4 star review

Review – If He’s Tempted by Hannah Howell

If Hes Tempted

Lady Olympia Wherlocke has the gift of foresight. When Lady Agatha Mallam asks Olympia to locate her brother so he can rescue her from an arranged marriage, she knows exactly where to find Lord Brant Mallam, Earl of Fieldgate. What happens next is something she never envisioned…

Since his betrothed died, Lord Brant Mallam has drowned his sorrow with wine and women. His dissolute ways have only emboldened his calculating mother. But with the help of the enchanting Olympia, he concocts a daring plan to end his mother’s devious designs for his sister. While each step in their bold scheme works to perfection, the sins of the past could unravel a growing desire that neither Olympia or Brant can control…

This 5th book in the Wherlocke series features one of the other most present characters in the series. I’ll admit, for some reason I wasn’t really looking forward to her story. I don’t know, for all her bawdy conversations, she just felt so spinster aunt-like that I didn’t even foresee her story until I came to it. And it wasn’t even a logical reason, for me, because I like spinster heroines. But I started looking forward to this one once I realized the hero was Brant, who had been so cruelly betrayed in If He’s Sinful.

And then we are in Olympia’s head and she has quite the sense of humor regarding her overt spinster like status, particularly as she is a widow. And I realized how ridiculous my reticence truly was. Which brings me to my trigger warning for this book. Nothing is really described,but there are children in jeopardy and also discussion of past events. Olympia is admirable and also very funny and charming. All I can say is she seems very much like someone I would be pleased to be friends with. And Brant was simply sweet and yummy, and in no way deserved the bum deal he got. I liked them both, and even better I liked them for each other.

There was no real mystery in this, just the unraveling of the villainy of Brant’s mother, but there was plenty of action and intrigue involved in it. And always, family ties are key and were lovely to watch.

There is just one thing that bothers me, and it does so only because of the glom, but I am realizing every single one of these ends with a pregnant woman waiting for the hero’s return. Since none of them relied on the trope of married because of child, I didn’t really note it at first. It didn’t make me like it any less, but I have decided to take a break before the next ones.

If He's Tempted (Wherlocke)
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3.5 star review

Review – If He’s Dangerous by Hannah Howell

If Hes Dangerous

New York Times bestseller Hannah Howell’s extraordinary Wherlocke family returns with the story of a passion that will heed no resistance, no matter how deadly…When Lorelei Sundun first finds Sir Argus Wherlocke in her garden, she’s never heard of the mysterious Wherlocke clan-or their otherworldly abilities. That changes the moment she watches Argus-the most tantalizing man she’s ever seen-disappear before her very eyes. What she’s witnessed should be impossible. But so should falling in love with a man she’s only just met…

Pursued by a madman intent on harnessing the Wherlockes’ talents as weapons, Argus meant to seek help from his family, not to involve a duke’s lovely daughter in the struggle. But now, the enchanting Lorelei is his only hope for salvation-and the greatest temptation he’s ever faced…

This is book 4 in the Wherlocke series, and my glom has become that much more enjoyable, as there wasn’t a single woman entwined in the story. So yeah!

Argus has been heavily involved in the previous books and while I have been seriosuly anticipating his story, I can see why people might fear his particular gift. Adding that on top of his horrible home life with the Wherlocke/Vaugh curse of unfaithful spouses was more than enough of a relationship impediment for Argus and Lorelei.

The mystery that took the place of previous female entanglements was pretty interesting and in line with the family’s differences. A shadowy organization is after their gifts by hook or by crook. Fun stuff, it kind of reminded me a bit of Quick/Krentz’s Arcane series, another highly glommable series.

And Hannah Howell, seriously writes the best eccentric families. The best. Now that I am sitting here really analyzing WHY she is so utterly glommable for me, it has never been the romances, it is the families. And now she has added the Sundun family which is every bit as charming as the Wherlocke/Vaugn family. One scholarly minded patriarch who seems to have his head in the clouds but has his feet firmly planted on the ground, an imperious butler (I adore imperious butlers), 13 sons, and 4 daughters and a phalanx of extended family that he has infected with logic and fair-mindedness. They are seriously delightful. Additionally, we got a nice little epiphany about the so-called Wherlocke family curse that makes me feel rather pleasant and rosy toward the whole rest of the series.

I actually don’t have much to say about the romance itself. It was warm and fuzzy and more than enough when plopped into the midst of these delightful families.

If He's Dangerous (Wherlocke #4)
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4 star review

Review – If He’s Wild by Hannah Howell

If Hes Wild

SHE SEES HIS FACE EVERYWHERE…

Lady Alethea Vaughn Channing is haunted by a vision of a man in danger—the same man who she has seen in dreams time and time again. She doesn’t even know his name, and yet she feels the connection between them, knows she is the only one standing between him and disaster.

…YET THEY HAVE NEVER MET

But rakish Lord Hartley Greville is capable of protecting himself, as he has proven more than once in his perilous work as a spy for the crown. If he’s to carry out his duty, he’ll need to put aside the achingly beautiful woman with the strange gift. And yet, when Alethea’s visions reveal a plot that could endanger children, Hartley will not be able to ignore the destiny that binds them together—or resist the passion burning between them…

I can fortunately say that Howell is definitely stepping further and further away from entanglements with the evil woman as the relationship conflict, and I couldn’t be more pleased. No horrible spouses nor plotting evil fiances littered this particular story. This time we have a plotting, evil would be mistress. But since the hero never did the deed with her, and since it would have been for crown and country and he was never really deceived by her, I’ll take it as a win. What I’ve won, I am not sure of, but I’ll take it. In fact, our hero’s thoughts turned to marriage almost immediately and the two were married for a good half of the book which was a rather nice change of pace.

We also have the usual meandering in and out of Wherlockes and Vaughns with their fortuitous gifts coming in just when they are needed. There was also plenty of action to keep things entertaining. So here’s the thing, and I am not sure I can really explain. When I am reading romance, I read it because I know (J.R. Ward notwithstanding) that there will be a happily ever after, even when like the previous two books there is another woman standing in the way. But, I am still much happier when that isn’t the impediment. That sort of story tends to leave me with a sick feeling to my stomach throughout that I simply don’t enjoy. With this book, knowing who the villain was and that the hero and heroine were already together made the unraveling of the mystery so that good could prevail over evil and the unraveling of the hero’s heart just flat-out enjoyable. I could enjoy the whole ride without any reservations.

This is still escapism fiction for me, this book didn’t change that, but I did like it quite a bit more than the other two, and it will keep me on my glom a bit longer, though I do doubt I will be able to read all 7 in one go.

If He's Wild (Wherlocke #3)
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5 star review

Review – Archangel’s Enigma by Nalini Singh

Naasir is the most feral of the powerful group of vampires and angels known as the Seven, his loyalty pledged to the Archangel Raphael. When rumors surface of a plot to murder the former Archangel of Persia, now lost in the Sleep of the Ancients, Naasir is dispatched to find him. For only he possesses the tracking skills required—those more common to predatory animals than to man.

Enlisted to accompany Naasir, Andromeda, a young angelic scholar with dangerous secrets, is fascinated by his nature—at once playful and brilliant, sensual and brutal. As they race to find the Sleeping archangel before it’s too late, Naasir will force her to question all she knows…and tempt her to walk into the magnificent, feral darkness of his world. But first they must survive an enemy vicious enough to shatter the greatest taboo of the angelic race and plunge the world into a screaming nightmare…

Nalini Singh is another one of those authors that I have been reading and in love with for much longer than I have been blogging. Archangel’s Shadows seemed to be one of the more polarizing books in this series, but considering we are now on book 8 for this series, it would be surprising if there hadn’t been at least one controversial book. I really enjoyed Shadows and it left me absolutely intrigued about the next hero. And for those who haven’t gotten into this series, this is not a stand alone, the series really must be read in order to understand what is going on.

And Nalini Singh had left me positively salivating over her teasers regarding Naasir. So I started it as soon as I had a minute and read during my lunch break, and then bitterly regretted not picking a time when I wouldn’t have to stop. I can’t stress this enough, do not pick this up until you have the time to truly sit and read this. I think this might be the best book in the series so far, and I don’t say that lightly.

Naasir was a terribly enticing “tiger creature”, just a perfect blend of animal innocence and playfulness with enough self-aware sexy man to make him just right, and terribly attractive. Fun and straightforward, but cunning where it counted. I liked him even better than I expected, and learning his secrets was a great enjoyment. Andromeda, frankly at the start I wasn’t sure I would like her at all, let alone for Naasir, even with the sparring teaser she just seemed too buttoned up and too mired in her troubles. But she turned out to be perfect.

As for the story itself, we learned quite a bit more about the cascade, Lijuan and Charisemnon need to die now more than ever, and there were some timely appearances by the rest of the series favorites, but mostly this was Naasir and Andromeda’s story. And Naasir’s back story was wonderful and heartbreaking all at the same time. Elena is never going to guess it, not in a million years.

As for Andromeda, this is the second book in a row where the Big Secret was used to great effect, and had me almost ripping my hair out and screaming “JUST TELL HIM ALREADY!”. But it really was an untenable situation, so I couldn’t really blame Andromeda. And I have to admit, between her vow of celibacy and each of their secrets, it kept the tension through the roof.

I am going to stop now because anything else is going to devolve into rabid fan girl screaming. I completely recommend this series, and this book in particular.

Also, count me in for team Bluebell+Sparkle. I ship that so hard it hurts. I am figuring the next book will be another Raphael and Elena book. Then we have Illium, Aodhan, and Venom to see to.

Archangel's Enigma (Guild Hunter, #8)

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3.5 star review

Review – If He’s Sinful by Hannah Howell

If Hes Sinful

It is whispered throughout London that the members of the Wherlocke family are possessed of certain unexplainable gifts. But Lord Ashton Radmoor is skeptical – until he finds an innocent beauty lying drugged and helpless in the bedroom of a brothel.

The mystery woman is Penelope Wherlock, and her special gift of sight is leading her deep into a dangerous world of treachery and betrayal. Ashton knows he should forget her, yet he’s drawn deeper into the vortex of her life, determined to keep her safe. But Penelope is no ordinary woman, and she’s never met the man strong enough to contend with her unusual abilities. Until now…

Crackiness of this zany paranormal family or not, I am going ton find myself very frustrated if the main thrust of relationship conflict in every book is that the hero is entangled with the most evil woman on the planet. Very frustrated indeed.

At least in this case the hero isn’t married, and the engagement wasn’t entirely his own doing and he actively seeks to fix the situation. That was enough for me to not feel quite as frustrated with this one as I was with the last one. But just barely.

Despite their rather bizarre meeting, and some touchy actions by the hero at the start, throughout the story I really came to like and admire the hero, and Penelope was kind of awesome from start to finish. And putting two characters you can legitimately like in such a crazy over the top situation, surrounded by mysteries and intrigues, it is just my sort of catnip.

The mystery itself was multi-faceted and with enough twists and turns to make it a satisfying romp even though you could see those turns coming from a mile away. For me at least the joy is in the close-knit family and all their crazy antics and “gifts”. I can’t really explain it, but there is something I just love about settling in with a whole clan of eccentrics and seeing what they’ll do next. The romance itself didn’t blow me away, but for something like this, so long as it doesn’t disappoint me, that is more than enough to see me pleased.

I think it is fair to say there are also a fairly large number of plot holes that wouldn’t stand up to close scrutiny. But that is ok, this isn’t a close scrutiny sort of book. For me, this sort of thing is pure escapism, and this was a very pleasant escape for a few hours. I am uncertain how many of these I’ll be able to read in a row, but I’ll just have to keep reading to see.

If He's Sinful (Wherlocke #2)
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