‘Ravished by the Rake’ by Louise Allen

STORY: Vivacious lady Perdita Brooke prides herself on her social poise…except when faced with devastatingly dashing Alistair Lyndon. The dreamy young man Dita once knew is now a hardened rake, who clearly does not remember their passionate night together…however much it’s emblazoned on her memory!

Now Dita has the perfect opportunity to remind Alistair of their sizzling chemistry. But soon she is in over her head. Provoking him is supposed to be a deliciously wicked game, with her holding all the cards—until Alistair reveals the ace up his sleeve!

REVIEW: Lady Perdita Brooke is not your typical lady of the ton, and frankly, she never was.

At sixteen, she was an awkward, skinny but tall girl with a crush on a neighboring marquis’ son who was six years older than she, and who always thought her a nuisance until one unforgettable night, which left both with yearning dreams of each other.

Many years later, in a faraway India in exile for putting her family through a scandal, she’s shocked to see that boy who is now a man that she still finds fascinating, handsome and infuriating, all at the same time.

Lord Alistair Lyndon is not a boy any more but a man whose experiences for the past few years have left him scarred inside and out, and while the scars that could be seen are intriguing and attractive to most of the women, the ones that are hidden are haunting his dreams and keeping our hero awake at night.

As both, Alistair and Ditta, are finally ready to return to their families, they’re faced with a voyage that will set the course for their future.

The heroine is one tough cookie! She’s witty and smart but not a great beauty, which made her more real.

The hero, while Alpha all the way, Ms. Allen made sure he had the shades of Beta and that made him more real.

Together, they were a force to be reckoned with!

The setting, while it starts off in India, is made more unique by having our pair stuck on a ship for duration of three months, and there’s a lot that can happen during that time, trust me.

Ms. Allen has managed to tell an amazing character driven story that will touch your hearts. It’s also very well written, action filled and entertaining while still sensual and touching with secondary characters well-developed and waiting for their own HEA’s.

This is the first Louise Allen novel I’ve read and I loved it! As ‘Ravished by the Rake’ is the first book in the ‘Danger & Desire’ trilogy, I can’t wait to read the other books in the series. Ms. Allen, I’m going to have to stock up on your other books while waiting for the rest of this series. Welcome to my keeper shelf!

Anne Gracie’s ‘Bride by Mistake’

I loved the premise for ‘Bride By Mistake‘ right off the bat. I had heard wonderful things about Anne Gracie and I was not disappointed in the least! Between the premise and my friend’s recommendations, I didn’t think that I could go wrong!

I was truly blown away by all of the things that I felt while reading this book! I felt proud of Isabella for realizing that life was hers for the taking. Even though Luke wasn’t the man of her dreams, she could still go out and fulfill a promise made to her dying father without his help. For years she sat waiting for salvation to come to her until one day she simply decided enough was enough. I really enjoyed her spunk and pluckiness and that she allowed herself to go after her freedom and wasn’t going to wait one more day for anyone to come save her. It definitely gave her a realness that I can relate to.

I felt so sorry for the things that turned Luke into the man he had become- one hardened to the idea of love and unable to live life to the fullest. Regardless of what he went through, Luke is still an honorable man and sets out to collect his unwanted bride from a convent in Spain. He plans to take her back to England with him to fulfill his duties as husband to the Spanish heiress. But, what he finds is not a little church mouse but a beautiful, vibrant lioness who is tired of all of the waiting and not going to meekly follow wherever Luke would go.

I loved the battle between the characters- both with themselves and with each other. Both have issues to overcome and duties to fulfill. Life has not been easy for either one of them. Together they grow and develop beautifully throughout the story, working towards a very fitting HEA. I have never read an Anne Gracie book before ‘Bride By Mistake’ but make no “mistake” about it, I will be loading up my Nook with all of her books after reading this fabulous story!

CONGRATULATIONS to all 2012 RITA and Golden Heart Finalists!

2012 RITA Finalists by Category:

Best First Book
Contemporary Series Romance
Contemporary Series Romance: Suspense/Adventure
Contemporary Single Title
Historical Romance
Inspirational Romance
Novel with Strong Romantic Elements
Paranormal Romance
Regency Historical Romance
Romance Novella
Romantic Suspense
Young Adult Romance

2012 Golden Heart Finalists by Category:

Contemporary Series Romance
Contemporary Single Title
Historical Romance
Inspirational Romance
Novel with Strong Romantic Elements
Paranormal Romance
Regency Historical Romance
Romantic Suspense
Young Adult Romance

 *courtesy of Romance Writers of America

These are the categories I’m interested in and books I’ve read, and out of all these choosing one is like making me choose between chocolate and ice cream! I love both and I’m choosing not to choose! I’ll have both!

Thank God I’m not a judge!!! I’d be doing ‘Ini-Mini-Miny-Mo’ and let the luck be the picker!!! Yeah, I know…what a coward I am :(

Tell us which categories are you watching and which books have you read and are rooting for…

2012 RITA Finalists for Best First Book

The Devil in Disguise by Stefanie Sloane

How to Marry a Duke by Vicky Dreilling

2012 RITA Finalists for Regency Historical Romance

The Devil in Disguise by Stefanie Sloane

 

 

 

2012 RITA Finalists for Regency Historical Romance

Heiress in Love by Christina Brooke

How to Marry a Duke by Vicky Dreiling

How to Seduce a Scoundrel by Vicky Dreiling

Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish by Grace Burrowes

A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare

 

 

2012 RITA Finalists for Historical Romance

Always a Temptress by Eileen Dreyer

The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne

The Many Sins of Lord Cameron by Jennifer Ashley

Unveiled by Courtney Milan

2012 RITA Finalists for Novel with Strong Romantic Elements

Goodnight Tweetheart by Teresa Medeiros

2012 RITA Finalists for Romance Novella

I Love the Earl by Caroline Linden

‘Fallen Embers’ and ‘Blowing Embers’ by Lauri J Owen

‘Fallen Embers’

In ‘Fallen Embers’ we meet Kiera and her nephew Alex who live a pretty run of the mill, everyday existence in modern day Alaska.  All of a sudden their existence in not only completely changed but completely at stake when they are transported to an alternate Alaska by a magic they didn’t know existed.  All of a sudden they must fight for their very survival!  In this alternate version of Alaska there are shape-shifters being enslaved by the local nobility- who are mages.  As if that isn’t enough to process Kiera has discovered that she is a fire mage and can summon fire.   Kiera involves herself in the dispute, siding with the slaves only to realize that some things are not what they seem and life is sometimes drawn in inky shades of grey and not always black and white.

I love the characters in this story.  I love that they are all beautifully flawed and wonderfully real.  And as a plus sized woman, I truly enjoyed that Kiera was plus sized, beautiful, flawed and powerful.  I loved how she grew as a person and learned so much through her own discoveries as well as the different experiences that helped to shape her growth.  The journey Kiera takes is one that I gladly took with her.  I could not put the book down, not from start to finish.  I tore up the pages, soaking in every single word.  I felt like I was right there in the midst of the struggles, the romance, the alternate realism that has been created.  Fallen Embers is magical, keeping me enthralled until the very end.

‘Blowing Embers’

In ‘Blowing Embers’ we are back in Fairbanks with Kiera and a tenuous peace between mage and shape-shifter.  Kiera is in the midst of facilitating this peace when a threat comes from outside of the city.  A threat by a water mage named Vrishka who has threatened to destroy all of the shape-shifters in Fairbanks with his army if the city is not surrendered and the mage are not set back into place as rulers.

The battle between good and evil is a nasty one in this book.  At every turn, no matter how hard Kiera fights, she is dealt odds that no normal person could overcome.  But, she is not just a normal person.  She is a fire mage, she is strong and she will keep fighting, with Laszlo at her side.  She will find a way for good to prevail, even in the face of heartbreaking devastation.  Even in the face of overwhelming odds and possible defeat, she keeps going, she keeps fighting.

Again we see amazing growth and character development in Lauri J Owen’s writing.  Her characters take on a life all their own, making me want to read every single word at one time and yet not wanting the book to end.  Blowing Embers is powerful, beautiful, amazing writing at its very BEST.  I will not easily ever forget Fallen Embers or Blowing Embers and I am very eagerly awaiting the third installment of these books, Rising Embers!

I want to thank Lauri J Owen for these wonderful couple of days with us.  I am honored to share her books with our readers and hope that she will join us again at her leisure to talk about this new world that I have completely fallen in love with.

As for you, my bookworms, don’t forget to read my interview with Lauri and remember, making a comment on BOTH DAYS will enter you in the drawing to win both of her books!

TWO lucky winners will win BOTH of her books!!! 

‘Blame It on Bath’ by Caroline Linden

“BLAME IT ON BATH” is the second book in Caroline Linden’s trilogy ‘Truth about the Duke’ series.

On his death-bed, Duke of Durham needs forgiveness from his sons and so he asks the two of them that are present, Edward de Lacey, the spare and Captain Gerard de Lacey the hero, and the youngest, to forgive him for not being able to resolve the dilemma he’s now leaving it to them to solve.  Soon, Ned and Gerard find out from their father’s solicitor, that some sixty years ago the Duke had been married than parted ways with the woman, but never annulled or dissolved the marriage before marrying their mother. And now apparently someone has come to possess that knowledge and is blackmailing the old Duke. Knowing that this information will bring huge scandal, brothers agree to try to solve this dilemma in their own way, but first they need to break this news to their oldest brother Charles, Lord Gresham.

While Edward, the middle son of the deceased Duke of Durham, is concentrating on the legal side of their claim (ONE NIGHT IN LONDON) Gerard de Lacey the youngest, is a man of action and as such needs to put his military expertise into pursuing the blackmailer. As his clues are pointing out toward Bath, he heads out that way but is confronted with a dilemma of his own that will change his life as well as his course of action.

Lady Katherine Howe is no beauty, and she knows it. She has only one wish now that she’s widowed and that is to get out from under the will of her late husband’s heir who is pursuing her to wed him as soon as possible. Knowing that she would be forced by her very strong-willed and much beautiful mother to accept his suit, she comes up with her own plan of escape-by offering marriage to Gerard, who she very well knows is in a need of a wife with a substantial dowry.

“BLAME IT ON BATH” was so much fun to read. I loved the fact that both “ONE NIGHT IN LONDON” and “BLAME IT ON BATH” were stories that ran parallel to each other. How clever of you, Ms. Linden! The marriage of convenience trope has been done so many times before but never the less Ms. Linden made it interesting and fresh.

Gerard made a great hero to Kate’s intriguing and sharp heroine. I also liked that Kate was very ordinary ‘duck’ that ever so slowly turned into a ‘swan’. Her slow and quiet change brought on by the way Gerard treated her, was a joy to watch! As always, Ms. Linden brings us a very strong lead in Kate. She is a woman who knows her mind, yet like so many females out there, she has some self-esteem issue that she needs to deal with before she comes clean and admits to our hero that it was not by chance that she chose him for her spouse.

As for Gerard, he is aware that Kate is keeping crucial information from him, but after enquiring about her from her own solicitor, he agrees to the marriage, making sure that Kate knows that this will be a marriage in truth.

“BLAME IT ON BATH” has all the components required for a very interesting, sensual and entertaining romance and I give it five quills without hesitation, urging you to pick it up as soon as it hits the shelves on Feb 28th.

*This review posted on Romantic Crush Junkies Reviews eZine*

‘Secret in Her Kiss’ by Anna Randol

I am very impressed with Ms. Anna Randol and her ‘village’ (I hear it takes one to get one’s novel ‘out’) for the unique setting of Constantinople and the intriguing cover that very closely resembles our hero and heroine.

Our story opens with our hero, Major Bennett Prestwood, who is eagerly waiting to board a ship to England after the Battle of Waterloo.  He’s worried about his sister who’s in an abusive marriage that no one in the family is aware of, but him. To his utter chagrin, he is waylaid by his superior and ordered to board a ship to Constantinople with orders to guard a spy by the name of Mari Sinclair until she completes her mission.

Our heroine, Mari Sinclair is half-British from her father and half-Greek from her mother. For many years now she’s been living with her father, an archaeologist in Constantinople. Mari’s talent as an artist and naturalist came in handy when she got ‘recruited’ by the British Government to draw secret information within her beautiful drawings of local fauna and flora.

I must admit I was pleasantly surprised by this author’s debut novel. Everything within it was perfectly pitched, from the pace of the story to the characterization of main and secondary players as well as the unique setting. The chemistry between Mari and Bennett was very vivid and real, as they both tried very hard to come to terms with their mission, and their budding personal relationship. Both had personal issues to deal with and resolve before admitting to the feelings that kept growing between them. I came to care for Mari whose courage shines through while she juggles her own duties, one to her father who’s slowly wasting away under the influence of Opium, and another to the cause of her Greek mother by helping with Greek independence. Bennet on the other hand had to walk a fine line and always balance his duty to the Crown and his duty to Mari as well as his family. Not a small feat for a man of great honor and dedication who hides a tender heart of a poet.

There’s a lot to recommend this new author and her début, from a very strong and brave heroine, to a hero that while very strong in all he does, still is vulnerable when it comes to his art. The author impresses with her research of the history of the time and does an awesome job in creating three-dimensional characters and moving the plot at a steady pace. Her secondary characters were well-written, entertaining and three-dimensional as well.

The unique setting and cover may have drawn me to this novel, but the prose, plot and especially characters, main and secondary, kept me reading on until the wee hours of the morning. If you’re itching to venture to an exotic location filled with intrigue, action and danger as well as romance, look no further. Anna Randol delivers on all fronts managing to balance it all in this wonderful début and I’m very happy to give her my four quills.

*This review posted on Romantic Crush Junkies Reviews eZine*

Time to ‘catch up’ with my RRAH Reviews…

Hello my Bookworms! Now about those AWESOME cup cakes?! Just click on the link and you’ll find yourself in a cup cake Heaven!

It has been a hell of a short winter and almost no snow here in the Windy City, but we can deal with that. How was your winter? Have you had much snow and low temps? And your health? Have you set yourself behind with things that needed done, either at work or home?

I’ve had some set becks, mostly in keeping my RRAH reviews up-to date, but the set-back I hated the most is my bout with back pain, which took me of my healthy eating habit and the result of too much medication.had me gain all the weight I’ve lost….and that bums me out BIG TIME!

I can tell you that as of now, I’ve started the weight loss again, and hoping this time it sticks… I’m on my second cortisone shot and in two weeks I’ll be on my third one, and then REHAB! I so hope this will work, but my Doc tells me it might take me six months to a year to fully recover and move the disk back into its original position, and that’s a bummer as well, but must be done, so I push on…

You know what the best thing is about all this?! I got to read and review some good books, even though it would take me forever to sit, stand and KNEEL by the comp, I did them, however I haven’t brought them to you and since I’m feeling all bright and happy on such a great sunny day here in my Chicago Town, I’m happy to tell you about some of the books I reviewed for Romance Reader At Heart. You already might have read some, but it would be fun to hear your thoughts on them just the same.

EMILY AND THE DARK ANGEL by Jo Beverley was “…another of Ms. Beverley’s well-written and well-plotted stories, with sharp dialogue and full of witty and fun characters.

I found out that this book is part of a series which began with LORD WRAYBOURNE’S BETROTHAL, continued with THE STANFORTH SECRET and THE STOLEN BRIDE. Besides EMILY AND THE DARK ANGEL, LORD WRAYBOURNE’S BETROTHAL is the only other one I’ve read. I’ll make it a point to get the other two, as I’d like nothing better than to find out the love story of those characters as well.”

WHAT A DUKE WANTS by Lavinia Kent was ” …a fast paced, fun, and very entertaining read with a predictable plot, yet it will make you feel warm and fuzzy all over.”

My thoughts on WICKED SEDUCTION by Jade Lee  are “…There’s not a thing that I didn’t like about WICKED SEDUCTION, and there’s a lot to recommend it. All the characters, secondary included, were very vivid, extremely well-developed, and the romance full of tender moments. I liked the interaction between Kit and Maddy, and I would be remiss not to mention the love scenes!

WICKED SEDUCTION is one book that you won’t be able to put down ‘till you’re done.”

BECAUSE YOUR MINE by Lisa Kleypas is as good as all of her books that came before and after this one so “…If you’ve never read any of Lisa Kleypas’ books before, you may as well start with this one. You’ll enjoy its pace, dialogue, laugh-out-loud moments and the love scenes that are tender, yet sensual.

The prequel to this story is SOMEWHERE I’LL FIND YOU, and it is as good as this story, so you may as well get both! Both are Keeper worthy.”

A LADY AWAKENED by Cecilia Grant is in one word UNIQUE “…This is not your typical cookie cutter romance, despite its trope. By choosing this plot, the author took a gamble in giving us the slower pace and fully developing her players first, main and secondary, thus making them very real and the plot easy to accept. I’d say the gamble paid off, as I enjoyed this Victorian tale very much, and I’m looking forward to Ms. Grant’s future tales. Welcome to my Keeper shelf, Ms. Grant!”

THE UNEXPECTED MISS BENNET by Patrice Sarath made me feel so fuzzy and warm all over  “…Oh, and to see and get a chance to catch up with everyone was pure bliss!

What I liked the best was this author’s prose, which was as close as one can get to Austen’s; and with it, she kept me grounded, so I hardly felt the transition from the original.

I highly recommend THE UNEXPECTED MISS BENNET to all Austen fans. As a matter a fact, this is a must for them, and it’s a definite keeper for me. I’ll still be tied up in knots, but possibly less so after this wonderful book.”

In BRAZEN by Margo Maguire  “…It was interesting to watch a high society Lady fall for this hard-living Captain, especially because neither took their feelings seriously, at first. They both thought each other unsuitable for anything but an affair. However, as much as I loved the hero, try as I might, the heroine just left me cold. Only a handful of scenes have I thought her at least a bit warm (and most of those are the sensual ones).

In the end, BRAZEN was not a bad read. I enjoyed its pace and the hero, as well as the mystery, so I’ll recommend it, but will probably give it away”

RECKLESS ANGEL by Jane Feather  just blew me away, and I think you should all get it. My favorite “…paragraph is at the end of this tale, as Daniel is watching her sleep, thinking… ”Daniel gazed upon his sleeping wife and wondered how such a wondrous, magical creature has been shaped, how such a loving and giving spirit could have emerged from the arid soil of her childhood. And he had wondered what he had done to deserve the gift of her love, the measurable joy of her self to inform his life.”

RECKLESS ANGEL is a romance with sensual overtones that should make Ms. Feather proud. She has achieved a perfect balance of romance and history by introducing us to England as it was at the time of civil strife, and gifting us with characters that were three-dimensional. Combined with a very plausible plot and a quick pace, this makes for a wonderful, extremely entertaining and fun read. I would go so far as to even recommend it to sixteen-year-olds! There are no overly explicit scenes in this book that would make it inappropriate for this generation, or for that matter, any generation. I highly recommend it, and strongly urge you to ignore the negative reviews of this delightful romance story.”

And I’m finishing off with one of the best books I’ve ever read and that’s HOW THE MARQUESS WAS WON by Julie Anne Long. What follows is a romance that will melt your heart. Everything was so well written that I was left panting, sighing, and praying that this author NEVER stops writing!

The characters, plot, setting, secondary characters, pace and prose were out of this world! I swear, you’ll be devouring the pages with such speed that you just might have to reread it at a slower speed as soon as you finish it.

Julie Ann Long is fast becoming an author to be pre-ordered! I am looking forward to her very, VERY long writing career. As with all her other books—not just this series—this one’s keeper shelf worthy and a reread MUST!”

Well, there you have it! I would love to know if you’ve read any of these yet, or if they’re still on your TBR. If you haven’t had the chance to buy it yet, let me know which one of these you’re missing and you never know, we might just GIVE you that one!