Friday, April 5, 2019

Escorted (Escorted #1) by Claire Kent

I have to confess I fell down the Claire Kent hole! Wow! I first heard about Escort by Claire Kent from listening to Sarah MacLean podcast. She recommended it so highly that although I don’t usually gravitate towards escort storylines I was intrigued.  Well let me tell you, Sarah MacLean was right, this book was amazing. Claire Kent added so many layers to her characters that I was intrigued and I wanted to know more and more about them.

Our heroine, Lori is an author. She is twenty-six and has had it with being a virgin. She spent many of her younger years in love with a guy that did not return her love and now self-doubt has set in. She feels like she has missed out on a big part of life and she wants to do away with her pesky virginity.  It should be noted that Lori is also a very successful romance writer!  A friend of her cousin recommends an escort that is very popular and in high demand.

Ander is an absolute professional. He knows his trade and is a very knowledgeable about how to please a woman.  When he meets Lori they come to an agreement on the type of services that she is requesting and the kind he can give.  When Lori and Ander first get together Lori is very nervous and can’t complete the task that she has been trying to complete so they have to set up another meeting. The more times they meet the more Lori wants to see Ander.  She is discovering a part of herself and is gaining confidence.

First, this book is very sensual- no doubt about it.  Kent portrays Ander as such a detached and difficult to read person that as the reader I found myself wondering what he was thinking and I was intrigued by his past. So was Lori! She can’t help but snoop about Ander and the more time they spend together the more she wants to know. Because of his work this causes a lot of difficulties and some instances of hurt and confusion.  Because the story is told from Lori’s point of view Ander is harder to read but still so intriguing.  As Lori starts to develop feelings for Ander she realizes that she has to end the relationship.

Wow! First, I have to say this book is not my usual read and I could not put this book down! I was up late and even after I finally finished the book I was still captivated by the characters. I immediately started to look by other books by this author. She wrote such complicated, intriguing characters that I missed Ander and Lori after I finished the book-serious book hanger over! For anyone interested Claire Kent also writes under the name Noelle Adams and personally I cannot wait to read more!  Sarah MacLean was right this was a fascinating book with great emotional writing and written with such integrity for those in this line of work. I absolutely loved!

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Thursday, April 4, 2019

ARC Review: You’re the Earl That I Want by Kelly Bowen

Kelly Bowen has been on my to-read list for such a long time, I was really excited to read one of her books. I read the reviews for her previous book, A Good Rogue is Hard to Find (The Lords of Worth, #2) and I was really excited to read her story.

I liked “You’re the Earl that I Want” because, for me, the heroine really carried the story. I really liked her and found her to be very refreshing. Lady Josephine Somerhall is unique and her own person. She grew up making her own rules. She is very intelligent, out-spoken and in control of herself. She is not a typical lady in want of a husband although Heath Hextall is a gentleman in search of a wife. Mostly he needs a wife to take care of the mediocre things that he does not want to be bothered with, like running a household. The list of characteristics that he has are pretty much a summary of Joss. Joss and Heath grew up together as children so they share a history and when they reunite at a ball they share some barbs back and forth.

I liked how the author included Joss in Heath’s adventure/ mystery. Heath needed Joss’ help and this gave them the opportunity to come together. I have to confess that I really did not care for Heath. Although I generally love when the hero and heroine do not like each other or learn to like each other, Heath seemed very superficial as stuck up for me. I couldn’t really form an opinion about him. To me, it seemed like he was always undermining Joss or annoyed by her just because she didn’t follow in everyone else’s footsteps. As their time together progresses he not only learns to appreciate her but champions her individuality.

Overall, this was a cute and interesting story. The author provided some original traits that I have not seen in other historical romances. I liked that the hero was a self -made man I just thought this would have made him more down to earth and less of a snob. Despite my lukewarm feelings toward the hero I plan to read more books by this author and really enjoyed her unique storytelling.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

ARC Review: Only a Duke Will Do by Tamara Gill

“Only a Duke Will Do” is the second book in the “To Marry a Rogue” series. This book was a two time first for me. It’s my first Tamara Gill story and also my first second chance at romance. I liked both.

When the story begins, Lady Isolde Worthingham and the Merrick Mountshaw,Duke of Moore are madly in love. Both are very young but it was love at first sight for both of them. Merrick asked Isolde to dance at a country dance and both knew they were made for each other! On the eve of their wedding they are ready to embark on a live of love and bliss together but it’s not long until all that shatters. Isolde’s life is shattered when she wakes up to screams and her fiancĂ© in bed with one she thought to be a good friend.

Five years later Isolde is ready to come back to society. After that the disastrous night when Merrick married another she left for Scotland and has stayed away from London society. Now she is ready to reclaim her life and finally open her heart to another. It’s not long before Isolde and Merrick come face to face after five years and their feelings for each other have not changed.

I’m not usually interested in second chance romances but I was instantly invested in “Only a Duke Will Do.” The author provided a cliffhanger type plot at the beginning as we try to understand why Merrick, so much in love with Isolde and so ready to marry her and start a new life together beds her best friend. I think that “the cheating” storyline is very hard to redeem but Gill provided us with a very sad and miserable Merrick and as the plot unfolded, it became clear that he was simply a pawn in his now wife’s plans. Merrick is a devoted father and his only consolation is that his son has a good life. For Merrick being stuck in a loveless marriage is difficult but seeing Isolde having a season and ready to marry another was the true test of his strength. Isolde was equally as endearing. She was young and naive but also a pawn and the struggles that she faced with trying to move on but not able to deny her love for Merrick was heartbreaking. I wanted to know how they would both find their way out of this mess. I have to confess that they only reason I gave this three stars instead of four is because the last part of the book dragged on. I understand why the author did it but I would have liked the book more if the overly dramatic last part of the book would have been more straightforward. Nonetheless, this was an enjoyable read and I plan to read more books by Gill. Once I started reading I didn’t want to stop until I found out how these two would finally find their way back to each other.

**ARC provided by Publisher**
Only a Duke Will Do (To Marry a Rogue Book 2) by [Gill, Tamara]

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Ride Wild (Raven Riders #3) by Laura Kaye

I first heard of Laura Kaye when I read her historical fiction story “America’s First Daughter” whom she writes under the name  Laura Kamoie.  I personally love discovering when authors write different genres. Because I really enjoyed “America’s First Daughter” I was anxious to try her contemporary romance.  A few things attracted me to the story. First, I love motorcycle club books, if anyone has not read Joanna Wylde, I definitely recommend her books!  Second, I loved the idea of a lonely widower taking care of his sons and falling for the babysitter. And finally, I loved that the heroine, Cora Campbell was trying to find herself. 
Cora was an interesting enough character except that really “everything”  happened to her.  She was kidnapped and raped, it all become a little too much.  These events happened in the previous book, which I have not read, but her history helps us to understand that Cora is really just starting over and trying to figure out where she wants her life to go.  I was expecting the house to fall on top of her head at one point.  Slider is giving her a chance by offering her work as his babysitter.  He is a widower and needs someone to watch the kids while he is at work.  His kids absolutely love Cora because she always come to the rescue and knows just what to do with his sons.  The obvious attraction takes place and they finally confess their real feelings for each other and give into their longing for each other. But they also promise that it will only be one time and that is it.  Mind you, this is only half way through the book.
I have to admit that I wanted to love this story more than I actually did.  I was about 50 % of the way through the book and I was ready for the story to be done.  If this had been a novella I would have enjoyed it more but half way through the book the romance between Cora and Sam “Slider” Evans started to become flat.  I felt like the author added secondary characters to help the story pick up momentum but it really just dragged the story down.  It was hard for me to be interested in the secondary characters even when they became the focal point.
 The story felt forced and I struggled to keep interested.  The dialogue also felt overly dramatic as did many of the scenes.  Aside from my lackluster opinion about the story, I will pick up another book by the author and see if the next book in the series catches my interest better.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Seducing the Defendant by Chantal Fernando

 was immediately drawn to “Seducing the Defendant” by Chantal Fernando because of the storyline. I love the idea of a stuff and top-of-his-game attorney taking on a defendant charged with killing her husband. The evidence was pretty strong against the heroine, Scarlett Reyes. I personally love courtroom romances so I immediately jumped into the story when it became available and I was interested to read Chantal Fernando, whom I have never read before.

When the story begins, our hero, Jaxon Bentley is a grieving man. He lost his sister and he is very much into his grief. Even though he is on leave he is pulled back into his job when he hears of Scarlett Reyes, a very wealthy woman who is accused of killing her husband. Jaxon has earned a reputation as a hardworking defense attorney and one of the best. He runs a small firm with one of his good friends. Scarlett was a battered woman. She was charmed by her now dead husband and really thought he was a good guy. By all accounts he was not only a crooked cop but also involved with a motorcycle gang and heavily involved in selling and using drugs. He was also emotionally abusive to Scarlett and ended up controlling all aspects of her life until Scarlett was free of him. Scarlett trying to free herself from her husband’s abusive control fled to France to take care of her sick aunt.

When Jaxon meets Scarlett she is defensive, scared and closed off. Because he recently lost his sister Scarlett’s hurt and pain is endearing to him. Because Jaxon quickly realizes that Scarlett has suffered at the hands of her husband and is caught up in the media storm, he is kind, compassionate, caring and sweet. Everything that Scarlett needs and has craved for so long. Because of their client and attorney relationship they fight their attraction for each other and try to maintain everything strictly professional, even though, both really need a friend.

So as I mentioned before I really wanted to like this story because of the plot. A few things fell flat for me. First, I did not think that there was much chemistry between Jaxon and Scarlett. Most of their conversation felt forced and even their slowly forming friendship felt very stiff. Yes, they were attracted to each other but I knew this because the author told me not because of the chemistry between them. Also, some parts of the story were so over the top I had to stop myself from rolling my eyes a few time. This is one of those stories where if it were a novella I would have enjoyed more. Finishing the story was sheer determination and effort because most of the story felt long and drawn out. I’ve seen some great reviews online, so some readers really enjoyed the story. For me, I expected more.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Love at First Book by Jenn McKinlay

Love at First Book by Jenn McKinlay My rating: 4 of 5 stars My heart...How do I love thee, let me count the ways:) Jenn McKinlay hit all ...