Friday, October 31, 2014

The Christmas Treasure by Mallory Kane

From award-winning, best-selling romantic suspense author Mallory Kane., comes a short, historical Christmas novella, about loss and lies and the healing power of love. 

Lorilla traveled alone over the treacherous Santa Fe Trail to find love. What she finds instead is a man whose heart is turned to stone. 

Gabriel Beltran paid dearly for a widow who'd born a child. What he got was a virgin and he is not happy about it. 

The Christmas Treasure is 35,000 words.

Published & Release Date: Self-published, October 26, 2014

Time and setting: New Mexico 1847  

Genre: Western Historical Romance

Heat Level: 1

Reviewer rating: 5 Gold Crowns

Reviewed by Vikki

What a wonderful heart-felt Christmas story. Sometimes the best things really do come in a small package, or in this case, a short story. I could not read this little gem fast enough. One of my favorite troupes is a marriage of convenience story, and this one is excellent. Mallory Kane has such a smooth and flowing writing style, bringing to life the vivid countryside surrounding Santa Fe, New Mexico with a masterful touch, and allowing me to experience the deep desires of the hero and heroine.

Lorilla Harmon arrives in Santa Fe on Christmas Eve and is rushed to her wedding with Gabriel Beltran. Lorilla’s stepfather had told Gabriel she was a widow who had delivered a stillborn child. Perfect for his purposes. All he wants is a son, and a sensible, biddable woman, one he will never give his heart to. Gabriel is outraged when he discovers her virginity. The last thing he wants or needs is an innocent woman.  

All Lorilla has dreamed of a man to love her and a family. When Gabriel turns from her, she takes matters into her own hands and seduces him. He succumbs to her charms, but remains distant. Lorilla prays he will grow to love her if she gives him a son. Will Gabriel let the memory of his first wife go, or will he cling to the past and lose what could be his greatest treasure.

I thoroughly enjoyed Lorilla and Gabriel’s love story. For such a short story the character development is incredible. The plot is intriguing and captured me from the first page to the last. The emotions run deep in this enchanting tale of a woman’s determination to gain the love she has so desperately craved all her life. Lorilla is an engaging heroine and she grabbed at my heart strings along the way and had me rooting for her “Happily Ever After”.

Gabriel is my favorite kind of hero, a tortured soul, scared to let go of the past and grasp a new life, yet brave enough to take a second chance on love. But in the end, willing to humble himself to gain Lorilla’s heart.

If you like western historical romance and warm-hearted Christmas stories, then this is a book you will love. It is one you will want to pull out and read each year during the holiday season. I know I will. Oh, and I must say: Love the amazing cover. Happy reading!  

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Good morning! I'm so pleased to welcome my new followers. I hope you will stop in frequently and see what I have to say about the books I have read! I am an avid reader in many genres, but my first love is historical. At times I read to the point that it interferes with my writing. I would love to learn more about you. LOL!  

A Chance to Love again by Callie Hutton

Widow Rachel Stevens is very happy with her job as a cook for the Lazy Sunset ranch where she is raising her son. However, the new foreman, Rusty McIntyre, is turning her life upside down. She could overlook how her son has begun to idolize Rusty, but she’s having a heck of a time ignoring the flutters in her stomach every time the man smiles at her. 

But Rusty has problems of his own. His previously unknown fourteen year old daughter has just arrived to live with him. Used to always being on his own, now he has a young boy following him around imitating his every move, and a surly young lady glaring at him. Throw into the mix the tug he feels toward the ranch cook—who wants no part of him—and life is no longer as easy as it once was. 

Published & Release Date: Soul Mate Publishing, May 14, 2013

Time and setting: Oklahoma 1906  

Genre: Western Historical Romance

Heat Level: 1

Rating: 3 Gold Crowns

Reviewed by Vikki

When I found this book, and read the reviews, I looked forward to reading it with great anticipation. I usually love western historical romances, but this one didn’t capture my attention. I did not feel any chemistry between Rachel and Rusty. The attraction between them lacks any fire, even when they give into their desire there just is not much passion.  Now, it’s by far not the worst book I’ve ever read, but it is certainly not the best either. I found the story line a bit bland for my tastes. Too many things happen that do not ring true for me.

Even when they first meet, there is no spark, no excitement, except a bit of angst. The story starts out with Rachel Steven’s nine year old son, Will, crashing into Rusty McIntyre when he rounds a corner in the general story and knocks over a display of thread. Rusty reprimands the boy and Rachel takes offense. Then to top it off, she says, “Wait just a damn minute!” This totally took me out of the story. A woman in 1906 would not curse in front of anyone, and certainly not a stranger.  

Now I understand this is a short novella, but there is no depth to the characters, especially Rachel. Evidently, she married young and lived to regret it. I gathered there was no spark between her and her late husband. In fact, I got the impression that the man bored her to death. Now she does not want to get married again. This is a weak reason and made me think of Rachel as a shallow person, so I did not become vested in seeing her achieve her goals.

However, I did like Rusty. He is somewhat of a gentleman to Rachel from the start, even though she does not treat him very nice. When he offers to help her when he finds her wagon stuck after a storm, she grudgingly accepts. Rusty takes her young son under his wing, and the boy grows to worship him, while she tries to limit their interaction, without good reason.

Rusty has a good reason for his lack of trust in women, since he caught his fiancée with another man, just weeks before their wedding. Now, years later, he finds out that she had his child, has died, and her parents do not want to raise the fourteen year old girl. They turn the girl over to him. Here Rachel does respond in a positive manner and lets Amelia stay with her, since she is antagonistic toward Rusty and does not want to have anything to do with him.

Nonetheless, the book is well-written and it is free of any grammatical errors. The pacing is steady and there is no sagging middle. I enjoyed the ending and I am glad they achieved their HEA. Happy reading!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Music for my Soul by Lauren Linwood

As the third wife of an abusive French vineyard owner, Madeleine Bouchard hasn’t produced the expected heir after three years of marriage. Fearing he plans to kill her, she flees during a trip to England. Unable to make her way home, she joins a troupe of traveling mummers and reinvents herself as the only woman troubadour in the land, captivating audiences with both song and story. 

Nobleman Garrett Montayne’s fascination with Madeleine causes him to pay the troupe to bypass their next stop in order to journey to his estate. Though he suspects Madeleine of being a thief with dark secrets, love blossoms between them under the magical moon of summer solstice. 

But Madeleine’s past is about to catch up with her, as her husband is set to arrive to conduct business with Garrett. Madeleine determines to free herself from her loveless marriage and make a new life with Garrett, no matter what the cost.

Published & Release Date: Soul Mate Publishing, May 14, 2013

Time and setting: Medieval England 1346  

Genre: Historical Romance

Heat Level: 1

Rating: 4 Gold Crowns

Reviewed by Vikki

I found this book using the Kindle Unlimited program. I am so glad I did. I thoroughly enjoyed this remarkable and compelling story. It is not an easy story to read, since it deals with adultery, something that skirts what is traditionally acceptable in a medieval historical romance, but Ms. Linwood handles the subject with a masterful touch.

The story drew me in from the first page as Madeleine flees her abusive husband, whom she is convinced plans to kill her, since she had not conceived in the three years of their marriage. On her long trudge down the road, she gets a small stone in her shoe and she sits down in the middle of the road to remove. When she hears the sound of horses, she scurried to the side of the road, but she forgets her lute and runs out to retrieve it. Two men see her, thinking they are highwaymen, she bravely tells them: “If you dare come closer, I’ll bring my lute crashing down upon your heads.”
She quickly realizes they are gentlemen by their manner of dress and the dark one’s impervious attitude, definitely not highway men. She tells them she is Lady Montayne, not knowing that the dark one is none other than Lord Montayne. She makes up an outrageous story of men who waylaid her and her husband’s valet who was escorting her to their London residence, knocking the valet unconscious.

Intrigued by this brazen woman, Garrett introduces himself as Sir Garrett and offers to escort her to London, but along the way she escapes. She meets up with a troupe of traveling mummers and joins them, becoming their troubadour. When she crosses paths with Lord Montayne again, he offers the troupe a great deal of money to come to his estate and perform for the upcoming summer solstice.  
Once the troupe arrives at the estate, the pacing of the story slowed down a bit, and I found myself looking at what percentage I had read, giving the story a bit of a sagging middle. Fortunately, the pacing picks back up at around, and I again couldn’t flip the pages fast enough. There are moments that are so heart-breakingly poignant that they brought tears to my eye. I became fully invested in the characters, and even though at one point, I could not imagine how they were ever going to have their “Happily Ever After”, I kept rooting for them.

There are very few sexual scenes in this book, but it’s filled with plenty of great sexual tension. At times, it is so thick you can cut it with a knife. My heart ached for Madeleine because she wants to be with Garrett so badly, but will not give into temptation. Of course they eventually do, and it is a highly emotionally charged scene to say the least.

I absolutely love how this book ends. I was so relieved when Garrett and Madeleine do at last have their HEA, after having so many obstacles put in their path. Of course, that is what I love about romance. It is what I expect and this book delivers it in a very satisfying way. If you enjoy a story filled with passion and sexual tension, then this is a book you will definitely want to read. Happy reading!    

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Dearest Darling (Love Letters) by Andrea Downing

Stuck in a life of servitude to her penny-pinching brother, Emily Darling longs for a more exciting existence. When a packet with travel tickets, meant for one Ethel Darton, accidentally lands on her doormat, Emily sees a chance for escape. Having turned down the dreary suitors that have come her way, is it possible a new existence also offers a different kind of man?

Daniel Saunders has carved out a life for himself in Wyoming—a life missing one thing: a wife. Having scrimped and saved to bring his mail-order bride from New York, he is outraged to find in her stead a runaway fraud. Even worse, the impostor is the sister of his old enemy.

But people are not always as they seem, and sometimes the heart knows more than the head. 

Published & Release Date: Wild Rose Press, October 8, 2014

Time and setting: 1891 Wyoming  

Genre: Western Historical Romance

Heat Level: 1

Rating: 4.5 Gold Crowns

Reviewed by Vikki

I received this book from the publisher for an honest review. I have always enjoyed Mail-Order Bride stories. I was intrigued by the book blurb and couldn’t wait to read this one. I was not disappointed, even though it is a very short novella. That is probably my only complaint. It just wasn’t long enough! I wanted more. Nonetheless, it is a sweet love story filled with a lot of heart and plenty of humor.

I loved Daniel’s reaction when he finds out that Emily has taken his intended’s place. I could just see him stomping around, ready to shoot off his gun, madder than a rattle snake. Ms. Downing had me right there as if I were Emily watching him come unglued swearing a blue streak. I imagined him throwing his hat down and stomping on it, even though she did not describe that. I could picture Emily gathering up her courage and telling him when he asked her what the hell she expected now, “Marry you, of course.”

Internally, Emily is wondering what she has gotten herself into. Daniel smells, he is dirty, and needs a shave, plus he is mean tempered. Not the best first impression to say the least. However, after he calms down, he treats Emily with plenty of respect and courtesy. Daniel quickly finds out he truly cares for her, but since he feels committed to Ethel, he insists on sending her back, even if he has to sell some of his livestock to do it.

Then Emily really throws him for a loop when she asks him to come to her bed, or his actually, since he has done the gentlemanly thing and given it her, while he sleeps in the barn. No matter how tempted he is, and he is very tempted for sure, he refuses, not wanting to take advantage of her vulnerability.  

After several weeks, she asks him again, and unable to resist, he falls under her spell, and they sleep with one another. The next morning before Emily awakens, he writes to Ethel, telling her he is in love with another woman and must break off their engagement.

While he goes to mail the letter, Emily’s brother shows up and convinces her that Daniel is just using her to get back at him, telling her several untruths. She goes with her brother broken-hearted and convinced Daniel still loves Ethel. Will Daniel allow her to talk away from him, or will he follow her and convince Emily that he loves her and wants her to be his wife.

I thoroughly enjoyed this delightful story from the first page to the last word and read it in one sitting, flipping the pages on my Kindle as fast as possible. While it is quite short, it has great character develop and a well thought out plot. The author brings to life the vivid landscape of the Rocky Mountains and the glorious skies above. Her historical detail for the time period is detailed, and it is obvious she did her research. If you like western historical romances with lots of heart, then this is one that you will definitely want to read. Happy reading!  

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Secret Pearl by Mary Balogh

Mary Balogh has no equal when it comes to capturing the complex, irresistible passions between men and women. Her classic novel, The Secret Pearl, is one of the New York Times bestselling author’s finest–a tale of temptation and seduction, of guarded hearts and raw emotion…and of a love so powerful it will take your breath away….

He first spies her in the shadows outside a London theatre, a ravishing creature forced to barter her body to survive.

To the woman known simply as Fleur, the well-dressed gentleman with the mesmerizing eyes is an unlikely savior. And when she takes the stranger to her bed, she never expects to see him again. But then Fleur accepts a position as governess to a young girl…and is stunned to discover that her midnight lover is a powerful nobleman. As two wary hearts ignite–and the threat of scandal hovers over them–one question remains: will she be mistress or wife?

Published & Release Date: Dell, Random House, November 29, 2005

Time and setting: Regency England  

Genre: Historical Romance

Heat Level: 1.5

Reviewer rating: 5 Gold Crowns

Reviewed by Vikki

I have now read this particular book three times. I rarely read books over again, except for Mary Balogh’s. Her stories are always so poignant and full of deep emotion. The Secret Pearl is a perfect example of her astonishing writing ability. This book was originally published in 1991, and I’m sure it broke all the rules back then, as it still does today. It is a story of adultery and the heart-breaking choices that the hero and heroine have to make.

Adam Kent, the Duke of Ridgeway leaves Drury Lane after a night at the theater. He sees a young woman standing in the shadows against the side of the building. Her quiet demeanor intrigues him. He asks her price for a night of pleasure He takes her to an inn close by and finds out she is—or at least she was—a virgin before he took her. After what was not a pleasant encounter for either of them, he takes her down to the tap room and buys her a meal. He finds out that she has not eaten in two days, and in desperation, she decided to sell the only thing she had of value, her virginity. After giving her some advice, they part on less than friendly terms when he drops her off in front of a dingy employment agency.

Adam is overcome with remorse. It is the first time he has violated his marriage vows, and to do it in such a cruel way…horrifies him to say the least. He sends his secretary out the next day to find her and offer her employment as his daughter’s governess.

Isabella Fleur Bradshaw is overjoyed when she is offered a position as governess for Mr. and Mrs. Kent’s five year old daughter. Determined to put that whole nightmarish evening out of her mind, she travels to the family home of the Kents, only to find out they are titled. She begins instructing the little girl and vows to be the best governess a child could ever hope for. She spends the first two weeks at Willoughby Hall in blissful ignorance that her new employer, the duke, is none other than the man who used her body on that fateful night.

There are a myriad of other problems facing Fleur. A murder charge hangs over her head, so she dares not flee from the hall. Adam’s guilt over his one night of infidelity is acute. While appalled by him, Fleur is drawn to the duke when she realizes he is an honorable man who gave into the frailty of his male nature. Will this unlikely couple choose honor over love, or give into their overwhelming passion for each other?

I could not stop reading this amazing story, even though I had read it twice before. The hero—who should not be a likable character—stole my heart with his immense sense of honor toward a wife who has long denied him his husbandly rights. No wonder he finally gave into temptation! A Heroine, who is a prostitute—at least for one night—captured me and held me in thrall from the first page to the last.

This is not a pretty story at all, and at times uncomfortable to read, but fascinating nonetheless. Only Mary Balogh can write a story so full of plot twists and turns that it boggles the mind, and scenes so heart-wrenching that they tore at my soul. There is a scene in the carriage where they sit side by side only allowing their little fingers to touch. It brought tears to my eyes.

If you want a story rich with passion, yet denial of a love to last a lifetime, a story that will tear at your heart, then give it back to you at the ending, this is one of Ms. Balogh’s you will not want to miss. Happy reading! 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Good day!

I'm curious and would like to find out your thoughts. When you read a book and you do not like it and could not give it at least a 3 star rating, do you still review it? It's been my policy for several years now, that if I can't do that, then I do not write a review, or rate it. My dilemma is: Am I doing a dis-serve to other readers by only reviewing books that I can give 3 stars? What do you think? 

Now if I can't finish a book because I totally dislike it, I would never write a review. That just seems unfair to the author. Unless I can finish a book so I get a full picture, I believe it would be wrong to review it. I have seen many reviews, especially on Amazon where the reviewer will say that they only read a small portion of the book, yet they still write a scathingly bad review. Do you think that is fair to the author or the reader?  Happy reading!
Hand-me-Down Bride by Juliet Waldron

To help her impoverished family, Sophie agrees to marry a wealthy older in far off America. Less than twenty-four hours after she arrives in German’s Mill, Pennsylvania, events have taken a far stranger turn than anything she could have imagined. 

Set in Post-Civil-War Pennsylvania, this tale of an arranged marriage is as much family saga as romance. Sophie is a sensitive young woman struggling to make sense of her past and to understand her new homeland. Karl is not only a veteran of the Great War, but scarred by the secret violence of his childhood. How they both learn to trust—and to love—is their unique story. 

Published & Release Date: Book We Love, LTD, October 26,2014

Time and setting: Post civil War  

Genre: Historical Romance

Heat Level: 1

Rating: 3.5 Gold Crowns

Reviewed by Vikki

The premise for this story is intriguing and captured my attention immediately, drawing me in quickly. This book is unique in that it involves German immigrants who have moved to America. I thoroughly enjoyed the historical elements very much, and it is obvious the Ms. Waldron researched this period of history, giving me a fascinating glimpse of what life must have been like in a German immigrant village in the post-Civil War era.

Sophie Neiman comes to Pennsylvania to marry Theodore Wildbach, a man three times her age. He dies on their wedding night without consummating the marriage. Karl Joseph, his youngest son, gives her a job as his housekeeper, when he finds out his father did not provide for her in his will. This is a lie. Karl’s brother, who is married to the judge’s daughter, connives and hides the codicil, which would have provided for Sophie.

At first Sophie and Karl do not get along at all. He thinks she is a prude; she thinks he is uncouth. They are at odds most of the time. However, Sophie’s questioning mind intrigues Karl. As they get to know each other better, they find redeeming qualities in one another and a growing attraction blossoms. When he finds out she only married his father to bring her family to America, he realizes she willingly sacrificed herself for them.

In his father’s will, the only way he can inherit the mill is to marry a German woman and run it for two years before he attempts to sell it and move west. Since Sophie is not like the other German women he knows, Karl decides to win her heart, but does he trust her? She has a secret. Finding it out could be the answer he needs to gain her love or tear it asunder. Will she accept him if she finds out about his father’s will, or will she turn from him, thinking he sees her only as a means to gain his inheritance?

After such a promising start, the sagging middle is a bit tedious to read. This occurs because the hero and heroine have too much conflict. But once they move past that, the pace picks up dramatically and the second half of the book pulled me in again. The author does an excellent job of setting up a scene. At one point in the story, there is a fierce storm; she describes it so well that I felt as if I were experiencing it with them. The emotions Karl feels when he sees Sophie is in danger are intense and very well-written. I sat on the edge of my seat as he raced against time to safe her.

While I enjoyed the ending and was pleased Sophie and Karl had their ‘Happily Ever After’, it was somewhat rushed. Ms. Waldron leaves some plot lines dangling to some degree, especially in regards to his conniving brother and his devious wife. Also the book needs some serious editing. There are quite a few missing words. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the story and I am glad I read it. If you like a story with a unique story line and a strong romantic element, then this will be a book you will want to read. Happy reading!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Christmas at Thorncliff Towers by Marine Myles


Thorncliff Towers is done up for Christmas, secure against wind and wolves. But Karina Petri is shut out, too, and the gypsy witch wants what’s inside. She envies the gifts, the feast, the pretty clothes, of course. But her true desire is for the love of Constantin Stoica. Her smolderingly handsome childhood friend agreed to serve Lord Draven after his brother was caught stealing last year. He suspects Karina was involved—and it would take more magic than she possesses to make him forgive…
Constantin has always been drawn to Karina’s dark curls, flashing eyes, and reckless ways. But trusting her has proven dangerous before, and this night holds more to fear than most. The wrong decisions could cost him his job, his safety—even his life. But letting Karina go could cost him his heart…

Publisher and Release Date: EKinsington Books, November 24, 2014

Time & Setting: Regency period, Romania

Heat Level: 2

Rating: 3 Gold Crowns

Reviewed by Vikki

I received an ARC of this story for an honest review. This just wasn't a book I could get into. I normally enjoy books based on fairy tales, but this just seemed a bit superficial to me. I did love the little girl Grace Ann, but it felt as if she were thrown into the story without much forethought. It's a very short novella and because of that, there is not very much character development. I never felt connected, or vested in the hero/heroine. Also some of the phrasing is just too modern for a book set in 1820 Romania.

So many characters are introduced, that did not have relevance to the story. There is a supposed villain in the story, but he's portrayed as a bad man, but with a love for his new wife. He even at one point, helps the hero get to the heroine, Karina. Everything just comes together so easily at the end with the hero and heroine falling into bed with each other. The scene is somewhat graphic and some of the explicit content actually turned me off, instead of exciting me. That's never a good thing.

I never enjoy writing a negative review, but I can't love every book I read. I personally never give a rating below 3*** stars, even if I probably should. The story does have a "Happily Ever After", which is somewhat satisfying. Happy reading!   

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Rocky Mountain Miracle by Christine Feehan

No Christmas will ever be the same after Cole and Maia meet on a snowy western ranch… Find out why in #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan’s romantic holiday e-novella!

When Cole Steele, a womanizer rumored to have killed his father, meets Maia Armstrong, a veterinarian rumored to practice magic, the sizzling romance could melt all the snow on his Wyoming ranch. And when an injured horse brings them together, Cole can’t help but believe that Maia casts spells on animals—and men. What else could explain the burning passion he feels for her and the thawing of his heart just in time for Christmas?

Publisher and Release Date: Simon and Schuster November 17, 2014

Time & Setting: Contemporary, Wyoming

Heat Level: 1

Rating: 3.5 Gold Crowns

Reviewed by Vikki

I received an Advanced Reader Copy from Net Galley for an honest review. I have read Ms. Feehan’s Carpathian series and love her vibrant writing style. While this story is vastly different from that series, I thoroughly enjoyed Rocky Mountain Miracle. While it’s not what I would call a “feel good” holiday story, it has an important message. Instead it deals with the serious issue of child abuse and how it can affect one’s life, wrapped up in a way to show how miracles really can and do happen at Christmas.

The story starts out with the two half-brothers coming together after their abusive father’s death, and Cole Steele finding out he has custody of his much younger fourteen year old brother. Cole did not even know he had a brother until after the sadistic father dies. Both are wary of each other as they struggle to get to know one another. One thing they find they do have in common is the hatred of anything to do with Christmas. Their father was particularly brutal at that time of year. Even though they were not aware of each other, their experiences with their father were the very much the same.

A cloud hangs over Cole with whisper and innuendoes following him everywhere he goes. At a diner in town, several men blatantly talk about him, not even bothering to lower their voices. Maia Armstrong, a traveling veterinarian, filling in for the local doctor, speaks up and defends him against the men in a startling way, catching Cole’s attention in a big way. An attraction stronger than a cold winter blast hits him, and he has to have this woman. He quickly finds out Maia is not interested in a one night stand, which is all he thinks he wants, no matter how drawn he is to her. However, he can’t leave her alone and goes to the local bar where Maia plays the drums for a small home-grown band. Every night, he watches her, trying to get her attention, but Maia keeps her distance, telling him to pick one of the much more willing women vying for his attention.

An injured horse and a fierce snow storm bring the pair together at Cole’s ranch for the duration. The rest of the story has them fighting their growing attraction for each other as unexplained accidents keep happening.

This is where the story line starts to lose a bit of its credibility in my estimation. The mystery and intrigue, while interesting, does not seem believable. I will not give any details, but I questioned the motive given for the villain in this tale. As the story unfolds and more is brought to light concerning the severity of the abuse the brothers suffered, I feel it is a tad overly dramatic. If the man did so many terrible things to them, it’s hard to imagine so many people turned a blind eye.

The romance between Maia and Cole develops slowly at first, as they fight the huge sexual attraction they have for each other. But then, in a matter of a few days, they fall madly in love. I do realize this is a novella, and the author could not give them much time to find their HEA. However, for me, it would have been a bit more acceptable if in the back story, they had known each other during the five months Cole has been back.

Nonetheless, even though I had a few issues with the story, I did enjoy it. The pacing is good and the story kept my interest. While I am not used to an author moving back and forth from one character’s point of view to the other, I did not find it confusing, and feel that it deepened my connection to the hero and heroine, since I did not have to wait for the next scene to find out what each of them were thinking and feeling.   

I thoroughly enjoyed the epilogue for it strengthens the love story by showing the couple several years later, and how their love has grown and become even stronger. I always enjoy epilogues because they usually tie up any last issues, or set up things for the next book in a series. If you are looking for a story of overcoming difficulties and moving beyond the pain of abuse to find a very satisfying HEA, and a nice sprinkling in of paranormal elements, which Ms. Feehan does so well, you will want to read this book. Happy reading!   

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Undressed by the Earl (A Secrets in Silk Novel) 

by Michelle Willingham

A man shrouded in grief…
David Hartford, the Earl of Castledon, is tormented by the death of his wife. Though everyone expects him to remarry and beget an heir, he is a man living in shadows, unwilling to break out of his prison of sorrow.

A spirited young woman who embraces life…
Impulsive Amelia Andrews befriends Lord Castledon and decides that he would make the perfect match for her prim older sister. Though she tries to bring the pair of them together, Amelia cannot help but see the lonely man behind David’s grim exterior. Even worse, she finds herself caught beneath his piercing stare…and she wonders how to melt his icy heart.

An unlikely match
No woman can ever replace his first wife…but when Amelia is caught in a web of ruin, David cannot stand aside and let her suffer. Can an unexpected marriage bring about a love even greater than the one he lost?

Publisher and Release Date: Montlake Publishing, July 1, 2014

Time & Setting: Regency, England

Heat Level: 1

Rating: 3.75 Gold Crowns

Reviewed by Vikki

I used my Kindle Unlimited program to obtain this book. I have read the first two books in the series, and loved the characters from Undone by the Duke. It’s a fascinating array of characters and once I started reading the series, I had to find out how the other sister’s love affair would play out. While Undone by the Duke is by far my favorite, I did enjoy Undressed by the Earl.

Amelia Andrew is a feisty, impulsive heroine, and when she makes up her mind to do something everyone needs to watch out. She has been in love—or so she thought—with Viscount Lisford, a well-known rake, who broke her sister Meg’s heart years before, since she was sixteen. Even though, she knows he is not a man she should love, she meets with him on several occasions on the sly. She quickly realizes he is not the man she imagined him to be. Amelia spurns his advances, and he takes matters into his own hands and kidnaps her.  

Her friend, David Hartford, the Earl of Castledon, and the man she has ear marked for her sister Meg, races after her to save her from Lisford’s dastardly plan. When he finds her, he does the only thing a man of honor can do. He asks her to marry him, to save her from scandal. Even though this is the last thing he wants, since he still grieves for his late wife and has no desire to wed. However, he has a daughter to consider, and she needs a mother desperately. As long as he keeps his distance, and only offers her friendship, he should be able to safeguard his heart.

For me, this is where the story derails a bit. There is just too much angst coming from David. I understand he loved his late wife, but at times he is quite cruel to Amelia and very cold. This bothered me tremendously. Personally, I don’t understand how she could fall in love with him, but she does. Although, he is a tortured soul and that is usually one of my favorite character archetypes, I struggled to like him. I did feel his pain though, and his feelings of betrayal to the memory of his late wife.  

I will say this for Amelia, she does not give up when she sets her mind on a goal. She is determined to break through David’s shell and gain his love, no matter what it takes. She is the redeeming reason why I kept reading on, even though, I wanted to slap David upside his head much of the time. I still wanted Amelia to achieve her HEA. She certainly works hard enough for it.
Ms. Willingham’s writing is smooth and flowing, and this story is evenly paced. I also thoroughly enjoyed Amelia’s interaction with David’s daughter, Christine, and how she goes about earning the child’s trust. Surprisingly enough, there is strong passion between them, considering the conflict between the couple for much of the book.

Even with these issues, I am glad I read this story. I found it very entertaining. It has a solid plot, and a satisfactory ending. The author does an excellent job of bringing the Regency period to life with her vivid descriptions of the scenes. I can just picture what “Aphrodite’s Unmentionables” must look like. If you enjoy strong conflict between the hero and heroine with plenty of passion, and delightful interaction between the sisters, then this is a book you will want to read. Happy reading!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Slow Hand
By Victoria Vane
Sourcebooks Casablanca
November 4, 2014

In rural Montana…
Wade Knowlton is a hardworking lawyer who’s torn between his small-town Montana law practice and a struggling family ranch. He’s on the brink of exhaustion from trying to save everybody and everything, when gorgeous Nicole Powell walks into his office. She’s a damsel in distress and the breath of fresh air he needs.

Even the lawyers wear boots…
Nicole Powell is a sassy Southern girl who has officially sworn off cowboys after a spate of bad seeds—until her father’s death sends her to Montana and into the arms of a man who seems too good to be true. Her instincts tell her to high tail it out of Montana, but she can't resist a cowboy with a slow hand…

About the Author:
Victoria Vane is a multiple award-winning romance novelist and history junkie whose collective works of fiction range from wildly comedic romps to emotionally compelling erotic romance. Victoria also writes historical fiction as Emery Lee and is the founder of Goodreads Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers and the Romantic Historical Lovers book review blog.
Social Media:
Website | Facebook | @AuthorVictoriaV | Goodreads | Pinterest

Buy Links:
Amazon | Apple | B&N | BAM | !ndigo | IndieBound

Giveaway 1 – Two copies of Slow Hand (two winners, ends 11/7)
<a id="rc-54ca7af713" class="rafl" href=""; rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>
<script src="//"></script>

Giveaway 2 – Victoria Vane’s Cowboy Seduction Kit

He went to work on his shirt buttons. His collar was soon wide open revealing a generous show of muscular chest that make her hands itch to rip it off him. She diverted her gaze and curled her itchy hands by her sides.
“Have no fear, cowboy,” Nikki replied in a tone meant to disguise the warm flush that had come over her. “I corralled all my wild impulses long ago.”
“Did you, now?” He still stood in doorway, head cocked. “Somehow, I think you may have missed a few strays.”
“Maybe I need to make myself clearer. I have an aversion to cocky cowboys.”
Just keep telling yourself that, Nikki. Maybe if you repeat it often enough it’ll become true.
“Is that so?” His brows flew upward. “I can’t say I ever met a woman with an actual aversion to me.”
“Don’t take it personally. It’s nothing against you in particular, but to your type.”
“And what do you think you know about my type?”
“Since I don’t have a pole handy, enough to keep you at arms-length. Besides that, this whole line of conversation is entirely inappropriate in light of professional ethics, don’t you think? You are my attorney, after all.”
“Well, darlin’,” he scratched his unshaven jaw, “there’s a little hitch to that.”
“What do you mean? You said you’d help me.”
“And I will, but you can’t engage my professional services until I know who you are.”
“I’ve told you who I am!” she insisted.
“Sweetheart, I’m a lawyer, and according to the law, your claim don’t weigh without authentication.”
“So what are you saying? That you don’t believe me?”
“I’m not saying that at all. Only that our professional relationship will commence once you get your I.D. In the interim,” His gaze slid over her in a way that threatened to melt her insides, “you’d best find yourself a nice, long, sturdy pole.”