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Archive for April, 2014

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I managed to read all my five books for April although they were not the ones I actually selected. I started reading the second book of Máire Claremont’s Mad Passions series and I just had to finish the series. This set me thinking and I’ve decided that, from May, I’m going to concentrate on catching up with the various series I have instead of choosing books from different categories. I think that might work better for me and give me more of a sense of achievement. I can move onto other categories later.

These are the books I’m hoping to read in May.

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(Scoundrels of St. James, #5)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb

The eagerly anticipated final story in the Scoundrels of St. James series!

William Graves is the last of Feagan’s scoundrels. A one-time grave robber turned royal physician, he has devoted his life to saving others, because he knows there is no way to save himself. Especially not around a lady such as Winnie. Though underserving of her touch, he cannot resist, his passion cannot be tamed…even in the face of certain danger.

Winnie, the Duchess of Avendale, never knew peace until her brutal husband died. With William she’s discovered burning desire—and the healing power of love. But now confronted by the past she thought she’d left behind, Winnie must face her fears…or risk losing the one man who can fulfill all her dreams.

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(The Lost Lords of Pembrook, #2)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb

Three young heirs, imprisoned by an unscrupulous uncle, escaped—to the sea, to the streets, to faraway battle—awaiting the day when they would return to reclaim their birthright.

Once upon a time, he was Lord Tristan Easton—now he is Crimson Jack, a notorious privateer beholden to none, whose only mistress is the sea. But all that will change when exquisite Lady Anne Hayworth hires his protection on a trip into danger and seduction. . .

Desperation brought Anne to the bronzed, blue-eyed buccaneer. But after the Captain demands a kiss as his payment, desire will keep her at his side. She has never known temptation like this—but to protect her heart, she knows she must leave him behind. Yet Tristan cannot easily forget the beauty—and when they meet again in a London ballroom, he vows he won’t lose her a second time, as fiery passion reignited takes them into uncharted waters that could lead the second lost lord home. . .

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(The Lost Lords of Pembrook, #2.5)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb

A Lost Lords of Pembrook Novella

Christmas is a time for miracles … and second chances at love. 

In her dazzling first Season, Lady Meredith Hargreaves gave her heart to Alistair Wakefield, the Marquess of Chetwyn, only to have it shattered when he proposed to another. And now that he’s free to pursue her? It matters little, because she’s on her way to the altar, heartbreak be damned.

Chetwyn once set aside his dreams in favor of duty and honor. But as Christmas approaches, he is determined to put his own desires first and lure Lady Meredith back into his arms, where she’s always belonged.

First he steals a dance; then he steals a kiss. But when they find themselves alone in an abandoned castle during a snowstorm, reignited passion consumes them both. And Chetwyn will have one last chance to steal back Meredith’s heart, once and for all.

 

 

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(Mad Passion, #2.5)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb

In this all-new novella from the award-winning author of Lady in Red and The Dark Lady, comes a story of fatal plots, seductive spies, and irresistible passions…

Duchess Clare Ederly is lucky to be alive. Having outlived her violent, abusive husband, she decides to put her significant inheritance to good use helping other battered women by opening a refuge for those seeking to escape. But not everyone is pleased with her work. Someone wants to see her sanctuary torn down—at any cost. Her only hope of protecting her home and tenants is a former spy, whose skill at tracking deadly men is matched only by his dangerous charm…

The Earl of Wyndham has done his part for Queen and country; he has had his fill of plotting and politics and simply wants to retire to the pleasant life of his club. But Duchess Clare’s razor-sharp wit and fierce determination awaken new purpose and admiration in him. To protect her, he will once again delve into the treacherous world of espionage. To win her love, he will do almost anything…

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**4.5 Absolutely Delightful Stars**

I LOVED this novella! It is a captivating and heart-warming story and made a lovely interlude between the darkness and intensity of the other books in this series. It brings together two secondary characters from the previous books –  Lord Byron Cartwright, the Earl of Wyndham (friend to Lord Ian Blake, the hero of the first book, The Dark Lady) and Clare, Duchess of Duncliffe (stepmother to Mary, the heroine of the second book, Lady in Red).

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Byron is a wonderful hero. There is something so adorable about him, with his easy charm and his propensity for quoting Shakespeare. He has experienced the horrors of war but hasn’t let it taint his view of life. His optimism is contagious.

“I am saying that there are things more wondrous in this world, more full of magic than we could ever imagine. And I, for one, despite the terrible things I have seen or perhaps because of them, choose to believe in them.”

He is an uncomplicated person and his dreams are simple…a quiet life, a wife who loves him and children.

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As a young woman of only seventeen, Clare married the Duke of Duncliffe with expectations of happiness, only to discover that her husband was cruel and abusive.

…her gaze bore that haunted mark of one who had seen hell and lived to tell the tale.

Now twenty-five and a widow, she devotes her time to helping other abused women. Her life is her work and she has long since given up any hope of love. Understandably, she is wary of men.

Ms Claremont’s writing perfectly conveys the mood of this enchanting romance. Here are a few of my favourite moments.

How could he do that? With two words? How could he somehow wrap her up in the safety of his voice and presence?

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Right now, she was in hiding, for goodness ’ sake. And the man leading her to God knew where kept spouting Shakespeare and making inappropriate remarks.

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The soft brush of Lord Wyndham’s lips sent Clare reeling. In all her life, she’d never been kissed. Not like this. Not this kind of kiss that every girl imagined and cherished in her heart.

♥♥♥

This was the stuff of knights and their ladies, of Abelard and Eloise, of Darcy and Elizabeth, of Jane and Rochester, of every romance she’d ever read. How she’d longed for it.

The mystery element never overshadows the romance and, although you don’t have to be a great detective to guess the identity of the person threatening Clare, I was so captivated by the characters that it didn’t really matter.

This novella may be short in terms of page count but Ms Claremont’s delightful and heart-warming tale captured my heart.

REVIEW RATING: 4.5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read April 2014

 

The Mad Passions series (click on the book cover for further details):

The Dark Lady (Mad Passions, #1) Lady in Red (Mad Passions, #2) A Lady Undone (Mad Passions, #2.5) The Dark Affair (Mad Passions, #3)

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Her feet wanted to run, and her arms wanted to wrap themselves around the man next to her, and her voice wanted to laugh, and deep inside …
    Deep inside …
    She was giddy. Giddy with love.

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(Mad Passions, #2)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb

The Victorian era was full of majestic beauty and scandalous secrets—a time when corsets were the least of a woman’s restrictions, and men could kill or be killed in the name of honor…

Lady Mary Darrel should be the envy of London. Instead, all society believes her dead. For Mary holds a secret so dangerous, her father chose to keep her locked away…and have a grave made for her near her mother’s. Driven to the edge of desperation, Mary manages to escape the asylum, only to find that her fate yet again rests in the hands of a man…

Edward Barrons, Duke of Fairleigh, longs for some way to escape the torment of his father’s crimes. In Mary’s warrior spirit and haunted gaze—which so mirrors his own—he finally sees his path to redemption. He will stop at nothing to keep her safe, even as she seeks revenge. But will the passion they discover in each other be enough to save them from their demons?

(Although this is the second book in the series, it can be read as a standalone)

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**5 Spellbinding Stars**

I was totally gripped by this intense, angsty and dramatic story.  Once again, Máire Claremont explores the darker side of Victorian London with graphic realism. 

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Mary left such a deep impression on me in The Dark Lady. She had selflessly protected her friend, Eva, from the worst of the horrors of the asylum and, when the two of them escaped, Mary’s fate was left in the balance.  I was desperate to know what happened to her.

Condemned to the asylum by her own father, Mary suffered unspeakable abuse during those three years incarcerated in that hellish place. But, somehow, she retained the strength and will to survive and make her escape, determined never to return.

Edward has demons of his own to conquer. He has never been able to escape the guilt he feels because he did nothing to save a young woman from his evil father’s clutches. He is desperately looking for some sort of purpose to his life and his greatest fear is becoming just like his father.

Sharing Edward and Mary’s story is a powerful and emotional journey.  Ms Claremont writes with such depth that I shared every moment of that journey until they finally discover that only their love can truly set them free.

Her very presence held him with a force that knocked the air out of his lungs.

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She stood in the same  spot for several moments, gasping. His very presence had changed how her body felt. She no longer felt battered or afraid. She felt strong and alive. How had he done that?

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“No matter what you do, no matter what you say, I shall always be in awe of your perfect vulnerability, your perfect imperfect soul.”

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“I am still among the ashes. I have not yet flown.”

He lowered his head toward her in careful, slow stages. “But you will.”

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Tears stung Mary’s eyes and she eased toward his naked body, burrowing close. As he curved his arm about her, tucking her to his chest, she did feel safe. Safer than she had felt in her lifetime.

♥♥♥

“Together then. We shall be whole.”

“Yes,” she said with an assurance it never could be gainsaid. “You are my other half as I am yours.”

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I love Edward’s friend, Viscount Powers…so sarcastic, dark and enigmatic and so full of pain. I just know his story is going to be just as compelling and I can’t wait to delve into The Dark Affair.

Ms Claremont doesn’t shy away from scenes that are often harrowing and brutal but I was riveted to the pages desperate to know what happened.

If you enjoy a dark, intense romance with an original and suspenseful plot and unforgettable characters, then you will definitely enjoy LADY IN RED.

REVIEW RATING:  5/5 Stars

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read April 2014

 

The Mad Passions series (click on the book cover for more details):

The Dark Lady (Mad Passions, #1) Lady in Red (Mad Passions, #2) A Lady Undone (Mad Passions, #2.5) The Dark Affair (Mad Passions, #3)

 

 

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“When your head tells you one thing and your heart another, listen to your heart. It tells no lies.” (Hunter Wolf)

 

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(Lonely Lords, #2)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb

Nicholas Haddonfield has something to hide…

After a wild youth, Nicholas Haddonfield, Viscount Reston, has promised his ailing father he’ll finally take a bride, though doing so will force Nick to make impossible choices and face old, painful wounds.

Leah Lindsey is glad to find refuge from her own desperate situation in a marriage of convenience with the gallant viscount. But soon convenience is not enough, and Leah can’t understand why Nick remains so distant. What is he hiding, and will he ever allow her into his heart?

An extraordinary and passionate tale of courage tested and fears overcome. Once you enter the lush Regency world of award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes, you’ll never want to leave.

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This is the second book I have read in the Lonely Lords series and, once again, Grace Burrowes has written an engaging story full of heartfelt emotion and richly drawn characters.

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The Snowdrop is for hope.”

Nicholas is a big man with an even bigger heart…so devoted to his family and willing to allay all Leah’s fears and do whatever it takes to protect her from harm –

I will see to your welfare, and without bringing you further misery. You are out of the habit of hoping and trusting, and you grow frantic at the thought of fate pressing upon you. Trust me, and I will win you free of it.”

I did want to bang his big, stubborn head against the nearest wall for keeping secrets from Leah for far too long and causing so much pain and heartache. But the scene where he finally gives up all his secrets was so moving, that I couldn’t help but want to throw my arms around that great big bear of a man and hug him tightly.

Hope, he thought with a flash of insight. Hoe that set teats seeping from his closed eyes, and joy sang through him in the very coursing of his life’s blood.

Other things endeared him to me; his charm and humour and when he sends flowers to Leah with a special meaning and the fact that he likes making birdhouses.

I had so much sympathy for Leah; her life marred by a youthful scandal and feeling alone and unloved.

She’d felt cast out, judged, unclean, and unforgivably stupid as a younger woman, and Society had done its cruel best to reinforce her opinion.

She is barely tolerated by a cruel, unfeeling father, who is only too happy to see her off his hands and married to an old lecher of a man. All she has ever wanted is to be accepted, loved and cherished. I love her courage, her honesty and her wit. Despite Nicholas’s insistence on a ‘White Marriage’,  Leah’s love and loyalty remains steadfast. She is there to support him when he most needs her.

The story also introduces Nicholas’s older, illegitimate half-brother, Ethan Grey. He is still living with the legacy of his father’s betrayal when he was a boy. which also caused a rift between himself and Nicholas. It was heart-warming to see these two starting to rebuild the close relationship they once shared and I was also moved by the poignant scene between Ethan and his dying father.

Favourite romantic quotes

When Nick Haddonfield held her, she felt protected, cherished, understood, and…treasured. When he kissed her, she felt all that, and so much more.

Sitting on the stone bench in the moonlight, his backside going numb, his wife in his arms, Nicholas Haddonfield knew he was absolutely and unshakeably, unequivocally and eternally loved.

Nicholas: Lord of Secrets is another wonderful addition to this delightful series.

REVIEW RATING: 4.5 /5 Stars

SENSUALITY RATING:  HOT

Read April 2014

 

The Lonely Lords series to date (click on cover for more details):

Darius  Lord of Pleasures (Lonely Lords, #1) Nicholas  Lord of Secrets (Lonely Lords, #2) Ethan  Lord of Scandals (Lonely Lords, #3) Beckman  Lord of Sins (Lonely Lords, #4) Gabriel  Lord of Regrets (Lonely Lords, #5) Gareth  Lord of Rakes (Lonely Lords, #6) Andrew  Lord of Despair (Lonely Lords, #7) Douglas  Lord of Heartache (Lonely Lords, #8) David  Lord of Honor (Lonely Lords, #9) Trenton  Lord of Loss (Lonely Lords, #10)

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‘I …’ Her voice wobbled sharply as she forced herself to continue. ‘1 don’t think I could live without you now.’

 Sebastian’s large hand passed gently over the back of her head, pulling her to his shoulder, and he buried his face in her hair for a moment. ‘Ah, Evie,’ she heard him say softly, ‘I must have a heart, after all … because right now it aches like the devil.’

(Evie and Sebastian)

 

 

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