Review: Only Pleasure: Part Two

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: Only Pleasure: Part TwoOnly Pleasure: Part 2 by Lora Leigh
Series: Bound Hearts #10
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on November 8th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  After the developments of the first part of this novel where the sexual relationship between Kia and Chase began, this book is about the emotional connection developing between them.  I feel that this book is the guts of Chase’s emotional journey but you have to read the last part to know what happens.

THE STORY:  Kia and Chase have entered into a sexual relationship that involves a third person.  Kia has decided that merely being involved with Chase sexually is not enough for her and demands that if he wants to see her, they must have something more than sex.  Chase who has spent years distancing himself from intimacy doesn’t know how to respond when he thinks he should stay away from Kia but can’t resist her.

OPINION:  I liked this portion of the book because Chase is really beginning to be challenged here.  He thinks that he has everything figured out but he can’t seem to get Kia out of his mind.  Kia also begins to change here.  She is done being a doormat and instead demands what she wants.  This portion is Kia’s empowerment and Chase’s downfall.  Just as he begins to want her more than he expected, he is now afraid that he needs her more than she needs him.

I like these characters as they are developing their relationship both in the bedroom and out.  This portion of the book also pushes forward the suspense story as Kia is in danger.  The question is who is trying to hurt her and why.

By the time this part finished, I was certainly read to read part three to find out what happens.

WORTH MENTIONING:  Please read my review of part one before reading this review.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  This is the second part of the full novel which has been divided into three parts and thus must be read together.  The book ONLY PLEASURE is book 10 in the Bound Hearts series.  This book can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: Only Pleasure: Part One

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: Only Pleasure: Part OneOnly Pleasure: Part 1 by Lora Leigh
Series: Bound Hearts #10
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on November 1st 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  This is a good start to the book.  I know that this book was not originally intended to be broken up into three parts so the story is incomplete here, but I enjoyed the relationship developing between Chase and Kia.

THE STORY:  Two years ago, Kia Rutherford’s life was shattered when her husband tried to force her into a threesome.  Now things have changed as Kia meets up with Chase Falladay, the man she has thought about for years.  When Chase and his friend Khalid take her on a car ride, she finds herself in the middle of a threesome that she had rejected with her ex-husband.  But the truth is that Kia has always had feelings for Chase but she fears that he only wants the sexual relationship from her while she wants something more.

OPINION:  This portion of the book focuses on the beginning of the relationship between Chase and Kia.  While Khalid is part of the menage, the emotional relationship is clearly between Kia and Chase.  The two begin their sexual relationship in this portion of the book.  As this portion reaches its conclusion, the question is whether or not their relationship will be something other than sexual pleasure.

As the book begins, Chase is a man who doesn’t want attachments after he was betrayed by a woman.  While he cannot stay away from Kia, he tries to convince himself that he is only interested in the sexual relationship.  Yet Chase cannot help but be possessive of Kia.

Kia is a woman who was shattered and has kept herself away from others for two years.  Her intense relationship with Chase begins to thaw her emotions.  She begins to try and take back her life after the destruction her ex-husband wrought.

There are two dramatic plot stories also involved in this book.  There is the continued stalking done by Kia’s ex-husband.  There is also the revenge related to the death of the woman that betrayed Chase.

This short portion gives readers a good taste of the Bound Hearts series, but it needs to be read as part of the whole book.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book, like the Bound Hearts series, contains a MMF menage.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  This is part one of a three part division of the original novel. The novel is book 10 in the Bound Hearts series.  This book can be read as a standalone although there are overlapping characters.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: Ruled

Review: RuledRuled (Outlaws, #3) by Elle Kennedy
Series: Outlaws #3
Published by Berkley on November 1st 2016
Genres: Futuristic
Pages: 368
Goodreads
four-half-stars

“Life was so much easier when there was nobody around you to give a damn about.”

FINAL DECISION:  I think this might be the best menage book I’ve read.  There is a relationship between all three characters and I truly felt that these three had a real relationship by the end of the book.

THE STORY:  Rylan has done everything he can think of to attract Reese, the leader of a group of outlaws.  Despite an outlaw society that has no problem with meaningless sex, Reese won’t have anything to do with Rylan.  Rylan realizes that the key to Reese might be her second in command, Sloan.  Reese won’t give into her attraction to Rylan because she wants him too much and doesn’t trust her instincts with him.  Reese knows from experience the dangers of an attractive magnetic man.  She prefers to concentrate on her people and get her sex from meaningless encounters.  Sloan has stood by Reese’s side for years.  Although he has always wanted her, he knows that any hint of sex between them would destroy their relationship.  As Rylan, Reese and Sloan work to defeat the Enforcers that threaten the lives of the Outlaws, they are also drawn into a relationship that might destroy all that already exists between them.

OPINION:  Boy, this book is hot!  And even better, this book has a great emotional connection with all three of the menage partners.  Unlike the previous menages in the Outlaws series, this is not merely an extra sexual partner.  No, indeed, these three characters have an emotional connection to one another that leads to a true relationship between all three of them.

Reese was my favorite character.  She is a strong and dominant leader but her strength comes from her caring nature.  Reese is the matriarch of her people.  Reese puts her people above her own needs, which is one reason she has refused Rylan for so long.  Part of Reese’s journey is this book is finding out that she can be a whole person with relationships without it threatening her leadership.  In reality, her being whole can enhance her leadership.

Rylan initially seems like a happy-go-lucky fellow.  But he, as is true with all the Outlaws, has a darkness in his past.  Rylan is important in the story as the catalyst who changes the relationship between Reese and Sloan.  He is funny and sexy and the most outwardly emotional of the trio.  While he starts out wanting some good times, Sloan and Reese bring some needed stability and purpose to Rylan’s life. He’s a man who has hidden his caring under his devil may care attitude.

Sloan is the quiet rock of the trio.  He has stood by Reese being her right hand man while desperately wanting her.  He knows that any hint of sex between then would destroy their relationship. Sloan is not willing to risk what he has.  He is self-sacrificing, willing to do anything to help Reese even if that means denying what he wants most.

This book does a great job of balancing all the relationships.  Most menage books I have read focus on one couple or the woman’s relationship with each of the men.   This book is a perfectly balanced triangle.  Rylan’s introduction into the group allows the relationship between Reese and Sloan to develop even as Rylan creates his own relationship with Reese and Sloan.  The emotional and sexual relationship develops between all three of these characters — there is no emphasis on one part of the trio.  I got the real sense that these three need all of them in order to work.

The hotness of this book just keeps on:  Reese with Rylan (Hot!), Reese with Sloan (Hot!), Rylan with Sloan (even hotter!), Reese and Rylan and Sloan (blistering hot!).  What I liked best was that all the hot sex was really grounded in the emotions that developed between these characters.  All three of these characters have experienced pain and loss but in their relationship, they find happiness and completeness.

I loved this book and can’t wait for more Outlaws books.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This is a true menage relationship with both an emotional and sexual relationship between all three of the participants.  This book has MFM, MM and MF.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  RULED is the third book in the Outlaws series.  The book can be read as a standalone but there is an overarching story that is richer if you have read the other books in the series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book in order to provide a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-half-stars

Review: Pleasured by a Duke

Review: Pleasured by a DukePleasured by a Duke (Regency Unlaced 7) by Carole Mortimer
Series: Regency Unlaced #7
Published by Smashwords Edition on October 28th 2016
Genres: Historical
Pages: 122
Goodreads
three-half-stars

FINAL DECISION:  Enjoyable little novella that is hot.  The short nature of the story doesn’t allow for much characters development but the characters of Sebastian and Tia are fun in their interaction with one another.

THE STORY:  Sebastian Falkner, Duke of Stowmont, is a rake who ironically keeps getting unwanted wards.  Having just gotten rid of one, he finds himself guardian to a seven year old boy.  And this child comes with his adult step-sister.  Horatia “Tia” Chelford is a self-described mousy woman whose betrothed was killed in Waterloo.  Believing that she has lost her chance for love and marriage, Tia has dedicated herself to her step-brother.  While the duke intends to rid himself of the opinionated and mouthy Tia as quickly as possible, Tia intends on finding a way to stay.  At the same time, Tia and her stepbrother are in danger from the person who murdered Tia’s stepmother.

OPINION:  I’ve come to enjoy Mortimer’s Regency Unlaced series which are generally short novellas with an emphasis on the hot sex.  The stories focus on the sexual relationships and the characters tend to be in situations which heightens the tension in that relationship.

This book follows in that formula.  The characters are set in the beginning.  Sebastian is a man who never expected to be a duke but has taken on the role with a disdain for society.  He cares deeply for his family, including his illegitimate half-brother who acts as his secretary.  When he is given the guardianship of a young boy, he intends to fulfill his duty but doesn’t want anything to do with the older sharp-tongued step-sister — until he can’t resist her.

Tia is a woman who has lost everything except her younger step-brother and is willing to do anything to stay with him.  She has loved and lost and she accepts her limitations.  When she has the opportunity to find some happiness, she is willing to take it — even if society would not approve.

I liked this book.  My one complaint is that everything is wrapped up too quickly and too neatly.  I wanted a bigger confrontation on Sebastian and Tia’s relationship or a bigger part for the villain in the story.  Instead, things are just resolved too quickly (in a couple of pages) and that left me wanting in the story.

WORTH MENTIONING:  The duke’s illegitimate half brother looks to be getting his story next.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  PLEASURED BY A DUKE is the seventh book in the Regency Unlaced series.  It can be read as a standalone.  The only connection to the prior books are the mention of other characters in the epilogue.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3.5 stars.

three-half-stars

Review: Hold Me

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: Hold MeHold Me (Cyclone Book 2) by Courtney Milan
Series: Cyclone #2
on October 25, 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 306
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Maria: “It’s just a part of me.  I learned long ago to avoid the mountaintops of life.  Sure, it’s fun to get to the top. But storms come and lightning strikes, and it’s no fun being exposed on top of the world in those moments. Daydreams are great, but an established salary and health benefits have to come first, thank you.”

Jay: “If we hadn’t managed to hate each other first, Em would have been it for me. I failed to see her on every conceivable level. How do I admit that?”

FINAL DECISION:  I wanted to like this book more.  Parts were brilliant and moving and parts just felt like distant.  Jay started out unlikable and I don’t know that he ever evolved enough for me to truly like him.  But there was enough in it for me to give it another chance.  Maybe a re-read in a year or two will change my mind.

THE STORY:  Jay na Thalang is driven.  A professor at Berkeley, he has focused on his work to the exclusion of all other relationships in his life.  When he meets Maria Lopez, a student, he first insults her, and then knows that she is a distraction but insists that he is not interested.  But he is interested.  The first terrible meeting between Jay and Maria sets the standard for their combative relationship.  Maria is cautious and Jay’s dismissal of her hurts even though she believes him a jerk.  What neither of them knows is that they have been corresponding and flirting for months.  Maria secretly runs a doomsday blog and Jay has been commenting and communicating with Maria.  The two have an online friendship that might be turning into something else and an offline hate relationship that might not be something they can overcome.

OPINION:  There was much that I liked about this book.  Both Jay and Maria are smart, sarcastic and imperfect.  I love those angst filled romances where two damaged people find love.  I loved the online relationship aspect where the two are themselves and open in ways that they can’t be in real life.  I also liked how the two strike bad sparks off one another in real life where they make assumptions and fail to see the truth of the other.  This is especially true for Jay who thinks himself progressive and yet makes assumptions about Maria which hurt her.  I really liked that the relationship between these two is messy and imperfect and so honestly real.

Maria is a woman who is always waiting for those she cares about to reject her.  She writes an apocalyptic blog which is apropos because she is always waiting for disaster to strike.  She fears asking too much of others and herself because life has given her disappointment.  She is trans but while an essential part of who she is, it isn’t the focus of the story except in how the reactions of others (especially her parents have effected her).  I loved the quirks of her nature: she eats soup for her comfort food, demands the reusing of cream cheese containers as tupperware and wears high heels so high they make my ankles hurt just thinking about them.

Jay was harder for me to like and I never am sure that I ever fell in love with him as I like to do with characters.  He treats Maria abominably the first time they meet because he makes assumptions and is more concerned with his own career than the human being in front of him.  While many romantic heroes are jerks at times, Jay just continued to be jerky for too long.  Jay has his reasons for his behavior, but even so it doesn’t excuse his behavior.  For me, things just got fixed too easily: with Jay’s parents, with Maria.  Perhaps he didn’t suffer enough for me or maybe I didn’t see enough of Jay acting good to counteract the bad.  For whatever reason, I couldn’t connect enough with Jay in order to make the romance superlative.

I liked this book and there was some beautiful writing in it.  This is a book that I would read again to see if it was my own expectations that stopped me from really loving it.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book takes place in the college town of Berkeley.  As a Cal grad, I was happy to see the school and town so well depicted.  This book reminds me of what I love about Cal.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  HOLD ME is the second book in the Cyclone series.  It is a standalone which does not require reading the first book in the series although characters from that book appear.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3.5 stars.

three-half-stars

Review: Archangel’s Heart

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: Archangel’s HeartArchangel's Heart (Guild Hunter, #9) by Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter #9
Published by Berkley on November 1st 2016
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 384
Goodreads
four-half-stars

“He was hers. She was his. And together, they were something far better than either one of them was alone.”

FINAL DECISION:  Goes deeper into Elena’s background in unexpected ways.  This book is a tightly drawn suspense story, political thriller and a very human story about surviving and rising above the past.  Plus, there is a very settled and sexy couple: Elena and Raphael.

THE STORY: This book continues the focus on guild hunter turned angel Elena and her archangel lover Raphael.  Things have been quiet since the disappearance of Lijuan, the Archangel of China (who also happens to be crazy dangerous).  A year has passed and because no one knows whether she lives or has withdrawn from the world and is sleeping, there is uncertainty.  An ancient order of angels called the Luminata calls the Cadre together to make a determination of what to do with Lijuan’s territory.

Attending the Luminata requires Raphael and Elena to travel near the place of her grandmother’s birth.  There, Raphael and Elena must deal with dangerous archangels, mysterious threats, strange events surrounding the Luminata. Elena also hopes to find out more about her past and that of her family.

OPINION: The Guild Hunter series returns to focus on Elena and Raphael.  I have to admit that I love the Elena and Raphael books most in the series.  This book, thankfully, doesn’t involve problems in the relationship between Elena and Raphael (that remains increasingly strong) but rather Elena’s own history.

This book continues the overarching series story regarding the Cascade, Lijuan and the possible end of the world.  While this book doesn’t have a romance as its organizing feature, it doesn’t need one.  This book delves into the adventure and politics of the Guild Hunter world — but reserves its emotional core for Elena’s discovery of her own family’s past.

There is a dark suspense story involving the Illuminata who are a mysterious addition to the series.  Elena ends up investigating what is going on with this mysterious group and their connection with her own family.  That story keeps the pace of this book quick and the pages turning.

While the suspense story keeps the books hopping, the theme explored in this book is about how the past makes us who we are and how one can overcome the pain of the past to go forward.  Multiple characters in the book have to deal with their past — the question is how will they respond.  This is most present in Aodhan who is recovering himself after years of separating himself from those he loves.  The events in this book challenge his recovery and he must make a choice.  The series has been an increasing interaction between those of Raphael’s world and Elena.  In this book, we see the developing relationship between Elena and Aodhan, which has its own contours.

Singh goes deep into the emotions of her characters and even as the events feel dark and dangerous, her characters possess a lightness and beauty that gives the book heart.  I always love reading Singh’s books because even when things seem bad for her characters, they maintain a likeability and a lightness of spirit that overcomes all the darkness.

The events of this series appear to be approaching a crescendo and this book provides a little breather that allows the exploration of character and relationships.  Elena finds out the truth about her mother’s family which has been shrouded in mystery.  I’m glad I didn’t know where this book was going because I enjoyed the resolution which provided a happy ending in an unexpected arena.

Without giving away the secrets of this book, I can say that this book is about survival and overcoming darkness.  So many characters express this theme and it leaves such a good feeling that I dread that more darkness is on the horizon for these characters.

For fans of the series, this book gives more background on the characters you love and gets everyone in the right place for the next stage in this series.  There are no new romances but much happens in this book that illuminates where the characters are now and where they have come from.

WORTH MENTIONING:  We learn more about Aodhan.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  ARCHANGEL’S HEART is the ninth book in the Guild Hunter series.  This series builds upon each of the prior books in the series and thus should be read in order.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars

Archangel’s Heart Excerpt

Excerpt from ARCHANGEL’S HEART by Nalini Singh – releases November 1, 2016

9780451488008_archangels-heart                 nalini-singh-photo-by-shay-barratt

Raphael’s response was silent, his wing brushing hers as he . . .

“Raphael!” The damn archangel had dusted her.

Glittering, sparkly stuff stuck to her, delicious beyond compare when she parted her mouth and it licked onto her tongue. Her thighs clenched. “This is not funny!” She glared at him even as arousal flooded her system, but he was laughing too hard to care.

Her heart, it just stopped.

Even now, the Archangel of New York rarely laughed and never like this. Until she could see the youth he must’ve once been, with eyes of a wild, astonishing blue that asked a woman to laugh with him. She’d never before seen him as truly young. How could she? He had so much power that it pulsed in his every touch, burned in his skin.

Hauling him close to her with her hands fisted in the cream linen of his shirt, she took a kiss, took him. He sank into her, his wings sweeping up to wrap around her until all she could sense was Raphael, all she could taste was him. And angel dust. The special blend he’d created just for her.

He pushed one hand into her hair, fisting it as he wrapped his other arm around her waist and backed her up against a wall. Something fell with a dull thud. Maybe the vivid painting of wildflowers that had just been put up, all the art having been taken down during the repainting.

Elena loved that simple piece Honor had found in a thrift shop, but right now, it could’ve been a priceless artwork by the Hummingbird and she wouldn’t have cared. She was far too happy to be pressed up against the hard warmth of her archangel tip to toe after spending the previous night on watch. No time for shenanigans with Dmitri away and Illium off-shift, Aodhan assigned to patrol the sea border, and Raphael dealing with the overall security situation.

She’d flown a proper defense grid, both to stay in practice and because none of them could afford to be blasé with the Cascade an unpredictable foe that could unleash itself at any moment, smashing the world back into chaos and, possibly, war.

Today, however, the others were on‑shift and she could kiss her lover. He burned hot, Raphael, but he was a crashing sea in her mind, a tumultuous, passionate storm that swept her up and thundered through her veins.

We can talk to Dmitri later, she sent to Raphael, sliding her hands up the ridges and valleys of his chest. Let’s go upstairs to our suite.

“A‑hem.”

She tried to ignore that pointed cough that held a biting amusement.

Raphael’s lips smiled against hers. I think my second has other ideas.

 

Posted by arrangement with Berkley, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin

Random House Company. Copyright © Nalini Singh, 2016.

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Review: A Night of Forever

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: A Night of ForeverA Night of Forever (The Disgraced Lords, #6) by Bronwen Evans
Series: The Disgraced Lords #6
Published by Loveswept on October 25th 2016
Genres: Historical
Pages: 240
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  An enjoyable end to the drama of the Disgraced Lords series, the romance between Arend and Isobel has much angst and distrust on Arend’s part.  Isobel must get beyond the shields that Arend has erected while an enemy intends to destroy them both.

THE STORY:  Arend Aubury will do anything to protect the only people he trusts, his fellow Libertine Scholars.  After all his friends have suffered from the person who is trying to destroy them all, Arend knows that he is next and he is ready.  He suspects the stepdaughter of their enemy, Lady Isobel Thompson and intends on keeping a close eye on her.  When Isobel approaches him with her own suspicions about her stepmother, Arend agrees to work with Isobel — while secretly suspecting her.  Isobel wants a marriage like her friends, but can’t seem to ignore the dangerous Arend.  A fake betrothal hides their investigation but also ignites a strong passion between Isobel and Arend while they question motives and evade their enemies.

OPINION:  This book brings the series story regarding the Libertine Scholars enemy to a close. This book overlaps the fifth book in the series, A TASTE OF SEDUCTION. I enjoyed this book because Arend and Isobel are an intriguing match with a significant amount of angst.

Arend is a man who thinks himself unworthy.  He has lived in poverty, been abused, betrayed and as a result has a difficult time trusting anyone.  Even his attraction to Isobel is something that he distrusts.  At the same time, Arend is loyal, caring and willing to sacrifice himself for those he cares about.  His guilt and shame and fear prevent him from having an open relationship, but he cannot seem to resist Isobel.

Isobel is a woman who has been tainted by her stepmother’s evil, but still sees the good in people, especially Arend.  Even as Isobel is warned away from him, she finds him irresistible. Isobel is strong willed and willing to go after what she wants.  She can also stand up to Arend which is important.  Most significantly, she believes in Arend’s goodness and is determined to make him see it as well.

I liked the relationship between Arend and Isobel because many times Isobel is the strong one if the relationship which is a reversal from traditional roles.  Arend has the poor self-image and abusive background and it is Isobel who must help him accept himself and believe that he is entitled to a good future.

I enjoyed this book as a closure to the series (even though there will be some spin off books).  I thought that there was enough about the other characters to see where their lives are going without overwhelming the story and the overarching storyline was neatly wrapped up as well.

WORTH MENTIONING:  Although this book completes the continuing story in the Disgraced Lords series, Evans states that there will be some future connected books wrapping up the romances of other characters in the series.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  A NIGHT OF FOREVER is the sixth book in the Disgraced Lords series.  The romance can be read as a standalone although there is an overarching story in the series that finishes in this book.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Author Interview and Giveaway: Valerie Bowman

The Legendary Lord (Playful Brides) by 

We want to thank THE LEGENDARY LORD author Valerie Bowman for agreeing to answer our Top 10 Romance Questions!

Question 10:  What is your favorite romance book and why?

Judith McNaught’s Once and Always. I’ve read it SO MANY TIMES. It’s my favorite because I’m completely in love with the hero, Jason Fielding. *swoon*

Question 9:  Your books are set in the Regency Period.  What attracts you to that historical period?

The fun of it! The Victorians seemed quite dour and sad, but the Regency was full of parties and happiness and good times. A perfect setting to place happily ever afters. What’s not to love?

Question 8: How do you spend your time when you are not writing?

Reading, watching reality TV or PBS, and spending time with my family including my 1 year old Schnauzer, Huckleberry.

Question 7:  Your newest book is THE LEGENDARY LORD.  What can you tell us about this book?

This book has been a long time coming. The hero, Christian Forester, Lord Berkeley, has been a character in the Playful Brides series since the beginning and he’s finally getting his story. Just like all the books in the Playful Brides series, it’s inspired by a famous play. This one was George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion. Christian asks the beautiful, betrothed belle of the Season to help him find a wife. Guess what happens?

Question 6:  THE LEGENDARY LORD is sixth in your Playful Brides series.  Do you think a reader needs to know any background from the prior books before reading THE LEGENDARY LORD?

Nope. All the books are standalone and can be enjoyed individually. I always ask a new reader to read each book to ensure that if there are any questions that need to be answered (from the other books), they are worked out before the book publishes.

Question 5:  Christian Forester, the hero of THE LEGENDARY LORD, has a bit of a problem in that women have seen him more as a friend than a romantic hero.  Why do you think readers will fall in love with Christian?

Christian is sooo lovable. He’s an introvert, quiet, a bit shy, intelligent, kind, loving, giving. My kind of hero! I loved writing his character because so many heroes are bold and charming. Christian is more of the best friend who you slowly (and perhaps unconsciously) fall in love with. One of my favorite romantic comedies is Win a Date with Tad Hamilton. I see Christian as being like the Topher Grace character in that movie.

Question 4:  Sarah Highgate, the heroine of THE LEGENDARY LORD is willing to marry a man she doesn’t love to please her family.  Why do you think woman are sometimes willing to give up personal happiness to please others?

I would like to think in 2016, Sarah would never do such a thing. But in 1816, it was not something you could easily do, get out of an engagement to marry someone you love vs. someone your parents have chosen for you. Sarah was deeply loyal to her family and knows what her duty has been since birth. She’s horribly torn when she discovers she’s fallen for the wrong man.

Question 3:  Your books are often known for their humor, but I greatly admire the deep emotions in them.  How do you approach the balance between humor and emotion in your books?

I write the books I would want to read and for me that’s funny but also with some angst thrown in for good measure. I really spend time trying to capture both, make sure they’re both there.

Question 2:  What can readers expect from you after THE LEGENDARY LORD?

I’m working on the final books in the Playful Brides series. Never Trust a Pirate comes out in Spring 2017. It’s about Cade Cavendish, who readers met at the end of his twin brother’s book, The Irresistible Rogue. The series will definitely end with Delilah Montebank’s story (after she grows up, of course).

Question 1:  What is the one word you would use to describe THE LEGENDARY LORD?

Fun! << I hope all my books can be described that way, actually.

Thank you so much for having me, Sheila!

We got a preview copy of THE LEGENDARY LORD and the Top 10 Romance Books review can be read here.

To celebrate its release, we have been lucky enough to get two (2) copies of THE LEGENDARY LORD to giveaway to readers.  Enter below and we will choose two winners on November 7th.  Sorry, US addresses only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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Review: The Legendary Lord

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: The Legendary LordThe Legendary Lord (Playful Brides) by Valerie Bowman
Series: Playful Brides #6
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on November 1st, 2016
Genres: Historical
Pages: 318
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Funny and Yet Deep Emotional Undertones

FINAL DECISION:  A man must take the risk to get what he wants and a woman who must upset expectations and disappoint others.  THE LEGENDARY LORD starts with two people who are obviously meant for one another but have to fight their own natures to be together.  Funny at moments but emotional as the two are seemingly destined to be apart. I loved the characters and the resolution.  A winner!

THE STORY:  Christian Forester, Viscount Berkeley, has many women friends but no woman to call his own.  Every woman he might be interested in becomes his dear friend instead.  Retreating to his hunting lodge in Scotland, Christian doesn’t know how to proceed.  When he arrives, he is held at sword point by a beautiful young woman who turns out to be Sarah Highgate, a woman who has run from her arranged engagement to a marquess.  Now Sarah is beginning to have regrets for her flight because she realizes that she will disappoint her parents and be ruined.  Christian realizes that he can be a friend and help Sarah avoid scandal and return to London.  In exchange, Sarah offers to give Christian advice on how to change his image and become a Legendary Lord — the gentleman of the season — in order to find a wife.  The problem becomes that Christian soon realizes that the woman he really wants is the one that he truly can only be a friend to — Sarah.

OPINION:  A hero who convinces the heroine to return to an arranged marriage and then regrets it.  A heroine who wants to find love but is convinced to settle for the approval of her parents.  These two are seriously mixed up.  That is what makes them interesting because they are both struggling against convention and expectations.

Christian is a man who has made a habit of saving women and becoming friends with them.  Unconcerned about town life, Christian is only serviceable in dress and he is more friendly than flirty.  When he meets Sarah, she offers to help remake his image — and she does.  As with image, however, Christian remains who he truly is.  As Sarah discovers, there are reasons that Christian remains single that has nothing to do with his clothes or image.  I loved Christian because he is kind and supportive and he treats women well.  I like that he has women friends (characters from the prior books in the series that he has helped) and he treats them as equals.  They treat him as a beloved brother who they needle and care for.

Sarah was more difficult for me to immediately like because she starts out in such a great spot — having taken a chance to run from her arranged marriage, but then experiences regret such that she is willing to return to her fiance to satisfy her parents (who I heartily disliked!)  The question I had to ask was what other choices did Sarah really have.  Sarah’s opinions don’t matter to her parents because society accepted that.  To reject her parents’ choice would mean that not only would Sarah lose the love of those she cared about but her physical and financial security as well.  It’s not easy being a rebel without support.

The story of Christian and Sarah is ultimately about commitment — about putting yourself out for those you love — about taking huge chances.  These two people who mostly play it safe, but there can be nothing safe in love — especially when you have to risk scandal to be together.

Christian and Sarah have different types of risks and challenges in their relationship.  As much as Christian says he wants to marry, he is afraid of emotionally risking himself. As much as Sarah says she wants love, she is afraid of the approbation of her parents and society.   Both claim to want to love, but neither wants to take the first scary step.

Balancing the mild angst in this book is humor from the heroines of the prior books in the series.  As they scheme to push Sarah and Christian in the right direction, I laughed at their meddling ways and urged them on when it appeared that Sarah and Christian might miss their chance to be together.

I find it immensely satisfying to read about characters that I like and who I can identify with.  Neither of these characters wants to be in the limelight.  I can imagine them leading a happy and quiet life together after the pages of this book end and living happily ever after.

WORTH MENTIONING:  Keep an eye out for a romance that is certainly on the horizon with Sarah’s brother.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  THE LEGENDARY LORD is the sixth book in the Playful Brides series.  While there are appearances by continuing characters of the series, this book gives you everything you need to know and thus is a complete standalone as well.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars