Punya Reviews...

An avid reader of Romance novels and her reviews...

SPOILER ALERT!

The Ice Duchess

The Ice Duchess: Scandalous Regency Widows, Book 2 - Amy Rose Bennett

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

This is what I thought in a nutshell. Looking at the reviews, I seem to be the minority here but it’s what it is. The Ice Duchess by Amy Rose Bennett wasn’t what I had anticipated it would be. I have been waiting for this one since I read book 1 of Scandalous Regency Widows, Lady Beauchamp’s Proposal. While I absolutely adored book 1, this did not hold my attentions for long.

Our h, Georgiana had a sad past, which made her so wary of men that she’d not fall in love or marry. Since she also didn’t want to spend her life as a spinster, Georgiana or Georgie as her family calls her, ended up marrying a good friend Teddy, who was also a Duke. But there was a secret to their marriage not everyone knew, and the few who did, never talked about it. Georgiana’s brother, Jonathan, is gay. And Teddy was his lover. With the taboo surrounding the whole thing, they had to find a way to continue on. Georgiana was eager to help too.

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The Danger of Desire

The Danger of Desire (The Sinful Suitors Book 3) - Sabrina Jeffries

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

The Danger of Desire is book 3 of Sabrina Jeffries’s Sinful Suitors series. Can’t say I was too impressed with this one. This series, as a whole, has been a downer for me, both story and character-wise. But I am giving it a try, hoping that things will improve. *sigh*

I wasn’t surprised to find that The Sinful Suitors is connected to The Duke’s Men. Most of SJ’s series are interlinked thru characters; secondary characters of one series having their own books in a new one. I don’t think you must read The Duke’s Men to enjoy Sinful Suitors, however, the characters have links to the previous series so things may make more sense if you have already read the former.

The first book of the series, The Art of Sinning, is the story of a character appeared shortly in The Duke’s Men series; an American artist named Jeremy Keane. He was the cousin of one of the central characters there. I never thought him important enough to have his own book so this was a surprise! The heroine, Yvette, was never introduced before. Keane was running from a sad secret of his past eschewing his own responsibilities back in America, and his artistic whimsies gave him the perfect escape route to do so. He travelled extensively for the sake of his vocation and their vast family run empire is now managed by his elder sister Amanda. When Keane arrived in England, he was set to have a title from one of his English relatives as the next living male heir. However, due to some twists and turns and Keane’s own disinclination to take on added responsibilities makes him decline this in the end.

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SPOILER ALERT!

Rose Bride

Rose Bride - Elizabeth Moss

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

Rose Bride is the the last installment of Elizabeth Moss’s Lust in the Tudor Court series, which I just finished. I’ve been really enjoying the author’s writing style and how history is melded in this series with a healthy dose of naughtiness thrown in it. Unfortunately, can’t say I enjoyed Rose Bride as much as I thought I would.

Book 1, Wolf Bride, is the story of Eloise Tyrell, a lady-in-waiting of former Queen Anne Boleyn. When she was betrothed to the cold and aloof Lord Wolf, she wasn’t expecting anything but a miserable married life. She had a sweetheart in court but it didn’t work out. Even though their married life wasn’t a bed of roses, Wolf and Eloise came to know each-other and acknowledged the love blooming between them. For that they had to weather some storms in their relationship; some stemmed from Eloise’s own lack of self-confidence. She was always thinking Wolf will ditch her for another court beauty, leaving her lonely in his estate. When Wolf’s one-time love, and the source of much scandal in the court, Margerie Croft suddenly returns, Eloise’s insecurities grew twofold. But Margerie had no intentions of snagging Wolf once again, and she extends her help when Wolf needed to move the attention of lecherous King Huge Henry from his wife. Other troubles came because Wolf wasn’t a man of words and he could be pretty curt and rude, hurting Eloise more than once in the process. Though their sex life was superb, the lack of communication sometimes could be painfully apparent.

The climax of the story comes with the execution of Anne Boleyn and the King courting Lady Jane Grey within weeks of it. Though Wolf was one of the King’s closest people, he didn’t agree with his verdict where Anne was concerned. Eloise’s life came under threat due to her connection with her but Wolf did his best to save her from the gallows. Overall, I really enjoyed book 1 and was waiting for the next installment, Rebel Bride.

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SPOILER ALERT!

Ruining Miss Wrotham

Ruining Miss Wrotham (Baleful Godmother Historical Romance Series Book 5) - Emily Larkin

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

I had been eagerly awaiting the 5th installment of Emily Larkin’s historical romance series, Baleful Godmother, titled Ruining Miss Wrotham for the past couple of months, and it was well worth the wait. For me, this has to be the best installment of this series! I had this feeling of profound happiness when it ended, that even with wanting to read a few more chapters, I was content with how it all played out.

The Baleful Godmother is a Regency-set series based on female characters who have special “gifts” or powers. But if you want to start from the very beginning, you can with The Fey Quartet. These are a set of novellas listed as “prologue” to this series. Set in Medieval-era England, the prologues explain exactly how our unique heroines come to

Books 1 and 2, Unmasking Miss Appleby and Resisting Miss Merryweather had something common in them apart from Baletongue, our dubious Fairy Godmother. Heroines of both of these books, Charlotte and Anne AKA Merry (respectively), were bestowed their gifts at the age of 25, which I thought was THE age they were supposed to have their wish fulfilled and 2. They were cousins so the stories were linked that way. However, the h of book 3 Trusting Miss Trentham, Letty, has had her wish fulfilled at 21. “Why” is explained in this installment as the h, Eleanor or Nelly, had her wish fulfilled at 23. The women, who were originally granted a wish each, were sisters, and our heroines simply descended from a different sister each, hence the age of their wish fulfillment differs from one another. Though Charlotte and Merry were cousins, Letty wasn’t even known to them at all. Same goes for Eleanor. Therein lies the uniqueness of this series, you never know to which direction the author is going to lead you. An element of surprise is always there.

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SPOILER ALERT!

The Heart of a Texas Cowboy

The Heart of a Texas Cowboy - Linda Broday

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

The Heart of a Texas Cowboy is the second installment of Linda Broday’s new series, Men of Legend. I have read her Bachelors of Battle Creek series and loved it, and now I’m loving this series as well. From book 1, I had thought Houston was the brother who had already had his HEA and won’t have a book. Who knew he had such a story to tell of his own?!

Much like Bachelors of Battle Creek, Men of Legend focuses on a family or a ‘band of brothers’ if you can call them. Even though, the brothers of Bachelors of Battle Creek series weren’t brothers by blood, these Legends brothers certainly are! The first book focuses on Sam Legend, a former Texas Ranger, who was estranged from his family because of the demands his job used to put on him. Houston is his older brother and shoulders the responsibility of the huge Legend ranch called Lone Star. They met Luke, a brother they didn’t know existed, in Sam’s story.

Sam had enjoyed his job as a Texas Ranger until he thought death had finally caught up with him. A pretty terrifying description is given at the beginning of book 1, To Love a Texas Ranger, when he’s almost hanged by a group of outlaws. When he thought he was done for, a known outlaw he’s been chasing, Luke Weston becomes his unexpected savior. Luke has been so elusive that Sam had a tough time tracking him down, unable to catch him even once despite Sam’s expertise. Yet there was this odd game was being played between the two where Luke seems to chase Sam just as much as he did. And they enjoyed it as well. Why, he couldn’t tell. Until the day Luke saved his life, Sam wouldn’t have thought he’s capable of any good deed. Now he’s willing to rethink his opinion of the outlaw.

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SPOILER ALERT!

The Black Knight's Reward

The Black Knight's Reward (Warriors of York Book 2) - Sydney Jane Baily, Marliss Melton

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

The Black Night’s Reward by Marliss Melton and Sydney Jane Baily is the second book of the Warriors of York series. Much like book 1, this one had plenty of everything going on to have me glued to it. This book wasn’t short by any means with more than 400 pages! However, I hadn’t noticed the page count until I was almost finished, so yep, I enjoyed it almost as much as book 1.

Both books are set a few years apart in the Anglo-Norman era in England, when battles and blood were the way of life... or so it seemed. Book 1, The Slayer’s Redemption, is of Christian De La Croix’s, who had earned a name as a blood-thirsty, warmonger lord but it had a lot to do with gossip. In fact, Christian didn’t fight more than any lord would fight their enemies to secure their territory and the people they care for. However, Christian was also the by blow of a Danish heathen, a mercenary who used to terrorize that part of England once upon a time. It wasn’t until much later, when he’d already been trained by his brute of a father in such a way that almost destroyed any softness in him, that Christian learned the man’s relationship with him. He was cruel, mean. He had raped Christian’s mother. So the story of his birth is as painful as the life that has been his since then. To avenge his mother, Christian killed his father and his other family, which was probably one of the main incidents behind his dubious reputation.

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SPOILER ALERT!

Escape To Love

Escape to Love: Banished Saga, Book 6 (Volume 6) - Ramona Flightner

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

Escape to Love, a lovely novella and book 6 in Ramona Flightner’s Banished Saga series, was quite the treat. A surprising treat to be sure! I’ve been a fan of this series since I started reading it back in 2014 and the Saga has only gotten better with each installment.

The Banished Saga, when it began, was set on the offset of suffragist movement of Boston 1901. Along the way we met many characters, including our favorite, the first couple of the series, Clarissa and Gabriel in Banished Love. Their story was ongoing in books 2 and 3, Reclaimed Love and Undaunted Love. They still make appearances in the latest installments. We also met Clarissa and Gabriel’s family. Clarissa’s own brothers Colin and Patrick, who wasn’t introduced until much later. Her cousin Savannah and best friend Florence, both avid suffragettes and worked with Clarissa throughout. Gabriel’s younger brothers Richard and Jeremy were also introduced, as was their long lost uncle Aidan.

The story started to veer away from the original couples when it jumped 10 years in book 4, Tenacious Love. The spotlight had shifted onto the second generations of McLeod/Sullivans. New characters and couples their contemporary were introduced. By then Clarissa-Gabriel, Savannah-Jeremy, Richard-Florence were married with children. Aidan had his long lost love Delia back in his life, bonus with a daughter, Zylphia whom he didn’t know existed (he was a sailor and had not been around Boston for years).  Each had come through a long, arduous journey to find their own standing in life and the men or women they loved. I had loved every single moment of it because it always felt like I’m a friend, and not just a spectator of their lives.

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SPOILER ALERT!

The Duke

The Duke (Victorian Rebels) - Kerrigan Byrne

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

Sooo, I finished Kerrigan Byrne’s The Duke, book 4 of her dark historical romance series Victorian Rebels and I’m not sure what to say. My feeling is rather ambivalent. I was really anticipating the release because the H of this one sounded very intriguing; however he failed to meet my expectations. Actually, there were equal bits of likes and dislikes throughout.

Wanna add that Victorian Rebels has no paranormal or time travel elements in it like the author’s previous works; just a few Victorian-era bad boys of the underworld getting their HEAs with women who bring them down to their knees, quite literally. More than once I’m happy to add. ;) These people are deadly and will do anything to survive.

In book 1, The Highwayman, we were introduced to the King of the London underworld, Dorian Blackwell and his band of misfits. Dorian is actually Dougan MacKenzie, the bastard son of the cruel and lecherous Hamish MacKenzie, now deceased Laird of MacKenzies. His darkness has seeped into all of his sons, doesn’t matter whether they were legitimate or illegitimate. The only difference was Dougan/Dorian wanted to fight it for the love of his life, Farah. Their story had a tragic beginning that started as young love kept apart for almost 20 years. They both thought all hope were lost for them until they found each-other again. Dougan was imprisoned for murder at the tender age of 12, where his life was a hell no one would want to wish upon another human being. However, he and a few of his rebellious friends survived that hell, came out deadlier than ever. They wanted revenge for what was done to them, they wanted to rule the underworld but most of all, Dorian wanted to find his “fairy” who he knew was still alive. He knew her to be his soulmate. Now all he wanted was to find the peace that eluded him forever. And no one but Farah will do. I really loved book 1, which was a great start to this series.

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SPOILER ALERT!

The Slayer's Redemption

The Slayer's Redemption (Warriors of York) (Volume 1) - Marliss Melton

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

I picked up The Slayer’s Redemption because it was recommended somewhere. I read the blurb and wanted to check it out. And I can honestly say I haven’t regretted that decision.

The Slayer’s Redemption, book 1 of Warriors of York, by Marliss Melton is the reissue of her debut novel Danger’s Promise. I haven’t read anything by the author prior to this, not even the original so can’t really do a compare and contrast. However, what I can tell you is that I’d be waiting for any medieval/historical romance she writes from now on! This was a pure feel-good medieval romance, like those I had read from other famous authors like Julie Garwood. It had fun, some quirkiness with some mysteries and really odd stuff happening throughout. The heroine was adorably clueless sometimes but she was not TSTL by any means. And the hero, nicknamed The Slayer because of rumors of him being a killing machine, was nothing like that. He was also adorably clueless, and grumpy. Most of the times. But he was true and loyal where it mattered the most—in his heart. The Slayer definitely had a heart and it wasn’t black contrary to what everyone, including himself, believed. And that is what the author set out to tell us in this adorable little novel.

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Banished Saga, Boxed Set 1: Books 1-3.5

Banished Saga, Boxed Set 1: Books 1-3.5 - Ramona Flightner
I've been following this series since 2014, when Ramona debuted with Banished Love... it's been quite a ride since then. Even though it frustrated me that the first book had no HEA, I decided to reserve my judgment and continue on to see where the author takes us. Needless to say, I haven't regretted that decision even once. After reading the first book, I felt that Ramona has a knack for storytelling and every single installment of this Saga will show you just that. They're long, well researched and always had me wanting to find out what's next!

Banished Saga began with our favorite couple Clarissa and Gabriel, then went on to portray many more relationships over last few years since it's release-- their struggle to find love and keep their loved ones together and safe from any harm coming to them. They battle loss, personal demons along the way much like any other family. There's also a shift in later installments where you get to see the second generation of McLeod/Sullivans growing up, taking the center stage. In that sense, this Saga reminded me of Downton Abby. Not exactly similar but there are similarities that you can't overlook. What in Banished Saga reminds me of Downton Abbey is that this too shows the growth and continuation of one family into future generation. You start from one family then you get to learn more and more of this family, their relatives, friends and well-wishers, who also become a part of this journey just as much as you are. You see new faces, romance, marriage, children etc. And it’s an ongoing process.

Banished Saga also emphasizes on the turn of the century Suffragette movement in the US, where you find the author weaving the tale through real events as our protagonists try to find their own place in that volatile time.

Overall, 5 stars for a great ride! Recommended if you're looking for a slow growing Saga detailing the lives of various characters throughout the installments. There may not be HEA in every installment cause they don't always focus on only one couple like usual historical romances. But believe me, HEA is there for every couple somewhere along the way. Honestly, I don't know what I will do when this series comes to an end.

My detailed review of each installment can also be found in boolikes.
 
 
SPOILER ALERT!

Once An Outlaw

Once An Outlaw: A Novella - Diana Bold

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

Once An Outlaw was a sweet little novella by Diana Bold. This would be my third Diana Bold book and won’t be my last one.

I won’t go into too much details since this novella is about 50/60 pages long. The story is set after the Civil War. Our H, Zach, is a war veteran. Yet some unavoidable circumstances in his life made him a Wanted by the law. He escaped once but the law caught up with him again. He was being transferred to the prison when he meets our h, Bethany, on the way. Their meeting and what happened next, was as if a scene manipulated by fate. When there’s an accident, leaving them the only survivors of the wreck, both Zach and Bethany will have to find out just much they’re willing trust each-other, and figure out just how far they’re willing to go together to survive a weather so harsh and wintry that no living being could survive without proper shelter and arrangements.  With snow covering everything, Zach and Bethany forge an unwitting bond; a bond that only grew deeper as they fight on to survive.

I enjoyed this novella quite a lot, even if at times it felt that all their ‘help’ were a bit convenient. But that didn’t ruin my enjoyment because, of course, I wanted a HEA. It was well written, I’ll have to give you that. Zach and Bethany’s bond was quite strong, and believable, as they learn a lot about one another in such a short span of time while also struggling to keep alive. Sometimes the best things can happen to virtual strangers when they’re thrown in such a situation and forced to live in closed quarters. :D 3.75 stars.

SPOILER ALERT!

Devil in Spring

Devil in Spring - Lisa Kleypas

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

Sooooooooo...I know this one’s going to be a difficult one for me because I was really, really looking forward to this book. But alas! I may have expected too much. :(

I just finished Lisa Kleypas’s much anticipated book 3 of the Ravenels series, Devil in Spring, and I’m rather underwhelmed by it. Don’t get me wrong, the writing was great; the storyline was, again, great as well. Any of LK’s ‘mediocre’ books are wayyyy better than what’s out there in the name of historical romance. But I am not going into that direction. I love LK and I will love her writing no matter what I felt. But the problem with Devil in Spring was that no one can really surpass Sebastian St. Vincent for me. Unfortunately, not even his own son. His reputation, for me, only comes after Derek, the hero of Dreaming of You, my most favorite LK book. Sadly, I had not reviewed this one, neither did I review the Wallflower series, probably LK’s best known and most loved series till today. I read and re-read those in my pre-Goodreads era.

If you haven’t read either Dreaming of You or The Wallflowers series, you really should. Sebastian St. Vincent was the hero of book 3, Devil in Winter. And boy he kept his lovely Evie (and us) so warm during those winter months, and beyond. ;) I, in general, have a great dislike for rakes even when others swoon over them. But LK’s rakes are a league of their own. She just knows how to make me fall in love with them so I always trust in her writing. Both Derek and Sebastian were two of her biggest rakish heroes that many of us still adore like no other.

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SPOILER ALERT!

With this Ring

With This Ring - Carla Kelly

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

I’m on my usual Carla Kelly book binge, and just finished another of her earlier works, With this Ring. Have to say, this one didn’t quite float my boat. Very unfortunate because I loved it for the first 60% so, then it lost its sparkle and ended with a dull thud instead of the bang I was hoping for.

Lydia, eldest daughter of a somewhat wealthy peer, is no catch at all. Or so her mother keeps drumming into her. She’s too plain, too clumsy, too forward, too this, too that; someone who has nothing to be proud of. On the other hand, her mother’s pride and joy is her youngest daughter, the beautiful Kitty, more like their mother in looks and dubious charms than Lydia will ever be. Lydia probably takes after her meek father (so meek that I forgot his title LOL), who is always afraid of his wife and tip-toes around, hiding away in the library when the sound of tantrums from his wife or youngest daughter is heard from the other side of the house.

Lydia’s ‘mother’ loves abusing her in every way possible, just because she’s not good enough in her eyes to catch an earl or a marquess. The reason why they’re in London right now is to give Kitty a Season, who, according to their mother, will surely catch the best bachelor in town with her golden locks and baby blue eyes. Who is also tall and graceful and....... quite completely ‘empty in the brainbox’ (as someone with some sense termed her in the book). She’s also quite snooty, spoiled, selfish and mean. Her mamma has trained her well after her own shallow self. :D Both of these worthless POS gave Lydia so much trouble, and pain, that the poor girl had no self-confidence left. She was made to become a meek, biddable maid-of-all-tricks without any pay for Kitty and her mother. I mean, at one point, I was thinking how can I even explain the things I’m reading?! There are simply no words!

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Facebook and BookLikes

Reblogged from BookLikes:

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SPOILER ALERT!

Once A Gunslinger

Once A Gunslinger - Diana Bold

3 stars. There'll be no full review... so here's what I thought in a nutshell:

I liked another one of this author's books so I decided to give Once a Gunslinger a go. I do love western historical romances, and an outlaw hero can be very appealing for sure. However, this one disappointed me. I didn't like the hero, and didn't care much for the heroine either.

The H and the h had a past of some sort when they were young, and there were consequences of their relationship. The H went to war (Civil war I believe) and fought for the enemy side, leaving the h behind and his own family in peril. He has been sort of an outlaw ever since. There were other things too, but I won't mention them.

H and h met again years later, and that is where the actual story begins. Unfortunately, he was an a$$ who decided he liked being a jerk to the heroine for what she did to save her reputation so long ago. He wanted to make her suffer because 'he was suffering as well'. His grudge, she married his now deceased brother and didn't wait for him. -_- However, if you read you will see that the fault wasn't hers at all. She had to do what she had to do, and she wasn't even a good wife to the brother who obviously cared for her because she still loved the H. The H even realizes that at one point but keeps on being a jerk until the last couple of pages of the book. The h, I wanted her to ditch this a$$ and look for a better man. But she was still so enamored of him that she continued being a doormat and took what he dished out almost without any argument at all. I could NOT understand exactly why? WHY?! :/

Their romance was not convincing to say the least. Believe me, I tried but I failed to see any HEA with such a hotheaded, impetuous a$$ for a hero. In the end, the argument that he was being a jerk cause he was afraid to acknowledge his feelings didn't float my boat either. Not my cup of tea, sorry. 3 stars because otherwise, the writing was very good and I thought this could've been better. Also, I really liked some of the secondary characters such as the heroine's brothers. I'd be more interested in their stories!

Note that this is a reissue of the author's earlier work, Savannah's Hero.

SPOILER ALERT!

Marriage of Mercy

Marriage of Mercy - Carla Kelly

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

Another Carla Kelly book I picked up cause I was intrigued by the blurb. I generally don’t read reviews of her books before reading, where in most cases I wanna check the reviews first before picking up a book. Marriage of Mercy was no different. I like to enjoy Ms. Kelly’s books as it is, then decide whether I liked it or not.

Marriage of Mercy is another sweet story between a baker and an American prisoner of war. Even though for the first 60% the book was rather ho hum, the story picked up after that and the twist at the end pretty much had me there. I was wondering what the hell was happening, cause I didn’t expect any of that!

Grace or as everyone calls her, Gracie, has fallen far. From a Baronet’s daughter to a baker, not a good thing for someone whose father was once considered a peer of the realm, even if a penniless peer. Grace’s father didn’t like to bother with finances and never cared to manage however small a fortune he had, hence, when he passed away, he left his only child under a huge debt and no one to help her out of that. Her mother passed on long ago, so Grace finds herself without any money, any help, and pretty much out of her mansion only with the clothes on her back when the mansion, and everything else were sold out to clear the debt. But she isn’t the type to whine and cry. Gracie knew early on that she doesn’t have a shining future because of what a spendthrift her father was. And she hated it! She tried to make him understand and work with her so they can save some for the future, HER future. But Henry Curtis was baffled as to why she’d even bother to think of money, or earning money TBH, when they’re peers of the realm! And working to earn is so crass a thought! *eyeroll*

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Sealed with a Kiss
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