Book Review: Duke with Benefits by Manda Collins

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

Publication date: June 27, 201733547390

Reviewer: Andrea

The Summary:

LADY + DUKE = TRUE LOVE?

Lady Daphne Forsyth is a brilliant mathematician with a burning passion for puzzles. When she learns that the library belonging to her benefactress houses the legendary Cameron Cipher—an encrypted message that, once solved, holds the key to great riches—Daphne is on the case. Unfortunately, her race to unlock the cipher’s code is continually thwarted by a deliciously handsome distraction she hadn’t counted on. . .and cannot resist.

Dalton Beauchamp, the Duke of Maitland, is curious as to why Daphne is spending so much time snooping around his aunt’s bookshelves. He’s even more intrigued by her bold yet calculating manner: She is unapologetic about her secret quest. . .and the fiery attraction that develops between them both. But how can they concentrate on solving a perplexing enigma once the prospect of true love enters the equation?

“Witty, sensual historical romance that will captivate readers.” —Romance Junkies

Duke with Benefits is the second in Manda Collins’ Studies in Scandal series set in Regency England.

 

The Review:

This is my second in the Scandal’s series, and I enjoyed it nearly as much as the first one. The great, and usually unusual, aspect of this series is that the novels actually have a plot. I hope that all four “bluestockings” have their own novels. I’ll read every one!

This novel centers around Daphne. Daphne knows everything there is to know about math and decoding, but she knows nothing about interacting with other people. Her blunt (to the point of rude–something I’ve been accused of more than once) speech is often funny and cringe-worthy. There were times when she seemed too ignorant, unbelievably so, though. She’s smart; she would know the common sayings, but I still enjoyed her character.

Dalton, the hunky Duke, is patient beyond patient with his socially awkward love. His character seemed a little underdeveloped to me. I would have liked to see more angst, a little more grime on him so to speak. He was awfully squeaky-clean. Here’s a guy who’s so honorable that he refuses take Daphne up on her indecent proposal–just seems a little unrealistic.

The plot was interesting, like the first in the series. The novel is a treasure hunt complete with clues and intrigue where Daphne will be forced to use her amazing talents. Unfortunately, the hunt ended too soon in my opinion.

Overall, I liked the novel but not quite as much as the first.

4 Stars

 

Book Review: Never Trust a Pirate by Valerie Bowman

I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.download

Reviewer: Andrea

The Summary:

The rules of engagement were never so scandalous. . .

A rumored pirate and the scurrilous black sheep of his well-to- do family, Cade Cavendish relishes his world of rebellion, deception, and seduction. Nothing and no one can hold him to be the duty-bound, honorable man he is expected to be. But when an unexpected run-in at his twin brother’s estate with a ravishing, raven-haired maid leads her to believe he’s actually a viscount, Cade’s renegade life is thrown wildly off-kilter. And even though a case of mistaken identity can be quickly set to rights, matters of the heart are quite different…

Miss Danielle LaCrosse is startled to learn that the handsome gentleman who radiates sin and has the devil in his eyes is not her employer the Viscount, but rather his infamous brother. A former heiress, orphaned and left penniless, Danielle has more than a few secrets of her own. Cade may be skilled at coaxing even the most hidden desires out of Danielle but can he earn her trust—and win her heart—as they embark on an adventure to confront a dangerous enemy from both of their pasts . . . and uncover the identity of the so-called Black Fox along the way?

Never Trust a Pirate is part of the Regency-set Playful Brides series by Valerie Bowman.

The Review:

I loved this novel! This is my third Valerie Bowman novel, and it is by far my favorite. I do love a historical romance with a real plot, and this one has it in spades. It’s complex but fun, intriguing and interesting.

The “pirate” aspect may be a bit of a stretch, but that doesn’t deter from the plot. It’s spy against spy against spy in this one. More layers than Grandma’s coconut cake! The proverbial cat-and-mouse game takes from and center since Danielle has been ordered to spy on Cade, the brother of Rafe, a spy for the British government, and Cade, well, his “job” has more machinations than a Bond movie.

The most tantalizing part of the plot comes with the identity of the the Black Fox. You’ll never see this one coming, but you’ll have to read to find the answer!

There were some things that caused me to reread, parts that needed a bit more explanation, like not knowing till late in the novel that Cade was after the nefarious Lafayette Baptiste; however, it won’t detract from enjoying the story. I also was skeptical that Danielle would pass as a boy, especially since she has long hair that she has to shove under a cap. And I couldn’t decide, at first, if I loved or abhorred Cade’s cockiness, but gradually, he definitely grew on me.

Don’t miss out on this one!

5 Stars

 

Book Review: Tangled in Sin by Lavinia Kent

Publication Date: April 18, 2017Tangled in Sin

I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewer: Andrea

The Summary:

An innocent young woman flirts with scandal and becomes the mistress of her own forbidden desires in this stimulating Regency romance from the author of Mastering the Marquess.

Lady Cynthia Westhope can’t believe the shocking rumor is true. Her childhood friend, the daughter of a duke no less, has become the madam of London’s most exclusive and notorious brothel. Though she’s known as “Sin,” Cynthia is scandalized—and surprisingly curious. Just picturing the whips, the chains, the uncontrollable urges men gratify behind closed doors sends a jolt of electricity through her body. Still, Sin can’t imagine taking part in such games—until she’s snatched off the street during a raging storm and swept away to a remote cottage.

When James Winters encounters the comely virgin, he assumes she’s one of Madame Blanche’s fresh new beauties, especially after Sin pulses in ecstasy as he ravishes her. Then he discovers that she’s Lord Westhope’s virgin daughter . . . or was. Now they will both be compromised, unless James devises a plan to save Sin from disgrace. Before long, they’re entangled in a web of tempting propositions, family secrets, and sensual intrigue—and bound together so tightly that James never wants to let go.

The Review:

This is the second Bound and Determined novel that I have read, and true to form, it is both traditional and not. The plot was a little tired. Girl gets trapped with boy in a secluded locale. Boy feels honor-bound to marry girl, girl resists, until they both realize they can’t live without each other. The typical historical romance storyline, but where these novels differ the ordinary is in their handling of mature content. This series will make you wonder what all those starched, stiff Victorians were really doing behind closed doors.

The more interesting story to me was that of James’s sister, Jasmine, a fallen woman from a good family who ends up with a baby and a brothel. That’s really the story I wanted to hear. Cynthia and James were both a little too goodie, goodie for me, too perfect. I like my protagonists to have more angst–just a touch. It was a quick read but lacked a real storyline for me. It was just okay, nothing new.

A little disappointed with this one.

3 stars