He wasn’t supposed to fall in love with his brother’s widow… Accused of a crime he didn’t commit, Jackson Kane fled his home, his name, and his family. Ten years later, he’s come back to town: older, wiser, richer, tougher—and still helpless to turn away the one woman he could never stop loving, even after she married his brother. Sadia Ahmed can’t deal with the feelings her mysterious former brother-in-law stirs, but she also can’t turn down his offer of help with the cafe she’s inherited. While he heats up her kitchen, she slowly discovers that the boy she adored has grown into a man she’s simply unable to resist. An affair is unthinkable, but their desire is undeniable. As secrets and lies are stripped away, Sadia and Jackson must decide if they’re strong enough to face the past…and step into a future together.When Jackson returns home, everything is different and yet some things are still the same. His love for Sadia Ahmed, his childhood best friend is still alive and kicking but because of the complications of his past and her relationship with his now deceased brother, Jackson didn’t think he’d ever know happiness with her. So he leads a solitary life and he’s built a life for himself that he’s content with…until he returns home and starts to feel alive for the first time in such a long time.
Why is Lady Sophia looking for a lover? And could she seduce the most marriageable man in London? Lady Sophia Sydney would do anything to ensnare the unattainable Sir Ross Cannon. Her goal: to ruin his reputation and cause a scandal that would be the talk of all London. So she insinuates herself into his life by gaining his trust and living in his house. Every morning, her lush presence tempts him beyond all reason . . . the way she bends over the table to serve him the meals she has prepared . . . the way her hands oh, so gently—yet sensuously—brush against him. Every night, she promises with her eyes—and her body—that the hours before dawn could be spent in unbridled passion instead of restless sleep—if only he’d let her share his bed. She knows he is falling more in love with her each day. But she never counted on falling in love with him. And she never dreamed he might very respectably ask for her hand in marriage.I’ve had this book on my TBR pile for the longest time. I’m talking years and years, this book has sat on my TBR and I just never read it. I don’t even know why since I adore Lisa Kleypas’ writing. Her books and her heroes are always so good so I’ve been a bum about her older books but not anymore. I read this book and just adored it. Sophia and Ross were wonderful characters and their romance was soo good. Lady Sophia Sydney is out for revenge against Sir Ross Cannon because she holds him responsible for the death of her brother. Her plan is to get close to him, seduce him and then ruin him…only her plan starts to go awry the more time she spends with him. He’s not at all what she was expecting him to be and the plan was never to fall in love with him but now she’s gone and done it. Sir Ross Cannon wants nothing to do with emotions of the heart. He’s had his fair share of that stuff when he was married and after his wife died but there’s something about Lady Sophia that calls to him and he doesn’t spend too much time fighting it. Lisa Kleypas does such a great job of storytelling that with each and every single one of her books, I fall more and more in love with her writing. Her books are always full of humor, her characters full of charisma and her romances full of depth that for me, she gets it right every time. This book is a great showcase of that. Her talent shines in this book and even though it’s not my favorite book of hers, it’s still a damn good romance and I definitely recommend.
Bow Street Runners Series
Bestselling author Lisa Kleypas creates a beguiling story, set in a world where appearance means everything, passion simmers just below the surface, and a respectable Englishwoman is willing to risk scandal for one night of love. She was unmarried, untouched and almost thirty, but novelist Amanda Briars wasn’t about to greet her next birthday without making love to a man. When he appeared at her door, she believed he was her gift to herself, hired for one night of passion. Unforgettably handsome, irresistibly virile, he tempted her in ways she never thought possible, but something stopped him from completely fulfilling her dream. Jack Devlin’s determination to possess Amanda became greater when she discovered his true identity. But gently bred Amanda craved respectability more than she admitted, while Jack, the cast-off son of a nobleman and London’s most notorious businessman, refused to live by society’s rules. Yet when fate conspired for them to marry, their worlds collided with a passionate force neither had expected… but both soon craved.I’ve been re-reading this book for the past couple of years. I read it at least once every year for the last three years, maybe? Each year, I’ve come away from the book just over the moon about it but this year was different. I re-read this book for book club this year and I had to prepare a discussion of it so I read the book, read through different people’s reviews on the book and then I read it again and I’ve got to say…the last re-read of the book was a different experience for me. I will say that even with my eyes being open to just how manipulative some of the characters were in this book, Lisa Kleypas worked her magic because in the end…I still rather enjoyed the story. So this book is about Jack Devlin and Amanda Briars falling in love with each other. They meet when Amanda orders herself a man for her thirtieth birthday and I thought that was awesome because why not? You do you, boo boo. So Jack shows up at Amanda’s house on her birthday and Amanda is like, you know what? I changed my mind. I don’t need a man but Jack worms his way in and gives her a night she’ll never forget and then he shows up at a party and is not even a hooker. He’s a publisher!! And he lied to her. So that doesn’t endear him to her at all but he’s all aboard the Amanda train and he’s not above using whatever weapons he has to win her over. I really enjoyed the chemistry between Jack and Amanda because overall, that was undeniable. Those two had some serious feelings for each other and I enjoyed seeing them together but what I didn’t enjoy was how much manipulating Jack did to get whatever he wanted. He seduced Amanda into doing whatever he wanted and that wasn’t cool. Sure, Amanda was game for anything but there were times when I was like, come on Jack…get over it. But I still really enjoyed this book. This book is another testament to how good Lisa Kleypas is. She can write the hell out of stories, out of characters and her romances are always steamy. This one is one of her steamier romances and I was all about it.
by Lisa Kleypas
Series: Gamblers of Cravens #2
Published by Harper Collins, Avon on June 30th 2015
Genres: Historical, Romance
Point of View:Alternating Third Person
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Ames: It’s been ages since I’ve re-read Dreaming of You but it’s still a favorite, even after all these years. What about you Wena, did you still enjoy it? Rowena: Yes! It took me a while to read it this time around but that had more to do with my reading slump than my enjoyment of the book. I still loved the hell out of ornery ass Derek Craven and I still adored Sara. It was also great to see Lily, Alex and Nicole again and all of the workers. What wasn’t so much fun again was being reunited with stupid ass Joyce Ashby or whatever her stupid name was. As great as this re-read was, I was annoyed with Derek for not doing something about Joyce. I mean, sure there wouldn’t have been much of a story but dude…you’re putting your loved ones in danger by not handling Joyce. I low key wanted him to finish strangling that stupid bitch. Is my bloodthirst showing too much? Haha. Ames: Um…just a little bit! LOL I still get swept up into their story. Derek was literally born in a gutter and raises himself to probably man the richest guy in England. And Sara is a bit of a country mouse but she has such strength of character and bravery so it’s no wonder Derek falls for her. I too didn’t care for the ex-mistress piece but it didn’t bother me too much. I loved how all his employees love her and are protective of her. You know what bothered me? The young man back home that Sara thought she was going to marry…ugh I can’t remember his name. What an odious prig of a character! Spineless since his mom still ran his life and then he has the gall to say things to Sara when she wants him to kiss her? HE bugged me. Rowena: I haven’t re-read this book very much but I’m glad that we chose this book as this month’s buddy review book because I loved getting to know Derek Craven again. He was so mean and yet it was so obvious that he loved the hell out of Sara. I don’t care what anyone says, that he carried Sara’s glasses close to his heart completely melted me. I loved seeing Sara teach him to love, seeing him soften toward her until he was so full of love for her that he didn’t know if he would survive without her. Perry was such a waste of a man. The way that he was turned off that his fiancee wanted to kiss him made me want to knee him in the balls. Sara deserved so much more than the likes of him. I loved that Sara was all for shoving Derek’s wealth in their faces with her parent’s new house. So what were some of your favorite scenes in this book? Ames: Perry! I couldn’t remember his name. LOL I loved that Derek kept her glasses too. They are such a part of her and he had to have a piece of her to himself. Awww. Ok, there’s a scene at the beginning, after Derek’s face is cut up and Sara rescues him. The doctor who’s come to stitch Derek up finds out Sara is an author and he’s talking to her about her character Mathilda and Derek is all “Excuse me, I’m frigging bleeding to death.” This scene made me laugh. Another scene that was more touching was when Derek flips right out when he thinks Sara died in the fire. Heartbreaking. What about you? Rowena: My favorite scene in the book is when Derek finally says I love you to Sara and then explains why he couldn’t say it before. My heart hurt for him so much because he literally came from nothing and even when he had everything, he didn’t think he deserved it. He didn’t see himself as a person worthy of good things. So when he realizes that Sara is not dead and he’s crushing her to him and begging her not to leave him? Ugh, hit me right in the feels. That scene after Derek’s attack was a good one too. Funny. I also liked when Joyce took Sara and Sara tells the driver that if he doesn’t help her, her husband is going to make him pay. The complete faith that she had in Derek warmed my heart. This was such a great book. So full of passion and love and I just ate everything up. I have so much love for this one so yay for us on choosing to read it again. I give this book a 4.25 out of 5. You? Ames: Those are all good scenes. This book is definitely chock full of goodness. Which is why I do like to re-read it from time to time and it is on my list of all time favourite books. I love how devoted Derek is to Sarah and the depth of their love, but another thing that always appeals is Sarah’s strength. It’s understated but when she was in danger, she totally handled herself! Like you I’m giving this one a 4.25 out of 5.
She stood at danger's threshold—then love beckoned her in.
In the shelter of her country cottage, Sara Feilding puts pen to paper to create dreams. But curiosity has enticed the prim, well-bred gentlewoman out of her safe haven—and into Derek Craven's dangerous world.
A handsome, tough and tenacious Cockney, he rose from poverty to become lord of London's most exclusive gambling house—a struggle that has left Derek Craven fabulously wealthy, but hardened and suspicious. And now duty demands he allow Sara Fielding into his world—with her impeccable manners and her infuriating innocence. But here, in a perilous shadow-realm of ever-shifting fortunes, even a proper "mouse" can be transformed into a breathtaking enchantress—and a world-weary gambler can be shaken to his cynical core by the power of passion...and the promise of love.
by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Ravenels #2
Published by Harper Collins, Avon on May 31st 2016
Genres: Historical, Romance
Point of View:Alternating Third Person
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Rowena: Marrying Winterborne is the second book in the Ravenels series by Lisa Kleypas and its the book that Ames and I chose to buddy review for March. This book follows Lady Helen Ravenel, as she falls in love with Mr. Rhys Winterborne. This book kicks off when Helen pays a visit to Rhys to let him know that she does not wish for their engagement to end. Rhys has been smarting ever since Helen’s sister in law came to him and told him that Helen wanted to end their engagement (without telling him herself) and that she didn’t want to ever see him again. Kathleen, Helen’s sister in law didn’t tell Helen what she was doing. She just took it upon herself to end Helen’s engagement without consulting with Helen or Helen’s guardian, her cousin Devon first. Now, I have my own thoughts about that and I would have stayed mad about how all of that came about but Kathleen apologized to Helen and like Helen, I forgave her. So Helen has to talk to Rhys and explain to him what happened and literally propose to him to get him to agree to stay engaged to her and this was the start of Helen growing into her own. When we first meet Helen in the first book, she is quiet and reserved and always trying to keep the peace at the same time that she’s trying to stay in the background. It was only when Rhys came to her home, injured and in need of some tender caring that Helen came out of her shell to help take care of him and nurse him back to health. Rhys, on the other hand wants Helen. He’s wanted her ever since he opened his eyes and laid them on her so he was pissed when her sister in law came to tell him that Helen doesn’t want to marry him. Rhys has issues with not being accepted by the aristocracy and you see him struggling to overcome those issues over the course of the book. I thought that Helen really brought out a more caring Rhys and I absolutely adored that. So what about you, Ames. What did you think about this one? Ames: I thoroughly enjoyed Marrying Winterborne! I was reminded at tiimes of Dreaming of You and that made me like this one even more. Helen is a gentle lady and Rhys was this big bold businessman who didn’t want to appear vulnerable in any way. But Helen was definitely his weakness! I love when the big tough guy is brought to his knees by his love for a woman. And that was Rhys. Helen definitely got under his skin. And I have to say, this book definitely starts with a bang! I like that Helen went to him to fix what Kathleen had said and that he jumped on that and sealed the deal. Helen can come across as a meek pushover but she had a core of steel and she definitely went toe to toe with him after that. She had a quiet strength that was what he needed. I loved Rhys character and him and Helen together were great. I do have a complaint about Helen though. I was starting to get SO ANNOYED with her over her not telling Rhys her secret. Like how many chances did she have? I mean she more than made up for it with what she does what she does right after (rescuing you know who) but seriously, if she hadn’t of done that and kept wringing her hands over telling Rhys, I would not have enjoyed this book. But just as I was getting to the tipping point, Lisa Kleypas flips a switch and I got over it and loved Helen again. LOL What did you think of Helen, Wena? Rowena: Overall, I really liked Helen. I loved seeing why she was so reserved and getting to understand the burden that she has been carrying for a long time. I loved seeing her blossom into someone who didn’t need others to think or act on her behalf and seeing her go to Rhys in the beginning made me sit up and cheer for her because that took a lot of balls. I loved that she really came into her own person throughout this entire book but like you, I was hella annoyed that it took her so long to come clean with Rhys about her big ass secret. Also like you, had Helen not done what she did, my enjoyment of the book would have suffered but Kleypas takes care of us and we should probably learn to trust her already. Sheesh. LOL. Ames: I agree, we should trust her. But I really don’t like getting annoyed with characters so I was really bracing for the worst. haha But Helen also had a redeeming quality – I don’t like blackmail so I was very happy with how she handled that situation. Overall, I loved Rhys and Helen’s story. These were two characters I could get behind and I enjoyed how their story played out. I’m giving Marrying Winterborne 4 out of 5. Rowena: Between Helen taking so long to come clean and Rhys being a dickhead from time to time, I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the first one but it’s still a solid read. Lisa Kleypas writes wonderfully romantic stories and this is no exception. Rhys and Helen’s story was dramatic and passionate and I enjoyed it. I couldn’t wait to jump into the next book so that’s saying something. I give this one 3.75 out of 5.
A ruthless tycoon
Savage ambition has brought common-born Rhys Winterborne vast wealth and success. In business and beyond, Rhys gets exactly what he wants. And from the moment he meets the shy, aristocratic Lady Helen Ravenel, he is determined to possess her. If he must take her virtue to ensure she marries him, so much the better…
A sheltered beauty
Helen has had little contact with the glittering, cynical world of London society. Yet Rhys’s determined seduction awakens an intense mutual passion. Helen’s gentle upbringing belies a stubborn conviction that only she can tame her unruly husband. As Rhys’s enemies conspire against them, Helen must trust him with her darkest secret. The risks are unthinkable… the reward, a lifetime of incomparable bliss. And it all begins with…
Marrying Mr. Winterborne
by Sarah MacLean
Series: Love by Numbers #1
Published by Harper Collins, Avon on March 30th 2010
Genres: Historical, Romance
Point of View:Alternating Third Person
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You guys, this freaking book. One of my goals for this year is to write a review for every single book that I read from cover to cover, even re-reads and this was the first book that I re-read this year. It was last month’s book club discussion book but I also read it for my Totally Doable reading challenge and boy am I glad to have revisited these folks because seriously? This book was fantastic! What a fun book this is. I laughed out loud, I swooned with delight, my heart broke a little bit and in the end, I rejoiced because gah…this book was just good swoony fun.
A lady does not smoke cheroot. She does not ride astride. She does not fence or attend duels. She does not fire a pistol, and she never gambles at a gentlemen's club.
Lady Calpurnia Hartwell has always followed the rules, rules that have left her unmarried—and more than a little unsatisfied. And so she's vowed to break the rules and live the life of pleasure she's been missing.
But to dance every dance, to steal a midnight kiss—to do those things, Callie will need a willing partner. Someone who knows everything about rule-breaking. Someone like Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston—charming and devastatingly handsome, his wicked reputation matched only by his sinful smile.
If she's not careful, she'll break the most important rule of all—the one that says that pleasure-seekers should never fall hopelessly, desperately in love.
“I’ve spent twenty-eight years doing what everyone around me expected me to do…being what everyone around me has expected me to be. And it’s horrid to be someone else’s vision of yourself.”Our Calpurnia, who is affectionately known as Callie is a fixture in the spinster seating section at every ball. She’s a wallflower that sits and watches other ladies dance the night away at the balls with other men. Her younger sister is engaged to a Duke and she was kind of resigned to her life as a spinster until she overhears her younger sisters conversation with her fiance’. Something about that conversation hurts Callie because it’s true? Between that conversation and one she had with her own brother, Callie yearns for adventure. She yearns to live. To be more than a spinster, so she makes a list. A list of adventures she wants to have. The first item on her list? Kiss someone passionately. Of course, that leads her to the Marquess of Ralston’s home. Ralston is dealing with his own issues at the moment. He just found out that he’s got a long lost sister and the sister is under his care now. He has no idea what to do with this new sister, how to introduce her to society. How to get her ready to introduce her into society but the answer for all of that just showed up on his doorstep, asking for a kiss. Hmm. Callie’s list cracked me up. From the very beginning, I was so on board with this list. Every single adventure she went on, every single time she got caught made me laugh and laugh and laugh because holy cow, Callie was brave. She was brave and she was determined and those are all things that I admire in a heroine. She put herself out there and she made memories, lived her life the way that she wanted without looking back. You have to admire that. Ralston did. On top of being brave and determined, Callie was extremely normal and incredibly witty. She was my very favorite part of this book and I was rooting for her at every turn. My heart hurt for her as she tried to brave her way through her feelings for Ralston. I just loved her so much. Ralston was a grumpy hero who I saw great potential in from the very beginning. That scene where he makes a young Callie feel good about herself made me so thirsty to see the two of them fall in love. Don’t get me wrong, he was a cabbage-head from time to time but holy cow does he get right in the end. He won my heart over at the same time he won Callie over and I was rooting for him, too. Ralston was such a great fit for Callie because he didn’t want her to be anything aside from herself. He loved her and even when he was pissing me off by the things he would say and do, I still wanted him for Callie. I still adored him. I loved the romance between Ralston and Callie because you saw the change in their relationship from friends to lovers. It was a gradual process that started with a bargain and ended with so much more. They were great a part but they were a force to be reckoned with together and I adored the two of them together so much. They were passionate, they were lively and they just worked. This is probably one of my favorite books by Sarah MacLean. It was true the first time I read it and all of these years later, it’s still true. If you haven’t read this book, you should definitely change that.