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Tag: 4 Star

Review – Undoing

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Undoing

by L.L. Diamond

Book Cover: Undoing

Genres: Historical British Fiction, Historical Regency Fiction, Historical Romance
Release Date: March 27, 2020
Pages: 439
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★★☆

Seventeen-year-old Elizabeth Bennet had always hoped to marry for love – that is until she surrenders to her mother’s demands and marries the handsome Duke of Leeds. Thrust into a society disinclined to accept a country nobody who somehow entrapped one of their most prominent members, Elizabeth holds her head high, ignoring their whispers and stares and a husband whose indifferent behaviour confuses her. Her marriage of convenience is nothing like what she expected.

Fitzwilliam Darcy is a man torn. After meeting the Duchess of Leeds at a ball, he is fascinated by her intelligence and humour, but how does one maintain a respectable friendship with a lady – particularly when that lady is the wife of his cousin and godfather? His father and his sister both love Elizabeth, and he quickly realises he loves her as well, though not as one loves a cousin or even a sister. His feelings must stay hidden from everyone, particularly Elizabeth, but how is he to keep himself under such strict regulation when he is constantly thrown into her company? How does one prevent their own undoing?

Contains scenes with adult content.

Review – Her Grace

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Her Grace: A Pride & Prejudice Vagary

by Shana Granderson A Lady

Cover: Her Grace by Shana Granderson

Genres: Regency Historical Romance, Regency Romances
Release Date: December 26, 2023
Pages: 406 pages
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★★☆

***Warning: There are parts of this book which allude to domestic abuse, although there is not any graphic depiction of said violence.***

This a full length novel of about 115,000 words.

This is not a P&P variation, rather is is a vagary which features the characters from that magnificent work by the one and only Jane Austen.

Rather than protect their daughter like any good parent should, first Fanny and then Thomas Bennet push their 16 year old daughter Elizabeth into a marriage with a much older man who happens to be a duke.

Fanny is seduced by the fact he is a duke, even if he is not interested in Jane, something she cannot believe at first, and his willingness to dower her remaining four daughters. For Bennet when the Duke offers to break the entail on Longbourn, after a certain condition is met, his half-hearted opposition to the match dissipates.

At first, Elizabeth refuses to marry the man, and is adamant even if dragged to the church she will never recite her vows. However, after a private meeting with the vile duke, she agrees. The question is why would she change her mind so drastically.

In that meeting, she demands certain clauses to be added to the marriage settlement. What are they and how do they change outcomes some had previously expected?

We explore why the Duke is looking for a wife outside of the Ton in little market towns instead. We quickly see just how depraved the man is and why he is reviled by all in polite society. Is he the only villain in the tale?

Both Lady Anne and Robert Darcy are alive in this novel. Even with them both being alive, their son manages to suffer from boot-in-mouth syndrome on more than one occasion, including when he meets Lizzy for the first time, who is still married to the Duke at that point. No it is not at an assembly and there is not that insult delivered.

Including the much loved Biggs and Johns, there are some of my non-canon characters featured in this story, as well as some new ones.

It is not an easy path for Lizzy to travel, but she is strong and intelligent, not to mention extremely protective of those she loves. We follow her to find out if she gets the HEA we all want for her. If she does, will it be with Fitzwilliam Darcy?
Join me to have these and many other questions answered.

Review – The Shortest History of Our Universe

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The Shortest History of Our Universe: The Unlikely Journey from the Big Bang to Us

by David Baker

Book Cover: The Shortest History of Our Universe

Series: Shortest History
Genres: History, Science, Space, Nonfiction
Release Date: May 2, 2023
Pages: 256
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
My Rating: ★★★★☆

A complete history of the universe, spanning 13.8 billion years in an ultra-accessible, uncommonly illuminating, exhilarating chronicle of key events

“Baker introduces us not only to the history of our species and our planet, but the history of our vast universe.”—from the foreword by John Green, author of The Anthropocene Reviewed and The Fault in Our Stars

In this thrilling history, David Baker captures the longest-possible time span—from the Big Bang to the present day—in an astonishingly concise retelling. His impressive timeline includes the “rise of complexity” in the cosmos and the creation of the first atoms; the origin of all galaxies, stars, and our solar system; and the evolution of life on Earth, from tiny single-celled organisms to human beings.

Weaving together insights across the sciences—including chemistry, physics, biology, archaeology, and anthropology—Baker answers the fundamental questions: How did time begin? Why does matter exist? What made life on Earth the way it is? He also argues that never before has life on Earth been forced to adjust to a changing climate so rapidly, nor has one species ever been responsible for such sudden change. Baker’s grand view offers the clearest picture of what may come next—and the role we can still play in our planet’s fate.

Review – Veils and Vampires

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Veils and Vampires

by CEE BEE

Veils and Vampires

Series: Vampires of the Daemonverse, Book 2
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Release Date: October 14th 2023
Pages: 266
Purchase from: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo
My Rating: ★★★★☆

Highlander meets Twilight with a dash of Fifty Shades of Grey in this vampire romantasy…

Caelin MacGregor is an ancient king with a new love

Ages ago, I ruled a clan of vampire raiders. We were allies to the Vikings and enemies of the Rus. That life ended when the bloodkin plague wiped out all our women, including my beloved vampire bride, Elisava. A thousand years have passed. My heart remains empty. Then I see a human woman named Lexa. For the first time in ages, I feel true desire, respect and love. Could Lexa actually be a lost bloodkin lady … or is she a horrible trick from Pyri, the ancient fire goddess of the Rus raiders?

Lexa Uznetsov has a plan

To save my sister, Sash, I took on my father’s debt to Konstantin the Rus, leader of the New York Bratva. As a result, my life became a never-ending (and incredibly illegal) stakeout for the mob. After years of scheming, I’ve finally come up with a solid escape plan: find all three pieces of the infamous Veil Pendant. Once I reassemble this magical item, I’ll have the power to cure my sister … as well as the ability to say buh-bye to Konstantin. Sure, legends warn that reforming the Veil Pendant may bring about some nastiness called Pyri’s doomsday. Yet if it saves Sash, I’m willing to risk anything.

“Veils and Vampires is amazing! It has action and adventure and a little spicy. Enough that it makes you drool and want more. Honestly a totally different take on modern day vampire soulmates. I devoured this book in one sitting.” – Teresa, Goodreads

Vampires of the Daemonverse

  1. Violins and Vampires
  2. Veils and Vampires
  3. Vixens and Vampires

Review – Violins and Vampires

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Violins and Vampires

by CEE BEE

Series: Vampires of the Daemonverse, Book 1
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Fantasy, Vampire
Release Date: October 13, 2022
Pages: 236
Purchase from: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo
My Rating: ★★★★☆

Lexa Uznetsov is trapped
To save my sister, I take on my father’s massive debt to Konstantin the Rus, leader of the New York Bratva. My life becomes a never-ending (and incredibly illegal) stakeout for the mob. There’s barely time to sleep, let alone find love. In desperation, I approach Caelin MacGregor, the handsome Scotsman who runs Empire Investments. After all, what’s the worst that can happen?

Caelin MacGregor is a lost king
Ages ago, I ruled a clan of Bloodkin vampires. My people are born to wield magic, drain humans, and live forever. That’s all over now. I’ve been alone for a thousand years. Today, I no longer care about the sunrise, let alone truly desire a woman. Then, I look upon Lexa. My world turns upside down…

Review – Elizabeth Bennet, Heiress to Rosings Park

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Elizabeth Bennet, Heiress to Rosings Park: A Pride and Prejudice Caprice

by JP Christy

Genres: Historical Fiction
Release Date: October 18, 2022
Pages: 385
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★★☆

Feeling estranged from her parents because they reject the future she wants for herself, Elizabeth Bennet visits her friend, Charlotte Collins, at the estate of Rosings Park, hoping it will be a refuge. However, when an unexpected death occurs at the estate, Elizabeth steps up to assist in the ensuing crisis. Very soon, she is embraced as a friend by the estate’s owners, Lady Catherine de Bourgh and her daughter, Anne.

When Fitzwilliam Darcy visits Rosings Park, he is suspicious at first of Elizabeth’s unlikely friendship with the de Bourgh ladies, but he soon recognizes Elizabeth’s useful interventions and becomes intrigued by her—the least-romantic woman he has ever known.
A murder throws Rosings Park into turmoil, which results in Elizabeth becoming the mistress of the estate. Then, the forces behind the murder set their sights on her. Can Darcy keep Elizabeth safe and convince her they are fated to be together?

This variation is low on romantic angst, and high on desire and discovery. While there is no explicit sex, there are frank (but never vulgar) discussions between ladies and ladies, and there are conversations of flirtation and curiosity between ladies and gentleman. If you prefer an Elizabeth whose raison d’être is marriage to Darcy, you might not enjoy this Elizabeth, who wants Darcy and more.

Series Review – Take Charge

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Take Charge Series

by Shana Granderson A Lady
Genres: Regency England, Historical Fiction, Romance

Because there are six books in this series (thus far), I didn’t want to review each one separately. As a whole, the series contains the fun, lighthearted, happily ever after type of stories I love to read.

However, there are a few recurring items I’d like to mention now so I don’t have to repeat myself in each book’s review:

  • The extended families are too perfect. I can only assume this is because they are mostly of Ms. Granderson’s creation — either original characters or characters only briefly mentioned in Pride and Prejudice. But, the Fitzwilliam family, as well as extended Bennet and Fitzwilliam relations are all perfectly jolly, down-to-earth, unprejudiced people. Despite their elevated status, the parents only want their children to marry for love and are disappointed in Darcy when he forgets that his parents wanted the same for their children. They are all happy to welcome the Bennets into the extended family, without a question of their suitability, and those who are of an age with the Bennet sisters are happy to extend informality well before it would be considered appropriate given that they aren’t related.
  • Ms. Granderson doesn’t like Mr. Bingley. Most of his interpretations in this series are weak-willed and led astray — often to the point of ridiculousness — by his sisters. While he didn’t attend a finishing school — since those were for women — his time at Cambridge, as Darcy’s friend, and among the Ton should have taught him basic social rules. However, in several of the books in the Take Charge series, Mr. Bingley is either ignorant of them, or allows himself to disregard them in order to appease one, or both, of his sisters.
  • The proposals and acceptances feel fake. They are very wordy and seem perfectly thought out, even though the women’s answers, at least, are meant to be offered without much, if any, forethought. Even if I’d scripted my acceptance and practiced it regularly as a young woman, only needing to substitute in my future fiancé’s name, I don’t think I could have delivered such a long, perfectly articulate response to a marriage proposal. I also find the use of complete names — including any middle names — when proposing and accepting proposals to be odd.

Series Review – Netherfield’s Duchess

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Netherfield’s Duchess Duology

by Victoria Lynn

Genres: Literary Fiction, Romance, Literature and Fiction

Title: Netherfield’s Duchess: Book 1
Release Date: April 10, 2021
Pages: 268
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★★☆

Netherfield's Duchess Book 1 Cover

After the death of her spouse, the Dowager Duchess of Felton takes up residence in her property, Netherfield Park. Having met the Bennets on her previous visit to the estate, Lady Fetton decides that taking an interest in Mr. Bennets older daughters will help give her some purpose and distraction from her personal grief. Arriving with her guest, Anne de Bourgh and her godson, Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam, the Duchess soon fills up her guest rooms with the Bingleys, the Hursts and Mr. Darcy and his ward and younger sibling Georgiana. Her guests, the Bennets and Mr. Collins and the newly arrived militia all combine for matchmaking, madness and matrimony in this Pride and Prejudice variation.

Title: Netherfield’s Duchess: Book 2
Release Date: June 30, 2021
Pages: 254
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★★☆

The fast paced conclusion to Netherfield’s Duchess takes our beloved characters from Hertfordshire to Scotland, from Derbyshire to Kent to London as our couples are forced to deal with plotting Lady Catherine and Wickham.

Review – The Other Bennet Sister

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The Other Bennet Sister

by Janice Hadlow

Genres: Literary Fiction, Regency, Romance
Release Date: March 31, 2020
Pages: 481
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★★☆

What if Mary Bennet’s life took a different path from that laid out for her in Pride and Prejudice? What if the frustrated intellectual of the Bennet family, the marginalized middle daughter, the plain girl who takes refuge in her books, eventually found the fulfillment enjoyed by her prettier, more confident sisters? This is the plot of Janice Hadlow’s The Other Bennet Sister, a debut novel with exactly the affection and authority to satisfy Jane Austen fans.

Ultimately, Mary’s journey is like that taken by every Austen heroine. She learns that she can only expect joy when she has accepted who she really is. She must throw off the false expectations and wrong ideas that have combined to obscure her true nature and prevented her from what makes her happy. Only when she undergoes this evolution does she have a chance at finding fulfillment; only then does she have the clarity to recognize her partner when he presents himself—and only at that moment is she genuinely worthy of love.

Mary’s destiny diverges from that of her sisters. It does not involve broad acres or landed gentry. But it does include a man; and, as in all Austen novels, Mary must decide whether he is the truly the one for her. In The Other Bennet Sister, Mary is a fully rounded character—complex, conflicted, and often uncertain; but also vulnerable, supremely sympathetic, and ultimately the protagonist of an uncommonly satisfying debut novel.

Review – Understanding Elizabeth

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Understanding Elizabeth

by Robin M. Helm

Understanding Elizabeth cover

Genres: Literary Fiction, Regency, Romance
Release Date: January 31, 2017
Pages: 293
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★★☆

Mr. Darcy is tempted beyond what he can endure when Elizabeth Bennet leaves her private journal entries in the parlour of Netherfield. Upon reading her writing, he is appalled to find that she overheard his unflattering remarks at the Meryton Assembly and despises him for his thoughtless comments. He wishes with all his heart that he could undo the damage.

During a restless sleep, he dreams of two powerful beings who can give him his heart’s desire – Elizabeth’s admiration, respect, and love.

Will he take the offer to change the past so that he never makes the offensive statement? Will he make a deal with the Devil, or is the price too dear?

What would you do to get exactly what you want? How much would you be willing to pay?

Series Review – The Denton Connection

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As I mentioned previously, because I’ve read so many of Sydney Salier’s books, I’m grouping my reviews of their works. This post covers The Denton Connection series. Be aware, there are spoilers in some of these reviews. There is a note at the beginning of each review that contains spoilers, as well as an asterisk on the links below.

Multi-Review – Books by Sydney Salier

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I recently read through nearly the entirety of Sydney Salier’s oeuvre. Because I read so many books, and because I don’t want to dedicate my blog to just book reviews for the next couple of months, I’m going to group my reviews of Sydney Salier’s works. This post covers all of their “one-off” books. There will be separate posts for The Denton Connection series and the Unconventional Education diptych — or duology, depending on how you want to look at it. Be aware, there are spoilers in some of these reviews. There is a note at the beginning of each review that contains spoilers, as well as an asterisk on the links below.

Review – So Material a Change

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So Material a Change

by Amy D’Orazio

So Material a Change

Genres: Regency, Romance, Pride and Prejudice Variation
Release Date: October 11, 2021
Pages: 382
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★★☆

“If the thought of us being destined for one another is what caused you to laugh, then I shall laugh with you. Ours is more a story of mutual desperation than of love.”

MATRIMONY IS THE LAST THING on Elizabeth Bennet’s mind when she arrives at Netherfield Park to tend to her ill sister. When proud Mr Darcy acts rashly to thwart a compromise and tells her that the entire household believes they are engaged, she dismisses him outright and refuses his offer of marriage.

BUT MORE SURPRISES AWAIT her at Longbourn. Mr Collins is ready with an offer of marriage and it is not only her mother who thinks it a fine match; Mr Bennet is willing to press the point until Elizabeth makes clear such a connexion is impossible—because she has accepted an offer of marriage from Mr Darcy.

IT IS AN INAUSPICIOUS BEGINNING, an engagement neither desires, driven to by the machinations of others. Yet what begins as a forced alliance soon changes into something quite different. Will it be enough to lead them into love?

Review – Fatal Throne

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Fatal Throne

by Candace Fleming, M.T. Anderson, Stephanie Hemphill, Lisa Ann Sandell, Jennifer Donnelly, Linda Sue Park, and Deborah Hopkinson

Fatal Throne

Genres: Historical Fiction, Biographical Fiction, Tudor, Young Adult
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Pages: 388
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★★☆

If you were one of King Henry VIII’s six wives, who would you be? Would you be Anne Boleyn, who literally lost her head? Would you be the subject of rumor and scandal like Catherine Howard? Or would you get away and survive like Anna of Cleves?

Meet them and Henry’s other queens–each bound for divorce or death–in this epic and thrilling novel that reads like fantasy but really happened. Watch spellbound as each of these women attempts to survive their unpredictable king as he grows more and more obsessed with producing a male heir. And discover how the power-hungry court fanned the flames of Henry’s passions . . . and his most horrible impulses.

Whether you’re a huge fan of all things Tudor or new to this jaw-dropping saga, you won’t be able to get the unique voices of Henry and his wives–all brought to life by seven award-winning and bestselling authors–out of your head.

This is an intimate look at the royals during one of the most treacherous times in history. Who will you root for and who will you love to hate?

Review – Pride & Perception

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Pride & Perception

by Sue Barr

Pride and Perception

Genres: Regency, Historical Romance, Pride and Prejudice, Adult
Release Date: March 5, 2021
Pages: 363
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★★☆

What if…

The entail on Longbourn had been broken?

The Bennets owned Netherfield Park?

Jane Bennet had firm opinions?

Lizzy overheard the second derogatory comment Darcy made about her beauty? After the Bennets had dined at Netherfield Park, he said, “Her a beauty? I should as soon call her mother a wit.”

Yeah – that one.

This is a story where we explore all these beautiful what-ifs.

Review – Elizabeth and Darcy: Ardently Yours

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Elizabeth and Darcy: Ardently Yours

by Evangeline Wright

Elizabeth and Darcy Ardently Yours

Genres: Regency Romance, Historical Romance, Romance, Classical Re-write, Adult
Release Date: August 2, 2019
Pages: 171
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★★☆

We all know what Lizzy and Darcy did last summer… Or do we?

This variation on Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice asks two questions about the summer before Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy’s introduction.

What if Elizabeth visited Pemberley before meeting Darcy, and was prepared to think the best of him, rather than the worst? 

What if Georgiana Darcy stayed home from Ramsgate, and Wickham’s dastardly schemes had not yet been revealed?

The answer: An ardent, inevitable love story that unfolds quite differently… but is, in essentials, very much what it ever was.

Review – It Started with a Kiss

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It Started with a Kiss

by Beth Wood

It Started With a Kiss

Genres: Regency Romance, Historical Romance, Romance, Classical Re-write, Adult
Release Date: October 1, 2015
Pages: 133
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★★☆

When Darcy finds Elizabeth touring the park around Pemberley, he assumes he is in the grips of his dreams and acts accordingly. He is incredibly surprised to discover that the woman he has taken in his arms is not only very real, but also kissing him back.

This lighthearted variation explores how things might have progressed differently had Mr. Darcy left Elizabeth Bennet with no doubt concerning his continued affection upon finding her touring his beloved Pemberley. 

Review – Dorothy in the Land of Monsters

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Dorothy in the Land of Monsters

by Garten Gevedon

Dorothy in the Land of MonstersSeries: Oz ReVamped, Book 1
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Release Date: October 11, 2019
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | KoboiBooks
My Rating: ★★★★☆

Shifters, Zombies, and Vampires? Oh my!

My name is Dorothy Gale, and I think I might be dead.

When my dog Toto and I got swept up in a twister, we landed in hell. A very colorful hell. Like a rainbow dripping in blood. Now it looks as though this dreadful underworld plagued with vampires, zombies, and shifters will be the site of my eternal damnation.

They say this terrifying land called Oz isn’t hell or purgatory and escape is possible, but first I must survive the journey down the blood-soaked yellow brick road to the only place in Oz where vampires dare not tread—The City of Emeralds.

With enchanted footwear and the help of my three new friends—a friendly zombie, a massive shifter lion, and a heartless axe murderer of evil night creatures (who also happens to be the hottest guy I’ve ever seen)—Toto and I have a chance to make it to the Vampire Free Zone. When we get there, I must convince the most powerful wizard in this magical land of monsters to send us out of this radiant nightmare and back to the world of the living. They say he’s just as frightening as this monstrous land, that he detests visitors, and even the most horrifying creatures cower in his presence. But I must seek him out. And when I find him, I’ll do whatever it takes to make him send me home.

Review – Seize

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Seize

by Alexandrea Weis & Lucas Astor

SeizeSeries: Magnus Blackwell, Book 3
Genres: Adult, Supernatural
Release Date: March 26th 2019
Pages: 359
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks
My Rating: ★★★★☆

Lexie Arden has a loving husband, a thriving business, and consults with the New Orleans Police Dept on murder cases. Kalfu has given her everything she desires, but challengers to her authority are closing in.

Her dark secret remains hidden from everyone except Magnus. He sees the evil growing stronger, changing her, and hurting her marriage. If Lexie doesn’t rid herself of Kalfu’s influence soon, the consequences will be irreversible.

When she unexpectedly inherits a cottage in the swamp, she uncovers a library of rare books on voodoo. Their spells can reverse the dark lord’s hold and set right the balance between darkness and light. But such magic requires a great sacrifice; one Lexie isn’t willing to make.

With the shadow spirits and raging voodoo gods vying for her attention, Lexie is on the verge of losing everything—her husband, her power, Magnus, and possibly, her life.

The battle for control of the mambo’s soul is about to begin.