Tuesday, 26 March 2019

[Review] The Infamous Duchess, by Sophie Barnes

Title The Infamous Duchess
Series: Diamonds in the Rough #4
Author: Sophie Barnes
Publisher: Avon
Number of pages: 384
Publication date: March 26th 2019

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A woman with a shocking past…

Branded a money-hungry con artist for marrying the elderly Duke of Tremaine days before his death, Viola Cartwright has found refuge in her work at St. Agatha’s Hospital. No one must know the painful reason behind her marriage. She steers clear of attachments—until Henry Lowell, heir to the Viscount Armswell, lands on her operating table after a duel. Charming and wickedly handsome, Lowell is one of London’s most inveterate scoundrels. Yet he may not be all that he appears.

And the man who can promise a future filled with love…

Posing as an unrepentant rake has helped Lowell avoid women pursuing him only for his title. But now that duty has finally called on him to marry, he finds himself entranced by the mysterious, independent-minded Viola. Then her late husband’s son returns from overseas, contesting Viola’s inheritance. Lowell longs to help her and sets out to convince Viola that a strategic union may be the best way to save all she holds dear. But can he also persuade her to take a chance on love…?

I received an eARC at no cost from the author, and I am leaving a voluntary and honest review. Thank you.

This is a mixed feelings book. I was really liking it in the beginning, but then our hero, Henry Lowell, kept saying something that was annoying me and that I don’t personally like – something like “She’ll be mine no matter what”. And I don’t like that because every time I read that sentence or a similar one, all I could think about was that he didn’t really care about our heroine, Viola, he simply saw her as a prize to be own, no matter what. I wouldn’t be mentioning it if it was something he had said/thought once, but no, he keeps thinking/saying it. He evolves as a character to someone who learns to love and who actually sees Viola as a person and not a prize, but his mind-set doesn’t seem to change, which is one of the reasons why I couldn’t connect as much as I wanted to with this book, hence the rating not going over the 3*.

I really wanted to like Viola – she is a fierce, dedicated woman, a physician, even if she didn’t go to University, and in the beginning of the book she seems so confident, with a bit of sarcasms and wit, but as the book develops, she morphs into someone else, all that strength we saw in the beginning almost disappears… So, I really wanted to like her, but the author made it a bit difficult.

I have to say the best character – “construction” wise, I mean – was probably the villain. We hate him from beginning to end, and he behaves exactly like he should and as we expect him too – with an extra at the end that was perfect. And at that point we see the Viola from the beginning.

So, to be honest, I liked the beginning and the end, and the book isn’t badly written, or anything similar, it just didn’t allow me to connect to the characters enough for me to love them.

The character that most intrigued me and that actually left me wanting to know more was Carl Guthrie, the criminal from St. Giles – now that was someone who I would like to get to know better. Can’t wait to read his book. I’m sure it will be much better than this one.

[Review] How To Marry A Highlander, by Michele Sinclair

Title How to Marry a Highlander
Series: The McTiernays #8
Author: Michele Sinclair
Publisher: Zebra
Number of pages: 352
Publication date: March 26th 2019

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A battle-hardened soldier, he is bound to the McTiernay brothers by a loyalty as strong as blood. But no woman in all of Scotland has been able to lay claim to his heart...

Unbridled Passion

A commander in the McTiernay clan, Dugan is known far and wide for his skills with a sword—and his skills in seduction. His rugged countenance and arrogant swagger are a lethal combination for the women who try to tame him and fail. Until a mysterious firebrand tempts him with her wicked ways...

SHOCKING BETRAYAL All Adanel MackBaythe knows about her Highland lover is that he is a McTiernay soldier—and a means of escaping her cruel father. But Dugan is a not a man to be toyed with. His distrust of Adanel’s motives will put a distance between them that can’t be breached. Yet when their secret trysts are discovered—sparking a war between clans—a lust for vengeance will drive Dugan back into her arms, where he will embark on his greatest battle: for her heart...

I received an eARC at no cost from the author, and I am leaving a voluntary and honest review. Thank you.

This book had a few problems for me.

I didn’t connect with the main characters and thought they were quite annoying, to be honest. And, although they had great background stories that were supposed to make us feel like we could forgive them almost anything, it didn’t work that way for me.

Dugan was arrogant, and never really understood that a great part of the problem was created by him. Adanel was a bit annoying and at the end, even though they had the HEA, they didn’t really talk. They just had sex and that was pretty much it. There was a lot of miscommunication and anger that really wasn’t resolved.

The best characters were all secondary, and maybe some will have their story told in another book? If so, I would like to read it later on. I liked the end of the book. When Dugan became laird, and was actually doing things for other people and not just thinking of him. And Adanel grew up, and actually behaved in the right way.

The book wasn’t bad, it just didn’t appeal to me. So, it gets its a two and half out of five rating because of it.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

[Review] The Disgraceful Lord Gray, by Virginia Heath

Title The Disgraceful Lord Gray
Series: The King's Elite #3
Author: Virginia Heath
Publisher: Mills & Boon Historical
Number of pages: 288
Publication date: March 21st 2019

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A spy on a mission… Until he meets this heiress!

Part of The King’s Elite. Miss Theodora Cranford’s learned to keep her impetuous nature locked away. She won’t be deceived by another man who can’t see past her fortune. She wants an honourable, sensible sort – not a self-assured scoundrel like her new neighbour, Lord Gray. Although she’s sure there’s more to him than meets the eye… But after that first captivating kiss, she's certainly left wanting more!

I received an eARC at no cost from the author, and I am leaving a voluntary and honest review. Thank you.

For those of you that follow Virginia Heath on social media, you know that she has an adorable, yet somewhat mischievous dog, named Trevor. In this (awesome) book, we have a version of Trevor, Trefor! He is adorable, and helps us readers love our hero so much more.

Lord Gray is a spy, which means his relationship with Miss Theodora Cranford starts with lies. This might put some people off, but it worked very well for me.

Gray is funny, and encouraging, and a hard worker. He doesn’t want to compromise his mission, but he also doesn’t want to lie to Thea. And he finds a way to tell her about himself, and makes it easy for her to fall in love with him, without manipulating her or lie – except when it comes to the reason he uses to justify his presence in the house next door.

Theodora Cranford, Thea to her friends and family, is a fiery redhead that has been trying to control her temper and her impulses for too long. She believes she has a good reason to do so, but with Gray’s help (and Trefor!) she begins to loosen up, and it helps her to enjoy life more.

Gray works with his stiff boss, Lord Fennimore, who has his little story in the background as well. It is quite entertaining to see a grumpy, older gentleman, change his way of living.

The book also has an element of mystery/crime, which keeps us wondering about a mysterious boss that is ordering hits, and that is the focus of Gray and Fennimore’s mission.

I loved the friendship that developed between our main characters, and how charming they both were. I was rooting for them from beginning to end.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

[Review] This Scot of Mine, by Sophie Jordan

Title This Scot of Mine
Series: The Rogue Files #4
Author: Sophie Jordan
Publisher: Avon
Number of pages: 352
Publication date: March 26th 2019

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A daring deception…

Desperate to escape her vile fiancĂ©, Lady Clara devises a bold lie—that she’s pregnant with another man’s child. With her reputation in tatters, Clara flees to Scotland to live out her days in disgrace, resigned to her fate as a spinster…until she claps eyes on the powerful and wickedly handsome Laird Hunt MacLarin.

She’s the answer to his curse…

Laird of an ancient clan, Hunt needs an heir, but he comes from a long line of men cursed to die before the birth of their firstborn. When the Duke of Autenberry approaches him with a proposition—marry my ruined sister—it seems the perfect solution. Even better, the defiant lass stirs him to his very soul.

No escaping the truth...

Except marriage cannot set them free. No matter how much Hunt desires her. No matter how much Clara burns for him. Soon she is falling for her husband, but is love enough to end the curse? Or is the tragic history of the MacLarin Clan doomed to repeat itself?

I received an eARC at no cost from the author, in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. Thank you.

Review This Scot of Mine This book didn’t start in the best way. I was really excited to read it, since I really like the author, but it just didn’t meet my expectations.

Everything felt too rushed, at the end of the book I would not be able to tell you more than one or two characteristics of the hero, and the heroine, who was supposed to be this strong, fierce lady, just… wasn’t.

I would have loved to see the love between Clara and Hunt develop, but no, we a got a curse, a couple that gets married, and that’s about it.

I loved the idea of the curse, and I wanted to know more about it, and wanted to see how everyone came to believe it, not just “this happens, so it’s the curse”.

And this kind of arranged marriage/forced proximity/insta-love kind of trope, just didn’t work for me. And I really like arranged marriages, when the couples get to know one another, where we start to see who they really are… and that just lacked here.

I want to say good things so… the sexy scenes were quite good! And I liked Marian, Clara best-friend. I’m hoping her book will be much better.

It had a nice premise, but it did not deliver.