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: The Angel Alejandro by Alistair Cross

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

 

Reviewer: Andrea

The Summary:

Angel or Demon?

Naive and heart-stoppingly handsome, he calls himself Alejandro, and Madison O’Riley has no clue what to do with him. As they set out to recover his lost identity, Madison realizes the mysterious man who saved her life harbors deep, otherworldly secrets that will put her in grave danger.

The Devil is in the Details

Gremory Jones has something for everyone, and for a price, he’s willing to make a deal. Walking the streets in top hat and trench coat, he tempts the citizens with nefarious wares from his shiny black briefcase. But buyer beware: All sales are final – and fatal.

A Scorching New Terror Has Come to Town

The townspeople are changing in appalling ways and it’s up to Madison – with the help of a psychic, a local priest, and the new chief of police – to help Alejandro unlock his forgotten powers before an unspeakable evil tears apart the fabric of existence … and costs them their very souls …

The Review:

This book is so far out of my comfort zone that I couldn’t fin
d it with binoculars! When I was approached about reviewing it, I thought it would be an interesting change of pace from my norm. Was I right? Yes and no.

The novel itself is well-written and complex. The plot is a winding journey into depravity. With tons of characters and at least ten changes in POV, the reader will need to pay close attention. Seeing the story from so many angles made the story more developed. BUT that’s where I began to have a problem.

At over 500 pages, this one is a serious time investment, and many, many scenes could have been shortened or even deleted. I was overwhelmed by all of the stomach-churning deviancy. When the devil comes to town, people lose their minds–I get it. The perverted actions quickly made me uncomfortable and disgusted. “Fade to black” would have worked after the first, or tenth, scene, and I really wish the banishing of evil could have had as much emphasis as the perversion.

The portrayal of angels was unique. If you are thinking of those sweet little cherubs or even those white-winged creatures in long robes, think again. Alistair Cross’s angels prefer nudity and smell like whatever you love most. (And I have been racking my brain trying to decide what very own Alejandro would smell more like, buttercream frosting or Fabreze.) Alejandro was kind and naive, to the point I wanted to shake him at times, but his sweetness kept me reading. His Snow White effect on animals was weird, but hey, if he smelled that great, I’d chase him down the street, too.

3.5 Stars

 

Book Review: Ready Set Rogue by Manda Collins

I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.ready-set-rogue

Reviewer: Andrea

The Summary:

When scholarly Miss Ivy Wareham receives word that she’s one of four young ladies who have inherited Lady Celeste Beauchamp’s estate with a magnificent private library, she packs her trunks straightaway. Unfortunately, Lady Celeste’s nephew, the rakish Quill Beauchamp, Marquess of Kerr, is determined to interrupt her studies one way or another…

Bequeathing Beauchamp House to four bluestockings—no matter how lovely they are to look at—is a travesty, and Quill simply won’t have it. But Lady Celeste’s death is not quite as straightforward as it first seemed…and if Quill hopes to solve the mystery behind her demise, he’ll need Ivy’s help. Along the way, he is surprised to learn that bookish Ivy stirs a passion and longing that he has never known. This rogue believes he’s finally met his match—but can Quill convince clever, skeptical Ivy that his love is no fiction?

Don’t miss Ready Set Rogue, the first in Manda Collins’ new series set in Regency England!

 

The Review:

What do I love more than a steamy historical romance? One with an actual plot! Ready Set Rogue encapsulates both. You’ll get your romance fix and a real story with this one. Though the plot involves the typical unlikely romance bucking expectations and obstacles, it also has a mystery you’ll be trying to solve along with the characters.

I loved the spunky, plucky heroine, Ivy. She is what was called (usually with derision) a bluestocking, meaning she’s a female with a brain. Choosing to use her “smarts” for more than finding a rich hubby and running his household, Ivy becomes unwittingly at first embroiled in a mystery to find the murderer of a woman she’s never met. She and the other women use their talents to search for the murderer while all the time wondering if they will be next.

Of course, Quill–fantastic name BTW–is the usual handsome aristocrat with the heart of gold we all expect, but he is also dealing with the murder of a woman about whom he cared deeply. He never intends to fall in love with the astute Ivy, but he can’t help himself. While that’s a cliche we all expect in a historical romance, you’ll still love him. He provides just the right mix to make the novel caliente without being too much.

I found the title unfortunate because I feel it makes the novel sound like a cheesy romance. Like the intelligent women who drive this novel, the plot goes beyond what is normally associated with romance. If I’d judged this book by its title, I probably wouldn’t have chosen it, and I definitely would have missed out on great mystery. What’s that old adage about judging a book by it’s cover? Don’t underestimate this one. Romance lovers need more authors like Collins to elevate the genre, so you don’t have to be embarrassed to be caught reading one. I just wish the title had matched the plot.

Be sure you look out for all the mythological references, too!

4.5 Stars