Review: Tangled in Sin

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: Tangled in SinTangled in Sin (Bound and Determined, #5) by Lavinia Kent
Series: Bound and Determined #5
Published by Loveswept on April 18th 2017
Genres: Historical
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  As the series takes off in new directions with new characters, I miss the madam Ruby but am very intrigued by the secrets the new characters have.  Sin and James are an intriguing couple who might be one of the most conventional in this series — although the sex is still pretty hot!

THE STORY:  Lady Cynthia Westhope finds out that her childhood friend, the daughter of a duke, has become the madam at the most notorious brothel in London.  When Cynthia travels to the brothel in order to try and help her friend, she is kidnapped.  She ends up spending several days with her friend’s brother, James Winters.  With Cynthia compromised, James offers to marry her, but Cynthia doesn’t trust James and is not sure what she wants to do about marriage — but she knows that she wants to explore the sexual attraction between her and James.

OPINION:  By the end of this book, it totally felt like a Bound and Determined novel — very sexy where the characters push their limits.  The story began a little slower than others in the series — perhaps because it was setting up a new stable of characters.

Cynthia (aka Sin) is more innocent than most of the women in this series.  The daughter of an earl, she has been sheltered…but she is also not willing to do exactly what society expects.  She is willing to toss over society in order to meet with her childhood friend — even if that takes her to a brothel.  (Readers of the series will know that the characters in this series are more adventurous than one generally expects in historical romance since this book edges toward historical erotica). She had a crush on James when they were children and her fascination with him has not diminished even though they have not seen one another for years.  She begins as a more conventional character but by the time the book ends she has embraced her own sexuality and her own identity.

James is a character that begins the book needing to be in control.  He is willing and expecting to make all the decisions. A second son, he desires to assert control where he can.  And he expects to make the decisions regarding marriage especially when convention is on his side.  What he doesn’t expect is the willfulness that Cynthia begins to show.  As the book proceeds, James has to learn to surrender — to his feelings and his trust in Cynthia.

Cynthia and James are more conventional than most of the characters in this series and yet are willing to be more unconventional as the book proceeds.  I liked their relationship especially because Cynthia makes James pay for his high handed behavior in the beginning.

While I began the book sad that we had moved on to a new phase of the series, my interest in the intrigue surrounding Madam Blanche and her family increased throughout the book and by the end, I was looking forward to the next book in the series.

WORTH MENTIONING:  As the series has moved on to a new set of characters, this book sets up a whole stable of characters that could get their own stories.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  TANGLED IN SIN is the fifth book in the Bound and Determined series.  This book is really the start of a new phase in the series and can be read as a standalone as the series focuses on new characters.

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: A Very Ruby Christmas

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 Very Ruby ChristmasA Very Ruby Christmas by Lavinia Kent
Series: Bound and Determined #4.5
Published by Loveswept on October 25th 2016
Genres: Historical
Pages: 96
Goodreads
four-half-stars

FINAL DECISION:  Especially for fans of the series, this novella wraps up Ruby and Derek’s story, gives some hot and spicy moments with beloved characters from the Bound and Determined series and also pushes the series forward into a new era.

THE STORY:  This novella takes place before the epilogue of RAVISHING RUBY.  In this book, Ruby (who is the owner of a brothel) is trying to organize her life to be able to leave London with Derek, the man she loves.  The story takes place at Christmas time and is a bit of a last hurrah to Ruby’s reign as madam.

Ruby’s inability to sell her brothel is causing some problems for her and Derek.  Into this difficult time, Ruby’s half sister arrives on her doorstep.  Her sister in in desperate straits and Ruby feels that something else may come between her and Derek.

OPINION:  I adore Ruby.  I’ve followed her story through the entire Bound and Determined series (where she has been a matchmaker for the couples) and especially enjoyed the story of her and Derek.  This novella adds some information to their story but doesn’t disturb their happy ending (which occurred in RAVISHING RUBY).

This novella add something significant to Ruby and Derek’s story.  Ruby is a woman who has made her own way in the world.  Although she loves Derek, she still has not surrendered to their happy ending.  She continues to make contingencies after being disappointed by men in her past.  She seeks to protect herself when reality insists that she take a chance and rely on the man she loves.

Ruby is such a complicated character.  This novella shows many facets of her.  She is a woman who has successfully run a brothel.  She cares about the women who work for her.  She manages difficult men.  She is separated from her legitimate half-siblings, but desperately wants family connection.

This novella serves to wrap up Ruby’s story and launch a new story for Ruby’s brothel.  Anyone who enjoyed the Bound and Determined series should read this novella.  It’s like a Christmas present (if Christmas presents were sweet and hot and sexy and definitely spicy).

WORTH MENTIONING:  A foresee a story about Madame Blanche in the future.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  A VERY RUBY CHRISTMAS is book 4.5 in the Bound and Determined series.  It can should be read after at least RAVISHING RUBY which tells the story of Ruby and her captain’s love story.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars

Review: Angel in Scarlet

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: Angel in ScarletAngel in Scarlet (Bound and Determined, #4) by Lavinia Kent
Series: Bound and Determined #4
Published by Loveswept on June 28th 2016
Genres: Historical
Goodreads
four-stars

“I want to trap a man.”

FINAL DECISION:  Kent once again has a great balance between erotic sexual encounters and the building of an emotional connection between the hero and heroine.  I enjoyed the trip and think this book a great addition to the series.

THE STORY:  Angela Ripon wants revenge on the man who she thought intended to ask for her hand in marriage but instead rejected her.  For this purpose, Angela goes to Madame Rouge (Ruby) a brothel owner to find out how to make this man desperate for her so that she can reject him.  Ruby tells Angela that she must shed all her inhibitions.  Matthew Harkness, Earl of Colton never intended to hurt Angela, but his tastes don’t run to sweet vapid innocents.  Then Angela approaches him and he begins to wonder if she might indeed be the woman he needs.

OPINION:  Romance books that slip towards the erotica category sometimes substitute hot sex for emotional connection between the characters.  Kent’s Bound and Determined series has done a great job of using the hot sex to explore and heighten the emotional connection between the hero and heroine.

As Angela and Matthew discuss the limits and desires that each of them have, they learn to communicate with one another.  Their relationship begins before the novel starts and ends because of lack of communication and assumptions.  As Angela claims to want revenge on Matthew, the truth is that she cannot let go of the connection she felt with him.

Adventurous and a bit wicked, Angela felt her joy suppressed by Matthew’s perceived betrayal.  While she tells herself that she wants revenge, her willingness to participate in Matthew’s proclivities demands trust.  Although the two begin without much trust between them, their sexual exploration develops and then deepens the trust between them.  As their sexual relationship becomes more intense, their emotional connection blossoms and flowers. I especially liked how Matthew curbs his own desires in order to synchronize his desires with Angela’s willingness. Ultimately, the sexual relationship between Matthew and Angela is about trust and caring and the unity of desire.

WORTH MENTIONING:  There is a minor MMF scene.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  ANGEL IN SCARLET is the fourth book in the Bound and Determined series.  This book can be read as a standalone although other characters from the series make cameo appearances.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars