The Duke and I

Simon Bassett, the Duke of Hastings, finds himself besieged by all the mamas of the ton looking for a suitable husband for their darling daughters. Frustrated with the relentless pursuit, he has vowed he will never marry.

Daphne Bridgerton has had two seasons in London but is holding out for a husband she has at least some affection for. Her mother is determined to push every eligible bachelor her way and the balls are becoming one nightmare after another.

Simon is an old friend of her overprotective brothers and after meeting, Simon and Daphne hatch a plot to avoid their perpetual nightmare.  They pretend to be courting for the season ensuring her mother is happy and his matchmaking mothers look elsewhere.

All seems to be going well until their desire for each other gets out of control and the situation moves to pistols at dawn!

This book was really enjoyable and had some very humorous moments. I particularly enjoyed Daphne receiving the ‘talk’ from her mother – oh how things were different in those days! I also experienced sadness at times, especially as Quinn describes Simon’s childhood experiences.  In fact Julia’s writing made me feel all sorts of different emotions, exactly what I want from a good story.

Unlike several similar books there was not as much focus on society, the ways of 19th century England and the rituals of the ton. Julia focused very much on the Bridgerton family and the relationship between Simon and Daphne which was definitely good enough to keep the story flowing nicely. I love Daphne’s mother, and the behaviour of her youngest brother and sister had me giggling to myself at times.

This is not, by any means, a sickly sweet romance despite the focus being primarily on Simon and Daphne and I am very excited to have discovered a new series which has enough brothers and sisters (thus books!) to keep me going for a while.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Julia Quinn
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Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake

Lady Calpurnia Hartwell (Callie to her friends), is an acknowledged spinster.  She sits in the ‘spinster seating’ at balls and wears the lace hat that denotes her as such. At the age of 28 she knows no one would ever offer for her and has resigned herself to her fate. Her romantic inclinations, caused by reading endless romance novels, are left unsatisfied despite fantasies of a chance meeting 10 years ago in her début season. When her 18 year old sister falls in love and is betrothed in her first season, Callie eventually decides she has had enough of being a simple spinster and decides to make a list of things she wants to do, starting with being kissed. Passionately!

Gabriel, Marquess of Ralston is a notorious rake whose reputation is well known. When he meets Lady Calpurnia hiding in the garden at a society ball he engages her in conversation but forgets her as soon as he leaves, little knowing the impact he had on the then 18 year old. Ten years on he is surprised with a half sister he did not know existed, and despite her being the very image of his despised mother he knows he must do all he can to bring her out into society. Knowing he will need some female help with this, his opportunity arrives when that very evening a lady shows up in his bedchamber asking for a kiss.

I really enjoyed this story. In so many books the lady ‘left on the shelf’ is still only 22/23. Having a 28 year old be the heroine, someone well and truly confined to the shelf, made a refreshing change. As an acknowledged spinster Callie has much more freedom than other young ladies and I loved her attitude. I really found myself drawn into the story and when it seemed she might get discovered doing something outrageous I felt my pulse beat faster as if I was there with her, willing her to make it. I was so involved in the story, at one point I was even holding my breath!

I have read a lot of historical romance and this by far rates among my favourites. Other than the girl meets boy part, the plot was totally unique; the idea of the list and the things on it – totally scandalous!

Without a doubt I will be looking out for more books by Sarah Maclean.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Sarah Maclean
  • Format: Kindle
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Adam

“Nightwalkers dwell in the shadows, they live in a world where every night holds secrets. Hunted by magic, beset by evil, the Nightwalkers face their darkest hour yet. When the unthinkable happens, only one legendary male has the power and the will to save them: Adam”

Adam disappeared into thin air four centuries ago, the greatest enforcer ever known and his whereabouts remained a mystery. Suddenly against all expectations he appears just when he is needed most, as disorientated with his surroundings as everyone else is with his appearance.

Jasmine has carried her two brief encounters with Adam with her for 400 years, wondering what happened to the demon who threatened her tight control simply with a look. For Adam it is merely hours. When he returns into a world where inter-relationships are no longer illegal, will they be able to fight the attraction between them while battling the greatest enemy demon-kind has ever known.

The start of the book was a bit of a shock and even though I was not invested in the characters from the previous books, it still made me very emotional – a testament to the writing I think!

This novel was very enjoyable and unlike a lot of similar style books, the relationship between the two main characters did not take over the entire story, in fact the relationship seemed almost secondary to everything else that was going on. When I picked up this book I realised it was not the first in the series but figured like most others, I would be able to read out of order with no problems. While this was the case, I do feel that I missed out by reading this book before the previous ones, simply because the plot which has clearly traversed a number of books is so integral to this one. Having said that, the story was explained enough that I quickly gathered the gist of what was happening – it is simply a personal opinion that I should have read them in order.

I enjoyed the writing style and liked the fact that the romance did not take over the book (although I do love a good romance). I will definitely be looking for further books by Jacquelyn Frank.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Jacquelyn Frank
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Succubus in the City

Prepare to see Satan and her demons (yes I said her!) in a totally different light.

Lily lives in New York, has a great job at a fashion magazine and has 3 best girlfriends who are always there for each other.  She also happens to be a Succubus; a demon who delivers (bad) men to hell after they have had sex with her. Working for Satan isn’t so bad but Lily is getting tired of seeing her encounters go up in smoke (literally!).

When Lily meets P.I. Nathan Coleman she starts to wonder if he might be the one to release her from her eternal contract (only the small matter of all the conditions Satan set up) but then things start going wrong. Someone or something is trying to kill Lily and her friends. Is Nathan all he seems or is it merely coincidence that he appeared when he did?

This book had me feeling sorry for demons and even liking Satan who was portrayed as a caring boss! However, the demons are quite shallow and can be selfish at times. The plot moved along nicely but I was left feeling cheated at the end, clearly this is one of those sagas where you have to keep buying the next book to get any sort of closure. Unfortunately it was not good enough to make me want to go out immediately and buy the next one so I will probably never read it.

The only thing that kept me reading was the fact it was light hearted and easy to read, nothing too complicated going on. As I read very quickly, I knew it would not take too much time to get to the end.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Nina Harper
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Bled Dry

After one night (well, less than an hour!) of passion with Corbin Atelier, he disappears into thin air and Brittany finds herself pregnant. Not realising vampires could get mortals pregnant, to say she was shocked is an understatement. Worse, she has no way of knowing where Corbin is. When he resurfaces she has to tell him he is going to be a father but with no clue how he will react.

Corbin is a vampire embroiled in research to find a cure for vampirism. After his passionate night with Brittany, he was unable to get her out of his mind but resigned himself to never seeing her again. Finding out he was going to be a father was a total shock but he throws himself into trying to support Brittany through her pregnancy. When facts emerge about Brittany’s genetics, their unborn child suddenly becomes a rare commodity and they both have sacrifices to make – but will it be enough?

I absolutely loved this book, from page one I was drawn into the story. There were some laugh out loud moments and I particularly enjoyed the father-to-be boot camp and the baby superstore! The plot was good, fast paced and the ending had an unexpected, but satisfying twist.

This is part of a series called ‘Vegas vampires’ and ideally I would have read the first two in the series first, as some of what was referred to (including the one night stand!) happened in the previous book. Having said that, it did not spoil the story for me and there was enough explanation that I do not feel I missed out on any major plot line. Ultimately this book was the story of Brittany and Corbin, with undercurrents that clearly ran through previous and will continue in following books. The glimpses I had of other couples who I assume were the subjects of books one and two were enough to make me want to go back and read their stories.

If you like your vampires mixed with a touch of humour and romance this is for you.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Erin McCarthy
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A Rake’s Vow

He vowed he’d never marry, she vowed no man would catch her.

Vane Cynster takes refuge with his elderly godmother to avoid getting caught in a storm, only to find one of her guests is her niece Patience Debbington. Intending to leave when the weather clears he finds himself intrigued by that young lady, and when his godmother asks for his assistance in a matter necessitating a longer stay, he agrees. Vane realises he has met his match in Patience, and the vow he made no longer seems important.

Patience thinks Vane is arrogant and presumptuous just like every ‘elegant gentleman’ and while his kisses leave her wanting more, she knows he is bound to be unfaithful just like her father. She has no intention of being caught and definitely not by a known rake like Vane.

I really enjoyed this book but I have to confess I am a sucker for an alpha male! The author  manages to bring alive the early 19th century and I have no problems imagining the time as she describes. The story moves along well with a good sub plot involving a thief and a ‘spectre’, as well as the main plot line involving the two main characters.

Vane is definitely an alpha male but Patience is no shrinking violet either. Get your fan ready because with what goes on behind closed doors you will definitely need to cool down!

While this book is the second of a series involving the Cynster family, A Rake’s Vow, and indeed all the Cynster books can be read on their own. However, once you have been introduced to the Cynster men you will want more and more and more…. fortunately there are a lot of them!

Ruthless Game

The Ghostwalkers are an elite team of men and women who have been physically, psychically and genetically enhanced, often without their consent.

On a Mission to rescue hostages in Mexico, the last thing Ghostwalker Kane Cannon expects to find is Rose Patterson – former Ghostwalker, fugitive and pregnant with his child.

Forced into a breeding program by Dr Whitney, Rose escaped with the help of Kane after she was impregnated by him. Now Kane has found her, he is not going to let her or his unborn child disappear again – despite the fact that Rose seems to trust nothing and no-one.

I discovered this series about 6 weeks ago, read them in order and Ruthless game is the ninth in the Ghostwalker series (not that they are difficult to put down or anything!!!) It would be so easy for the books to become repetitive and indeed there is a formula to all the books (which works well), but Christine Feehan manages to keep the story in each book fresh and I do not feel like I am reading the same stories at all. The plot surrounding Dr Whitney unravels a bit more with each book and is as integral to the series as the individual Ghostwalkers.

This book moves along at a faster pace than some of the others and while the relationship between the main characters is obviously the focus of the story, there is a lot more involvement with the rest of the team and much more action. I feel like I have got to know all the team members rather than just the main characters and cannot wait until their stories come out. As with the other books, the male lead is smoking hot and the sex scenes are even hotter.

I do not want to spoil it by giving too much away but at the end of the book we do start to get some idea of what the next generation of Ghostwalkers will be like.

If you have not read any of this series yet, do! Start from the beginning however, because although the story could be read as a stand alone, the reader may become confused by the underlying plot threads. Reading the series in order has definitely made it much more enjoyable and I am eagerly awaiting the next in the series.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: Christine Feehan
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Darkness Unbound

Born from a lab-enhanced clone mother and an Aedh father, Risa Jones can not only talk to the souls of the dying and the dead, but she can see reapers and walk the grey fields that divide this world from the next.

They are skills she rarely uses, however preferring to concentrate on the business she runs with her friends. But when her mother asks her to help the parents of a little girl locked in a coma, she reluctantly agrees. What she discovers terrifies her: someone has ripped the girl’s soul from her flesh.

As it turns out, a creature consuming the souls of the innocent – and not so innocent – is the least of her problems. Because someone wants to rip open the gates that divide hell from earth, and Risa is a key component in their plans.

And the only person standing between her and disaster is a reaper who isn’t exactly on her side.

We last saw Risa as a child in the Riley Jensen guardian books. In this she is all grown up and like her “aunt” Riley she can be bad ass when she chooses to be! She has resisted all attempts to join the directorate and prefers spending time with her friends running her business.

Keri has created a very likeable heroine here; one who can look after herself yet shows a healthy fear when confronted by dangerous situations. She is not all gung ho and has heard enough about Riley’s life as a guardian to steer well clear of things, or at least try to!

It was great to catch up with Riley, Quinn et al, we only get glimpses of their life now but it is just enough to avoid taking the limelight from the real heroine – Risa.

There is of course the romantic interest – I suspect there may be 2 ‘men’ who will feature significantly in future books. One thing is sure by the end of this book, we know life will never be the same for Risa.

I loved this book, even more I think than the Riley Jensen books. I will be eagerly anticipating the rest of the series.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Keri Arthur
  • Series: Dark Angels (1)
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