Review: How the Dukes Stole Christmas

Review: How the Dukes Stole ChristmasHow the Dukes Stole Christmas by Joanna Shupe, Sarah MacLean, Sophie Jordan, Tessa Dare
Published by Rakes Rogues & Scoundrels LLC on October 15, 2018
Genres: Historical
Pages: 416
Goodreads
four-stars

This is an anthology of four short stories with a Christmas theme. The stories are not connected to one another (other than a recipe for a special shortbread and the holiday theme) so each can be read on its own.

MEET ME IN MAYFAIR by Tessa Dare: Louisa Ward has one night to catch the eye of a wealthy gentleman and only weeks to convince him to marry her before her family will be evicted from their home by the Duke of Thorndale. A turn of fate, however, puts Thorndale in Louisa’s path.  I enjoyed this one because the hours the couple end up spending together which felt sweet and romantic. Although the story is short, I did get the connection between the characters. The story is also funny at times, as it is a series of adventures and misadventures. I enjoyed this one. Rating: 4 stars.

THE DUKE OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT by Sarah MacLean: Eben, Duke of Allryd is obsessed with work and his wealth. Twelve years ago, this obsession led to the love of his life leaving him. Now the ghost of Christmas past has returned to Eben in the form of Lady Jacqueline Mosby. This is a wonderful adaption of A Christmas Carol (but with a happy ending for the romance). Eben is a sad, lonely man but is not a bad person. He is a man who focused on saving his dukedom from financial ruin and yet forgot to include the woman that he loved. I loved the relationship between Eben and Jack which was sweet and so perfect and I grieved as Eben let it slip away until Jack left as well. Then Jack returns and ends up saving Eben from himself. This is the best of this anthology and a Christmas romance that I will return to again. Rating: 5 stars.

HEIRESS ALONE by Sophie Jordan: Annis Bannister is mistakenly left home alone by her family. When her Duke neighbor comes to rescue the servants from a roving band of thieves, Annis is forced to seek refuge with him as well. This one was just okay for me. I never really felt a connection between the characters and thus the quick progression in their relationship didn’t work for me. The hero always felt indistinct to me and thus I couldn’t really understand his connection with the heroine. Rating: 2.5 stars.

CHRISTMAS IN CENTRAL PARK by Joanna Shupe: Rose writes a column as Mrs. Walker who gives advice on households and cooking. Rose, however, is not married, doesn’t have a house and certainly can’t cook. When the newspaper’s owner, Duke Havemeyer, requests that Rose host a Christmas party at her home, Rose has to acquire a house, a husband and the ability to cook a dinner. The problem is that a “married” woman shouldn’t be so interested in her boss.  This one was mixed for me. I thought the setup was really good and things went well until the dinner party. Once that was over, the entire resolution was so quick that I didn’t feel it was in characters with the rest of the story. I was disappointed in that because I thought the beginning of the story was so interesting that I would have liked something better than Rose making demands and the hero just giving in to her. Rating: 3.5 stars.

four-stars

Review: Glamour

Review: GlamourGlamour: Contemporary Fairytale Retellings by A.L. Jackson, Aleatha Romig, Lili St. Germain, Nicola Rendell, Nora Flite, Sierra Simone, Skye Warren, Sophie Jordan
Series: Masterpiece Duet #1.5, Consequences #5.5,
on July 18th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica, Fantasy
Pages: 331
Goodreads
four-half-stars

This is an anthology of eight romance stories each based upon a fairy tale.  This is an excellent anthology.  Each of the stories is good and many of them were fascinating enough for me to read more of the author.  Highly recommend this if you are looking for hot and well written novellas.

MUSIC BOX GIRL by Sierra Simone (Twelve Dancing Princesses): An erotic story which involves a 39 year old private investigator who gets involved with the 19 year old subject of his surveillance. This is a super hot, super erotic fantasy story which means that one has to suspend disbelief. The story is hot and there is one orgy depicted and others suggested. I enjoyed the story but the story was more about the hot sexual situations than the characters. I wish there was more of this story because I think the characters could have been really been interesting with pages to flesh them out. Rating: 4 stars.

BEDTIME STORY by Skye Warren (Sleeping Beauty): This novella is apparently connected to THE KING (which I haven’t read).  Jessica who has a small child is on the run from a dangerous man.  She runs into Finn, who is sheriff in a small town. The novella depicts their encounter which is filled with tension both dangerous and sexual. The story ends up being a sweet one and this is a novella that I really liked but wished that there was much more to the story.  It did make me want to read more by this author.  Rating: 4.5 stars.

RIPPLES by Aleatha Romig (Prince and the Pauper): Natalie struggles against the expectations of her parents.  When she travels to visit them for Christmas an encounter with a stranger on the plane changes her life.  I don’t want to give too much away, but this is a spin-off of the Consequences series so readers of that series will know to expect a dark and twisted romance.  I was fascinated with the story but didn’t quite get it in the end.  I think it would have been better if I knew about the heroine’s parents’ story.  Rating: 4 stars.

ROYAL MATTRESS by Nicola Rendell (Princess and the Pea): Dave is a mattress millionaire who also happens to be a prince in a defunct country.  He also has terrible luck in love although he is looking for that magical connection with a woman.  On the night of an amazing storm, Lisa arrives at Dave’s home seeking shelter.  From the moment they meet, the connection between Lisa and Dave just sizzles. Although the length of this novella means that everything between these two happens almost instantly, I really liked Dave and Lisa and their connection.  Rating: 4.5 stars

IN A STRANGER’S BED by Sophie Jordan (Goldilocks): Thea is left behind in the Highlands of Scotland by her tour group.  Caught in a rainstorm, Thea finds a house which is lived in but the occupant is absent.  (It’s a Goldilocks story, you can guess what happens from there).  Thea ends up being found by a grumpy Scotsman Niall.  This story I really enjoyed.  Yes, there is insta-love, but the two are so sweet together along with some arguing and oh-so-sexy times.  I really appreciated the epilogue of this story because it gave the story a finished quality.  Rating: 4.5 stars.

BROKEN HARP by Nora Flite (Jack and the Beanstalk): As a young man, Jack is swindled by a club owner and almost killed.  Years later he is now back to get his revenge.  He meets again the woman who saved his life who is working as a stripper and raising her sister. This story is dark and exists in a seedy existence, but I really liked the characters and this was a very enjoyable story.  Rating 4 stars.

RED HOT PURSUIT by AL Jackson (Little Red Riding Hood):  Lili Redd is engaged in protecting her adopted grandmother from the Big Bad Wolf aka Brody Wolfe.  Brody, a real estate developer, wants to purchase the shop and Lili, as an attorney, is determined to do whatever she has to do in order to stop him.  Things heat up as the two correspond and when they meet, the temperature rises even higher.  I absolutely loved this story.  The characters were strong and independent and their conflict was hot, hot, hot.  I loved their conflict and banter as the two struggle with their business conflict and their personal attraction.  This is a prequel novella and introduction to the upcoming Fight for Me series.  I will definitely be checking that out.  My favorite of the anthology.  Rating: 5 stars.

KNOT by Lili St. Germain (Rapunzel):  A woman is kept captive in a tower by a Mexican crime lord before a mafia doctor comes to save her life and rescue her.  This is one dark story on so many levels.  I was creeped out by Seraphina’s Stockholm Syndrome attachment to her jailer and rapist, even as I understood her dependence upon him.  I liked that the story didn’t flinch from that complexity.  I also liked that the characters had an incredible amount of complexity in such a short novella.  I saw at the end of the story that there might be more of Seraphina and Xavier in the future and I would definitely read more.  Rating: 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars