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 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: The Duke by Kerrigan Byrne

Publication date: February 7, 201729875921

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

Reviewer: Andrea

The Summary:

He’s noble. notorious. And takes no prisoners…

Strong as a Viking. Handsome as Adonis. Rich as Midas. Collin “Cole” Talmage, Duke of Trewyth, is the stuff that legends are made of. He’s the English Empire’s golden son–until fate has its way with him. Cole’s family is killed and his closest comrade betrays him on the battlefield, leaving him gravely injured. But Cole is not one to dwell on misfortune. He is a man of duty, honor–and desire. And now he’s ready for the fight of his lifetime…

Imogen Pritchard is a beautiful lass who works in a hospital by day and as a serving maid at night. Years ago, when she was young and penniless, she ended up spending a scandalous night with Cole, whose tormented soul was matched only by his earth-shattering passion. Imogen entered a marriage of convenience—one that left her a wealthy widow—but she never forgot Cole. Now that her long-lost lover has turned up in her hospital, injured and with no memory of her, Imogen is torn: Is it a blessing or a curse that their past remains a secret to Cole, even as his new passion for her leaves him wanting to protect and possess her…at all costs, in The Duke, the next Victorian Rebels novel by Kerrigan Byrne.

The Review:

Normally when I read a review book, I write the review immediately while the ideas are fresh on my mind. However, this one was different. I devoured this novel, but I fear it may not have been for the usual reasons I read a novel quickly. I think anxiety is the true cause for my speed. The Duke isn’t the typical historical romance, and I think my need to find the traditional formula caused me to read it faster than normal. Kerrigan Byrne dared to break the mold with this one.

The premise of this novel was interesting. Imogen is not the normal rich heroine forced into the arms of the scandalous hero. She’s working-class, a nurse, who is trying to support her mother and sister after their father’s death as well as pay off her father’s debts. She’s also not the raving beauty so prevalent in the genre. In the beginning, she’s malnourished and sickly because of her impoverished state. She hasn’t the etiquette or breeding to be considered acceptable by the handsome Collin Talmage. Definitely puts the tried-and-true romance fan out of her natural element.

Cole also breaks the mold. I really didn’t like him. He had the promise of the hunky bad boy but turned into a surly, damaged man–too much so for my taste. Yes, he goes through a terrible ordeal in the beginning of the novel, but I just didn’t like his attitude. And I ended up skimming a lot of his continual mental montage of anguish. That probably sounds heartless, but there is only so much self-torment a reader can stand.

That being said, the writing was wonderful, a little flowery at times, but well-written. And the timeline technique was interesting though frustrating. Once the flashforward”ing” was over and the time remained stationary, I enjoyed the novel much more.

4 Stars


Book Review: Ecstasy Unbound by Setta Jay

Reviewer: Andrea


The Summary:

As one of the twelve Guardians, Urian has spent the last several centuries in a constant battle to keep the inhabitants of Earth’s Realms under control. Humanity has to evolve, hell beasts need to die, and Immortals need mates. But lately, Uri’s mind is overrun with thoughts of when his sexy voyeur will find him again, watching him from the shadows, continuing their wicked game. All Guardians are forbidden contact with the little goddess and her brothers, but his need for her escalating, he finds it increasingly difficult to keep from pinning her down on the nearest surface and making her his.

Alexandra has managed to evade the Guardians and being cast out from the human Realm for centuries, ever since the Creators sent the Gods to sleep for their sins against humanity and banished all Immortals. Always sensing that she was needed on Earth, only once has Alex gone against her instincts and the price she paid will forever haunt her. It is for that reason she forces herself to stay away from the only male who has ever truly enticed her. The only one who has ever made her long for what she knows is dangerous.

In a desperate need to help her beloved brother, she will have to go to the enthralling Guardian, her dark obsession, and even though he will surely attempt to exile her, she won’t go easily…

Warning: This book contains explicit and sizzling sex scenes with big dominant males. MFM, ménage, and light bondage.

The Review:

You should take the warning included with this novel seriously. This one is beyond mature. In fact, I’m not sure I’m old enough to have read it. I knew the genre before I started reading, and this is not the first of the kind I’ve reviewed; however, I think this is quite possibly the most intense and descriptive. Fifty Shades looks reads like a high school romance compared to the details in this book. It’s a good thing these characters are demi-gods and immortals because I’m pretty sure normal people couldn’t survive–without serious damage–the kink. If you aren’t completely committed to the genre, better steer very clear of it.
That said, the plot was pretty good. Fans of
Black Dagger Brotherhood will enjoy this
series. The many characters will supply fuel for numerous novel to come, one of which releases soon. Mythology lovers will probably enjoy this one as well since many of these characters are offspring of familiar gods and goddess. It’s an interesting twist on some classic character lines. And you’ll definitely get your beefcake fix. It’s a love story but not in the traditional sense, so if you want a steamy, descriptive tale full of fangs and claws, you should check out this novel.

3.5 Stars