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Posts Tagged ‘Charming Heroine’


(Eternity Gambit, #1)

Genre: Romantic Comedy with Paranormal Elements

Cover Blurb

Being the Devil is a job no one wants. The hours are terrible, the workload unbelievable and frankly, customer service is a nightmare. You’re blamed for everything and liability is no joke when you’re the Lord of Darkness. As a result, turnover for the position is fairly high. The current Lucifer is the seventh lucky one to lose the ultimate lottery and land the title.

Truthfully, there’s very little evil to be instigated.  Free will and a bad history of twisted mythology takes care of all of it–so the guy behind the black onyx desk is generally just the unhappy Archangel left filling out paperwork and doing his best to keep the Big Boss happy. And for Lucifer, forget about dating.  It’s a long, dry run, unless you’re into the women that might be into you–and frankly, the current Lucifer isn’t too turned on by ladies wearing spider web stockings and red Jell-O in their hair.  Not that he blames a few of his predecessors with embracing the Goth hooker thing, but–an Angel has to be true to himself.

So when Lucifer accidentally bumps into a mortal woman who makes him rethink the wisdom of not applying for that maintenance position in Purgatory, it’s a roller coaster ride.  Love can make anyone crazy. And Lucifer is determined to see if he can make it snow in Hell if it will polish up his wings enough to win the girl and get himself fired.

Release date : 8 August 2014

♥♥♥♥♥♥

When I received a copy of this book from Renee Bernard, I was rather intrigued by the curious comment that accompanied it…”It’s NOT a historical romance but I’m hoping it makes you smile”.

This book was not only a complete departure from anything Ms Bernard has ever written before, but also a complete departure from anything I’ve ever read before. Well, did it make me smile? YES! Did I enjoy it? YES!  ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!

I love Ms Bernard’s imaginative and fun take on the generally accepted idea of hell. She has created a unique world populated by a wonderfully diverse group of offbeat characters.

Lucifer (Luke) may be CEO of H.E. LLc., but whoever heard of the Devil loving ballet or treating his demonic workforce with respect even allowing them office parties and karaoke machines! Caring, sincere and honourable, this Prince of Darkness is seriously flawed.

The romance is sweet and funny (definitely no hot, sweaty sex) as Luke woos the no-nonsense Jayne in a charmingly old-fashioned way…flowers, dinner, dancing. Luke has such an endearing quality and I adore the scene where Jayne spots the spider plant he has acquired because she told him he needed some greenery in his office.

I realize it’s a bit puny but I’m assured these things grow. And the red coffee cup is a nice touch of color. Do you…like it?”

Jayne’s reactions to situations and her inner thoughts are priceless.

Is there a remote infinitesimal chance I just tried to pitch PR services to Lucifer, Prince of Darkness and Overseer of Hell?

The secondary characters – Luke’s Personal Assistant, Malcolm…love his demonic humour; the poker playing Archangels Azrael, Uriel and Michael; Jayne’s best friend, Eliza…her idea of a fun day out never involves shopping; Jayne’s mom, the kind of mom everyone should have – all serve to enhance the story.

The dialogue sparkles and there are plenty of great one-liners like this…

So cry in your cocktails all you want, Lucifer, but I don’t think eHarmony is taking applications from the ninth circle of Hell these days.”

There were moments that had me giggling…the Archangel of Death playing a game of miniature golf; Archangel Michael giving a performance worthy of an Oscar. The overall light tone of the story lends the more poignant events a greater impact.

How I imagine Luke…

 “Hi! I’m Satan! Would you be my girlfriend?”

How I imagine Jayne…

Gee, Mom and Dad! I’m dating Satan!  Want to give me your blessing?

Memorable moments:

Oh, man… If the Marlboro Man, Fabio and the guy who played Thor were put into a blender, they could be this guy’s ugly sidekick. 

“A-a demon? Really?” Jayne couldn’t help the shock that crept into her voice. “I mean, sure—demon. Why didn’t I guess that?”
“Granted, we don’t physically resemble our bad image in the press.” He shrugged as if casually discussing baseball scores. “But what an inconvenience that would be! Sulfur fumes and maggots would make it awfully hard to function, don’t you think?”

“Are you…humming to yourself, sir?” Malcolm asked.
“Hmmm. What?” Lucifer looked up from his desktop and the productivity reports of Hell’s various departments. “No. I’m the Prince of Darkness, Malcolm. I don’t hum, whistle or sing.”

Devil to Pay probably isn’t perfect but it was so entertaining, romantic and funny that I really didn’t notice. Now I’m anticipating more hi-jinks at H.E. LLc. with the future books in the series.


REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: SUBTLE

My sincere thanks to Renee Bernard for sending me a copy of  Devil to Pay in return for an honest review.

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(Smythe-Smith Quartet #2)

Genre: Historical Romance

Official Blurb 

Anne Wynter’s job as governess to three highborn young ladies can be a challenge – in a single week she finds herself hiding in a closet full of tubas, playing an evil queen in a play and tending to the wounds of the oh-so-dashing Earl of Winstead. After years of dodging unwanted advances, he’s the first man who has truly tempted her, and it’s getting harder and harder to remind herself that a governess has no business flirting with a nobleman.

Daniel made a terrible mistake in his youth and Smythe-Smith might be in mortal danger, but that’s not going to stop the young earl from falling in love. And when he spies a mysterious woman at his family’s annual musicale, he vows to pursue her. But Daniel has an enemy, one who has vowed to see him dead. And when Anne is thrown into peril, he will stop at nothing to ensure their happy ending…

★✩★✩★✩★✩★

A NIGHT LIKE THIS is the second book in the Smythe-Smith Quartet series and, although I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the first book JUST LIKE HEAVEN, it still combines all the elements that make Julia Quinn an absolute favourite of mine. I always know that I’m going to be drawn into her captivating world full of wonderful, loveable, quirky characters.

I completely fell for Daniel’s charm and wicked sense of humour. He’s someone who has learned from his past mistakes and takes his responsibilities seriously. I couldn’t help but adore a man who genuinely loves his family and obviously adores his Pleinsworth cousins.

It was good to be home. Even with the cacophony.
Especially with the cacophony. Nothing said “home” to a Smythe-Smith male like badly played music.

I love how the moment Daniel sets eyes on Anne, he is totally besotted and willing to do anything to be near her, even play the protagonist in his cousin Harriet’s impromptu play! What follows is a laugh-out-loud scene which showcases Ms Quinn’s sparkling, witty dialogue:

“Ah, yes,” Daniel said. “Yes, of course. Sadly, I do know a bit about facial disfigurement at present.”
“At least you won’t need any makeup,” Elizabeth said.
Daniel was thanking God for small favors, but then Harriet said, “Well, except for the wart.”

Warning! Do not mention the …

Anne is a delightful heroine. Charming, intelligent and kind, she’s understanding but firm with her charges. She never takes anything for granted but appreciates the stability, position and self-respect she has working as a governess for the Pleinsworths. As the secrets she keeps so closely guarded are finally revealed, the story takes on a more dramatic tone than usually found in Ms Quinn’s books. When her past finally catches up with her, she’s no wimpy miss but refuses to submit without a fight.

If Anne was going to be saved, she would have to do it herself.
“It is time to be your own heroine,” she whispered.

I enjoyed watching the relationship between Daniel and Anne unfold; hearing their thoughts and feeling their emotions:

the initial attraction… 

Time stopped. It simply stopped. It was the most maudlin and clichéd way of describing it, but those few seconds when her face was lifted toward his … they stretched and pulled, melting into eternity.

♥♥

Anne’s lips parted. His skin was warm, and now hers was hot where he touched her. Something strange and vaguely familiar bubbled within her, and with a prickle of shock she realized it was excitement.

the yearning… 

“I want the kiss,” he said huskily, “and then I want more. I want things you cannot even know about.”
They stood in silence, eyes locked.
“But most of all,” he whispered, “I want to kiss you.”
And then, in a voice so soft it was barely more than breath, she said, “I want it, too.”

the final surrender… 

“Oh, Daniel …”
His lips found her ear again, and his voice was hot and husky on her skin. “Before the night is through, I’m going to make you scream.”
She had just enough sense left to say, “No. You can’t.”
He lifted her against him, with just enough roughness that her feet left the ground and she had no choice but to wrap her legs around his. “I assure you, I can.”

There is always a strong sense of family which I love about Ms Quinn’s books. The friendly bickering between the Pleinsworth sisters, Harriet, Elizabeth and Frances always made me smile.

I was intrigued by Daniel’s friend, Hugh Prentice and I was hoping he would have his own book. So I’m a happy bunny because Ms Quinn’s next book, THE SUM OF ALL KISSES (29 October 2013) features Hugh as the hero and Sarah, the eldest of Pleinsworth sisters, as the heroine. I am definitely looking forward to the next performance by the Smythe-Smith Quartet.

The villain of the piece is suitably menacing, if just a little bit over the top, but I liked the dramatic climax in which Daniel proves to be the perfect “knight in shining armour” and Anne proves that women aren’t just decorative.

I don’t think Ms Quinn has ever surpassed her brilliant Bridgerton series but A NIGHT LIKE THIS is a delightful story full of romance, charm and humour.

REVIEW RATING: 4.5/5 Stars

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

Read June 2013

The Smythe-Smith Quartet series (click on book cover for more details)

Just Like Heaven (Smythe-Smith Quartet #1) A Night Like This (Smythe-Smith Quartet #2) The Sum of All Kisses (Smythe-Smith Quartet, #3)

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Setting: England, 1727

A reluctant heiress resigned to her fate… Mary Elizabeth Edwardes has one of the largest fortune’s in England, but has no desire to leave her quiet country existence… and even less to acquire a husband she cannot choose for herself.

A dissolute nobleman bent on retribution… Trapped in a duplicitous existence since scandal destroyed his fortune and family name, Lord Hadley Blanchard has spent the better part of a decade posing as a disaffected exile while spying and seducing in the service of the English Crown.

A dangerous game of seduction, and intrigue… When summoned from abroad by a former lover, Lord Hadley perceives an opportunity for vengeance at last. By employing the full measure of his seductive charm, he woos the ward of the man who destroyed his life, little knowing that winning Mary’s fortune will mean risking his own treacherous heart.

**AUTHOR’S NOTE
TREACHEROUS TEMPTATIONS
was very much inspired by the dark and romantic novels of the 18th century in which virtue vs. vice and plots to despoil virgins were very popular themes, books like Clarissa Harlowe by Samuel Richardson or Les Liaisons Dangereuses by LaClos. Similar to these classic tales, my story features an innocent country girl who, unlike the former heroines, is neither insipid nor naive, but still inadvertently becomes a pawn in a deadly game of revenge and intrigue.

★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★

Treacherous Temptations is Victoria Vane’s first full-length historical erotic romance. Having read and rhapsodised over her The Devil DeVere series, I couldn’t wait to read this ‘Dangerous Liaisons’ inspired book. Ms Vane never disappoints and this book was no exception. She weaves a sensual tale of scandal, treachery, intrigue, love and redemption.

Once again, I was swept back into the Georgian era with all its elegance, opulence and decadence which Ms Vane captures so perfectly. Her writing is always evocative, emotive, sensual and delightfully wicked. I chose this excerpt because, for me, it perfectly illustrates her descriptive flair.

With the arrival of dusk, however, the true Venice awakened. Donning her gilded and be-jeweled bauta, she revealed her soul beneath a thousand torches lighting the canals with sputtering brilliance over shimmering waters. With countless covered gondolas affording floating places of refuge for sinful delights, she reveled in all of her concupiscent glory.

Ms Vane did an excellent job of showing Hadley’s gradual journey from a man whose life had degenerated into an endless pursuit of every excess and dissipation to someone who regains his honour, his ideals and his self-respect.  I think I saw redemptive qualities in Hadley from the moment he interrupted Mary’s dancing lesson with the obnoxious French dancing teacher, Monsieur Gaspar, and sent him off with the proverbial flea in his ear. He was unaware of Mary’s true identity and simply championed a young lady being bullied.

When he discovers who Mary is, he initially sees her not only as the means to a large fortune but also a instrument of revenge against her guardian, Sir Richard, the man he holds responsible for stealing his inheritance. I loved watching his confusion when he finds himself developing feelings for her. Lust he can understand, but love is something that is completely beyond his comprehension.

She brought his hand to her mouth, kissing his palm, an artless act that had a startling affect.
Feeling unbalanced and terrorized, Hadley closed his eyes in an effort to shut her out, but the insidious and unwanted flare of feeling would not be ignored.

Hadley is the perfect hero (maybe not quite up there with DeVere, but then who is!). He’s charming, thoughtful, charismatic, seductive and protective.

How I imagine Hadley

Mary is warm, engaging, headstrong and witty; a country girl at heart who prefers reading a book or long walks to the superficiality of London. I love her astute observation of society.

“I will never comprehend the fashionable people. They resemble nothing more than a muster of peacocks—preening, strutting, and gawking at one another. They smile and croon but few of them ever have a kind or sincere word.”

A complex mix of wisdom and innocence, she understands estate matters but is completely inexperienced when it comes to men. So it’s no wonder she can’t resist Hadley’s seductive ways.

The warmth of his hands seemed to permeate the many layers of silk and linen that separated them as if the barriers didn’t exist. His voice, his touch, his subtle masculine scent combined to fill her senses, making her almost giddy. It was lovely. It was also terrifying.

How I imagine Mary

I loved the villainous secondary characters; the conniving, vindictive and depraved Barbara, Countess of Blanchard; Sir Richard, the fat, flatulent fool; Lord Barnesley, the libertine with his ‘little idiosyncrasies’. Their machinations certainly provided some interesting twists and turns.

Treacherous Temptations is definitely a worthy addition to my keeper shelf from one of my favourite authors.

RATING: ★★★★★

SENSUALITY RATING: SIZZLING

Read January 2013

This ebook was kindly provided by the publisher Entangled in return for an honest review.

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