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

Lake of the Dead by Susan Clayton-Goldner

Published January 16th 2019 by Tirgearr Publishing

ASIN:   B07L5Z6BMB         Series:   A Winston Radhauser Mystery #5

Rating: 5*

Every so often, if you’re lucky, you may discover an author that writes with such brilliance and emotion you may feel like you’ve won the lottery – the really big one! Well, let me say this, since my very first introduction to Ms. Susan Clayton-Gardner reading her award winning novel A BEND IN THE WILLOW I am one of her most devoted fans! In this LAKE OF THE DEAD novel – she continues to surpass all the kudos she has received from me.   

In this latest novel featuring detective Winston Radhauser he is brought into the case by a former victim who was featured in an earlier book.  Rishima was a young  woman who was worried that something bad had happened to her boyfriend who didn’t show up for his creative writing class when he had promised to be there.  Parker didn’t break promises.   Rishia had come to the one person she felt would the her seriously, Radhauser.  

Unfortunately, as Radhauser began the search he discovered that Parker, a promising new author whose work was nothing short of brilliant appeared to have drowned.   But as Radhauser continued to put things together the ‘accident’ didn’t make sense and with the help of a nearby neighbor, a colorful character named Homer “Sully” Sullivan, Parker’s drowning felt more like murder.  

Believe me there were many red herrings tossed out here and there as to motive, and numerous suspects, but the reason and the villain won’t be revealed until the very end!  Very highly recommended read by this rising star author!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Dare Me Again by Shelly Alexander

NET GALLEY – Jan 15, 2019             Kindle Edition, 285 pages

Publisher:   by Montlake Romance          ASIN: B07FD9PWDD        

Series:   Angel Fire Falls #2 Rating:  4*

Brilliant and restless, financial wizard Elliott Remington doesn’t turn down a dare – anything to help out his family.  This time it’s to coordinate a service-dog boot camp for veterans at his family’s resort. Success with this event will cement the resorts future meaning a one-way ticket to the West Coast to continue his dream career. But it comes with a hitch: teaming up with his ex, who vanished on him ten years ago with nothing more than a kiss-off note.

*** Loving Elliott with all she had, Rebel Tate did what she had to do—for both their sakes when she left.  As a dog whisperer with a keen sense of survival, she’s struggled and lived a tough life. This is Rebel’s last ditch effort to establish herself and fulfill her dream right back in Angel Fire Falls, doing what she loves, next to a man she’s never forgotten. The passion between them still smolders, with ignition just around the corner but neither is ready to get burned.

Both were stubborn and both had secrets too terrible that kept them from forgiving themselves for reasons only they understood.  Neither had ever told the other what they were, and both had reasons to not reveal them.   However, TRUST and taking a chance would be the one thing that could free them to love completely again.  While training dogs – a big part of training required trust and acceptance. With a bit of luck, maybe they could take their cues from the rules governing the of training dogs to learn to trust themselves!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen

Hardcover, 384 pages

Expected publication: January 8th 2019 by St. Martin’s Press   Rating:  4*

The ad she discovered was too good to pass up.   Seeking women ages 18–32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed.  So good that Jessica Farris decided to apply knowing that the girl it was intended for wasn’t going to show up.   Jess would go and  take the chance of applying herself 

Thinking that the psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, would just be answering a few questions for to her simply collect a windfall of money, Jess thought , “a piece of cake”!    Answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave.  But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive she was offered more money and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking…and what she’s hiding.   After numerous scenario’s the doctor put her in Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what was real, and what was manipulative by the doctor. Caught in a web of deceit, jealousy, and betrayal Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly and betrayals could shred one’s heart!

*** This was an intense read – and for the longest while I wasn’t sure of what seemed to be going on as to who was the good or bad person of the piece.  Unfortunately, clarity can come too late before the lessons learned have already decimated what happiness you discovered before your life blows apart.   An intriguing read.  

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