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The Stanhope Challenge: A Regency Quartet by Cerise DeLand

The Stanhope Challenge: A Regency Quartet
By: Cerise DeLand
Publisher: W J Power
Published: November 6, 2014
Genre: Historical, Romance
Length: Novel 
Heat Level: Spicy
Reviewer: Toni
Date: November 15, 2014

 

4 Brothers, 4 Love Affairs, 4 Marriages That Challenge the Family Curse!

Jack, Adam, Wes and Mark Stanhope fear falling in love. No wonder. No Stanhope has enjoyed a happy marriage in centuries. What does it take to change the family curse? Courage? Devotion? Love?

LORD STANHOPE’S IMPROPER PROPOSAL
Adam Stanhope is a politician who needs a wife. When he marries for convenience, he overlooks the fact that he cares for his lovely childhood friend more than he should.

LADY FEATHERSTONE’S FERVENT AFFAIR
Wes Stanhope is a national hero, but he’s wounded physically and emotionally. When the woman he loves wants to help him, he learns that the woman he adores can be just as courageous in the bedroom as he was on the battlefield.

MISS DARLING’S INDECENT OFFER
Jack Stanhope leads a carefree existence but when he meets Emma Darling, he realizes that in saving this woman from dastardly men is his saving grace.

THE BASTARD’S PASSIONATE PRIZE
Illegitimate Mark Stanhope expects nothing from his family, but when they save him, he in turn saves a young noblewoman who has the valor to stand against others who would abuse her.



Lord Stanhope's Improper Proposal

Lord Adam the youngest of the brothers and the most gun shy. He has his reasons and proof of the validity of it. I enjoyed his battle, but I think I enjoyed Felice’s strength the most.

Felice is a young widow who has adored Adam since she was a child. While she may know the ways of being married, she knows that something was missing from her first marriage. She showed spunk and determination in a time when it is a rare commodity. I loved how she decided to own her marriage and be damned what her husband thinks he wants.

It doesn’t take long for Adam to come to his senses, but with a wonderfully headstrong woman as his wife, he didn’t stand a chance. Too bad Felice’s independent nature and self-reliance is going to cause problems for Adam and their marriage.

What a fun start to the boxset. The Stanhope men seem to be a little on the weak side when it comes to manning up and not being a big babies about falling in love. Adam was in a rather crappy first marriage and I can kinda see his point, but WOW I really hope all the other Stanhope men are not so superstitious and scared. Thank goodness Felice was on the scene and she more than made up for Adams’s insecurities. If I lived in that time period, I only hope that I would have a bit of this take charge woman in me.

Lord Stanhope’s Improper Proposal is a very promising start to the series. Ms. DeLand did not disappoint and wrote two perfectly suited characters that were easy to love and enjoy.

Lady Featherstone's Fervent Affair


What is better than a dashing military man? Well a determined woman who knows what she wants and knows how to get it. One that will take a self-imposed prisoner of war and love, hold and heal him until she has repaired all the heart breaking damage.

Colonel Wesley Stanhope is a broken man. He was once an unstoppable rouge and leader, but is now a shell of a man. With the future no longer in his grasp, he retreats and implodes upon himself.

Lady Lacy knew at first sight that the older, handsome Wesley was the man for her. Within hours of meeting him, she had him hooked and she thought she had secured a loving future with him. Now she has to dig deep and pull her love out of the hole he has dug for himself. She is willing and ready to capture the man that stole her heart.

LOVED LACY! Wow, what a fun, determined, young lady. She may seem impetuous at times, but she knew what she wanted and set out to get it. Not taking no for an answer, she is lovingly ingenious in her pursuit to heal Wesley.

Lady Lacy’s determination is sure to put a smile on your face. I enjoyed this story very much and I am looking very forward to Jack’s adventure in love.

Miss Darling's Indecent Offer


Jack is the oldest of the brothers and therefore the heir. He has no desire to fall to the family curse and will happily pass on the title and money to any of his younger brothers. With nothing to ever change his mind; he is living the life of a forever rouge.

What he didn’t expect was having Emma fall right into his lap or quite literally right into a rather large puddle in front of his carriage. Dripping wet and desperate he is torn between his freedom and the pull to help her. Because of Emma, he may finally be able to end a foe that has plagued him for a very long time. She makes him an offer that may be too sweet to pass up.

Emma is at her wits end. Desperate to save herself she makes an offer to a man she never expected. A man who can answer her prayers and finally answer some questions her body has been craving. With nothing to lose she does the unspeakable, she asks a Stanhope man to marry her.

I think this may be the most endearing of the stories for me. I enjoyed how the two of them approached their situation and how it changed them forever. With sexy sparring and tempting touches, these two never stood a chance. They were made for each other.

Miss Darling's Indecent Offer is wonderful. I loved how the final and most stubborn brother fell. But hummmm, what is it I see. There is a fourth brother, a bastard Stanhope! I am more than ready for him. Bring on Mark.

The Bastard's Passionate Prize

Mark is the newly discovered bastard son of the Stanhope clan. If you have read the series, you will be very surprised that he was the only one too (at least claimed). To add an extra twist, he’s American. Dang Daddy John got around!

Sirena is a woman who is stuck in the constraints of her time period. Her life is not her own and soon has to run away for her freedom. This is something unheard of in her time and I have to give her kudos for taking the initiative.

As you read the stories in this boxset you get a feeling of men that are unsure about their romantic futures and the strong women that shake them up, right down to their boots. The Bastard’s Passionate Prize will throw you overboard with how unique and different it is. Mark’s story is his own, because he is not hindered by the so called curse.

While the constraints of the English society are still present, Ms. DeLand removes that factor early in the story and takes us out to sea and then she ups the ante again and adds pirates…yes, pirates. Then adds……and then some public……, oh and don’t forget……

Yes, I’m a tease and can’t tell you because it would ruin all the wonderful surprises that make this story fun and fresh, but I will say, that this story was a very unexpected surprise and took me on a sexy voyage that made me hot and bothered. It makes me wish Lord John was even busier than he already was and that there were countless more bastards out there. He was a delicious horn dog that made even more tasty men that were insatiable in their sexual tastes and were not afraid to show the women they love all their magic tricks. There were never more mourned losses to the English ton then when these men got married and became off the market.



*********************

Ms. DeLand wrote four great tales about men who were insecure about themselves in the romance department until they met their matches. Her heroines were very delightful and strong in their pursuit of their Stanhope men. I also enjoyed the side romances that sprung up along the way. 


This is a great read if you want to experience regency romance that is filled with rich characters, descriptive in details and will get your blood pumping. Ms. DeLand knows how to write the period and also knows how to spice up the page. She is a favorite of mine and shouldn't be missed.


The Robber Knight (The Robber Knight Saga #1) by Robert Thier

The Robber Knight (The Robber Knight Saga #1)
By: Robert Thier
Publisher: Amazon Kindle
Published: April 29, 2014
Genre: Historical, Romance
Length: Novel
Heat Level: Sigh
Reviewer: Christie
Date: October 27, 2014

 

When you are fighting for the freedom of your people, falling in love with your enemy is not a great idea.

Sir Reuben, the dreaded robber knight, has long been Ayla’s deadliest enemy. She swore he would hang for his crimes. Now they are both trapped in her castle as the army of a far greater enemy approaches, and they have only one chance: stand together, or fall.

Welcome to "The Robber Knight"—a tale full of action, adventure, and romance.

Special Edition with secret chapters revealed and insights into Sir Reuben’s mysterious past.



For a first book Thier has made a good showing. He spins a great historical tale with amazing detail. I enjoyed reading the rich historical viewpoint. Ayla was a funny heroine who grew leaps and bounds throughout the read.

Reuben was an enigma and really had swoon worthy moments. But Thier seemed to think that saying how wonderfully handsome woman thought Rueben was should be enough for the reader to immediately fall in love with Rueben. But I do have to say his sense of humor is attractive as hell.

However, that is where it ended for me. The love story was halted and stilted and pulled at the main story. There was no sexual tension between Reuben and Ayla, and at times Thier seemed to try to push it down the reader’s throat. And without any sexual tension it just leaves the reader cold.

The worst part of the book is the cliff-hanger ending. I detest cliff-hanger endings, this is of course a personal preference.


Hot Burning Love by Dominique Eastwick

Hot Burning Love
By: Dominique Eastwick
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Published: July 21, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy, Romance
Length: Novella
Heat Level: Spicy
Reviewer: Toni
Date: October 24, 2014

 

Rowena may be the best witch of her generation when it comes to crystals and their healing power but keep her far away from the oven. No matter how hard she tries there is no way to break a curse decades old that prevents her from baking anything at all. And she as well as her five witch friends have tried it all. So every month a cookie club time she buys her cookies to the thankful cheers of the others.

Caine has fantasized about Rowena and her curves since they met years ago while she visited her best friend at the college they both attended. When a job opportunity comes up in her home town it’s too much of a temptation to resist. After all when you want something for so long there comes a time a man just has to go for it.

When passion flames between them can love fight the dark magic swirling around them determined to break them or will the fires that burn in the kitchen burn them as well.


Hot Burning Love is a lovely story about two people who felt the pull of fate and let it encompass them wholeheartedly. They never doubted their attraction and went with the flow. While they had a huge momentary hurdle, they conquered it and moved on. Love persevered and now they have a future that is filled with love, family and friends.

At only 56 pages this is a very short read, barely a novella. There is little time to create an in-depth history, compelling backstory or even to dive into the inevitable relationship of the two main characters. You’d think, from those factors alone, I would have a problem with the story. I’m not disappointed one bit with Hot Burning Love other than this would have been an amazing as a longer novella or novel.

What Ms. Eastwick created was a magical love story. Even with no history, I understood what had happened to Rowena and her past generations. There was no involved backstory of the two characters, but anyone could see that Rowena and Caine had instant attraction when they met years ago. I felt strong emotions during their courtship and that is quite a feat to do in less than 60 pages.

So how can I give a story a five rating with no solid story building substance…easy, I’m rating this story on it’s simple, yet direct content, the sweetness of the story and how it made me feel. Ms. Eastwick captured the essence of the story, made me vested in the characters and while, heck yes, this story could have been made into a full novel – and boy do I wish it would have been, it wasn’t necessary. This is a perfect teeny tiny story that doesn’t beat around the bush. It gets right to the heart of the matter; Rowena and Caine were always meant to be.

Hot Burning Love is perfect for when you want a quick reminder that there is nothing stronger than the magic of love.


Goddess, Awakened by Cate Masters

Goddess, Awakened
By: Cate Masters
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corp
Published: July 7, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Length: Novel
Heat Level: Sensual
Reviewer: Marchelle
Date: October 1, 2014

 

With a little help from a goddess, battling evil is a piece of cake for Jocelyn Gibson.

A descendant of the goddess Iris, Jocelyn Gibson may have forgotten about the realm of magic, but it hasn’t forgotten her. When Eric Hendricks is targeted by a demon, Joss must step in to battle the evil and save the town’s awkward, but endearing, vet…who also happens to be the man she loves.

Joss’s new inn, a culinary career specializing in cooking with lavender and a new love all make for a fine recipe of disaster. She needs to embrace her inner goddess and harness the powers she never knew she had before it’s too late.



Joss is starting her life over after the death of her husband. She sold her home and purchased an inn. With the help of her best friend, Annie, she is renovating the building and trying to turn it into a thriving bed and breakfast. Unfortunately, the inn is situated along a ley line which unbeknownst to Joss, presents a problem for her. Her Aunt and Grandmother finally let her in on a family secret; they are direct descendants of the goddess Iris and Joss herself is a goddess.

Eric is the local veterinarian who also happens to be a widower and still recovering from the death of his wife. He finds himself inexplicably drawn to Joss. At the same time, he feels drawn to a local waitress but it doesn't feel right. He tries to fight it but finds it more and more difficult. An evil power is taking over him and he needs Joss and her family to help save him.

I enjoyed the story and the use of good and evil/light and dark. Joss, seeing the lights of the fae in the field and incorporating the lavender into all her recipes to bring happiness, was obviously the element of good in the story. Sharee, with her manipulative behavior and her conspiring with the mystery man who appeared at the party was obviously the evil. Her Aunt Lydia added some humor to the story with her quirkiness and innuendos.

It was nice to see a strong female lead like Joss. She wanted Eric, even knowing he might not feel the same and he might not be the best for her, but she still took what she wanted and didn't beat herself up over it. She also didn't pine over him like many female characters do now. She went on with her life and took care of her business without worrying whether or not he'd call or come by. For many reasons, she was certainly believable as a goddess as were her family members.

The biggest problem I had with this book was that there were too many characters. It was hard to at one point to keep everyone straight. There also seemed to be scenes that didn't move the story forward and for that reason didn't make much sense. It seemed like Joss' son was added as an after thought. He appeared in the story and seemed like he may be part of a conflict but then he left to go back to school and there was no issue. Annie, as her best friend for years, was not trusted with any of the things that were happening which also didn't make sense to me. Another example is the Thanksgiving scene when Eric goes to his sister's house. I don't feel like that scene contributed to the story at all.

Overall this is a good book. I would probably read other works by this author if all the female leads are as strong as Joss.


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