Sunday, August 25, 2019

Early Review of Sapphire Flames (Hidden Legacy #4) by Ilona Andrews

Title: Sapphire Flames: A Hidden Legacy Novel
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Hidden Legacy (Book 4)
Format: Paperback; 400 pages
Publisher: Avon (August 27, 2019)
ISBN-10: 0062878344
ISBN-13: 978-0062878342
Author's Website:
Notes: I received and eARC loan from the publisher. This in no way affected my rating.

A century and a half ago, the Osiris serum was discovered by scientists which unlocked a person's magical abilities. The serum was given to soldiers so that wars could be won, but scientists didn't comprehend what they'd truly done until much later. The serum was locked away, but the damage had been done because it was soon found that magical talents could be passed from parent to child. The world, as we knew it, was changed forever as a restructuring of power occurred. Money no longer guaranteed power, influence, and prestige in this magically oriented new world, rather, one's magical abilities did. For with the power of magic, one could acquire the rest.

Talents varied among people, but each person who gained magical abilities from the serum showed potential toward one specific type of magic. Among the varying classifications, ranges of talent were soon noted, and magic users were categorized into five different ranks: Minor, Average, Notable, Significant, and Prime. The highest and strongest being Prime. Soon magical dynasties, as the most powerful of magical families came to be called, were broken into Houses and attempted to manipulate and enhance their family's magical potential by arranging marriages which would bring about the most gifted and talented of offspring. Certain magics, it was found, complimented one another and had a high potential of producing offspring with stronger and greater magical abilities. Still others, when their magics were mixed, were found to be incompatible and produced offspring with no magical talents whatsoever.

Three years ago the Baylor family had undergone the trials to prove that their family possessed at least two Primes, and were granted permission to declare themselves a House. The family talents were verified by the Panel of Prime judges, and their records were sealed, so no on outside the trials could find out what the family talents were. Being a new house, they were granted the courtesy of immunity from attacks by other houses for three years. That reprieve is about to expire, and that is when the fun (I say in jest) will begin.

Catalina Baylor has recently taken on the position of head investigator of her family's business--Baylor Investigative Agency. A position her sister, Nevada, held until she married into another House. The firm specializes in small-time investigations, but lately, since their house was declared, a new clientele has emerged with more difficult and magically inclined cases. Catalina's just been asked by Augustine for a favor. He wants her to help him stop Ragnar Etterson, a Prime, from committing suicide by jumping off the top of a building. Catalina has a talent which has deemed her a siren because she can call people to her and make them love and become obsessed with her to a disturbing level. That means once she unleashes her power Ragnar will do anything she asks just to please her. The question is, can she reach him in time?

Two days ago, Ragnar's mother and sister died in a fire. He is not taking the loss well. What Catalina has yet to discover is that the deaths are very suspicious, and are most likely the result of a feud between houses. When she realizes which family Ragnar is a part of, she'll become embroiled in something that could get her and her family killed. The Baylors owe Ragnar's family a debt and will do all they can to get down to the bottom of what happened, and do all they can to keep the two remaining siblings safe.
This is the fourth book (fifth story--there is a novella, Diamond Fire, you should also read) of the Hidden Legacy series. I highly recommend you don't jump in the deep end with this one if you've not read the previous books. There is a lot of history between characters as well as family dynamics from the previous stories that will be missed if you do. You'll most likely feel a bit lost. Plus, the other stories endear you to the Baylor's because you'll know what they've been through, what they've dealt with, and how far they've come. Additionally, you'll miss out on seeing each of the Baylor family, especially Catalina in this book, come into their own because you won't have witnessed their transformations. At the very least, read the novella. It is not to be missed, and gives you an idea of what you're in for. Side Note: If you haven't read the novella, but have read the first three books, read the novella. It gives you a frame of reference as to why and how Catalina changed so much.

Usually when a series changes main characters after having several books I tend to get upset. That was not the case with this one. Perhaps this had something to do with the novella, Diamond Fire, where Nevada voices the prologue, but Catalina voices the rest of the novella. All I know is that I was all in from the beginning, and loved seeing how Catalina had become a strong and confident young woman. While she is still finding her footing, the expression, "You've come a long way baby!" whispered in my head. She understands what she's up against and will do what she needs to to accomplish it. Family is everything to her, and she'd do anything for them even if that means selling a bit of her soul.

Alessandro Sagredo was a real surprise. While there was no doubt he'd be Catalina's love interest, he was a twist I never saw coming. He is so very different from who I knew him to be, or rather thought I knew him to be. Everything I thought I knew about him was wrong. I loved learning a little of his back story, and look forward to learning even more about him. I loved how he always had Catalina's back and he's so much more than just a pretty face. We quickly learn, he's a multifaceted character with many secrets and layers.

The mystery of what happened to Sigourney Etterson and her daughter kept me glued to the pages from start to finish. There were twists and surprises at every turn. The story had depth and layers to it which Catalina had to uncover one secret at a time in order to unravel the mystery of it all. Drama, suspense, and questions abound as what is being hidden comes to light.

I couldn't help but give this story 5 out of 5 roses. The world the writing team of Ilona Andrews has created is fun, complex, complicated, and dangerous on a grand scale. The mystery kept me guessing but unable to solve whodunit until all was revealed. I love when that happens. I enjoyed the romance that is slowly blossoming between Alessandro and Catalina. I loved how the Baylor women make their men work for their favor. I also loved how almost everything isn't all what it first appears to be. It's like one giant puzzle box that once one puzzle unfolds, another is unearthed. On the Lisarenee Romance Scale, this one earned a BLUSH rating--at the beginning stages of romance where something is just starting to be stirred. Like many urban fantasy stories, this romance will take its time to increase in intensity and come to full bloom, and I can't wait for when it does. I HIGHLY recommend this series. I love where Ilona Andrews is taking us! It was so good.

Order of the Hidden Legacy series:

Monday, August 19, 2019

Early Review of The Duchess in His Bed (Sins for All Seasons #4) by Lorraine Heath

Title: The Duchess in His Bed: A Sins for All Seasons Novel
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Sins for All Seasons (Book 4)
Format: Paperback; 400 pages
Publisher: Avon (August 20, 2019)
ISBN-10: 0062676067
ISBN-13: 978-0062676061
Author's Website:
Notes: I received an eARC loan from the publisher for review purposes. This in no way affected my review. Any quotes used will need to be checked against the final version as ARCs are subject to change.

Selena Sheffield, Duchess of Lushing, is in a bind. Her husband of seven years has passed away before the two had started a family. With no heirs to be found, the dukedom, which her husband's family had held for ages, is about to become extinct unless Selena can produce an heir. The problem is there is no chance that she is with child. While Selena could live a rather nice life from the provisions her husband made for her in his will, her siblings could not for she would not have the means to provide for them. 

Enter Aiden Trewlove and the Elysium Club--a club which caters exclusively to the desires of women. A place where, if she has the nerve, Selena may be able to find just the man who can make all her troubles go away, and she know exactly who she wants that man to be...

Aiden Trewlove is a self made man who owns both the Elysium and Cerberus Clubs. The former is a new acquisition which he took over from his brother. Aiden has a strict policy of never mixing business with pleasure, but when he catches sight of an alluring woman wearing a mask, he starts to wonder if perhaps he should make an exception?
This is the fourth book in the Sins for All Seasons series. While this story could probably be read as a standalone, I strongly encourage you read the previous books in the series. If you don't, you'll end up missing out on some of the Trewlove family dynamics, and that would be a shame. The series revolves around the Trewlove siblings which consists of four brothers and two sisters. The siblings were all born out of wedlock to various members of the ton. Finn, Aiden, Beast, Gillie, and Mick were taken in by Ettie Trewlove. Fancy is the only one of the lot born to Ettie, and her conception is another story altogether. The Trewloves are a fierce lot. They are extremely smart, very resourceful, and fiercely loyal to one another. They have all worked hard to achieve success, and that work is beginning to pay off as the family is coming in to their own. In this book it's Aiden's turn to find true love.

Aiden is loyal to a fault and, despite owning clubs for sin and vice, he actually is not one to participate in either. This, of course, is much to the dismay of the women who frequent the Elysium club. You see Aiden is very handsome and has a way of making every woman who crosses his club's threshold feel special. Between the two clubs, he's been working hard to make sure he and his family will never want for anything, and hasn't taken any time to enjoy his success.

Selena is an admired and respected member of the ton. During her first season she was deemed the most beautiful debutante, and seven years later she's just as beautiful. Selena loved her husband, but she had not been in love with him. She'd married him out of duty, and whilst he been a good man, there'd been no passion between them. If she plays her cards right, going to the Elysium club will not only satisfy her curiosity, but also be a means to an end. Though she may still be young, she has no plans of ever marrying again, but even if she did her prospects would be limited because she never bore her husband an heir. The fear would be too great that she is barren. Without the support of her husband her ability to help her sisters find a good matches is unlikely. Yet if she produces an heir, she'd retain the power, status, and respect that the position of duchess commands. Additionally, the thought of having a child appeals to her, however, there's always the possibility that the blame for the couples inability to produce an heir lies with her. If that's the case, everything would be for naught.

I loved so many things about this book. I loved that Aiden immediately realizes there is something different and special about Selena. He is aware that he wants to explore the feelings he has for her right from the moment they first met. He instantly discerns that if he handles things incorrectly she'll bolt out of his life just as quickly as she entered it, and that is something he doesn't want. I also loved the fact that Aiden really didn't have a clue as to what Selena looked like during their initial meeting because she wore a mask. I liked that he could care less if she were old or ugly. He just felt a strong connection and wanted to explore it despite the fact he'd vowed to run the other way if he ever felt the desire to enter into a serious relationship with anyone. To me, that the mask spoke volumes. At one point Selena even stated, "I'm discovering that you can't look at someone and know the trials they face. We all wear masks. They just aren't as visible as the ones worn at your club." Ironically, I felt it was symbolic of how Selena and others in the book had and were living their lives. In order for anyone to truly be happy, they need to shed the mask they wear and not try to be someone they aren't. They need to be true to themselves and not live for others even though that is a scary prospect. The risks associated with such a decision could ultimately lead to a person's ruin or their salvation. In Selena's case, she just doesn't know which and she'll have to take a leap of faith or not.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book:
- "It's an odd thing, how one's life can seem all out of kilter, and yet the world carries on as though nothing is amiss."
- "A life lived in shadows was no life at all."
- "Love is all that matters. Find someone deserving of you."
- "The heart did as it wanted, loved who it would love. And seemed to have a penchant for choosing those who provided the most difficult of challenges. But then if love were easy, the poets would hardly be heralded for putting into words what most found indescribable."

Overall, I gave this one 5 out of 5 roses. The chemistry between these two was potent, and I loved the angst and tension that existed between them. I loved how Aiden empowered Selena to see her situation for what it really was and allowed her to choose what she ultimately wanted. He slowly seduced his way into her heart by showing her all the things she could have with him and then letting her decide if she was willing to take a chance on him. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a SHOWER rating--a cold shower is necessary (need I say more?). Some books should come with a warning - make sure your significant other is handy or your shower is in working order. lol I HIGHLY recommend this one! It was the perfect blend of naughty and nice.

The Order of the Sins For All Seasons series:

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Giveaway/Sneak Peek/Review of The Wallflower Wager (Girl Meets Duke #3) by Tessa Dare

The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare 

They call him the Duke of Ruin.

To an undaunted wallflower, he's just the beast next door.
Wealthy and ruthless, Gabriel Duke clawed his way from the lowliest slums to the pinnacle of high society—and now he wants to get even.

Loyal and passionate, Lady Penelope Campion never met a lost or wounded creature she wouldn’t take into her home and her heart.

When her imposing—and attractive—new neighbor demands she clear out the rescued animals, Penny sets him a challenge. She will part with her precious charges, if he can find them loving homes.

Done, Gabriel says. How hard can it be to find homes for a few kittens?

And a two-legged dog.

And a foul-mouthed parrot.

And a goat, an otter, a hedgehog . . .

Easier said than done, for a cold-blooded bastard who wouldn’t know a loving home from a workhouse. Soon he’s covered in cat hair, knee-deep in adorable, and bewitched by a shyly pretty spinster who defies his every attempt to resist. Now she’s set her mind and heart on saving him.

Not if he ruins her first.

She circled back, standing before him. “There now. Better?”

He gave a reluctant nod.

“Can you move your arm in all directions?”

He rolled his shoulder to prove it. “Yes.”

“What about your grip?

“My grip is strong.”

“Perhaps I should wrap the arm in a sling.”

“I do not need a sling.”

“Wait here. I’ll dash upstairs to fetch some linen and—”

“For the love of God, woman. My shoulder is fine.” He took her by the waist and lifted her straight off the floor, until they were eye to eye. “There. Believe me now?”

She nodded, wide-eyed.


In his hands, she was delicate, breakable. Her hair was a golden treasure he should never, ever touch. And oh, how he hungered for those soft, pink lips.

The familiar voice echoed in his ears.

Don’t touch, boy. She’s not for the likes of you.

Put. Her. Down.

But before Gabe could lower those beribboned pink slippers to the floor, she captured his sooty, sweaty face in her hands—

And kissed him on the lips.

Tessa Dare

Tessa Dare is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty historical romances. Her books have won numerous accolades, including Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® award (twice) and the RT Book Reviews Seal of Excellence. Booklist magazine named her one of the “new stars of historical romance,” and her books have been contracted for translation in more than a dozen languages.

A librarian by training and a booklover at heart, Tessa makes her home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband, their two children, and a trio of cosmic kitties.

  • Title: The Wallflower Wager: Girl Meets Duke
    Classification: Adult Fiction
    Genre: Historical Romance
    Series: Girl Meets Duke
    Format: Paperback; 368 pages
    Publisher: Avon (August 13, 2019)
    ISBN-10: 0062672169
    ISBN-13: 978-0062672162
    Author's Website:
    Notes: I received an eARC loan from the publisher. This in no way affected my review.

Lady Penelope Campion is young, beautiful, and a recluse, but the latter is about to change. Her brother has decided it is time for her to return to the family ancestral estate. When her aunt comes to inform her of his decision, Penelope pleads with her to help her change his mind. A wager is set, if Penelope can 1) acquire a wardrobe 2) reenter London society by attending the opera, dinner parties, balls, etc. 3) get rid of her animal menagerie, then her aunt will do her best to convince her brother to let her stay in London.

Gabriel Duke, is known as the Duke of Ruin, a moniker he acquired by financially ruining those in the ton and leaving them practically penniless. He is a self made man who has spent a lot of time and money restoring the house next to Lady Penelope's and has plans to sell it for a king's ransom to a commoner wishing to rub elbows with London's elite. If Lady Penelope moves, however, his plan will be thwarted, and he can't have that. So together they form an alliance so each can get what they want.

What neither realizes is they'll get more than they ever bargained for, but in a good way.
This is the third book in the Girl Meets Duke series. While it can be read as a standalone, I recommend reading the other books in the series first. There are friendships that come into play in this story that would be underappreciated and not fully understood if you don't. 

I simply adored this book. It tickled my funny bone and, at times, had be rolling my eyes, laughing like a fool, and grinning from ear to ear. I kept thinking "Oh no she wouldn't." but yes, the author did. She created situations that were just too funny, and I couldn't have kept a straight face if I tried. Some may call the humor cheesy, but it totally worked for me.    

Now there was a darker side to this story, and I felt the author used the humor to her advantage. She padded the darker parts with that humor which helped to softened the blow a bit. Be forewarned that a case of childhood molestation is discussed, although not in extreme detail. While nothing can ever right such a wrong, justice is served in a rather surprising and unique way in this book.  

While the romance between Penelope and Gabriel seemed very unlikely, I enjoyed seeing Penelope basically seduce her way into Gabriel's heart. A heart he was convinced he didn't have or, at the very least, was frozen to the core. Penelope tends to believe there's good in every person, and she believes there's more to Gabriel than what the rumors running rampant about him would suggest. She's determined to find the good in him.

I couldn't help but give this one 5 out of 5 roses. I loved that the heroine who starts out as a recluse blossoms into a strong woman right before our very eyes. Penelope brings out the best in Gabriel while he helps her to find her inner strength and courage. While these two get to know one another the chemistry between them builds until there's no denying it. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed. 

Order of the Girl Meets Duke series:

Enter for a chance to win 'one' print copy of  'The Wallflower Wager'  by Tessa Dare 
(Open to those living in the United States or Canada)
Please check Rafflecopter for the rules for this giveaway.
Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...