The Rake and the Recluse

Jenn LeBlanc

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This book falls under the heading of ‘guilty pleasure.’ I know I should be reading quality literature, but sometime I like a low-brow romp. This book is full of crazy sauce, but it has my catnip, a time-slip romance. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, time slip is a story based on the premise that someone (almost always a woman) loses consciousness and wakes up in the past. In this case, Francine is on her way to make a presentation, has an accident  in the cab, and wakes up in the late 19th century. She is on the run from an abusive male, and falls under the carriage of a duke. He rescues her, and it’s love at first sight.

That’s the first half of the book. The second is the story of Perry, the younger brother of the duke, who finds a servant girl hiding in his carriage as he returns to London. She has been beaten and abused by the same man who attacked Francine. She persuades Perry to take  her to London, and he agrees. Again, it’s love at first sight.

Both stories are in the same book, so you definitely get your money’s worth, plus there are photographs taken by the author, which illustrate key moments.

The writing is adequate, and if you are willing to suspend your disbelief and go along for the ride, this book is a  lot of fun.

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A Kiss for Midwinter

Courtney Milan

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I have to laugh at people who snark at writers and readers of romance as a group of mouth breathers who don’t read real books. Courtney Milan, with her graduate degree from UC Berkeley and law degree from University of Michigan, give the lie to this prejudice. She writes some of the smartest historical romance and contemporary romance available today. I tend to lean toward her historical romance, and this series is one of my favorites.

As part of the Brothers Sinister series, this novella falls between The Duchess War and The Heiress Effect. Lydia Charingford has a secret, one that blights her life. However she puts a cheerful face on it, and seems to be doing well, until her paths cross the one man who can reveal her secret and ruin her life.

Dr Jonas Grantham has no intention of revealing her secret. In fact, he has been in love with Lydia for nearly a year. He has a plan to make her his, if only his plan doesn’t go awry.

Every step of the way, we are cheering Jonas on, and Courtney doesn’t disappoint us, but Jonas really has to work for it. The 11th prettiest girl he knows isn’t going to fall into his lap like a ripe plum.

The Duchess War

Courtney Milan

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I love books by Courtney Milan. She never disappoints. Her heroines are so smart and independent and her heroes are so appreciative.

Far from chasing a husband, Minerva Lane is trying to avoid attention. That ploy fails her when she catches the eye of the Duke of Clermont. He realizes there’s more to her than meets the eye, and he is determined to pursue her. She is equally determined to elude him.

Smart, smart, smart.

 

 

The Paid Companion

Amanda Quick

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Elenora Lodge is in a fix. She is suddenly penniless and friendless. Her gentle upbringing has made her unsuited for work other than that of a paid companion. Unfortunately her intelligence and independence also make her unsuitable for that.

The Earl of St Merryn needs a woman. A woman to pose as his fiancee to draw off the mother/daughter pairs in society that will interfere with his determination to find his father’s killer.

The two were made for each other.

Reckless

Amanda Quick

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I like Amanda Quick a lot, mostly for her independent, strong heroines, but this book just didn’t do it for me. I found her heroine, with her attitude toward the hero silly, and the hero, with his background of piracy combined with a penchant for writing romance novels, unbelievable. The whole book was forgettable.

The plot involved finding a book the heroine believed to be lost turning up again. She and the hero are on a quest to find it. In the search, they fall in love, learn each other’s secrets, and get married.

A light read, for a summer day, but Quick has written better.

Ravished

Amanda Quick

Ravished by [Quick, Amanda]

This Beauty and the Beast romance features Harriet, a 25-year-old unmarried woman who is more interested in her prehistoric bones than in husband hunting. She believes her bones are safe in a secret cave, until they are threatened by a gang of thieves who use the cave as a hiding place to stash their loot. Afraid of being found out, Harriet enlists the aid of Gideon, the Beast of Blackthorne Hall, a man with scars both on his face and in his soul.

This delightful read is pure Amanda Quick, with memorable characters and believable plot twists and turns. Pure delight.

 

 

The Duke and the Domina

Jenn LeBlanc

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Oh, boy, did this book ever push my buttons. It had three elements I love: historical romance, time-slip, and light BDSM. Poor Dominatrix Lulu is in the middle of a scene with a client, when she slips and hits her head. When she comes to, she’s exchanged bodies with a Victorian miss, engaged to a duke. We never learn what happened to the Victorian miss, and we don’t care. We are so caught up with Lulu’s relationship with Grayson, the Duke of Warrick.

Fortunately for Lulu, Grayson is a submissive (yes, he wears a corset), so they are able to work things out to their mutual satisfaction, and we go along for the ride.

This book was so engaging and entertaining, I bought another in the series.