Monday, February 9, 2015

Review: Hero by Samantha Young


Hero by Samantha Young

Published February 3rd 2015 by NAL
Paperback, 416 pages
Series: Stand-Alone?
Genre:  Contemporary Romance

Heat Rating: Erotic

AmazonGoodreads

Recommanded for age 18 and older due to strong adult content and language.

Summary from Goodreads

The emotional and unforgettable new romance from the New York Times bestselling author of the On Dublin Street series.

Alexa Holland’s father was her hero—until her shocking discovery that she and her mother weren't his only family. Ever since, Alexa has worked to turn her life in a different direction and forge her own identity outside of his terrible secrets. But when she meets a man who’s as damaged by her father’s mistakes as she is, Alexa must help him.

Caine Carraway wants nothing to do with Alexa’s efforts at redemption, but it’s not so easy to push her away. Determined to make her hate him, he brings her to the edge of her patience and waits for her to walk away. But his actions only draw them together and, despite the odds, they begin an intense and explosive affair.

Only Caine knows he can never be the white knight that Alexa has always longed for. And when they're on the precipice of danger, he finds he’ll do anything to protect either one of them from being hurt again…
Yay it's another Samantha Young book! The moment I saw her name, I knew I had to get my itchy fingers on it. It didn't help that most of my blogger friends had already read it and enjoyed it very much! Despite being slightly disappointed with the last On Dublin Street book, I still love Young's writing and took the leap into her new book Hero.

I am so glad that I did. Alexa and Caine were amazing. The chemistry was explosive. The bickering and interaction between these two characters had me hooked and involved until the end. Once I sunk my teeth into this book it was hard to let go. I found myself devouring pages after pages, until I was disappointed that it ended.

Alexa has a rough life. Her father was her hero until she discovered a shocking secret and that she and her mother are not his only family. When Alexa runs into Caine, who was affected badly by her father's secret and terrible past, she and Caine come off on a rocky start once he learns who she really is. Because of him Alexa loses her job, so Caine hires her in turn of hoping to make her hate him.

The hate turns into lust when the two find themselves drawn to each other and thus begins their hot and explosive affair.

I loved Caine, he was rough around the edges. He was a bit dark with attitude issues and mood swings. I have not read a lot of billionaire books, so this wasn't something that I was sick off. Behind all that rough wall that Caine puts up due to his own little secret, he is a really sweet person. He has a big heart and does charity work as long as his name is kept secret, and is really warm and loving towards his elderly neighbor that he sees as a grandmother figure. Thought his actions toward poor Alexa were a bit cruel and at times unjustified, I loved that Alexa was able to bounce back against his antics and stand her ground. She was determined, resilient, and had a great smart ass attitude. She really didn't want to give up on Caine no matter how hard he tried to push her away.

And the ending... I didn't see all that coming, but a bit of a twist of danger at the end was kind of fun and welcoming.

I admit. I didn't realize this was an erotic romance when I started the book, but that's okay because despite all the sex that I ended up skimming through most of, the story line was actually really good and engaging. I had a lot of fun with this one. Young can create a world of engaging characters that just leave you feeling a lot in the end and she has definitely achieved that with this book.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Review: Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner


Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner 


Published February 3rd 2015 by NAL Trade
Paperback, 416 pages
Series: Stand-Alone
Genre: Historical Fiction

AmazonGoodreads


Summary from Goodreads

She stood at a crossroads, half-aware that her choice would send her down a path from which there could be no turning back. But instead of two choices, she saw only one—because it was all she really wanted to see…

Current day, Oxford, England. Young American scholar Kendra Van Zant, eager to pursue her vision of a perfect life, interviews Isabel McFarland just when the elderly woman is ready to give up secrets about the war that she has kept for decades...beginning with who she really is. What Kendra receives from Isabel is both a gift and a burden--one that will test her convictions and her heart.

1940s, England. As Hitler wages an unprecedented war against London’s civilian population, one million children are evacuated to foster homes in the rural countryside. But even as fifteen-year-old Emmy Downtree and her much younger sister Julia find refuge in a charming Cotswold cottage, Emmy’s burning ambition to return to the city and apprentice with a fashion designer pits her against Julia’s profound need for her sister’s presence. Acting at cross purposes just as the Luftwaffe rains down its terrible destruction, the sisters are cruelly separated, and their lives are transformed…
The moment I saw that Susan Meissner wrote another book, I knew I had to have it. Last time I read one of her books I fell completely in love with her elegant writing and storytelling and found myself falling in love all over again. She is one of many authors that keep my interest with historical fiction alive and why I keep coming back to this genre over and over again.

The story mostly follows a 15-year-old girl Emmy Downtree, her story told by Isabel McFarland when a young scholar comes to interview the elderly woman in hopes of learning some secrets about the war. Emmy has big dreams, and all she really wants is to find love and acceptance from her mother, for her to be proud of Emmy. She loves to draw wedding dresses, so when she get's a job at a wedding dress shop, it feels like a dream come true. When her boss informs her that she knows a man who is willing to look at Emmy's brides and could offer her an apprenticeship, Emmy can't believe her luck. Luck, that unfortunately soon starts to run out. When the war escalates, Emmy's mother signs both of Emmy and her half-sister Julia to evacuate London and find refuge in the country side. What happens next changes both of the girl's life forever...

Such an emotional, riveting tale about love, lose, hope and perseverance. I found myself glued to page after page, immersed in the fantastic storytelling by Meissner. Emmy was just a young girl who thought she was doing the right thing, who just wanted to make her dream come true. In turn she watched her entire world crumble into pieces when the blitz hit and she found herself losing everything that has ever been important to her. I don't want to dig into the story as much as I want to talk about it more with a fear of revealing a little too much. I did find myself irritated by Emmy's reckless behavior, I found it selfish and one-sided, but I understood that she was just a young girl who was looking to make her mother proud. In hopes that Emmy would never feel like she had ruined her mother's life, she wanted to show her that she could do something good with hers.

I found myself in tears by the end of the book. Everything that left me with questions midway through did get answered at the end of the book. Luckily there was closure, or else I am not sure how I would have done without it. I wanted to know what became of Emmy and how she coped with the hand that was dealt to her. How she managed to get through with losing so much in so little time. Her tenacity and ambition to make things right were inspiring, so was the fact that she had a hard time giving up. The 15-year-old girl had to grow up fast during the blitz and become a strong and independent woman.
 
I could have just hugged this book after reading it. Enjoyed it immensely,  glad I gave it a shot and hope to see more from Susan Meissner soon.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Review: Always Loving You (Danvers #6) by Sydney Landon


Always Loving You (Danvers #6) by Sydney Landon

Published February 3rd 2015 by Signet
Paperback, 304 pages
Series: Danvers
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Heat Rating: Steamy to somewhat sizzling

AmazonGoodreads

Recommended for 18 years old or older for adult content and language

Summary from Goodreads

Ava Stone has spent her entire life looking over her shoulder—waiting for the past to catch up with her....

After surviving a horrific attack as a teenager, Ava has never been able to truly overcome her fears. The incident was covered up by her family so she wouldn’t have to deal with it publicly—yet only one person understands what she had to endure in private: her brother’s best friend, MacKinley Powers, who found her the night of the attack. But even he doesn’t know everything—and she’s afraid to open up to him.

Mac has loved Ava for most of his life—and being in close contact with her every day as head of security for Danvers International isn’t helping. In fact, it makes him realize the painful truth: He has to walk away to keep his sanity. But when Ava is forced to rely on the only man who has never let her down, can Mac break through the protective walls she’s needed for so long?
Ever sit down to start a review, and end up being stuck unsure where to even begin? That's how I feel trying to put my feelings into words about Always Loving You. Let me start by saying I have never read anything by Sydney Landon before, so this was me dipping my toes into her writing. The result? I am not really sure how to still completely feel about it. I did enjoy Landon's writing, she did know how to keep my attention and the dirty humor was surprisingly very amusing in this book. There was just one tiny problem...

I couldn't stand Ava Stone as the heroine.

I found her absolutely frustration, and annoying. Her actions seemed a little out there and sometimes a bit childish. I can't say I had a hard time plowing through the book, but it almost felt like being unable to look away from a massive train wreck that was about to happen and that was what Ava felt like to me - a massive train wreck. In a way, she was. The story began with giving us a bit of a background on Ava and the fact that she survived an absolutely horrific attack as a teen and the fact that her grandfather was quick to cover the incident up without bringing any justice to it. So Ava in a way never recovered from the event, and has a hard time letting the only male that she has been in love with forever into her life.

I did like Mac, the man who was in love with Ava for most of his life. He has been patient for a lot of it, but there is only so much rejection a man can take and when Ava showed no interest in giving them a shot, Mac decided to move on.

Of course the moment Mac moves on, Ava can't handle it and ends up deciding that she must take her man back with a chain of really dumb behavior on her part which in some aspects have been downright dangerous. So get this, to catch the man's attention, Ava pulls a series of really bad stuns in front of him to get him riled up and hope he comes back to her. She puts herself in dangerous situations that are out of character for her, and poor Mac almost loses his mind trying to understand what is going on. Then she wonders why he rejected her when she finally confesses her feelings that he doesn't believe her at first. These two has some series communication issues through the book, it was starting to feel overwhelming at times.

And seriously, what the hell was up with Ava using Mac's best friend to make him jealous? How messed up is this?

I did find some parts of the book funny. When Ava's friend goes into labor, there is a really funny scene with that I found myself enjoying.

I also felt odd how easy it looked when Ava and Mac slept together. I was expecting a bit more resistance I guess on her part, being a victim of a terrible attack that she never really had a chance to get over. There was some hiccup afterward but not much struggle with her emotions during.

Overall, I don't know. I liked Landon's writing, it still kept me hooked but I am not sure if it was entirely in a good way. Like I said, it was like watching a disaster waiting to happen. In this case that disaster was Ava Stone, a very frustrating heroine that left me a bit annoyed by her childish actions.

I gave this book a 3 star instead of 2 1/2 because I did like Mac, I did find some of it quiet funny, I did like the writing and despite disliking Ava very much I still breezed through the book. So in a way, the author did her job in bringing out many emotions out of me through this book even if not all of them had been positive.


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Review: What a Lady Demands (The Eton Boys Trilogy #2) by Ashlyn Macnamara


What a Lady Demands (The Eton Boys Trilogy #2) by Ashlyn Macnamara

Published November 4th 2014 by Loveswept
Kindle Edition, 276 pages
Series: The Eton Boys Trilogy
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Rating: Steamy

AmazonGoodreads

Recommended for 18 year olds or older due to sexual content.

Summary from Goodreads

Viscount Lindenhurst cannot seem to find a governess who meets his impossible standards—until Cecelia Sanford becomes the first woman to interrupt the widower’s brooding in years. Lind had returned home from the Napoleonic wars, broken in body and soul and longing for his wife’s embrace, only to find her changed. Before they could reconcile, an accident struck their son and claimed her life. Now enter Cecelia, with her soft curves and sharp tongue—a tempting distraction, it is true, but not a welcome one.

Past the usual marrying age and haunted by a scandal of her own, Cecelia soon finds herself caring for both the child and the man. The viscount is brittle and even abrupt at times, yet she cannot deny the attraction that stirs her body in his presence. Moved by the deep sense of abandonment that tortures his soul, Cecelia aches to fully awaken Lind’s heart from its rancorous slumber—if she can just keep their pasts from destroying a second chance at love.
I couldn't resist another governess story once I was hooked on the first one. I really think it's a bit more refreshing change in this genre from the usual, since I have not ready many books with this theme nor have I come across them.

The characters themselves were refreshing. Viscount Lindenhurst is looking for a governess for his son and has a hard time finding one that will meet his unusually impossible demands. 

Cecelia Sanford is the younger sister of Lindenhurst's once best friend. When she shows up on his doorsteps looking for a job, Lind is a bit taken back but agrees to offer her the chance. Too bad he did not know then that this woman would be just as impossible once she borrows her way into their lives. Witty, with a sharp tongue and an attitude that won't back down, Lind has a hard time dealing with the vixen who is adamant on not following his orders nor listening to him.

I loved Cecelia, I thought she was awesome and she had to be headstrong with a persistent attitude especially when it came to Lind, who was a temperamental brooding widow. I wanted to understand just as much as Cecelia about why Lind refused to deal with his son and pawned him off on others instead. What a Lady Demands had scenes that both melted and broke my heart as the same time. I couldn't help but feel bad for the boy who seemed so starved for his father's attention. What happened to the mother was terrible, but I did not think it was a reason to completely alienate the child in his life. It wasn't until almost halfway into the book did things start to click into place and I finally started to figure out why Lind was so distant from the boy. The twist was a bit shocking and predictable but at the same time made better sense.

It was hard to love Lind at first, which I thought Macnamara did a wonderful job doing with her writing. It took a while to warm up to him, but that was what Cecelia was there for. Their bickering was fun, I loved how she can stand up to him despite the risk of losing her job. I did enjoy the chemistry, it took a while to build up and I loved that. I thought the plot was really well done with the twist thrown in making it oh so much better!



Monday, February 2, 2015

The Diabolical Miss Hyde By Viola Carr Tour


 
The Diabolical Miss Hyde
By Viola Carr

The Diabolical Miss Hyde bcc:
In an electric-powered Victorian London, Dr. Eliza Jekyll is a crime scene investigator, hunting killers with inventive new technological gadgets. Now, a new killer is splattering London in blood, drugging beautiful women and slicing off their limbs. Catching The Slicer will make Eliza’s career – or get her burned. Because Eliza has a dark secret. A seductive second self, set free by her father’s forbidden magical elixir: wild, impulsive Lizzie Hyde.
When the Royal Society send their Enforcer, the mercurial Captain Lafayette, to prove she’s a sorcerer, Eliza must resist the elixir with all her power. But as the Slicer case draws her into London’s luminous magical underworld, Eliza will need all the help she can get. Even if it means getting close to Lafayette, who harbors an evil curse of his own. Even if it means risking everything and setting vengeful Lizzie free …

Viola Carr Bio:
Viola Carr was born in Australia, but wandered into darkest London one foggy October evening and never found her way out. She now devours countless history books and dictates fantastical novels by gaslight, accompanied by classical music and the snoring of her slumbering cat. She loves history, and pops down to London’s many historical sites whenever she gets the chance.  She likes steampunk, and thought it would be cool to investigate wacky crimes with crazy gadgets…just so long as her heroine was the creator of said wacky gadgets: a tinkerer, edgy, with a dash of mad scientist. Readers can follow her on twitter at @viola_carr  and online at http://www.violacarr.com.
Links

Review: The Duke of Dark Desires (The Wild Quartet #4) by Miranda Neville


The Duke of Dark Desires (The Wild Quartet #4) by Miranda Neville

Published December 30th 2014 by Avon
Paperback, 384 pages
Series: The Wild Quartet
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Rating: Steamy to Sizzling

AmazonGoodreads

Recommended for 18 years old or older due to adult content.

Summary from Goodreads

Wanted: Governess able to keep all hours . . .
Rebellious Julian Fortescue never expected to inherit a dukedom, nor to find himself guardian to three young half-sisters. Now in the market for a governess, he lays eyes on Jane Grey and knows immediately she is qualified—to become his mistress. Yet the alluring woman appears impervious to him. Somehow Julian must find a way to make her succumb to temptation . . . without losing his heart and revealing the haunting mistakes of his past.

Desired: Duke skilled in the seductive art of conversation . . .
Lady Jeanne de Falleron didn't seek a position as a governess simply to fall into bed with the Duke of Denford. Under the alias of Jane Grey, she must learn which of the duke's relatives is responsible for the death of her family—and take her revenge. She certainly can't afford the distraction of her darkly irresistible employer, or the smoldering desire he ignites within her.

But as Jane discovers more clues about the villain she seeks, she's faced with a possibility more disturbing than her growing feelings for Julian: What will she do if the man she loves is also the man she's sworn to kill?
Oh I love a good Governess story. This might actually be only my second one that I have read in my lifetime and I am oh so glad that I did.

Jane Grey is really Lady Jeanne de Falleron, a woman who is out for revenge after witnessing the fall and death of her family, including her little sisters. She finds herself at Fortescue home posing as a governess because she remembers that it was a member of that family that has betrayed her family and sent them to their deaths.

Julian inherited dukedom because everyone else in the family seemed to have met some sort of misfortune, leaving him a sole male heir that the rest of the family does not approve of. He must take care of his half-sisters and doesn't really want anything to do with them, so he looks for the governess to keep them off his hands. The last thing Julian expected was for Jane Grey to be so attractive, and now getting her into his bed seems to be one of his top priorities, unknown to him the real reason the woman has tricked her way into his home.

The characters in this story were so much fun. I like Jane and I liked Julian's sisters, as well as her interactions with them and how she bought them out of their shells and dealt with their behaviors. I loved Jane's spirit, despite being one of the few de Falleron's left. Thought she had some obstacles in the way, especially in a male form, she continuously kept her mind wrapped around her mission and the revenge she was seeking. I also love how she tried so hard to get Julian to get along with his sisters, who at first he wanted nothing to do with.

Julian was an interesting character as well, a little brooding, had no interest in his sisters. It was nice to see his character open up thanks to Jane. Their interaction was fun and the chemistry was sizzling and clear between these two. It was almost heart-warming watching him slowly warm up to his sisters, who admired him so much.

The plot line was fun and entertaining. I found myself completely hooked and wanted to know what was going on, how was Julian involved in Jane's families death, what does he know about it and did he really do it? It kept me on the edge of my seat and the twist in the end was a bit surprising, did not see it coming. Thought I am not sure how I feel about it completely, I did like it!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Review: In Bed with a Spy (Spy in the Ton #2) by Alyssa Alexander


In Bed with a Spy (Spy in the Ton #2) by Alyssa Alexander

Published December 2nd 2014 by Berkley
Paperback, 304 pages
Series: Spy in the Ton
Genre: Historical Romance

Heat Rating: Steamy to Sizzling

AmazonGoodreads

Recommended for 18 years old or older due to some sexual content.

Summary from Goodreads

THE BREATHTAKING NEW 'SPY IN THE TON' NOVEL OF REGENCY SUSPENSE FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE SMUGGLER WORE SILK

Revenge has never been so seductive.

When her husband is killed at Waterloo, Lilias Fairchild takes up his cavalry sword and boldly storms the front, earning herself the nickname Angel of Vengeance. But there is another angel on the battlefield who is just as single-minded, and just as ruthless…

Alistair Whitmore, the Marquess of Angelford, is a British spy. Code name: Angel. Still haunted by a first love felled by assassins, his mission draws him to Waterloo, where he is captivated by a beautiful and mysterious woman fighting amongst the men—a woman who becomes his most intoxicating memory of war.

Passion has never been so dangerous.

Two years later, Lilias and Angelford lock eyes in a crowded ballroom and the memory returns in an exhilarating rush. The history they share, and hide from the world, is as impossible to ignore as the heat of their attraction. But it’s that very connection that spells doom for their scandalous affair. When someone from the shadows of their past proves a dire threat to their lives, passion might not be enough to save them.

It feels like I have been on the roll lately with my historical romances, once I go on that kick it seems hard to stop. Besides, it's been a while, so I guess it was okay and time to indulge. Naturally I was drawn to In Bed with a Spy, historical romances with a spy plot line? Yes please. It's been a while since I read one with them in it and it always promises to be entertaining.

I liked the book well enough. Lilias Fairchild lost her husband when he was killed during the war in Waterloo, so she took up his sword and stormed into the front earning herself a nickname Angel of Vengeance.

Alistair Whitmore cannot forget the woman he saw back at Waterloo that suddenly became a memory he could not shed. His a spy who lost his wife to an assassin and has made it his life mission to revenge her death and it turns out the only other person who could help him is the very same woman who he was unable to take his eyes off at Waterloo.

Lilias should have known that getting involved with Angelford might be a bad idea, but it's been so long since she had any kind of company of a man and the Marquess is proving to be a temptation hard to ignore. When secrets behind her husband's death start to come to life, she is suddenly found in the middle of something bigger and more dangerous than she had expected. When Angelford realizes her past might be the only link to finding the killer behind his late wife, he enlists in Lilias' help to find the truth behind the assassins.

Fun, had the action I wanted to some extent but the book felt a little slow for me. It started out a bit slow and stayed that way for a while until the danger started to shed some light on the story and made it much more captivating. I liked the characters, I really loved Lilias characters and how hard-headed she was and wouldn't back down. Fiery and ambitious, Lilias stood tall when things tried to knock her back down. I kind of found her independence invigorating.

The secrets kept me hooked. I wanted to know more about the assassins behind both of the deaths. I was a little confused by why Angelford's wife was killed in the book, and I don't recall getting much of an explanation. But two broken hearts coming together is just what Angel and Lilias needed in order to begin their healing.

The chemistry between the two was good enough. The sparks were there, which added to my enjoyment of the story. Despite the slow start, I really did find myself enjoying the plot, even if it took a while to get through and the writing was really well done, I find that Alexander really has her way with words and knows how to tell a great story that has a bit more complicated plot outside of romance.