Review: Beautiful Tempest

Review: Beautiful TempestBeautiful Tempest (Malory-Anderson Family, #12) by Johanna Lindsey
Series: Malory Family #12
Published by Gallery Books on July 11th 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 384
Goodreads
four-half-stars

FINAL DECISION:  I completely satisfying book that I approached with trepidation.  I love, love, love the book about Jack’s father and I feared that this book wouldn’t live up to my expectations.  Instead, this book went in a different direction than I expected, but I loved these characters and their adventurous romance.

THE STORY:  Jacqueline Malory is the darling daughter of James Malory.  When Jack returns from escaping her kidnapper, James and his family are determined to take care of their enemy and sail for the West Indies to confront an old enemy.  Jack is angry that her father has left her in London while he confronts the man that kidnapped her. When a mysterious man approaches her at a masquerade ball, she is intrigued but realizes that he might actually be her kidnapper.  Instead of capturing him, Jack once again ends up in his clutches at sea.  But this time, things are different between them.

OPINION:  This is a book that I approached with trepidation.  GENTLE ROGUE (the story of Jack’s parents) is my all time favorite romance book.  Whenever an author extends the story of characters there is always the possibility of a letdown.  My concerns: Will Jack’s book be as compelling as her parents? How will the characters of James and George be presented? Will this book diminish my enjoyment of the original?  I’m glad to report that I was completely satisfied by this book.  As good as James and George’s book? No, but this book is filled with adventure and strong active characters — including Jack who seizes her own destiny.

Johanna has been writing for a long time (and I’ve been reading her for most of that time!).  Her books began in the time of bodice rippers and I found this book to be an interesting flip of many of those books.  Scenario:  heroine kidnapped and taken on the high seas as part of revenge against her father, hero is attracted to her and she is reluctantly attracted to him. The book also contains threats of rape, adventure and exotic locations.  In a prior book, the heroine would be a woman to which the action happens.  But those heroines of the past are not Jack Malory.

Jack is a woman who takes the reigns of her sexuality. She is determined, and takes all the autonomy that her brother does.  While she has a different sensibility, she refuses to be shamed or deterred by her male family members.  Ultimately, she navigates respect and care for her father and brother with her own self-determination. I really liked her own sense of self and her active nature.  Even as the times and protective nature of her male relatives dictate that she should be submissive, she (and the women of her family) are strong and independent.

Lindsey knows these characters so well and it was a joy to get an update on Malory family which contains a very colorful collection of characters that has engaged me since I was a teenager.  These characters are larger than life. While the story doesn’t have emphasis on historical accuracy and detail, I have always enjoyed how Lindsey places her iconic characters in the tapestry of history without becoming overly engaged in that history.  (There are other authors who are masters of weaving their characters into time, but that is clearly not Lindsey’s goal).

The hero Damon is an interesting contrast to Jack.  He has murky motivations but as things become clearer, I loved him more — and so did Jack!  I thought he was an interesting match for Jack. Sweeter in many ways — although he is definitely not a beta hero.  I love these shipboard romances and this one has some twists that kept me reading quickly to find out how things were resolved.

I loved this book and think that anyone who follows the Malory series will be especially pleased with this entry.  Probably my third or fourth favorite in the series overall…which says a lot considering how much I love this series.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book brings up characters that are candidates for future books in the series.  One can hope!

CONNECTED BOOKS:  BEAUTIFUL TEMPEST is the twelfth book in the Malory Family series.  The book is a standalone, but is connected with its immediate predecessor STORMY PERSUASION and, of course, the heroine Jack is the daughter of James Malory from GENTLE ROGUE.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 5 stars.

four-half-stars

Review: Down a Dark Road

Review: Down a Dark RoadDown a Dark Road (Kate Burkholder, #9) by Linda Castillo
Series: Kate Burkholder #9
Published by Minotaur Books on July 11th 2017
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 320
Goodreads
four-half-stars

FINAL DECISION:  A strong mystery made important by the personal emotional journey of Kate makes this book compelling.  The force of the book comes not only from the twisty mystery but also the strength of Kate’s emotional involvement.  Plus some sweet time with John.

THE STORY:  As this story begins, the series heroine Kate Burkholder is still the chief of police of her small town in Amish country.  She receives notification that a man, Joseph King as escaped from prison.  An Amish man convicted of murdering his wife, police believe there is possibility he will come for his five children who are living in Kate’s jurisdiction.  Kate knows Joseph King.  He was her first crush when the two were children but they haven’t seen one another since Kate was fourteen.  When she is ambushed by King, who has taken his children hostage, she hears a tale of a man who claims he did not murder his wife but was framed.  At first, Kate doesn’t believe anything King says until things begin to seem strange in the supposedly straightforward story.

OPINION:  This book proves what I believe about this series — the best stories are ones where Kate is personally connected and invested in the outcome.  While the mystery is good on any level, her personal connection, the struggles the investigation causes for her are what kept me reading this book.

This case tests Kate on both a personal and a professional level.  Kate has so little space for innocence in her life that the corruption of one of her sweet childhood memories challenges her.  Her adult cop skepticism and her belief in her childhood friend clash dramatically as she struggles to reconcile what she knows the truth is and what her intuition tells her.  The complication here is that her police intuition keeps taking her in different directions.

The fascinating thing here is that this book is also a journey of innocence, loss of innocence and holding on to something pure in the past.  Although the lives of all those children have become more complicated, more nuanced and less pure and innocent, something of those people still remains in the adults they have become.

I don’t want to discuss any of the particulars of the mystery since that is the central part of the story, but I really enjoyed the interaction between Kate and the Amish community here as she navigates her investigation.  This book relies less on the Amish customs as a hook in the story.  Indeed, this book is of the Amish community without being about the community.  The story could have taken place anywhere with anyone.

There is a common theme of the dark underbelly of what appears innocent and good.  This series often uses this in terms of the Amish community.  The same appears here, but there is another twist that I really enjoyed.

This series continues to be a compelling read for me and I highly recommend it for those who love mystery with some romance on the side.

WORTH MENTIONING:  Although this book isn’t classified as a romance, I’m still compelled by the romance between Kate and BCI State agent John Tomasetti continues to pull me in although there is little drama between them and thus less “screen time”.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  DOWN A DARK ROAD is the ninth book in the Kate Burkholder series.  This is a self-contained mystery novel but, of course, there are recurring characters and relationships secondary to the mystery.  This book can be read as a standalone although it is better to be immersed in the overarching personal story as well.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley 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: Tycoon

Review: TycoonTycoon by Katy Evans
Published by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform on June 20th 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 252
Goodreads
two-stars

FINAL DECISION:  I liked the premise of this story, but I ended up not liking the characters much.  Too much cheating and selfishness for me.

THE STORY: Bryn Kelly is desperate for money for her startup business.  So desperate she is willing to appeal to Aaric Christos — rich, handsome, a New York power player — and also the boy that wanted her in high school and Bryn rejected.  He’s a man who invests in what others believe is too risky, but he wants to know everything before he invests.  Thus starts a relationship that is part past, part present and all sex and romance.

OPINION:  I really like second chance at love stories and I wanted to like this one, but I ended up disappointed.  As the story starts out Aaric is about to propose to his girlfriend that he conveniently doesn’t love and has an open relationship with.  Knowing that he has someone in his life, Bryn pursues him anyway which didn’t make me like her much.  The story just seemed to snowball from there.  I tried to like the characters, but they seemed too selfish.  There are spoilers out there about what happens with the girlfriend and I can confirm that it was as terrible as others make it out to be.  Nothing is really resolved in this story as things are left hanging.  That bothered me and even more Aaric’s decision of “my happiness is more important than anything” really bugged me.  My suggestion would be “keep it in your pants for a while and be a man with responsibilities”.  (Especially since he is a repeat offender).

The last portion of the book really disappointed me because I had the feeling that the book was going in the right direction and I would have ended up liking it.  Instead, there were just too many things that triggered negative reactions for me.

WORTH MENTIONING:  There is a lot of disjointed storytelling techniques as the story jumps between characters and also time period.  I liked the method of writing most in this book.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  TYCOON is a standalone, but apparently there will be a second book with other characters from this book.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 2 stars.

 

two-stars

Review: Sight Unseen

Review: Sight UnseenSight Unseen: A Collection of Five Anonymous Novellas by Sherry Thomas, Meredith Duran, Erin Satie, Emma Barry, J.A. Rock
Published by Open Ink Press on June 6th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy, Historical
Pages: 386
Goodreads
four-stars

SIGHT UNSEEN is an anthology of five stories written by different authors.  Three months after the publication, the authors will be revealed.

LOST THAT FEELING:  Alma is being held in prison where she is told she is a thief and a murderer.  Having cast a spell on herself, Alma has lost her memories from the last seven  years.  When she is rescued by a man named Driss, he tells her he is a friend and that she is actually a hero helping to overthrow an oppressive leader. Alma, however, doesn’t know who to trust and also who she really is.  This story was a disappointment to me.  I really loved the setup and the relationship between Alma and Driss seemed to have much promise, but instead of focusing on the relationship, the story spends too much time on the reasons that Alma’s spell went wrong. I wish there was more relationship development.  Rating: 2 stars.

CLEAR VIEW OF YOU:  Kate was raised by her mother as a future witch, but Kate was a disappointment to her mother. As she grew, Kate realized that her mother was actually running a cult and that magic is fake.  Fleeing to the “real world” Kate finances her education by acting as a psychic.  When her new client, North, has a special request for Kate, she wonders if this is an offer of a lifetime or one too good to be true.  I really liked this story.  My complaint was that it was too short.  I would love to read more stories in this world with these characters.  For such a short story, there is a lot of development in the story with both discovery of self and also dramatic plot developments.  Fun and intriguing.  Rating: 4.5 stars.

FREE:  Brad White is in love with Wren Masters.  The complication is that Brad works for a criminal motorcycle club and Wren is the club’s president’s daughter.  When Wren discovers the truth about the club, she works with Brad to discover the truth about what is going on with her father’s club.  The truth may, however, threaten any future for Brad and Wren.  This story was uneven and parts of it were unsatisfying, but I loved Brad and his devotion to Wren even when she doesn’t respond to him.  There was something fresh and intriguing about the story even if it didn’t feel polished.  I wanted to know more about the future of these two.  Rating: 4 stars.

CHARIOT OF DESIRE:  CJ Crespo has always been interested in her bandmate Donny Times. After years of self-destructive behavior (it was the 1970s after all), Donny has joined a cultish religion which imposes a morality that threatens to tear the band and Donny and CJ apart.  This is more a vignette than a fully reconciled story.  I was unhappy because while the story tells something about these characters, it felt unfinished and I was left asking what would actually happen between these characters.  Rating: 2.5 stars.

THE HEART IS A UNIVERSE:  On the planet of Pax Cora a young woman is slated to be the sacrifice in order to save her planet.  Vitalis, however, has moved from acceptance of her fate to the decision to flee and save herself.  Her desperation leads her to accept an invitation to a courtship summit where she meets the heroic and handsome prince Eleian of Terra.  Immediately upon their meeting the stranger Eleian proposes marriage. What is unclear is what are Eleian’s motives in wanting to marry a woman who will die in sixteen days if she doesn’t escape.  Absolutely wonderful.  My favorite story in the anthology.  While all the threads didn’t come together for me in the end, I thought the journey and the relationship between these characters was compelling.  I couldn’t put it down and kept turning pages wanting to know what the secrets between these characters were, how the two would resolve the dilemmas facing them and just wanting to know what the end would be.  Rating: 4.5 stars.

four-stars

Review: Only the Lucky

Review: Only the LuckyOnly the Lucky (Kate Burkholder, #8.5) by Linda Castillo
Series: Kate Burkholder #8.5
Published by Minotaur Books on May 23rd 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery
Pages: 56
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  This is a nice short story in the Kate Buckholder universe. The story isn’t particularly complicated but gives a small sense of the overarching issues that are invested in the series — Amish-English relationship and conflict, Kate’s work as a small town police chief and her romance.

THE STORY:  It is Friday the 13th in Painters Mill and plenty is going wrong.  A “rager” is being held where both Amish and English are attending.  Drinking, drugs and all sorts of problems that young people can get into are expected and enough to give Kate a headache. At the same time, an accident causes a power outage in town.  When one of the Amish girls attending the rager is attacked and left for dead, Kate has to find out who wanted to hurt this young woman.

OPINION:  I enjoyed this story although the solution seemed pretty basic to me and I figured it out almost immediately.  I did like, however, this glimpse of Kate who seems much more settled and happy. I wish we had seen more of her and Tomasetti because I really love their relationship but we did see how peaceful they are right now which was nice.

Because of the length of this story, things happen pretty quickly. I also liked the secondary romance in the story and was surprised at how well everything dropped into place with all the moving parts of the story and the various characters.

The novels in this series tend to be much more angst driven so it was nice to see a more uncomplicated mystery for Kate to solve.

WORTH MENTIONING: This is a very short story and only gives a small taste of the series.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  ONLY THE LUCKY is a short story that is 8.5 of the Kate Buckholder series. This story is a taste and introduction to the series for new readers and a bridge story for readers of the series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: The Day of the Duchess

Review: The Day of the DuchessThe Day of the Duchess (Scandal & Scoundrel, #3) by Sarah MacLean
Series: Scandal & Scoundrel #3
Published by Avon on June 27th 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 400
Goodreads
five-stars

“I am Seraphina Bevingstone, Duchess of Haven. And I require a divorce.”

“The only woman he’d ever loved. The only woman he’d ever hated.”

FINAL DECISION:  Fabulous. The villain of the first book becomes a hero and the woman he wronged becomes a strong, independent woman who makes him pay for being an ass. The book just works on so many levels, but a reader has to be willing to give the jerk a chance.

THE STORY:  Seraphina and Malcolm Bevingstoke, the Duchess and Duke of Haven, have been apart for over three years.  Mal viciously sent Sera away when he discovered that she planned to have them found in a compromising situation in order to force their marriage.  Now Sera has returned demanding a divorce. Mal has promised her the divorce she wants if she helps him find her replacement.  The two are to spend the summer together, but Mal has no intention of finding a new wife when he has finally gotten the one he wants to return to him.

OPINION:  This is a powerful and angst filled book. There is no easy road for these characters who are complex and not always the easiest to cheer on.  This book is not for everyone.  Before this book even begins, readers of the series know that Haven has been unfaithful.  Caught in the act, he was pushed into a fish pond by his sister-in-law (kicking off the events in A ROGUE NOT TAKEN).  I will be honest with you friends.  There is no mistake, no wishy washy out, no hidden secret to take away that truth.  The hero of this book was unfaithful to the heroine after they had met, fallen in love and married. For some readers, that might be a deal breaker which turns them away from this book, but I hope not.  This book deserves a chance because the reality is rich and complex and the journey difficult and worthwhile.

The reality of what happened between Mal and Sera in the past is dark and nuanced and has an explanation.  Not an excuse, not a justification, but an explanation and an understanding.  There is no justification for Mal’s actions and, in truth, he doesn’t seem to want to justify his past actions.  The question this book is interested in is different.  Is there a way forward in a relationship where the foundation was intertwined with lies and deceit and betrayal?

The structure of this book interweaves the past and the present.  Beautifully conceived, the very structure and form serves to tell the entire story of Mal and Sera but also clearly demonstrates how the past haunts these characters.  Their obstacle is the past which is both horrible and beautiful in parts.

I find myself most satisfied by books that delve deeply into the emotional life of the characters and MacLean is a master of this type of story.  Can these characters understand and accept the past and move forward?  Is it even possible for forgive the past which will never be forgotten?  For that is at the heart of the conflict.  Sera and Mal will never be able to forget the past.  They can only accept is and decide if they love one another enough to be willing to build a future together.

This was a difficult book for me.  I finished it a week ago and knew that I would give it a 5 star review, but I didn’t know how to approach the review.  I needed to let the story and the characters settle with me.  I ultimately loved this book because the conflict these characters have is real and genuine and seemingly insurmountable.  But that is also its beauty.  They can move forward, they can love one another again in a better and more honest way. Perhaps that is what I most like about this book.  Flawed and damaged people also can find love and are entitled to their happy endings — even if they have done terrible things, even if they have made mistakes and are not perfect.

Isn’t that hope for all of us?

WORTH MENTIONING:  Spoiler! Spoiler! Content Warning!

There is a miscarriage depicted in this book for those who might be sensitive to the content.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  THE DAY OF THE DUCHESS is the third book in the Scandal & Scoundrel series.  While this story is independent of the others of the series, Mal and Sera’s story is part of both of the prior books in the series.  This book is just better if you have read the others (especially A ROGUE NOT TAKEN).

STAR RATING:  I give this book 5 stars.

five-stars

Review: Her Favorite Duke

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: Her Favorite DukeHer Favorite Duke (The 1797 Club #2) by Jess Michaels
Series: The 1797 Club #2
Published by Passionate Pen on June 6th 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 216
Goodreads
four-half-stars

“He loved her, as he always had. And he would marry her. She would be his. But this beginning, it would hang over them. Perhaps it would not be something they could ever overcome. The very idea that it wasn’t broke his heart.”

FINAL DECISION:  This one was very enjoyable.  Two characters who have loved one another for years and now have to marry would seem to be a simple and boring situation.  However, the complexity of the feelings of love and guilt combined make this a compelling read deftly executed.

THE STORY:  Simon Greene, Duke of Crestwood has loved Margaret Rylon, the sister of one of his best friends for years.  The only problem is that she is engaged to another one of Simon’s best friends.  He has run from his feelings and tried to ignore them.  Now when the wedding date has been set, the two are found in a compromising situation which forces their marriage.  But Simon has a great deal of guilt for destroying his friendships and also struggles with feeling unworthy of Margaret.

OPINION:  I enjoyed this book tremendously.  The romance seemed simple but the complexity of the story unfolded itself and demonstrates why I like series with overarching stories so much.  In the first book in the series, readers were introduced to the 1797 Club — a group of future dukes who bonded together and became the best of friends.  But as this book demonstrates, their friendship is not always easy.

Simon, Graham and James have been friends from almost the beginning.  When James (who also was the hero of the first book in the series) became duke, he wanted to secure the future of his younger sister Margaret aka Meg.  It seemed so natural to betroth her to one of his best friends.  The only problem is that James chose the wrong friend.  Meg and Simon were already having feelings for one another that went beyond friendship although they had not expressed them to one another.  Neither, however, wanted to hurt James or Graham and so they each decided to walk away from their budding feelings.

Ten years later, the date has finally been set on Graham and Meg’s wedding day, but Meg is distraught rather than happy.  What follows is Meg and Simon being caught in a compromising situation that results in the breaking of Meg’s engagement and a hasty marriage between Meg and Simon.  But not all is well because Meg and Simon finally getting together rips apart the 1797 Club.

Simon feels the guilt of his betrayal of his friend the worst. Because this book makes it clear that both men are good and despite the pull toward a happy ending that the reader might want — the feelings that Meg and Simon harbored for one another and failed to admit were a betrayal.  Instead of discussing the issues, the two were willing to hide their feelings…but the feelings did exist.  And the way that they are discovered hurt everyone involved.  And the guilt from that — his happiness coming as result of the humiliation and pain his friend encountered haunts Simon.  As a result, he doesn’t want to feel joy in his relationship with Meg.   I found this conflict compelling and want to see how things are ultimately resolved (some of which will have to wait until later books because Simon and Graham still are broken as this book ends).

This book is all about the costs of happiness.  I found this conflict to be original and I really enjoyed how it played out.  I’ve been reading Jess Michaels for a while now and I think the complexity of her stories have been increasing and the deftness in which she constructs her characters and their conflicts have been making more and more of her books compelling reads for me.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book also introduces the conflict with Graham (Margaret’s former fiance) which drives into the next book of the series.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  HER FAVORITE DUKE is the second book in the 1797 Club series.  The book can be read as a standalone although there are overlapping characters and there are overlapping storylines apart from the romance.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley 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: Wicked Surrender

Review: Wicked SurrenderWicked Surrender (Regency Sinners 2) by Carole Mortimer
Series: Regency Sinners #2
Published by Carole Mortimer on June 30th 2017
Genres: Historical
Goodreads
three-half-stars

FINAL DECISION:  Enjoyable and quick read. Very sexy historical that is a second chance at love as well.  This one has a lot of drama and tension as two people who have a history try to work through their past while the hero is trying to see if the heroine is a traitor.

THE STORY:  Dante St. Just, Duke of Huntley has the woman assigned for him to investigate…but he doesn’t want to.  Lady Isabella Aston is the step-daughter of his cousin and the two have a history.  When Bella was seventeen, she declared her love for Dante, who rejected her sending her into the arms of and marriage to another man.  Now a widow, Bella doesn’t anything to do with Dante…but he has never forgotten her.

OPINION: Light and enjoyable story…not funny or sweet, but the story is not taxing and can be enjoyed quickly.  This book continues the series about these men who are investigating women who might be a traitor helping Napoleon.

There is more angst in this story because Dante and Bella have a history.  I liked their interaction and the drama and pain between them.  I also really liked that Bella had a happy marriage that Dante now has to compete with.

The two have a very contentious beginning but I really liked how the two battled and debated and ultimately resolved their problems.  The story isn’t particularly deep, but this is not trying to be War and Peace.

My one complaint about this book is that there is a whole side story about the reasons that Dante’s aunt was such a witch. I’m not sure that the resolution was needed and thought that it brought up a plot point that was not really necessary.

WORTH MENTIONING:  We are introduced to Devil in this book…the hero of the next book.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  WICKED SURRENDER is the second book in the Regency Sinners series.  There is an overarching story as each of the book involves a man investigating a woman as possible spy, but each book is independent and can be read on its own as the overarching storyline is thin.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3.5 stars.

 

three-half-stars

Review: Outlaw’s Honor

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: Outlaw’s HonorOutlaw's Honor (Cahill Ranch #2) by B.J. Daniels
Series: Cahill Ranch #2
Published by Harlequin Books on May 30th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 384
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  The series improves as the characters fall into their places. I enjoyed this book as part of the series and I especially loved Darby who is sweet and honorable.  The story slowly unwinds the motives of the characters and I enjoyed the journey.

THE STORY:  Darby Cahill has a quiet life running the bar he and his twin sister own in a small town in Montana. While attending a fair, he sees a woman who shakes his foundations.  Ironically, that same woman tries to pickpocket him later. He is even more shocked when that woman, Mariah Ayres arrives at his bar asking for a job. He hires her while the two dance around what actually happened and what Mariah’s motives are.  Darby becomes more concerned when he discovers that Darby is running and is in danger.

OPINION:  This is a slowly developing romance that is combined with a suspense story.  The story unfolds as the characters motives become known.  The way that Daniels structures this series there is development on various storylines (upcoming romances and overarching mysteries).  A lot happens in this book on various levels.

I enjoyed the mystery in this one and the continuing storyline of the series.  My favorite part of this story is Darby who is simply adorable as a hero.  He is a good man who falls for Mariah instantly — love at first sight — and despite all the circumstances, Darby cannot help but do everything he can for Mariah.

Mariah’s story is complex and only revealed later in the book.  I won’t disclose her story here because part of the development of the story is the questioning of her motives. The romance here is sweet and most of the drama of the series is from the mystery and the external danger.

This book advances the overarching story in the series and I can’t wait to find out more.

WORTH MENTIONING:  The story about Darby’s brother is the one I have been waiting for. More happens here for those who have been following the story.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  OUTLAW’S HONOR is the second book in the Cahill Ranch series. While the story here is independent as to the romance, there is an overarching storyline mystery that continues from the first book.  It’s better to read this series as a whole because there are unanswered questions after this book as well.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

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

four-stars

Review: Wicked Torment

Review: Wicked TormentWicked Torment (Regency Sinners, #1) by Carole Mortimer
Series: Regency Sinners #1
Published by Carole Mortimer on April 28th 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 180
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  Very sexy and sex filled novella introduction to a new series.  Although the relationship develops really quickly, I enjoyed the interaction between these two characters.

THE STORY:  Darius Strong, Duke of Wolferton, has come to investigate Lady Beatrix Hanwell as a possible French spy.  He was unhappy to have chosen her from the hat of names because he knows that he will likely have to seduce her and Beatrix is plain and ordinary.  Bea has no illusions about her attributes and that is why she is shocked when Darius invites himself to her house party.  She is even more shocked when he announces his intention to seduce her.  An unhappy marriage left Bea determined to be alone, but Darius tempts the widow.

OPINION:  This series has an intriguing premise.  Eight men matched by drawing names from a hat with eight women — one of whom is a traitor.  Each of the men must do whatever it takes to determine the guilt or innocence of the woman he is charged with investigating.

In this novella, we are introduced to Darius and Bea.  These two have no history and Darius is incredibly dismissive of Bea because of her looks.  Of course, his pretense of being interested in Bea quickly turns to intense desire.  They also end up having past abuse in common.  I really enjoyed their interactions as Bea struggles with her intense attraction to Darius but wants to maintain her independence after her miserable marriage.

Bea is opinionated and unwilling to submit to Darius’s demands.  She meets him as an equal.  This book is packed with sexual exploits but I enjoyed the banter between Bea and Darius the most.  Bea is no shrinking violet and although Darius is a dominant alpha male, Bea makes sure that she meets his as an equal.

I enjoyed this novella and look forward to the rest of the series.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book is hot, hot, hot and edges toward erotica.  It is short novella with many sexual encounters between the hero and heroine.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  WICKED TORMENT is the first book in the Regency Sinners series.  The overarching story is about 8 men investigating 8 women one of whom is a spy for Napoleon.  So the stories are independent of one another with one overarching story.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars