Sunday, March 31, 2019

Gambling on a Scoundrel by Sheridan Jeane

When I heard of “Gambling on a Scoundrel” I was instantly interested because I really enjoy Victorian era stories. I had never read Sheridan Jeane and wanted to see what the story would be like. I also love hero’s and heroine’s that are outcasts and go against the tide.

The heroine is Tempy Bliss. I really liked her and the way she conducted herself. Tempy is an outsider. She comes from money not breed, in the era of the ton that made her an outcast. Her father made quite a lot of money off railroads but he was never much of a father to her. Tempy always longed for a connection with her father and although an outsider, she accepted that she would never fit in. Tempy made herself even more of an outcast when she decided to earn a living as a reporter. Although an heiress she doesn’t need the money but researching and writing are her passions. When she finds out that her fiancé-Ernest, now ex-fiancé, is engaged to a French woman, Tempy decides she needs to win him back.

Enter our hero, Lucien Hamlin. Lucien also is not of British society, but he has a lot of money. Money he made when he opened his own gambling house. Lucien is more than comfortable with his position but is ready for a new venture. When, as a favor, he allows Tempy to come to his gambling house, things start to become more complicated. Lucien doesn’t need press, least of all bad press. Tempy has been asked by Charles Dickens himself to write an article. Tempy refuses to disappoint Mr. Dickens. Against his better judgement, Lucien allows Tempy to do her research, but more is involved. He also tries to help her win her ex-fiancé back-again-against his better judgement. As Lucien and Tempy start to spend more and more time together they begin to have feelings for each other but both try to fight those feelings. Tempy is determined to win her ex-fiancé back because she thinks that she will also lose his family, which was in part the only family she ever had.

This was a really cute story and I really liked it. I also love to learn about the progressive time of Victorian England. I also really liked the hero and heroine. I have to say that the only parts that irked me were when Tempy seemed to go against her own characteristics. She is constantly tripping over things and needing rescue- I think this is done for comedic affect and its cute- but I really wanted her to have a stronger back bone, especially when it comes to her obsession with her ex-fiancé. Tempy really reflected the struggle that woman faced when they were trying to be taken seriously. I really didn’t like that she was so determined to validate herself by winning him back. Aside from these little tidbits, I really enjoyed the romance and plan to read more by this author.

**Copy provided by Author**

Saturday, March 30, 2019

ARC Review: The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean

Ever since I started this series “Scandal & Scoundrel” I have been waiting for Seraphina and Malcolm Bevingstoke, Duke of Haven’s story. When I read “The Rogue Not Taken (Scandal & Scoundrel, #1) I thought “there is no way that Sera and Mal will end up together.” There is just no way. Needless to say I was wrong. However! MacLean really had a huge obstacle to accomplish. Throughout the series, the infamous Sera is known for her scandal and most importantly because she is missing. No one knows where the Duke of Haven’s Duchess can be found. When Sera re-emerges she has changed! Three years have gone by since Sophie Talbot dumped the cheating Duke in the pond and Sera is ready to take charge of her life. Everything is against her, but she is determined.

When we first hear of Sera and Mal’s story, it is filled with hurt, anger and pain. Much of that sentiment carries through the story. Sera and Mal have a lot of baggage. From the very beginning, their love is tainted with rumors, distrust and betrayal. It seems that one wound just opens and festers another. Sera is done with that. She wants a divorce and wants to be the boss of her own life. Women during that time could not petition for a divorce even if they were subject to cruelty at the hands of their husbands. Kudos to MacLean for bringing up the history of women during this time period and really how little they had in terms of rights! Well, Sera is done with her marriage, cheating husband and is ready to open her own tavern where she can fulfill her dream of singing to her hearts content. Sera has no way of knowing that throughout the last three years Mal has traveled all over the world trying to find his wife. He never gave up looking for her and he is determined to make their marriage work. Sera wants nothing to do with Mal and the past hurts and sorrows haunt their every conversation. Mal tries one last time to keep his wife. He makes a wager with her. If she can find him a replacement Duchess he will agree to the divorce. What Mal doesn’t anticipate is that Sera’s infamous sisters will come along and that Sera has a friend, a male one at that. Mal is more determined than ever.

First, I have to say how much I enjoyed Sera and my heart broke for her. She was young and naïve, inexperience in many ways and many of her choices were not the best. Malcolm pretty much followed the same path. It would seem that both were destined for disaster-which they both experienced. Sera fought so hard to win her independence and it was admirable considering nothing was really in her favor. I was lukewarm about Mal until the end when he finally comes to realize that Sera is not his to keep… and I have to confess I put the story down and wiped away my tears. Even though they do finally get their much deserved happily-ever-after it was far from easy. There are many funny and sweet moments. There is one scene that is both sweet and real for me-when the sisters are crammed in the carriage. I just thought that MacLean really captured their bond as sisters and in many ways the figurative distance that covered them emotionally. Physically the sisters are together, but Sera has not emotionally shared with her sisters the baggage she has been carrying. This story did not disappoint and I need to know more about Secily and her American. I am crossing my fingers and hoping that this is not the last time we hear about the “Dangerous Daughters.”

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Friday, March 29, 2019

Audiobook Review: The Highlander by Kerrigan Byrne, Narrated by Derek Perkins

Kerrigan Byrne is one of those authors that once you start reading her stories you just keep wanting more and more! I started “The Highwayman” a year ago and got distracted with other books. When the opportunity to review her audiobooks came up I ran for it! What a fantastic author. “The Highlander” is the third book in her Victorian Rebels series. I am so hooked! The only reason I was eager to finish this story is because I know I have two other books by her to hear!

I personally love audiobooks especially times like now when I’m too exhausted and busy to read. Derek Perkins is as good as they get! He is a fantastic narrator who really knows how to make the characters appear before me as he reads to me about them!

Now the fantastic writing that is this story! Colonel Liam MacKenzie is the hero or like many of Byrne’s writing, an anti-hero. He has a troubled family history and is known for his ruthlessness on the battlefield. He carries many demons from his past such as his difficult and abusive relationship with his father to the suicide of his wife. As Liam returns to his clan he is faced with the task of raising his children. Something that he cannot do alone so he needs to find a governess.

Miss Philomena can’t get far enough from London and the chance to escape to the highlands is the perfect opportunity for her. With the help of two friends, Millie and Christopher Argent-from the previous book- she finds herself Liam’s new governess.

As Liam and Mena begin to get to know each other they both have secrets that they want to keep hidden but their pasts are racing to catch up with them. Liam knows that Mena is running from her past and the wounds she carries are visible both physically and emotionally. Neither Liam nor Mena are ready to let their guard down and really believe that another can come to love them despite their wounded pasts.

So, some confessions. I have to say that I don’t like instant lust stories and most of Byrne’s stories the characters instantly fall for one another. The obstacles they face are either external or obstacles that will come to resolution with time. What always keeps me glued is that the storylines are so well plotted and the twists and turns are so unexpected. Towards the end there were some things I anticipated and others I did not! I really enjoyed Liam and Mena’s story and I am happily inserting the next cd of “The Duke” and I’m ready to jump into Cole and Imogen’s story!

**Audiobook provided by Publisher**

Thursday, March 28, 2019

The Marquess and the Maiden (Lords of Vice #2) by Robyn DeHart

When I saw “The Marquess and the Maiden (Lord of Vice) available for review I could not get to my Kindle fast enough to read it! I have read and enjoyed Robyn DeHart before. DeHart always writes fun and interesting characters with unique storylines. When I read her stories, I feel like they are original and I am getting unique characters and adventures. “The Marquess and the Maiden” are no exception. Although this is the second book in the series, it is easily a standalone.

The story of Harriet Wheatley and Oliver Weeks, Marquess of Davenport starts off in the past. Harriet is a debutante and in need of a husband. Oliver is a Marquess in need of a wealthy wife since his estate is broke. Luckily both Harriet and Oliver’s mothers are lifelong friends and they think that Oliver and Harriet are perfect for each other. The mothers arrange a meeting for them to agree on the marriage.

When Harriet and Oliver meet sparks do fly but Oliver informs Harriet that he cannot marry her and he leaves! Needless to say, this leaves Harriet sadden and confused. Years later Oliver is no longer penniless but Harriet is still unmarried. When he reacquaints with her he is so drawn to her that he is determined to make her his wife. Problem is that Harriet won’t have him. She thinks he is merely lusting after her-which he is-and that he just wants to play with her emotions. Oliver is tired of trying to court Harriet so he and his mother come up with a scheme to convince Harriet that Oliver needs her help finding a wife. Harriet takes Oliver up on this offer so that she can distance herself from her growing feelings from him and she does not want to be rejected again. Oliver is determined to convince Harriet that he does want to marry her and the more he spends time with her the more intrigued he becomes. Harriet is part of a secret society called “Ladies of Virtue.” They travel around London and ward off pick-pockets and other little petty crimes. Harriet loves to be a part of this society and is distraught when its existence becomes public and the group must dismantle.

Overall, this was a cute story. I like both Harriet and Oliver. I have to confess that the storyline felt very dragged out and there were moments where I found my attention waning. It was cute to see Oliver try to win over Harriet but it became very repetitive and mundane. I plan to read more books by this author and in this series, but I had higher expectations.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Truth About Love and Dukes by Laura Lee Guhrke

I have read Laura Lee Guhrke before and everytime I read her I think,” I need to read her more.” Her heroines are always very unique and fun! I especially love that her heroines aren’t all from the same class and may even be considered “modern.”  I was super excited to see that this was the first in a series. I was instantly hooked on Henry, Duke of Torqui and Irene Deverill.

Irene although a part of high society is also part of the working class.  Irene has taken over her family business and runs a gossip column that is wildly popular. One of the topics of her column catches the eye of Henry, especially when the famous advice columnist, Lady Truelove’s encourages Henry’s mother to follow her heart and elope with a man below her station. Henry immediately searches out for Irene but he is nothing like he expected. 

Henry is a Duke and he takes his responsibilities very seriously.  Henry is determined to stop his mothers wedding at any cost even if it means blackmailing Irene and buying her paper from her. Unfortunately for Irene, her father is more than happy to sell the paper to Henry but stopping Irene’s gossip paper is not the only thing that Henry is after. He is determined that Irene has to convince his mother not to marry and thus bring ruin on the rest of the family. Henry makes Irene and Clara, her sister, stay with him and his family in the hopes that his mother will come to her senses. What Henry doesn’t calculate is that being so close to Irene might be more than he can handle.

Guhrke’s books are always so fun and filled with witty dialogue, “The Truth About Love and Dukes” is no exception. Henry was a bit of a stiff but Irene was a perfect balance. I’m counting down to the next book in the series. 

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

ARC Review: An Affair with a Notorious Heiress by Lorraine Heath

“An Affair with a Notorious Heiress(Scandalous Gentleman of St. James” is classic Lorraine Heath. I love so many of Heath’s books but the books in the last series has not grabbed until this book! The fourth book in the “Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James” series.

First, the book was so,so,so good. It’s been a while since I have started reading a book and look up to see it’s almost 2 am! The chemistry between Alistair Mabry, Marquess of Rexton and Tillie, Lady Landsdowne was so fantastic! Heath gives us two very different characters! Alistair is the son of the notorious Frannie in her previous books and series, “Surrender to the Devil: Scoundrels of St. James.” Frannie was notoriously known because of her lack of blue-blood in the previous books. Her son, Alistair has had to pay the price. After getting beat up many times while he was in school because of his mother’s reputation, Alistair is determined to marry only a woman with impeccable reputation and Tillie has anything but that. Alistair is a quiet and reserved guy who is looking for an equally quiet wife. When he begins to court Gina, Tillie’s sister Alistair has to remind himself who he is really interested in.

Tillie came to London in search of a husband because of her mother’s urging. Her parents had “new money” and in the colonies they were not accepted. Tillie’s mom urges her into London society with the hopes that she will marry a titled man-which she does. But her disastrous marriage quickly ends in a divorce. Tillie is eager to help her sister find a good match so she can return back home. When Alistair shows interest in her, she is not only weary of what his intentions are with Gina but also about her own feelings towards him. Alistair was quick to realize that Tillie’s name was slandered and her ex-husband was not. While Tillie is shunned and an outcast, her husband is readily welcomed back. The more time that Alistair spends with Tillie the more he comes to love her no longer fight their attraction. But Tillie is very much not welcomed into society and Alistair might be able to help her find her way back in however he is not sure if she will even stay in London.

Heath is an automatic read for me but for reasons I can’t understand her latest books haven’t grabbed me, but this book had me up all night. I really loved both Tillie and Alistair and loved their story. I also loved that Gina was a very conning matchmaker and she was an accomplice in helping her sister and Alistair find love. I loved this book and highly recommend it!

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Monday, March 25, 2019

The Right Kind of Rogue (Playful Brides #8) by Valerie Bowman

“The Right Kind of Rogue” is the 8th book in the Playful Brides series. I’ve read all the books in the series, so far, and Valerie Bowman never disappoints. I have been waiting-impatiently- for Meg and Harts story since I read about them in “The Legendary Lord.” I usually love the wallflower books so this book was a perfect fit.

Our heroine, Meg, is the best friend of Sarah who ends up married to Christian Forester, Viscount Berkeley. Christian appears in many of the previous books as one of Lucy’s friend. Sarah and Meg are exact opposites. Where Sarah is the belle of the season, Meg is a wilting wallflower coming from a nearly impoverished family. Her gowns are outdated and her marriage prospects don’t exist. Meg has always loved Sarah’s brother -Hart since she was sixteen. The many problems with this is that Hart’s family expect him to make a good match. Meg is not a good match. Aside from being impoverished, her father and Hart’s father are enemies and loath each other. Hart has never thought twice about Meg until his sister marries Christian and he shares a kiss with Meg. Meg has never forgotten the kiss, and although a case of mistaken identity, neither has Hart. When Sarah tells her best friend that Hart has decided to find a wife Meg realizes that time is running out and she has to take matters into her own hands. Because Meg’s situation is very dire she seeks out the help of the ever clever Lucy. Lucy has had a hand in many of the matches in the previous books.

Lucy is determined to help Hart and Meg find their way to one another, but her plans rarely go smoothly and without a doubt hearts get broken. For Harts part, he is in need of a wife, when he finds himself drawn to Meg he knows that there are more appropriate girls for him but he is still drawn to her. Even though Meg and Hart finally end of married theirs is not a happy union. There are many miscommunications between them and Hart has a long way to go before he can learn to trust.

I should know by now that when I start a Valerie Bowman story I am going to finish it in one sitting. I was completely enthralled with Meg and Harts story. I ached for them and wanted to strangle Hart at different times! One of the common threads through this series is the female friendships that always bind the heroines and give them a shoulder to lean on! Humor is never missing in her books. The good news is that there is another book in the series! The bad! We have to wait for it.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Sunday, March 24, 2019

ARC Review: Dirty Sexy Saint by Carly Phillips and Erika Wilde

I’ve read a few of Carly Phillips books before and I know that she does not disappoint. One of the reasons that I enjoy her books so much is because her characters always have the best chemistry. I have to admit there have bene books where I did not love the story line but the tension between the characters made a big difference. Erika Wilde has been on my to-read list forever and just the busyness of life and a packed reviewing schedule have stopped me from reading her work, so needless to say when I saw “Dirty Sexy Saint” I jumped at the chance to review.

This story does not disappoint. I could not put it down and I loved both the hero and the heroine. Clay Kincaid was a great hero. He was intense and broken but easily very likeable. One of my huge pet peeves is when men are portrayed as bad boys and their really just immature jerks. Clay was the perfect combination of wounded but redeemable. I loved him and found him to be very sexy. Not do be outdone by Clay, Samantha Jamieson was a great heroine. I really liked her even though she was very rough around the edges. When Samantha stumbles into Clay’s bar he can’t turn his back on her. Clay is nicknamed “Saint” because he is known for always giving those in need a helping hand, and Samanth or “Cupcake” as she is nicknamed.

This book was intense and steamy and very, ultimately satisfying. I loved the creativity of the story and the very different backgrounds that brought Saint and cupcake together. This was the type of book where you can’t wait to finish it because you want to see how the story unfolds yet at the same time you can’t help but feel bummed because it’s finished and you miss the characters. The only compensation to this type of scenario is the knowledge that this sis the first in a series. Both Wilde and Phillips write a fantastic love story of triumph and perseverance. I can’t wait for “ Diry Sexy Inked” the next book!
**ARC Provided by RockStarLit PR**

A Daring Arrangement by Joanna Shupe

I discovered Joanna Shupe listening to an audiobook “The Courtesan Duchess” since that audiobook I have devoured her “Knickerbocker” series ( A must read). I was so disappointed to discover that the publisher would not be continuing with the series but so excited when I heard that she would be 1) Writing for Avon, 2) Continue writing about the Gilded Age and 3) be starting a new series. When “A Daring Arrangement” her first book in “The Four Hundred” series was available I could not wait to read it. So often times when we anticipate something it can either be exactly what we had hoped for or fall short. Well Shupe never falls short and I LOVED “ A Daring Arrangement.” I need to learn that I cannot start one of her books late at night without expecting to be up way past my bedtime!

What made this such a great story?? What didn’t? First, our heroine- Lady Honora Parker. We are first introduced to her when she is having tea in New York City with her aunt-acting as her chaperone and a would-be- but not really- suitor. Nora has been exiled from England from her father. She has committed the horrible act of falling inlove with a starving artist and her father absolutely will not accept the match. So he sends her to New York to live with his sister until she can find a suitable match. Nora is desperate to go back home and be reunited with her love- Robert. While having tea with her aunt and a man she has absolutely no interest in, their gathering is interrupted by loud noises coming from a very wild party right above their heads. This is where Nora learns about the very notorious, Julius Hatcher. Julius is very wealthy financier but of no linage whatsoever. Julius gained his wealthy through his very cleaver head for business and math. Although Julius is wealthier than many in high society, he cannot gain their acceptance. The more Nora hears about Julius the more she realizes that he is absolutely wrong for her and her father would never approve of him. So what better reason that to be seen with him? Have rumors reach her father about their upcoming engagement and more reason could her father need to call her back to England? There is only one little problem with her plot. Julius has no idea who Nora is.

Nora decides that she needs to take her fate in her hands. She excuses herself from her aunt and guest and finds Julius. She has just the perfect arrangement for him. He pretends to be courting her, she provides him with the entrance into high society that he as always wanted and ultimately she is returned to England to be reunited with Robert-her true love. What could go wrong?

Where to begin?? I absolutely loved Nora. She is bold and brazen and as also very vulnerable and seeking a deep connection to her father that she has never had. Julius has his own baggage. For years he has unsuccessful tried to find out who the men that were responsible for his father’s business failures and ultimate suicide. Thanks to Nora he can gain access to the men that knew his father and betrayed him. Both Nora and Julius have much at stake with this fake engagement. In order for people to believe they are engaged they have to spend time together and the more time Nora spends with Julius and he with her, the more they realize that affairs of the heart of more complicated than either of them imagined. Shupe writes some very touchy and steamy scenes and its impossible for a reader not to champion for both Nora and Julius. For me this had all the makings of a great love story. Great hero and heroine, fun supporting characters, great plot and a little subplot- who was responsible for Julius’ fathers downfall? What will Nora do about her feelings for Robert? All great questions! My next question is when is the next book?

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Saturday, March 23, 2019

ARC Review: Beautiful Lawman by Sophie Jordan

I’ve read a few of Sophie Jordan’s historical romances and really enjoyed them. I’ve had “Beautiful Lawman” on my Kindle app for a while to read but hadn’t gotten around to it. I saw a little blurb about this book and I was intrigued by the enemies to lovers’ storyline. Although this is the fourth book in the “Devil’s Rock” series it is easily a standalone. I especially liked that in this story the heroine, Piper Walsh was the outcast. The hero, Hale Walters is not only the “good” guy but the sheriff of a very small town. A town where Hale and Piper both grew up and where they both experienced very different childhoods.

Piper’s last name “Walsh” has been like a noose around her neck. People judge her because of her family’s short comings. Even though she has not ever had any problems with the law, her family members have. Piper is the guardian of her little sister and she is determined to give her a good childhood and the chance to go to college. She wants for her little sister what she could never have for herself. Piper is working at a strip club as a waitress when she gets an alarming phone call-her younger sister has been arrested. With her older brother in jail for murder, this is a nightmare come true for Piper. When she runs to find her sister she loses her job as her scumbag boss gives her an ultimatum “leave and you lose your job.” Although Piper is the bread winner for her family, her choice is clear-get her sister out of jail. When She goes to pick up her sister she runs into the good Sheriff-Hale. Hale is immediately interested in Piper and her problems with her little sister and is ready to offer up some advice. Piper is not having any of it. Her and Hale have run into each other before and it was clear to Piper that Hale was passing judgement on her like everyone else. Hale has very clear rules about not getting into long-term relationships and also about not getting involved with anyone that he works with. When Piper is in trouble Hale steps in to help her and ends up breaking all of his own rules.

Ok, so first I LOVED the chemistry between these two! For me, once I am invested in a couple I want to know what happens and yes, there were some elements of the story that were a little off but for me where not a big deal. So Hale has been carrying around a big secret her entire life. When her past comes back to hunt her she is forced to come clean even if it means losing everything she has now, which includes her freedom. I thought that this element of the story was really squeezed in there and for most of the story it was Hale and Piper bickering and fending off their attraction for one another. However, I do think that the little element will be very interesting in the upcoming book which is about Pipe’s in jail brother- Cruz. The characters from the previous book also make an appearance and it was fun to see how their stories were all connected. So despite the plot holes or plot squeezes, I gave this four star because I loved the chemistry between Piper and Hale and once I started reading I couldn’t put the book down. Bring on Cruz!

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Friday, March 22, 2019

A Notorious Vow (The Four Hundred #3) by Joanna Shupe

I am a huge Joanna Shupe fan so the minute this book became available for review I jumped at the chance to read it! Shupe is a fantastic author for creating both romance, chemistry and anything Victorian. I have read many of her previous books, mostly set in NY during the Victorian period, and I absolutely love them. Same goes for her series “The Four Hundred.”

Aside from this being a book by Shupe, I also loved the description. Lady Christina Barclay is in a dire situation. Her family, through no fault of her own, is dirt poor but aristocratic. She has the tremendous pressure put on her by her parents, to marry and marry very wealthy. Christina is shy and timid, she hates public outings and had no interest in being parade by her mother through New York society. Although Christina’s family is escaping a bad reputation and being penniless her parents hope that she can land a wealthy husband-they don’t care how old or terrible he might be. Christina prefers the solace of her neighbor’s garden. A deaf recluse, Oliver Hawkes loves his solitary life. Except from his business visitors and sister, he does not want any interaction with the outside world. When he finds Christina in his garden, fainted, he provides her with care and sends her on her way. But he specifically tells her that she is not to return. Christina, although grateful for the help Oliver provides her with just can’t accept those terms.

I have to confess that I usually like characters that have a spark from the beginning. I love the hero’s and heroines that don’t like each other and have a hate/ hate relationship that turns to love but Christina and Oliver were both so sweet and tender that I could not help form a special place for them. Both Christina and Oliver understood each other and faced family members that did not mean them well. My only problem is now I am waiting to read the next book in the series which is about the ultra-smooth attorney-Frank Tripp. Aside from the satisfaction of reading about two people that find love Shupe always makes me feel smarter when I read her books. Her historical descriptions of Victorian Age are always so interesting and every book captivates me more.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Thursday, March 21, 2019

ARC Review: Beautiful Sinner by Sophie Jordan

When I spotted “Beautiful Sinner” on my Kindle I immediately jumped into reading the book. I really enjoyed the previous book in the series, Devil’s Rock, “Beautiful Lawman.” It was my first book by Sophie Jordan and I could not put it down. Although these are only books four and five, I did not feel lost in the storyline and could immediately pick up any events that shaped the characters in the previous books. When I read about Cruz I was immediately interested. Although the previous story was about Piper, his sister, I was intrigued by “badboy” Cruz and his time in prison! I couldn’t wait to read about him.

Cruz was sent to prison for murdering a woman who happens to be the cousin of the heroine, Gabriella. Gabby, or “Flappy Gabby” as she was called in high school always had a crush on Cruz. They didn’t interact in high school even though they had classes together. Gabby was terrorized by a bully and was often on the receiving end of the mean girls in high school and their taunts. Gabby leaves behind her home town and starts a new life as a reporter. When her grandma becomes ill she returns home to take care of her. But Gabby holds many of the same scars from her high school years and is determined not to set up roots. While attending a high school graduation for her niece she bumps into Cruz. Cruz is freed from prison and exonerated for the crime he never committed. But much like Gabby he still carries the wounds from his past with him. Although innocent many of the towns people still see him as guilty and an outsider.

I was really torn with this story. There were parts I enjoyed and parts that I felt impatient with. I was so eager for Gabby and Cruz story that my expectations fell a little short. I liked both the hero and heroine but felt that their chemistry lacked. Gabby has since learned to embrace her curves but carries many of her insecurities with her. She lets the people in her life bully her. Everyone from her boss at the coffee show where she works temporarily, to her sister, to her boss back at the Texas newspaper where she worked. I liked Cruz also but I felt there was a connection missing with him. He made a good life for himself after prison but he was very closed off. Once he realizes that him and Gabby share a connection from high school he is determined to give into his feelings for her until he gets scared and backs off. I was really looking forward to the story between these two but many times their troubles seemed overly dramatic the people overly immature and the chemistry a bit flat. I’m sure fans of Sophie Jordan will enjoy reading this installment in the series and if there are more books left, I will read them. But for now, Gabby and Cruz were just ok for me.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Moonlight Scandals (de Vincent #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Jennifer L. Armentrout has been on my to-read list for a long time. By sheer luck I entered a giveaway and won all three of her books in the “de Vincent” Series. I have not read any of the books in the trilogy so I thumbed through them an decided I would be interested in starting with “Moonlight Scandals.” This is the last book in the series but I was completely intrigued by the story line. It goes without saying that Jennifer Armentrout is a very popular author and after reading this book, I can see why!

There were a few reasons I wanted to start with the last book in the trilogy. The de Vincent family is very famous in New Orleans for many different reasons. One is the spooky myths surrounding the family curse. Two is that they are a very wealthy family and major players in New Orleans. Three the very handsome de Vincent brothers. There are three brothers and all three get their book. The first book, “Moonlight Sins” is about the youngest brother Lucian. The second, “Moonlight Seduction” the second brother Gabriel. The last brother, Devlin; his book is Moonlight Scandals.”

I was intrigued by the third brother, Devlin who is also the oldest and is often to referred to as “the devil.” Devlin is known for being very mean and even his brothers have a difficult time connecting with him. Devlin is the oldest brother of the family and in many regards the head of the family. Rosie Herpin is a complete opposite to Devlin. She was madly in love with her high school sweetheart and has nursed a broken heart when he committed suicide. She lives a simple live, works, has a great group of friends and also studies paranormal activity. The de Vincent house is as spooky as it gets when it comes to paranormal activity. Rosie and Nicolette are friends ( Nicolette is the love interest of Gabriel in the second book) and through Nicolette Rosie meets the famous Devlin. To say that they clash is an understatement. Where Rosie experienced great love, Devlin has never been in love. Where Rosie is very warm and caring. Devlin is cold and cut off from practically everyone.Because this book is the last in the trilogy many secrets get revealed and even though I have not read the first two books, I didn’t feel lost and I also was completely absorbed in the story, the family and the hero and heroine. I loved Rosie and Devlin as a couple. They challenged each other and really made the pages sizzle! I loved the background storylines as well. Armentrout is a craftwoman with words. I couldn’t put the book down and can’t wait to dive into the first two books to read more about the de Vincents!

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

ARC Review: Devil's Daughter by Lisa Kleypas

I could not wait for this book! When I was reading “Devil in Spring” Phoebe’s character kept grabbing my attention and I could not wait to see what Kleypas had in store for her. West Ravenel was introduced in the first book of the Ravenel series “Cold-Hearted Rake” and ever since then I have been waiting for his story! What an amazing series! I must confess I have not read all the books in the series but I was anticipating this one! 

For anyone that has not read Kleypas before (gasp), she also wrote “Devil in Winter” one of my all time favorite stories. I have read it so many times I have lost count. Here she introduced Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent. He marries a stammering wallflower in which with the Ravenels we have a chance to see how their life has unfolded as a married couple with children. Phoebe is the daughter of Sebastian and Evangeline. 

Phoebe is beautiful and a widow. She married her childhood sweetheart but he passed away before he could see the birth of their second son. Phoebe has always hated West because he tormented her husband as a child. West is by no means perfect and he is his own worst enemy. When a young man he was often found drinking, womanizing and making mayhem in society. In the first book of the series, he begins his transformation and dedicates himself to helping his brother and his decaying estate. Now in, “Devils Daughter” he is admired by the people that work alongside him and has changed his ways. Phoebe doesn’t think that he has changed from the brute that use to terrorize her husband and West refuses to forgive himself. When Phoebe attends her brothers wedding, at the door to greet her is none other than West. 

Phoebe quickly loses her reservations about West and realizes that he is a very changed man and one that she wants to get to know quickly. West does not find himself worthy of her and doesn’t see himself worthy of her love. 

This story was everything! It was full of emotion, ache, chemistry, sweetness, love, beautiful scenes, beautiful storyline, beloved characters from previous books. I have to confess that I expected Kleypas to make Phoebe and West more adversary but she did not and it worked beautifully. The one scene at the dinner table where they are sitting together was so sweet and loving that I just instantly knew this story was going to be heartbreaking and sweet and it was! Sebastian plays a very prominent role in the story and in many ways help West find his worth in the love that he does not think himself worthy of! I read this book quickly then slowly and then I skimmed it again. I loved it so much and is already a top read for 2019. I cannot recommend or love this story enough. 

The Paris Widow by Kimberly Belle

  THE PARIS WIDOW  Author: Kimberly Belle Publication Date: June 11, 2024 ISBN: 9780778307976 Format: Trade Paperback Publisher: Harlequin ...