The Trouble with Dukes by Grace Burrowes


The Trouble with Dukes by Grace Burrowes
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (368 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

THEY CALL HIM THE DUKE OF MURDER…
The gossips whisper that the new Duke of Murdoch is a brute, a murderer, and even worse–a Scot. They say he should never be trusted alone with a woman. But Megan Windham sees in Hamish something different, someone different.

No one was fiercer at war than Hamish MacHugh, though now the soldier faces a whole new battlefield: a London Season. To make his sisters happy, he’ll take on any challenge–even letting their friend Miss Windham teach him to waltz. Megan isn’t the least bit intimidated by his dark reputation, but Hamish senses that she’s fighting battles of her own. For her, he’ll become the warrior once more, and for her, he might just lose his heart.

The Trouble with Dukes is like reading a verbal dance. The dialogue is oh, so proper while at the same time conveying all manner of nefarious or sensual intents. Even the villain attacks using proper peerage etiquette. Ms. Burrowes has a deft hand when it comes to writing in this period.

The story is mainly told through three points of view: Hamish, the hero, Megan, the heroine, and Sir Fletcher, the villain. Hamish may not be eloquent in his speech when conversing, but his dialogue in his head flows smoothly. Megan turns out to be a woman who knows her own mind and goes after her prey with single-minded purpose – the hero never stands a chance. As for Fletcher – he has the potential to be redeemed based upon his little sister, but alas, there are circumstances that dictate his course of action. Once I found out the actual facts of the matter, his comeuppance is a foregone conclusion but the way it is delivered is grin-worthy. It inspires a mental ‘fist bump’ of ‘high-five’ and it’s worth reading.

Megan’s family are prominent secondary characters that play significant roles in helping to unraveling the plot and pave the way towards the great conclusion. Their personalities are large and entertaining but Ms. Burrowes kept them in line so Hamish and Megan’s romance remains the focal point.

An interesting twist is who seduces whom. The ensuing sensual hijinks are a delight to read. It also inspires a few chuckles and snickers.

The novel is very well written and entertaining but it may give some readers a feeling of cotton-head in the beginning. What I mean is, the ‘proper’ method of speech between Megan’s cousins sounds contrary to the subject matter yet they have no problems deciphering the issues and making plans to route the villain. I had a very hard time processing the dialogue in the first half of the book as I’m used to very plain speech. Once my brain “re-wired”, I found my reading rhythm and quite enjoyed the story from then on. It won’t surprise me if the book gets higher ratings from other readers, especially if they are accustomed to the Regency style of speech that is employed in this novel. Ms. Burrowes has a solid and well-earned reputation as a storyteller and it’s evident in The Trouble with Dukes.

On the whole, I’m glad I read this novel. I was entertained and charmed by the romance between Hamish and Megan. The final wrap-up leading to their happily ever after is hilarious while at the same time, serious. Want to know the best part about the ending? It’s romantic. Very romantic. It’s exactly what this romance reader seeks and I couldn’t be happier.

How to Marry a Marquis by Julia Quinn


How to Marry a Marquis by Julia Quinn
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (375 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

She’s trying to follow the rules…

When Elizabeth Hotchkiss stumbles upon a copy of How to Marry a Marquis in her employer’s library, she’s convinced someone is playing a cruel joke. With three younger siblings to support, she knows she has to marry for money, but who might have guessed how desperate she’s become? A guidebook to seduction might be just the thing she needs—and what harm could there be in taking a little peek?

…But he’s making his own

James Sidwell, the Marquis of Riverdale, has been summoned to rescue his aunt from a blackmailer, a task that requires him to pose as the new estate manager, and his primary suspect is his aunt’s companion, Elizabeth. Intrigued by the alluring young woman with the curious little rulebook, he gallantly offers to help her find a husband… by practicing her wiles on him. But when practice becomes all too perfect, James decides that there is only one rule worth following—that Elizabeth marry her marquis.

The pen is mightier than the sword. However, in this novel a book is mightier because there’s a whole host of words and those words wreak havoc on the life of one Elizabeth Hotchkiss, heroine.

Elizabeth is a wonderful person but she doesn’t have a lot of joy in her life. What she does have is responsibilities, and they are impressively written. A reader comes to understand the scope of her dedication and sacrifice due to the author’s excellent attention to detail, dialogue and the ability to touch my heart.

I can see why Lady Danbury eventually chooses to do what she did. I suspected, but I never quite felt sure of it until it was confirmed. I’m actually glad Ms. Quinn took that route – it made the dragon of a woman into someone I could admire and respect. As with historicals, half of the conflict comes from never baldly stating things like we do now. You had to have finesse back then to plan, manipulate and scheme while continuing to talk like a lady with none the wiser. Unlike Mr. Twain who said, “the difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”, dialogue back then was full of almost right words. It’s not a wonder then how things got resolved despite the verbal dance.

I liked James. I had a bit of sympathy for him. True, his lament is the same heard used by many handsome, rich and titled men in romance books – “they want me for my money and title, not for the man I am.” That trope is used here to good effect. Alas, the heroine’s reaction when finding out is typical, but the setting was not. The reveal was not. It really was quite comical, although the heroine and hero surely didn’t find it so. But Blake did and it turns out that his character, though secondary, made an impact on me. I’ll have to check Ms. Quinn’s back list to find out if there’s a story of him being bitten by the love bug too.

When Elizabeth and James finally succumbed to incendiary passion, after simmering so long, it was a long time coming. I was very gratified to see that they are perfect for each other which is a credit to Ms. Quinn’s writing.

The happy ever after is as charming and cute as the story began but very satisfying indeed. How to Marry a Marquis is an easy book to recommend because it’s good, solid entertainment. It left me feeling happy and glad to have read the novel. What a fun read!

Winning the Mail-Order Bride by Lauri Robinson


Winning the Mail-Order Bride by Lauri Robinson
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (288 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

She was promised to another…

When widow Fiona Goldberg and her two adorable sons arrive in Oak Grove, Kansas, proclaimed bachelor Brett Blackwell is instantly captivated. But when he learns she is promised to the mayor, he tries his best to keep his distance…

Out of desperation, Fiona had agreed to become a mail-order bride to the disagreeable, self-important mayor. But something about her neighbor Brett makes her feel safe. She knows she must fight her growing feelings for the forbidden blacksmith, even while longing for him to rescue her and take her as his bride himself!

I am officially a Lauri Robinson fan. I’ve read Winning the Mail Order Bride (Mail Order Brides of Oak Grove Series), Surprise Bride for the Cowboy (Mail Order Brides of Oak Grove Duet), and The Cowboy’s Orphan Bride, and I’ve loved each one. I’m hooked on the Oak Grove Series. Everyone who knows me knows that I avoid reading series because I honestly am an impatient person and I can’t stand waiting for the next book to come out. Now I have no choice but to wait for A Bride and a Baby for Christmas (Mail Order Brides of Oak Grove Series) to be released in September/October 2017. I feel like a two year old and I want to have a tantrum because I seriously do not want to wait. The good news is that each book can be read as a standalone which means if you feel the way I do about reading a series then don’t worry. You can read just one but I can’t help you pick which one since I recommend them all. The only reason I have to read the next one coming out is because I fell in love with the characters. They are my family now. I have to read about Teddy and Hannah in the A Bride and a Baby for Christmas (Mail Order Brides of Oak Grove Series).

How did I fall in love with the characters? It just happens with Lauri Robinson’s novels. Her flawless writing style is consistent in each of her books. She creates a web of characters that are intertwined in a community that hooked me in and made me care about them. I find them to be unforgettable. I think about them after I finish reading the books. I think I love them more than my own family. LOL. I’d go so far as to say it’s like watching Little House in the Prairie but better.

In fact the hero, Brett, in Winning the Mail-Order Bride reminded me so much of the character, Mr. Edwards, in Little House in the Prairie. Brett was gentle, kind, generous and fun with a great sense of humor, just like Mr. Edwards. He’s the ideal man you’d want to marry and be the father of your children. Everyone in Oak Grove thought highly of Brett. Fiona the heroine, had a rough life and I was happy to see her and Brett fall in love. She deserved to be cherished after all the horrible tragedies she’d suffered in her life. She was a wonderful mother with two adorable boys in need of a new life. Arriving in Oak Grove was her blessing. Brett and Fiona were a heartwarming romance story. They demonstrated sweet chemistry with strong values that made it easy for a reader to love and respect the couple.

There was plenty of drama and conflict in this sweet romance to keep you flipping the pages. The mayor was deplorable. I’d consider him the villain in the plot, so what eventually happens to him was unexpected. There are plenty of surprises in the plot that either made me gasp, worry, laugh and cry but mostly made me feel satisfied. Every time I considered putting the book down to go do something that needed to be done something would happen that made it impossible to put the book down.

Lauri Robinson writes genuine love stories that inspire me to be a better wife, mother, friend, sister, neighbor, etc. I wish I lived in a small town such as Oak Grove where everyone felt welcomed. I loved the happily ever after ending that undoubtedly left me with a book glow. I strongly urge readers to pick this book up and get comfortable for a few hours. Winning the Mail Order Bride was an entertaining read.

Trouble Cove by Nancy Lindley-Gauthier


Trouble Cove by Nancy Lindley-Gauthier
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (194 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Far from the all the action of World War I, in a charming tourist’s spot on Cape Breton Island, Elizabeth Eames has stumbled into the most wonderful man in the world. She’s landed herself in a world where wealth reigns supreme; where any eligible bachelor would meet her mother’s aspirations. Of course, she’s dead set on the one she’s certain should not be mentioned in her letters home. Actually, there’s a lot she’s not mentioning. Something is not-quite-right at the grand resort Oceanside, but Elizabeth isn’t giving up her one great chance…

Will Elizabeth’s time in Cape Breton be the adventure of a lifetime, or a huge mistake?

Elizabeth’s job at the Oceanside resort isn’t exactly her dream job, but, as her mother hoped, it has placed her in the midst of some very wealthy and well-connected bachelors. However, as Summer gives way to Fall, Elizabeth becomes convinced that something sinister is going on at the resort. Many of the guests are lingering long after the resort should have closed. They all have their reasons, but Elizabeth is skeptical. Are some of the guests up to no good, or is Elizabeth simply imagining things?

Elizabeth is a delightful character who finds beauty and magic in the world around her. She has a vivid imagination, and I enjoyed watching her create wonderfully detailed stories for people and places she encounters. While her imaginings might not be entirely accurate, they are certainly entertaining. I hope she never loses her ability to perceive the world in such a creative way.

Elizabeth’s heart is set on Daro from the moment she meets him. Unfortunately, he is neither wealthy nor well-connected. None of this matters to Elizabeth, and while she knows a future with Daro is unlikely, she endeavors to spend as much time with him as possible. I would have liked Elizabeth and Daro to have a stronger, more well-defined connection. It is abundantly clear how Elizabeth’s feels, but Daro’s feelings and intentions are a bit of a mystery until very close to the end of the story. However, I’m confident that they have the potential to be a great couple, and their happy ending is well deserved.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Trouble Cove. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a sweet, historical romance with just a hint of mystery and danger.

The Rose in the Wheel by S.K. Rizzolo


The Rose in the Wheel by S.K. Rizzolo
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Genre: Historical, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full (310 pgs)
Rated: 5 stars
Review by Rose

This well imagined, carefully detailed, and cleverly plotted debut draws on actual historical events of 1811 London.

Regency London knows Constance Tyrone as the conspicuously celibate founder of the St. Catherine Society, dedicated to helping poor women. One wet November evening a carriage mows down Constance outside her office. Why was a gentlewoman abroad in the night? And if she died under the wheel, whose hands bruised her neck and stole her monogrammed crucifix?

Dismissing the idea of an accident, Bow Street Runner John Chase forms an unlikely alliance with Penelope Wolfe, wife of the chief suspect. A young mother paying the price for an imprudent marriage, Penelope is eager to clear her husband Jeremy, a feckless portrait painter whose salacious drawings of the victim suggest an erotic interest. Barrister Edward Buckler, drawn despite himself to Penelope, shakes off his habitual lethargy to join the investigation.

As horrifying murders on the Ratcliffe Highway claim all London’s attention, the trio discovers that it won’t be easy to unravel the enigma of Constance Tyrone, a woman who revives the legend of martyred St. Catherine.

I absolutely LOVE English mysteries– movies, books, TV shows — you name it, I’m willing to give it a shot. So when thihs book became available to review, I jumped at it, and I’m so very glad I did.

With it being a debut novel, I was prepared for a few issues and, with it also being the first book in a series, there was the very good chance that it might be a little slow in places as the author introduces her characters. What a surprise when none of those expectations came to pass. The book kept me intrigued to the point where anytime I had a few minutes, I picked my reader up to read another few pages.

The characters are wonderfully drawn, and I really enjoyed the chemistry between them. I’m looking forward to reading more and seeing how their relationships grow in future books. One of my very favorites is Penelope’s daughter, Sarah. Children are sometimes hard to capture, but she is just adorable.

The pacing moved right along without feeling rushed, and the mystery itself was very neatly solved with true detection and “putting the puzzle together-ness” that was refreshing. Often a mystery will be solved through a series of coincidences and pure luck, and it’s not the case here. All the clues are there for the reader to see, and this reader was surprised at the culprit. Always the mark of a good mystery, in my book.

I would love to see this series wind up on BBC (are you listening?)… it’s that good.

I’ve already downloaded the next book in the series, and I can wait to jump back in the world of Chase, Wolfe, and Buckler. Kudos, Ms. Rizzolo– you are now on my auto-buy list, so I hope you have many more books in store for us.

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Blackwolf’s Redemption by Sandra Marton


Blackwolf’s Redemption by Sandra Marton
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (184 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Jesse Blackwolf–uncompromising, determined and an undeniable success. He has no desire to deal with the outspoken bundle of femininity he’s found trespassing on his land!When Sienna Cummings awakes to find herself pressed against a muscled chest, she’s shocked and stunned! Where is she? Who is this man who holds her so possessively with passion glinting in his eyes? It’s more than confusion that makes Sienna’s heart beat faster–she suspects his untamed wildness hides something that maybe only she can set free….

This is the first time travel that goes back in time but during a time when I was still a kid. I don’t know if my heart can take the realization that I could conceivably be considered an historical figure, you know, like an antique? When this book was written, it was a contemporary, so it seems I discovered this little gem a few years too late. So, I’m not sure how this book classifies as a genre but there is a mystical element that sends the heroine back in time and I enjoyed it.

The hero is a combination of an ancient warrior and a present day type of warrior – and his reaction to Sienna is very much like the time travels that take place in much earlier societies, when men rule and women obeyed. Jesse is a guy who is straddling the period of time when men’s John Wayne/ Rhett Butler personas were not frowned upon, yet at the same time accepting, slowly, that women can be as confident, accomplished and knowledgeable as a man and acknowledged as such. It was very interesting to see Sienna butt heads with other women in the story that perpetuated the ‘traditional’ view of women. To Jesse, the challenge that Sienna presented was refreshing, stimulating and I believe that her perspective on her own view of history helped her deal with Jesse as she found him – tormented, resigned and a lot resentful. I would say that it’s Jesse’s character that grows, changes, heals and takes an interest in life again. I loved the way the author described the hero – sexy, very alpha and … sexy. Can you tell I really liked the hero?

As this is a romance, of course the goal is to get them together, and they do, delightfully so, however, at times it was a bit too fast. I think it’s because Jesse is an old fashioned take charge kind of guy. He wants to kiss the heroine? He kisses her. He wants to drag her out of a building? Sienna gives him a piece of her mind but it makes no difference. The visuals in that chapter reminded me SO much of those scenes with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara in The Quiet Man., that all I could do was grin. For a reader who likes men who act like men, with honor, strength, respect and a lusty, strong libido with sexy muscles to back it up, then Blackwolf’s Redemption is titillating and fun.

I liked the ending especially since the author included Jesse’s buddy. That point was a major plus. I enjoyed the technique Ms. Marton used to facilitate the happy ever after and I thought the hero very clever to grab the mail before he makes his fateful decision. Overall, Blackwolf’s Redemption is the perfect read for a quick romantic escape and I’m glad I read it.

The Haunting of Hotel Labelle by Sharon Buchbinder


The Haunting of Hotel Labelle by Sharon Buchbinder
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (201 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

When hotel inspector, Tallulah Thompson, is called in along with her pug, Franny, to investigate renovation delays, she meets an extremely annoyed and dapper turn-of-the-century innkeeper. The only problem is he’s in limbo, neither dead nor alive, and Tallulah and the pug are the first to see him in a hundred years. Cursed by a medicine woman, “Love ‘em and Leave ‘em Lucius” Stewart is stuck between worlds until he finds his true love and gives her his heart. When he first sees Tallulah, he doesn’t know what he’s feeling. Yet, her stunning beauty, and feisty attitude pull him in. With the fate of Hotel LaBelle on the line, Tallulah with the help of a powerful medicine woman turns Lucius back into a flesh and blood man. She and Lucius team up to save the hotel, but Tallulah can’t help but wonder if he will ever let go of his past love and learn to love again.

Lucius Stewart, owner of the Hotel LaBelle, loves Mourning Dove, a Native Indian of the Crow nation. When Mourning Dove dies her mother puts a curse on Lucius and he hovers between the spirit world and the real world unable to interact with either.

Over one hundred years later Tallulah Thompson arrives at the hotel to discover why it is losing money. It’s present owner is not what he originally seems to be and when Lucius discovers Tallulah can see him, he begins to follow her everywhere.

This is a ghost story with a twist as the ghost is a spirit out of his mortal body and technically not a ghost.

The concept of a woman falling for a spirit has been done before, but this story has the extra touch of Lucius trying to recover his life and his hotel.

The emotional impact of this story is well handled and this alone would tempt me, but there os also the hidden life of the new owner to be considered plus the way he is ruining the hotel. His actions anger Lucius and provide some comical moments.

Good book, well written and obviously well researched as well. Excellent.

Patron by C.B. Lewis


Patron by C.B. Lewis
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Historical, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (78 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Theodore Wentworth, who possesses little more than a sharp and well-educated mind, is trying to solicit a sponsor for his studies of Greek antiquity by performing recitations at gatherings of collectors. Desperate for luck and better skills in oratory, in jest, he places a coin at the feet of a statue of Hermes. It seems like coincidence when his fortune turns and a gentleman calling himself Alexander becomes his benefactor. Despite his friend John teasing him about it, Theodore continues to offer tokens to Hermes and sinks himself into his study of the classics.

Alexander encourages Theodore’s interest, prompting Theodore to face desires he tried to put aside years before. As Theodore embraces the knowledge, he must also resist his attraction to Alexander—knowing his feelings are a serious crime in Victorian England.

But the secret Alexander keeps will change everything in a love story for the ages, steeped in taboo, temptation, history, and myth.

Theodore knew it was crazy but, enraptured by a statue, he gave in to whimsy and made an offering – softly requesting for clear speech and good luck in the presentation he was about to make. Succeeding beyond his wildest dreams, Theodore embarks on a literary journey, pleased beyond measure when he finds a new friend along the way.

I really enjoyed the whimsy in this story. While historical and set roughly in the Regency period, I found the undertone of almost paranormal luck throughout the story delightful. Theodore is an avid student of Greek – the history, religion, gods and heroes – and so his monetary offering and quiet plea for help, both clarity in his speech and presentation as well as assistance in acquiring a patron really struck me as fresh and different. I thoroughly enjoyed it and don’t think the story could have had the same impact had it been a contemporary story.

While I did enjoy the pace of the story, part of me wished that the first half or so of the story wasn’t so completely focused on Theodore. I could certainly appreciate getting to know his character so well – and his position, dreams and goals, but I was a little disappointed that for an erotic romance that it was almost half way through the story before there was any romance – or passion – between Theodore and Alexander. That said, once the two men became better acquainted, the chemistry sky-rocketed and all but burned off the page. Readers looking for an explicit story might not find exactly what they want here, but personally I found the chemistry and build-up perfectly satisfying. I was also really pleased that the author didn’t skirt (or ignore) the implications of having a homosexual romance in that historical setting. The ramifications were discussed and at the fore of Theodore’s thoughts, but also not dwell upon to a depressing degree. I felt the author did an excellent job of balancing this reality along with the romance and fantasy of the story itself.

A lovely short story set in the Regency era. I loved how there was a really solid plot, a hint of paranormal/Greek god whimsy and deep, interesting characters. Recommended.

Last Chance Cowboys: The Outlaw by Anna Schmidt


Last Chance Cowboys: The Outlaw by Anna Schmidt
Where the Trail Ends Book 3
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (322 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Amanda Porterfield longs to experience real adventure. So when she’s offered a position in bustling Tucson, she leaps at the chance despite unknown dangers―dangers like the mysterious Seth Grover.

As an undercover detective working to stop a gang of outlaws, Seth can’t afford the distractions a woman like Amanda inspires. Yet when the fiercely intelligent beauty is thrust into the middle of a heist gone wrong, Seth will fight for a future that may never be theirs…even if it means risking everything he holds dear.

The Outlaw is an entertaining novel that was filled with exciting adventure; the kind of adventure that Amanda Portefield longed for to escape the monotony of her days. The writing style made it easy for me to be sucked into the author’s imaginary world filled with relatable characters and unpredictable plot threads. I thoroughly enjoyed being captivated from the start of the book all the way to the end. The pace was consistent and thrilling which kept me continuously turning the pages.

Amanda Portefield was a strong willed, spirited leading lady who had the misfortune to find herself in a few sticky situations. Some of those situations made me laugh while others made me grimace. It was to Amanda’s great fortune that the hero, Seth, possessed the uncanny ability to be nearby to rescue her, most of the time. Seth was greatly distracted by her intelligence and beauty and she couldn’t hide her interest in his mysterious persona. I mean, seriously, who could resist an undercover detective working to stop a gang of outlaws. I can’t deny that I found Seth to be more than enticing for me. I could feel the romantic tension when they were together.

While this is the third book in a series it can be read on its own. The fact that the plot threads were all tied up with a happily ever after at the end of this book made The Outlaw the ideal romance book for me. I would strongly encourage my family and friends to read this delightful, engaging and well written love story.

Lady Pirate by Lynsay Sands


Lady Pirate by Lynsay Sands
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (395 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Valoree no longer has to masquerade as her murdered brother and scourge the oceans as Captain Red. She no longer has to command his pirate band in a quest to regain his birthright. She has been named heir to Ainsley Castle. But no executor would ever hand over the estate to an unmarried pirate wench and her infamous crew—no matter to whom she’d been born. And the will distinctly states that in order to inherit, Valoree must be married to a nobleman . . . and pregnant.

Upon learning that, the virgin captain is ready to return to the seas—but her crew has other ideas— and for those rascally cusses she would do anything. If they could find a way to put on her a sweet face that would fool the ton, she would handle the rest, even with a drunken prostitute as an “aunt” and her merry cutthroat crew as “servants.” But to herself she swears one thing: she will only marry a man who fires her blood, a man who is not afraid of a . . . Lady Pirate

Usually it’s men wrecking revenge on the high seas but in Lady Pirate Ms. Sands turns pirate adventures on their ear. Valoree is definitely the star attraction. She is smart, feisty, saucy and she can out cuss a sailor. The one thing that the heroine is not is a dainty lady. Due to the long length of this book, I was able to fully appreciate Valoree’s well-rounded character. There is a lot of depth, emotion and humor to discover as the story unfolds. From leading her men to attack an enemy ship, her preference for breeches and knives, and then seeing her annoyance and confusion with wearing a gown and its many parts, all painted a picture of a vibrant, fearless woman who isn’t afraid of a challenge. At least the ones she can imagine. The reality of trying to find a husband and getting pregnant in a relatively short timeline in order to obtain her birthright might just be more than this pirate bargained for.

Hilarity stems from surprising scenes regarding cake batter, fountains, the color pink, kidnapping and a romance that is as unconventional as a reader could wish. When pirates play the role of Cupid, with a peg leg and an eye patch, I expected some humor from culture shock but what I got was so much more. The author took the time to make the supporting cast come alive, have unique personalities and used them to effectively help Daniel, the bemused hero, woo their pirate captain.

Daniel’s character could have easily faded under the strength of Valoree’s presence but instead he rose to the challenge, many times. He had to because she kept him on his toes. I loved watching him be alternately entertained, amused or stunned while he reacted to all the scrapes the heroine got into. My favorite is when he got all hot and bothered, especially when he did it on purpose. That didn’t work out quite the way he intended. It didn’t go smoothly when he tried to teach the heroine about the difference between what a lady can and can’t do in society when it comes to sexual urges versus what a man can do. Valoree wasn’t overly fond of that revelation. I’m grinning while remembering that part. I think the heroine made her opinion very clear to Daniel about that. J

What totally surprised me was the real reason why Valoree kept getting attacked. Never in my wildest dreams could I have anticipated that wrinkle or where it would come from. Ms. Sands has a wonderfully devious mind.

Then there’s the marriage. I did say that the heroine was unconventional, right? You have NO idea just how much. Readers are in for a treat, and a couple of giggles.

Of course no romance would be complete without the dashing, sexy and virile hero introducing the heroine to the joys of the flesh. As always, Ms. Sands writes them so well that figurative steam rises from the book’s pages. The beach blanket scene was particularly memorable.

All in all, I’d say Ms. Sands has another winner with Lady Pirate and hopefully her fans will enjoy reading about the escapades of a very unique heroine and the man strong enough to be her partner in all ways. As big as this novel was, I read it in one day, and then later I read it again because once was not enough. I enjoyed everything about this book including the satisfying happy ever after. Lady Pirate is a must read.