Review: The Duke I’m Going to Marry

Review: The Duke I’m Going to MarryThe Duke I'm Going to Marry by Meara Platt
Series: Farthingale #2
Published by Meara Platt on January 30th 2015
Genres: Historical
Pages: 282
Goodreads
five-stars

Beautiful with a Balance Between Drama and Lightness

“When Dillie Farthingale crossed to her bedroom window to draw the draperies before retiring to bed, she never expected to wind up in front of the Farthingale townhouse, elephant gun in hand, worried that she’d just shot the Duke of Edgeware.”

FINAL DECISION: This is one of those books that I finished, sighed and then immediately wanted to return to my favorite passages. I loved both the hero and the heroine who are likeable in a story with humor, mystery, romance and sexy scenes. A keeper!

THE STORY: Daffodil “Dillie” Farthingale rescues Ian Markham, the Duke of Edgeware, outside her family’s townhouse from villains attempting to murder him. Ian ends up spending a week in Dillie’s bed recovering from his injuries. If that informations gets out, Dillie will be ruined regardless of how innocent Ian’s time in her bed was. Ian is a notorious rake and has sworn never to fall in love or marry. Despite this, he has been obsessed with Dillie for two years. He always seems to be there when he is needed. This time, Ian might need Dillie as it appears that someone is determined to kill Ian.

OPINION: I absolutely loved this book. I am a fan of the dark damaged heroes and Ian fits that bill exactly. At the same time, he is kind to Dillie and somewhat reluctantly fascinated by her. He has a dark and sad past and while he intends never to fall in love or marry, he keeps turning up around Dillie. Ian is a man who has become notorious as a way of dealing with his pain. What he really wants, however, is love and caring and companionship and family. The sweetness of how much Ian wants what he tells himself he cannot have made me love him as a hero.

Dillie is the perfect match for Ian because of her deep well of caring. Platt has done a remarkable job of differentiating the various Farthingale sisters — especially the twins Dillie and Lily. The personalities of the two sisters are different but not stereotypical opposites. Dillie is caring and funny and clever and determined and patient. I liked that she loves her family, finds them annoying at times, and also misses them as she is the only unmarried sister. These traits give Dillie individuality and complexity.

For me, the highlight of this book is the relationship between Dillie and Ian. From the beginning, it is clear that Ian needs Dillie and her capacity for love and caring. Dillie’s attraction to Ian and Ian’s reluctant attraction to Dillie just made me happy. Sometimes couples just click in books — Ian and Dillie did. They are clearly so perfect for one another and only Ian’s haunted past keeps them apart.

This book contains a mystery regarding who is trying to kill Ian. The story serves as the vehicle to examine Ian’s past. It also provides the impetus to bring Ian and Dillie together. The story is sad at the same time it is a good mystery. It drives the story well while allowing the relationship between Dillie and Ian to shine.

I can’t wait to read the stories of the three older Farthingale sisters.

WORTH MENTIONING: The Farthingale series has an interesting structure. As the series began, three of the five sisters were already married. At the end of this book, all the sisters are married. I love that the next book in the series goes back to tell the story of one of the married sisters.

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE DUKE I’M GOING TO MARRY is the second book in the Farthingale series. This book can be read as a standalone. While it takes place after the events in the first book, the two books can be read in any order.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

five-stars

Review: My Fair Lily

Review: My Fair LilyMy Fair Lily (Farthingale, #1) by Meara Platt
Series: Farthingale #1
Published by Booktrope on October 13th 2014
Genres: Historical
Pages: 264
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Funny, Light Romantic Historical Romance

FINAL DECISION: This was a book that made me laugh, made me smile and made me really like the characters. Light and enjoyable, the darkness of this book is never deep but just enough to keep the story interesting.

THE STORY: Ewan Cameron is Scottish but is also the estranged grandson of the Duke of Lotheil. Ewan agreed at his father’s deathbed to come to London with his sister to meet with his grandfather for three months. Ewan intends to thwart his grandfather by emphasizing his Scottish background and intends to marry a Scottish woman. Ewan ends up meeting Lily Farthingale when his dog knocks her over into a puddle. A bluestocking, Lily has her own reasons to dislike Ewan’s grandfather. He is blocking her attempts to join the Royal Society. Despite this, Lily wants to help Ewan navigate being a proper English gentleman in order to bridge the gap between Ewan and the rest of his family.

OPINION: I loved the lighthearted romance here. Funny and sweet and a book that made me smile, I enjoyed the interactions between Ewan and Lily. Lily is an intelligent heroine so I loved how Ewan and his big dog knock her off her game. Lily’s kindness is also demonstrated by her attempts to close the breach between Ewan and his family. She is treated poorly by Ewan’s grandfather and yet does the right thing for Ewan.

Ewan is entirely entranced by Lily. I liked that he almost immediately puts Lily first even when he is rejecting the possibility of there being anything between them. Their interactions were so special that I had to smile every time they started bantering with one another.

I also enjoyed the relationship between the Farthingale’s which is boisterous, nosy and an authentic family. It is rare that a book has so many likeable characters. Even those characters who first appear the villains are provided the opportunity to show their true natures. The lack of obvious bad guys makes this book enjoyable to read.

The plot of the book includes a mystery regarding whether someone is attempting to kill Ewan or to hurt those around him. I liked the story because it twisted in a manner I did not expect.

This is the first book I have read by Meara Platt. The book is well written with characters that I really liked, a situation where the characters acted in reasonable manners and a story and romance which left me smiling and satisfied.

WORTH MENTIONING: This series has an interesting dynamic. There are five sisters, three who are married. The stories of the two unmarried sisters are told first but then the married sisters stories are told later.

CONNECTED BOOKS: MY FAIR LILY is the first book in the Farthingale series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars

Review: Mountain Man

Mountain Man
Mountain Man by Diana Palmer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Revised Classic Diana Palmer

FINAL DECISION: A revised old favorite, MOUNTAIN MAN provides all the classic Diana Palmer tropes. Virginal heroine, woman hating hero who misunderstands and treats the heroine poorly because of it. The characters, however, make this a good read.

THE STORY: Nicole White comes to Montana with her boss for work. They are staying with her bosses older brother who hates women after being burned by a society girl. Winthrop Christopher cannot forget being betrayed and yet he cannot forget Nicole. What he doesn’t know is that Nicole comes from a rich family herself but has decided to make it on her own. Winthrop feel betrayed when he discovers Nicole’s secret, he feels betrayed again.

OPINION: Diana Palmer writes a particular type of hero and heroine. The formula doesn’t vary a tremendous amount, but what makes her books interesting are the individual characters that she creates within those formulas. I like this book because the hero and heroine have a sweet connection. Winthrop has feelings for Nicole but doesn’t want to admit it. In fact, he fights hard against it. While he is somewhat of a jerk at times, his behavior is not unforgivable. The book also has a good sense of place and an admiration for the western land. No one does the modern western ranchers and farmers better than Palmer.

WORTH MENTIONING: MOUNTAIN MAN is a revised version of WOMAN HATER.

CONNECTED BOOKS: MOUNTAIN MAN is a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

Review: Secret Pleasure

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Secret PleasureSecret Pleasure by Lora Leigh
Series: Bound Hearts #13
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on August 18th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 368
Goodreads
three-half-stars

“They were bound. She couldn’t break that bond, couldn’t escape it, now matter how she tried when her conscious mind ruled her.”

THE STORY: At age 18, Alyssa Hampstead is trying to get away from her overbearing mother and her political aspirations of her father. One night she meets Sebastian De Loren and his cousin Shane Conner. There is an instant connection between the three although Alyssa has no intention of getting involved with these two heartthrobs. The cousins want the beautiful young woman but know that they cannot hope to begin a relationship with her under the eyes of her parents. Instead, they plan on meeting up with her in Spain without her knowledge. The three begin an intense relationship that seems to be satisfying for all three of them, but one day they are torn apart by blackmail and threats. It is not until eight years later that the three come together again. The danger still remains, however, and this time someone may not survive.

OPINION: I liked the mystery in this story more than the romance. I was intrigued by the dangers that continued to threaten this trio. I also really liked the connection between the characters. It is not always easy to write a three sided relationship but Leigh has done this several times already. I didn’t feel that Alyssa’s connection with Shane was as well developed as her relationship with Sebastian. That diminished my enjoyment of this story because part of the trio didn’t seem as understandable. I did really enjoy the protectiveness that the cousins show Alyssa. The pain that all three of these characters endure because of their separation was well described and simply heartbreaking. This story is also pretty hot although I have read better ones by Leigh. Overall a good read but not the best of the series.

WORTH MENTIONING: Readers should be aware that this book features a MMF menage relationship.

FINAL DECISION: This was one of the Bound Heart series where the story was definitely more interesting than I expected. The mystery of who was threatening Alyssa kept the story moving. I didn’t find the relationships in this book as well developed.

CONNECTED BOOKS: BOUND HEARTS is the thirteenth book in the Bound Hearts series. It can be read as a standalone. Although I have read the first couple books in the series, I have not yet completed the rest and did not feel that I missed anything.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3.5 stars.

NOTE: I recieved an ARC of this book from Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to provide a positive review and all opinions contained herein are my own.

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three-half-stars

Review: Sacrifice

Sacrifice (Bound Hearts, #5) by Lora Leigh
Series: Bound Hearts #5
Published by Ellora's Cave on July 1st 2004
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 133
Goodreads
four-stars

THE STORY: Kimberly Madison has been hiding from her feelings for Jared Raddington for a year. The two are techically step-siblings, but since their parents married when they were adults, they did not grow up together. Kimberly’s father, however, seriously disapproves of Jared and the sexual lifestyle he leads which includes menages and other extreme sexual activities. Kimberly’s inheritance requires her to be a virgin and she is subjected to regular exams to confirm her virginity. Kimberly has no intention of getting involved with Jared when she knows that they have no future. Jared has wanted Kimberly for a long time and is done with waiting.

OPINION: This book is one of the most sexually adventurous of the series and includes Kimberly having sex with another man opening the book and includes the almost required menage. The story is frank and explicit and focuses on the sexual relationship. Because “typical” sex is off limits, this leads to more creative sexual experiences. It also leads the characters to talk more and develop their relationship in different ways. My complaint is that the situation itself felt somewhat contrived with too many obstacles in the couple’s path. I did like the resolution to the problem and felt that it really showed more character development than I had expected.

WORTH MENTIONING: The book opens with the heroine having sex with a man NOT the hero and also contains a MMF menage.

CONNECTED BOOKS: SACRIFICE is the fifth book in the Bound Hearts series. It can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

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four-stars

Review: Wicked Intent (Bound Hearts, #4)

Wicked Intent (Bound Hearts, #4) by Lora Leigh
Series: Bound Hearts #4
Published by Ellora's Cave on April 1st 2004
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 140
Goodreads
four-half-stars

THE STORY: Tally Raines is a smart mouthed secretary with an adventurous sexual side. One person she doesn’t like, however, is her new boss Lucian Conover. The two strike sparks off of one another immediately. Lucian, however, has had his eye on the sexy Tally for a year and has been maneuvering his way into her life. Lucian and his fraternal twin Devril have plans for Tally. Truthfully, Tally cannot resist the two brothers so different in looks but bound together by complicated sexual needs.

OPINION: This is my favorite of the series so far. Menage relationships are difficult because often there is a stronger connection between one pair. Here, Lucian and Devril are two sides of the same coin and yet have distinct personalities that make them compelling and makes the relationship work between these three. Both Lucian and Devril have different relationships with Tally and that helps with balancing the complicated relationship. This book is erotica and it is hot, but the relationships and characters always have priority here.

WORTH MENTIONING: This is a true MMF menage relationship.

FINAL DECISION: The complex and well balanced relationship between the characters makes this my favorite of the series so far.

CONNECTED BOOKS: WICKED INTENT is the fourth book in the Bound Hearts series. It can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

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four-half-stars

Review: Seduction

Seduction (Bound Hearts, #3) by Lora Leigh
Series: Bound Hearts #3
Published by Ellora's Cave on September 1st 2003
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 99
Goodreads
four-stars

THE STORY: Jesse Wyman has wanted Terrie for a long time. The widow of his younger brother, Terrie was almost destroyed by her miserable marriage. Her husband, knowing that she had feelings for Jesse, tormented her with the idea that she was not woman enough for any man especially alpha male Jesse. Since his death, Jesse has tried to be a friend to Terrie, but he has finally reached the end of his patience. Jesse challenges Terrie to seduce him hoping that it will break her out of her cycle of fear.

OPINION: The relationship between Jesse and Terrie is the focus here. Although Jesse has a dominating sexual side, he is also kind and sweet to Terrie. That mixture is especially appealing here. Although the focus of the relationship between Jesse and Terrie is their sexual relationship, it is through this relationship that Terrie is healed of her self-doubt and the fears her husband imposed upon her.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book contains not one but two menage scenes — one FFM and one MMF.

FINAL DECISION: This book’s focus on the tenderness in the relationship between Jesse and Terrie makes it more than a hot sex book.

CONNECTED BOOKS: SEDUCTION is the third book in the Bound Hearts series. It can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

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four-stars

Review: Submission

Submission (Bound Hearts, #2) by Lora Leigh
Series: Bound Hearts #2
Published by Ellora's Cave on July 1st 2003
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 83
Goodreads
three-stars

Sexy Erotic Tale of Pushing a Woman’s Limits

“He was her weakness.”

THE STORY: Ella Delacorte is a woman in her forties who is divorced. Her ex-husband had extreme sexual needs that Ella found distasteful and it ultimately destroyed her marriage. She also has had a thing for James Wyman for over 10 years. Despite the fact that he is younger than her and she knows that he has similar sexual tastes as her ex-husband, Ella has always been attracted to James while being repulsed by her ex-husband. James has finally had enough with waiting and has maneuvered himself into Ella’s house and hopes to bring their relationship forward.

OPINION: Primarily an erotic piece, SUBMISSION is focused on the sexual relationship between Ella and James. This novella benefits from the fact that there is more to their relationship than immediate sex. A reader needs to understand, however, that this is primarily a book about exploring sexual boundaries and therefore the focus is on the sex. It did feel a little repetitive, however, when compared with the first book in the series.

WORTH MENTIONING: Content warning for those who care: this book contains a MMF menage scene.

FINAL DECISION: I liked the story which seemed more substantial than the first book in the series, but ultimately the sex seemed less hot than the previous one.

CONNECTED BOOKS: SUBMISSION is the second book in the Bound Hearts series. It can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3 stars.

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three-stars

Review: Surrender

Review: SurrenderSurrender (Bound Hearts, #1) by Lora Leigh
Series: Bound Hearts #1
Published by Ellora's Cave on November 1st 2003
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 82
Goodreads
three-stars

Erotica Focused On Sex Rather Than Relationship

THE STORY: Tess Delacourte has wanted Cole Andrews for years but has no intention on surrendering to her desires. She knows that Cole has extreme sexual desires including sharing his partners with his friends. When Cole takes matters in his own hands, the question is whether Tess will surrender to her desires or lose Cole forever.

OPINION: This novella is focused primarily on the sexual relationship between Tess and Cole. He is domineering and demands that Tess surrender to him. At times it is almost non-consensual although it never crosses that line. I wish that the book had been longer with more about Tess and Cole’s relationship before their week together. There is little here to show that these two have any real chance at a relationship beyond their sexual antics. As a result, I found the sexual adventures to be sterile and cold rather than erotic.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book contains a MMF menage scene.

FINAL DECISION: I don’t mind books where there is an emphasis on the erotic sexual relationship, but this book had little to do with relationship and all to do with sex.

CONNECTED BOOKS: SURRENDER is the first book in the Bound Hearts series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3 stars.

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three-stars

Review: Claimed by the Marquis

Review: Claimed by the MarquisClaimed by the Marquis (Regency Unlaced 2) by Carole Mortimer
Series: Regency Unlaced #2
Published by Smashwords Edition on January 29th 2016
Genres: Historical
three-half-stars

Sexy Little Novella Feels a Little Rushed

“Do please feel free to correct me if I am wrong, but did you just ask if you might sketch me? Sans my clothing?”

FINAL DECISION: Great promise, very sexy, good setup and characters. Unfortunately, there was just too much going on for such a small novella and the relationship is too rushed at the end.

THE STORY: Lady Sally Derwent is unique. At 25, she is unwed, financially independent and doesn’t have any intention on marrying. Along with her fortune, she also inherited a collection of erotica from her grandmother. She decides to ask Nicholas Sefton, Marquis of Oxbridge to pose nude for her so that she can add the sketches to the erotica collection. Nicholas believes that Sally wants to have an affair with him since they are attracted to one another. Two people who have no intention to marry find that they are drawn to one another in ways neither expected. There is also drama because it appears that someone is trying to get rid of Sally permanently.

OPINION: The setup for this book is good. The beginning where Sally and Nicholas. They have a clever witty relationship. Sally decides to take a chance and have an affair with Nicholas. For me, that is what begins to breakdown a bit. I find it difficult to accept that Sally could so quickly go to spend the summer with Nicholas. It just seemed too brazen for a woman who hadn’t had a lover before. I could accept that but I felt that the mystery of the story begins to take over at that point and I didn’t feel enough progression in the relationship between Sally and Nicholas. For two people determined not to marry, they too quickly change their minds.

I did enjoy the book, but it wouldn’t be one that I would put on my keeper shelf.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book is hotter than a typical Mortimer book.

CONNECTED BOOKS: CLAIMED BY THE MARQUIS is the second book in the Regency Unlaced series. It can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3.5 stars.

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three-half-stars