ONE NIGHT WITH AN EARL by Jennifer Haymore

one nightPUBLISHING INFO: Forever Yours, 4/1/2014
GENRE: Historical Romance
FORMAT: E-book only
SETTING: England, 1812 or 13
SERIES: House of Trent, # 2.5
MY GRADE: A-

From Publisher: Beatrice Reece, Lady Fenwick, has retired from polite society. Everyone knows her late husband treated her abominably, and she simply cannot bear the whispers of the ton. But it's the night of London's premier masquerade ball—and Beatrice's one chance to revel in anonymity. She hopes no one will recognize her beneath her mask, not even the sinfully sexy stranger across the room who holds her captive in his gaze.

Andrew Sinclair would know beautiful Beatrice anywhere from the gentle sway of her hips, the richness of her hair and the lushness of her body. When he asks her to dance, the attraction is instant and all-consuming. The only woman he's ever truly wanted is finally in his arms. But when the clock strikes twelve, will this one reckless night fade into the morning light?

MY THOUGHTS: This was pretty good but being a 129 page novella, it was too short and rushed. The heroine, brown haired and brown-eyed Bea, has been widowed for two years and is living with her over the top domineering parents. Her husband was abusive but how so, we weren't told. For some reason she's been shunned by most people since his death.

The hero, blue-eyed Drew, has been attracted to Bea since before she married. He recognized her at the masquerade party even though everyone was wearing an eye mask. They chatted and she was instantly attracted to him, not recognizing him at all. Things took a sexual turn real quick then got dramatic when his identity was revealed.

The sex scene was graphic and I liked that. I like both characters but we didn't get any background info on Drew and just a little on Bea. I wanted to know more about her abusive marriage and all she endured.

The things that bothered me were: Three days later they declared their love for each other, which was way too soon. More time should have lapsed between when they last saw each other and when they were reunited, like months, not three days. Their ages weren't given nor was it stated how long she was married. All we know is they knew each other when she married at seventeen. The year wasn't given but I know this story is wedged in between books two and three, which took place in 1812/13. Since they met at a masquerade party I think Bea should have been wearing a mask on the cover.

I received a print ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


FROM THE CHARRED REMAINS by Susanna Calkins

charredPUBLISHING INFO: Minotaur Books, 4/22/2014
GENRE: Fiction/Historical Mystery
SETTING: England, 1666
SERIES: Lucy Campion Mysteries #2
AUTHOR SITE: link
MY GRADE: C

FROM PUBLISHING: Weeks after the Great Fire ravaged London, Lucy Campion—formerly a chambermaid, now a printer’s apprentice—is helping dig through the ashes of an old tavern, when a body is found stuffed into an old malt barrel, a knife through his chest. On the corpse is a small leather bag, promptly pickpocketed by a passing thief, and passed accidentally to Lucy. Inside the bag, Lucy discovers a strange collection of objects—the winnings from the last card game ever played at the tavern and a poem. These are also the only clues to the victim and his murderer. Not realizing that the poem is in code, Lucy persuades her new employer to publish the poem. This action leads to a chain of events that once again brings Lucy in direct confrontation with a murderer.


MY THOUGHTS: Well, the crimes themselves were interesting. The characters involved were not, except for Francis Clifford, who didn't make an appearance until near the end. I thought the murders were somewhat convoluted and a bit over the top, especially all the things involving Francis' parents, his mother in particular. Actually I think too much was going on and there were too many characters overall.

There's confusion for some time about who the murdered man in the barrel is. I just didn't like any of the characters that that murder introduced- Rhonda Water and Darius. There was something I found strange about them and I felt like they didn't fit into the story very well. That's when I started to get bored. A barmaid gets killed too. Revelations about a woman, Amelie, who had died before this story began come to light and we get introduced to her nutty father and Francis, her ex-lover. I don't like her father at all. I do like Francis. Too bad he wasn't in the story earlier.

Like with the first book in this series, this one too wasn't very interesting when it could have and should have been. All the elements of a good mystery were there- the narrative just stunk.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


SCANDALOUS LIAISONS by Sylvia Day (formerly published as Bad Boys Ahoy!)

dayPUBLISHING INFO: Kensington, August 2013
ORIGINALLY PUB. AS: Bad Boys Ahoy!, 2006
GENRE: Erotic Historical Romance Anthology
SETTING: British West Indies and England, early 1800's
AUTHOR SITE: link
MY GRADE: C

From Publisher: Oh, those naughty rakes. With their wicked winks, sensual smiles, and bad boy habits, you just can t take them out in polite society. But who wants to go out when you can stay in...?

STOLEN PLEASURES
Sebastian Blake, Earl of Merrick, long ago fled the responsibilities of his title to become the infamous pirate, Captain Phoenix. But the booty he's just captured on a merchant ship is a fierce tempered minx who claims to be a bride...his bride, married to him by proxy on behest of their fathers. He could shame his hated family and return his beautiful wife untouched, but no treasure has ever proved more tempting to Sebastian, and making their marriage a true one-in every sense-is his one urgent desire ...

MY THOUGHTS: The story takes place in the British West Indies in 1813 and the story's 107 pages. This was alright. Sebastian, black hair and blue eyes, and Olivia, blond hair and brown eyes, had chemistry from the start. I don't know their ages and that bugs me. The sex scenes were graphic and my favorite one is when Sebastian masturbated some with Olivia watching. I also don't really like that they were already married to each other.

I'm confused about something. He attacked her father's ship and tied Olivia up, not even knowing she was his wife. What did he plan to do with her?

Graphic sex gets an A, story gets a C.

LUCIEN'S GAMBLE
Lucien Remington's reputation as a debauched libertine who plays by no one s rules-in business or the bedroom-is well deserved. He gets what he wants, social repudiation be damned. But society can keep from him the one thing he truly desires, the untouchable Lady Julienne La Coeur. Until she sneaks into his club dressed as a man and searching for her irresponsible brother. Suddenly she s in Lucien's grasp, his to take, and his mind is filled with the most wickedly sinful thoughts. A gentleman would walk away from the temptation she presents. But then, Lucien has never claimed to be a gentleman...

MY THOUGHTS: The story takes place in England in 1810 and is about 110 pages. I enjoyed the very graphic sex scenes. The language was more graphic, explicit words were used that weren't in the previous story and the sex scenes were messier. There were countless oral sex scenes and only one of penile/vaginal sex, right at the end of the story on their wedding night.

Lucien, dark hair and blue eyes, is obsessed with Julienne, who's got blond hair and 'dark' eyes. She's twenty and I don't know how old he is. She didn't seem nearly as into him as he was into her. I know this is a short story but it was too rushed. There was a 'love' triangle and stuff involving her brother, almost a full length story jammed into 100 pages. I think Julienne had something to do with my dislike of the story. I can't put my finger on why I didn't like her.

I give the story a C and the sex an A.

HER MAD GRACE
Hugh La Coeur never wanted to be the Earl of Montrose. Wine, women, and a hefty wager are preferable to responsibility of any kind. It's certainly preferable to spending the night in an eerie, neglected mansion owned by a legendary madwoman. The duchess's companion, the fiercely independent Charlotte, is another matter altogether. Hugh would be happy to spend as many nights in her bed as possible. He knows she's hiding terrible secrets, but for once in his life, Hugh has the desire to take on someone else's burden as his own, no matter what the danger...

MY THOUGHTS: This is my least favorite story of the three. Hugh is brother to Julienne, from the previous story. He was a wastrel, a gambler deeply in debt until his brother-in-law bailed him out. Now, three years later, he's wealthy (how?). I don't like that a character like him got his own story. His carriage has an accident and he ends up at Charlotte's while it's being fixed. I'm not sure how long he stayed there but it seemed like it was for just a few days or so. The story spans eight months, if you count the epilogue.

Charlotte's alright. She's Jared's ex-mistress and caretaker to his seventeen year old daughter. I like that Hugh doesn't mind that she was a kept woman. I wanted to know more about her life pre-Hugh. The story got real boring during the last 35-40 pages but I did like when Jared showed up near the end.

The sex was very graphic, so that gets an A+. The story gets a C-. I didn't care for the silly map and buried treasure she was looking for.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.