Review – The Way to the Duke’s Heart by Caroline Linden

The Way to a Duke's Heart (The Truth About the Duke, #3)The Way to a Duke’s Heart by Caroline Linden

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Charles de Lacey, Lord Gresham, is running out of time, running from his responsibilities, and running from love.

Destined to be a duke, Charles de Lacey has led a life of decadent pleasure, free of any care for propriety or responsibility. It comes as a terrible shock to learn that he might be stripped of everything, thanks to his father’s scandalous past. He has no choice but to find the blackmailer who would ruin him—and his only link to the villain is a woman who may be part of the plot…

To save his fortune and title, he vows he’ll stop at nothing—in fact, he’s all too eager to unravel the beautiful, tart-tongued Tessa Neville. She intrigues him and tempts him like no other lady ever has. With only his heart to guide him, and keenly aware that his entire future is at stake, Charles must decide: is she the woman of his dreams, or an enemy in disguise?

A charming and touching end to a The Truth about the Duke series with witty and fun characters you have come to expect. Caroline Linden has created another set of characters that are easy to relate to and have you cheering them through out the entire book.

Charles de Lacey is an unforgiven rake and scoundrel. He has spent the last eleven years proving to his family just how worthless he could be. Now with the issue of his inheritance and title, unceremoniously dumped into his lap, he must solve the problem all on his own, something he isn’t sure he can do.

Tessa Neville spends each day making up for a rash incident in her past. While she wishes she handled the situation differently, she has no regrets over the outcome. She is the last woman to be taken in by a charming scoundrel and is rightly suspicious of Charlie’s attention to her. Her forthright and confident demure is refreshing despite her seeing it as an enormous flaw.

Like the previous novels, Charlie and Tessa teach each other how their perceived weaknesses make them the person each loves. In this series, each heroine and hero and to overcome weakness/flaw within themselves in order find their happily ever after and this couple was no different. But, for Tessa and Charlie, their journey was longer and much harder/emotional. It is hard enough to ask forgiveness of others, but almost impossible to forgive yourself. But it is the journey of discovering that they are more than their past and that they are able to move on that allows them to embrace their future. Ms. Linden does this with emotional and moving scenes, especially with Charlie’s self discovery.

As for Charlie and Tessa together, who ever knew that writing a letter and getting a cup of coffee could be so erotic.

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Come check out my review of The Rogue Countess by Amy Sandas @ A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet

Limecello: www.TartSweet.com

Erin’s Review:

Book CoverThe Rogue Countess by Amy Sandas
Historial romance released by Samhain Publishing on July 24, 2012

A passion neither of them wanted…and neither can deny.

Anna Locke was once young, naïve and infatuated with the handsome Jude Sinclair. Until the charismatic “gentleman” showed his true colors by abandoning her on their wedding day.

In the years since, she has transformed herself into a confident, successful woman, independent of her errant husband’s aristocratic family in every way but name. When Jude unexpectedly returns demanding a divorce, she quashes the butterflies he still elicits, and resolves to show him she won’t be so easily cast aside.

Jude has come home to assume the responsibilities left to him upon his father’s death, and to finally end the marriage into which he was tricked. To his surprise, Anna is no longer an awkward, skinny girl with a furtive gaze. She has become…

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My Ruthless Prince Review – Gaelen Foley

My Ruthless Prince (Inferno Club, #4)My Ruthless Prince by Gaelen Foley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Inferno Club: To London Society, they’re notorious for their scandalous pursuits. In private, these warriors would risk their lives for king and country. 

His brother warriors fear the Earl of Westwood has turned traitor, but Emily Harper knows this is impossible for the man she has loved since childhood . . . as impossible as a marriage between them could ever be—she, the gamekeeper’s daughter and he, a bold and adventurous nobleman.

Driven by hatred and revenge, Westwood is playing a deadly game of deception, bent on destroying the enemy’s dark conspiracy from the inside, and he’s furious when Emily plunges herself into danger for his sake. Forced into close quarters, their long-suppressed desire explodes into all-consuming passion.

Emily knows her love can save him . . . but Westwood is a man who doesn’t want to be saved.

I finally got to this book (thank you RNG). It is an excellent addition to the inferno club series. Picking up where the previous book left off, Drake has returned to the bad guys. The order is unsure of his loyalties and how dangerous he is to them. Emily, though, is certain that she can bring Drake home, not just to protect him, but to heal him from what he has endured.

Emily is not your typical innocent miss. She is brave, strong, well aware of most of the danger she is in, and steadfast in her love for Drake. Emily is determined not to let him become a truly evil man. She believes that by staying by his side she will always be able to bring him back from the brink. She is no milk and water miss. She is able to track Drake from England to Germany, with little money and knowing none of the languages. She really is perfect to heal a broken Drake. She is able to withstand the darkness within him and steadfast enough to lead him out.

Our tortured hero is playing a dangerous game with no plan for survival. Drake sees himself as done with this world. His body and mind have been broken and he has nothing left to live for except revenge. In some ways he feels that he does not deserve the purity of Emily’s love because of all the bad things he has done in the name of good. And he is very good at his game. He keeps everyone wondering which side he is truly on through most of the book. Even as the reader, knowing where he lies, there are times he is tempted by the power of the dark side, to try to lead them along a better path by ultimately destroying all the ideals within himself.

I really liked this book because of how well Ms. Foley portrayed the inner turmoil that the characters had to deal with (and not just Emily and Drake). Each had to face unspeakable and egregious acts and decisions, which mirror those many small acts and decisions that a person must face each day. Do we turn a blind eye or do we say something. Do we stand by or get involved. Do we love a person destroying themselves or do we walk away But in the end, the real question is are we strong enough to love and trust a person, to do something we know may lose us everything, in order to uphold the ideals and great good that they stood for. It is the hard decisions that have to be made and how Drake and Emily find a way to survive within those decisions that really make this story.

As for the romance, it is a not a book where the hero/heroine finally fall in love. Drake and Emily have been in love for a long time. They just finally needed the right push to make them act upon it. The threat of death is far greater then the threat of her father losing his job. They both rely on the other’s feelings to get through the desperate situation they are in. Each, in their own way, manipulates the other to try to achieve their goal. It is not the evil manipulation that our lovely bad guys like to play, but rather that subtle manipulation we use everyday to steer our loved ones in a better direction and to keep them safe. In the end, they build the trust needed between the two of them to allow the book to go out with a bang.

I am very much looking forward to the next book (Beau’s) and am very glad to hear that there will be an additional infernal club trilogy to follow after that

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Tarnished by Karina Cooper – Steampunk

Tarnished (The St. Croix Chronicles, #1)Tarnished by Karina Cooper

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My name is Cherry St. Croix. Society would claim that I am a well-heeled miss with an unfortunate familial reputation. They’ve no idea of the truth of it. In my secret world, I hunt down vagrants, thieves . . . and now, a murderer. For a monster stalks London’s streets, leaving a trail of mystery and murder below the fog.

Eager for coin to fuel my infatuations, I must decide where my attentions will turn: to my daylight world, where my scientific mind sets me apart from respectable Society, or to the compelling domain of London below. Each has a man who has claimed my time as his–for good or for ill. Though as the corpses pile, and the treacherous waters of Society gossip churn, I am learning that each also has its dangers. One choice will see me cast from polite company . . . the other might just see me dead

Ever read a book and it just took you awhile to figure out what direction it was going? That’s a good description for the start of this book. Set in Victorian England, this steampunk novel introduces us to Cherry St. Croix, and an entirely different London. With horrible smog, the rich and important have been lifted high into he London sky, while the rift raft and other undesirables remain stuck in the dark misery of the below.

Cherry is a woman with a foot in both worlds. By day she is an unwanted member of the peerage, a madman’s unconventional daughter deemed to be trying to rise above her the below to collect bounties, usually set by those with power.

Cherry is not your typical romantic heroine and this is not a typical romance book. This is ultimately a murder mystery involving a young heroine coming into her sexuality. The romantic elements a both an after thought but also vital to the story. Cherry is a one minded woman, she wants to reach the age of 21 and gain control of her life and fortune. Her background is an interesting one and explains why she is the way she is, untrusting, secretive, both naive but knowing. She is confident in her abilities to the point of over estimating herself. Hence why she spends a good deal of the book having things fall down around her.

Part of this book is watching Cherry finish maturing. She is naive in thinking that she wants to stay alone forever and constantly pushes people away. Even the servants who have cared for her for years she never sees as hers. They are always the spies for her guardian. Likewise, she doesn’t understand and doesn’t want the feelings that go along with her interactions with Hawke (underworld ruler) and The Earl of Compton. Like her persona, she is torn between one world she feels she belongs in and one world where she is the outcast. In either place she must keep secrets and it is these secrets that are slowly tearing her apart.

Cherry is a deeply flawed character. She uses and abuses opium, not necessarily for the high, but rather as an easier way of not having to deal with any emotion, either current or in regards to her past. It is a crutch that allows her to hold herself away from people and the only way she can keep the extreme abuses she has witnessed and endured under her control. The author does an excellent job at expressing both Cherry’s desperation for the relief opium gives her without idolizing the use or making it seem acceptable.

As stated,in the first half of the book I really had difficulty
Figuring out where the author was going. There are lots of different and competing elements in the book and the only made sense once you got much further along. There is a lot of background information that needs to be exposed and this does slow the pace of the book down while
you push your way through it. But once into the meat of the story I was easily and quickly hooked.

The plot is slightly macabre with gothic overtones. Those paying attention will quickly pick up on the Jack the Ripper connection, which was very well done. By the end, the story goes through more twists and turns then a figure eight, many are completely out of the blue. And while a few questions were answered by the end of the book, many more were left. Who will Cherry end up with? Who is the other collector? Who tried to steal the new ship? Most readers will find themselves interested enough to look for the next book in the series.

B

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