The Pirate Takes A Bride by Shana Galen

The Pirate Takes a Bride (Misadventures in Matrimony, #4)Barbara’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Misadventures in Matrimony #4
Publication Date: 05/07/2014

Riveting! Sexy! Entertaining! Fast Paced! Memorable and relatable characters. This book is everything I have come to expect of a Shana Galen book. It is a great, exciting read.

I did not read the other books in this series and that did not seem to be a problem. However, this book was so good that I am going to read the rest of the series!

The beginning is a heartbreaking, gut wrenching scene. Ashley had given him her innocence only the night before and tonight she discovers him being intimate with another woman. Her heart is broken and the love she had for him has turned to hate – forevermore. She was going to make Lord Nicholas Martingale sorry! Frankly – after reading that section, I wanted to make him sorry myself!

Eight months later, in Gretna Green, Ashley Brittany finds herself mistakenly married to Nicholas by a drunken anvil priest. The wedding was supposed to be between Ashley’s friend Maddie and Nicholas (I believe that tale is told in Blackthorn’s Bride), but the priest filled out the papers incorrectly and suddenly she was married to her worst nightmare. The anvil priest is passed out on the floor and then, the pirates show up and she finds herself being forcefully taken to their ship. What more could happen in one night – well – she MIGHT discover that Nick is a pirate captain and it is his ship.

Nick isn’t as bad as you’d think from reading that first section of the book. That little scene she discovered was set by him in order to destroy any feelings she might have for him because he is a pirate and is on a mission of vengeance against another pirate. Now, I don’t have a problem with him discouraging her for that reason. What I personally found fault with was the fact that he encouraged her love, took her innocence and then decided it wasn’t in her best interest.

The pirate, Yussef, is a heartless swine who preys on innocent women and children. He will do anything to inflict pain and suffering – especially upon Nick and his crew. So, while Nick and his crew were in England, Yussef attacked the coastal village where Nick’s crew and their families lived. Yussef knew there would be nothing but children, women and the old and feeble left in the village.

Nick is one stubborn man and I was beginning to think this might be the one romance novel that didn’t have an HEA. He was absolutely pig-headed and determined that he was not going to love and share a life with Ashley. Luckily, love found a better way.

Ashley is a very strong, courageous and determined woman herself and you just have to admire her for that. She’s also very compassionate and loving and that serves her well.

Now, for my second (and maybe third) bone to pick with Nick. Nick has an illegitimate daughter that he loves totally, but he makes no bones about letting Ashley know that he never loved the girl’s mother. If he cared for the daughter at all, he could have said that although he didn’t deeply love her mother, he had affection for her. It has to be hurtful for the little girl to be aware of her father’s lack of feelings for her mother. There must have been some affections there because they lived together for years.

This was a great read and I highly recommend it.

A Christmas Peril by J. A. Hennrikus

A Christmas PerilBarbara’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Theater Cop Mystery #1
Publication Date: 09/18/17

This book is exciting, interesting, filled with twists and turns and many well developed and likable characters. I believe this is either the first or second book by this author and it will be interesting to see how she develops as a writer as time passes. It certainly lays a great foundation for the series.

Edwina “Sully” Sullivan was once part of the state police of Massachusetts, but she is now medically retired and divorced from her unfaithful husband. She’s moved back to her hometown, Trevorton and taken on the job of General Manager for the local theater. Sully was surprised to find that her skills learned on the police force would serve her well at the theater, but they do.

Sully deliberately chose not to become a PI because she wanted to leave police and investigative work behind. That has worked for five years. However, when the town’s leading citizen is murdered and his son (who is Sully’s friend) is the main focus of the investigation, she has to at least look into it a little to see if she can help.

When she arrives at the police station to see what she can do for her friend, she finds he has a very good lawyer – Sully’s ex-husband. She’s not sure how she feels about that. There is a tingle of excitement at seeing Gus again – but – she doesn’t really want to be around him.

The investigation is filled with twists and turns, multiple murders and multiple perpetrators. One of those perpetrators is a surprise!

Sully is a very relatable character and you can just feel her being pulled by her interest in the case all the while she is trying to stay out of it. She’s also pulled to Gus and it is obvious that the softer feelings are still there for him. He seems to still be drawn to her as well – especially since he didn’t want the divorce – he wanted to work things out. So, it will be interesting to watch and see the romance grow throughout the series. I say that hoping that it will grow because I really like both characters and can see them working together really well.

“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.”

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.*

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