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

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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

REVIEW: The Dane Law by Garth Pettersen

(The Atheling Chronicles #2)

After a peaceful year running their Frisian estate, the main characters, Harald and Selia are called to England by Harald’s father King Cnute.  Their return home is met with violence and intrigue. 

Cnute, the king had vowed to Queen Emma that their son, Harthacnute, would inherit the throne, but Cnute also recognizes that the man is cruel and reckless. Many view Harald as the better choice, which makes him a target for the unseen supporters of his half-brother. Regardless King Cnute is not a fool and urges Harald to be prepared to assume the throne should Harthacnute prove inadequate. Harald resists being swept up by forces beyond his control, but doubts he will survive the reign of King Hartha. Unfortunately, there is another brother to contend with. Sweyn, and he could be an even bigger threat to Harald.

***  While I appreciated the author’s research with names and terms that were used during the period of history and his preface of explaining what they were and meant was helpful, I had some difficulty getting into the story why I tried to understand what was going on.  It didn’t take that long and I did find myself totally swept up in the history and the events including scheming, murder, bribery and betrayal as the fight for power was going on.   This was definitely an all for themselves kind of life as well as a very brutal time to live and die which the author brought to glorious life.

Without giving too much away, I truly was into the many facet of the characters, their strengths and weaknesses and really enjoyed reading this chronicle.  Would definitely recommend all history buffs to read and enjoy!

Marilyn Rondeau  

REVIEW: The Good, the Bad, and the Duke by Janna MacGregor

368 pages       Publication: November 27th 2018 by St. Martin’s Paperbacks

ISBN13: 9781250295972         Rating 5*

Can’t say when I enjoyed a story more! Historical romances are my favorite and THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE DUKE by Janna MacGregor was one I truly enjoyed.  

Lady Daphne Hallworth was ready to celebrate the holidays with her family but all the participants left assuming everyone had a ride.  At first quite piqued that she was left home alone, Daphne uses the time to work on her dream—opening a home for unwed mothers.  Taking a bit of time out for a walk, she sat in the park and thought to make some notations in her very private journal, when a young pickpocket grabbed her reticule with the journal in it.   Giving chase she ran into her  brother’s best friend-turned-enemy, Paul Barstowe, Duke of Southart.   Her personal journal holds secrets that could devastate her family. Daphne has always harbored private feelings for the man her family scorns…though perhaps striking a bargain with the handsome Duke will solve both their problems?

Paul, long considered good for nothing, aims to open a hospital to honor his brother and restore his reputation. So when a conflict over the land, which Daphne wanted for her Home for unwed mothers, brings him straight into Daphne’s life, they make a deal: He will help her find her diary if Daphne can change her family’s opinion of him. 

Lady Daphne has held a tendre for Paul for most of her life, and in spite of the conflict between her brother and his once best-friend – Daphne still held him in her heart.  Amidst lots of scenarios between Daphne and Paul while he does his best to protect Daphne from ruin as her stubbornness of wanting to retrieve her journal leads her to several locations a lady never should be in, their passions ignite.  And in trying to turn over a new leaf, will Paul’s efforts to help turn her brother into wanting to call Paul out!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Someone to Trust by Mary Balogh

Since her husband’s passing, Elizabeth Overfield has been thinking that she is about ready to enter into another suitable marriage. However, after she meets Baron Colin Handrich, Lord Hodges, at the Westcott Christmas house party  she wishes she weren’t so old.  Elizabeth simply enjoys his company as they listen to carolers on Christmas Eve, walk home from church together on Christmas morning, and engage in a spirited snowball fight in the afternoon. Both are surprised when their sled topples them into a snowbank and they end up sharing an unexpected kiss. They both realize that any relationship between them, would be fruitless for she is nine years older than he.

Returning to London the following Season, both were dedicated to find more suitable matches, but  they also agreed to share one waltz at each ball they attend. This innocuous agreement proves to be one that will topple their worlds, as each dance steadily ensnares them in a romance that forces the two to question what they are willing to sacrifice for love. 

As is with all books by Mary Balogh I immediately fell in love with Lady Elizabeth who is portrayed as the kindest and warmest kind of person whom I would want to be her friend.  And Colin, of course, was the sweetest and most charming of characters so kind and caring.  Bittersweet at times but really the best kind of tome to curl up with and savor the romance.

Marilyn Rondeau  

Review: My One and Only Duke by Grace Burrowes

Series – Rogues to Riches #1

Mass Market Paperback, 442 pages

Published November 6th 2018 by Forever

ISBN13: 9781538728956

London banker Quinn Wentworth is facing execution, for a murder which he is being framed for.  But, before the floor drops out of the gallows he’s declared the long-lost heir to a dukedom! Quinn has fought his way up from the vilest slums, and now he’s ready to use every dirty trick he knows to find the enemy who schemed against him.

Except for one tiny problem! Thinking he was on his way to the devil, he had married  Jane Winston, the widowed, pregnant daughter of a meddlesome prison preacher. Quinn, believing his days numbered, offered Jane marriage as a way to guarantee her independence and provide for her child. Neither thinks they’ll actually have a future together.  And that is where the fun begins.  

One thing you can expect from Grace Burrowes are different scenarios which I have found are a trademark of this brilliant author.  And MY ONE AND ONLY DUKE the first book in this new series introduces us to the unconventional Wentworth family which I predict is going to be a winner!

Quinn is now an even  wealthier gutter rat out for vengeance. Jane is a minister’s daughter who must turn a marriage of desperation and convenience into a proper ducal union.   Add to that Quinn’s two sisters, and younger handicapped brother who were just as hungry for payback as Quinn for the dastardly person who framed their brother and Jane had her hands full.  With some training, albeit not in a role as a duchess, Jane had the task of turning this unusual household into a refined ducal residence as well as teaching Quinn that love and trust were part of having a real marriage.

Marilyn Rondeau 

Review Duchess by Design by Maya Rodale

Duchess by Design

Published October 23rd 2018 by Avon

Series:  The Gilded Age Girls Club #1

First of all – I absolutely LOVED this story!!!   Not only was it the first book in a  new series which I love to start from the beginning but Maya Rodale is a “new” author for me!  I have heard of her and seen her name many times but ashamedly I had never read her.  THAT is going to change!

Becoming a duke Brandon Fiennes, took his duties seriously especially having inherited a bankrupt estate along with the title and his dowager duchess mother and two sisters who needed to be taken care of.  Brandon had always been dependable and did his best keeping the estates afloat in spite of his father’s wasteful ways.   However, unless he found a wealthy bride his cause was hopeless.  

Heading to America he was on the lookout for a wealthy heiress who would trade their wealth for a title as a Duchess.  In fact he felt pretty lucky when he happened to bump into a young woman, Adeline Black, who totally intrigued him and seemed to occupying the suite next to his.  Unfortunately, she was simply a seamstress who was calling on the real heiress.  However the heart knows its own mind and after Adeline is found out to be what she purported to be Brandon did start shopping the New York heiresses, only to discover none measured up to Adeline.  

Expect the unexpected but told in a delightful and fun way as both find that true love leads to unexpected and surprising results.   A wonderful full bodied and delightful story.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Sold On A Monday by Kristina McMorris

SoldMonday

Published:    8/28/18                                       Rating: 5*

Sourcebooks Landmark                                ISBN: 9781492663997

Just so tired of covering and photographing society events for his newspaper Ellis Reed drove through a town and stopped by a sign and scene that evoked memories of a dark past from his childhood.  The sign read “ 2 CHILDREN FOR SALE”.  Evidently it was the final act of a family’s struggle to feed themselves in 1931.  The great Crash, the great depression, bread lines, soup kitchens – it could have been written by so many families who couldn’t stand to see her children starve.  

Ellis took the picture bringing it back to the paper where Lillian Palmer saw it and brought it to the chief editor who wanted a story to go with it.  It was the big break Ellis Reed needed, even though the picture was never meant for publication. But then just before it was printed, it was damaged and Ellis had to go back and re-take the photo, only the original children weren’t there, so he substituted other children into the photo with disastrous results.  

Both Ellis and Lillian realize that their actions had caused a great deal of misunderstanding and grief and though there was connection to their friendship they both felt the need to try and correct the actions that had been set in motion. As the two try to mend the fractured family, they naturally find a commonality and sense of soul in each other.  

As this book was inspired by an actual article and photograph from a newspaper that stunned a nation, you’ll find this to be a powerful novel of love and redemption between two unexpected souls who found their way back to a way of life they had been missing,

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: More Or Less a Countess by Anna Bradley

MoreLess Countess

Publication: August 7th 2018 by Lyrical Press

ASIN:   B078LJSGY9

Series:   The Somerset Sisters #2

Right from the boat I have to say I LOVED this story!  From the beginning to the end  I couldn’t put it down!   Violet Somerset was a terrific heroine and her attempt to save her young sister was well thought out as well as extremely entertaining!   One (me) had to laugh out loud at Violet’s remarks to Nicholas, the Earl of Dare, who was so clueless as to the double entendre’s Violet was continually lobbing at him.   For Nicholas, who had never had problems in seducing or attracting females – as the handsome bachelor earl – really couldn’t comprehend  why he was having so much trouble trying to charm this very unique and intelligent young woman!  He was told she was shy and unassuming – but with him she was anything but!   I found the story be unbelievably funny, until of course the game was up when Nicolas found out his ‘Hyacinth’ was none other than her older sister Violet, who by that time was just almost ready to tell him the truth. 

Bottom line:  Again I loved this story and can’t wait for the third book in this absolutely delightful series!

Marilyn Rondeau