Wednesday, May 27, 2015

REVIEW: "Dearest Rogue" by Elizabeth Hoyt


Dearest Rogue (Maiden Lane, #8)
Dearest Rogue by Elizabeth Hoyt
(Maiden Lane #8)

For Ages 18+ (Language/Sensuality)
Historical Romance -- Georgian England

Grand Central Publishing -- Published on May 26, 2015
Ebook, 400 pages
Read in May 2015
Received from Netgalley

THEMES/TROPES
Alpha Hero, Unrequited Love, Class Differences, Disability

SUMMARY
HE CAN GUARD HER...

Lady Phoebe Batten is pretty, vivacious, and yearning for a social life befitting the sister of a powerful duke. But because she is almost completely blind, her overprotective brother insists that she have an armed bodyguard by her side at all times-the very irritating Captain Trevillion.

FROM EVERY DANGER...

Captain James Trevillion is proud, brooding, and cursed with a leg injury from his service in the King's dragoons. Yet he can still shoot and ride like the devil, so watching over the distracting Lady Phoebe should be no problem at all-until she's targeted by kidnappers.

BUT PASSION ITSELF.

Caught in a deadly web of deceit, James must risk life and limb to save his charge from the lowest of cads-one who would force Lady Phoebe into a loveless marriage. But while they're confined to close quarters for her safekeeping, Phoebe begins to see the tender man beneath the soldier's hard exterior . . . and the possibility of a life-and love-she never imagined possible.


FIRST LINE
"Captain Trevillion, formerly of the 4th Dragoons, was used to dangerous places."

MY THOUGHTS
I received a free copy of this book from Grand Central Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Lady Phoebe Batten has been a popular side character throughout the long-running Maiden Lane series and fans have followed the trials that she has gone through as her eyesight deteriorates.  But, she never felt more alive than when she was arguing with Captain James Trevillion, a former soldier hired by her brother to act as her bodyguard.  So I was very happy to see these two strong-willed characters finally reveal their feelings for one another in Dearest Rogue.

What I love the most about Phoebe is her optimistic outlook.  Even though she is blind, she still embraces life and her biggest wish is to be independent.  Phoebe resists her brother's desire for her to have a bodyguard which causes most of the conflict between her and James.  She does have a few moments that frustrated me by not taking threats against her as serious as I thought she should, but that is a minor issue with her character.

I also adored James Trevillion.  He left his home in disgrace and joined the military as a dragoon.  After his injury, he was lucky to get the job working for the Duke of Wakefield and took it very seriously especially as his feelings for Phoebe grew.  Readers get to know quite a bit about his past which helped turn him into an even more sympathetic character.  I loved all the interactions between him and his family especially his niece.

James and Phoebe have been a couple that I have been excited about for awhile and I was pretty happy with their romance.  They already had an established protector/protectee relationship and emotions threw that for a loop.  I adored their interactions in Phoebe's garden which is the place she obviously feels the most comfortable.  The physical side of their relationship is very steamy, which is part of Hoyt's writing style, but well-suited to their particular personalities.  I really liked the emphasis on touch and smell due to Phoebe's disability.

The plot of Dearest Rogue dealt with the romance and a mystery threat against Phoebe.  Her brother is a powerful man who has many enemies and James is forced to up his game in order to deal with the latest kidnapping attempts.  This was an important plot point especially when he hides her away with his family which allows them to interact more as a couple.  I was a bit taken aback by the resolution of the various kidnapping attempts.  One of them was solved very quickly and the other just left me with more questions especially since it involved one of my favorite side characters who I'm hoping to see more of in the next book.

The early Georgian setting is still unusual in this Regency/Victorian-dominated market and nobody does it better than Ms. Hoyt.  She also understands the many faces of society and isn't afraid to turn her eye to the darker sides of London.  So, if you want to read a well-written and sexy romance with a little something different, I definitely recommend Elizabeth Hoyt's Maiden Lane series which can be read either in order or as stand-alone stories.


4 STARS

BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. Wicked Intentions
2. Notorious Pleasures
3. Scandalous Desires
4. Thief of Shadows
5. Lord of Darkness
6. Duke of Midnight
7. Darling Beast
8. Dearest Rogue
9. Sweetest Scoundrel (Coming 2015)

OTHER REVIEWS
Under the Covers Book Blog
Addicted to Romance

LEARN MORE
Goodreads -- LibraryThing -- BookLikes -- Shelfari
Author Website

WHERE TO BUY
Amazon -- Barnes & Noble -- Book Depository -- Kobo -- Google Play -- Audible

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Beach Reads


Hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish.

Summer Is for Lovers (Second Sons, #2)
1. Summer Is For Lovers by Jennifer McQuiston (historical romance)
Fun, light-hearted romance that takes place in Brighton!  Perfect for the beach!

First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, #1)
2. First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones (urban fantasy)
Super funny and a great start to a series.

My Dearest Enemy
3. My Dearest Enemy by Connie Brockway (historical romance)
Another light historical with wonderful character interactions.

A Bollywood Affair
4. A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev (contemporary romance)
I just read this and think the sweet romance would be great for vacation.

A Night to Surrender (Spindle Cove, #1)
5. A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare (historical romance)
The first in the Spindle Cove books with two entertaining people falling in love.

Fangirl
6. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (YA contemporary)
This has some emotional moments, but the overall feel is just so adorable.

This is What Happy Looks Like
7. This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith (YA contemporary)
Involves a beach town and a Hollywood actor falling for an everyday girl.

You Don't Have to Say You Love Me
8. You Don't Have To Say You Love Me by Sarra Manning (contemporary romance)
Very long, but has a fun heroine and plenty of humor.

Better Homes and Hauntings
9. Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper (paranormal romance)
Obviously, this is hilarious and the ghost story aspect gives it something extra.

The Last Best Kiss
10. The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik (YA contemporary)
A retelling of Persuasion with a scene at a music festival.

Monday, May 25, 2015

REVIEW: "The Friend Zone" by Kristen Callihan


The Friend Zone (Game On, #2)
The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan
(Game On #2)

For Ages 18+ (Language, Sensuality)
New Adult -- Contemporary

Self-Published -- Published in May 2015
Ebook, 309 pages
Read in May 2015
Purchased from Amazon

THEMES/TROPES
Sports, Brainy Heroes, Friends to Lovers, Dual Points of View

SUMMARY
Gray doesn’t make friends with women. He has sex with them. Until Ivy.

The last thing star tight-end Gray Grayson wants to do is drive his agent’s daughter’s bubblegum pink car. But he needs the wheels and she’s studying abroad. Something he explains when she sends him an irate text to let him know exactly how much pain she’ll put him in if he crashes her beloved ride. Before he knows it, Ivy Mackenzie has become his best texting bud. But then Ivy comes home and everything goes haywire. Because the only thing Gray can think of is being with Ivy.

Ivy doesn’t have sex with friends. Especially not with a certain football player. No matter how hot he makes her…

Gray drives Ivy crazy. He’s irreverent, sex on a stick, and completely off limits. Because, Ivy has one golden rule: never get involved with one of her father’s clients. A rule that’s proving harder to keep now that Gray is doing his best to seduce her. Her best friend is fast becoming the most irresistible guy she’s ever met.

Which means Gray is going to have to use all his skills to get himself out of the friend zone and into Ivy’s heart. Game on!


FIRST LINE
"Mr. Grayson, my father tells me he lent you my car."

MY THOUGHTS
Kristen Callihan's The Hook Up was one of my favorite reads of 2014 so, of course, I was excited to read the sequel, The Friend Zone.  While this wasn't as wonderful as its predecessor, I did enjoy it and continue to impressed with the NA romances I've been reading lately.

Gray is the tight end on his college football team and is very close to realizing his dream of being drafted by the National Football League.  He even has an agent waiting to sign him after graduation.  So he is not prepared for the entrance of his agent's daughter, Ivy, into his life.  Ivy and Gray try to remain friends, but it becomes obvious that they are so much more to one another.

I really liked both Gray and Ivy.  Gray is a stud athlete, but he also, surprisingly, has a hell of a brain which he keeps a secret from most people.  His childhood wasn't the happiest and he is determined to make it in the pros to finally find a place he belongs.  For her part, Ivy has been surrounded by athletes her entire life and resents the attention that they get from her father.  She has recently graduated from college and is trying to figure out what she wants to do next.  Ivy has never felt a connection with someone like she does with Gray and is terrified of what will happen if they move out into relationship territory.

The plot of The Friend Zone basically deals with Gray and Ivy becoming friends (mostly through text messages) and trying to not mess things up when feelings get in the way.  I loved the development of their friendship and how comfortable they were with one another.  It is obvious to readers that they both are in love, but I appreciated that it took time before romance appeared.  The plot ended up being a question of "when will they" rather than "will they or won't they" which was fun.

So I would definitely recommend fans of NA romance or contemporaries in general check out Callihan's The Friend Zone.  It has mature characters who respect one another and are just searching for somewhere to belong with some fun side characters and enough sports talk to provide a great background.

4 STARS

FAVORITE QUOTE
"All our lives, we're told work hard, strive for more, do all you can to live that life less ordinary.  Money, power, fame, everyone wants it.  But you get there and suddenly you're supposed to be ashamed, be humble?"  He shakes his head.  "Fuck that noise.  I say live your life on your terms.  If someone judges you about material things, that's their problem."

BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. The Hook Up
2. The Friend Zone
3. The Game Plan (Coming 2015)

OTHER REVIEWS
Smexybooks
All Romance Reviews

LEARN MORE
Goodreads -- BookLikes -- Shelfari
Author Website

WHERE TO BUY
Amazon -- Barnes & Noble -- Kobo

Sunday, May 24, 2015

WEEKLY RECAP: May 17-23, 2015

THIS WEEK ON FEMINIST FAIRY TALE REVIEWS
MY READING UPDATE

A Texan's Luck by Jodi Thomas -- Sweet romance between two people in an unusual situation.  The link to my review can be found above.

Four Nights with the Duke by Eloisa James -- Another cute and quirky story from a writer who thrives on Shakespearean-like romances.  My review will be coming soon.

Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews --  A fun look at the Kate Daniels series from Andrea's point of view.  I love this world and will be writing my review this week.

CURRENTLY READING

Magic Gifts (Kate Daniels, #5.4) Saint Anything

NEXT WEEK'S NEW RELEASES

Hades (Demonica, #11.5; Lords of Deliverance 6.5) Nowhere But Here (Thunder Road, #1) The Lady Hellion (Wicked Deceptions, #3) Dearest Rogue (Maiden Lane, #8)


Saturday, May 23, 2015

STACKING THE SHELVES (76)

STSmall_thumb[2][2]
A great feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews where bloggers get to feature the new books they received over the past week.

 
~BOUGHT~

The Mistake (Off-Campus, #2) The Friend Zone (Game On, #2) The Farmer Takes a Wife

The Mistake by Elle Kennedy (NA contemporary)
I am loving sports-themed NA romance right now and am ready to see Logan get his happy ending.

The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan (NA contemporary)
I finished this last weekend and, while it wasn't as good as the first Game On book, it was enjoyable.  My review will be published on Monday.

The Farmer Takes a Wife by Genevieve Turner (historical romance)
This was a freebie I learned about thanks to Cecilia Grant tweeting about it.  Love me a shy hero!

~BORROWED FROM THE LIBRARY~

The Duke and the Lady in Red (Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James, #3) Gunmetal Magic (Kate Daniels, #5.5) Saint Anything
The Duke and the Lady in Red by Lorraine Heath (historical romance)
I am liking this series and I have heard that this is the best of them all.

Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews (urban fantasy)
I'm halfway through this and am enjoying Andrea's point of view.

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen (YA contemporary)
Of course, I had to request this!  Dessen is amazing!

~RECEIVED FOR REVIEW~

The Art of Sinning (Sinful Suitors, #1) Dearest Rogue (Maiden Lane, #8) Blurred Lines

The Art of Sinning by Sabrina Jeffries (historical romance)
Jeremy intrigued me in the Duke's Men series and I am ready to see him fall in love.

Dearest Rogue by Elizabeth Hoyt (historical romance)
I squealed when I got an e-ARC of this!  The Maiden Lane series is one of my favorites right now!

Blurred Lines by Lauren Layne (NA contemporary)
I liked Layne's Redemption trilogy and am ready to read more from her.