My Wicked Little Lies by Victoria Alexander

Setting: Victorian 1886

*Book 1 in Sinful Family Secrets series*

Summary:

Evelyn Hadley-Attwater has it all—a genteel Victorian life replete with loving husband, ball gowns and elegant parties. No one, including the man she married, suspects that she was once “Eve”, a spy for England’s most enigmatic intelligence agency. Summoned for one final assignment, the excitement of her former life and memories of her mysterious, flirtatious boss “Sir” prove too tempting . . .

Adrian Hadley Attwater is a respectable, dignified gentleman. But even the most proper gentlemen have secrets of their own. Secrets from the rest of the world, from their families, from their wives. Secrets that have a price. Now, as the veil of secrecy frays, a tantalizing game of cat and mouse will test the bounds of unfailing love…

Click cover for more info!

Trailer

Review:

Despite my preconceptions of this author and her last book, which I found disappointing, I decided to give this new book a shot. I thought the idea was fresh, intriguing and I absolutely adored the trailer. Plus, that cover was just downright irresistible and as much as I try not to be, I am a superficial reader. And while I wasn’t exactly blown away, the book wasn’t bad but it could have been better. So much better.

This isn’t exactly your typical romance as it starts after the happily ever after when the hero and heroine have fallen in love and settled down already. In truth, a more accurate term to describe this book would be a ‘reaffirmation of love’ romance as the conflict arises not in the courtship stage, but after the curtain typically closes in most romances, leading the hero and heroine to question their relationship and fall in love all over again. I really liked the idea of a heroine who is a spy and who keeps her secrets from her husband-it would lead to some interesting confrontations when the secret finally came out. The thing is, the plot progressed not at all how I imagined it, which normally would be a good thing but here ended up being confusing and somehow aimless. The main conflict isn’t what you expect and instead makes the hero unlikable for most of the book.

It started off very promising and the plot kept me guessing, but ended up dragging towards the middle and then it became unbelievable towards the end. The way the hero treats his wife is almost unforgivable and it would take more from me to forgive his uncalled for behavior. The only really good thing in this book was the secondary love story between the hero’s friend and the heroine’s friend. I loved their scenes and wanted more of them.

All in all, I really wish this book lived up to its magnificent trailer. What a great idea… but sadly not executed well at all. It was funny and it had its moments but it wasn’t as good as it could have been. It’s never a good thing when a trailer for a novel is ten times better than the real thing.

Sensuality Rating: Very Warm (Love scenes are short and explicit)

Verdict: Just ok.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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Which debut romance do you most want to read in 2012?

After previewing the new debuts for next year, you must have chosen your favourite most anticipated romance!

Here are the links to the pages for each debut:

Anna Randol

Heather Snow, Jillian Stone, Samantha Grace

Manda Collins

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Which is your favorite?

Vote below!

Beauty and the Duke by Melody Thomas

Setting: 1840, Victorian

Summary:

The face he shows the world is not the face she sees. . .

Once, ten years ago, they were young lovers, sharing sinful touches and desperate ecstasy. But he was bound by his promise to wed another. Since that fateful time, Christine Sommers has grown into a headstrong beauty, the kind of woman who thinks nothing of daring travels to the ends of the world. But for all her achievements, Christine has never found anyone who makes her heart race the way Erik Boughton once did.

Since that fateful time, Erik Boughton, the Duke of Sedgwick, has become something of a beast, at least according to the gossips of the ton. They say that he’s cursed, that any woman who shares his bed will meet an untimely end. But when he comes to Christine, desperate for her help to preserve his family and his title, she does not fear the devil duke. Enthralled by his ravenous desire, she would give him anything he wished, even her body . . . and her heart.

Review:

This is the first Melody Thomas I have read and I bought this one mainly on the basis of the back blurb which made the book sound as if it had magical elements in it. The blurb is very misleading. I thought the story was an update of Beauty and the Beast (which is my favourite fairytale), but it turned out the duke wasn’t a beast at all. Still, this was an interesting novel and different from the usual run of romance novels as it had an element of the supernatural in it-in the form of a ring which grants the wearer what they most wish for. This was more of a mystery romance, with the heroine trying to help the hero discover what happened to his ex-wife. The idea was interesting but failed to keep me hooked and I found myself wishing the story would move a little faster. It dragged in a lot of parts and I didn’t feel there was enough romance between the leads.

The hero, Erik is distant, brooding and really wasn’t a ‘devil duke’ as the back cover suggested. There were no mentions of mistresses or other women apart from Christine. The so-called curse wasn’t present either. Erik was always an honourable man and was as far from a beast as there could be!

Christine, the heroine was smart, independent and determined. She was definitely a woman to admire, and the reader could really connect with her as she tries to find meaning in her life. I loved how she could take care of herself and how the hero didn’t have to take care of her and was instead helping at her side.

Another thing that drew me to this book was the fact that the leads had once been together years ago but had since then been separated. Perhaps, this meant that there was no need for extra tension between the two but I did feel that the tension between them was lacking. Sexual tension is important in a romance as it allows the reader to root for the characters to be together and gives us something to look forward to. This was one of the book’s biggest flaws for me as the payoff came too quickly, and there wasn’t enough leading up to it.

I also felt that the book suffered from a lack of conflict as the danger was never too threatening and the conflict was too easily resolved. There was also no doubt of Erik and Christine loving each other even from when they were married for convenience.

I did enjoy the small tidbits of Scottish words thrown in, and enjoyed that the book was set in Scotland, which made it unique. It was a nice read but could have been better, and been more intriguing.

Sensuality Level: Warm (Love scenes are short but spicy)

Verdict: Just ok

Rating: 3 and a half stars out of 5

Spotlight on Tessa Dare-SUMMER READS

It’s summer timeeeee! 😀 😀 😀

And for most people that means sun, beaches, tanning, hot shirtless men… 😀

Alas, for me, that means packing and moving to Malaysia to prepare for my first year of university. The romance addict will be around, she will have just changed her mailbox address!

And I suppose it’s rather exciting going to be able to leave on my own and get a part time job and study things I actually like for once! (Sorry my dear math teacher-I did appreciate your efforts to infuse a love for the subject into me)

One thing that won’t change however, is my love of romance novels. In fact, I already have a huge pile waiting to be shipped off to Malaysia with me and a few novels I’m going to be looking out for once I’m there.

The first ones on my list?

Tessa Dare’s new back-to-back trilogy-The Stud Club.

In Tessa’s words—

“An all-new historical romance back-to-back series, The Stud Club Trilogy. The heroes—a duke, a war hero, and a low-born scoundrel—hold shares in a priceless racehorse. When the club’s founder is tragically murdered, these three unlikely associates are united by chance, divided by suspicion, and brought to their knees by love.”

Source: http://tessadare.com/bookshelf/

This is a series of three books one after another with one already out in May and two more out this June and July. Now that’s a great way to spend a summer! And it gets better-Her covers are super delicious. Check them out below…

ONE DANCE WITH A DUKE—May 25th 2010

True temptation begins at midnight…

A handsome and reclusive horse breeder, Spencer Dumarque, the fourth Duke of Morland, is a member of the exclusive Stud Club, an organization so select it has only ten members — yet membership is attainable to anyone with luck. And Spencer has plenty of it, along with an obsession with a prize horse, a dark secret, and, now, a reputation as the dashing “Duke of Midnight.” Each evening he selects one lady for a breathtaking midnight waltz. But none of the women catch his interest, and nobody ever bests the duke — until Lady Amelia d’Orsay tries her luck.

In a moment of desperation, the unconventional beauty claims the duke’s dance and unwittingly steals his heart. When Amelia demands that Spencer forgive her scapegrace brother’s debts, she never imagines that her game of wits and words will lead to breathless passion and a steamy proposal. Still, Spencer is a man of mystery, perhaps connected to the shocking murder of the Stud Club’s founder. Will Amelia lose her heart in this reckless wager or win everlasting love?

TWICE TEMPTED BY A ROGUE—June 22nd 2010

How long could she resist him?

Luck is a double-edged sword for brooding war hero Rhys St. Maur. His death wish went unanswered on the battlefield, while fate allowed the murder of his friend in the elite gentlemen’s society known as the Stud Club. Out of options, Rhys returns to his ancestral home on the moors of Devonshire, expecting anything but a chance at redemption in the arms of a beautiful innkeeper, who dares him to take on the demons of his past — and the sweet temptation of a woman’s love.

Meredith Maddox believes in hard work, not fate, and romance isn’t part of her plan. But when Rhys returns, battle-scarred, world-weary, and more dangerously attractive than ever, the lovely widow is torn between determination and desire. As a deep mystery and dangerous smugglers threaten much more than their passionate reckoning, Meredith discovers that she must trust everything to a wager her heart placed long ago.

THREE NIGHTS WITH A SCOUNDREL—July 27th 2010

The third time is the charm.

The bastard son of a nobleman, Julian Bellamy is now polished to perfection, enthralling the ton with wit and charm while clandestinely plotting to ruin the lords, ravish the ladies, and have the last laugh on a society that once spurned him. But meeting Leo Chatwick, a decent man and founder of the exclusive Stud Club, and Lily, Leo’s enchanting sister, made Julian reconsider his wild ways. When Leo’s tragic murder demands that Julian hunt for justice, he vows to see the woman he secretly loves married to a man of her own class.

Lily, however, has a very different husband in mind. She’s adored Julian forever, loves the man beneath the rakish facade, and wants to savor the delicious attraction they share — as his wife. His insistence on marrying her off only reinforces her intent to prove he is the only man for her. Obsessed with catching a killer, Julian sinks back to the gutters of his youth, forcing Lily to reach out with a sweet, reckless passion Julian can’t resist. Can her desire for a scoundrel save them both–or will dangerous secrets threaten more than their tender love?

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The first one being out and summer already underway, it’s great to know that there are another two books to look forward too! I will be getting my copies and posting my reviews on here ASAP!

For more information on the books (as well as excerpts), please visit-

http://tessadare.com/

To Sin With A Scoundrel by Cara Elliott

Setting: Regency

Summary:

A reclusive widow known for her scientific scholarship, Lady Ciara Sheffield is shadowed by rumors that she poisoned her husband . . . A rakehell rogue notorious for his devil-may-care antics, Lucas Bingham, the Earl of Hadley is not accused of murdering anything—save for the rules of Polite Society. The only thing they have in common is seeing their names featured in the lurid gossip columns of London’s newspapers.

Until an ancient manuscript draws them together.

Ciara needs a titled fiancé to quell the slanderous speculations which may send her to the gallows. Lucas needs brilliant scholar to help his elderly uncle decipher the secrets of the mysterious manuscript. So when her friends urge her to accept the earl’s proposal of a temporary alliance, Ciara decides that she had no choice but to make a deal with the Devil.

And so begins a seductive dance of sinful pleasures and hidden desires as the two of them waltz through the mansions of Mayfair. Lies, intrigue, treachery, sex. They find themselves facing slanderous whispers, unscrupulous relatives—not to speak of their own simmering passions, which quickly ignite into dangerous flames. It’s a potent mix and the result may be explosive—and perhaps deadly—if they don’t watch their step.

Review:

Sexy, sweet, romantic, witty and hilarious, this is one book not to be missed! It was a great and refreshing change from all the usual sex-obsessed romance novels. I appreciated the fact that the hero and the heroine didn’t feel the need to jump into bed right away which afforded the reader (me!) to enjoy great witty banter and hot sexual tension. 😛

Both the hero and heroine were awesome lovable characters. I liked Ciara right away, mainly because she was so easy to relate to, dealing with horrible rumors. She was also a strong character, who was willing to do whatever it took to protect her son. I liked how she didn’t succumb right away to the charms of the devilish Lord Hadley, like other heroines seemed to do. It fit well with her rational, serious, focused-on-her-work persona and was a nice change. Sometimes I find myself rolling my eyes at how quickly heroines who say they will never fall for the charms of Mr so-and-so end up in bed with him not too long after.

I knew Lord Hadley, despite all the rumors to the contrary, was a an good man almost right away. We hear about his exploits in the paper Ciara reads at the beginning of the book but later when we first meet him, we see that Hadley is a man who is already wondering at his shallow existence, proving that there is more to him than meets the eye. I loved how the author gradually revealed the deeper layers of the man until I along with the heroine was totally in love with him!

This story was also the perfect opposites attract story. Being a huge fan of Pride and Prejudice, the whole we’re-opposites-and-that-means-we-can-teach-each other-things is completely up my alley. Relationships are about learning new things from your partner while staying true to yourself.

The charcters were complete opposites at first but then gradually we can see how perfect they are for each other.

The pacing of the romance was perfect and I loved watching them fall in love before anything too scandalous happened 😉

Another great thing about this book was the conversations. I loved how witty they were and laughed more than once at the cleverness of the dialogue. Very Austen-esque.

The extra characters were wonderful and really fleshed out. I could completely imagine them saying what they said and acting how they did. The scenes were touching and realistic and I absolutely loved the scenes with Ciara’s son and Lord Hadley.

The only thing that may have kept it a bit down for me was that it wasn’t very adventurous in terms of plot. It was a great fresh telling of the opposites attract story and I suppose this is my veteran romance reader self talking but I would have preferred if the story had happened on more of a larger scale.

I still can’t wait for the next book in the series.

Sensuality Level: Warm (Few love scenes but GREAT tension and chemistry)

Verdict: Very witty and romantic-This is one for the hopeless romantic in all of us! Buy it for a great, feel-good read 🙂

Rating: 4 and a half out of 5 stars

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