick tells Kip, he will take him to the club. Meanwhile, Aslyn is mesmerized by Mick, never has she had such a reaction to a man and it makes her question her feelings for Kip.

Over the next few days, Mick enacts his plan and plays on Kip’s weakness for gambling, he also begins to “woo” Aslyn. He plans to steal her from Kip and bring Kip to ruin, thinking he will then be able to force the duke’s hand. What he didn’t plan for was Aslyn or his reaction to her.

This is an amazing story, it is well written, flows wonderfully, there are secrets, betrayal, moments of wonder and joy, moments of immense heartache, steamy love scenes, shocking twists that have even bigger shocking twists and a truly beautiful soul-mate type love. I cannot recommend this book enough, I will definitely be re-reading this one and cannot wait for the next book in the series.

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

A Devil in Scotland by Suzanne Enoch

A Devil in Scotland (No Ordinary Hero, #3)A Devil in Scotland by Suzanne Enoch

Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: No Ordinary Hero #3
Publication Date: 1/30/18

I was mesmerized by the wonderfully well-written story right through the last page. As I grew to know the characters better and better, I was drawn more deeply into their stories. The planning, plotting, writing and execution of this book was flawless from beginning to end. You’ll fall helplessly in love with Callum from the immature, misguided, wild, reckless, hurt, and angry young man of twenty through the mature, vengeful, protective and very loving man of thirty. I didn’t want the book to end, but it was a delightful wrap-up to the series. You can read this as a stand-alone book even though it is part of a series. I read the first two books and loved them, so I’m glad I read them all.

The story opens in 1806 (near Inverness, Scotland) with a gut-wrenching scene. Callum is drunk and has just returned home from a period of drinking and wenching to learn that his brother, Ian, is now engaged to Callum’s long-time friend – Rebecca. Callum realizes that maybe he cares more for Rebecca than he realized and asks her to run away with him instead. Rebecca isn’t ‘in love’ with Ian, but she does love him and thinks that he’ll be a good, safe, steady husband for her and any children they have. She cares for Callum too but is smart enough to know that the raw, immature young man he is would not be good husband material. To add fat-to-the-fire, the Duke of Dunncraigh and his son are also there that night. Callum doesn’t trust the duke and thinks that he has some nefarious scheme afoot. When Ian overhears what Callum says to Rebecca, he orders him out of the house and tells him never to return. Callum goes, but before he does, he tries one last time to warn Ian about Dunncraigh – and he tells Dunncraigh that if anything happens to Ian, he’ll be back for vengeance – to end him.

Ten years later, Callum is in Kentucky – a very rich and successful distiller. He has abided by his brothers demand and has not made a return to Scotland. After about five years, his brother had spent a great deal of money to find him, but Callum did not read the letters at all. He just had his clerk burn them as soon as they arrived. Then, a fragment of a newspaper article caught the attention of his aid – and when Callum saw it, he knew – he just knew – that Ian had been murdered – and he knew who to punish for it. So, he was off on his journey back to Scotland. His biggest concern was how many were involved – was Rebecca involved? He didn’t care who or how many – they would all pay.

When Callum arrives in Inverness, he is remembered and treated as the wayward young man he had been ten years earlier. That was good. It was better they had no idea with whom they were now dealing. Then – plans abruptly change – he discovers his six-year-old niece and immediately loves her. That means he now has to keep her safe, figure out where Rebecca fits into the picture and punish the guilty parties.

What a wonderfully engrossing tale. You’ll love Callum and Rebecca as they get to know each other as the adults they are today rather than the children they were ten years ago. You’ll also love ‘Mags’ – Lady Margaret – Callum’s niece. She’s small, intelligent, curious, precocious, and has her uncle wrapped around her finger. Waya, the wolf is also exceptional and is gracious enough to accept Mags into her pack.

Please see my reviews of the first two books by clicking the book title below:

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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 Duke of Nothing by Jess Michaels

The Duke of Nothing (The 1797 Club, #5)The Duke of Nothing by Jess Michaels
Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The 1797 Club, #5

Release Date: January 16, 2018

I started this book with a preconceived notion of how it was going to play out based on the blurb. I thought I was going to be reading a typical star crossed lovers trope, I foresaw anguish, heartbreak, longing for what could never be, etc., etc., etc., and then a miraculous HEA. I am happy to say, I was totally wrong! Yes, the book had all the aforementioned elements, but OMG – there was nothing typical about the way this story unfolded.

Baldwin Undercross, the Duke of Sheffield, has a secret, one he has kept from everyone, his mother knows part of it, but even she does not know the full extent of his ruin. Baldwin inherited the estate five years ago from his father and learned that his father had gambled away almost everything that was not entailed. And Baldwin added to this debt by trying to gamble and only made things worse. His pride will not let him share his shame with anyone. He knows that he must marry a heiress and soon, before society at large learns of the state of his finances. His mother has complied a list of “prospects” and Baldwin must choose one to be his duchess.

Helena Monroe is the cousin and companion of Charity Shephard, who is one of Baldwin’s prospects. Helena also has secrets and accepts her lot in life because she really has no other options. Helena is truly a kind, loving soul, she meets Baldwin when she has slipped out to count stars. When Baldwin asks what she is doing and she tells him that counting stars reminds her that there are bigger things than herself or her problems. Baldwin is instantly charmed and thinks that she might be the “American” from his mother’s list and suddenly, the idea of marrying doesn’t seem so awful.

Baldwin soon learns that Helena is not the heiress and cannot even be considered a prospect, but his mother points out that Charity is a lovely young woman and urges him to pursue her. Helena also learns who Baldwin is and that her cousin is interested in him. She knows that she is not a suitable choice for his bride and pushes down her disappointment.

They meet again when Baldwin hosts a tea for the prospects, they once again end up alone when Helena is embarrassed by her uncle and needs a moment to compose herself. They chat and are found together by Charity.

Her Uncle is livid and punishes her by making her stay home while he and Charity pay calls. But while they are out, Helena receives a visit from the “duchesses”, they noticed Baldwin’s interest in her and decided to make her acquaintance. Helena is overwhelmed by their offer of friendship and she gladly accepts. She knows that they would shun her if they knew the truth, but she can’t help but be thrilled by their friendship. When Charlotte invites her to dinner, she tries to decline, but Charlotte promises to invite her family.

At the dinner, Baldwin once again singles her out and they go for a walk in the garden and share a kiss. After which, he apologizes and he tells her everything. They know that there can be no future for them and commit to being friends. It is not enough, but they will take what they can get.

Baldwin’s mother organizes a house party for the prospects. Baldwin and Helena try to avoid each other, but it is impossible and causes problems for Helena with Charity and her Uncle Peter. And to make matters worse, Baldwin learns that someone has bought up some of his debts and he doesn’t know who or what they will demand. When Helena goes looking for him, she finds him drunk in his study. They talk and kiss and Baldwin learns part of her secret. The next day he seeks her out and learns the full extent of her secrets. She tells him that even though they have no future, she would like an affair. Helena knows she loves him and wants something to remember after they part.

Baldwin knows he loves her and has to make a decision. When he is confronted by Matthew about his intentions toward Helena, he tells him everything and why as much as he loves her, he cannot marry her. Matthew is angry and offers to marry Helena himself. This is the jolt Baldwin needed and he confesses all to his family.

Just when it seems like a HEA is on the horizon, Helena’s uncle throws a wrench into their plans and all seems lost. But salvation comes from an unlikely and surprising source!

This was probably my second favorite book in the series. It is well written, flows perfectly, has steamy love scenes, wonderful secondary characters, one of the best declaration scenes I have ever read and of course a wonderful HEA. While this is the 5th book in the series, it could easily be read as a stand alone title – but be warned, if you start with this book, you are going to want to read the previous books 🙂

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

Tracy & Barbara’s Mystery, Suspense and Other Favorites for 2017

Yesterday, we shared our favorite Historical Romances published in 2017.  Today, we’d like to share our favorites from other genres and novellas that were published in 2017.  Just click on the picture of the cover to see our review of the book!

Barbara’s Favorite Mystery and Suspense for 2017

Where The Dead LieMurder In MayfairMurder On Black Swan LaneThis Side Of MurderMurder In ShadowMystery At Carlton HouseSecrets In DeathThe Detecting DuchessOnce Upon A SpineEchoes In DeathDeath In St. Petersburg

Tracy’s Favorite Novellas & Subgenre Favorites for 2017

Tracy - A Love To RememberTracy - How to tame a beast in 7 daysTracy - The Mad CountessTracy - So I Married A SorcererTracy - MorganTracy - A Thostly Tale Of Forbidden LoveTracy - With This Christmas RingTracy - Mistletoe And The MajorTracy - A Talent For TemptationTracy - The Proper Way To Stop A Wedding

Tracy & Barbara’s Historical Romance Favorites For 2017

As 2017 draws to a close, we’d like to take a moment to thank each of you for your support of our blog, Facebook, and Twitter pages.  We were so excited to start our blog in April, but we were apprehensive as well.  We wondered if we’d be able to produce content that others would appreciate and if we’d be able to grow our following.  Thanks to you, we have grown, are still growing and look forward to growing even more in 2018.

We have read and reviewed some wonderful books this year and we’d like to share our favorites with you.  So, we’ll be sharing our ‘favorites’ published in 2017 with you, in this post and the next – along with a link to our review (just click on the picture to see the review).   You might notice that some books are on both Tracy and Barbara’s list – smiles – that should let you know it was a REALLY good book.  We hope you will enjoy the list, the reviews – and maybe find a new favorite for yourself.  If you like our blog, please pass us along to your friends so maybe they’ll follow us too.

First up – is a list of our favorite Historical Romances.  They are not listed in any particular order.

Barbara’s List

Traitor In Her ArmsThree Weeks With A PrincessThird Son's A CharmThe Silent DukeThe Highlanders Princess BrideThe Duke Of Her DesireHighland SpyHighland RuseTracy-Duke With BenefitsA Most Unlikely Duke

Tracy’s List

Tracy - Anything but a GentlemanTracy-Duchess DealTracy - Duke of DesireTracy - Earl In Wolf's ClothingTraitor In Her ArmsTracy - The Daring DukeTracy - The DukeTracy - Seducing Mr. SykesTracy - Someone To LoveThe Highlanders Princess Bride





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