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With This Kiss by Bella Riley
With This Kiss

romancingrakes, March 3, 2012

***original review posted at Romancing Rakes For The Love of Romance by Jamie***

Everyone has secrets. For Rebecca, her secret is someone else’s secret but it doesn’t make it any easier.

Rebecca Campbell hasn’t been having a great couple of weeks. First, her wedding to Stu Murphy was called off two weeks before it was suppose to take place and then Stu just ups and leaves leaving Rebecca to run the Inn. The whole town is trying to figure out what she did to make him leave, when really the secret lies with Stu. Now, on the eve of her wedding, Stu’s brother Sean shows up and sparks fly.

Sean arrives back home just in time for his brothers wedding but it seems he missed the memo that it was canceled. Then matters get worse when he realizes that the women he was checking out was Stu’s fiancé and the woman who ran him off.

Sean can’t deny the sparks between him and Rebecca but he’s reluctant to get involved, and not just because she was his brothers fiancé. He has a secret of his own that keeps him at a distance. He knows Rebecca deserves more and he can’t offer it. Sean has been hurt by the one person who he trusted, and now his trust is basically nonexistent.

It’s unusual that I love the heroine, I don’t know why but usually she annoys me but not Rebecca. She doesn’t have the best track record with men, Stu included, and finds herself falling back into old habits of falling for unavailable men with Sean. She knows she’s going to get hurt but she can’t resist. I have a lot of respect for her. What she does to try and help Sean knowing full well that it will most likely ruin everything for her makes me want a friend like that.

I was blown away reading With This Kiss. My stomach was in knots and I couldn’t read it fast enough. It was a story that was full of romance and just a hint of mystery. I immediately fell in love with the character and didn’t want it to end. I can’t wait to read more from Bella Riley and go back to Emerald Lake.

***review copy from Netgalley***
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Kiss Me, I'm Irish: The Sins of His Past\Tangling with Ty\Whatever Reilly Wants... by Roxanne St Claire
Kiss Me, I'm Irish: The Sins of His Past\Tangling with Ty\Whatever Reilly Wants...

romancingrakes, March 3, 2012

***original review posted at Romancing Rakes For The Love of Romance***

The Sins of His Past by Roxanne St. Claire ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
That Deuce Monroe is something else. He's returned home due to being stupid and racing a car just to end up wrecking it. Now he's back and wonders what in the heck happened to Monroe's, the bar that has been passed on from father to son. Why is Monroe's spelled with a lowercase m and who put all these computers in it and why is the smell of coffee drifting from it's open doors? Oh Deuce, you've been gone far too long.

Kendra Locke has held a torch for Deuce since she was a little girl, listening through the heater duct for all her brother's conversations with friends. One night was all it took to change Kendra's life forever and a secret that only those closest to her know. She's put Deuce out of her mind but from the minute he walks through the front doors of monroe's, her heart begins to open again; old feelings resurface. Dang you Deuce Monroe!

Everything has changed for the better. The small seaside town of Rockingham, Massachusetts has become a destination place and the economy is picking up again. Kendra must at all costs keep her secret from Deuce all the while trying to fall back in love with him. Not that she ever stopped. Now, Deuce must not only fight for changing monroe's back into Monroe's but also try to keep himself from having a reason to stay in a town that he no longer knows.

Roxanne St. Claire, I need to read more of you. For real. The moment Deuce was introduced, I fell in love with him. He was the bad boy with the cocky attitude who got your heart pounding but your head asking you where the heck your sanity went because he was bound to be a total jerk. Deuce hit it and quit it. Just like that. He didn't even think about the consequences. Kendra had a right to be all sorts of angry and then some. Plus, if a guy ever came waltzing back into your life with the notion that things are going to be the same the way he left it should be made to beg on his knees.

Tangling with Ty by Jill Shalvis ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
An Irishman who has tried to distance himself from his horrible beginnings gets the surprise of his life in 1)a long lost half sister and 2)a workaholic doctor who has no time for a man in her life and lives by the mantra of "stay single". Ty Patrick O'Grady has been a drifter throughout his life. After getting taken in by a man he tried to steal from and getting an education, he's moved from place to place; wanderlust in his veins. He's been tapped to renovate the building that Dr. Nicole Mann lives in.

Nicole is a child prodigy. Straight A student, graduating early, not really a people person, annoyed by her mother and her perfect sister with the nice house, white picket fence, doting husband and 2.5 children. Ty sends everything she's ever thought about staying single right down the drain. He's funny, sexy as heck and has a sometimes accent. After Ty falls through her ceiling ogling her while she's rocking out in her mismatched underwear, she takes to nursing him. The fall brought out a caring side of her that goes beyond doctor/patient feelings. She forgets what's she's supposed to do and her friends have to help her. Um, she's a doctor for goodness sake!

As Nicole nurses Ty back to health, she realizes that there's more to this sometimes accented Irish man. She must decide whether she'll go the way of her friend Suzanne and allow herself to fall in love or follow in the footsteps of her sister in singlehood, Taylor. Meanwhile, Ty is getting mysterious emails from someone claiming to be his long lost half sister. He wants to deny that she might be it but knows that it's a possibility due to his mother's sexual promiscuity.

I think I fell in lust with Ty the moment he popped Nicole's door open with a credit card. That's a very handy skill to have. Not that I'm confessing to have knowledge of said skill. He's rough around the edges and only the right woman could make him stay. Nicole staying single didn't seem doable to me. Sure, she pretty much lived by the whole "singlehood is good" thing but puh-lease. The moment a man with an accent takes interest in you (albeit, the accent may fluctuate), get him any way you can. Being single doesn't mean you can't have sex with someone. Being single isn't taking a vow of celibacy. Oh Nicole, you poor girl. You've been looking at singlehood the wrong way.

Whatever Reilly Wants by Maureen Child ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Emma Jacobsen and Connor Reilly have been BFFs for a while and so they can shoot the breeze anytime they feel like it. No sexual tension whatsoever. Emma is one of the guys and Connor shares everything with her.

A bet between the brothers Reilly already has one brother out of the running of winning a nice sum of money bequeathed by a deceased uncle. Last man standing takes all. One catch: last man standing has to be celibate for three months. Do you know how long that is in guy time? Ages and ages and ages! Brian has gotten back with his ex-wife so that takes him out. Liam has taken vows to the church so he'll probably win considering that he'll be celibate the rest of his life. Aidan and Connor still have a chance at that money, only 2 more months.

Emma's father left her Jake's Garage. She works there fixing cars and trying to convince a little old lady to sell her son's (who's been dead for quite some time) '58 Corvette so she can restore it to its former glory. She still has yet to convince her. Emma was hurt by a jerk named Tony who got to know her (cute feminine clothes wearing Emma) and realized that he didn't much like her the way she was (coveralls, car fixing Emma). She vowed to never again let any man in.

All it takes is Connor telling Emma that he doesn't see her as a woman but a mechanic to make her go ballistic. She'll show him. Dressed up to the nines in Short Skirt and Tiny Tank Topville, Emma sets out to make Connor lose the bet by getting him in bed. Warnings from Liam and her friend Mary Alice that the plan may backfire only makes her scoff at them. Bad idea Emma!

Once the line between friends (especially a guy and a girl) is crossed, there is no turning back. Nothing will be the same again. I guess Emma didn't see Friends with Benefit or No Strings Attached. It can't be done! Nuh-uh. No flipping way. For guys, sex is physical. For girls, it's emotional. You can keep telling yourself that it's only sex but your heart will tell you otherwise.

Ah yes, the best friends to lovers trope. This one does it beautifully. I laughed my way through this one. Connor's antics and thoughts after seeing Emma in a short skirt, tiny tank top and heels definitely were all sorts of inappropriate. I loved that Emma had that 'I'll show him!' attitude but wanted to scream at her that she wouldn't come out unscathed by trying to get Connor into bed. I've seen this sort of thing play once or twice before my very eyes. It's not a pretty thing. Either both parties live to laugh about it after falling head over heels in love or both parties become so very bitter that no one is allowed to ever speak the other's name in front of them. Emma didn't have to change herself. She knew who she was and totally confident in herself. Connor should have thought before he spoke. Really? A mechanic instead of a woman? *shakes head*

***review copy from Netgalley***
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Darkness Bound (Chimney Rock) by Stella Cameron
Darkness Bound (Chimney Rock)

romancingrakes, March 3, 2012

***original review posted at Romancing Rakes For The Love of Romance by Jamie***

I don’t know what I was expecting when I started reading Darkness Bound but what I got wasn’t it… in a good way. I’m going to admit that it through me for a loop but it was a loop that I was happy to be in.

Leigh Kelly is moving on after the death of her husband. She quits her job and moves to Chimney Rock, a place that holds special memories for her. She gets a job as the business manger of Gabriel’s bar/restaurant thinking it will be something to get her mind off the past. Niles Latimer, alpha werehound, has other plans for Leigh. He’s determined to have her as a mate and save his pack.

Now, Chimney Rock is a small town that has a lot of secrets and isn’t very safe. Women are disappearing for days then coming back missing their memory. Not to mention a turf war between the werehounds and the werewolves. I have to give Leigh credit because I would be out of there after the second night and all the strange things that start happening around her. Good thing Niles is around… and his dog Blue (who I love and if you read you’ll know why).

There are a lot of paranormal creatures in Chimney Rock. Not only do you have the werehounds fighting their enemies the werewolves but also there are vampires involved and some Fae who have yet to pick a side. It can get confusing but the way Stella Cameron introduces them makes it’s very easy to keep track of.

There is a lot going on so be prepared when you start to read it. And if you do start reading then be prepared to get sucked in to this crazy world. Darkness Bound has a more Urban Fantasy feel then just a normal paranormal romance and I look forward to seeing how this world unravels. Seth, Niles' right hand guy, is probably my favorite character and his book is next which I’m excited about. Plus I want to see what the deal is with Gabriel. There is something mysterious there.

***review copy from Netgalley***
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Ember: A Prequel to Firelight by Kristen Callihan
Ember: A Prequel to Firelight

romancingrakes, February 25, 2012

***original review posted at Romancing Rakes For The Love of Romance***

The beginning sentence pretty much sums up Ember and Firelight:

'This is the story of a beast, so great and fearsome that he was reviled by all. And of a merchant's daughter, brave and beautiful, whose love for the beast redeemed his soul.'

Doesn't that just send shivers down your spine? A classic Beauty and the Beast story that will have you tearing up and clapping at the end.

Ember is the prequel to Firelight in which Miranda's history is explained as well as Archer's and how he came to be banished from London society.

Miranda's gift of fire is both a blessing and a curse. She accidentally burned down her father's warehouse because of a dare and has been paying for it since. In the form of being a pickpocket and fencing the items to keep her and her father barely afloat.

Archer is trying to find a cure for his curse all the while dreaming a certain fire haired beauty who he is looking forward to claim as his own when he returns to London. She just doesn't know it yet. The deal is between Archer and her father due to her father's crew sinking the ship that contained Archer's friend and cure.

This novella was a peek inside Miranda's world before Archer came along to claim her as part of the bargain. She was practically engaged to her childhood friend Martin and they are about to make is official. Complications arise and one rash act using her deadly power send Martin fleeing.

Gah! A little more time with Archer and Miranda put a smile on my face. Ms. Callihan definitely has a way of reeling me in and making me stay even though it's only 60 pages long. I wanted more and thought about re-reading Firelight just to get a new perspective as to why things are the way they are. From the hot sands of Egypt to the desert of Central Mexico to the dark alleys of London and bustling New York City, this novella packs a punch with danger, adventure, hallucinations, intrigue, heartbreak and a whole mess of under the table dealings that will change two lives forever. Well done, Ms. Callihan.

***review copy from Netgalley***
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Once upon a Wicked Night by Jennifer Haymore
Once upon a Wicked Night

romancingrakes, February 25, 2012

***original review posted at Romancing Rakes For The Love of Romance***

Spotted: One, Miss Olivia Donovan getting leered at by a certain Marquis in a dark alcove on the second story of the Dowager Duchess of Clayworth's annual ball. Will they be found by the London ton and will OD be shunned? A source informs me that the Marquis is a married man but tends to step out on his wife. Ladies, keep your legs closed and your virtue well guarded!

Hello lovers... Seven years to this day, Miss Serena Donovan the newly wedded Countess of Stratford and her Earl were caught in a most compromising embrace. Well, a source has discreetly informed me that they're at it again and a certain sister may or may not have gotten quite an eyeful. Oh, haven't either of learned from the past?

Certified Grade A Creepy Marquis... The Marquis mentioned earlier is quite the ladies man and has taken a shine to poor OD. Hello Marquis dude, you're married. Oh wait, this is a normal occurrence for men of your station. But for goodness sake, never tell an innocent lady all the lurid things you'll do to her when you get her alone. That just makes you a total creep. And informing a certain lady that if you can't have her, no one else can, that's just stepping over that fine line of sleazy into Edward Cullen watching you in the corner creepy. Yikes!

Enjoy it while you're young... Miss Jessica Donovan giving it a whirl around the ballroom. This young lady looks like the only Donovan sister who will have the time of her life this season.

Now the real question is: Will the sisters Donovan take the London ton by storm or will complications arise that could put their lives in danger? You'll have to read the full books after this novella because I'll never tell...

XOXO, Romance Girl

This was a short, fast read that gave a little insight to what happens after Serena (Meg) and Jonathan's happily ever after (Confessions of An Improper Bride) and the showdown between Olivia Donavan and that creepy Lord Fenwicke. It sets up Olivia's book, Secrets of An Accidental Duchess. I wish it was a bit longer with a little more Jessica and Phoebe time but the ending definitely leaves you wondering what Olivia will do to keep herself from running into Fenwicke.

***review copy from Netgalley***
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