Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wicked Designs: The League of Rogues, Book 1 - Review

Wicked Designs: The League of Rogues, Book 1 - Review

by Lauren Smith
     League Rule 4
When seducing a lady, any member of the League may pursue her until after she has declared her interest in a particular member, and at such time, all pursuits of the lady by others must cease.

Series: League of Rogues, Book 1
Emily drew in a deep breath. She had to make a choice: escape and return to her uncle and Blankenship, remain here with Godric or hope she could make a match with some man desperate to get access to her fortune regardless of her tainted state. Only one of those options had appeal.
Wicked Designs comments on social issues of the 1820's. Women were property. Emily could not live on her own. She was forced to live with her Uncle Albert in his town home while another relative managed her funds. Emily needed to make a match to escape her untrustworthy uncle and his nasty, cruel Blankenship. Lauren Smith creates a memorable character in Blankenship as he epitomizes evil.

I felt there was perfect balance between romance and intrigue in the novel. I wasn't entirely sure which rogue would capture Emily's heart. Godric? Ashton? Lucien? The romance develops as the story progresses. There are several villains and plot twists in this fast- paced adventure. The last three chapters of the book kept me reading to see the novel's resolution.

I recommend Wicked Designs to anyone who enjoys a fast paced adventure filled with romance and intrigue. Enjoy! I did!!

Lady Celeste Gives Wicked Designs a six-pack!

Lady Celeste is looking forward reading to Lauren Smith's gothic novel The Shadows of Stormclyffe Hall which is due out on September 22nd because she heard there is a corgi in the story! :)

The next League of Rogues book is Lucien's story: His Wicked Seduction. It will be available on November 11th. I think our Lady Celeste likes the bad boys!

Read more at Lauren Smith's website.

Review by Susan Gorman

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Color of Hope Julianne MacLean Audio Version - Review

The Color of Hope: Color of Heaven Series, Book 3

Written by Julianne MacLean
Narrated by Jennifer O'Donnell
Length 7 hours and 1 minute
Series Color of Heaven Series, Book 3
Format Unabridged

Lisa and I wanted to try something a bit different this week. We both love to listen to audio books. Lisa listened while she sews and I listen on my daily 90 minute commute to work. We were pleasantly surprised that we were both listening to Julianne MacLean's The Color of Hope.

Susan's Book Review:
I enjoyed listening to The Color of Hope.

Julianne MacLean's story of twin sisters separated at birth is an emotional and captivating tale which will capture the readers or listeners attention from the first chapter. The sisters led very different lives and had different experiences. Each sister learned from the other as the story unfolded. The last two hours of the book were excellent. I listened to each word and waited to see what was going to happen. I was surprised at the ending--pleasantly surprised. Thought the author was heading down a different path. I recommend this audio to all who are looking for an excellent read or listen!

Susan's Audio Review:
I enjoyed Jennifer O'Donnell's narration was excellent. Her voice evoked passion and anger at times while expressing frustration and sadness at other times.

Much thanks to Julianne MacLean for offering the audio to members of her newsletter. Looking forward to the next book and audio in the series!

Lisa's Book Review:
Quote, "I realized in that moment that some decisions, even those that are
enormous and far reaching, are simply made by the heart."

I am a long time fan of Julianne MacLean stories, though before this series I associated her more with historical romance. The Color of Hope is a contemporary novel and her newest addition to The Color of Heaven Series. This terrific series has held up very well, with each new book. The stories are connected, but also can be read as stand alone reads.

The Color of Hope is a wonderful story. A story about people and life. It is the kind of story that will give you things to think about in your own life. Not lessons really, and it won't make you feel like a failure or a mess. This story reminds us to count our blessings. To remember that every life has struggles, challenges as well as soaring happiness. Much of the feel of the stories is from the heart, from deep inside people.

Lisa's Audio Review:
Jennifer has a voice perfect for audio books. She can make it clear who is speaking without trying to imitate a man or different women or whatever. I like all that about her. Her voice is slightly gravelly. I really think she does a terrific job with the narration. 

For information about organ transplant, United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Love and Let Spy by Shana Galen - Review

Love and Let Spy by Shana Galen

Have you been enjoying the spy series by Shana Galen
Lord and Lady Spy, True Spies, The Spy Wore Blue.
I have liked every one of them. But even if you haven't read
the others in the series, you can still love this one, Love and Let Spy.

The story of Jane & Dominic. Both endlessly stubborn.
Jane, raised to be a ruthless, clever spy. She never
quits. Always trying to prove herself.
And she has never ending patience.
Which she needs.

Dominic, has a way with horses. Prefers them over
people, mostly. He does not seem all that special at first glance.
But then you realize how brave he is.  The courage it takes

for him to appear normal.
Dominic has rules and deep fears.

Both Jane & Dominic are so special and unique.
They would each have gladly continued on with their lives.
But as luck would have it, they find themselves forced together.
Can they make it work?
Can he over come his mothers secrets?
Can she survive the secrets M guards?
Will the Barbican be able to stop Fonce?

     "And it shall go something like this. Miss Bonde,
 from the moment I saw you,
     you stole my heart. I did not give it freely."

    "God knows that is the truth."
He ignored her.

"And you did not request it. You stole it away,
and when I tried to reclaim it,
I found I didn't want it anymore.
I wanted yours instead."

I always enjoy Shana's writing. There is
never a dull moment. Her stories are
fast moving with terrific dialogue.
Interesting, noble, surprising, daring

and fun characters. The stories don't
always go along as you imagine they will.
Love and Let Spy is easily my favorite
Shana Galen book, so far.

Reviewed by Lisa Hutson

What Lady Celeste has to say about
Love and Let Spy 

Someone was after her. She could not be certain it was Fonce or the Maitriser group, but someone was looking for her. And someone knew where to look, which meant that her aunt and uncle were no longer safe And that made finding Fonce all the more pressing. She reached for the latch on the cemetery gate, but instead of cold metal, she touched something warm and soft. "Allow me."

The storyline of Love and Let Spy draws you into Shana Galen's world of spies and conspiracies and her well- crafted characters keep you invested in the novel's outcome.

Dominic Griffyn resonated with me because is a complex hero with many layers. He has suffered and is ashamed of his past. Dominic is also honorable and quiet. You can't help admire him as the story progresses. Our heroine is the independent and beautiful spy Jane Bonde. Most of the ton assumes that Jane is interested in marriage and children. But, she's not. Jane is a spy for the exclusive Barbican group. She's more comfortable chasing criminals then making small talk at social events. Jane has been tasked to find the elusive and deadly French spy Fonce. She doesn't have time or desire for romance or marriage--Jane's got a spy to catch!

Shana Galen has written a poignant sensual dark drama with intrigue and angst. The sexual chemistry between Dominic and Jane is undeniable. But, both characters have issues and secrets to overcome. This is a fast paced spy story with very sensuous love scenes which fit into the story line perfectly. The novel's well - written satisfying ending kept me reading the last few chapters in one sitting as there were several unexpected plot twists and surprises .

Review by Susan Gorman
Link to Susan's Fresh Fiction Review of Love and Let Spy.

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Pursuit of Mary Bennet - Review

A little bit about the book:

A tale of love and marriage, society balls and courtship, class and a touch of scandal, Pamela Mingle's The Pursuit of Mary Bennet is a fresh take on one of the most beloved novels of all time, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

Growing up with four extraordinary sisters—beautiful and confident Jane and Elizabeth, and flirtatious and lighthearted Lydia and Kitty—wasn't easy for an awkward bookworm like Mary Bennet. But with nearly all of her sisters married and gone from the household, the unrefined Mary has transformed into an attractive and eligible young woman in her own right.

When another scandal involving Lydia and Wickham threatens the Bennet house, Mary and Kitty are packed off to visit Jane and her husband, Charles Bingley, where they meet the dashing Henry Walsh. Eager and na├»ve, Mary is confused by Henry's attentions, even as she finds herself drawing closer to him. Could this really be love—or the notions of a foolish girl unschooled in the art of romance and flirtation?

Dear Lady Celeste,

I am at High Tor visiting with The Bingleys. I was very surprised this morning when Mary and Lizzie Bennet appeared unannounced for a visit. Seems there is a scandal at home involving Lydia. 

Do you remember Mary? Mary is the plain and socially awkward daughter of the Bennet family. Mary has changed.Is it possible with nearly all her sisters married that Mary has blossomed into a poised beauty capable of attracting a handsome gentleman?

It seem that Charles Bingley's friend is just such a gentleman. Henry is very handsome, with a winning personally, and is highly sought after by many eligible ladies. I believe he is attracted to Mary's quiet reserve, or does something else attract him to her?

Mary confided in me and she wonders this too, and she is suspect of his motives. Add in the fact that the gentlemen is keeping a secret and the future is anything but certain.

This has been such an exciting visit. I am hoping that Mary and Henry work things out. I do so love a happy ending.

Will write soon dear one.

My love to you, Molly, Rose and dear Gregory.

Warmest Regards,

Lady Kailyn

I enjoyed how the story is woven in a manner similar to Pride and Prejudice. I also appreciated the use of a few letters written the text as that was a favorite writing style of Jane Austen. I found this suggested future for Mary very believable and well -written.

This was the first book by Pamela Mingle I have read and plan to read more. 

This Regency read gets a six pack from me.

Reviewed by Lady Kailyn, a BCF (Best Corgi Friend) of Lady Celeste.

Karen Dimaio is a self taught artist who has a passion for capturing people's pets in colored pencil. She is also a library volunteer and lifelong reader. Her favorite author is Jane Austen. She has a Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Mr. Darcy. You can find Karen's art on her Facebook page.