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

A Lady’s Code of Misconduct Blog Tour

by Meredith Duran
Genres: Historical

Top 10 Romance Books is honored to be hosting a release day stop on the Blog Tour for LADY’S CODE OF MISCONDUCT.  This is a fabulous book that I couldn’t put down even into the wee hours of the morning!  I give the book 5 enthusiastic stars and you can read my full review here.

BONUS Reckless Reward Giveaway!!  — ENTER BY LEAVING A COMMENT ON THIS POST

We also are giving away one set (Reckless Reward!) of three autographed copies in the Rules for the Reckless series: Fool Me Twice, Lady Be Good, and Luck Be A Lady. Twenty blogs participating in the blog tour will be also be participating in the giveaway (each giving away a set).  You can enter on all participating sites, but you can only win once. See the full list of participating blogs below.  U.S. only.

To win, leave a comment below. The giveaway ends tonight (2/28) at 11:59pm.

 

FROM THE USA today bestselling author of FOOL ME TWICE, the 2015 RITA AWARD Winner for Historical Romance

AND LUCK BE A LADY, AN RT BOOK REVIEWS NOMINEE FOR BEST BOOK OF 2015 HISTORICAL NOVEL

A LADY’S CODE OF MISCONDUCT

Fifth in the Rules for the Reckless Series

By Meredith Duran
Pocket Books
Publication Date: February 28, 2017
ISBN: 9781501139024
Price: $7.99

Praise for A Lady’s Code of Misconduct:

“Political intrigue and conspiracies abound in Duran’s engrossing fifth Rules for the Reckless Victorian romance (after Luck Be a Lady), which boasts plot twists galore…Duran is at the pinnacle of her craft as she weaves together humor, forgiveness, and love in a flawlessly executed plot. Jane, Crispin, and the rest of the characters are all well drawn, and the love scenes strike the perfect balance of steamy and sweet. Each layer in the story is suspenseful and delightful, making this the best installment so far.”

Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW

“A sham marriage, political intrigue, and a case of amnesia provide a backdrop for this absorbing Victorian romance. Although Duran (Luck Be a Lady, 2015, etc.) has written a novel as layered as an onion, the characters are well-drawn and the plot flawlessly executed. Add in some very steamy sex, and the fifth installment of Duran’s Rules for the Reckless series can’t help but delight. This book weaves its spell so thoroughly that the most fortunate reader will be the one who has time to read the entire thing in one sitting. A masterful tale of suspense, forgiveness, and love.”

Kirkus STARRED REVIEW

“Political intrigue drives a captivating historical romance…This Regency romance, part of the Rules for the Reckless series, is a smart love story, peopled with complex and absorbing characters.”

BookPage, TOP PICK IN ROMANCE

“A riveting story.”

—Heroes and Heartbreakers

“A masterful author of historical romances…A Lady’s Code of Misconduct takes worn threads of old tropes, like amnesia and the tortured hero, and weaves them into a lush tapestry with sophisticated, beautiful writing. Crispin seems power-mad and Jane seems saintly, but as Duran slowly unravels their characters amidst a plot of intrigue, betrayal, and dark secrets, we discover they’re more alike than they (or we) realize. The hero is swoonworthy, and I couldn’t help but fall in love with Jane as his flaws shine a light on her own. The tale and characters so captivated me, that I literally couldn’t put it down.”

—Omnivoracious Amazon Book Review by Sabrina Jeffries

“Thoughtfully written and the story creates not just a simple story of two people but an entire world for them to inhabit. If you like your historicals to have some meat to them, I highly recommend this one.”

—All About Romance

“Extremely relevant to our current political state…I could have easily sat and devoured this in one evening as each of the chapters seemed to end on a cliffhanger that just won’t let you put the book down. Quill says: A Lady’s Code of Misconduct is the perfect book to sit in your favorite chair with and let the world pass by for a little while you get lost in the past.”

—Feathered Quill

“I absolutely love this series… Meredith writes intelligent characters with a fast paced plot.  Her writing is sensual, witty and totally captivating.  This book has everything you would want in a Historical Romance.   It is witty, sensual with a mystery that will keep you guessing to the very end. Crispin and Jane are extraordinary characters in a riveting story that will leave you wanting more.  The journey of Crispin and Jane to their HAE is fabulous.  I will read anything that Meredith writes.”

—The Reading Wench

“A fun read. I enjoyed Duran’s characters and plot…there’s a villain who made me think of a Regency era James Bond villain.”

—Bookfan

About the book:

USA TODAY  bestselling author Meredith Duran’s A LADY’S CODE OF MISCONDUCT is the fifth sizzling novel in the Rules for the Reckless series—a sexy and evocative Regency romance between a famous heiress and an infamous crime lord.

A DEAL WITH the DEVIL…
Trapped in the countryside, facing an unwanted marriage and the theft of her fortune, Jane Mason is done behaving nicely. To win her freedom, she’ll strike a deal with the most dangerous man she knows—a rising star in politics, whose dark good looks mask an even darker heart.

…NEVER GOES TO PLAN.
The bitter past has taught Crispin Burke to trust no one. He’ll gladly help a lovely young heiress, provided she pays a price. Yet when a single mistake shatters his life, it is Jane who holds the key to his salvation. And in a world that no longer makes sense, Crispin slowly realizes that she may be the only thing worth fighting for…

About the author:

Meredith Duran is the author of ten previous novels, including The Duke of Shadows (winner of the Gather.com First Chapters Romance Writing Competition); Wicked Becomes You (included on the Woman’s World List of Best Beach Reads for Summer 2010), and the USA TODAY bestseller and RITA Award Winner Fool Me Twice. She blames Anne Boleyn for sparking her lifelong obsession with British history, and for convincing her that princely love is no prize if it doesn’t come with a happily-ever-after. She enjoys collecting old etiquette manuals, guidebooks to nineteenth-century London, and travelogues by intrepid Victorian women. Visit her at MeredithDuran.com, on Twitter @meredithduran and Facebook AuthorMeredithDuran.

Reckless Reward:

The twenty starred blogs (*) below will giveaway one set (Reckless Reward!) of three autographed copies in the Rules for the Reckless series: Fool Me Twice, Lady Be Good, and Luck Be A Lady. You can enter on all participating sites, but you can only win once. To celebrate the fifth in the series, there will be five Reckless Reward giveaways per day beginning publication day, Tuesday, February 28th – Friday, March 3rd. U.S. only.

Blog Tour:

Bookaholics Romance Book Club INTERVIEW WITH MEREDITH DURAN and  GIVEAWAY

Sunday, February 26th
Nikbooklovers Blog
 Monday, February 27th
Books for Her
Tuesday, February 28th
*The Romance Dish
*Canadian Book Addict
*Just Another New Blog
*Top 10 Romance Books
*Unabridged Chick
Buried Under Romance
Dear Author
Toot’s Book Reviews – Feature
Il Profumo delle Pergamene
Marvelous Things
My Book Addiction and More
Wednesday, March 1st
*Book Nerd
*Reviews by Crystal
*All About Romance
*Booktalk with Eileen
*We So Nerdy
Roses Are Blue
In the Hammock
Feeding My Addiction Book Reviews – Spotlight
Romance Book Reviews for You
Thursday, March 2nd
*I am, Indeed
*A Midlife Wife
*Literary Gossip
*Undeniably Book Nerdy
*Dew On The Kudzu
Books and Beauty Are My Bag
Ebook Obsessed
Abigail Books Addiction
Dirty Girl Romance – Spotlight
Bookhounds – Q&A
Friday, March 3rd
*Black ‘N Gold Girl’s Book Spot
*JoJo the Bookaholic
*Sportochick’s Musings
*The Reading Wench
*Got Fiction Book Blog
Cup of Tea and Book
The Reading Addict
Nicely Phrased
Ladeetda Reads
Silvatrend8553 Book Blog
Night Owl Reviews – Author Guest Post
Bookbitch
Saturday, March 4th
Passionate Encounters
Sunday, March 5th
My Little Book Corner
Monday, March 6th
Reading Frenzy – Spotlight
Bookish – Giveaway
Foreign Circus Library
Poof Books
Tuesday, March 7th
I Love Romance
Bookworm2bookworm – Spotlight, Excerpt, and Review
Dirty and Thirty
Wild Wordy Women
Polished Bookworm
Sammi’s Bookish Reality
Passionate Reads
Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh my!
Celtic Lady’s Reviews – Spotlight
Wednesday, March 8th
Moonlight Rendezvous
One More Chapter
Fresh Fiction – Spotlight
Thursday, March 9th
Happy Ever After Romance Book Reviews
The Book Junkie Reads
Three Boys and an Old Lady blog
 Friday, March 10th
Smitten by Books
Celtic Guardian

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Review: Lady’s Code of Misconduct

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: Lady’s Code of MisconductA Lady's Code of Misconduct (Rules for the Reckless, #5) by Meredith Duran
Series: Rules for the Reckless #5
Published by Pocket Books on February 28th 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 400
Goodreads
five-stars

“Who are you? How do you know me?” The color drained from her face. “I…” Her lips opened and closed. “I’m Jane,” she said unsteadily. “And you…” Her indrawn breath sounded ragged. “You, Crispin, are my husband.”

FINAL DECISION: Oh, how I loved this one!  A man who might otherwise be the villain of the story completely — ok, not so completely — redeemed by love.  Complex and twisty and so enjoyable.  This series just keeps getting better!

THE STORY:  Jane Mason is trapped by her uncle who intends to marry her to his son in order to control her fortune. Condemned to suppress all her personality behind a meek exterior, Jane desperately wants to evade her uncle’s plots.  Mr. Crispin Burke is a ruthless man who intends to be prime minister.  He will do anything to protect his alliance with Jane’s uncle — even if that means destroying Jane’s own chances.  A blackmailed bargain and a murder attempt ends up with the two being married, but when she gains control of her fortune, will Jane be able to leave the man she hated…but for whom she has begun to care?

OPINION:  This book is so wonderful but so difficult to describe without giving away the twists and turns which make the book sing.

The book begins with a hero who seems completely irredeemable.  He is ambitious to the exclusion of all else and exceedingly immoral.  He will bribe, blackmail, and deal in all types of corruption in order to succeed.  He will be Prime Minister and he will do anything to accomplish that feat.  Crispin threatens the heroine and blackmails her into doing his bidding.  Even when he knows that Jane is desperately mistreated and willing to do almost anything to free herself…he ignores her plight except to the extent that it can benefit himself.  Jane has known Crispin for years and she knows that he is a ruthless and immoral man.

“Power made a fine panacea for any number of old aches. It would be revenge and pleasure and comfort rolled up into one.”

While Crispin appears a lost cause as the book begins, a twist of fate strips him of his invulnerability and leaves him open to change.  An attempt on his life leaves him with no memory of the evils he has done or the reasons for them.  Jane, now married to Crispin, knows the man he was, but finds herself falling in love with the man he is now.  The fear and drama of the story is that neither knows what will happen to them if Crispin remembers the man he was.

Jane is a woman who is struggling for independence. A beloved daughter who was valued for her intellect and opinions, she has begun to lose herself under the oppression of her uncle. Yet she is determined to free herself. Her stubborn and powerful will for freedom allows her to make a decision which will change her life and Crispin’s as well.

The tension in this book is tightly drawn because as the two attempt to discover who attempted to kill Crispin, they must explore who Crispin was and what he was up to.  The danger of every revelation is that is might trigger Crispin’s memories and the return of the man that Jane knows she cannot help but hate.  Something else happens as the two make their discoveries…the reasons for Crispin’s heartless pursuit of power become clear and perhaps provides a more sympathetic portrait of the villain at the beginning of the book.

What I loved most about this book is that its core message becomes one of understanding and acceptance that love requires. Crispin is not all bad and we learn that Jane is not all that good.  People have flaws and weaknesses.  Those flaws can make us the heroes of the story as we overcome their influence on our lives and protect against the damage they may do, or they can make us hard and indeed the villain of our own story. Both Crispin and Jane are more complex than they appeared at the beginning of the book.  By the end, they both see one another clearly and as a whole fallible person.

That brings me to the chemistry between Jane and Crispin which is blistering hot. The two seem to relish the intellectual battle of wills as enemies which leads to sexy encounters even as their antipathy diminishes. I loved these two together, couldn’t put the book down and really didn’t want the book to end. In fact, as the book ended, I couldn’t help but hope we might see more of them in future books.

This might be my favorite book in the series and I really, really liked the last one.  Now I have to read both again to compare!

WORTH MENTIONING:  Oh, I hope we get to read more about Lockwood!

CONNECTED BOOKS:  LADY’S CODE OF MISCONDUCT is the fifth book in the Rules for the Reckless series.  This book does not rely on any other book in the series and can be read as a complete standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 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.

five-stars

Review: Sweetest Regret

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: Sweetest RegretSweetest Regret by Meredith Duran
Published by Pocket Star on November 28th 2016
Genres: Historical
Pages: 110
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION: An enjoyable and well developed story about a second chance at love.

THE STORY: Georgiana “Georgie” Trent is left by her diplomat father to entertain his guests for Christmas and to search for a letter that one of the guests has stolen. To assist her, her father sends Lucas Godwin. Lucas broke Georgie’s heart two years ago when he left without a word to her. The two fight one another while searching for the letter and end up discovering what actually happened two years ago.

OPINION: I enjoyed this novella a great deal.  Georgie and Lucas have a tremendous amount of sadness and pain behind them. Even when they discover the truth, Georgie doesn’t believe that they have a future. The twists of this story were intriguing and the characters were well developed.

WORTH MENTIONING:  SWEETEST REGRET was previously published in the anthology WHAT HAPPENS UNDER THE MISTLETOE.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  This book is a standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars