Review: Say No to The Duke by Eloisa James

ebook, 384 pages          Publication: June 25th 2019 by Avon

ISBN13: 9780062877840                    Series: The Wildes of Lindow Castle #4

Rating:  5*

Beautiful, accomplished and with a mind of her own, Lady Betsy Wilde’s first season was triumphant by any measure, and a duke has proposed!  Unfortunately, her wild nature being what it was she wants one great adventure before marriage!       Obviously no gentleman would agree to her scandalous plan—but Lord Jeremy Roden is no gentleman. He offers a wager. 

If she wins a billiards game, he’ll provide the breeches. If he wins – she is his, for one night.  Jeremy has suffered over what his actions during the war in America ended up losing his entire regiment.  Jeremy’s  latest show of unfeeling and drunkenness is not who he truly is.   But Jeremy realizes that one night with Betsy will never be enough? In the most important battle of his life, he’ll have to convince Betsy to say NO to the duke. 

Leave it to Ms, James to come up with another sensual and emotionally packed wonderful read.  Both the Duke and Jeremy were wonderful candidates for Betsy’s hand in marriage – I really loved them both and Betsy’s struggle in making the right decision was a really tough one!  

No hints here but all was not as it seemed to be an easy choice!   Just pick up this book and wrap yourself in romantic bliss – with a few chuckles along the way!

Marilyn Rondeau

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REVIEW: The Ultimatum by Karen Robards

Kindle Edition, 368 pages                               Published June 13th 2017 by MIRA

Series:   The Guardian #1                                 Rating:  5*

Thief. Manipulator. Con artist. Call it what you will—Bianca St. Ives is the best in the business. Additionally, I shall also add that the author and creator of ULTIMATUM is a master story teller and gave me hours of entertainment in the listening of this audiobook.   And more importantly, I discovered it is Book ONE of the GUARDIAN Series and I fully intend to read the next two installments in the very near future.  

Growing up, Bianca St. Ives knew she was different from all her friends. Instead of playing hopscotch or combing her dolls’ hair, she was sent to study martial arts with sensei masters and dismantle explosives with special-ops retirees. Her father, a man with many identities,  prepped her well to carry on the family business. Now a striking beauty with fierce skills, the prodigy has surpassed the master.

Working with her father, she makes a living swindling con men out of money they stole. She also does things on her own terms. But her latest gig went FUBAR—if you count two hundred million dollars and top secret government documents going missing and seeing her father blown up during the mission. The problem now is, the US government doesn’t believe he’s really dead. They’ll stop at nothing to capture Richard St. Ives, a high-value target and someone who has been on most-wanted lists all over the world for over two decades.  The people don’t really know that much about using Bianca as bait but know she could lead them to Richard St. Ives.   With only a fellow criminal for backup and her life on the line, it’s up to Bianca to uncover the terrifying truth of who Richard St. Ives is and discover truths of her own life to set it right, before it’s too late. 

This was an absolute rush of entertainment pleasure with an amazing pace and suspense that kept me listening avidly way past my bedtime.   Great imagery and descriptive language of visualizing all the many tools of the trade and setting the scenes of each exploit.   Can’t wait to follow up on this series!!!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: More Than Anything by Natasha Anders

Publish:  June 11th 2019 by Montlake Romance       ASIN: B07KXMVBR6

Series:    Broken Pieces #1                        Rating:  5*

In a nutshell –  I really, really loved this story!   The protagonists grew up as neighbors.  Tina Jenson was the pesky little sister of her brother Smith’s best buddy Harris Chapman.   Harris was a few years older, and may or may not have recognized the pure adoration and major crush Tina had on him.  After all in her mind Harris was the most handsomest man alive in spite of him having an identical twin brother.   

Tina was self conscious of her well developed body after her mother constantly found fault with her looks, leaving Tina in a state of very low self esteem. But regardless of her big boobs and big booty, Tina was determined to have a grand time at Harris and his twin brother Greyson’s 20th birthday celebration.  As it happened it turned out to be the best (Tina and Harris jumped into bed together) and the worst  (when she overhears crude and hateful comments the next morning) night of Tina’s life.

Ten years later, Tina’s life is a mess. THE night with Harris didn’t just hurt her feelings; it started a cascade of disappointment and soul searing heartbreak. Every time she bumps into Harris, her heart twists inside out. She is constantly trying to hate the very sight of him, yet still wants him.  Truthfully, she’s harboring a painful secret from their night together that she’s not ready to reveal.

Crossed signals, high-society whispers, and shame have kept Tina and Harris apart for years, but deep down, they’re hungry for each other and eager to write their own rules. The story combines huge betrayals and a huge emotional roller coaster of misunderstood comments, finger pointing and some very hot sensual laden scenes.  With so much history of failing and feeling like a failure, it was taking its toll of both on Tina and Harris who was trying his best to convince her she was truly an  amazing woman!  

Loved the pace, the prose and the emotion!  Great read.

Review: Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

Series:  (Hot and Hammered #1)    Rated:  5*

This was a brand new author for me and the first book of a new series by a New York times best selling author.  Love discovering new authors (even if they’ve been around for a while) and FIX HER UP was indeed a fun read for me. Just have to say, I loved the story, loved the characters, loved the humor, and it hit all the ahhh spots in a lovely romance!

Georgette “Georgie” Castle’s family runs the best home renovation business in town.  As the youngest sibling she picked balloons instead of blueprints and her family has never taken her seriously since. Georgie loves what she does; planning children’s birthday parties and making people laugh.  Although, she has plans to expand into a full entertainment venue; along with spicing up her wardrobe;  working on her personal appearance (hair shaping and waxing (?)); and putting herself on the market to stop day-dreaming of her longtime crush of Travis Ford!

Truth! Georgie hasn’t been on a date since, well, never.  Obviously she’s never been kissed either!  No one takes her seriously that’s for sure. But if people think she’s having a steamy love affair, they’ll acknowledge she’s not just the “little sister” who entertains in a clown suit. And who better to help demolish that image than the resident sports star and bad boy tabloid favorite?

After an injury ended his career Travis Ford was major league baseball’s hottest rookie. Now he’s flipping houses with Georgie’s brother to keep busy and trying to forget his glory days. He made a name for himself on and off the field and now he’s having to live with the jokes of his bad boy love-um and leave-um affairs. Then here comes Georgie, his best friend’s little sister, who is not a kid anymore. When she kicks his butt to get him out of his depression she proposes a wild scheme. They’ll pretend to date, to shock her family and help him land a new job—he agrees. It’s not like it’s real, but somewhere along the line, the girl Travis used to tease is now a funny, full-of-life woman and there’s nothing fake about how much he wants her.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: The Favorite Daughter by Patti Callahan Henry

Paperback, 368 pages                                    ISBN13: 9780399583131

Published June 4th 2019 by Berkley Books     Rating: 5*.  

I am sorry to say that this was my first experience in reading this author’s work, but after this taste of her prose, visualization and emotional pull on my very soul, it will not be the last.  What a blessing it is to discover an author who can write such a moving and relatable tale with such insight into the aftermath of both the protagonists aching hearts.  

It was ten years ago, when Lena Donohue experienced a wedding-day betrayal so painful that she fled the small town of Watersend, South Carolina.   After coming to terms with broken heart she reinvented herself in New York City. Now as a freelance travel writer, the one place she rarely goes is home – until she learns of her dad’s failing health.

Returning to Watersend means seeing the sister she has avoided for a decade. But she can’t ignore her brother who runs the family’s Irish pub and has borne the burden of his sisters’ rift and the brunt of watching his father slowly succumb to the despicable disease of  Alzheimer’s.   Seeing firsthand how their father’s memories are slipping away, the siblings rush to preserve his life in stories and in photographs.  While doing the research into her father’s life and memories, some inaccuracies started to unfold which lead Lena to discover the truth of what set her apart from her best friend and sister even before the betrayal of the wedding day disaster.  

I admit to being easily and emotionally moved and truthfully I had to put this book down several times before I could continue reading because of the tears that came to my eyes.   However, I wouldn’t have missed the chance to experience this story and thank God that I had the opportunity to read and review!   Excellent and brilliant!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Montauk by Nicola Harrison

Montauk, Long Island, 1938. Once a humble fishing village and now it is serving as a playground for the New York City wealthy elite.  When her husband approached her with the plan to summer in Montauk, Beatrice Bordeaux was delighted thinking it would be just the ticket to help reignite the passion in her and Harry’s  marriage – that is until she understood that he would not be spending the weeks with her – just the weekends.  But, soon Harry had excuses that he wouldn’t be able to make the weekends because of being so busy pursuing other interests in the city.  

Raised as a country girl in Pennsylvania, Bea has never felt fully comfortable among these privileged women, whose days were devoted not to their children but to leisure activities and charities that seemingly benefit no one but themselves. Beatrice longs to be a mother herself, as well as a loving wife, but after five years of marriage she still remains childless while Harry is increasingly remote and distracted.  In spite of the  lavish parties at the Manor and the Yacht Club, Bea is lost and lonely and befriends the manor’s laundress whose work ethic and family life stir memories of who she once was. 

Exploring the town rather than joining the society women at the Manor Beatrice drifts further from the them and their preoccupations and closer toward Montauk’s natural beauty and community spirit.  Along the way, Bea finds herself drawn to a man nothing like her husband –stoic, plain spoken and enigmatic.  He  inspired her to face a haunting tragedy of her past and take a good look at what her future might hold.  

Time was racing and as the summer was coming to an end, Beatrice knew she had to make a choice to grasp what happiness she could.  However with a major hurricane blasting out to Long Island, would anyone survive to have a future.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Dark Storm by Karen Harper

Paperback, 384 pages                Published May 28th 2019 by Mira Books

ISBN13: 9780778369455           Series:  South Shores #6

RATING: 4*

This was a first time author for me and DARK STORM is part of a series which I hadn’t been following.  So with that in mind, I can tell you that this book can be read as a stand alone but with understanding that as you read there are references to past events that clue you in to that fact.

Evidently, forensic psychologist Claire Markwood has experienced her share of adventures, but she was not prepared for her sister, Darcy, going missing. Claire rushed to the butterfly sanctuary where Darcy had been working, prepared to do what she does best–work the clues. But her sister, along with her car and some of the sanctuary’s rarest species of butterflies, has seemingly vanished without a trace. 

Working the clues Claire and her criminal lawyer husband Nick uncover leads and secrets that turn out to be a bit unsettling to say the least.  Some of which were real twists of their family history.  Along with the search for her sister Darcy, Claire was also worried that the trauma her daughter had experienced a year before was beginning to create another emotional set-back to her fragile daughter’s psyche. 

What you will find in this stellar read is a roller coaster of emotions as the clues lead Claire to one of the most  surprising and edge of the cliff endings.  

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: The Rogue of Fifth Avenue by Joanna Shupe

EDELWEISS  – – May 28, 2019

ISBN13: 9780062906823           Series:  Uptown Girls #1

You could almost call him a fixer for serving the wealthy power brokers of New York society.  After a childhood he wants to forget,  Frank Tripp has finally gained the respectability and security his own upbringing lacked. There’s no issue he cannot fix. But then there is also, nothing he can do to  protect the beautiful, reckless daughter of an important client.  Mamie Green doesn’t seem to understand the word danger or take to heart Frank’s warnings of ruin should her father discover her extracurricular nighttime activities.

Mamie doesn’t need a watchdog as she continues her cause of playing the part of a modern-day Robin Hood – robbing from the rich to help support struggling families in the poorer parts of New York city. Why is her father’s lawyer dogging her every step and threatening to expose her secret life to her father. 

***  This was a terrific read I found hard to put down.  The writing was crisp, fresh and fast-paced along with a very sensual under-toned romance. The secondary characters were very well fleshed out as were the main protagonists, including Mamie’s father and her betrothed (since birth). 

In fact the secondary story-line featuring Mamie’s infancy betrothal to bind two wealthy families together was an interesting wrench in Frank and Mamie’s romance.  Loved the sensuality and the dialogs throughout the novel.  Simply an enchanting and lovely read I thoroughly enjoyed.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Just One of the Groomsmen by Cindi Madsen

Publication: May 28th 2019 by Entangled: Amara      ISBN13: 9781640634312

Rating: 5*

Addison Murphy has always been just “one of the guys” and her best friends are a group of guys who think of her as such. Now that one of her best guy friends is getting married, she’ll add “groomsman” to that list, too. Even though she doesn’t own a dress, she’ll get through this wedding dressed up if it’s the last thing she does. 

Tucker Crawford, now a lawyer, left town for the big city but returns to his small hometown, he expects to see the same old people, feel comfort in the same old things. He certainly doesn’t expect to see a nice pair of bare legs sticking out from under the hood of a broken-down car. Tucker probably should have realized that the only girl who could possibly be under a car in a dress – a dress – would belong to one of his best friends! 

Now seeing Addie in a different light; hiding the way he feels from the guys through bachelor parties, cake tastings, and rehearsals is one thing. But just as Tucker realizes that Addie truly could be the perfect woman for him— she’s leaving town to follow her own dreams. If he can’t convince her of his true feelings he just may lose the most important person in his life!  

Filled with a plethora of fun loving and zany characters, especially Addie’s wonderfully funny grandmother who’s game for anything.  The scenario’s will have you laughing out loud as two ‘besties’ figure out love and compromise!

Marilyn Rondeau