‘A Duke in Shining Armor’ by Loretta Chase

adisa lcSTORY: Not all dukes are created equal. Most are upstanding members of Society. And then there’s the trio known as Their Dis-Graces.

Hugh Philemon Ancaster, seventh Duke of Ripley, will never win prizes for virtue. But even he draws the line at running off with his best friend’s bride. All he’s trying to do is recapture the slightly inebriated Lady Olympia Hightower and return her to her intended bridegroom.

For reasons that elude her, bookish, bespectacled Olympia is supposed to marry a gorgeous rake of a duke. The ton is flabbergasted. Her family’s ecstatic. And Olympia? She’s climbing out of a window, bent on a getaway. But tall, dark, and exasperating Ripley is hot on her trail, determined to bring her back to his friend. For once, the world-famous hellion is trying to do the honorable thing.

So why does Olympia have to make it so deliciously difficult for him . . . ?

REVIEW: Loretta Chase is someone I admire and whose work I never miss to read. She is my #1 favorite author. EVER! That said, I have to say that this story is better read than listened to, and I’ve done both, so I know of what I speak.

Difficult Dukes series starts with Ripley and Olympia’s story and I loved it, as long as I was reading it. I sort-of  liked it as I was listening to it, but about that in a bit.

Let me tell you what worked for me in the story: everything, BUT the “she said/he said/name said”. OMG! It was bordering on annoying! When we have only two people conversing, I know exactly who says what. Unless you have them doing something as they talk, it really is annoying to her “he said/she said”.

As for the rest of the story, this was your typical LC book and it took off with high speed and never let down. The characters were light, the story entertaining and fun, but in no way was this a 5 Star read, and for that I blame the editor. He/she should have known better.

Melanie for b2b

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‘The Lady and the Highlander’ by Lecia Cornwall

tlath lcSTORY: Laire MacLeod’s father has married a mysterious widow who is a vain beauty that deals with potions and spells. Laire does not drink them with the rest of her family and is the only one who could see through her stepmother’s games. When Laire flees to find help from her Uncle, the Lady’s huntsman follows her with orders to kill. Laire must survive in a dangerous new city and find the antidote to a poisonous potion before it is too late.

Iain Lindsay is cursed. He is bound for seven years to be the hunter of a Lady who uses him to bring back birds to use in her potions. When Laire MacLeod escapes the Lady’s nets, Iain tracks her to Edinburgh, where she’s found shelter with an unusual band of thieves, but he cannot bring himself to harm her. Instead, he finds himself falling in love with the MacLeod beauty. 

But a Highlander’s oath is his bond, and the price for helping her is death, both his own, and of those he loves.

REVIEW: In this third story of Ms. Cornwall’s A Highland Fairy Tale Series, she is retelling us a tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

I must admit that this one had a lot of surprises and it kept me on my toes. Laire and Ian, our heroine and hero, were well developed and their characters had some similarities with the original story, but it’s the differences with them which kept me reading and rooting for the couple.

As for the I enjoyed “dwarfs”?! Let me just say that this was a genius casting! You should read the book and find out what I mean.

Fun and entertaining from start to finish.

Melanie for b2b

Gift ARC provided by the publisher

 

 

The Lady and the Highlander (A Highland Fairy Tale #3)

‘When a Laird Finds a Lass’ by Lecia Cornwall

walfal lcSTORY: She is his greatest enemy and his only salvation.

Malcolm MacDonald, a lawyer in Edinburgh, unexpectedly inherits his father’s title of Laird of Dunbronach, forcing him to return to a place he hasn’t seen since he was a small child. To gain the trust of a wary clan, Malcolm must act upon their insistence that he cast aside his English betrothed and marry a Highlander.

However, they have one condition—no lasses of the barbaric clan MacLeod.

When he finds an unconscious woman in the sea, he brings her back to his clan but not before doing the one thing that could save her life—hiding her all too telling MacLeod plaid. When she wakes with no memory of who she is, Malcolm vows to keep the little he knows about her identity a secret. As new dangers threaten his clan, the mysterious lass teaches Malcolm some very important lessons about how to be a Highlander and a laird.

But secrets never stay secret for long, and when she finds her plaid, her memory returns and she flees. Malcolm is forced to make a difficult choice to win her back, facing his darkest fears and his worst enemy for a chance at true love.

REVIEW: This is book two in Ms. Cornwall’s new series of fairy tail retellings. This one is the retelling of The Little Mermaid and since I’ve never read or seen the movie about the said mermaid, I have nothing to compare it to, but I can tell you that I did like this story and now I really need to see The Little Mermaid.

I liked a lot of things in this book. From the intriguing plot to the pace, I thought the author did a fantastic job. But it’s the characters of Marcail and Malcolm that made me like this story so much. . I liked the slow progression of their romance and I liked that she was strong willed and at times impulsive. As for the hero? Well, there was a lot to be impressed by him. He was everything a hero should be. Brave, considerate, strong and passionate about his clan as well as the woman he loved.

This tale is for all hard core romance and adventure lovers and because it will have you smile as you’re entertained by not just our couple but by a slew of side characters as well.

If you are a fan of fairytale retellings and men in kilts, I definitely think you should read this sweet and heartwarming tale.

Melanie for b2b

Gift ARC provided by the publisher

‘The English Wife’ by Lauren Willig

tew lwSTORY: Annabelle and Bayard Van Duyvil live a charmed life: he’s the scion of an old Knickerbocker family, she grew up in a Tudor manor in England, they had a whirlwind romance in London, they have three year old twins on whom they dote, and he’s recreated her family home on the banks of the Hudson and renamed it Illyria. Yes, there are rumors that she’s having an affair with the architect, but rumors are rumors and people will gossip.

But then Bayard is found dead with a knife in his chest on the night of their Twelfth Night Ball, Annabelle goes missing, presumed drowned, and the papers go mad. Bay’s sister, Janie, forms an unlikely alliance with a reporter to uncover the truth, convinced that Bay would never have killed his wife, that it must be a third party, but the more she learns about her brother and his wife, the more everything she thought she knew about them starts to unravel.

Who were her brother and his wife, really? And why did her brother die with the name George on his lips?

REVIEW: I was really torn about this story and while I loved some aspects of it, the other have left me bereft and confused.

For example, the author did an amazing job taking me into the world of these characters, however the pace and multiple points of view and numerous supporting characters have managed to take me out of the story.

I will say this, the mystery was good and the ending surprising, so if you are a fan of this author, I have no doubt that you’ll enjoy this story, but if this is your first time reading her, I’d probably pass on this one and look for another of her many wonderful stories.

Melanie for b2b

Gift ARC provided by the publisher

‘A Matter of Circumstance’ by Michelle Deschenes

amos mdSTORY: It is 1816 and twenty-one-year-old Julianne Smith is anxious to depart from her guardians’ luxurious household and set out on her own. Even with all her grand ideas seemingly within reach, Julianne never foresees the turn of events that are about to irrevocably transform her life.

Captain Charles Dorchester is a handsome, honourable man with few worries now that the war is behind him. When fate leads him to rescue the passengers of a stagecoach after it is robbed somewhere between London and Birmingham, he has no idea that inside is a woman with the power to turn his life upside down.

As Julianne’s path intertwines with his, neither can deny their attraction to each other. But as a fierce passion and love blooms between them, Julianne is left in the midst of an internal struggle that prompts betrayal, fears, and consequences.

In this historical romance, an independent woman becomes embroiled in a passionate love affair with a military captain that leads her to realize the influence of fate.

REVIEW: This is the first time I’m reading this author and I was pleasantly surprised with this touching and heartwarming story. Both, the characters and the plot were well written and the pace was just right, not too fast and not slow.

I truly enjoyed following these characters and finding out what made them tick.

For those of you that enjoy strong, independent heroines and honorable and handsome heroes, this story is perfect for you

Melanie for b2b

Gift ARC provided by the author

‘To the Duke, with Love’ by Amelia Grey

image001STORY: There may be times when a gentleman is desperate to gain a lady’s attention, but a gentleman would never resort to desperate measures to obtain it.
―A Proper Gentleman’s Guide to Wooing the Perfect Lady

Sloane Knox, the Duke of Hawksthorn is guardian for his sweet, younger sister. Due to his misguided past as one of the infamous Rakes of St James, Hawk is hoping to avoid the Season by securing a match for her before it begins. He has the perfect gentleman in mind, but for one infuriating―and unexpectedly intoxicating―obstacle: the intended groom’s own sister, Miss Loretta Quick.

Having narrowly avoided her own arranged marriage to an unacceptable nobleman, Loretta is determined that her dear brother―a gentle, good-natured soul―should marry for love. Matching wits with Hawk may be her greatest challenge yet. . .until she realizes it may also be her greatest pleasure. For the young duke’s irresistible charm has not only begun to crumble her stubborn resolve, it has claimed her heart in true love as well. . .

REVIEW: This is the second story in The Rakes of St. James series and I found this one very hard to finish reading it. The reason for it are not just anachronisms, because sometimes I’ll overlook them if the story is strong and characters relatable and likable. But in this story, I found the hero and heroine just a bit short of cartoonish.

Sorry to say that I’m not recommending this one.

Melanie for b2b

Gift ARC provided by the publisher

‘A Match Made in Heather’ by Anna Harrington

ammih ahSTORY: When Highland Hearts Collide…
Arabel Rowland was the laird’s daughter, courted by sons of dukes and as wild and untamed as the Highlands around her. Garrick McGuiness was nothing more than a penniless, nameless Scot working in the Rowland stables with nothing to offer but his heart. On the eve when they were to elope, Arabel is forced to make a decision that changes both of their lives—one that drives them apart for a decade.

Sparks Are Sure to Fly!
Ten years later, Garrick is now Earl of Townsend and surprised to receive word of an inheritance from the Rowlands—and simply stunned to learn that he must share that inheritance with the one woman he hoped never to see again. His plan is to fulfill the will’s requirement, take the money, and never return to Scotland again. But when the deadly secret that came between them is revealed, he finds himself experiencing the Highlands—and his feelings toward Arabel—in a way he never did before.

Fate tore them apart, but now he’s back in her life with status, money and a title. Can they let go of past hurts and find love?

REVIEW: I’ve read most of this authors books which are all a part of one series or another so I was glad to have a chance to read a stand-alone story from her.

This is a novella and not a full length novel so the reading went fast and I have to say enjoyable, despite the length. 

One of my favorite romance tropes is the second chance in love stories and that’s exactly what this was. Arabel and Garrick epitomized a couple with too much baggage and a past neither could help putting it behind them.

If you’re a fan of strong and stubborn characters who fight their true feelings and try and overcome some misunderstandings, I think you’ll like this story.

Melanie for b2b

Gift ARC provided by the publisher