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: 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

Review: Enticing Ian

Review: Enticing IanEnticing Ian (Knight Security 5) by Carole Mortimer
Series: Knight Security #5
Published by Carole Mortimer on March 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  I enjoyed this book a great deal.  There was a lot of mystery about what happened between Eve and Ian three years ago.  This was matched with a good plot about Eve wanting to help her brother.  This is more novella length, but felt complete and well paced.

THE STORY:  Three years ago, Ian Knight met, had a relationship with and left a woman he has never forgotten.  When Eve Bishop walks into the casino nightclub where he is acting head of security, he knows that the librarian should not be there.  Eve has come looking for Gregori Markovic, the head of the Russian mafia in London, in order to help her twin brother who has gotten deep into debt with Markovic.  Ian is determined to keep Eve from venturing into dangerous territory while looking for her brother, even if it means confronting what send him running from her three years ago.

OPINION:  I really enjoyed this one.  I thought the pacing of the book was wonderful.  Even with the shorter length, the story did not feel rushed and I felt there was a good balance between the romance and the plot.

The characters in this book were better developed than I expect in a shorter story.  The characters already had a history which helped tremendously with the quick turnaround until these characters got serious.  It was much easier to believe that these characters could be so comfortable with one another immediately.

This story just hit the right spot with me.  It was very sexy and had some drama over the end of the couple’s relationship three years ago.  The way that answer is slowly revealed to the readers worked really well to build tension in the story.  I especially liked that the real focus of this story was the couple — even though the brother’s fate gives some motivation for the characters to interact with one another.

I also really liked Ian and Eve as characters and as a couple.  They were just the right balance between really attracted to one another and fighting that attraction.

WORTH MENTIONING:  Some significant appearances from characters from the ALPHA series were a nice addition.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  ENTICING IAN is the fifth book in the Knight Security series but can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: Tamed by the Earl

Review: Tamed by the EarlTamed by the Earl (Regency Unlaced 9) by Carole Mortimer
Series: Regency Unlaced #9
Published by Carole Mortimer on February 24th 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 99
Goodreads
three-stars

FINAL DECISION:  This is a nice story that wraps up the series in a satisfactory fashion, but it is not among the best of the series.  The length of the novella made the relationship too quick and the sexual relationship felt rushed.  Good one time read.

THE STORY:  Lord Daniel Somersby, Earl of Latham survived a miserable marriage.  Since he has an heir, he has no intention of marrying again.  Returning home, Daniel runs into a fight among his stable boys.  The newest boy is causing trouble and something about his intrigues Daniel.  Disguised as a boy, Lady Josephine Kendall is running from her cousin who has tried to sexually abuse her and marry her off to settle his gambling debts.  Temporarily residing as a stablehand, Jo is fascinated by Daniel but trying desperately to maintain her disguise.

OPINION:  This novella fits right into the rest of the series.  The emphasis in the book is on the relationship between the characters and the plot does nothing more than serve that end.  I appreciate books that focus on characters because that is the reason I love romances.  This story is short so the character development is not too deep, but the story plays on some classic tropes that I enjoy.  The woman disguised as a boy is always a fun one.  Here Jo is a thorn to Daniel because he can’t seem to get her out of his mind despite believing her to be a boy.  The story is straightforward and a quick read.

If you have read the others in the series, you should finish out with this one.  There is a small payoff in the end.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book is the last in the series and gives a little peek at the other characters at the end.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  TAMED BY THE EARL is the ninth book in the Regency Unlaced series.  It can be read as a standalone although there is information about other characters.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3 stars.

three-stars

Review: Fascinated

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: FascinatedFascinated: The Wicked Woodleys by Jess Michaels
Series: The Wicked Woodleys #6
Published by Passionate Pen on February 7th 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 72
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  Michaels first m/m romance has sweet characters and enough drama to keep interest. I liked this wrap up book for the series especially because these characters are finally getting their redemption after somewhat negative histories in the series.

THE STORY:  Griffin Merrick (the brother of Letty from SEDUCED) is attracted to men but keeping that information from his family. He is especially attracted to Aaron Condit, a solicitor and man of business.  Aaron is one of Letty’s dearest friends despite their complicated past.  Aaron was the lover of Letty’s deceased husband. He doesn’t want to do anything to hurt Letty again but he is really attracted to Griffin but is determined to keep his distance.  When the two attend Letty’s house party, Griffin decides to take a chance and tell Aaron his feelings.

OPINION:  This was a fine conclusion to the Wicked Woodleys series.  These were characters that I liked tremendously, had great sympathy and interest in their journey and for whom I was glad to root for their happy ending.  My one complaint is that the story was very short and therefore some of the complexities were too quickly resolved…but that is always a risk with novellas.

Griffin has grown and matured since the events of SEDUCED. We meet him as he knows who he is but hasn’t come out to his family.  (Of course, revealing that one was gay at the time risked criminal charges). He has met Aaron while visiting places which cater to their particular interest in men.  The two have a lingering attraction to one another but haven’t taken any steps to move forward.  A house party with family and friends gives Griffin the opportunity to make a move on Aaron.

Aaron is still suffering from his actions in being the lover of Letty’s husband.  Even though he is attracted to Griffin, he is not willing to hurt Letty again.  Because of this, he resists his fascination to Griffin — for a while.  I really liked these two and I worried throughout the book for their safety. The book gives a dark and pretty grim (and realistic) depiction of the challenges the two face. The fact that the two of them can manage to love one another in the face of all the threats against them demonstrated their strength and commitment to one another.

There is a nice twist at the end of the story (which I began to suspect) and which I really loved. Fans of the Wicked Woodleys series, especially SEDUCED get a nice update on the characters as well.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This is a m/m romance and a short novella.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  FASCINATED is the sixth book in the Wicked Woodleys series.  This book can be read as a standalone although reading SEDUCED will give the background of both of the main characters (but that background is summarized here).

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: Tempting Zander

Review: Tempting ZanderTempting Zander (Knight Security, #4) by Carole Mortimer
Series: Knight Security #4
Published by Smashwords Edition on January 27th 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Goodreads
three-stars

FINAL DECISION: A good story but nothing overly special.  I enjoyed this as a one time read.

THE STORY:  Zander Buchanan is brought in as head of security for Kate Stewart, a superstar singer. Kate has an ex-boyfriend who is stalking her and she has hired Knight Security to supplement her normal security.  Zander has wanted Kate desperately even as he is exasperated by her. He knows he has to keep his distance to do his job.  She’s hot for him, too.

OPINION:  This is a perfectly adequate story if a bit predictable.  Zander and Kate are fighting their attraction, there is danger from the ex and the ultimate resolution and happy ending.  The characters were nice enough but a bit forgettable.  The best part of the book for me was a scene between Zander and Kate in a store dressing room which was completely memorable. The book was in the category for me of a book that I enjoyed while reading but won’t be one that I think of returning to…except for maybe that dressing room scene.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This is a short novella.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  TEMPTING ZANDER is the fourth book in the Knight Security series.  Although there are some overlapping characters, this book can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3 stars.

three-stars

Review: Seduced by a Marquis

Review: Seduced by a MarquisSeduced by a Marquis (Regency Unlaced 8) by Carole Mortimer
Series: Regency Unlaced #8
Published by Smashwords Edition on December 20th 2016
Genres: Historical
Pages: 118
Goodreads
four-half-stars

FINAL DECISION:  A sexy novella that has interesting characters and which I found to be a fun little read.  One of the better stories in this series, this novella manages to pack in a whole bunch of story and a developing relationship between Bella and Lysander in its few pages.

THE STORY:  Bella Reynolds is under the thumb of her older brother who uses her younger sister to compel Bella to give in to his wishes. Bella ends up engaged to Lord Lysander Falkner, Marquis of Trent who is jaded by all the women who have tried to get him to marry them.  Unwillingly betrothed, Bella knows that Lysander has no reason to trust her and yet forces are conspiring against them.

OPINION:  I found this story very appealing.  Perhaps it is the idea that Bella and Lysander are such good people who end up agreeing to a marriage of convenience that quickly becomes a passionate love match.

This is a novella so I’m judging it on that basis.  The character development is not as deep as I would expect in a full length novel and the story is not as well fleshed out.  But there is something fun and compelling about this story.  I loved these two people who are both hurt by their past.

Lysander is an illegitimate son turned heir to a duke (yes, improbable) — a common man raised to the heights of title.  Bella is a woman who has been used by her brother to advance his own agenda. She knows that she cannot hope for a happy marriage with children because of her past.

As is true with all the Regency Unlaced series, the focus with these characters is on their sexual attraction at first. This book manages to be hot while also making it clear that these two go have emotional possibilities with one another.

The plot is enough to keep the book moving but not so much as to take away from the focus on Bella and Lysander’s relationship.

This was a good read.  I found it enjoyable, I liked the characters and there was enough heat to make the story interesting.

WORTH MENTIONING:  If you want total historical accuracy in your historicals, you can pass on this one.  But if you value characters and an interesting story over details, you might give this one a try.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  SEDUCED BY A MARQUIS is the eighth book in the Regency Unlaced series.  This book stands on its own although there are overlapping characters.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars

Review: Capturing Caleb

Review: Capturing CalebCapturing Caleb (Knight Security 3) by Carole Mortimer
Series: Knight Security #3
on November 30th 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 139
Goodreads
three-half-stars

FINAL DECISION:  This novella had a great premise and beginning which ended up resolving too quickly in the end.  For the length, however, I really enjoyed this story.

THE STORY:  Caleb Knight has become obsessed with rescuing Magdelena “Lena” Roig who was kidnapped and sold into sexual slavery.  Caleb has been looking for Lena for three months and he is determined to find her because of his own time held as a prisoner in Afghanistan. He knows what being held hostage feels like and will not allow her to be forgotten.  When he gets a lead on her location, Caleb comes in disguised as a Russian gangster who is offered Lena’s services for the night.

OPINION:  This was a good story. A reader has to accept that the two characters would have sex with one another upon first meeting one another and somehow that would work even though the two are under surveillance.  I liked the story because it was tense and tending toward romantic suspense.

Caleb and Lena have a hot connection from the start. The tension when their lives are in danger had this book totally engrossing and interesting.  Because of the length, however, the story was resolved too quickly and these two never really get to know one another.

Therefore, I really enjoyed the beginning of the book and because of the length I thought that it was resolved too quickly.  I accept that, however, in a novella.  I would read the story again especially as an add on to the previous book in the series.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This is a short novella with an emphasis on the heated sexual events between the characters.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  CAPTURING CALEB is the third book in the Knight Security series. It can be read as a standalone although it continues the story from the previous book in the series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3.5 stars.

three-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: Challenging Gabriel

Review: Challenging GabrielChallenging Gabriel (Knight Security 2) by Carole Mortimer
Series: Knight Security #2
Published by Smashwords Edition on September 23rd 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 151
Goodreads
three-half-stars

FINAL DECISION:  Nice story that was a good one time read.  I liked the characters and their story although the short format meant that it was a bit rushed.

THE STORY:  Eight years ago, Gabriel Knight fell for a young beauty Angel.  The two only had weeks together before he had to go to Afghanistan to save his brother.  By the time he had returned, Angel was gone.  Now she walks back into his life, married and with a seven year old son.  She desperately wants Gabriel’s help in locating and rescuing her son who is being held by her estranged husband.

OPINION:  This story was good.  There was nothing terrible original about the story, but I enjoyed the characters and their interactions.  For a short story, I thought that the character’s journey was handled well and I liked and was interested in them.  Yes, things were resolved too quickly and too easily, but this is a novella and that is almost always the case with such a short story.

I thought that the romance between Gabriel and Angel was good.  The two had chemistry and were able to handle the love lost, secrets revealed story with an interesting twist.  I liked these two.  When my biggest complaint is that I wish there story was longer, I give it a win.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This is a short novella.  It also sets up the next book in the series.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  CHALLENGING GABRIEL is book 2 in the Knight Security series.  It can be read as a standalone as you don’t need to know anything about

STAR RATING:  I give this novella 3.5 stars.

three-half-stars