Romancing the Duke Castles Ever After #1 by Tessa Dare
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I found the characters to be likeable – if somewhat stereotypical of the genre – and the plot to be engaging. The story moved at a decent pace and had plenty of different strands that were woven together to build an interesting and textured tale.
With themes of acceptance, friendship and learning to trust, the author’s voice was incredibly pleasing and she conveyed emotions in a palpable manner. Both Ransom and Izzy had a solid backstory. one that explained all their foibles and character traits. In fact I found myself very impressed that there was no redundancy in the story, even little snippets of seemingly window dressing eventually prove to have some value later in the story.
This was the first e-book I had borrowed from a library and despite not being able to read on my kindle I quickly found myself thoroughly absorbed by this book. I ended up reading it in a day, I was caught hook, line and sinker by Ransom and Izzy’s story and enjoyed every moment of it.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Age 15+, Contains some violence and glossed over sex scene
Synopsis As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens. She never doubted romance would be in her future, too. The storybooks offered endless possibilities.
And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off. One by one by one.
Ugly duckling turned swan? Abducted by handsome highwayman? Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?
No, no, and… Heh.
Now Izzy’s given up yearning for romance. She’ll settle for a roof over her head. What fairy tales are left over for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who’s never even been kissed?
The Newspaper Man and Bedelia Come Sundown #3 by Stevie MacFarlane
TL:DR – An enjoyable warm hug of a read that will let you happily pass a few hours and leave you feeling content with the outcome.
Both Bedelia and Thorn were characters I could warm to, Bedelia in particular was rounded and had depth. Personally I would have liked a couple more chapters from Thorn’s viewpoint, so that I could really get a feel for his personality, but what I did see I liked. There was a lovely chemistry between this pair though of course it’s very slow burn/low heat due to the historical setting. I also loved their verbal sparring, Thorn did seem to respect Bedelia’s independent spirit and need to be somewhat autonomous.
Whilst I very much enjoyed this story (and the 3 stars is NOT a negative review on GR, it actually DOES mean “liked it”) it felt very insta-love, which isn’t a trope I care for. The main reason for that was that we didn’t actually get to see many scenes of Thorn and Bedelia interacting together, particularly not in a romantic way. Given that Thorn took offence that Bedelia wouldn’t share her friend’s secret with him during only their second interaction, it left me feeling as though the emotions were a little rushed.
A large chunk of the story focused on Bedelia, Kate and Carrie Ann working together to make Bedelia’s dreams come true. I loved these scenes, they were my favourite part of the book, and the vast majority were important in both developing the plot and in growing Bedelia’s character. It was also great to see that Carrie Ann hasn’t lost her wild streak or sass and I wouldn’t have wanted to have lost this part of the story. Had some of the later chapters and events – for instance Thorn’s attempts to make Bedelia jealous – been covered in the same depth this would definitely have been closer to a 5 star read for me.
I did find the ending satisfying and absolutely adored the epilogue.
Synopsis A new romance is heating up the old west. Secrecy, rivalry, and jealousy may be the death of it. The stakes couldn’t be higher. Can they survive the flames?
Bedelia Longmore had resigned herself to becoming the town spinster. Always in a hurry, she looked the part most afternoons appearing frazzled, her hat perched slightly cock-eyed on her head. Being an old maid did not bother her, and Biddy was certainly capable of making her mark on the world. She quickly determined she would publish Centerville’s first newspaper. She began to plan accordingly.
Successful reporter Thornton James arrived from Topeka with a plan. He, too, was looking for a place to begin his publishing career. A chance meeting with Bedelia Longmore was an unexpected stroke of luck. She knew everyone, their habits, their preferences and clearly more than she revealed regarding their personal lives.
“Mr. James, you never did say what you were planning to do here in town,” she said breathlessly. “I guess I didn’t,” he admitted with a smile. “I plan to start Centerville’s first newspaper. I really must hurry if I’m going to make my appointment at the bank.”
Bedelia watched him until he was out of sight as though glued to the boardwalk. A newspaper! He was the reason the bank had denied her a loan that very morning! Damn, she’d given him far too much information and unwittingly passed on some of her best ideas! Hell’s bells. Let the competition begin!
Written to give readers a greater understanding of Adam, Earl of Hartmoor, since his POV does not appear in the main novel The Villain. This book is available for free from the author’s website, you just have to sign up for her newsletter. It is a short prequel novella and may be read before or after The Villain, book #1.
I really enjoyed this and will definitely be reading the remaining two books, possibly all of the series. Having not read this author before I was unsure just what my experience of her work would be. I’m happy to report that it was a very positive one. The prose flows smoothly and I soon found myself drawn into the story, quickly gaining an understanding of the setting and the main character, Adam.
A short story prequel to The Villain by Victoria Vale … offering the back story of the mysterious Earl of Hartmoor, Lord Adam Callahan. What led to his quest for revenge?
The blurb had me quite excited to read this but, urgh, in the end it was a DNF. I only struggled on as long as I did because it was a group buddy read.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, about this story every really engaged me, not the plot, the characters, the setting or the none existent romance. Nor did it ever truly feel historical at any point during the 50% or so I read. It did feel like a continual wash, rinse, repeat of the same thing though, blah, blah, bland. I actually fell asleep reading this, and not in the “because it was 3am and I couldn’t put it down” way
I struggled to buy into the heroine’s decision because she would have literally become a pariah, spurned by all of “polite society”. There would have been zero future for her, other than being spirited away and locked out of sight. Probably in a mental asylum. Nor did I particularly buy into the her teenage explorations either. There was a distinct lack of any emotion other than lust, and even that was lacklustre and barely convincing.
The only positive thing I can say is that the author’s voice was very pleasant and easy to read.
Thank you to Netgalley for an arc of this book, which I also read as part of a buddy read with my Dark Erotica girls. Well where to start! I’d seen the chat around the previous books and was impressed enough to want to find out more about this author. Sadly it seems that this isn’t one of her better offerings. I’m not sure whether I would have rather read her other work first, so at least I would feel more confident with reading her work again, or am glad I didn’t set my hopes to high for a spectacular end to the series, which we definitelydidn’t get!
At the 70% mark I found myself questioning when something of any real note was going to happen. At the 80% mark we get the one and only sex scene, and it’s rather “one-and-done” at that. By 90% I was wondering how the solving of who was out to get our poor heroine, Felicity, would be approached. Well the answer to that last one was rushed, badly and lacking in all credibility. Though given the whole “disfigured hero who underwent facial reconstruction surgery” plotline, I should have expected further suspension of belief to be necessary. You would have thought that with not much happening at least the characters would be really well portrayed, but yet again I was disappointed. They were bland, underdeveloped and easily forgettable.
The plot had all the bones of a great story but nothing, not one damn thing, was fully explored and there felt to be very little, if any, cohesion between the separate story elements. What resulted was a plodding, disjointed, and too far fetched story. There were the pieces of information that led absolutely nowhere for instance all the hints about Marco and whether he was behind the attacks and the needless dead end of the families former solicitor. Links between scenarios were missing, imagine my surprise when a conversation between two characters seemed to expect me to know that Mrs Winterton was seriously ill in hospital as the result of poisoning, yet the only previous mention of this had been that she was “suffering the gastric effects of a poorly cooked fish stew”
The cherry on the cake came in the form of the stories resolution – namely who was out to get Felicity. To describe it as “out of left field” would be an understatement. Not only was there zero foreshadowing, the whole thing was revealed, concluded and nicely wrapped up within the span of a few pages. Based on feedback from friends, I would still read this author’s work in the future. I have nothing to compare to, but their view is that this isn’t reflective of the usual quality of Kerrigan Byrne’s work and I respect their opinion enough to believe them.
Synopsis A brand-new deliciously wicked romance series from USA Today Bestselling Author Kerrigan Byrne. The Goode Girls aren’t simply good; they’re stunning.
Disfigured in fighting pits as a lad, Gabriel Sauvageau has lived his entire life without the touch of a woman. As the brains and brawn behind London’s most ferocious smuggling syndicate, he knows he doesn’t deserve shy, bespectacled Felicity Goode. But that doesn’t stop him from watching her. Guarding her.
Wondering if her gentle touch would soothe his savage soul.
Though she wiles away hours immersed in the pages of romance novels, shy and anxious Felicity Goode has vowed never to become a bride. How can she share a life—not to mention a bed—with a man, if she can’t bring herself to share a simple conversation without trembling and stuttering? Once news of her obscene inheritance circulates through the ton, she is barraged, not only by a slew of suitors, but also several distressing threats against her life.
What she needs is a bodyguard. The large, scarred ruffian she finds on her stoop is exactly what she has been looking for.
So, why does his presence make her tremble in ways that have nothing to do with fear?
I don’t usually read historical romance. I don’t usually read slow-burn romances. I don’t usually love a book with a heroine who is a virgin. However I would read them every single time if they were as captivating and wonderful as The Alpha of Rickett Hall. This was one hundred percent a “can’t put it down” book, it was an “I’m totally and utterly in love with both main characters” book, along with a “why did it have to end?” book.
I am in love with Edmund, I am in love with Juliana, I am in love with everything, every last little thing, about this book. It was simply perfect and I wouldn’t change a thing about it, even if I could. The story caught me hook, line, and sinker and the only bad thing is that it had to end. Oh and the fact that I just can not write a review that does justice to it. There are some books that touch you in a way that most others don’t. They transport you to another world, engage your emotions, speak to your soul and leave a lasting impression on your heart. This was one such book for me and I already want to read it again.
Juliana had a wonderful feistiness about her, but never came across as too bold for the time or too annoying. Edmund was very brooding – *swoon* – but was also dominant, caring and demanding in all the right ways. I loved the exploration of what happens when a perfect alpha specimen is no longer perfect. Of when the quiet and submissive omega is neither of those things, but who is caring and nurturing.
Omegaverse elements are very subtly applied throughout the story, befitting the regencyesque setting. Likewise the slow-burn romance. Lots of sweating, heaving and slick would, quite simply, not have suited this book, it needed that softer, gentler approach. Not once did I feel that the pace was slow. Wonderful characterisation, impressive conveyance of emotion and beautiful writing easily made this an engaging and heart warming story. I hugely recommend this – even if omegaverse isn’t usually your thing – and hope you love it as much as I did.
The Marshal and Kate: Come Sundown – Book Two by Stevie MacFarlane
There were so many things I liked about this book, from the glimpses of Carrie-Ann (though Micah was sadly missing), to its strong female characters (especially the main female protagonist) along with the well written suspense/adventure elements. We first met Kate and Martin in book one of the series, though this story can very much be read stand alone, as any information you need is cleverly woven into the plot.
Having enjoyed the glimpses of Kate that we got in The Rancher and Carrie-Ann, which let to me forming a very positive opinion about her. I was very relieved to find her just as strong, forthright and self-sufficient in this book. She was very believable as an independent woman in a time when most were considered the property of their father or husband. Her strength was forged through adversity and Kate has a very dark backstory.
Martin is a wonderful alpha male, all protective and moody with a sexy, smouldering demeanour. Kate doesn’t particularly enjoy his penchant for spanking her, and I have a feeling she never will either. Unlike some “spanking” books, this actually kept the punishments fairly brief, and focused much more on plot, character building and action.
For some reason I never felt like I knew, or perhaps understood, Martin as well as I did Kate. The connection felt more superficial, though this was because I didn’t feel the same depth of emotional connection rather than there being an issue with characterisation. Martin most definitely had personality and was well-rounded with dimension to his character.
The plot was very enjoyable, with quite a chunk of it set outside of the small town they all live in. Whilst the suspense element wasn’t the most complicated set up, I preferred it as such because it was both believable and entertaining. This is turning into a really good historical series.
A hot romance is kicking up some dust in the old west! A sexy Marshal, looking to rope his woman, is about to find himself smack dab in the middle of a mystery. The woman he craves is up to her pretty neck in murder and mayhem! Kate McKutchin has her share of problems. Strong, proud, and fiercely independent, having a man in her life is a complication, but she’s unable to resist the attentions of Martin MacPherson. His midnight raids leave her breathless and sated. Oh, Kate knows the townsfolk gossip about her, however, that is the least of her worries. She has far darker secrets in her past, ones she hopes will never make it this far west. Marshal Martin MacPherson is stuck on Kate and has been from the moment she first appeared in town. She’s troublesome to be sure, but her embrace is one he longs for and it’s his intention to make their relationship permanent. The beautiful redhead has refused him more times than he can count, making him a bit of a territorial joke. Determined to win her he’s not above using a little over-the-knee encouragement, but Kate remains firm. She cannot marry him. It’s not until a wanted poster crosses the marshal’s desk that he begins to wonder just who Kate McKutchin really is.
The Rancher and Carrie Ann: Come Sundown Book One by Stevie MacFarlane
I’ve read and enjoyed a couple of Stevie MacFarlane books, so I jumped into this not really aware it was a historical romance. However it was a very welcome change of pace, especially as I was struggling with an arc book I should have been loving. At first I thought this would just be a palate cleanser, an easily forgettable read with the same old spanking scenes and a heroine overpowered by an overly dominant man.
Well I was wrong on all counts, I actually found myself being entertained by the story of Carrie Ann and Micah, my only complaint is that I would have loved for the book to be longer! Yes there were a couple of spanking scenes but they really were disciplinary and we didn’t have the heroine overcome with lust after them!
I really quite liked both main characters, they were very easy to warm too and had very clear personalities. There are some great secondary characters and I’m hoping that several of them will be getting their own books – I know Kate will be and I’m very much looking forward to her story! There isn’t really any angst or conflict in the story, so this is perfect for when you want an easier, “lighter” read. The writing is good, the story flows well and the book definitely made me giggle and smile more than once.
There isn’t much more I can say without giving away spoilers, but those last few lines of the epilogue were absolutely perfect and just made me fall in love with Micah that little bit more!
A perfect lazy afternoon, feel good read that I am more than happy to recommend.
“I made a mistake,” Carrie spat out. “I didn’t mean to invite you all on the same night, and in fact, I’m not certain I did. I’m sure one of you just showed up uninvited and it might have been you,” she continued, glaring openly at Micah. Carrie Ann Meadows is a dreamer, a bit of a schemer, and the prettiest girl in Centerville. If she’d get her nose out of those damn dime novels now and then, she might realize that standing right in front of her is a flesh and blood man willing to do his best to turn her highly unlikely romantic notions into reality. It’s not until Micah MacPherson stealthy purchases one of those books that he realizes he’s a far cry from the kind of man his Carrie Ann is dreaming about. He’s a rancher who has little time for courting a woman as it is. He doesn’t own fancy cravats, he can’t quote poetry, and he sure as hell isn’t on some social registry for highfalutin fops and dandies. Micah loves Carrie Ann and he’s waited for her to grow up, but his patience is nearly at its end. She’s either going to marry him, or he’ll be pleased to give her what she so richly deserves and set his sights elsewhere. Surely somewhere there’s a woman who would appreciate a hard-working and devoted rancher with his eye on marriage.
**Disclaimer: A portion of this book was published earlier this year in a limited edition charity anthology. The original short story title was Come Sundown, and it has been extended into a full length novel. This novel contains mild power exchange elements.
Marriage Training is the story of Gabriel, Earl of Cranborne, and the impoverished Vivian. Gabriel is envious of his friend’s submissive but sexually enlightened wife-to-be. At their wedding he spots Vivian and is instantly entranced by her submissive demeanour and beautiful countenance.
A few months later Vivian is attending the exclusive Mrs. Cunningham’s Finishing School, where she is learning how to be the perfect debutante and wife. On her 18th birthday she discovers that her place there has been sponsored by Gabriel, and what’s more they are betrothed to be married. Not only that but she is to embark on some ‘special’ training, where she will learn of the very specific requirements the Earl has for his bride.
What follows is a very erotic story involving a LOT of punishment scenes as well as some BDSM and domestic discipline scenes, many of which involve an FF element. These were incredibly hot and well written, none of them left a sour taste or felt crude. They did occasionally feel a tad repetitive, I’m not sure we needed quiteas many as we had. It did make sections of the book drag a little for me. However if you love lots of steamy sexy times that won’t be an issue for you!
I loved the scenes between Gabriel and Vivian, particularly the dinner and ‘PG’ scenes. This was when we really got to see the relationship between them develop, where their attraction and love grew. These scenes were what convinced me of their connection, and what also made me fall in love with them both. This is where I felt I really learnt about them as people too.
This was a much steamier and erotic read than the authors previous historical work, though it was much more consensual than similar stories from the ‘Victorian Training’ trope. The writing is high quality, the plot engaging and the characters very likeable, making this a very enjoyable book to read.
Set in Victorian England, this erotic BDSM novel features a courtship between a young woman and a dashing rake.
Gabriel, Earl of Cranborne, is in need of a wife–preferably a sweet, submissive, well-trained wife who could run his household during the day and obey him in the bedroom at night. When he meets Miss Vivian Stafford at a friend’s wedding, he finds himself drawn in by the exact traits he was looking for in his own wife and immediately moves to make her his own. Once the betrothal papers are signed, he arranges for her to attend Mrs. Cunningham’s Finishing School. This very special school will prepare her to be the wife of an Earl . . . and also prepare for her the very specific demands and discipline she’ll receive from her new husband at night.
Angel is a self-described bibliophile with a “kinky” bent who loves to write stories for the characters in her head. If she didn’t get them out, she’s pretty sure she’d go just a little crazy.
She is happily married, old enough to know better but still too young to care, and a big fan of happily-ever-afters, strong heroes and heroines, and sizzling chemistry.
She believes the world is a better place when there’s a little magic in it.
Pride & Punishment is a box set of the first three books from the Bridal Disciplineseries. It contains two full length novels and a bridging novella, all of which are historical romances that contains scenes of domestic discipline and spanking.
The first gem in this set is Philip’s Rules, the story of the Marquess of Dunbury and his bride, Cordelia. Cordelia is guardian to a step-daughter from her brief first marriage to a much older man. Gabrielle, the headstrong and spirited young lady in question, is the heroine of the other two books, Undisciplined and Gabrielle’s Discipline.
Philip’s Rules – 4 stars
A spin off from the Domestic Discipline quartet, this has a feel all of it’s own
Whilst there is still domestic discipline within the pages of this book, this had a much more erotically kinky feel to it. Cordelia, as a widow, might not have been a virgin, but Philip took great delight in corrupting her innocence anywhere and everywhere he could!
Having read the very entertaining Domestic Disciplineseries, it was really good to catch some glimpses of Eleanor, Edwin, Irene, Hugh, Cynthia, Wesley, Grace and Alex again. However you don’t need to have read any of those books to understand and enjoy this one.
I loved both main characters, they were so very likeable and made a really adorable couple. The author really convinced me of the connection they shared and of how much personal growth Cordelia underwent. The entire story is an absolute delight to read, it’s a fairly long book but at no point did it drag or get boring. The author just had one heck of a good story to convey and it simply wouldn’t have been done justice in any fewer words.
I feel the need to warn you that this story contains punishment spankings, carried out by the hero on both Cordelia and her step-daughter Gabrielle. If that is liable to offend you then this may not be the book for you, I hate seeing reviews on this type of book referring to ‘beatings’ and ‘violence’ against the women when (a) that isn’t the case and (b) the book warns you about the content. Whilst Cordelia didn’t enjoy the actual spanking, she did accept and give consent to the discipline, so if you’re new to the genre I feel this is an ideal book to ‘experiment’ with (and boy there’s some smokin’ hot experimenting within these pages!)
Undisciplined – 4.5 stars
Undisciplinedin my mind is very much a bridging book between Philip’s Rules and Gabrielle’s Disciplineor a prequella to the latter story. This contains scenes from Philip’s Rules, but from Gabrielle and Felix’s point of views, rather than Cordelia and Philip’s.
I loved the truths the book revealed about this couple and their struggles. It cleverly alters your perspective of Gabrielle, who previously appeared quite cruel and selfish at times. By the end of this I’d gone from disliking the girl to being her biggest supporter.
Whilst quite short, Undisciplined is also a really engaging and well written story that provides the perfect set up for Gabrielle and Felix’s story in book #2 of the Bridal Discipline series.
Gabrielle’s Discipline – 5 stars
This was a delightful read, multifaceted and touching on some fairly deep emotional/psychological issues. The more you get to know her, the more you fall in love with the vulnerable and emotionally fragile Gabrielle. However she is also a minx of the first order and has a fire inside her that gets her into lots of trouble!
Felix was the perfect man for her, dark, a little broody but also very observant and quick to pick up on his wife’s emotions. I loved that he wasn’t Peter Perfect. Not only did he freely admit his short-comings but by tempering his responses to Gabrielle he demonstrated both fairness to and respect for her. That isn’t to say he didn’t spank her poor behind when she needed it, but he did so with such tender love and reverence that I could only swoon at his feet.
There’s was a rather sudden marriage so unsurprisingly there are several ups and downs along the way. They both used these as learning experiences, so even though Felix was ‘in charge’, theirs felt a much more equal partnership. Well apart from in the bedroom, or where ever Felix decided to play, but since Gabrielle enjoyed his kinky tortures that wasn’t an issue!
The scenes that included Cynthia and Arabella were huge fun. Would well brought up Victorian young ladies really have gossiped so and discussed such delicate matters? I have no idea, but surely we women haven’t changed that much over the years, so I rather like to think they might have.
From the very outset you can’t help but root for Felix and Gabrielle, she so very much deserves to be loved and cherished and he is just the man to provide that for her. This is my favourite historical spanking romance book of the ones that I’ve read. Bravo Ms Angel.
LOVE. HONOR. OBEY.
Pride & Punishment, a Bridal Discipline boxed set from Golden Angel, is NOW LIVE!
This box set contains the first three books of the Bridal Discipline series –
Philip’s Rules: Cordelia’s determined to be the perfect wife, but her stepdaughter from her first marriage is just as determined to undermine her every step of the way. His method of correction for both Cordelia and Gabrielle isn’t what either lady expected, but Cordelia finds confidence in his support and care of her and love begins to bloom.
Undisciplined – A Novella: Gabrielle is used to being a burden, and when her stepmother finds a new husband she knows that’s exactly what she is to both of them. She’s prepared to marry anyone, to try and grasp for what happiness she can find, and no longer be underfoot of the happy couple. This novella was written at the request of readers who wanted to know what was happening between Felix and Gabrielle during Book 1 of the Bridal Discipline series.
Gabrielle’s Discipline: To escape the scandal of trying to elope with an unworthy man, Gabrielle finds herself married to the man she loves – a charming rake and her guardian’s best friend, Mr. Felix Hood. He’s the third son of a Viscount, he’s darkly handsome, and he’s in love with her stepmother. Or so she thinks.
These two alpha males have their hands full when it comes to their wives, but they don’t hesitate to mete out the necessary discipline required. Red-hot, passionate, and a guaranteed happily-ever-after for everyone.
About Angel Angel is a self-described bibliophile with a “kinky” bent who loves to write stories for the characters in her head. If she didn’t get them out, she’s pretty sure she’d go just a little crazy.
She is happily married, old enough to know better but still too young to care, and a big fan of happily-ever-afters, strong heroes and heroines, and sizzling chemistry.
She believes the world is a better place when there’s a little magic in it.