Loving Rose : The Redemption of Malcolm Sinclair

 Miraculously spared from death, Malcolm Sinclair erases the notorious man he once was. Reinventing himself as Thomas Glendower, he strives to make amends for his past, yet he never imagines penance might come via a secretive lady he discovers living in his secluded manor. Rose has a plausible explanation for why she and her children are residing in Thomas’s house, but she quickly realises he’s far too intelligent to fool.

After the disappointment of the previous book in this series, Ms. Laurens has returned to form with this one. The only thing I didn’t like was the confusion over Thomas Glendower/Malcolm Sinclair. I gathered he had appeared as a villain in a previous Cynster book (I later discovered it was the ‘Taste of Innocence’), but as it was not one I’d read I found it a bit confusing over what he had done that was so bad. I therefore started the book feeling like I was missing half the story. It would have been useful if the book blurb had stated where we first met him, so readers could go back to that book if they chose.

Once I put that aside though, it didn’t take me long to get into the story and I really enjoyed it. The first half of the book is very much about Thomas and Rose, their developing relationship and the secrets they both hold. Rose is guarded and unwilling to trust but finds it difficult to resist Thomas, particularly with how he is with the children. Thomas is also surprised at how quickly he feels protective towards them, and seeing his younger self in Homer, he seeks to guide him as he himself never was.  Once Rose trusts Thomas with her problems they move to London, and that is when Barnaby Adair and his (growing) team get involved to solve the mystery. For me this book is a perfect blend of intrigue and romance, and focuses very clearly on the protagonists whereas the previous one didn’t.

Ms. Laurens does not disappoint with her bedroom scenes – steamy as always! But at least this time they focused on the characters that matter.

Overall a great book and having prepared myself for this one to be another thriller with little romance as in The Masterful Mr Montague, I was very pleased to find that was not the case.

Book Information
  • Author: Stephanie Laurens
  • Series: Casebook of Barnaby Adair (3)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Rating: ★★★★½ 

The Masterful Mr Montague

 Montague has devoted his life to managing the wealth of London’s elite, but at a huge cost: a family of his own. Then the enticing Miss Violet Matcham seeks his help, and in the puzzle she presents him, he finds an intriguing new challenge professionally … and personally

Montague is a character who has appeared in most of Ms. Laurens books as a Man of Business for the wealthy, so it was nice to be able to delve a little more into his character and background. This book is part of the Casebook of Barnaby Adair series and was focused much more on the mystery aspect than the romance between Montague and Violet. As you know I’m a big lover of romance and am a bit disappointed there wasn’t more of it between those two throughout the book, however, their relationship followed what I would imagine to be the socially accepted strictures of the time. Fortunately, as far as romance and steamy scenes go, we did get to see more of Barnaby Adair and Penelope.

The mystery aspect of this book is very good, there are red herrings galore and I didn’t guess who the killer was or the reason for him becoming so, until it was all revealed! This is what saved the book for me, from a lower rating. I felt like this was the Adair and Stokes show with Montague and Violet being a side story rather than the main couple.  This wouldn’t have been an issue at all if it hadn’t been billed as Montague’s book, because the story is good.

Anyway enough of that, Montague is a character who has always seemed a bit ‘nerdy’ and unassuming but, as with all the author’s heroes, he has hidden depths and his masterful side does come out towards the end. Violet is no mild miss and throws herself into helping with the investigation along with the wives of Stokes and Adair, much to the consternation of Montague. As characters I liked them, neither of them are in the first flush of youth (Violet is 34, a veritable old maid!) and therefore both of them know their own minds and who they are.

Overall a good story, if you like Ms. Laurens writing and go into this accepting that it’s primarily a mystery with a side order of romance, rather than romance with a side order of mystery (as with most of the Cynster novels),  you will enjoy it. I look forward to the next Casebook of Barnaby Adair story with that in mind.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Stephanie Laurens
  • Series: Casebook of Barnaby Adair (2)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

2013 – A bookish year

 So another year is behind us and in spite of the personal life stuff going on resulting in the dearth of reviews, reading was still going on behind the scenes.

So what books made us sit up and beg?

Grete

The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett – The fantastic third book in the Demon Cycle.

Fortress Frontier by Myke Cole – Military sci-fi with superheroes.  This second book was an excellent addition to the Shadow Ops series.

Abaddon’s Gate by James S.A. Corey – This series needs to be on either the big or small screen – any screen!  Until then it’s an amazing sci-fi story and this third book was a brilliant addition to the Expanse.

Parasite by Mira Grant – An amazingly creepy but riveting novel. If you liked her Newsflesh trilogy, you are going to love this!

Kevin HearneThe Iron Druid Chronicles was a series that entranced me so much, I ended up romping through and didn’t take time to review.  It’s a fantastic series and one I will be re-reading, slower this time, so I can actually do reviews!

Bound by Night by Larissa Ione – The first in a new series by Larissa and just as exciting as her Demonica/Lords of Deliverance.  Speaking of which, the next book in that series, Reaver, is on this list too as it was utterly fantastic and had my jaw dropping several times as things were revealed.

Fifth Grave Past the Light by Darynda Jones – This is another series I love so much that I keep racing through them and end up not reviewing.  It’s a habit I really have to stop as my memory is just not up to it these days!  Charley Davidson is one of my favourite paranormal heroines and I just can’t get enough of her!

Styxx by Sherrilyn Kenyon – I loved, loved, loved this book.  I cried, I laughed, I may have shouted a few times.  A worthy companion to Acheron and a brilliant addition to the Dark-Hunter’s series.  It does take you through the wringer though!

The Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty – I absolutely loved this light hearted approach to the paranormal and look forward to the next one, out this year!

Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan – A gritty and powerful epic fantasy debut.  I loved the magic system he devised and I hold high hopes for the second book.

Ice Forged by Gail Z. Martin – First in a new series by Gail and it’s off to a promising start.  I loved her two previous series a lot so it had a lot to live up to!  Looking forward to book two!

J.D. Robb – Thanks to Tracey, I discovered the In Death series and devoured the whole lot one after the other.  It amazed me how good they are and how, even 35+ books in, they are still extremely enjoyable and great reads.

Watch Your Back by Karen Rose – So many of Karen’s books have characters that appear or are related to people in other novels and this one felt like it had been a long time coming.  It was utterly amazing and prompted me to go back and read ALL the previous books!

Blood Song by Anthony Ryan – This book honestly surprised me and I’m annoyed at myself that I didn’t do a review after I read it, as it so very much deserved it.  It’s an amazingly gritty fantasy, written with a single focus and I urge anyone who loved David Gemmell’s work to pick this up.  I will be re-reading this (and reviewing this time, dammit)!

Unseen by Karin Slaughter – Every time I think Karin has outdone herself, she releases the next book and raises the bar even higher.  I can’t get enough of Will Trent and Sara Linton!

Lover at Last by J.R. Ward – The latest book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series was hotly anticipated and I was not left disappointed!

Tracey

While my list has some similar ones to Grete, I also have some totally different genres to her.  Being much more of a romantic sap, it will come as no surprise that I have a number of romances on my list.

The books I share Grete’s love for are :

Styxx of course – the most anticipated book of the year for me and one that did not disappoint. Probably my book of the year!

Reaver by Larissa Ione – another eagerly awaited novel that ticked all the boxes for me.

The In Death series by J.D. Robb – I read all 35 books in 4 weeks and absolutely loved them.

For me though the year was all about romance! There were books from my favourite romance authors: Stephanie Laurens, Eloisa James, Julia Quinn, Sarah MacLean and Sarah Morgan.

I really cannot express all the books that I loved this year, I read well over 100 of them! Since I tend to read books I know I will enjoy, it is so hard to only pick a few.

If I was to recommend a few books to other readers I would go with the following:

Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan – I have been a fan of Ms. Morgan for many years, reading all her Mills and Boon books and it was great to have a longer book to enjoy. This is romance at its best and a great start to a new series.

Nora Roberts has featured heavily in my reading this year but a trilogy I particularly enjoyed was the Key Trilogy – Key of Light, Key of Knowledge and Key of Valour. This has a paranormal slant with Ms. Roberts’ usual excellent romance story.

Sarah MacLean’s Rules of Scoundrels series is recommended reading, particularity if you enjoy historical romance. I have loved all the books in this series and look forward to the next one hopefully coming in 2014!

Will definitely be doing more reviews this year, even if only a few lines, there are so many great books I want to share my love of.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Taming of Ryder Cavanaugh

 Now that her sister has discarded her spinster ways and become betrothed it’s finally Mary Cynster’s chance for true love. She knows exactly who she wants and it’s not someone as wild, unmanageable and sinfully seductive as Ryder Cavanagh.

Starting a new Cynster novel is like snuggling with a good lover; romantic, sexy, hot and ultimately very satisfying.  This book is no exception.

Mary is the last of the current generation to get married and probably the bossiest of  all the Cynster females, while Ryder reminded me of the earlier Cynsters such as Devil (who is still my favourite by the way!) It was amusing to watch Ryder try to dissuade Mary from her first choice and even more amusing to see the way Mary seemed determined to plough on, almost to spite him.

He is also sensible enough to realise that demanding and ordering Mary about will get him nowhere, while she is smart enough to know just how to deal with men such as him, having been doing it with her family for years.

They get together quite quickly, forced by circumstances, and the plot moves away from sexual tension to the small matter of someone trying to kill one or both of them.

While it’s reasonably obvious who the culprit is, this doesn’t spoil the story and there is plenty of tension to keep it rolling along.

The bedroom scenes were quite different from earlier books in that Mary may have been a virgin but she wasn’t going to take a back seat – no sireee!

I was surprised that the males in the family did not make more of a fuss over her marrying Ryder, given his reputation and past behaviour – maybe age has mellowed them 🙂

During the book a lot of the family pop up and if you have not read previous books you may find them boring or annoying, but not me.  I love catching glimpses of old favourites which is why for me, the epilogue was wonderful. It brought us completely up to date with the Cynsters and the next generation. I cannot believe Devil and Honoria’s son is 17!

This is clearly the last book for this crop of Cynsters and part of me hopes the next generation get their own stories, the other part of me thinks if that happens it means our originals will get old and some might start to die! I couldn’t cope with losing Devil!

Overall this book did not disappoint but I do recommend you start reading this series at the beginning, you will fall in love with the Cynsters and the family that surrounds them.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: Stephanie Laurens
  • Series: Cynster Sisters (5)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

 

 

Our Week In Books – Week 13, 2013

TraceyTracey

This week I found myself unable to let go of the Cynsters quite yet, so started with another couple of books which I enjoyed immensely.  The Perfect Lover and The Ideal Bride both get 4 stars from me.

I then decided to move on from the Cynsters but stayed with the historical romance genre and picked up The Devil’s Web by Mary Balogh. Usually I absolutely love Ms. Balogh’s books, but for some reason I found myself not liking the protagonists very much and as a result my enjoyment of the book was affected. I felt James was totally self-centred and selfish rather than as tortured as I think he was meant to come across, and Madeleine was just not likeable. The story however was okay and I would give it 2.5 stars. It was a much darker romance than I am used to so if you are not really into the hearts and flowers type romances, you may enjoy this one more. There were some very intense and emotional scenes especially towards the end when they accept their love for each other.

A Night of No Return by Sarah Morgan was my next pick, a solid romance designed to make you feel warm and fuzzy (which of course it did). Sarah Morgan is probably my favourite Mills and Boon author, I always feel happy after reading her books even though she usually manages to make me cry at some point, and this book was no exception! 4 stars.

Then what should pop through my door except Lover at Last – well no prizes for guessing what my next book was.  I very quickly finished it and loved it, this series is showing no sign of fading. Watch out for a joint review later this week.

Until next time!

P1030285Grete

Yes, it’s time I finally joined in on this weekly blog post and while I’m not the demon speed reader Tracey is, I have been getting through some of the books I have badly wanted to.  My week has also been weirdly spaced out with my husband being on holiday although he has been enjoying some quality time with the xbox which has left me free to read.  I do confess I was caught up in some games too so it’s not ALL been reading *blush*.

With the final book of The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan (and Brandon Sanderson) being released at the start of the year, I really wanted to catch up on the last four or five books, finish the series and find out how it all ended.  My memory for books just isn’t what it used to be so that means it’s re-read time!  I finished Book One, The Eye of the World, and was honestly surprised at how much I enjoyed it.  I remember it being good but as I first read it in 1992 and a lifetime ago I wondered if it would stand up to today’s fantasy.  I will do a review for it soon as older books need love too.

A Graphic Novel came next – Dragon Age: Those Who Speak by David Gaider, Alexander Freed and Chad Hardin.  This is the collected sequel to Dragon Age: The Silent Grove and continues the story of Alistair, Isabella and Varric.  Just as good as the first one and a solid 4 stars.

Lover At Last by J.R. Ward arrived and I was so excited to read it!  I have been waiting for Blay and Qhuinn’s story for ages and it did not disappoint.  I couldn’t put it down and loved it SO much!  As Tracey said, our joint review will be up this week 🙂

I’m now reading The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan, Book Two of The Wheel of Time and it is pretty good so far.

That’s it from me, see you next week!


Our Week in Books is a regular blog post from Tracey and Grete, catching up on everything they’ve read recently.

And Then She Fell

 Henrietta Cynster is known throughout the ton as ‘The Matchbreaker’ for her uncanny ability to advise women on whether or not potential suitors are truly in love with them.

James Glossup finds his potential bride scared off by Henrietta, and having a deadline by which to marry, seeks her out to explain his problem. Henrietta feels honour bound to help James find a bride of convenience and proceeds to escort and advise him throughout the ton

It doesn’t take long for James to realise he no longer wants a marriage of convenience but does Henrietta feel the same, and why do accidents seem to befall Henrietta with remarkable frequency?

I love the Cynsters, love the strong women and love the men who are good enough to eat! This is book nineteen and the series is showing no signs of waning – in my mind anyway. There are lots of references to previous stories, but you do not need to read them in order to know what is going on. While there were a couple of occasions where I was not completely sure about the reference, it didn’t spoil it for me at all.

Henrietta is a typical Cynster woman and at the grand old age of twenty-nine she is permitted many freedoms not allowed to younger women. This also allows her and James to take liberties they might not otherwise have managed – if you get my drift! Also being a bit older she is not one to hang about when she decides she wants something and as a result the ‘will they, won’t they’ was resolved by the middle of the book, leaving the latter half focused on a murder mystery plot.

While James is not a Cynster, he does of course have many of the traits I have come to expect – sexy eyes, sexy body (sexy everything really), as well as the urge to protect Henrietta against a dangerous killer. He also is not afraid to speak his mind and tell Henrietta exactly what he wants.

Someone has been trying to kill Henrietta and there are no clues as to who it could be. Poor James is out of his mind with worry but thankfully Henrietta is sensible enough to realise she needs protection. Enter pretty much the entire Cynster clan (women included) who work together to try and identify the killer, all those fine male specimens in one place – heaven!

The mystery in the latter half of the book kept going at a good pace and I did not guess the killer at all, in fact I thought it was someone completely different! The killer really was an evil sadist, a very well written villain.

As with all Cynster novels, And Then She Fell was a wonderful read, definitely another keeper to be re-read at leisure and I cannot wait for the next one involving Henrietta’s sister Mary.

Book Information
  • Author: Stephanie Laurens
  • Series: Cynsters (19)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Tracey’s Week in Books – Week 12, 2013

 Well, what a lovely week I have had courtesy of Stephanie Laurens, surrounded by the Cynster family. Last Sunday I picked up a Cynster novel that had escaped me previously – A Secret Love. This one was all about Gabriel, another fine male specimen and definitely worthy of the Cynster name. As with all Ms Laurens books I loved this one – 4 stars.

This then reignited my passion for the Cynsters – well they are extremely sexy men who become even sexier when they are bought to their knees by  a woman! I dug out my well worn copy of Devil’s Bride which is the first book in the series and I think I enjoyed it even more this time round. This was swiftly followed by books two and three – A Rake’s Vow and Scandal’s Bride. I really cannot recommend these books enough. If you have never read this author but enjoy sexy historical romances with a guaranteed happy ending, you really should give her a go.

To my delight I discovered two Cynster books on kindle for 99p but have not yet had a chance to read them, as what dropped through my door but a copy of “And Then She fell” which is due out in paperback on 8th April! It is really good and a full review will follow in the next week, but I did love the way all the Cynsters had cameos in this book and even some characters from the Bastion Club appeared.

The only question for me now is shall I spend more time lost in the Cynsters this coming week, or should I move onto something else?

Twenty shades of steamy stories!

You don’t have to read Erotica to find steamy sexy stories!  Since 50 Shades of Grey exploded onto the book scene there has been a renewed interest in books from the erotica genre. A whole new group of people who may not have picked up a book in years, are now reading again. Anything that gets people reading has to be good!

What I want to bring to your attention is, if you are looking for a story where the sex is hot hot hot, you do not need to buy pure erotica to find it. Have a look through some of my reviews on this website and you will notice I refer to sex a lot in them – yes, I enjoy a good sex scene as much as the next person.

 While I enjoy an erotica novel, I often find that the story line is not very strong and too often the book relies simply on sex. I do like a good story with sex which is where your more mainstream novels come along. Surprisingly historical fiction can be one of the best for steamy sex scenes and definitely leave you needing a cold shower to cool down; what those Regency men and women get up to behind closed doors – phew! Authors who I would recommend if you want to delve into this genre are,

If your tastes go a bit further afield, have you considered paranormal romance? This can involve anything and everything from vampires to fairies to werewolves to ghosts.  Authors I would recommend as having excellent story lines as well as excellent sex scenes are,

  • Sherrilyn Kenyon – Start with Fantasy Lover from her Dark-Hunter series!
  • Larissa Ione – Read her Demonica Series before the Lords of Deliverance.
  • J.R. Ward – I highly recommend her Black Dagger Brotherhood series – Dark Lover is the first book.

 If you fancy branching out your reading check out the above authors book reviews on this site. we try to ensure there are no spoilers so should not ruin the book if you decide to read it.

Of course, mainstream novels do not generally go down the route of BDSM and group sex (well not the ones I have read anyway!) so if it is that aspect of erotica you are particularly interested in stick with it, otherwise consider branching out into territories unknown, you might discover a whole new world!

The Reasons for Marriage

 Jason Montgomery, Duke of Eversleigh, has finally realised he has to take a wife before his aunts go and choose one for him. He has a list of what the perfect wife should be, and love does not even come into the equation; a wife who will be happy to spend her time running his estate and allow him the freedom to continue with his forays in London.

Lenore Lester has no desire to marry, is very happy living in the country looking after her father and running the household. Her brothers parties allow her the chance to play hostess, but she makes sure to make herself as inconspicuous as possible particularly given the type of gentlemen who are usually invited. Unfortunately the Duke of Eversleigh saw through her disguise immediately and set about signalling his interest while seeing her as his perfect wife.

I enjoyed this story as I do with all of Stephanie Laurens books. I think this is an early book with the hero and heroine not as bolshy as in some of her later books, but that made a nice change to read and it was very easy to fall in love with both of the characters. This is very much more a pure romance story than some of her other books and left me with a warm fuzzy feeling at the end. The story flowed nicely and I think was probably more faithful to the sort of behaviour you might expect in Regency England with regards to courtship and marriage, than some other historical romances I have read. While sex sells (and there is sex in this book make no mistake) it is refreshing to find a book more about the romance than the sex.

If you like your romance with suspense or other major plot lines this book may not be for you but me, I love a pure romance story 🙂

You can clearly see how the authors writing has changed with her later books but I love both styles and will definitely be looking to read further books about the Lester family.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Stephanie Laurens
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

The Edge of Desire

Christian Allerdyce, the Marquess of Dearne is the last remaining bachelor among the men of the Bastion Club. After the devastating betrayal he suffered 8 years ago he has no desire to take a wife even though he knows he soon must.

Lady Letitia Randall has no-one to turn to when her husband is murdered, her brother has disappeared making him the prime suspect and in desperation she calls upon the one person she thinks can help.  He also happens to be the one person who betrayed her when she needed him most.

I really enjoyed this book which had a solid interesting and believable plot alongside the romantic element. As you can probably tell from the brief words above there is a major misunderstanding between our two protagonists. I do find myself getting annoyed when a major misunderstanding drags on too long and starts to take over the story. Fortunately this does not last much past a hundred pages and, while other issues arise from it, I did not have to spend my time getting annoyed because of it!

The Bastion Club series is a different style of books from other ones by Stephanie Laurens, such as the Cynster series, in that the romance story always seems secondary to the action element. By action I do not mean pistols at dawn or fighting scenes,  more the fast paced ‘whodunnit’ element of the plot. There is of course plenty of sex and with Letitia not being an innocent virgin, these scenes move along quite rapidly and get very steamy *fans self a few times!*

I was surprised at the reaction of the ton to seeing Letitia frequently in the company of another man so soon after her husband’s demise and not really questioning it. I guess the same rules on scandal don’t apply to a widow in her late twenties as they do for a young innocent.

While the main characters in this book are Christian and Letitia we finally get to learn more titbits regarding my favourite character in this series – Dalziel. The epilogue is very tantalising and we get to find out his title.  I cannot wait to read the next book as finally the mystery surrounding who he is will become clear.

Overall, another great book by Stephanie Laurens, the more of hers I read the more I want to read. Fortunately she is a very prolific writer and I have lots more to go.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Stephanie Laurens
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)