Review: Windswept

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: WindsweptWindswept by Deborah Martin, Sabrina Jeffries
Series: Welsh #2
Published by Pocket Books on February 28th 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 384
Goodreads
four-half-stars

“If any woman of thy lineage doth not drink of the cup at her wedding, her husband shall die within three years of her wedding.”

FINAL DECISION:  The book has an elegance and a more serious tone than other books by Jeffries.  I really enjoyed these characters and the journey they took because while there are many secrets and deceptions between them, there is a joy and lightness that surrounds this couple.

THE STORY:  Catrin Price is a Welsh widow with a family death curse.  If she does not drink from a druid cup at her wedding, her husband will die within three years.  That has already happened to Catrin and she knows that if she wants to fulfill her desire for a husband and family, she must recover the cup.  She manages to track it down but when she gets it, the man from whom she purchased it is murdered.  Evan Newcome is a scholar who is looking for the woman last seen with his friend. He believes that she might have something to do with his death and is determined to find out the truth.

OPINION:  This book has two elements that I really liked: the characters connection to one another and the ending which pushes the characters into an uneasy situation where love must overcome fear.

These two characters have a difficult road.  Catrin and Evan come to one another with lies and deceptions.  Both are lying and concealing information.  As they begin to build their relationship, these lies threaten the possibility of any true connection between them.  Catrin is a woman determined to overcome the notorious legacy of her family. She takes risks which stretch her understanding of who she is. She makes choices which take her close to the line of doing wrong. Evan is also on a mission. He is determined to avenge his friend’s death. He is willing to do whatever it takes — lies are just the beginning.  But he doesn’t count on falling for Catrin. Just when it seems that the two might have untangled their lives, the external threats arise.

I found this story very exciting and liked that it operated to push the two main characters into revealing more about themselves and to grow closer to one another. In the best twist of the book, the plot devise strips the main characters of the expected resolution to the story. As the final chapter closes, the characters have to put their faith in love and one another and trust that life will be good to them.  There are no guarantees for these characters, but don’t worry my friends, things work out very well for them in the end.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This is a revised and reissued version of the book by the same name originally written by this author under the name of Deborah Martin.  Make sure you don’t already have it in your collection before buying it!

CONNECTED BOOKS:  WINDSWEPT is the second book in the Welsh series.  It is not necessary to read the other book first (I didn’t!).  This book can operate as a standalone.

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: The Danger of Desire

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: The Danger of DesireThe Danger of Desire (Sinful Suitors, #3) by Sabrina Jeffries
Series: Sinful Suitors #3
Published by Pocket Books on November 22nd 2016
Genres: Historical
Pages: 400
Goodreads
three-stars

FINAL DECISION: This story was nice, but the quick resolution to the book long conflict left me feeling unsatisfied. I enjoyed the romance a great deal and the “weakness” of the hero was well done and emotional.

THE STORY: Warren Corry, Marquess of Knightford has been asked by his sister to help her friend who has been behaving strangely. Warren is part of the St. George Club where men who care about the women in their lives can find out information to protect them from scoundrels. Warren fears that Miss Delia Trevor is in trouble and is determined to find out her secrets. While chasing her secrets, Warren ends up at a gambling hell chasing a man who is a potential threat to Delia. Warren is shocked to discover this man is actually Delia in disguise. Delia is looking for the card cheat responsible for her father’s death. Disguised as a young man, she has been searching gaming hell for the man. When Warren discovers her secret, Delia doesn’t know if Warren intends to ruin her or help her.

OPINION: The undeniable strength of this book is Warren, himself. His struggles and his shame about them are the most compelling part of the book. Warren is a good man who has demons which he believes will keep him alone. He spends the nights carousing because he cannot bear to be alone. When he begins to fall for Delia, he fights because he believes that he cannot have a normal relationship with her. The pain Warren feels and his journey to trust and happiness with Delia is what I loved about this book. I can’t resist a wounded hero and I really liked Warren.

Delia was practical and a bit stubborn but her character made her a good match for Warren because she would not allow him to hide from her. Her strength allows him to lean on her when he needs it.  She is too loyal to her lousy brother, but her loyalty and determination is a deep part of her character.

I liked so much about this story, but what I didn’t like was the resolution to Delia’s search for the man who cheated her brother. The end had promise and was a surprise but after the reveal, the problem was quickly resolved without emotional drama that I expected.  Things were revealed, and the solution was too neat and resolved within only a few pages. Considering that this was such a motivating factor in the book, I found it anticlimactic and a disappointment. For me, it colored my enjoyment of the rest of the book and resulted in me downgrading my rating.

WORTH MENTIONING: I hope the next story is about Delia’s sister in law.

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE DANGER OF DESIRE is the third book in the Sinful Suitors series.  It can be read as a standalone although there are overlapping characters.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3.5 stars.

three-stars

Review: The Heiress and the Hothead

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: The Heiress and the HotheadThe Heiress and the Hothead by Sabrina Jeffries
Series: Sinful Suitors #1.5
Published by Pocket Star on November 28th 2016
Genres: Historical
Pages: 90
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  Enjoyable novella that gives a taste of what the Sinful Suitors is all about.

THE STORY: Lord Stephen Cory, the younger brother of a marquess writes radical articles about the plight of mill workers and child laborers. He wants to meet Miss Amanda Keane, an American who owns mills, in order to prove that mill owners everywhere are atrocious. When he meets Amanda, he finds that she is more than he expected.

OPINION: I liked this story. Both Stephen and Amanda are headstrong people who have strong opinions. I liked that Stephen moves tremendously in his opinions. The two are cute together and the characters are well developed for such a short story. I liked this one.

WORTH MENTIONING:  THE HEIRESS AND THE HOTHEAD was previously released as part of the anthology WHAT HAPPENS UNDER THE MISTLETOE.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  This novella is book 1.5 of the Sinful Suitors series.  I had not yet read the other books in the series when I first read this one so it is definitely not necessary to read the others books first.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: The Widow’s Auction

Review: The Widow’s AuctionThe Widow's Auction by Sabrina Jeffries
Published by Berkley Intermix on August 16, 2016
Genres: Historical
Pages: 84
Goodreads
four-half-stars

“She and Lord Warbrooke together? The very idea was absurd, impossible…Entrancing.”

FINAL DECISION:  I thoroughly enjoyed this novella.  The story is very compact and tight and thus it works well.  I enjoyed the characters interaction which covers a lot of ground for such a short story.

THE STORY:  Isobel, Lady Kingsley is a widow who has dedicated herself to charitable causes. Her nemesis is Justin, Lord Warbrooke.  The two strike sparks off of one another as they take opposite sides.  Isobel, however, also has several secrets.  One of them is that she found the marriage bed unsatisfying with her deceased husband.  Convinced by her dear friend to participate in the notorious Widow’s Auction, Isobel hopes to find some passion. Isobel is shocked when Lord Warbrooke purchases her favors for the night.  Although masked, Isobel worries about Justin discovering her identity. Then as the two discover something special together, Isobel knows that her secrets prevent any chance of happiness between them.  What she doesn’t know is that Justin already knows who she is.

OPINION:  This is a short novella so it doesn’t have the complexity or depth of a full length work.  Despite that, however, this story really worked for me.  I liked Isobel and Justin who clearly have an attraction to one another from the beginning. The majority of the story is spent on how they discover the real person beyond the one they thought they knew. For a story about purchasing a night of sex, these two quickly enter a personal emotional intimacy with one another which culminates in sex rather than just being about sex.  (Not that the sex isn’t hot as well).

I also liked Justin a great deal because he always treats Isobel with respect.  In fact, the purchases the night with her because he respects her (and he doesn’t want anyone else to have her).  I liked that these two have passions in common and an ability to recognize the good in one another.

Many times I wish than a novella had been written as a full length novel.  This story, I think is good as it is.

WORTH MENTIONING: THE WIDOW’S AUCTION was previously published in FANTASY.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  THE WIDOW’S AUCTION is a standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this novella 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars

Review: The Art of Sinning

Review: The Art of SinningThe Art of Sinning (Sinful Suitors, #1) by Sabrina Jeffries
Series: Sinful Suitors #1
Published by Pocket Books on July 21st 2015
Genres: Historical
Pages: 400
Goodreads
four-stars

Battle of Wills Between a Woman Determined to Do What She Wants and a Man Running from His Past

FINAL DECISION: Strong characters make this an intriguing read. I was somewhat disappointed by the rushed resolution of Jeremy’s story.

THE STORY: Jeremy Keane is an American artist in England who won’t return home to take over his father’s business. Jeremy is a rake who is running from his past and is obsessed with his art (which isn’t your portraits or pastoral scene but rather is dark and seedy). Jeremy is looking for a model for a work that is his current obsession. Across the room he sees Lady Yvette Barlow and is determined to make her his model. Under the cover of doing a sedate portrait, Yvette agrees to be Jeremy’s scandalous model in exchange for Jeremy giving her ability to search for a woman in London’s brothels.

OPINION: The story of two wilful people who are determined to use one another for their own purposes but slowly peel away one another’s secrets. Yvette needs Jeremy in order to accomplish her mission but knows better than to trust a rogue. Jeremy is fleeing from his past and knows that he can only offer a good woman like Yvette misery.

I enjoyed this story because of its characters. Character and emotional based stories are my favorite and this book provides intriguing characters not only with Jeremy and Yvette but also the supporting characters who also seem vivid and intriguing without taking over the book.

The story takes some time to spin out and I was completely along for the ride until the big reveal happens towards the end of the book. After all the grief and buildup, I was somewhat disappointed at the quick resolve. It seemed to me that Jeremy should have had to do more groveling. The resolution had me dropping my rating slightly.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book gains some liveliness by meshing English and American sensibilities.

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE ART OF SINNING is the first book in The Sinful Suitors series. It is also connected to THE DUKE’S MEN series. I haven’t read that series so this book can be read without any prior knowledge.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

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four-stars

Review: The Study of Seduction

Review: The Study of SeductionThe Study of Seduction (Sinful Suitors, #2) by Sabrina Jeffries
Series: Sinful Suitors #2
Published by Pocket Books on March 22nd 2016
Genres: Historical
Pages: 384
Goodreads
four-stars

Remote Hero and Flighty Heroine are Not Who They Appear

“I do like you. Sometimes. But I also can’t resist provoking you. You get so deliciously annoyed. And you take my remarks far too seriously.”

FINAL DECISION: Darker because of the subject manner, this book is the story of two people who have known one another for ages without really knowing one another. There is a lot of struggle for these two to find one another but that makes the finding sweeter.

THE STORY: Edwin Barlow, Earl of Blakeborough is serious and cynical and believes his best friend is crazy when he asks Edwin to squire his cousin around town to protect her from a stalker. Edwin knows that Lady Clarissa Lindsey will never agree. Edwin and Clarissa have known one another forever and cannot stop sniping at one another. Clarissa believes Edwin too stuffy and judgmental and Edwin thinks Clarissa too flighty and free spirited. The two agree on one thing, Clarissa would make a terrible wife for Edwin. Clarissa has no intention of marrying and Edwin wants to find a wife to give him a heir and little trouble. When the two agree to spend time together to thwart Clarissa’s stalker, they soon find themselves deeper and deeper in a deception to protect Clarissa. They also find out that they don’t know one another as well as they thought.

OPINION: This book made me smile and cry. Edwin and Clarissa are a study in opposites attract. I loved how Edwin is so stuffy, serious and cynical on the outside, but is a bowl of mush on the inside. Having witnessed the disintegration of his parents marriage and emotionally abandoned by his father, Edwin had learned to rely on no one except himself. Loyal and kind, he cannot turn away from those who need him.

Clarissa is bright and lively and hiding a dark secret. She uses her flirty facade to hide her deep pain. When she accepts Edwin’s help, she begins to see the gentle and caring man that Edwin is and begins to reveal her interior self to Edwin.

I loved how Edwin cares for Clarissa is so many ways. He is always a gentleman and shows Clarissa that real men can respect and care for women without degrading them. This is a tricky tale that is well written to respect the emotional journey that each of the characters have to take to find their happen ending together. At times the story tends toward seriousness and darkness but never dwelling in the past or in the pain so much to become depressing.

Ultimately about how love, respect and caring can overcome the dark past, this book has enough lightness to feel redemptive.

WORTH MENTIONING: SPOILERS and Trigger Warning!!! The heroine of this book was raped and is dealing with shame and fear of intimacy as a result.

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE STUDY OF SEDUCTION is the second book in the Sinful Suitors series. It can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

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four-stars