Duke of Sin

Duke of SinValentine Napier, the Duke of Montgomery dealt in secrets and blackmailing anyone he wanted. Though Val will find his latest scheme is being stopped by his housekeeper, who suddenly caught his attention.

Bridget Crumb was on a mission to find out what Val was blackmailing a person in Bridget’s life. She was desperate to find the objects but she will get sidetracked when Val makes his presence known in her life.

Duke of Sin is the tenth book of the series Maiden Lane by Elizabeth Hoyt. I really loved this book. I had been waiting to read this book as I was fascinated with Val and how evil he was, and he really was evil in the book.

Val’s character was a villain. There was a lot a bad in this man as he was blackmailing anyone and everyone but I found myself discovering the good as well. He wouldn’t necessarily be a hero at first glance, but it was there. I would say he was a white knight but his armor was tarnished. He shows his good side with how he protects his sister and how he helps those around him, well helps them in his own way. I really loved the interaction between him and Bridget. He was showing her how he was a horrible man but as he was around her, he kept letting his guard down little by little. Now Bridget’s character was interesting. She really took her job as a housekeeper seriously. She made sure everyone who was supposed to do their jobs got them done. Though there was more to Bridget and that intrigued me. I liked the secret she carried and how it played later on in the book. I also really liked that she was strong enough to want to love Val, to care for him when very few had done so before her.

I am reading Once Upon a Moonlit Night next which is a novella with the character Hippolyta Royle who was in this novel. I read the summary and it sounds like it takes place where her story had ended in the novel and I am looking forward to reading her story.

Never Kiss a Rake

Never Kiss a RakeBryony Russell and her sisters were left with nothing thanks to her father who had embezzled a fortune and then died fleeing. Bryony knew that was not true but she had to prove otherwise. She will disguise herself as a housekeeper in the Earl of Kilmartyn’s house as he was one of her suspects who was the true villain. She will be surprised when lust will take over but knows that nothing can come from it as he is her suspect and was married.

Adrian Burton, Earl of Kilmartyn, knew that this new housekeeper was not all she said she was. He could instantly tell that she was lying and Adrian wanted to enjoy figuring out as she was a challenge. These days that is what Adrian wanted, a woman he could enjoy not like his wife who was a treacherous woman who set out to keep him in the sham of a marriage.

Never Kiss a Rake is the first book of the series Scandal at the House of Russell by Anne Stuart. This series reminds me greatly of the series House of Rohan which was a series I loved reading and it was the same with Scandal at the House of Russell. I loved this first book. With the romance books I have read I will say that this book is definitely one of the darker cast of characters as there is a lot of treachery, betrayal and sabotage, and plenty of lust. All of those qualities are what made the book for me.

Bryony is a determined woman who wants to find out the truth about her father. She will not stop until she found the man who was responsible for her families ruined reputation. I liked that she was brave but very self conscious about the marks on her face which were probably very little but as she was told she was ugly over and over it sunk in. Adrian is a charming man who is devious with a jaded past. He very easily could have been the villain but he is the hero of the story just one who has a darker side. I liked that he wasn’t convinced about Bryony and knew she was hiding things right away as that kept the story going. Bryony and Adrian certainly have that lust for each other but it is held back that is until they are ready to basically tear each others clothes off though there was that danger that was still in the background.

The villain is a particularly cruel sort of person who is bent on wrapping up lose ends which meant that Bryony was in danger. The villain was not a stretch are you already knew that they had evil tendency but I wasn’t sure if they were the true villain of the book that is until Stuart confirms it.

After reading this book I know I will be back to finish up the series with the other two books.

Stay

StayAllie Larkin is the newest author we read for our book club with her first book Stay. We were able to have her talk with us during Skype which was fun as it always gives us more insight into the book. Not all authors are always available so we were lucky to have the opportunity to get her to talk to us.

Savannah ‘Van’ Leone has loved one man for the last six years but he sees her only as a friend. It all comes crashing down when he marries her best friend. Feeling sorry for herself Van will find herself ordering a dog over the internet after one too many drinks. Things will start to look up from there as she finds a friendship with her dog Joe and a man coming into his life, but trouble will still be coming Van’s way as she has to learn to stand up for herself and see how things truly are in her life.

I have to say within the book there were a lot of characters that kept me saying no I don’t like their attitude but then they change or rather Van sees beyond her own problems and really look at the people who have been around her. Van will grow up in this process and get herself in order and not be saved by the knight in shinning armor even though Alex would be a good knight. So I did like that she changed her own path. I also loved the dog Joe. He was a wonderful addition to have and funny as he was bought online on a drunken night. I also liked that the romance was there but not overwhelming as it did not seem necessary until the end very which was wonderful because it gave us what we were looking for.

Overall this was one of those books that is the perfect summer read. Its a quick paced book with fun characters who were a little off but had some complexity to them. You are left with a happy ending which was nicely wrapped up in a bow. The ending was a little too perfect  for Van but through all the trials she went through I was happy for her. Now as the romantic I loved that she found the happy ending she was searching for.

Temptation

Taking a second novel from the many selections of Jude Deveraux I was thrilled to read Temptation. Jude Deveraux delivers a fiery pair of characters who are less than thrilled to be played with.

Temperance O’Neil was not a woman to mess around with. In the 1900’s she was a force to be reckened with. She gave speeches and helped those woman get a second chance. But then everything changes as her mother remarries and they are forced to move to Scotland. Temperance is horrified but is blackmailed to do her new stepfather’s bidding. His thought of a woman is to be meek and sit with the children. He sees that in Temperance’s mother.

Temperance has an out as Angus her stepfather makes her become a housekeeper for his nephew. He wants Temperance to find James McCairn a wife and then she may go back to New York. Temperance agrees as it is a means to leave but once she settles into James manor she finds it hard to leave.

I was surprised that this novel was really entertaining to read. It was entertaining to read as the characters all hid a part of themselves and were revealed slowly through the book.

Temperance was all fire and stubbornness which was needed as Deveraux creates James to be just the same. I disliked the relationship that Temperance had with her mother but Deveraux fixes the situation.

I liked how the author gives the happy ending but in a different way which you didn’t think would happen. You are left to keep guessing until the very end as a happy ending finally appears.

Overall a fantastic story full of family dynamics and growing friendships which blossom to love.

Lovers and Dreamers by Nora Roberts

This is a collection of three books in the series Dream Trilogy. Three young friends who have grown up together will stand together as women and help each other find their dreams.

Daring to Dream

Margo Sullivan is the housekeepers daughter with friends of the people her mothers serves. Wanting to be better than her station Margo does everything to do that. She becomes a famous model only to fall rock bottom. But with the help of her friends she makes it and it doesn’t hurt to have a certain boy Josh helping her out as well.

Holding the Dream

Kate Powell was orphaned at a young age and raised by the Templeton’s as their daughter. With two best friends she needed and wanted to be the best for her family. Kate is now a CPA with a lot on her plate but all that will change when she is charged with crimes she didn’t commit. Crimes that will be bringing up the past. With the help from Bryon Kate will be able to breath again.

Finding the Dream

Laura Templeton has had a hard marriage but survived it with two beautiful girls. Laura is eager to start her life again but is tired from all the work. She will not take handouts and want to work but it is taking a toll on her. Michael Fury is back and is watching Laura as she works. He thinks that she is just living life normal but soon he will find that he is wrong. The young carefree girl is gone. He finds her riveting and wants to get to know her better but there will be troubles coming their way.

This was a fantastic series to read. Roberts lets in the reader with each book letting you understand a new girl. In each book Roberts also gives a bit of the past for the main girl in the book. You get to know the person better which will let you connect. Each friend is completely different but have stayed best friends through it all.

Each character had a lot of wit and humor that packed a punch when you read. The series was fun to read and worth picking up.