Review: Nerds are from Mars by Vicki Lewis Thompson

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3Stars

Back in high school, nerdy Nolan Bradbury had a crush on popular girl Darcie Ingram who did not give him the time of day. Now years later Nolan is a successful astrophysicist who billionaire Fagan Harcourt has hired to lead his ten-year mission to colonize Mars.

At the top of his game, he is asked to be a guest of honor at the Science Expo in L.A. During his lecture, Darcie reenters his life and the awkward, self-conscious nerdy self is back.

Darcie is a professional astrologer with a psychic intuition. She’s searched out Nolan because she sensed that he was in danger and is pleased to see that Nolan has grown into a successful scientist with some serious sex appeal. With the man she’s destined—according to their star charts—to marry receiving death threats, Darcie must use her intuitive skills to keep them one step ahead of the villains.

The long-awaited eighth book in Thompson’s Nerd series, NERDS ARE FROM MARS does not live up to expectations. The story lacks the quirky charm of the previous novels and oversaturated with sex scenes.

While the buildup in the beginning of the book is well done and showed the growing bond between Nolan and Darcie, the book becomes derailed in the middle. The middle of the book is composed of sex scene after sex scene. They are well written, but they stop any forward momentum of the story. The amount of pages devoted to the sex also takes away from ending thus making the climax feel rushed.

Though disappointing, NERDS ARE FROM MARS shows some promise. If Vicki Lewis Thompson writes a ninth Nerd book, I will buy it and give it a chance in the hope that it might match the enjoyment I got from the first seven Nerd books.

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Filed under Contemporary, Review, Romance Novel, Self-Published

Review: What a Hero Dares by Kasey Michaels

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2Stars

As a directionless youth, Maximillien Redgrave’s grandmother had him become a soldier. There he learned the skills he needed to protect England and hunt down those who want to destroy his family. In his quest, Max met and fell in love with his fellow agent Zoe Charbonneau. Only Zoe betrayed him and killed most of their associates in the process. Now, nearly a year later Zoe is back just when the Society is ready to attack.

Framed for a crime she did not commit, Zoe must work with the man she still loves to clear her name and catch the real culprit.

The story began with an extensive summary to catch readers up on the events of the previous three books in the Redgrave series. The synopsis is thorough, but a bit dry and dense.

The main issue with this novel is that it does not feel like the focus of the story is about Max and Zoe. In fact their issues are settled right away and there is no further conflicts that would prevent them from being together.

WHAT A HERO DARES is the final chapter of a larger saga and it shows by pushing aside the romance to finish the story of the Redgraves and the Society. The ending seemed rushed and hinged on a reveal that did not really make sense and it left me feeling cheated.

SPOILERS AHEAD

A better ending would’ve been to have the Exalted One to have been the Redgraves’ mother. She was a far more plausible and had much more motivation to see England and the Redgraves legacy destroyed. It would also make sense as to why she would be sexually obsessed with Niall who was said to be the spitting image of her late husband Barry. The Exalted Leader’s eventual suicide would make for a more compelling and emotional scene. She is losing, but she also does not want to face her children—whom she abandoned years ago—as the monster she has become.

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Filed under Harlequin, HQN, Regency, Review, Romance Novel

Review: Waking Up Pregnant by Mira Lyn Kelly

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3Stars

Last night in Las Vegas. One-night stand. Broken condom. Sometimes what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas as Darcy Penn and Jake Norton discover in Mira Lyn Kelly’s new book WAKING UP PREGNANT.

After an incredible night, Darcy leaves Jeff’s suite before he can tell her about their contraception’s failure. Three months later, a pregnant Darcy shows up at his L.A. office to tell him the news… after she finishes throwing up in his wastepaper basket.

Kelly is able to infuse a lot of good-natured humor and caring in WAKING UP PREGNANT. Letting the readers sympathize with Darcy’s terrible morning sickness and Jake’s fears about his baby, its mama and their unsteady alliance with each other. Add in a current girlfriend, long distance and two fiercely independent people and the reader will get a fun story that shows us that sometimes we can fall in love with a stranger after one night. The happily ever after though, requires a little more work.

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Filed under Contemporary, Harlequin, Kiss, Review, Romance Novel

Review: The Arrangement by Mary Balogh

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4Stars

After being blinded in battle Vincent Hunt, Viscount Darleigh evades his well-meaning, albeit smothering female relatives bent on matchmaking by escaping to the country. But when his neighbors try to entrap him into marrying their daughter, Vincent is saved by plain-looking companion Sophia Fry. Feeling that the only thing women find attractive is his title and income, Vincent wants a marriage of convenience with a woman of his choosing who will let him be.

When he proposes to Sophie, she cannot understand why such a handsome man would want to marry such an unlovable person as she. With no option she agrees to his plan: After living one year together they will separate. Sophie will get her own little cottage to draw her little cartoons and live a quiet life, while Vincent will get to be independent and free from matchmakers and debutantes.

As they learn to live together, they begin to discover common interests and maybe their marriage of convenience can become a real one after all.

THE ARRANGEMENT is interesting and well-written with a delightfully engaging couple. The main desire of the couple is a life of freedom, but soon they find that freedom with loneliness can be a more daunting than the metaphorical cages that once trapped them.

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Filed under Dell, Regency, Review, Romance Novel

Review: Sapphires are an Earl’s Best Friend by Shana Galen

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4Stars

Lily Dawson is the only unwed lady left of the famous courtesans dubbed the Three Diamonds by the prince regent. Called the Countess of Charm, Lily uses her social skills and dubious position to ferret out information as a spy for the Foreign Office. Her next mission has her cozying up to the Duke of Ravenscroft and find evidence of any treasonous activities. Unfortunately, the duke’s son may be more of an impediment than Lily anticipated.

Andrew, Earl of Darlington hates that the Countess of Charm has taken up with his father so soon after his mother’s death. He even wants to hate Lily, but there is something about her that sparks his interests. When he discovers that there is more going on than what is visible on the surface, Andrew offers to help Lily uncover the traitor, even if that traitor is his own father.

Sapphires are an Earl’s Best Friend” is the final installment of Shana Galen’s Jewels of the Ton trilogy. In previous books, Darlington was the persistent suitor of Juliette, the Duchess of Dalliance and the heroine of “If you Give a Duke a Diamond.” Then he seemed like a loveable, but shallow dandy, a man who had still not matured to adulthood. In this story the readers get see Andrew grow up, shed his rakish persona and show Lily and others his true self, a man who is ready for the mantle of Duke and responsibilities he will have one day. He isn’t perfect, but he sees that and tries to achieve better.

It was really satisfying to learn more about Lily. Her past–like those of the other Diamonds–is tragic and difficult. To see what she has become despite the heartbreak and horrors, gives her character dimension and strength without beating the reader over the head with the events. Instead the readers are treated to a look into the longing, heartache and despair some decisions create that feels genuine and sympathetic.

With these two characters you see a spectrum of emotions and with each passing page hope that–after they find the assassin–they get the satisfying ending that they and the series deserve.

Sapphires are an Earl’s Best Friend” will be released March 4th online and at local booksellers nationwide.

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Filed under Regency, Review, Romance Novel, Sourcebooks Casablanca

Review: Between a Rake and a Hard Place by Connie Mason and Mia Marlowe

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4Stars

Wealthy heiress Lady Sarah Osbourne is about to be sacrificed on the marriage altar to none other than the royal Duke of Kent. Though the thought of raising the next English monarch holds great appeal, Sarah cannot help but feel like she will be missing out on all life has to offer, so she makes a list of forbidden pleasures she has yet to experience.

Sir Jonah Sharpe has a dark past and is used to unsavory missions. Now he is being blackmailed to prevent Lady Sarah’s marriage to the royal duke by any means necessary. When he learns of her list, Jonah knows the best way to seduce her is to help her complete it, but with every item they cross off the list their mutual attraction blossoms.  And soon Sir Jonah does not only want to prevent Sarah’s marriage to the duke, but marry her himself.

BETWEEN A RAKE AND A HARD PLACE is an enjoyable romance about duty to one’s family, friends and country versus the duty we all have to ourselves and our own happiness.

Jonah is a good parallel to modern-day soldiers coming home from war, haunted by the things he’d done and let happen. Whereas Sarah is a woman who wants to push boundaries and not let society dictate what she can and cannot do (even though she usually prefers the usual ways). Both Sarah and Jonah are very likable with commitments not entirely of their choosing, but obligated to fulfill due to obligations and personal integrity. The duality of their mutual dilemma is sometimes frustrating for a reader, but then again, more so for the characters.

Mason and Marlowe have penned a satisfying and well-rounded capstone to their Regency Rakes trilogy.

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Filed under Regency, Review, Romance Novel, Sourcebooks Casablanca

Review: Romance for Cynics by Nicola Marsh

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3Stars

When financial whiz Cashel Burgess puts off a young starlet, she sets out to destroy his reputation by spreading rumors.  Knowing his business relies on his good name and image, Cash agrees to his friend’s suggestion to enter a Public Relations firm’s Valentine’s Day competition to find Australia’s Most Romantic Couple. All Cash needs is a fake girlfriend and who better than his no-nonsense gardener?

Lucy Grant hates Valentine’s Day thanks to a cheating ex-husband. So when her best client offers her money (and the chance to completely redesign his garden) to pretend to be his girlfriend for a week she says no. However, Lucy soon discovers that her grandmother is dire financial straits and Lucy must accept Cash’s offer in order to save her childhood home.

With each romantic event, the line between real and fake become blurred and two cynics learn that there might be something to all this romance stuff after all.

Sweet and entertaining with likable characters and fun dialogue, Romance for Cynics is a quick, satisfying Aussie romance.

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Filed under Contemporary, Harlequin, Kiss, Review, Romance Novel