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Friday, February 19, 2016

My American Duchess by Eloisa James

Eloisa James
ISBN# 978-0-06-238943-5
February 2016
Historical Romance

Merry Pelford is on her third fiance. After breaking the first two engagements, she is determined to go through with this one or she will be forced to return to America so as not to live in shame. Lord Cedric Allardyce is the perfect match for her or so she believes until she meets a stranger on a balcony one evening. This stranger and she begin a conversation that leads to her realizing that she is attracted to this man. But her attraction has to be short lived because she realizes later that he is her fiance's twin brother.

The Duke of Trent is upset with his brother for giving their mother's ring to his fiancee. By rights, it is his to give, not Cedric's. However, he decides that the American girl he had quite a stimulating conversation with is the perfect woman for him and sets out to find her. When he discovers that his American girl is betrothed to Cedric, he can't believe it. Even so, he and Merry find themselves in a friendship that wants to be more. Merry soon finds that Cedric is not who she believed him to be and tries to cry off the engagement so that she may leave for America, but he's having none of it. Will she be doomed to marry a man she doesn't love?

I had high hopes for this book because well, Eloisa James. I found a few parts a bit hard to believe. After all, if the Duke and Cedric were twins, how could Merry not recognize that fact when she first met him on the balcony? Then there is another part that leads to same incredulity with them being twins. Merry seems a little flighty, perhaps, even though at the end she does finally fall in love for real and then it is Trent who doesn't believe in love. There is this push and pull with these two that gets a little tiresome with the first half, gains momentum throughout the second half, but then another plot used many times pops up. This is a little disappointing. I give higher marks for the second half, but was overall let down with this book compared to previous ones.

Reviewed by Jennifer Jones
Rating: 3

The Knave of Hearts by Elizabeth Boyle

Rhymes with Love Series - Book Five
Elizabeth Boyle
ISBN# 978-0-06-228395-5
February 2016
Historical Romance

Boyle's latest book in her Rhymes With Love series features Lavinia Tempest, the twin sister of Louisa, the heroine in THE VISCOUNT WHO LIVED DOWN THE LANE. Having come to London for the season, the girls are hoping for good matches. All hopes go out the window when Lavinia falls on the dance floor at Almack's at her debut, creating a black hole where her future used to be. With invitations withdrawn, she and her sister are getting prepared to leave London as it seems to be the only recourse. That is until Alaster "Tuck" Rowland is able to convince her to stay and try again, with his help.
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Tuck can't forget how she felt in his arms. It's bad enough that he unceremoniously let go of her hand on the dance floor causing her fall, but it's worse that he placed a bet on how he would make her and her sister Diamonds of the season in just two weeks. Even though she knows nothing of the wager (at first), Tuck is able to convince her to stay and bring in his mother and uncle in to help with his plot. But it's he who will need help when he realizes that Lavinia shouldn't be with any other man except him.

This book really needs to be read after the previous book, but it's not truly necessary. Louisa's story is told along with Lavinia's in real time (meaning that even though we know Louisa's story, it is seen through Lavinia's eyes in this one). I liked the fact that this book started off a bit different. Tuck is the friend that stayed behind while his friends Piers and Poldie went off to war, with only Piers coming back. Everyone thinks he's a coward for not going and he does seem to give off a carefree air about him, but inside he's guilt ridden. He doesn't believe he is the right man for Lavinia, so when the ending comes, it's no surprise that it's Lavinia that takes matters into her own hands. Quite an enjoyable read.

Reviewed by Jennifer Jones
Rating: 4 1/2

A wonderful addition to this new Series by McQuiston

The Seduction Diaries Book 2
Jennifer McQuiston
ISBN# 978-0-06-233512-8
December 2015
Historical Romance

Book two in this series features Lucy Westmore, the sister of the heroine of the first book - Diary of an Accidental Wallflower. Lucy is a bit out of the ordinary compared to other girls and her sisters. She loves wearing trousers and working in her greenhouse. Her mother is quite adamant that Lucy find herself a husband this coming season (she is twenty one) and Lucy feels the walls closing in on her. Then she receives a letter from her recently deceased spinster Aunt E, who has left her a cottage on the Cornwall coast. She also is quite livid to discover that her father has "sold" it without her knowledge or consent. Taking claim to her life, she cuts her hair, dresses as a boy, and heads to Lizard Bay to see her cottage herself.

Lord Thomas Branston has left London Society after losing his sister. At her funeral, Thomas is also dumped by his fiancee. He heads out of London and stays away for three years. Buying the Heathmore Cottage is something he wants more than anything. He doesn't expect to see the actual owner dressed as a boy and refusing to sell him the property now that he's invested in some of the repairs. Any amount he offers her only seems to make her even angrier.

They both end up heading to Lizard Bay on the same train, and they continually butt heads throughout her stay in Lizard Bay. She's also quite upset that no one in town wants to take her to the hard to find cottage. She blames him for this, as well as creating a "ghostly" presence in the wind that howls around the cottage. Thomas isn't going anywhere and the more he's around Lucy, with a few kisses to add, the more she understands why her aunt thought so highly of him. Reading her aunt's diaries, Lucy is able to understand who her Aunt E was really and why she left her the cottage in the first place. When Lucy discovers the secret to the property and what Thomas didn't tell her, will Lucy be able to look past the hurt in order to see the real treasure of love?

I adored this book, with it's quaint town of Lizard Bay and the delightful people that inhabit it. Lucy was not one of my favorites in this book for the first half. She prejudges and is quite rude nearly all the time towards Thomas. I get that he tried to buy her property without talking to her, but to me that wasn't enough to keep talking to him like he was a bad dog every moment forward. Thomas is a beautiful hero, profoundly devoted to his sister and what happened to her was enough to send him into the countryside indefinitely. He's smart, industrious and has quite the capacity for taking a verbal beating. The romance between them is warm and fuzzy with a few high spots of heated passion. As I mentioned, the secondary characters of the town round this romance out to the point of having me wish there were further books set in this charming town.

Reviewed by Jennifer Jones
Rating: 4 1/2

Dukes Prefer Blondes by Loretta Chase

Dressmakers Series Book Four
Loretta Chase
ISBN# 978-0-06-210034-4
January 2016
Historical Romance

The last book in her Dressmakers Series, Chase brings us Lady Clara Fairfax's unlikely romance with a barrister.

Oliver Radford and Lady Clara Fairfax first met when they were children and have met again years later when she seeks out his help to find a missing boy. Their banter back and forth create an unlikely attraction, especially since Clara has been bored with all her recent marriage proposals because she is so infinitely beautiful. She wishes for someone to actually see her for something other than her looks or social status, but when someone does, can she really see him?

Radford enjoys Clara's quick wit and she seems unimpressed with him for the most part. The girl he knew before has transformed into more than a beauty. Radford wants nothing to do with the aristocracy (even though he's in line to be a Duke) and Clara has been born and bred for nothing but being a Duchess. Can these two who should have nothing in common, let alone a romance, be able to forget the rules and find true love?

This book, for the most part, was hard for me to get into. I enjoyed the first part, where Radford endured bullying by his cousins for being nerdy and odd. He met Clara back then and she came to his rescue, she got a chip in her tooth because of it. Years later, Clara and Radford meet again now that he is a barrister. His family isn't the sort that is involved with the aristocracy (his mother was a divorced woman when she married his father, who also a barrister). Lady Clara goes against everything to be with Radford and that's romantic in itself, but the romance as a whole was slow to develop and maybe that's why it was hard for me to get into it. I found myself skipping pages, which is never a good sign.

Reviewed by Jennifer Jones
Rating: 3

Latest J.D. Robb is a solid read

In Death Series #42
J.D. Robb
Berkley Books
ISBN: 978-0-698-16148-1
February 2016

Dealing with murder is not an easy task, yet LT. Eve Dallas and the homicide division of the NYPSD makes it a priority every time they catch a case — regardless of the victim.

Eve’s latest case is not yet a murder but hits too close to home. When Dennis Mira is attacked and his cousin missing, Eve wastes no time in trying to figure out what happened. Needing to first clear Dennis of any wrongdoing, Eve questions him as she would we any other person of interest. As the investigation progresses, secrets are revealed and the body of Edward Mira is found. Shortly after Edward Mira’s body is found, another man goes missing, then his body is found; yet another man is missing and so begins the race to find him before its too late. Now — its murder.

Eve is having a tough time with the attack on Dennis Mira and at the same time appears to be her most vulnerable. Charlotte and Dennis Mira are more than family friends. Long-time readers of this series are aware of Eve’s progress toward acceptance of family and friends. This story give readers another glimpse at how she continues to easily accept all of the people in her life.

BROTHERHOOD IN DEATH delves into the dark world of a college brotherhood, a fraternity like organization, where unspeakable acts of depravity started and continued through the decades. Now, retribution is the motive and nothing short of death will do.

Another solid entry in the In Death series that is sure to keep readers turning the pages or swiping until the very last page.

Reviewed By Monica Solomon

Rating: 4