Sutton’s Scoundrel by Scarlett Scott

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Where to start? I will begin by declaring this is the most passionate, romantic, swoon-worthy read of the year. I will usually do a small synopsis; I will not be doing that this time. I want you, dear reader, to experience the raw emotion and sensual passion this novel delivers on your own. I was riveted to the page and couldn’t put the book down! I read this story in one sitting; I was obsessed with Wolf and Portia’s story.

Sigh! Wolf is my new book boyfriend! Wolf is different than his older brothers in many ways. Wolf’s disposition and a particular secret he harbors endeared him to me. Wolf has a heart of gold. Portia has paid for past indiscretions over and over. She is stuck in a gilded cage, unable to pursue any happiness. Portia is a wonderful, loving mother and a widow in untenable circumstances.

Now let’s talk about the chemistry between Wolf and Portia. The couple’s passionate connection sears the page on their first encounter. Anytime Wolf and Portia are together, it is sizzling hot! But beyond this off-the-charts sensuality, there is this sweet, vulnerable, romantic feel to all of the couple’s encounters. Both Wolf and Portia have been hurt in the past, but when they allow their battered hearts to open, the result is combustible.

Sutton’s Scoundrel is the fifth book in The Sinful Suttons series. Scarlett Scott, beyond creating an unforgettable romance, you have created two characters that will always hold a special place in my heart. Although born in the rookeries, Wolf is the epitome of a gentleman. He is an honest, gentle character in a series about a gambling hell. Portia, although fragile, had a backbone of steel. It was the plot, though, that left me breathless. Boiled down, this is a simple love story that took me on a breathless, sensual, intensely passionate journey through the wonder and peril of unconditional love. I eagerly look forward to Lily’s story – these books are always a highlight of my day!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this book through the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Release Date: June 30, 2022

Never Marry A Scandalous Duke by Renee Ann Miller

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Never Marry A Scandalous Duke is full of sparkling ambiance and delightful characters! Lady Sara Elsmere is a spinster who would rather study butterflies than attends balls. There is also the embarrassing habit she has of laughing when asked to dance. Ian McAllister, the Duke of Dorchester, is a cold, shrewd businessman and a scandalous womanizer. Ian has also acquired two young wards closer to devils than little boys. Ian and Sara are caught in a compromising situation and settle on a businesslike marriage arrangement.

Ian is your typical gorgeous, aloof, self-important duke. I love how Ian has buried his emotions, yet Sara brings them out. Some of my favorite scenes are when Sara gets Ian to laugh and have fun. Sara is a character I couldn’t help but love. Sara is more comfortable with bugs than people; with Ian’s assistance, Sara learns how to be comfortable with herself without being nervous.

I can’t write my review without mentioning the ornery, lonesome, comical young wards. The boy’s antics left me with a smile. From their first encounter, I felt the spark between Ian and Sara. I loved how the couple’s romance was allowed to breathe and grow organically between sensual, passionate scenes.

This was a clever page-turner, and it moved rapidly. I was always connected to the characters, and the storyline kept me intrigued. This is a character-driven story, and each character was carefully and meticulously crafted, from Ian to the butler. Never Marry A Scandalous Lord is the sixth book in The Infamous Lords series. I was delighted with this intelligent, seductive entertaining romance!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this book through Netgalley and the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Release Date: June 28, 2022

Up All Night With A Good Duke by Amy Rose Bennett

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This is my first novel by Amy Rose Bennett, and I am quite pleased with it. Spinster Artemis Jones wants nothing to do with marriage; she wants to open a women’s college. Dominic Winters, aka “The Dastardly Duke,” is having trouble finding a wife who will overlook society’s gossip about him and take on his headstrong teenage daughter. Dominic and Artemis come to a mutually beneficial arrangement, but they don’t expect their hearts to become involved.

I loved everything about Artemis. The most entertaining aspect is Artemis writes gothic novels. She writes scandalously passionate, fantastical stories under an assumed name. Another thing about Artemis is her cursing. I have never read such creative words! So funny! Artemis was unapologetically herself. I liked how comfortable she was in her skin.

Dominic is a widower with a teenage daughter in total rebellion. Dominic lost his wife tragically and was wrongfully blamed for it. Mental Health is a topic close to my heart, and I felt the issue was discussed accurately and respectfully. Dominic’s dynamic with his teenage daughter is every father’s nightmare! As unlikely as it may seem, Artemis can create a bridge between father and daughter.

The plot was well thought out and moved at a good speed. Dominic and Artemis are both characters with prominent personalities. The couple is multifaceted and brilliantly portrayed. Up All Night With A Good Duke is the first book in the new series, The Byronic Book Club. I look forward to Artemis’ friend’s stories. Amy Rose Bennett penned a lush, vibrant, passionate romance full of wit and excitement. I feel this book is an excellent jumping-off place to discover this fantastic author.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this book through Netgalley and the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Release Date: June 28, 2022

A Matter Of Temptation by Stacy Reid

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A Matter Of Temptation is yet another strong, captivating romance by Stacy Reid. This novel had all the angst and passion I expect from this author’s books. After a case of mistaken identity, Simon the Earl of Creswick is captivated by Miss Mina Crawford. Simon offers Mina employment as his secretary, an occupation forbidden by a woman. Simon and Mina’s connection is instant. The couple has enormous odds against them, including ruinous scandals and dark secrets.

Simon was an intriguing character; he was unique. Simon is brilliant yet emotionally closed off. Simon’s entire focus is on politically supporting legislation to assist the common worker and secure rights for women. Watching Simon fall in love was mesmerizing. He falls hard and irrevocably in love with Mina.

After a ruinous scandal in her first year out, Mina has hidden in the country for years. Mina is a free spirit and craves purpose and adventure. Mina is trapped and is smothering in her limited future. When Simon hires Mina, she finds meaning and much-needed intellectual camaraderie with Simon. Mina’s feeling of uselessness and lack of purpose resonated with me on a deep level.

I had one issue. The situation due to Mina’s scandal and the secret is so ruinous that she has no hope for a happy future. In reality, Simon and Mina didn’t have a chance. Happily, this is romantic fiction, so their heart-stopping, passionate romance enchanted me. The couple is pure fire together. Beyond that, their soulful connection is palpable. I rooted for this couple’s happily-ever-after!

The plot was full of heart and was hauntingly passionate. This love story is not an easy journey but is well worth reading. I am unsure if A Matter Of Temptation is a stand-alone book or part of a new series. I hope it is a series; there are secondary characters in the form of Simon’s friends, and I would love to read their stories. I can always depend on quality, passionate romance with Stacy Reid; she never disappoints.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this book through Netgalley and the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Release Date: June 28, 2022

You Were Made To Be Mine by Julie Anne Long

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I was highly conflicted by this book. The first half of the book moved slowly, and so much was going on with so many characters that it got confusing at times. Christian and Aurelie do not meet until thirty percent into the book. There was too much setup in the first half. Also, there is a significant trigger warning with this book which I felt should have been disclosed in the blurb/synopsis.

That being said, here is why I gave the novel four stars. Once the couple meets, the story kicks into a new gear. Some of the scenes between Christian and Aurelie are exquisitely romantic. Christian is an older, experienced spymaster trying to get his life back together after a harrowing three years. Aurelie is young and disillusioned, running from an abomination done to her by her fiancé. Christian is paid to find Aurelie, but everything changes when the two meet.

There is a passage in the novel that says the couple felt as if they had always loved each other; the quality of the romantic dialogue and vivid description of the sweetly passionate love scenes convinced me of the truth of that statement. My heart broke and soared at the achingly sweet way Christian is with Aurelie. Aurelie’s trust in Christian is all-encompassing. These are two damaged people who have been through tremendous trauma and pain that find the cleansing and healing power of unconditional love. I fell head over heels in love with Christian and Aurelie’s journey to happiness.

You Were Made To Be Mine is the fifth book in The Palace Of Rogues series. This book started on the wrong foot; however, once Christian and Aurelie meet, we discover a sensual, pure love between two lost souls. The last thirty percent of the book is romantic writing at its best. Julie Anne Long has created hauntingly tragic characters who live and breathe and learn to trust and love. The romantic connection in this novel is phenomenal; that is why I gave it four stars. I understand it is a slow start going in, but I believe this is a romance well worth reading.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this book through Netgalley and the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Release Date: June 28, 2022

The Lord Pretender by Sawyer North

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The Lord Pretender is a unique, entertaining story. This is a historical romance with a little of the fantastical and a dash of humor. Emma vows vengeance against Simon and his club. Emma blames Simon for encouraging her father to gamble away the family’s fortune. After two brief encounters as strangers, Simon and Emma confront each other during a thunderstorm and magically switch bodies.

I was cautious going into the novel due to the magical nature of the plot. The body-swap worked; the plot focused on how Simon and Emma handled each other’s lives rather than the why and how of the swap. There were a couple of loose ends. Simon’s niece’s revelation was far-fetched. Also, Simon’s father demands Simon to make a vow concerning his mother, and we never learn why his father made him do this, which bothered me. That being said, this was a tricky plot device that could have gone wrong in many ways. I believe it worked and told a romantic, socially conscious story.

The romance was unique due to the body swap; however, the connection between
Simon and Emma were intense. Simon had to learn what life was like for a single, destitute woman with no prospects. Emma had to learn what life was like as a man who had the whole world at his beck and call. Reading how these characters learn humility and grace in their respective roles was striking; that was the best part of the book. The plot moved well; in the middle, it drags just a bit, but the final twenty-five percent flew by.

The Lord Pretender is the first book in the Red Lion Ladies series. Sawyer North is a new author to me, and I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of his writing. The balance between the practical and the fantastical was perfect. There were a few minor issues, as stated above, but all in all, I felt this was a solid beginning to a unique and entertaining series.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this book through Netgalley and the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Release Date: June 20, 2022

An Artful Deceit by Holly Newman

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I loved this book as a mystery adventure. The primary and many secondary characters were vivid. A lot was happening in the plot, yet it didn’t confuse me. All the mystery and subterfuge created an entertaining, page-turning book. I felt this was much more an adventure than a romance. The characters did not have much time alone together on page. As I read for the romance, that was a little disappointing. This was a sweet romance; I felt the connection was almost love at first sight. The romantic relationship was not allowed to breathe and grow. That being said, I loved the scenes featuring Miles and Ann.

I liked how Miles is an untraditional Duke. He is an artist at heart and refuses to give up his passion. Ann has been injured and deals with insecurities. When Miles and Ann meet, it is obvious they are kindred spirits. The mystery and adventure of the book kept me turning the page. The plot was well thought out and flowed quickly and smoothly.

An Artful Deceit is the first book in The Art Of Love series. This was an engaging, promising beginning for a new series. Holly Newman caught my attention, and I look forward to the next book. I do hope we get more of a chance for romance in this next one. Overall, a brilliant, savvy adventure.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this book through Netgalley and the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Release Date: June 28, 2022

Highland Reckoning by Willa Blair

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I enjoyed Drummond and Morven’s journey; it was full of action and moved swiftly. I loved Morven’s connection with her son; she placed his well-being above everything. Drummond’s loyalty and strength were impresive. The secondary characters were well thought out. I missed the spark between Drummond and Morven. I can’t pinpoint it exactly, but I could not invest in their connection. I wanted to feel the passion more. That said, I felt this didn’t hinder me from liking the book. I wanted just a little more. I liked the magic element of the story; it added to the plot without being the focal point.

Highland Reckoning is the third book in the Highland Talents Heritage series. I read this book as a stand-alone, and it was fine. I loved the journey and the romance; I would read the previous books and will read the next book in the series; the book was well written. I felt this was an entertaining installment in the series, and I recommend these books. Drummond and Morven’s romance kept me turning the page and anticipating their happily ever after.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this book through Netgalley and the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Release Date: June 21, 2022

Temptation And The Artist by Mary Lancaster

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I look forward to Mary Lancaster’s romances because of their unique plots and clever writing. Her books focus on the character, and each one is developed deliberately from page one. Temptation And The Artist is a sparkling, decadent read!

Stephen and Aline’s attraction is instantaneous, but so are their mutual burgeoning deeper feelings. What starts as a spark of passion ignites into something more powerful. As Stephen learns about Aline through painting her portraits, he discovers an inner beauty and strength that adds to his physical desire. Aline is cautious, yet her pull towards Stephen is undeniable.

I loved how this book took us away from balls, rakes, and wallflowers to a grittier, sexier romance. The characters were mature and decisive. I loved Aline’s son, Basil. The plot was gripping, and I loved how it unfolded in a way that made the characters jump from the page.

Temptation And The Artist is the second book in the Gentlemen Of Pleasure series. Mary Lancaster always creates a decadent, smoldering romance full of vivid, exciting characters. I always look forward to her books and suggest adding her to your “to be read” list!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this book through Netgalley and the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Release Date: June 16, 2022