Review: The Hellion by Christi Caldwell

Hellion_Caldwell

Published:   April 3, 2018 by:   Montlake Romance

ISBN:   B07539FLHF                                 Series:    Wicked Wallflowers #1

Adair Thorne was reliving his nightmare! Once again his life was going up in flames.  Luckily none of his family would be dying this day but his gaming-hell dream was simply being turned into ashes.  Problem was he was certain he knew the rival gaming hell owner and family, the Killorans, were behind it.   His hatred, fury and passion for the Killorans was palatable, but when he met Cleopatra Killoran, a tart mouthed vixen who has made it her priority to ridicule him at every opportunity. If she were anyone else but a Killoran, Adair would unleash at the passion that devours him each time he looks at her.

No one can make Cleopatra do anything she doesn’t want to, but if it means protecting her siblings she would do it at a cost to her own happiness.  A peace accord had been reached whereby the Black family would sponsor Cleopatra  for a season in order to land a noble husband. But her heart seems to have a mind of it’s own Cleo  cannot allow her head to be turned by the infuriating and darkly handsome Adair Thorne.

*** What a terrific read, and what great characterizations! Can’t help but fall in love with Cleopatra – tough gal with an even tenderer heart she tries to hide from the world.  But little by little Adair, who really didn’t want to give an inch started to see her through different eyes and acknowledged that her ideas for the design of his new gaming-hell were both smart and sensible.  And though she was a slight ‘bit of a thing’ and not his usual type of round and buxom – Cleo was looking mighty fine.

Only one thing that threatens the rules of this game: Cleopatra has a secret! One that could unravel the families’ tenuous truce and shatter the unpredictably sinful romance mounting between the hellion…and a scoundrel who could pass for the devil himself.  But Romance being romance you’ll love the ending just as much as I did!

Marilyn Rondeau

Advertisements

REVIEW: A Lady’s Honor by A.S. Fenichel

Lady'sHonor

Published:   April 3, 2018                     by:   Lyrical Press

ISBN:   B073PB8P6N                     Series:  Everton Domestic Society #1

Rating:     5*

REVIEW:  Phoebe Hallsmith doesn’t regret the years of caring for her ailing grandmother.  No, discovering that the man she was once betrothed to turned out to be a rat-bastard doesn’t really bother her as well; so all in all Phoebe is more or less resigned to ‘spinsterhood’.   She has disappointed her parents and her brother has disowned her since she is now working as an employee of the Everton Domestic Society of London.  Phoebe generally doesn’t accept positions where she is acquainted with the client, but upon a special request she agrees to try and sort out the chaos of her best friend’s grieving husband’s life – Markus Flammel.

After Markus’ wife Emma passed giving birth to a beautiful baby girl he’d been drowning his grief inn a bottle.  Not even his toddler daughter can bring him  any form of happiness.  Phoebe who had been best friends and missed Emma was not about to let Markus get away with drowning his sorrows and neglecting his daughter – not if she had anything to do with it!

***  Again, I have been enthralled and moved by a book! I will also confess that I was originally drawn to this book by the luscious cover art and was thrilled to find that the beauty of the cover translated into a beautiful story as well!  Lucky me!!

Phoebe had known how much her friend Emma loved her husband, although she herself didn’t have that much interaction with him. However, knowing Emma, she knew that only a good, honest, and honorable man could have had her friend so mush in love.   For the sake of Emma’s beautiful daughter Phoebe would fight tooth and nail to bring Markus back to the living.  Once Phoebe convinced Markus to stop drinking and look at his daughter, she began the long process of bringing his estate back to rights and letting him discover the joy of loving the precious gift of his daughter that Emma left behind.

With a few twists and turns from an old beau and a new conquest, Phoebe now had to examine  her heart and decide if falling in love with her best friends widowed husband was the right thing to do.  Also, was Markus ready to move on as well?

Bottom line:  A wonderful story – high five star rating!

Marilyn Rondeau

Joanna’s Highlander by Maeve Grayson

Joanna's Highlander

Published:   April 10, 2018 by:   Loveswept Random House

ISBN:    B073YSNSLQ                       Series: Highland Protectors

Rating:    5*

REVIEW:      Grant MacDara still dreams of home – in tenth-century Scotland. His heart aches for what will never be again until a sharp-tongued, redheaded beauty leads a tour of senior citizens through his family’s North Carolina theme park, Highland Life and Legends. Though he’ll never forget his first love, Joanna Martin intrigues him like no other.  Deciding that she’s worth the risk of loving again, he tries so hard to hold her close that she nearly slips through his fingers.

Forced out of her job as a pharmaceutical sales rep by a devious ex, Joanna is trying to make the best of her quiet new life as a tour guide. But it’s not as if Joanna is immune to Grant’s charms, she’s just running scared from her poor choices in the relationship game which have made her think of herself as a “loser magnet”.  Although Grant seems to be the last honorable man left on earth, this mouthwatering stud needs a crash course in twenty-first-century women and Joanna is just the gal to teach him.

*** Let me say it – I LOVED this story!  First of all, Joanna was escorting a bevy of senior citizen widows who I believe were reliving their youth vicariously through interference in Joanna’s love life.   Having led a group of seniors once myself I need to tell you they’ll keep you hopping and find great amusement in embarrassing the hell out of you which is exactly what they did in trying to accelerate Joanna and Grant’s romance.   Those scenes were a hoot by the way!

What I really enjoyed was the dialogs between the two and the wonderful way Grant romanced her in the little things he did to show Joanna how he planned to cherish her!   There was, of course a bit of a hiccup in between before they had their happily ever after, but all in all – a TERRIFIC read!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review – Becker’s Circle by Addison Bray

BeckerCircle

Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing (March 14, 2018)

ASIN: B07B3HT15Y                           Rating: 4*

Gillian’s  boyfriend believed she was too gutless and dependent upon him to leave. WRONG! Gillian graduated Harvard early and left his hot temper and everyone else behind for Dallas quite determined to make it on my own.   She found  a job in an accounting firm as she worked towards her CPA and then landed a second job bartending at the neighborhood pub.  Tips were good but it’s smack in the middle of drug central where almost every jerk in the neighborhood hits on her.

Soon after starting her bartending gig, the neighborhood’s very popular drug dealer fell to his death a few feet from the table Gillian was serving. The cops say suicide, but the hot guitar player in  the band and she suspect foul play.   They started their mini investigation and as they discover more and more they’re drawn closer to each other. Before long they discovered, they knew who the murderer is!

*** Well talk about some colorful characters!  BECKER’S CIRCLE had them all and then some!  From the ‘witchy’ boss from hell at Gillian’s ‘day’ job at the accounting firm, to the girls who frequented the bar scene identified by their drink of choice names.

One has to commend Gillian by taking control of her life and setting off for a new life away from a toxic boyfriend who wanted complete control over her.   Yes, she made a couple of mistakes before she hooked up with her guitar wheeling buddy but overall I think she did well; juggling full time and part time  jobs while studying for her CPA exam.  The clues she came across to discover who the murderer was  were actually pretty minute, but in the end she persevered, and came out the heroine of Becker Circle.

Frankly this was a pretty sweet and suspenseful story with lots of twists and turns.  At the end  I loved the career choice!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Wallflower Most Wanted by Manda Collins

Wallflower Most Wanted

Mass Market Paperback, 307 pages

January 30th 2018 by                  Published : St. Martin’s Paperbacks Edition

ISBN13: 978125010990                                 SeriesStudies in Scandal #3

As  a dedicated artist, Miss Sophia Hastings could care less about finding Mr. Right then finding the correct angle of light for her paintings.   However, when she overhears a conversation indicating that there was danger for local artists she had to get involved.  It appeared that someone was making forgeries of famous works of art and passing them off as the originals.  What she wasn’t anticipating though was having to accept the assistance of the new impossibly handsome vicar who insists on accompanying her in her quest for more information.

Reverend Lord Benedict Lisle feels that Sophia is no damsel in distress, but he is not about to let her wander off alone either.  He finds Sophia’s curious, free-spirited nature extremely  alluring and he is planning to save her from herself before she she gets further into a situation that is becoming more and more dangerous, and he was beginning to feel that he wasn’t about to lose the one woman who stirred more than just his heart!

*** I simply love a good mystery and romance and find it even better when the two protagonists seem so completely polar opposites.   However, one thing Benedict did realize right from the start is that no one should ever keep  Sophia’s art interpretation’s from being shown at the upcoming art exhibition.   Sophia’s art might be a bit disturbing but it was life  and not just the  lovely landscapes most genteel young woman were supposed to paint.

Their relationship grew throughout the story and it was a lovely development from regard, to valued friendship, and obviously a great passion for one another either wasn’t ready to admit to. I must say that this story was great, the culprit who was actually producing the fake masterpieces was quite a twist I never saw coming.  All in all, a wonderfully engaging story.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Seastruck by Thelma Mariano

Seastruck

Kindle Edition, 285 pages                                   Published May 12th 2016

ASIN: B01FMWFFU0                                         Rating:  5*

Due to a very OLD curse, it is a race against time for Lura, a real mermaid, to find her perfect mate –if she doesn’t she will keep her bound to another man for life.

What encounters Lura has had with mortal men though have caused her nothing but grief, but when she spies a man drowning in the Gulf of Mexico, a sacred law compels her to save him.  Funny though, she couldn’t understand why he seemed so different from most mortal men she’s ever had contact with.  Still.before the full moon cycle ends, she must mate with a human in hopes of conceiving.  Actually, it is her only way of preserving the ancestral memories of her dying race.

Now the man she saved seems to have all the genes she needs for her offspring, so she shape shifts into a leggy blonde in the hope of seducing him.  However, Tyler has just come from a divorce and though he is mesmerized by Lura he is not going to get careless and have another woman get pregnant even though his ex really wasn’t pregnant to begin with.  Tyler now practices safe sex and that is not what Lura is looking for.

When Lura is captured by a treasure hunter, he triggers an ancient curse that keeps her in his power.  Unless she breaks this spell, her captor will father her child and ruin her life forever.

***. Very nicely done, definitely a bit of fantasy, but who can really be sure mermaids don’t exist and wouldn’t it be grand if Mermaids were real.   After all – think about it –  even some of the oldest tomes were written about the mermaids of old!  Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed this story.  I loved the description of how the mermaids change into two legged humans and how they live in the ocean.  I wanted to cry over the way the sea has become a huge dumping ground and the fish and turtles become caught in the garbage.

The interaction between Tyler and Lura, her grandmother and sister was wonderful and even though some did not get along with one another the closeness of their hearts was beautiful.

Bottom Line:   I loved this story and thought the dialogs were great and at times even funny as Lura became more and more frustrated trying to get pregnant.   Very enjoyable!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: The Gettysburg Ghost

Screen Shot 2018-03-22 at 10.44.14 AM

As young children Daniel Sutherland and Sarah McKee met, fell in love, and knew one day they would wed. Their plans to wed would be delayed when war broke out and the call to serve and preserve the country Daniel dearly loved beckoned so with promises to write every day Daniel went off to fight. At first the letters came regularly then after some months went by without word from Sarah, Daniel learned from a new recruit that back home he’d been reported as killed. What shocked Daniel most was that Sarah had wed his best friend so soon after hearing of his death. Terribly hurt and bereft of hope the inconsolable Captain Daniel Sutherland bravely led his men in a battle in which he was mortally wounded. He died in Trostle House where his spirit remained as he couldn’t resolve the conflict of why Sarah, whom he loved so dearly and thought loved him, would have married so soon after hearing of his death.

Some 140 years later a very sad and beautiful Lindy Dennsison and her friend Jane arrived at Trostle House for the 136th Annual Gettysburg Reenactment. Having just come off of another failed relationship Lindy had decided to start life anew. However, she could never have imagined that the ghost she encountered in her room would reach out and teach her the true meaning of love.

There are times when I am simply at a loss for words, when beautiful, gorgeous, heartfelt, and memorable just aren’t strong enough to describe the feelings that a story suggests. It took me a while to read through this short novella because of tears that streamed down my face caused by the sheer emotional intensity of writing that this beautiful love story evoked. Mr. Rogone’s writing was pure poetry. The letters from Daniel to his beloved Sarah were so heart-wrenchingly beautiful that I had to re-read them several times through tear-filled eyes. While Daniel and Sarah’s story was so heart wrenchingly sad, Rogone ventured further in picking up the various threads of other peoples lives and weaving them all together in one believable story to bring forth the truth of that long ago betrayal. In so doing he brings new hope and love to those in the present. This was a truly beautiful and moving love story that should make anyone yearn for that once in a lifetime special soul mate that so few of us are able to find. Rogone will not disappoint with this dramatically moving, memorable and engaging love story. If you are in love or hope to be some day, this would make the perfect gift for that very special someone in your life, or just as a gift to yourself.

Marilyn Rondeau, Screen Shot 2018-03-22 at 10.44.14 AM

 

Review: A Devil in Scotland by Suzanne Enoch

DevilInScotland

311 pages                     Published January 30th 2018 by St. Martin’s Press

ISBN13: 9781250095459                                    Series:  No Ordinary Hero #3

Rating 5*

1806, Callum MacCreath had been a wild and crazy young man all his life – treating life as an unrelenting adventure just drinking and womanizing and no way is marriage in any of his plans.  However, when he learns his childhood best friend Rebecca, and his older steady and upstanding brother Ian announces that they plan to marry Callum’s world turns upside down.   He didn’t realize it but he wanted Becca for his own.  Having been drinking all day Callum was not in his right mind and not only made a fool of himself asking Becca to run away with him, but Becca turned around and gave him a scathing refusal.   Having heard their argument his brother Ian banishes him for his duplicity and betrayal whereby Callum was only too happy to leave Scotland forever….

1816 – Marrying Ian was the practical, logical thing for Becca to do. But once Callum sailed away to America, she missed his rakish charm and lust for life. Now, ten years later, Becca is a widow when a much-changed Callum returns to his Scottish homeland. Ian had died an accidental death, but will Callum blame her for his demise?  Now neither can deny their scorching attraction, but will Callum ever trust her when she is keeping company with the man Callum blames for his brothers death.

*** I have always been a big fan of Suzanne Enoch and I have to say she has never disappointed me with her talent in writing a fully developed novel with extraordinary characters which makes me want to complete reading it in one sitting.  Callum was a great character and it was a pleasure to see him remake himself, after being banished by his only brother and cruelly rejected by the woman he always thought of as his best ‘buddy’ and friend.

One thing he was positive of was that his brother’s death was no accident! Now that the title had reverted to him he knew he had to return to Scotland to discover the truth.  What he never expected was to discover he had a niece whom he hadn’t known about – a child who completely stole his heart from the first moment he met her and he would protect her with his very life.  The fact that her mother Becca was keeping company with one of the prime suspects Callum felt was responsible for the ‘accident’ that  claimed his brothers life.  He would never let his niece be in the company of such a man.

I highly recommend this book and all the wonderful characters you’ll meet from a young precocious child to the four footed pets who form a ‘pack’.   Absolutely wonderful sensual romance and suspense adventure!!!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: A Duke In the Night by Kelly Bowen

Duke in Night

book, 368 pages

Published February 20th 2018 by Forever                               ISBN13: 9781478918554

Series:   The Devils of Dover #1                                            Rating:  5*

August Faulkner is a man of many talents besides being a Duke.  As a young boy he lived by his wits and only by chance, did he inherit a dukedom when a tragedy happened to wipe out the many family members who were closer in line to inherit than he.  Having lived a most destitute childhood he swore he would never be in that poor again.  He is relentless in buying and selling  companies from the mismanagement of aristocratic families who now censure his actions.  So he now makes his transactions less noticeable by using middlemen which is how he managed to acquire Haverall School for Young Ladies.

Clara Hayward, the headmistress of the Haverhall School for Young Ladies, on the other hand, is above reproach. Yet when she’s reunited with August, all she can think of is the way she felt in his arms as they danced a scandalous waltz ten long years ago.  Even when her head tells her he shouldn’t be trusted, her heart can’t help but open to the very duke who could break it for good!

***  I was totally swept up in this love story between August and Clara.  He was not a romantic, and sometimes abrasive but I couldn’t help but believe that there was some good in him that Clara recognized in spite of the hurt he dealt her so many years ago.   Naturally his reputation over the last ten years preceded him and even though her passion was electrified by his presence Clara’s head was on straight and kept herself aware of the rumors of his womanizing and his behavior.

Just as Clara couldn’t help herself from her attraction to August, he was having similar feelings himself which he basically refused to let blossom.   August knew he wanted Clara (just like anything else he obtained for himself) but he was having trouble identifying the reason why!   It’s a guy thing!   However, just as I thought he would really screw it up, he came to Clara’s rescue and finally realized what he had almost lost.

Loved this book!

Marilyn Rondeau