Tracy’s Reviews

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.*

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*

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*


Courtly Scandals by Erin Kane Spock

Courtly Scandals (Courtly Love, #2)Courtly Scandals by Erin Kane Spock

Series: Courtly Love, #2

Release Date: March 19, 2018

Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

4.5 stars!

The Elizabethan era is by far my favorite HR sub-genre, unfortunately Elizabethan era books are few and far between, so I was delighted to see this book listed on NetGalley and while I had never read anything by this author, I was excited to dive into the glittery, treacherous world of Queen Elizabeth’s court and I am happy to say Ms. Spock did not disappoint!

This a complex tale of the fictional Mary Montgomery and Sir Charles Fitzjohn, set among the very real members of Queen Elizabeth’s court. Mary was introduced in the first book Courtly Pleasures (which I haven’t read, but will be soon!) as a member of Frances LeSieur’s household. Mary has been invited to stay for the Christmastide festivities by her dear friend Anne, Countess of Oxford, to whom she was a companion for many years until she was sent home ruined and heartbroken, thanks to Anne’s husband Edward, Earl of Oxford. But even with the shadow of Oxford hanging over her, Mary looks forward to spending time with Anne and enjoying all the revelry the court has to offer before she returns to her duties with the LeSieurs.

She meets Charles the first night due to the interference of her friend Blanche Parry, they immediately feel a connection and even though Mary believes she is not fit to marry, she is delighted to flirt and dally with Sir Charles. She knows that nothing can come of the flirtation, but she is determined to squeeze every minute of joy she can get out of her time at court.

Charles is a guardsman to the Queen and a bastard by birth, in this era illegitimate children had many limitations, Charles is luckier than most, his father raised him and gave him his name, but that doesn’t change the fact that he cannot own land or marry without special permission. Something he never gave a second thought about until he met Mary.

When Mary unwittingly becomes the center of scandal, Charles will do anything to help her clear her name. But for Mary, things go from bad to worse and any dreams of a happy life seemly disappear. She begins to realize for the first time that she does have choices and support comes from the most unlikely of sources. And when she is at her lowest, she is given opportunities that exceed any hopes and dreams she has ever had.

Can these two find a happy ever after? Or will secrets and vicious gossip tear them apart forever?

I loved this book, it is well written, flows perfectly, has steamy love scenes, lots of intrigue, a delightful blend of fact and fiction, secrets, forbidden desires and finally a very sweet HEA with a epilogue! This is the second book in the series, but I had no problems reading this book as a stand alone (although, I will be going back and reading the first book!!!) The only reason I didn’t give this book 5 stars is because there was a bit more modern verbiage than I would have liked and a few typos (which may be corrected by publication). But even with those very minor issues, I highly recommend this book and will be looking forward to reading more by this author!!

*I am voluntarily reviewing an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher*

Earl of St. Seville by Christina McKnight

Earl of St. Seville  (Wicked Earls' Club #11)Earl of St. Seville by Christina McKnight
Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Wicked Earls’ Club, #11

Release Date: March 20, 2018

Sinclair Chambers, Earl of St. Seville aka Sin is “rescued” by James Lane, Earl of Desmond when James sees Sin being attacked in an alley. He brings Sin back to his carriage and learns that he is the son of an old friend. He insists on bringing him home and having his injuries tended. Sin just wants to return to his rented rooms and await his meeting with Coventry at the Wicked Earls’ Club.

He goes with the earl and while waiting for the doctor, a beautiful young woman comes in the room, when she asks who he is and his purpose in her home, he flees. But it will not be the last time he sees the lovely Lady Patience Lane.

Patience’s mother was the famed pugilist Ivory Bess before marrying the earl, she died too young because of complications related to her fighting. Patience has made it her life’s work to inform and warn others of the dangers of fighting, to the point where she is almost a social outcast. She meets Sin again when he defends her at a ball against Lord Holstrom. Holstrom is the man Sin is in London to meet. He hopes Holstrom will set up prize fights for him so he can earn money to save his family and the people of his estate from destitution.

Patience waits for Sin outside his rooms, she wants to thank him for defending her. He is gracious and kind to her and when they part ways, she follows him. She is horrified to see him fighting and knows he will lose. Despite her quest, she knows a lot about fighting from time spent with her mother and at one time she even considered fighting herself. But watching her mother die turned her away from the sport. After the fight, Patience goes to Sin and takes him back to his rooms. She learns why he is fighting and makes a deal with him, she will train him, but in return he must abide by her rules and give up fighting. He agrees, but still intends to follow through with his plan.

Patience teaches Sin the art of fighting, but when she realizes he has not been honest, she is heartbroken. Can Sin win back the woman he now knows means the world to him and still save his people? Can Patience forgive him and let go of her past pain? Will her brothers ever get invited to the Wicked Earls Club?

I have read this author before and not really cared for her writing, in fact, I swore never to read her work again, so when I realized that I would be reading her WEC for our blog, I was not really thrilled, but recently I read an anthology and I really liked her contribution, so I decided to read this book with an open mind and I am grateful that I did, because Sinclair Chambers is probably one of the best heroes I have ever read, I really loved him. This book has a few typos, some misused words, a title error, no steam and a fair dash of angst, but I loved it, Patience and Sinclair are characters that will not be easy to move on from, they are perfectly imperfect and I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It is the eleventh book in the Wicked Earls’ Club series, but it can easily be read as a stand alone (as they all can).

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

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