Book Review: Bengal’s Quest by Lora Leigh

bengalsquestSynopsis from Goodreads:

He was a shadow, ever shifting and insinuating, able to blend in everywhere and anywhere. The elusive ideal conceived and created by the Genetics Council, he went by just as many names as he had identities—the last one being Gideon.

Now calling himself Graeme, he hides in plain sight, terrifyingly close to his goal. A rogue Bengal Breed, he has loyalties to no one but himself. And he has a need for vengeance that surges hot and swift through his veins.

Graeme plans to exact an extreme and ruthless vendetta against those who wronged him—Breed and human alike. All will suffer his wrath: those who created him, those who pretended to love him, and those who betrayed him.

That includes the one at the center of it all: a seductive, enigmatic woman helpless against the man whose desire is just as desperate as his need to destroy.

And he’s on her scent…

Bengal’s Quest is the latest installment in Lora Leigh’s Breeds series, and let me tell you, this book had quite a bit to live up to. The building of Gideon’s story has been a major arc in the previous four or five books I’d say if not more, so there was a lot of expectation for me going into this one. That said, I really wasn’t let down.

Gideon is a hell of a character to say the least. He’s one of those ones who has his fingers dipped into so many pies that it’s hard to keep up with at times. He’s insane and he knows it and really just could care less. A lot of the time he’s running on pure instinct and cunning and I really like that about him – even when it makes him do crazy shit. That said, his crazy level is taken down a bit for this book which I thought to be an interesting move on Leigh’s part. Then again, it kind of makes sense.

Cat on the other hand is whole other bag of tricks. We knew that something was coming where she was concerned. In particular because of how what she went through relates to others in the series. Realistically, it wasn’t all that surprising what was revealed of her backstory, but I do believe that it complimented this particular match. And that’s all I can really say without spoiling anything.

I do have to admit that I expected this book to be so much longer. I was surprised at how short it was when I opened the box. However after reading it, I feel like the length of the story was perfect. Too much longer really could have just dragged a lot out whereas she managed to keep it a pretty fast moving story as is. And, though there is one editing snafu in Bengal’s Quest (a minor one), I have noticed a step up in the editing of these last couple of books which makes me a happy Hannah.

While I did really enjoy this book, I do have one complaint. With the buildup of Gideon’s story from the previous few books it was almost like Leigh was preparing us for the shit to hit the fan in one way or another. Instead of getting that like I thought I would she managed to kind of twist it into something else entirely. It’s very indicative of her ability to manipulate the story to speak – not unlike some of her characters – but I was kind of bummed that there wasn’t the massive confrontation I was expecting.

All in all, Leigh has managed to deliver another action packed book in the Breeds series. I was quite surprised how well this arc was executed seeing as it has had so much work put into it to this point and had really created expectations. Plus, major points for some winged breed action! It’s definitely not a good starting point to the series, but if you’ve made it this far, I’d say keep reading. 4/5 Stars.

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Book Review: Rule Breaker by Lora Leigh

rulebreakerSynopsis from Goodreads:

Lion Breed, Rule Breaker had just a few rules he didn’t break. Not for anything. Not for anyone.

#1. Never have sex with a woman outside his own subspecies, especially a human woman.

#2. Never, at any time, accept a mission concerning a female when Jonas Wyatt stinks of a lie.

#3. Run don’t walk, skip or stumble. Run, hell for leather away from any female, human or breed, when his desire for her appears, in any way, to have so much as a single sign of Mating Heat.

Now, the woman believes he’s mated, is too helpless, to fun loving and too full of life to ever be able to protect herself, let alone aide him in protecting her.

If the damned animal inside him insisted on a mate, then why pick the woman it did? One that could be struck out at, at any time?

But, what he suspected was a mating, may not be. No swollen glands? No heat? Just his animal instincts rioting, pacing, irritated whenever he’s away from her.

Okay, he could handle that.

What ensues is a fiery affair that breaks all the rules of mating heat and will eventually endanger his mate with the very rules designed to protect the breeds when Jonas learns she’s possibly been working against them.

Rule Breaker is the 29th book in Lora Leigh’s Breed series. I enjoyed the book quite a bit, especially considering that it’s the twenty-ninth book in the series. I don’t find myself burning out on this series very often like I would with others which is probably why I’m constantly marathoning it or re-reading random books from it.

Leigh continues her standard hard-assed men and super tough female characters in this book. Rule Breaker is one of the more intriguing characters in the series in my mind simply because he’s so against finding his mate which is so different from the rest of the characters in the series. That said, the way his relationship with Gypsy unfolds is interesting enough – Leigh definitely threw a couple curveballs into that one. Gypsy herself is intriguing because of the part she plays in this shadowy underground world Leigh has created in the last couple of books. As a character she is really good at making herself appear a certain way while really being something else entirely.

All that being said, Leigh has very obviously created a formula for these books. You don’t get to number 29 without that. Certain things are going to be expected to happen in a Breed novel. There’s going to be romance, there’s lots of sex, hell is going to break loose and I know that going in. Yet, Leigh is still throwing around little plot twists like nobody’s business and that combined with my being invested in these characters keeps me reading them.

There is just something about this series, and I am not sure that I know what it is, but I am so emotionally involved with the characters – the breeds in particular – that I cannot not read these books. I have put a lot of time into reading this series and I want to know where it’s going to end up. I CAN’T be the only one waiting for Cassie’s book… AMIRITE?

 

On a side note, if you haven’t read any of the series and want to try a book out, I wouldn’t start here. So much happens throughout this series, because while each book is its own set of characters, there is a huge overall arc as well as smaller story arcs that it is frustrating to not know what has happened previously. It’s definitely a read in order kind of series. 4/5 Stars.

 

Book Review: Recklessly Royal by Nichole Chase

recklesslyroyalSynopsis from Goodreads:

Catherine has spent her life being the perfect princess. She’s kept her hands clean, her head down, and most importantly—men at arm’s length. After all, most men are after only one thing, and for Cathy there’s a lot more at stake than her bed; she has to worry about the fate of an entire nation. But at the rate she’s going, Cathy is afraid she’ll give the Virgin Queen a run for her money. She is tired of waiting for someone good enough to come along. She has a plan, and it all hinges on seducing the one man who seems utterly unimpressed by all things royal. The one man she is tempted by more than any other . . .
When David arrives at the royal wedding of his friend, the newly ordained Duchess Samantha Rousseau, he expected to feel uncomfortable and out of his element, but he wasn’t prepared to be targeted by Prince Alex’s gorgeous younger sister. With Cathy’s giant blue eyes, killer figure, and sense of humor, it won’t take long before he gives in. But when he finds out just how innocent the crown princess really is, will he play the part of knight in shining armor or the dashing rogue?

Recklessly Royal is the second installment in Nichole Chase’s Royal trilogy and I have to say, I’m loving it. Whereas I had some struggles at the beginning of the first book, there was none of that with the second book. This was just a fun read from cover to cover.

This book shines the spotlight on Princess Catherine the sister of Alex from book one and David who is a friend of Samantha’s, also from book one. I loved these two characters together simply because of how different they are and the background that they bring to the relationship. Together the two really complement each other, and even though things get rough, they don’t let anything get in their way. There’s no real drama to get in the way of enjoying the romance, so to speak.

The story itself is straightforward. It’s very much a contemporary romance, and while the author tried to throw a curveball in the story, it ended up being insanely predictable. That said, my enjoyment of the overall story wasn’t affected by it. I just sort of went with it and then gave a fist pump when I was able to move on past the ‘revelation.’

Bottom line, Recklessly Royal was another win from Nichole Chase. It was a quick, fun, and fairly brainless read which is just what I wanted while I was on vacation. I’m looking forward to the last installment of the trilogy. 4/5 Stars.

Royal trilogy:

1. Suddenly Royal
2. Recklessly Royal
3. Reluctantly Royal

Book Review: Suddenly Royal by Nichole Chase

suddenlyroyalSynopsis from Goodreads:

Samantha Rousseau is used to getting her hands dirty. Working toward a master’s degree in wildlife biology while helping take care of her sick father, she has no time for celebrity gossip, designer clothes, or lazy vacations. So when a duchess from the small country of Lilaria invites her to dinner, Samantha assumes it’s to discuss a donation for the program. The truth will change the course of her life in ways she never dreamed.
Alex D’Lynsal is trying to keep his name clean. As crown prince of Lilaria, he’s had his share of scandalous headlines, but the latest pictures have sent him packing to America and forced him to swear off women—especially women in the public eye. That is, until he meets Samantha Rousseau. She’s stubborn, feisty, and incredibly sexy. Not to mention heiress to an estate in his country, which makes her everyone’s front-page news.
While Sam tries to navigate the new world of politics and wealth, she will also have to dodge her growing feelings for Alex. Giving in to them means more than just falling in love; it would mean accepting the weight of an entire country on her shoulders.

Suddenly Royal is a contemporary romance reminiscent of The Princess Diaries. I will admit that in the beginning of the book I struggled because it felt TOO much like someone just really wanted to write a new adult or “grown-up version” of The Princess Diaries. However, once I got through a few chapters I was able to block out my worries and just enjoy the book. What really helped make that happen were the characters.

The last thing Samantha expected when she went to dinner with someone she believed to be a royal benefactor was to be told that she herself was royal. But, that’s exactly what happened. Now she has to decide whether she wants to accept the title, or continue to live the life she is used too. I loved how she handled everything and the fact that we would get reminders throughout the story that even though she’s talking all the changes quite well, she’s still kind of winging it. Alex, on the other hand knows well and good what his lifestyle entails, yet Samantha still seems to knock him on his ass at times and it’s fun to read if I might say so myself.

Suddenly Royal is a really great contemporary romance that takes us from one end of the spectrum of fame to the other. I very much enjoyed the read. Also, I really love how the author worked the bird specialties of the characters into the story. It’s a very real concern worked into an otherwise fun, fictional read, so I feel it’s worth mentioning.

All in all, once I got past my issues at the beginning I was able to just read and enjoy this book. It really ran the gamut of emotions and sucked me in. Things were a bit predictable but I still wanted to keep reading to be sure that things ended up how I wanted.  I very much plan on continuing the series. 4/5 stars.

Royal trilogy:

1. Suddenly Royal
2. Recklessly Royal
3. Reluctantly Royal

Mini Reviews: Tempted by His Best Friend & The Fantasy

I’m here today with a couple of mini-reviews for novellas I’ve read recently, so lets get to it!

Tempted by His Best Friend by Cari Quinn

temptedbyhisbestfriendFrom Goodreads:

Real identity optional… Kindergarten teachers aren’t known for breaking the rules, but Steph is ready to go undercover—and get under the covers—to work her magic on her best friend, Landon. Sexy costume necessary, multiple orgasms crucial, real identity optional.

Entangled’s Brazen line is a go-to for me when I’m looking for a quick and fun read and I’m happy to say that Tempted by His Best Friend didn’t let me down.

This is a novella that features characters that were amazingly fleshed out considering the length of the story. I felt like I was getting a peak into this established relationship and I wasn’t lost or wondering about anything, I was just able to enjoy all the ups and downs as it turns into a whole new kind of relationship. It also didn’t hurt one bit that it featured one of my favorite romance tropes.

All in all, Tempted by His Best Friend was a very fun read. The story moved along quickly and it did not lack for steamy moments. If you like a quick erotic romance, this one is worth a read. 4/5 stars.

The Fantasy (A Desperate Man #1) by Ella Frank & Brooke Blaine

thefantasyFrom Goodreads:

Fantasies – we all have them.
For some it’s their dream job; others want the wedding, the 2.5 kids, the white picket fence.
My fantasies are a bit more…depraved.
Dark and sinful, they have destroyed relationships and my livelihood, yet I still submit to them like a slave.
Sex.
For most, it’s a natural expression of love, caring, or lust.
But there are those of us who can’t stop once we’ve had a taste.
Those of us who don’t want to.
And the shame of that never-ending cycle will eat us alive…
My name is Evan James, and I am a sex addict.

The Fantasy is a book that I recently came across from this list and I was incredibly curious. So, like any good book worm, I got my hands on a copy right away and read my little heart out. While it wasn’t quite what I expected, even having read the synopsis, I still very much enjoyed the read.

I love the hard-edged, gritty feel that this novella has. It reminded me a lot of when I read Tiffany Reisz’s Original Sinners books. There was none of the flowery language or ridiculous descriptions that we so often see in romance and erotica and I just loved the change of feeling that this novella gave off. Add to that Evan’s character, this struggle he has with himself and the feel of the harsh reality he’s living due to his sex addiction and you’ve got a great read.

Bottom line, this is a great erotic novella with a very different feel than a lot of the stuff that is out there. It kept my attention from start to finish, I don’t think I looked up once while reading. I am eagerly awaiting news of a second installment and definitely recommend it for anyone looking for something a bit different. 4/5 stars.

 

Book Review: The Duchess War by Courtney Milan

theduchesswarSynopsis from Goodreads:

Sometimes love is an accident.

This time, it’s a strategy.

Miss Minerva Lane is a quiet, bespectacled wallflower, and she wants to keep it that way. After all, the last time she was the center of attention, it ended badly–so badly that she changed her name to escape her scandalous past. Wallflowers may not be the prettiest of blooms, but at least they don’t get trampled. So when a handsome duke comes to town, the last thing she wants is his attention.

But that is precisely what she gets.

Because Robert Blaisdell, the Duke of Clermont, is not fooled. When Minnie figures out what he’s up to, he realizes there is more to than her spectacles and her quiet ways. And he’s determined to lay her every secret bare before she can discover his. But this time, one shy miss may prove to be more than his match…

The first full length novel of The Brothers Sinister series, The Duchess War made for a great introduction to the characters that we follow through the main three books. While the prequel novella whetted my appetite for the series, this book quite simply pulled me into it’s grasp and didn’t let go.

The main characters and lovebirds in this particular story are Robert Blaisdell, Duke of Clermont and Minerva Lane, or Minnie, not of a titled or well-to-do family. There was a lot about these characters that I just absolutely loved. Minnie has this very scandalous past, but it’s hardly scandalous in the way that one would expect from a historical novel and I love that about Milan’s books. Robert on the other hand is this very affluent figure, yet he has this whole agenda that the peerage would lose themselves over. They’re both very strong characters, but they compliment each other very much and I just loved reading about them in this book.

The story itself is fantastic. As I mentioned before there is a lot happening in this book. Or at least, the book is kinda of built off of a lot of things that have happened to our main characters. Both the Duke of Clermont and Minnie have these secrets that they’re guarding and don’t want to get out. Hidden agenda’s, and scandals that have long since past, and making up for what other people did. It’s all very interesting, but it’s also still a love story… a romance novel. Mad props go to Courtney Milan who has kept me up late reading her books more than once recently.

Bottom line, The Duchess War is fantastic. I loved it, it was a very fresh take on historical romance for me personally and I love what she’s doing with this series. Definitely recommended if you’re a fan of historical romance or looking to give it a try. 4/5 stars.

The Brothers Sinister series:
0.5. The Governess Affair
1. The Duchess War
1.5. A Kiss for Midwinter
2. The Heiress Effect
3. The Countess Conspiracy

Book Review: The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan

thegovernessaffairSynopsis from Goodreads:

She will not give up…

Three months ago, governess Serena Barton was let go from her position. Unable to find new work, she’s demanding compensation from the man who got her sacked: a petty, selfish, swinish duke. But it’s not the duke she fears. It’s his merciless man of business—the man known as the Wolf of Clermont. The formidable former pugilist has a black reputation for handling all the duke’s dirty business, and when the duke turns her case over to him, she doesn’t stand a chance. But she can’t stop trying—not with her entire future at stake.

He cannot give in…

Hugo Marshall is a man of ruthless ambition—a characteristic that has served him well, elevating the coal miner’s son to the right hand man of a duke. When his employer orders him to get rid of the pestering governess by fair means or foul, it’s just another day at the office. Unfortunately, fair means don’t work on Serena, and as he comes to know her, he discovers that he can’t bear to use foul ones. But everything he has worked for depends upon seeing her gone. He’ll have to choose between the life that he needs, and the woman he is coming to love…

Courtney Milan is a name that I’ve seen around quite a bit since I started reading romance novels a couple of years ago, but surprisingly enough I hadn’t picked up my first book by her until recently. I signed this eBook out of my library on a whim and am I glad I did. I loved it!

Characters. Serena and Hugo were a pleasure to read about. It’s unfortunate, but all too true, that a lot of characters from the different romance genres can start to blend together, but these two characters were refreshing. They had these great personalities and both were so stubborn that it just made for some very fun reading. The budding relationship between Serena Barton and Hugo Marshall was an awesome base for Milan to build the Brothers Sinister series off of.

Story. I loved the story. I feel like Milan did a great job creating something realistic out of a time period we know to be strict in a lot of ways. The way that everything came together was really just perfect in my mind.

Bottom line, The Governess Affair was a great read. There was a lot of entertainment packed into this novella, so it’s no wonder I’ve continued on with the series! This is absolutely recommended and one I’ll be revisiting! 4/5 stars.

The Brothers Sinister Series:

0.5. The Governess Affair
1. The Duchess War
1.5. A Kiss for Midwinter
2. The Heiress Effect
3. The Countess Conspiracy