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NO GOOD DUKE GOES UNPUNISHED by Sarah MacLean

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This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Source: Publisher
NO GOOD DUKE GOES UNPUNISHED by Sarah MacLeanNo Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah MacLean
Series: The Rules of Scoundrels #3
Published by Avon Genres: Historical
ReviewedbyShayna

All of London knows Temple to be the Killer Duke – the man who killed his father’s young bride the night before her wedding twelve years earlier.  Temple’s world came crashing down around him that fateful night and – worse of all – he cannot remember what happened.  Now he rules the underworld, powerful, frightening, and one of the four owners of The Fallen Angel.  Temple’s life is nothing like the one he was raised to live, but he’s (mostly) accepting of his fate.  Then Mara Lowe, the woman who he supposedly killed, shows up at his club, offering him redemption in exchange for his help.  Temple is furious, but now he has his chance for vengeance.  He just never expected to fall for the woman who ruined his life…

 

No Good Duke Goes Unpunished is a bit difficult for me to review.  I was so excited to start Temple and Mara’s story and expected a passionate, exciting romance the likes of which I know a talented author like Sarah MacLean can deliver.  To the book’s credit, there is passion, and a satisfying ending for the romance, but… this book was a bit of a miss for me.  Temple is out for blood when he learns that Mara deceived him and left him – and society – believing Temple to be a murderer.  He wants vengeance, which is understandable, but his plan to achieve it is poorly conceived and, quite frankly, illogical.  Rather than go the direct route and unmask Mara, he comes up with an overly complicated plan that can only be justified by the fact that this would be a very short story if everyone were straightforward.  As for Mara, I was somewhat disappointed in her as a heroine.  She had so much potential, but was frustratingly secretive for absolutely no logical reason.  I understood her actions of twelve years ago; they weren’t right, but they made sense when you take into account that she was a frightened teenager.  Ms. MacLean goes a bit overboard trying to redeem Mara, throwing everything in the story from orphans to a deranged brother to a pet pig.  Mara does develop a guilt complex, but I would have more respect for a heroine who doesn’t keep secrets arbitrarily and gives honest, straightforward apologies.

 

Even though I have a number of issues with Mara and Temple and was a bit frustrated at the lack of honest communication that made little sense (other than to further the plot), No Good Duke Goes Unpunished has its good moments.  Ms. MacLean’s prose is smooth and the story moves at an excellent pace.  When they are open and honest with one another, Temple and Mara make a great couple.  There are enough moments in the book that I enjoyed that the story isn’t a total loss for me.  And, as I previously mentioned, the ending of the story satisfied my romance-loving heart.  The Rules of Scoundrels series has had its ups and downs, but I finished Mara and Temple’s book looking forward to the final installment of the series, Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover.

I MARRIED THE DUKE by Katharine Ashe

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This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Source: Publisher
I MARRIED THE DUKE by Katharine AsheI Married the Duke by Katharine Ashe
Series: Prince Catchers #1
Published by Avon Genres: Historical
ReviewedbyShayna

As children, the Caulfield sisters were told that the mysterious ring they possess will help them find out the truth of their parentage.  But for the secret to be revealed, one of the sisters must first marry a prince.  Arabella, the middle sister, carried her determination to marry a prince into adulthood.  Her latest employment – to prepare a prince’s sister for her London season – could be Arabella’s key to succeeding.  She just needs to get to her employer’s home.  And to do that, she must negotiate passage on the ship of a handsome pirate who tempts her to forget her lifelong goal.

 

Luc Westfall is no pirate, though he certainly looks the part.  In fact, Luc is the possible heir to a dukedom.  But he sees no need to let the pretty governess who catches his eye know that.  Luc has never met anyone like Arabella, and perhaps with a little seduction, he might be able to convince her that a potential duke could be a far more appealing prospect than a price.  But Luc may not get the chance to win the spirited Arabella’s heart if an old enemy of his has his way…

 

Katharine Ashe’s Prince Catchers series is off to a rollicking start with I Married the Duke.  I adored the first half of this book, thanks in no small part to the fabulous chemistry Arabella and Luc have.  When Arabella has a bad stroke of luck on her way to her new position, she manages to secure passage on the ship of a dashing pirate who is not all that he appears to be.  What follows is a journey fraught with sexual tension and the sparks that fly between Arabella and Luc make the story completely addictive.  When you have a sassy heroine and a seductive hero trapped together, you can’t go wrong.

 

So why isn’t this a perfect read for me?  Because everything fell apart in the second half of the book.  I don’t want to spoil the story by revealing what happens, so suffice it to say I Married the Duke becomes crowded, often disjointed, and unnecessarily complicated about halfway into the story.  Arabella and Luc – who are so charming for the first half of the story – argue, refuse to listen, and/or keep secrets for no discernable reason.  This is an incredible disappointment because the first half of the book is so much fun to read and I’m used to Ms. Ashe’s writing being a lot smoother.

 

While I Married the Duke left me feeling divided, the characters themselves are all wonderfully drawn.  Ms. Ashe has a talent for penning lively characters, which is why (even with the ups and downs of Arabella and Luc’s story) I won’t hesitate to dive right into the next Prince Catchers book, I Adored a Lord.

FOREVER WITH YOU by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Source: Publisher
FOREVER WITH YOU by Jennifer L. ArmentroutForever With You by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Wait for You #5
Published by Avon Genres: Contemporary

Forever With You is book 5 in Jennifer Armentrout’s Wait For You series and can be read as a standalone.

 

Neither Stephanie Keith nor Nick Blanco do relationships.  Yet, after their one-night stand they cannot seem to get enough of one another.  Then, the unthinkable happens, changing Stephanie and Nick’s lives forever.  Will Nick react badly once he learns Stephanie’s news?  Will their supposedly, non-existence/newly found relationship survive or is all hope lost?

 

For some unknown reason, I had a hard time connecting with this book.  I really cannot pin point a specific thing; but, Forever With You just did not grab and hold tightly to my attention.  I am sure that fans of this series will disagree; but, Nick comes across as being a womanizing playboy and Stephanie is bit too whiny for my taste.  There are some highlights in the storyline that brought forth some emotions and the couple’s sexual encounters are steamy, naughty, and enjoyable.

REDEMPTION by Kate Douglas

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This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Source: Publisher
REDEMPTION by Kate DouglasRedemption by Kate Douglas
Series: Intimate Relations #2
Published by St. Martin's Press Genres: Contemporary, Suspense
ReviewedbyJo

Lola Monroe is a receptionist at a modeling agency.  That is, until she is fired for arguing with her boss on whether a certain model scammed the agency—a model who just happens to be her friend and roommate.  However, except for the worry on income, Lola has no regret leaving that job.  It is just the first of the life-altering changes that will come to Lola in the next day or so.

 

Ben Lowell is a soldier who has been hiding from himself and his family because of a past action of which he couldn’t face the outcome.  But after several years, Ben has to face the destruction he caused.  First, he has to find his younger brother, something easier said than done. Ben doesn’t locate his brother right away, but he is sent to his girlfriend, and when he goes to introduce himself, he comes face-to-face with Lola and her sister—An interesting start to say the least.

 

Lola knows that a face can hide all sorts of things and while Ben isn’t one of the beautiful people she sees in her daily life, for some reason she allows Ben into her house.  Later, Ben and Lola get closer when she learns just why Ben is really here and what happened all those years ago.  Now firmly in Ben’s corner, Lola is surprised to find herself falling for the rough and ready soldier.  Just as it appears Ben might be able to begin the next part of his life without any guilt, Ben discovers that he is being watched and so are the girls.  Ben has no idea why he should be under watch or why the FBI is going to get involved however, what he does know is that nothing is going to harm Lola or her sister or anyone else in his personal circle.  As the facts become clear, the threads unravel not only why Ben is being watched, but that a good friend has also been mixed into the nastiness unknowingly.  The plot is becoming clear and Ben is just the man to make sure all the bad guys are caught and that all his friends and especially Lola, his love, are safe when the dust clears.

 

A soldier with a guilt ridden past meets a down-to-earth woman just as passion and suspense descends upon them in Redemption.  I loved how Lola gave it to her petty little boss when he suddenly decided to change facts, because there was money involved.  I also loved how she also helped Ben as he came to make things right after running for many, many years.  Ben might not have acted honorably on a certain night, but he is finally ready to set the facts straight and move forward with his life.  Ben and Lola might have been an unlikely couple at first for me, yet I came to love them together as the book rolled along.  As I turned the last page and found out not only the entire truth that tore Ben and his brother apart, but also just who was behind the danger to Ben and the others, I wanted to see the next story right away.  Besides hoping who the next couple will be in that book, I also want to see how the first two couples are doing.  Redemption is an unusual love story with a second chance thread that has touches of suspense, passion, brotherly love and, of course, a great love story.

INTIMATE by Kate Douglas

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Source: Publisher
INTIMATE by Kate DouglasIntimate by Kate Douglas
Series: Intimate Relations #1
Published by St. Martin's Press Genres: Contemporary, Suspense
ReviewedbyJo

Jacob “Jake” Lowell is a well-known photographer who is hunting for the perfect model for a new assignment he has.  The client is a friend, but also a wealthy person who is in the process of kicking-off two new projects.  One of them is very intimate jewelry and Jake knows exactly the type of model he needs, if he can just find her.  He is down to his last agency when lightning strikes and she appears in front of him.

 

Kaz Kazanov is a model with great business sense, but when something happens that could have gotten the boss behind a shoot in trouble, somehow it ends up with Kaz losing not only that modeling job, but also her modeling agency.  Kaz is beyond furious when she storms out to see her roommate, totally missing the other person in the room.  Kaz is wondering what she is going to do when she gets a phone call with an offer that could be the answer to her job questions, if she can trust such good fortune.

 

Jake and Kaz immediately take off to get to the winery where the pictures will be taken. It doesn’t take long before they feel attracted to the other and with the atmosphere that happens for the shots to get the correct feeling that attraction quickly moves to passion.  However, while this is going on, some strange accidents and messages begin to happen.  Jake is afraid he knows where they stem from—a very dark secret from his past—but he can’t figure out how could be behind them or why.  Life is definitely fast-moving and so is the romance between Kaz and Jake, and it seems like everything both of them come into contact with professionally is turning to gold.  Yet, just as the jewelry kickoff is about to happen, the very reason Jake and Kaz met, hurtful misunderstanding places both Kaz and Jake into deadly danger.  Time is of the essence and Kaz’s life is in the balance.  Will Jake be in time?

 

What starts out as a horrible day turns into a blessing and then a romance when a model and a photographer just click a shoot in Intimate.  I could tell it was just meant to be when Jake walked into the same agency that Kaz was about to go storming out of.  I thought their romance was just like a dream during their original shoot and loved watching it as it went along.  When I learned of Jake’s past background, I hurt as he was forced to live it again, but I cheered when Kaz accepted all of him.  Another cheer happened when Kaz and Jake won the day and came out the winners—both personally and professionally.  Intimate has a quiet erotic feel that just wraps around you with the additions of humor, friendship, and suspense.

DRAGON STORM by Katie MacAlister

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SIRE by Kate Pavelle

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THE PLUMBER by Serena Yates

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RAINBOW OVER CEDARWOOD by Megan Slayer

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LONE WOLF AND HIS COOL CAT by Susan Laine

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WOLFE AND HIS BUNNY by Susan Laine

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WHISKERS OF A CHANCE by Tempeste O’Riley

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THE PRINCE’S CONSORT by Antonia Aquilante

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SWEET AND SOUR SOAP by Susan Laine

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SCARRED MATE by A. C. Katt

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REPEATING LOVE by April Kelley

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PROTECTING HIS ASSET by S. A. Welsh

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MY PRINCE by Anna Martin

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HEALED HEARTS by Logan Meredith

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DEMON OF MINE by Rayna Vause

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