No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah MacLean Review

whiskey and glassesTemple has spent the last twelve years with the title of “Killer Duke”, everyone having believed he murdered Mara Lowe on the eve of her marriage to his father. In No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah MacLean, Temple doesn’t remember what happened that fateful night but he does know what he has done the last twelve years to survive after being disowned by everyone who knew him, he has spent it fighting. Now Temple is one of the powerful men behind the exclusive casino that everyone in the Ton flocks to, having thought he had seen everything he is shocked when Mara arrives at his house one night offering the one thing he never thought he could get, absolution from the charge of murder.

Mara ran twelve years ago, ran from the arranged marriage she didn’t want, ran from the society that would allow its daughters to be sold off to the highest bidder, and ran from having no real purpose to her life. Now Mara is facing the fact that she will have to leave the life she has created for herself in order to save her brother from debtor’s prison.

Normally I love Sarah MacLean’s novels but I really struggled with No Good Duke Goes Unpunished. Partly because I love MacLean for her humor and so I went into No Good Duke expecting humor and it was a lot more serious novel and partly because I just didn’t like Mara a whole lot. Mara felt really flip-floppy to me, I realize what MacLean was trying to do in creating an incredibly strong heroine but having her have some vulnerability however, she came off as whiny, selfish, and not very likable. Also, a key part of the novel is that the brother, her only family member she has maintained any contact with, has gambled away all of his money (and hers) and Mara approaches Temple with the offer in large part to save her brother and then the brother just kind of disappears from the novel. I do really like Temple’s character, he has suffered through a lot but has managed to find a place for himself in the world, fighting at the casino. And I loved the boys at the orphanage and wished we could have spent more time with those entertaining scamps.  No Good Duke Goes Unpunished is the third book in the Rules of Scoundrels‘ series but you don’t need to have read the previous two novels to read it. I recommend No Good Duke Goes Unpunished as a one time read but honestly I would probably check it out from the library or borrow it from a friend rather than purchasing it outright.

You can read an excerpt here.

Rules of Scoundrels Reading Order:

A Rogue By Any Other Name

One Good Earl Deserves a Lover

No Good Duke Goes Unpunished

no good duke goesRating: Star 3copy

Content: favicon5 NB

Title: No Good Duke Goes Unpunished

Author: Sarah MacLean

Format: Paperback, eBook

Page Nos.: 405

AISN: B00BEFPSMA

Publisher: Avon

Release Date: November 26, 2013

Available for purchase: Amazon

Reviewer: Jessica

 

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.

Hard As It Gets by Laura Kaye Review

hard as it gets 1Becca Merritt’s only surviving family member, her brother Charlie, has gone missing, the police aren’t helping to track him down so Becca follows the cryptic clue left by Charlie to a tattoo parlor and the mysterious Nicholas Rixley. In Hard As It Gets by Laura Kaye, Becca must rely on Nick, a former member of her military father’s Special Forces team to help her figure out what is going on and find Charley before it is too late.

Nick has spent the last year in limbo after his last mission as an Army Special Forces member goes south with six of his team mates getting killed, one of his team mates losing his leg, and leaving Nick with two gunshot wounds to the back. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he figures out they were set up by their commanding officer (who also perished in the mission) who is dirty and someone else with enough power set up his team to be dishonorably discharged when false records appear on each of the guys after that horrible mission. When Becca shows up, Nick realizes she may be the only link to finding out what really happened that day and clearing his and his teammates records, the fact that he is immediately drawn to her warmth and sexiness has absolutely no impact on his desire to keep her close.

Hard As It Gets is edgier than most of the romance novels I read but I was intrigued by the premise of the novel, a group of ex-special ops trying to clear their name while saving the girl (I love Julia Ann Walker’s Black Knights Inc series and that is what this reminded me of). I would consider Hard As It Gets to be a little bit darker than the Black Knights series, as the author Laura Kaye says, think Sons of Anarchy-good guys doing bad stuff in order to correct wrongs that have been done. I liked Becca’s character, while needing Nick’s help she didn’t take any guff from any of the guys but was also willing to let her softer side show. I also really liked how she knew her own limitations, sometimes in novels the heroine is so bent on being there where all the action is happening, then something goes wrong and she has to be saved, as a reader I always want to say “this is why you should have stayed home, oh girl who has never fired a pistol before.” I loved the relationship of the guys, especially the relationship between Nick and his brother Jeremy. Nick’s path of self-discovery was great but I won’t say more because I don’t want to spoil it for you. “Sometimes you plodded through life with nothing changing from one month to the next no matter how much you yearned for a revolution to erupt beneath your feet. And sometimes your whole world imploeded and rebuilt itself in a matter of seconds.” The major downside to Hard As It Gets is that Hard As You Can won’t be out until March 2014.

At the time of the posting of this review Hard As It Gets is $1.99 in ebook format at Amazon, which is well worth the money.

You can read an excerpt here.

Hard Ink Series Reading Order:

Hard As It Gets

Hard As You Can (March 2014)

Book 3 (TBA)

Book 4 (TBA)

hard as it getsRating: Star 4copy

Content: favicon5 NB

Title: Hard As It Gets

Author: Laura Kaye

Format: Paperback, eBook

Page Nos.: 373

AISN: B00BATNM50

Publisher: Avon Impulse

Release Date: November 2013

Available for purchase: Amazon

Reviewer: Jessica

 

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.

River Road by Jayne Ann Krentz Review

Lucy Sheridan left the town of Summer River as a teenager after Mason pulled her from a party claiming she was in danger, now thirteen years later she is returning to Summer River to deal with her deceased aunt’s estate. In River Road by Jayne Ann Krentz, Lucy never expected to run into Mason Fletcher on her first day back in town, last she had heard he was off pursuing a career in law enforcement.

Mason has returned to the town of Summer River to get his head on straight after a case went wrong but he didn’t realize he was sleepwalking until Lucy showed up, jolting him awake and aware. But will the secrets from the night of that party that Mason saved Lucy from come back to haunt to whole town and pull the two of them apart or will they be able to find a murderer in time?

River Road is a return to Jayne Ann Krentz romantic suspense stories, no paranormal elements here (which is one of things I love in some of her other novels). I have to admit, Krentz’s romantic suspense novels have been very hit or miss for me, some I love and some I don’t care much for but River Road is a fabulous tale of murder, passion, and secrets long buried. I was completely surprised by where they find the first body (wasn’t expecting them to find a body that quickly), which is always fabulous when reading a romantic suspense. Lucy’s personality was a bit brusque at times but I still liked her and her no-nonsense approach to the problems in her life. I loved how we got a glimpse of Mason’s potential when he was a teenager and then got to see him live up to that potential with a few bumps along the way. I devoured River Road pretty quickly and enjoyed every suspenseful moment.

You can read an excerpt here.

river roadRating:Star 4copy

Content: favicon5 NB

Title: River Road

Author: Jayne Ann Krentz

Format: Hardbound, eBook

Page Nos.: 352

AISN: B00DGZKRZY

Publisher: Penguin

Release Date: January 7, 2014

Available for purchase: Amazon

Reviewer: Jessica

 

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.

Elizabeth Boyle Guest Post: The Queen’s Necklace

Novel Reaction is excited to welcome Elizabeth Boyle as part of her blog tour for If Wishes Were Earls (you can read my review here) telling us a bit more about the necklace that plays such a key role in the novel. First though, a little bit more about Elizabeth:

elizabeth BoyleElizabeth Boyle is the author of 22 Regency set historical romances. Her love of the Georgian period is woven into her stories, setting lovers amongst the battlefields of Spain, the treachery of the French Revolution and the world of spies and con artists. Read more about her novels and various series at her website, ElizabethBoyle.com.

Twitter: @ElizBoyle

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorElizabethBoyle

 

 

if wishes were earlsThe real challenge of writing If Wishes Were Earls wasn’t the fact that the two characters were madly in love from page one (which believe me—is truly a challenge) but it turned out to be finding the right sub-plot to explain the villainy being perpetuated against the Earl of Roxley. It had to be something he’d had no hand in and no knowledge of so the discovery of it would take both time and leave him gobsmacked.

 

It was sort of one of those pace-the-floor and dig-around-in-my-research-books problems. I threw away over 100 pages of one idea. Another 50 of yet another. Nothing seemed to work. That is until I turned to Roxley’s gadabout parents and their penchant for gambling.

 

If they had been on the Continent when Roxley was young . . . I asked myself. Which led me to Paris, which led me to the scandal of that year: The Affair of the Diamond Necklace.

 

marie antinette diamond necklace 2For those not familiar with the story, The Queen’s Necklace was originally a grand diamond necklace commissioned by the previous French king for his mistress—but before he could give it to his paramour, he died of smallpox and his mistress sent packing. For the jewelers this was a nightmare—because they hadn’t been paid—and no one other than royalty could afford such a costly piece.  For years, they sought buyers to this necklace but to no avail. No queens wanted it because it had been designed for a courtesan. They even offered it to Marie Antoinette at a bargain, but she refused.

 

That was when the Comtessa de la Motte entered the picture. A con artist with very sketchy aristocratic connections she managed to convince the Cardinal Rohan—who had gained the Queen’s disfavor—that a necklace such as that might win back the Queen’s good graces. Further, the kindly comtessa graciously offered to act as the middleman for the cardinal. Of course, once she had the necklace, she and her husband broke it up, her husband taking the bulk of the stones to sell in London.

 

And that was where I saw my opportunity. What if the Comte de la Motte, like the earl’s parents was a gambler at heart, and what if while trying to lay low as he fled to London, he came upon what looked like an easy game of cards with an Englishman . . . and what if de la Motte lost?

 

Yes, I had my sub-plot—because a cache of diamonds could be easily hidden, lusted after, and most importantly, be of intense interest for some really deviously evil people who were willing to wait to get their hands on a treasure hoarde.

 

But it isn’t always easy weaving an actual historical event into a fictional novel. The timeline of events must be to the letter perfect. The fictional story must weave into the actual facts, filling up where there are openings in the historical accounts and allowing the real facts to remain untouched. And since there is no account how de la Motte got to London, there was one hole. What happened to the diamonds once they reached London is yet another. They were sold—but there were speculations and rumors about how many were sold and to whom.

 

Like my villains, I couldn’t resist the lure of such a literal story gem. And I had to wonder what the Earl of Roxley and his dear Harriet would do once they found these perfect diamonds. I know what I would do…..

_____________________________________

Thanks Elizabeth for sharing with us a little more about the mysterious diamond necklace at the center of If Wishes Were Earls. It has always fascinated me that such a cold looking stone (diamonds) have the ability to inspire such passion and desire in the hearts of men (and women), not that I am one to speak because goodness knows I love me some bling. If Wishes Were Earls is the third book in the Rhymes With Love series.

Rhymes with Love Reading Order:

Along Came a Duke

And the Miss Ran Away With the Rake

Have You Any Rogues

If Wishes Were Earls

 

if wishes were earlsWhen you wish upon an earl…

Harriet Hathaway has only ever wanted one man: the Earl of Roxley. After a passionate interlude at a house party, Harriet is convinced Roxley will do the right thing and propose. But when she returns to London, she finds the roguish earl on the verge of proposing to another.

Yet Harriet refuses to believe that her hopes of a happily ever after are completely lost—for she can see the desire still flickering in the earl’s eyes when he looks at her from across the dance floor. And when they are alone…there is one wish neither can deny.

The most extraordinary things can happen.

The Earl of Roxley is in a dangerous fix—and to keep Harriet safe, he must hold her at arm’s length. He won’t entangle her in the murderous mystery that is threatening to destroy his family and his future. But keeping Harriet Hathaway out of his troubles proves as impossible as it was to keep the determined beauty from stealing his heart.

If Wishes Were Earls