Wednesday, August 13, 2014

"No Good Duke Goes Unpunished" by Sarah Maclean

No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah Maclean

Twelve years prior, Mara Lowe faked her death to avoid a marriage to an aging duke, but her scheme went astray when the duke’s son was blamed for her death.  Temple, now known as the “Killer Duke” has made his way as a fighter and part owner of London’s most notorious gambling club.  Temple would like nothing more than to reclaim his title and rightful place in society as the Duke of Lamont.  After twelve years in hiding, Mara’s younger brother loses all their money at the gambling club.  Now a proprietor of an orphanage, Mara is forced to come out of hiding to offer the one trade Temple can’t refuse.  In order to regain her funds to support the orphanage, she will reveal herself to society and clear his name.

This is the third installment of Maclean’s Rules of Scoundrels series, and the second to win a RITA.  Historical romances are my guilty pleasure reads, and Maclean weaves a fun story filled with witty banter. Like eating chocolate cake, I’m never challenged to finish until the very last crumb is gone, even if it is a tad too sweet at times.  This one had more angst than the others, and in a few ways it reminded me of a Judith McNaught romance, with grand betrayals and heavy emotional situations the couple must overcome to find their happy ever after.

Chili Pepper Rating:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

NYOBG Member Review-Firelight by Kristen Callihan

Miranda Ellis, the heroine, has a secret ability to create fire, and as a child she unwittingly destroyed her family’s fortune.  Her guilt haunts her as much as her ability frightens her.  Years later, destitute and turning to thievery to survive, her father unkindly persuades her to accept a marriage offer from an infamous nobleman.  Lord Archer, the hero, also hides a terrible secret, wearing masks to cover his disfigurement from a curse that has plagued him for almost a century.   Dramatic mystery abounds, and these two lonely souls fight an attraction that becomes an undeniable love as secrets unravel and curses are revealed.    

I’m recommending this simply because it’s unusual.  Firelight is the first book in Callihan’s Darkest London series.  I’ve been hearing quite a few raves about this series, and each book has received top reviews, so I finally picked it up when Shadowdance, the fourth in the series, became a finalist for a RITA.

  It’s being pushed as a paranormal romance, and I do think that is where this series belongs, because the core of this story is a genre romance with a happy ending.  However, it does have a steampunk edge.  In many ways, it reminded me of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, set in the late 1800’s as if some humans have supernatural abilities/afflictions that they need to hide from the general population, sort of X-men meets Phantom of the Opera, and it does have its melodramatic moments—the hero hiding behind a mask for starters.

I tend to think of steampunk as the past, present, and/or future that never was.  At certain points, this book fell into that category.   With that said, I found it a fun read.  Again, it’s unusual.  The author has a wonderful voice and great imagination, and the romance was spectacular.  If you read paranormal/historical/steampunk romances, you’ll enjoy this book.  There were a few segments where I wanted the hero and heroine to just communicate instead of going off on their own, but it did heighten the tension and kept those pages turning.  I’m hooked.  I just downloaded the second book, and I’m thrilled to have found a new series to devour over the summer.

Chili Pepper Rating: