Review: REBEL by Beverly Jenkins

ebook, 384 pages Publication: May 28th 2019 by Avon

ISBN13: 9780062861696         Series:   Women Who Dare #1, The Le Veq Family #4

Rating:  5*

This compelling new series follows a Northern woman south in the chaotic aftermath of the Civil War and the historical references used in this novel were truly an eye opener in what and why the country became so divided.  Not only is this a very sensual and unusual love story but it’s one that needs to be read by all lovers of historical romance.  

Traveling to the South was both a very brave thing and not without risk for Valinda Lacey.  Her goal was a mission in the steamy heart of New Orleans to help the newly emancipated community survive and flourish. However, she soon discovers that here, freedom can also mean danger. When thugs destroy the school she has set up and then target her, Valinda runs for her life—and straight into the arms of Captain Drake LeVeq.

As an architect from an old New Orleans family, Drake has a deeply personal interest in rebuilding the city. Raised by strong women, he recognizes Valinda’s determination. And he can’t stop admiring—or wanting—her. But Valinda was spoken for and as much as Drake wanted it otherwise, he was too much of gentleman to pine after a betrothed woman.  

In this I had to admire both Valinda and Drake – Valinda was all that was good and pure and as much as she felt the undeniable pulse of passion for Drake, she had made a promise to her very dear friend.  The secondary characters were so very much a part of the whole and added such substance to the entire story. Not only was this a wonderful love story but it was also about family love and values which I found to be incredibly satisfying.

Marilyn Rondeau

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Review: No Other Duke But You by Valerie Bowman

Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages        Expected publication: April 30th 2019 by St. Martin’s

ISBN13: 9781250121677                         Series: Playful Brides #11

Rating: 4-1/2*

I absolutely loved this book!  It was so lifelike in that here are two protagonists, Delilah and Thomas,  who grew up sharing many daring escapades together and were like brother and sister with everything in common!  Perfect together but ‘clueless’ in that they couldn’t quite see they were made for one another!  But I digress.

Lady Delilah Montebank is a treasure, only her mother doesn’t see it and has hounded Deliliah to find a husband – or she’ll find one for her!  After being picked on once too many times Delilah pronounced she would have the most eligible Duke of Branville up to snuff by her birthday – within weeks of her announcement!  

Her best friend, Lord Thomas Hobbs, the Duke of Huntley, thinks Delilahs quest to become a Duchess is ridiculous.  Naturally he was a confirmed bachelor.  But with Delilah thinking her ‘love potion’could possibly win over Branville, Thomas switches rooms whereby Delilah mistakenly gave Thomas the potion.  

With room switching and ladies attempting to compromise other bachelors at the house party, the story gets pretty hilarious at times.  But when push came to shove it would be Dukes to the rescue, but who would win the prize of Lady Delilah?

To find out I highly recommend you read the book!  

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Anything But A Duke by Christy Carlyle

Publish date  – 4/30/19     by Avon                                

ISBN13: 9780062854001              Series  Duke’s Den #2

Take one very independent lady who has the  capability and quick mind for inventions and one self-made man who often backs said entrepreneurs and what you get is an intriguing story of two brilliant people who haven’t got a clue that they were meant for each other.  

Perhaps because self-made man Aidan Iverson had more doors closed  in his thirty years than he’s ever cared he wasn’t being as broad minded by Ms Diana Ashby’s need to be recognized for the useful things she had invented.   As a member of the elite Duke’s Den, he has all the money he could possibly need, but the one thing he can’t purchase is true power. If roguish Aidan can’t buy his way into the aristocratic  hallowed halls, he’s ready to try a more extreme measure: marriage.

As  a proper lady, the only thing Diana Ashby desires is to be left alone to create her own devices. When her dreams are crushed, she must find another way to secure the backing for her invention. Knowing Aidan’s desire to enter her world, Diana strikes a deal to arrange Aidan’s marriage to a perfect lady—as long as that lady isn’t her. Diana doesn’t want any distractions from her work, particularly of the sinfully handsome variety.   As Diana and Aidan set out to find him an aristocratic match, neither are prepared for the passion that ignites between them or the love they can’t ignore.

So much fun, loved all the gadgets Diana came up with to make life easier!  Definitely can recommend this book.

Marilyn Rondeau

REVIEW: MARRYING WINTERBOURNE BY LISA KLEYPAS

Review: Marrying Winterbourne By Lisa Kleypas

Publishing – May 31, 2019

ISBN13: 9780062371843.            SeriesThe Ravenels #2

Characters  Lady Helen Ravenel, Rhys Winterborne

First of all MARRYING WINTERBOURNE was delightful and Ms Kleypas’        originality and creative scenarios have left me with that wonderful ahhhhhh…. feeling once again.     I discovered Lisa Kleypas many years ago, and I find that as the years progress her writing  gets more and more refined like a fine wine. It just gets better than ever and one must give high marks to this new series The Ravenels.    

Common-born Rhys Winterborne’s vast wealth and success weren’t given to him.  In business and beyond, Rhys gets exactly what he wants through a unyielding determination to succeed.   From the moment he meets the shy, aristocratic Lady Helen Ravenel, he is determined to possess her. And if it takes ruining her to ensure she marries him, then so be it.  However as his all consuming lust changes into a love he’s never felt before, he’s afraid of losing her.

Right from the start Lady Helen was a bit frightened of the Rhys but as she gets to know him better she sees the vulnerability and the gentleness of the man.   Helen realizes she is in love with Rhys but then discovered something about herself that could destroy the man she loves.  Her biggest decision, should she trust in love or continue the lie that if Rhys knew would destroy his faith in her?

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Highland Crown by May McGoldrick

Publication: April 30th 2019 by St. Martin’s Paperbacks     Rating: 5*

ISBN13: 9781250314970                Series:   Royal Highlander #1

If you are anything like me when looking to read Historical fiction I simply adore it when the author is able to weave in actual events of historical nature into the fiction making me think – yes, this could be very true!  In Isabella and Cinaed’s case who’s to say these adventures didn’t take place.  Who indeed?

Isabella was unique in that in the 1820’s she was a doctor and had passed the tests to practice medicine.  Although it was generally at the side of her doctor father and later doctor husband that she would practice.  Dedicated to healing she tried to overlook the Highland rebel activities she knew her husband was involved in.  And it did come to pass that the rebels were rounded up during an ambush where her husband was killed but Isabella escaped with her sister and his daughter.  Now guilt by association, the English authorities had set a bounty on her head.    Spirited away by a friend she was handed over to a woman  Anna  who had no use for  an English woman and if she knew of the bounty Isabella would have been turned over to the authorities in a heartbeat.

Enter Cinaed Mackintosh, a ships captain who had after being thrown into the rocks from a horrible storm then had to destroy what was left of his ships cargo and the ship before the English discovered him. Unfortunately, the people who scavenge for loot don’t want to see survivors so he was shot and left for dead.   Isabella, found him and there was no way she would let a living soul perish if she didn’t try her best to save him!  

The rest of the story is what you will have to read your self. Where you will meet a plethora of secondary characters whom you’ll love and hate, but you won’t forget. Highly recommended for the adventure, the fast pace, and the lovely romance.  And as an added bonus a pretty surprising ending!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: To Wed an Heiress by Karen Ranney

EBOOK:   400 pages                         Publication: March 26th 2019 by Avon

ISBN 13:  9780062841070                                          Series   All for Love #2

Rating:   5*

In an attempt to escape what was seeming like a forced marriage, Mercy Rutherford  traveled to Scotland to escape the possessive grip of her fiancé. Unfortunately, on the last leg of her trip to see her grandmother a monster flew out of the sky and landed on her carriage.  Well, not really a monster but some kind of flying machine and a very abrupt and man who was more worried about his machine than the condition of she and her maid.  However, after introductions were made Ross Caithart brought her to his castle and set her maids broken arm and stitched Mercy’s gash in her head.

To all intents and purposes Ross Caithart most certainly was mad. Handsome beyond words, he’s also causing an irresistible flutter in Mercy’s stomach beyond reason. But as soon as Mercy mentioned her grandmother – Ross made the connection and made haste to get her out of his castle and up to Mercy’s kin.  However, if Mercy was expecting loving arms happy to see her, she was sadly mistaken and her arrival was met with contempt and derision.  All because of arriving in the Caithart carriage?   

When Mercy’s fiancé Gregory arrives to see their arranged marriage to its bitter end, Mercy desperately turns to Ross with an offer of her fortune—and her hand in marriage.  The Earl of Morton has a reputation for being an eccentric, but even he is hesitant to engage in such a rash proposition—no matter how utterly beguiled he is by the wildly independent American heiress. And yet, with so much at stake, how can he possibly say no?

Bottom line I truly enjoyed this novel as much as the rest of the titles this author has put out over the years.  This has just the right amount of action, adventure, sensualness, and rivalry making for a fascinating read. 

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: The Wrong Highlander by Lynsay Sands

Avon Publishing – Jan 29, 2019

Series:  Highland Brides #7         Rating: 4*

Lady Evina MacLean had heard all the stories describing Rory Buchanan’s skill as a healer. Now, with her father so near death she had no choice but to go and beg him to come and save her father’s life!  However, when she came upon the Buchanan washing up in a waterfall, she couldn’t believe how handsome he was all naked and wet.  Evina sent in her man to bring him out from under the falls when a fight ensued with Buchanan not knowing who was dragging him from the falls assumed he was a  bandit.  The Buchanan put up quite a struggle and rather than see her man hurt Lady Evina  knocked him out with the hilt of her sword.  Granted she did hit him pretty hard – but time was of the essence! Evina had to get him home before her father perished, so while still naked, he was strapped over his horse and raced back home to Evina’s castle. 

Unfortunately, what Evina did not know was that she had not taken Rory Buchanan but his brother Conran.  While he was not the healer Rory was, Conran did have some healing skills learned from his brother.  But rather than explain the mistake, Conran just did what he knew to do and tended to her his patient and after a few hours, he had discovered the cause and proceeded to bring the man’s fever down.

***  In Lynsay Sands’ novels you will always find some feisty heroines, hunky heroes, and lots of laugh out loud moments and THE WRONG HIGHLANDER is no exception!  From the ride back with Conran’s naked butt and Evina’s hand hanging on to his cheek to keep him from falling off, to the miscommunication involving her marital state and the picnic in the tall grasses the reader will experience a whole range of emotions!   Adding in a plethora of lovely secondary characters also added to the total enjoyment of the read.

Yet all was not right and someone was trying to kill Lady Evina. Just when you think you know what’s going on there will be red herrings tossed in to make you think otherwise.  And you can always remember  that what you think is obvious is not going to be the answer.  However, what you can count on is a simply terrific and engaging sensual novel that will allow a whole range of emotions to be let loose with dynamic and creative writing.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Tempt Me With Diamonds by Jane Feather

Expected publication: January 29th 2019 by Zebra         ISBN13: 9781420143607

Series:   London Jewels #1                                            Rating:  4*

Wealthy heiress, Diana Sommerville, both beautiful and intelligent has finally returned home after overseeing her family’s diamond mines and taking care of her beloved brothers remains who had been killed in the Boar Wars in Africa.  She wanted peace and solitude when she arrived at her family home, but instead she found to her horror that Rupert Lacey, the man she once loved and now loathed had moved in before her return and intended to stay!

Rupert Lacey had grown up with Diana and her brother.  They were best friends and Diana was going to marry Rupert until she discovered that he had been unfaithful.  However, her brother, unbeknownst to her, had left a will naming Rupert his beneficiary to share Diana’s wealth and home.  

*** One can imagine the scenario’s that commenced when Diana was faced with the fact that her beloved brother had left his shares of diamond mines, a prize race horse, and her family home and properties to her former fiance!   Try as she might, legally there was nothing Diana could do to wrest control from Rupert! Worse, most people assumed they had married while abroad and to keep herself from utter ruin while living in the same house, Diana had to pretend they were man and wife.

Try as she might, Diana was not immune to Rupert and the passion that existed between them sizzled. It would take honesty and truth to set them free to love again which is exactly what they each wanted should these two stubborn souls admit to themselves.  

Great story – fast read and paced well!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Katies Highlander by Maeve Grayson

Book 3 of 3 in Highland Protectors (3 Book Series)

Publisher: Loveswept (January 22, 2019) Sold by: Random House LLC

ASIN: B07CR5Z599 Rating 4*

This is truly one of my favorite series by this author of the MacDara Clan who were magically whisked   from the tenth century Scottish Highlands to current day North Carolina where Goddesses reigned and  had tasked the family to preserve and safeguard a relic which kept humanity on an even keel.  Most of the family had adjusted to the new modern world and circumstances. Only Ramsey MacDara wasn’t too thrilled and wished he were back in the old world having had a bad relationship with a “golddigger” whom he had almost married.

Archaeologist Katie Jenson happened to be traveling through North Carolina when her car went off the road and lo and behold a kilted sex god happened by to help pull her out of her wrecked car, carrying a spear, and riding a horse.  Try as she might to dissuade him, Ramsay was not going to leave her so he brought her back to his family’s Highland Theme Park home.  However the archaeologist in Kate couldn’t get the sight of his spear out of her mind knowing it was an impressive piece of historical significance.  

***  Well as the story progressed with a wee bit of help from some family members who recognized Katie to be the chosen mate by the goddesses for Ramsay, they set off on a supposed picnic to get to know one another when Katie chose to veer from the path they were supposed to take and they found themselves hurled back into tenth century Scotland!  

Being back made Ramsay pretty happy, convincing Katie that this was real and not a staged re-enactment of Medieval Scotland and they were stuck there until the ‘goddesses’ decided to bring them back was not so easy.  And that was also something that Katie was not prepared to or wanted to do.  Leave behind modern conveniences, plumbing and coffee – phew! This was not going to be easy for Ramsay to convince Katie that his love for her could conquer all her fears.  

Bottom line, this was just a marvelous and wholly entertaining story for this series which has been so very intriguing from the very first!  Highly recommended!

Marilyn Rondeau