A Lady Never Surrenders by Sabrina Jeffries

A Lady Never Surrenders by Sabrina Jeffries

Rated 5 out of 5 White Roses.

Content Rated with the Red Rose.

Out of all the Sharpe siblings, Lady Celia knows she is the only one who has yet to fulfill the requirements for her grandmother’s ultimatum: get married by the end of the year or you don’t inherit anything. So, her older siblings all got married (thankfully, it was happily) and left her to be responsible. If she doesn’t get married, no one inherits a dime. And Lady Celia refuses to take the blame for such a situation.

Only thing to do now is find a suitor who is willing and happy to propose.

Jackson Pinter is already investigating the deaths of Lady Celia’s mother and father, but when she asks him to personally do a background check on three of her potential suitors, he knows he’d be crazy to accept. However, when the idea of some idiot, who doesn’t deserve to marry Lady Celia, actually marrying her, enters his head, it drives him madder than the idea of doing the background search. Jackson knows he’s officially lost his mind and agrees to help her find a suitable husband.

A husband who can afford to give her the life she’s used to and has a name she can be proud to share. A husband who isn’t an unclaimed bastard. A husband that is definitely better than him.

~*~*~*~*~*~

It is for books like A Lady Never Surrenders, where Ms. Jeffries reminds us that there is no doubt, she is a best-selling author. With this story, not only do we get the romance between Celia and Jackson, all the loose ends from the series are tied up and the mystery of the deaths of the late Lord and Lady Stoneville is solved quite nicely. It definitely gives us readers the resolution we need from all the build up from the previous books. And let me assure you, there was quite a lot of build up. Thankfully, Ms. Jeffries delivers and didn’t disappoint.

I have to say, out of the whole Hellions of Halstead Hall series, I think I like A Lady Never Surrenders the best. Unlike some of the other books that didn’t really do as much to hold and capture my interest, the emotion in this story was palpable and I couldn’t make myself stop reading. How can your heart not melt a little when the hero of the story loves the heroine so much, that he admit he wants the best for her, even if it’s not him? It’s pure love at its best and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Hugs & Kisses,

The Lustrous Courtesan

~*~*~*~*~*~

A Lady Never Surrenders (The Hellions of Halstead Hall) published by Pocket Books January 2012.

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Suddenly by Candace Camp

Suddenly by Candace Camp

Rated 4 out of 5 White Roses.

Content rated with the Red Rose.

Charity Emerson knows her older sister is about to marry a man she doesn’t love. So Charity ignores convention by offering herself up to Simon “Devil” Dure instead. Her sister can marry the man she really wants, and Simon can just have an understanding with her instead. The whole world just happened to be surprised when Simon actually agreed with her.

Simon barely knows his reason for agreeing to Charity’s scheme, she is after all, still so young and definitely too lively. But after one kiss, he knew life with her would never be boring. He would have a pleasant marriage with Charity. At least he knows he won’t fall in love with her. He’s guarded his heart so well, for so long, that  he’s sure, even the tender Charity Emerson can’t break through.

Now here’s my humble opinion…

I actually enjoyed the interaction between Charity and Simon. As young and naive as she is (and she can be rather naive and gullible), she suits him really well. This courtesan was able to feel the sparks between them. And with Simon’s haunted past and Charity’s innocent spunk, they provided a good balance of the macabre and humor.

Now the story may seem a little dated and the plot line familiar but if you consider the fact that Suddenly was originally released in 1996 then it should amaze you that this title is able to stand out and get a new issue for a new set of readers. Ms. Camp had added twists, interesting secondary characters, and wonderful dialogue to set this story apart. It is delicious at times and enjoyable and age doesn’t diminish that fact.

Don’t Forget To Smell The Flowers,

The Rose Courtesan

~*~*~*~*~

Suddenly published by HQN Books, reissued February 2010.

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Prime Time By Jane Wenham-Jones

Prime Time by Jane Wenham-Jones

Rated 3.5 out of 5 White Roses.

Content rated with the Pale Pink Rose.

All Laura Meredith wants to do is raise her son, Stanley, with the least amount of WIT (when-in-therapy) points as possible. Her awful, dirt bag of an ex-husband and his less hormonal, much skinnier, and much younger, girlfriend, who constantly reminds her son of the calories he’s consuming don’t help matters at all. To make it all worse, Laura willingly admits she suffers from horrible pre-menstrual tension that makes her act like a total witch during certain times of the month. Yes, she can see it now. Her son is doomed to a life of therapy.

Of course, things took a dramatic change for Laura when her best friend Charlotte convinced her to go on national TV as a spokeswoman for those who suffer from PMT. As if Stanley, didn’t have enough WIT points from also going to a brand new school, his mother ends up on reality TV. To traumatize him further, she even gets caught up in the glitz and glamour of it, too. She has even started fancying a much younger man as well.

Can Laura handle her newly found stardom and still provide Stanley the stability he needs while hopefully not scaring him for life?

Now here’s my humble opinion…

Prime Time gave the most realistic characters in any romance novel I have ever read. I must say though, I wouldn’t classify Prime Time as a romance per se but while it does have romance elements in it, it still is a novel fit for women of most ages. Laura, still reeling from the fact that her husband left her, is as genuine as can be. The fact that she just wants to feel human with someone who doesn’t just see her for all her faults is entirely something all women can relate with.

Now to the point I had to contend with: while Laura is someone all women at least one point in their lives can empathize with, the fact that she is so realistic, in mind and attitude makes it so she can also get on one’s nerves. Humans get on each others nerves very easily which is probably why the fantasy of a novel is so desirable. As a woman, PMT, PMS and all the like, are something I know and understand very well. But that doesn’t mean I enjoy hearing another woman complaining about it -all the time.

Prime Time is still a good read and an intelligent one, too. It is nice reading about a woman who knows a word with more than two syllables and doesn’t sound pretentious at the same time. The plot twists, while a tad predictable were well written. And while the PMT is a bit distracting, it’s Laura’s humor, heartbreak, and zeal for what’s right, that make this story a good one.

Don’t Forget To Smell The Flowers,

The Rose Courtesan

~*~*~*~*~*~

Prime Time sold by Amazon Kindle December 2011.

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The Duke Is Mine By Eloisa James

The Duke Is Mine by Eloisa James

Rated 4 out of 5 White Roses.

Content rated with the Red Rose.

Due to a promise between her father and the Duke of Canterwick while in their youth, Olivia Lytton has been betrothed since before she was even conceived. She is bound to marry the Duke of Canterwick’s eldest and only son, a man who is much younger than she is, not a man she would like to tie herself to, and, to put it kindly, he’s special. But a promise is a promise and as a result of her engagement, her sister has the opportunity to meet and potentially marry a duke of her own, a duke who happens to be ideal for her sister.

Tarquin, the Duke of Sconce, has known the sensation of loving someone and then losing them. He assures himself that he never wants to feel that way again, so he lets his very domineering mother find a wife for him. She has come to the conclusion that Georgiana Lytton would make the perfect bride for Quin, her only drawback being her older and much wilder twin sister Olivia. Now, while his mother’s choice makes the most sense, Quin can’t help but disagree. Olivia makes him feel things that he hasn’t felt in a long time. He is completely drawn to her. The only thing in his way is Canterwick.

~*~*~*~*~*~

The Duke Is Mine is about two imperfect people who happen to be perfect for each other. Olivia is a strong and intelligent heroine. The only thing that really bothered me is the constant self criticism of her weight. Thank goodness for her sister and Quin who saw her for the beautiful woman she was, because otherwise, her self image would have just been depressing for this story. Instead, we readers were given a hero in Quin who happened to be as strong of mind as Olivia and helped provide the balance that this story needed.

The flaws and insecurities of the main characters give a lot of heart to this tale. This isn’t your typical prince and princess. While Cinderella and Snow White had woodland creatures, fairy godmothers, dwarves, and spells, Olivia and Quin simply had hope and each other. The Duke Is Mine definitely gives a touching human side to a fairy tale but provides just as much magic.

Hugs & Kisses,

The Lustrous Courtesan

~*~*~*~*~*~

The Duke Is Mine published by Avon Romance December 2011.

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Maid For The Billionaire by Ruth Cardello

Maid For The Billionaire by Ruth Cardello

Rated 3.5 out of 5 White Roses.

Content rated with the Red Rose.

Dominic Corisi is on top of the world in the business world, with his company about to make a major deal with China. However, his home life is a little more vague. His father just passed away, his mother is still missing and his sister despises the sound of his very name. So he goes home, about to drown his doubts away in a bottle when he comes across the maid cleaning his house, who tells him to take a shower because he stinks and offers to get him some food. She may be just the distraction he needs.

Abigail Dartley has always followed the rules and never stepped a toe out of line. But family always came first to Abigail so when her sister needed her, she was there. There just happened to be filling in as a maid and cleaning a rich man’s house all because her sister was sick and she couldn’t afford to lose her job. No one told her the rich man would randomly walk in smelling like a bar tap or that he would look so lonely. It was hard not to feel compassion for him and it was even harder not to want to be there for him.

Now here’s my humble opinion…

This is a Cinderella meets Beauty & The Beast but without the Beast being a literal beast. Abby met Dominic and her roller-coaster/whirlwind romance started. While it’s sweet like an 80s movie it also had elements that were too good to be true. It was just hard to believe that Abby would randomly go to China with Dominic on his business trip when they’ve only known each other a couple of days just because Dominic said he needed her. I understand that she was stepping out of her comfort zone and trying to live for the first time in ages but she went from church mouse to dare-devil in the blink of an eye.

I also found Abby’s character a little bit confounding. Most times she was rather bland in comparison to Dominic’s strong character. However, when she did show signs of personality it was almost awkward for her character. It was like she couldn’t decide whether she wanted to have a strong presence or a meeker one. Instead, she ended up not being as entertaining as she could have been.

I suppose that Maid For The Billionaire is actually more like the movie Pretty Woman just without the prostitution element. You have a very rich and handsome businessman randomly meeting the poor but kindhearted teacher and falling head over heels in love with her. What woman doesn’t want that??? It’s simply a modern day fairy tale, something sweet and nice to dream and hope for.

Don’t Forget To Smell the Flowers,

The Rose Courtesan

~*~*~*~*~*~

Maid for the Billionaire (Book 1) (Legacy Collection) sold by Amazon Kindle April 2011.

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Contest Winner! Linda M!

Congratulations to Linda M. for winning our first contest here at the Reading Haven!

You will be contacted and soon Friends will be yours.

Thank you for participating in our Celebrating Friendship giveaway.

Love & All That Jazz,

The Book Courtesans

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