Playing Catch Up: Romance Edition – Round 2

So I read a LOT of books.  I’m up to 100, but I’ve only reviewed 78.  Life has been really hectic recently with my sister’s wedding coming up, followed by my trip to Mexico soon after.  In an effort to get myself organized before I leave, I’m trying to catch up 100% on my reviews before I leave. With that being said, here is another catch up post of several more romance novels I’ve recently read!

#79 The Marriage Bargain (Marriage to a Billionaire #1) by Jennifer Probst – summary from Goodreads

To save her family home, impulsive bookstore owner, Alexa Maria McKenzie, casts a love spell. But she never planned on conjuring up her best friend’s older brother—the powerful man who once shattered her heart.

Billionaire Nicholas Ryan doesn’t believe in marriage, but in order to inherit his father’s corporation, he needs a wife and needs one fast. When he discovers his sister’s childhood friend is in dire financial straits, he’s offers Alexa a bold proposition.

A marriage in name only with certain rules: Avoid entanglement. Keep things all business. Do not fall in love. The arrangement is only for a year so the rules shouldn’t be that hard to follow, right?  Except fate has a way of upsetting the best-laid plans…

There is a definite reason that The Marriage Bargain has been listed on NY Times bestselling ebook list week after week….it’s Probst’s stellar storytelling capabilities!  Alexa and Nick are “puzzle box” characters.  The more you learn about them the more you realize how much you don’t know about them.  It takes a while to fit all their pieces together, but eventually you learn enough about them to get inside their heads and hearts and understand their motives and actions.

Nick is really messed up because of his father.  He doesn’t believe in getting attached to anyone because he doesn’t think he is worth anyone’s love, and also doesn’t think he has the strength to stay in a relationship.  Alexa is fiercely loyal to those she loves, and will do anything and everything in her power to save them, including entering into a loveless marriage.  To see Alexa and Nick try to sift through all their personal issues while trying to understand what is happening to them as a couple….well it’s an interestingly bumpy ride.

Final Thoughts: Read it. (There are lots of cute animals in it too!)

4 out of 5 Stars

The Marriage Bargain by Jennifer Probst
Entangled Publishing (2012)
eBook: 414 pages
ISBN: 2940013903296

#80 Intentions of the Earl (Scandalous Sisters #1) by Rose Gordon – summary from Goodreads

When the impoverished Andrew Black, Earl of Townson, hits rock bottom, he makes an agreement that will end his eight year poverty streak once and for all. In order to gain his fortune he must do but one simple thing: ruin an innocent girl’s reputation enough to make her flee to America.

Brooke Banks isn’t interested in marriage, or so she thinks. She came to London to have a good time, and that’s exactly what she’s doing. Widely known for her tendency to flout the rules, she suspects nothing when a handsome stranger appears on her doorstep.

Thirteen days, a handful of kisses and one scandalous situation later, Andrew and Brooke will have to choose to stick to their original plans, or decide if a life together is worth the risk.

Brooke is so much fun to read.  She completely bucks what society expects of a proper woman, refusing to be anything but herself. (A woman after my own heart!)  It’s refreshing to read about a woman of Brooke’s strength, as there are many times the heroines of romance novels are wishy-washy and just do as society expects.  Andrew is another unconventional choice in that he is an anti-hero at first.  You root for him and Brooke along the way and hope that he begins to see some sense and stop his deceitful plan.

Final Thoughts: The story is good as are the characters.  The editing is a bit poor in this eBook, and can make for a jarring read at times.

3 out of 5 Stars

Intentions of the Earl by Rose Gordon
Rose Gordon (2011)
eBook: 749 pages
ISBN: 2940032922674

#81 Liberty for Paul (Scandalous Sisters #2) by Rose Gordon – summary from Goodreads

Liberty Banks loves revenge almost as much as she hates one Mister Paul Grimes, who, she considers to be the most improper creature she has ever clapped eyes upon. But when her plans for revenge against Paul go bust, she suddenly finds herself walking down the aisle to him.

Once married, a battle of the wills breaks out as each tries to reform the other. Liberty wants nothing more than to have a proper husband. And, much to Liberty’s dismay, Paul will stop at nothing to have is all too proper wife do something–anything–to break the rules of society, specifically do the most improper thing imaginable which is to fall in love with the most improper man: her own husband.

Not really sure where to even go with this one. Liberty may be the most annoying heroine I’ve ever read.  She misconstrues every conversation and act from Paul and honestly after the first few chapters it was really annoying.  I found myself banging my head against a wall with Liberty’s antics.  The only reason I finished this one was so that I could continue on to book 3, To Win His Wayward Wife.  I wasn’t sure if I needed the preceding plot to understand the story of book 3.  I can happily tell you that you don’t.

Final Thoughts: Skip book 2.  Stick with 1 and 3.

1 out of 5 Stars

Liberty for Paul by Rose Gordon
TALC Publishing (2011)
eBook: 208 pages
ISBN: 2940013450943

#82 To Win His Wayward Wife (Scandalous Sisters #3) by Rose Gordon – summary from Goodreads

Not to be outdone by her sisters’ marriage-producing scandals, quiet and withdrawn Madison Banks quickly finds herself walking down the aisle to a man who has secretly loved her for years.

Her groom, however, has no idea how to show his new bride that he truly loves her and following a bungled wedding night, finds himself in a position to either win his wife once and for all or lose her forever.

Can he prove himself worthy of her? Will she accept his love? Or will jealousy and past insecurities tear the pair apart?

Unarguably the best in the trilogy.  Gordon’s writing capabilities have evidently grown leaps and bounds from books 1 & 2.  Even the editing of the eBook has significantly improved.  Even if you were to take all the improved writing away, Madison and her groom (I won’t say who it is, because it’s a surprise) are the most fascinating of the three couples.  Madison’s past is heartbreaking.  The one man she thought she could love rejected her, leaving her in the clutches of  a boy she used to be infatuated with.  By the time she realized Robbie would never be marrying her she had other problems on her hands, as well as a crushed soul.  Her life in America was truly sorrow- filled.  She is definitely the sister you cheer for, hoping that somewhere along the way she’ll find true love.  Her husband has a nasty reputation, but a huge secret that could change Madison’s family’s view of him.  Watching him try to court his wife and win her heart, well it’s the stuff good romances are made of.

Final thoughts: Madison’s a worthy heroine with a worthy love story you don’t want to miss.

4 out of 5 Stars

To Win His Wayward Wife by Rose Gordon
TALC Publishing (2011)
eBook: 213 pages
ISBN: 2940013450950

#83 Lord of Vengeance by Lara Adrian – summary from Goodreads

Taken captive by Gunnar Rutledge, a dark knight sworn to destroy her father, Raina d’Bussy must teach forgiveness to a man who knows no mercy and lives only to exact revenge on his enemy. But time in Gunnar’s keep stirs an unwanted passion in Raina, and something far more perilous, when she finds herself falling in love with the one man she should never desire.

For Gunnar, vengeance is all that matters. He seeks the ultimate price from his enemy’s beautiful young daughter, claiming Raina as his hostage. But the proud beauty defies him at every turn, tempting him like no other. Setting out to break Raina’s glorious spirit, Gunnar instead finds himself bewitched by her goodness, her strength. Can he seize the justice he is due without losing Raina forever?

Wow.  The chemistry between Gunnar and Raina is absolutely sizzling.  Adrian writes their growing attraction in a first-rate manner.  Neither is sure how they should feel towards the other because of Gunnar’s vow of vengeance against Raina’s father.  Raina should hate Gunnar but finds herself strangely attracted to him, all the while growing more and more suspicious of her father’s past as memories from her childhood resurface.  The inner turmoil and conflict that Raina deals with are exquisitely written and are among the best passages in Adrian’s work.

Adrian’s secondary characters are all enticing additions to the story line.  Nigel’s character is a great addition to the conflict already existing between Gunnar and d’Bussy.  His conflicting personality is like a poison, affecting everyone it touches: Gunnar, Raina, d’Bussy, and Burc.  No one is safe from his demonic nature.  In essence Nigel and Gunnar have many similarities.  They are both hellbent on seeking vengeance, but where one begins the see the light, darkness completely engulfs the other.  They’re interesting antithesis of each other.

Final Thoughts: If my thoughts above haven’t sold you on trying this book, nothing will. TRY IT!

5 out of 5 Stars

Lord of Vengeance by Lara Adrian
Lara Adrian, LLC (2012)
eBook: 1,074 pages
ISBN: 2940014484893