Love the 2nd installment in the Scoundrels of St. James series! This story is about the relationship between Jack Dodger (borrowed from the Artful Dodger in Dickens' Oliver Twist) and Olivia, the Duchess of Lovingdon. When Olivia's older husband dies, everyone is stunned when he places known scoundrel and owner of the infamous gaming hall, Jack Dodger, as he guardian of their young son. No one, including Jack, is aware of any connection between them and he does not seem to be particularly well suited to raising a young Duke. Olivia, of course, is horrified, and becomes more so when Jack insists on moving into the home that she shares with her young son. He seems to delight in tormenting her.
This story is fun, fast paced, and interesting and the romance is steamy, but not vulgar. I loved Susan Erikson's narration and really enjoyed learning more about the characters that appeared in the first novel. I cannot wait to listen to the next book. Five stars, indeed!
This novel was in the romance category and is produced by Harlequin. The cover art even makes it looks like your typical romance novel. (Not ragging on romances -- I love them!) Anyway, part of why I enjoy the romance genre is for the escapism, the scenes of falling in love, and the guaranteed happily-ever-after! My life can be kinda stressful and that HEA is not always in sight, if you know what I am saying...
Well, this story was not, in my opinion, in that genre. It is the story of Grace Elliot, the youngest child in a very disfunctional family. Her older siblings were the "perfect" ones and she was the messed up one. She was even stood up for the prom by her brother's best friend, Dillon. The story begins with Dillon walking back into her life, not long after her abusive father has died. The story plays out over the next year with health problems, secrets being revealed, breakups, marriages, and lots of angst. Still, I LOVED IT! Rebecca Gibel's narration added so much to the story and I obsessively listened to it over 4 days. I cried in several parts and felt frankly spent when it was over. I really came to care for Grace and the family that she made for herself.
So, if you are looking for something light, this might not be for you, but if you are looking for a story that will really draw you in, give it a chance.
So, for the 3rd book in the series, we come to the story of Rionna McDonald and the youngest McCabe brother Caelen. After seeing his brother Alaric fall in love with Keely McDonald, he agrees to marry Rionna and to seal the alliance between the McDonald and McCabe clans. He is attracted to Rionna, admiring her strength and her willingness to fight for her clan, but he is not in love with her, promising never to love another after being betrayed by his first love. Rionna is humiliated that her philandering father, the former laird of the McDonald clan, had attempted to arrange her marriage to all 3 of the McCabe brothers. She is insecure about her looks and her role as a woman, just never really feeling like she fits in. She is attracted to Caelen, but hates how he treats her. This story shows how their relationship grows through MANY rough patches. The evil Duncan Cameron is still on the scene and you wonder if Rionna will ever find her plan. Overall, a great story. Wish that there was a 4th installment!
Again with the cover art! Where is the hero's long hair?! OK, petty, I know... So, this is the story of Alaric McCabe, fierce warrior and younger brother to the laird of the McCabe clan. The story starts with him heading over to the McDonald clan lands, planning to marry Rionna McDonald and to seal the alliance between the two clans. He is hesitant to marry her after seeing the love match between his brother Ewan and his new wife Mairin, but he is willing to do whatever it takes to support his clan. While on his way there, though, he is set upon by soldiers sent by the dastardly Duncan Cameron and is terribly wounded. By happenstance, his horse takes him to the tiny cabin of Keely McDonald, local healer who has been cast out of the clan, due to circumstances beyond her control. She saves his life and ends up being taken back to the McCabe lands, both to continue to help Alaric recover and to attend to Mairin's pregnancy and delivery, since the McCabes have no healer. What will happen to the burgeoning love between Alaric and Keely? What about the alliance between the McDonalds and the McCabes? What about Duncan Cameron? This is such an exciting and romantic read. Yes, I cried -- more than once! Looking forward to the third book in the trilogy!
I was a little put off by the cover art, which was so explicit and not very accurate. The hero, Ewan, was described as having long hair, but I guess that I am nit-picking. Anyway, this is the story of Mairin Stewart, illegitimate daughter of the recently deceased king of Scotland. Once she marries and produces a child, she will come into her inheritance, a strategic plot of land which is desired by many of the local lairds. The story starts with her being kidnapped by Duncan Cameron, one of these lairds, who plans to force her into marriage. She resists (of course!) and while being spirited back to his keep, she encounters a lost child, young Crispin McCabe, who wandered away from his clan's keep and ended up being kidnapped, as well. She take him under her protection, escapes, and ends up back on the McCabe lands. She meets up with Crispin's father, the widowed Ewan McCabe and sparks fly. This was a fun story, with lots of plot twists, and lots of steamy parts, too. Still, the story held up and it did not feel like a series of sex scenes. I came to really care about the characters and wanted to know more about them. So glad that this is the first of a trilogy!
Tessa Donovan may be 27, but she is still the innocent little sister to her brothers, who just happen to co-own a family brewery with her. When she develops an interest in Luke Asher, the hot detective who is investigating a break-in at the brewery, and who also happens to be her brother Jamie's friend from college, all kinds of chaos ensues.
This is such a cute and funny story, with laugh out loud parts, along with some pretty steamy and romantic love scenes. Lauren Fortgang gives a great performance as narrator and makes me really look forward to getting to the next two books in the series.
This is the story of Jamie Donovan, middle brother in the Donovan clan, and Olivia Bishop, slightly older and very straight laced instructor at the local university. Jamie has a reputation for being a ladies man and a screw-up. He works as a bartender at the family's brewery, taking on little more responsibility or work than is strictly necessary. At least, that is the reputation that he has. He wants to do more, to BE more, and to have others seem him that way, too. Olivia is a woman who happens to meet him, at the brewery (of course!), who is coming out of a decade long marriage to an older, controlling man. She suffers from an inferiority complex of her own -- feeling that she is boring and old. When these two get together, their developing relationship really reels you in.
The narration by Lauren Fortgang is GREAT, as well. This is the 2nd in the series and I cannot wait to get to the third.
Loved, loved, LOVED this story. We meet Karou, a 17 year old art student living in Prague. Her bright blue hair grows out of her head that way (!) and she has no memory of any human family. The only "family" that she does have are her father figure Brimstone and his half-snake assistant Issa, along with other monstrous creatures Yasri and Twiga. Karou carries around a notebook, where she makes drawings of these creatures, along with drawings of angels' wings. She eventually meets an angel, Akiva, and as their relationship unfolds, their history is revealed, along with deep pain, betrayal, and lifetimes of regret. This is a wonderful story that really paints a picture of another time, another place. I loved it and was so sad when it ended. Sigh... :-)
After reading Daughter of Smoke & Bone and, frankly, LOVING the blend of paranormal, fantasy, thriller, and romance, I was waiting impatiently for the second installment of the story of Karou and Akiva. This story, though, was so dark, so heavy, and frankly, so boring, that it was hard for me to get through. (Spoiler alert!) So many of the characters from the 1st book have been murdered and Karou and Akiva are (truly!) in separate worlds, so it is basically a story of genocide. I felt that Khristine Hvam did a great job narrating, but I had to force myself to get through the book. The final 1/4 of the book picked up a bit and I started to feel like the plot was moving forward and that there might be some kind of hope, some possible reconciliation for some of the characters, but I am not so sure that I will be around for the 3rd book. We'll see.
While I only gave this story 4 stars instead of the 5 that I gave the rest of the series, it was still very good. It is the story of James Swindler, former street urchin and current inspector at Scotland Yard, and Eleanor/Emma Watkins. They meet when Miss Watkins comes to London to avenge the death of her sister Elizabeth, who was "ruined" the year before by the scoundrel, Lord Rockberry. She begins following the Lord, who promptly goes to Scotland Yard and claims that she aims to murder him. Swindler is assigned to follow her, making sure that she poses no threat, and their relationship develops.
The relationship between the two is sweet and ingrossing. The romance is hot, but again, not vulgar, and the love seems real. However, there is a lot of extra plot that seems to be a bit much: murder, poisonings, misidentifying of the sisters, etc. Still, I loved this series and am sad to see it end. Overall, a very good listen.
The 3rd in the Scoundrels of St. James series is the story of Frannie Darling and Sterling Mabry, Duke of Greystone, and older brother of Catherine, newly wed to Jack Dodger. Frannie is a bookkeeper at Jack's gaming hall and his childhood friend from the streets. Sterling is a real jerk -- having abandoned his sister to tour the world while their father lay ill after a stroke and making inappropriate advances towards Frannie, including offering to set her up as his mistress. As we learn more, though, it becomes clear that Sterling is deeply wounded, harboring secrets and reasons for why he feels he cannot commit his heart to anyone. Frannie, too, has secrets from her past that make her feel like she cannot ever truly give or receive love, other than to the orphans that she rescues or to the "lads" that she grew up with.
Susan Erikson does a great job narrating this story. The developing relationship between Frannie and Sterling literally brought tears to my eyes a few times. Such a great listen! Only one more left in the series... Bittersweet, indeed.
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