Posts tagged “book review

When the Rogue Returns: A Book Review

WARNING: This book review may contain spoilers. (Oh, those pesky things!)

So I’ve been reading…a lot.

Really, what’s a girl to do when she keeps receiving goodies from booksellers in the mail? I really feel like I need to give a special shout out to Chapters/Indigo for sending me a gift card, which I then used to buy a copy of Sabrina Jeffries’ latest masterpiece, When the Rogue Returns.

Victor Cale never imagined his sweet, shy wife, Isabella, would use her talent for creating exquisite imitation jewels for criminal pursuits. But there’s no denying it was Isa’s handiwork that turned up in the brazen heist of the Dutch royal family’s diamonds after she disappeared into the night.

Ten years later, still reeling from her betrayal and enraged that her duplicitous side was so undetectable, the sexy investigator heads to Edinburgh, where his cousin Maximilian has landed him a job tailing a wealthy baron’s bride-to-be. Simple enough—until the “fiancée” in question proves to be Isa, masquerading as an alluringly eligible young widow.

No longer the meek and mild girl he once knew, the bold woman vehemently asserts that it was Victor who abandoned her. Piecing together the past to prove Isa’s innocence reawakens a volatile passion, hotter than ever. With a decade of secrets between them, Victor and Isa must trust each other in order to bring the scheming thieves to justice–without getting burned themselves.

Of course, I also have to mention that Ms. Jeffries was cruel enough to bait me with a 40-page preview of the novel, but then withhold the rest for a good 6 months before release date. How did she expect me to survive when the last lines I read before a 6-month blackout were:

With her back to him, Isa froze. 

Good. He hoped he’d thrown her into a panic. He was looking forward to seeing her alarm at being caught, after all these years. Or better yet, worried about what vengeance the husband she’d betrayed might mete out.

She began to turn toward him slowly, as if in a dream. He just had time to glimpse the porcelain skin, full lips, and other sweet features he’d found so compelling nearly ten years ago, when her gaze met his. 

To his shock, it was ablaze with fury. 

Yes, dear readers, for 6 whole months, Ms. Jeffries left me hanging with the thoughts – “OMG! What’s Victor going to do? What is Isabella going to do? WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?!” – rolling around in my head. Worst of all, I was sworn to secrecy and, therefore, couldn’t discuss my inner turmoil with anyone.

And I had thought, as one of her precious street team members, Ms. Jeffries would not play such cruel games with my heart.

But I digress…

I eventually was given the opportunity to read When the Rogue Returns – I read it on release day in fact – but I was unable to post my review, due in part that I was still reeling from the emotional, action-packed thrill ride that is the novel.

When the Rogue Returns was all about second chances. Isa and Victor have to learn to work together despite the fact that they each feel the other betrayed them ten years ago – the readers, of course, know this wasn’t what happened but Isa and Victor have to work through their misconceptions together. It doesn’t help the fact that ten years ago both Isa and Victor were very young and vulnerable to the manipulations of those around them. Isa grew up in the ten years after Victor “abandoned” her and has made a home for her and her daughter in Edinburgh. Victor, on the other hand, thinks his wife is a con-artist and refuses to let himself trust her.

I think the best part of this novel is that Isa and Victor learn to communicate for the sake of their daughter. And it helps that both of the characters have matured in their ten years apart, and grown into their own identities, enough to realize that in reality events are not always black and white. For Isa and Victor, the ten year separation was a good thing because when you see the characters reunite after the prologue, they are both strong enough to stand their own ground and smart enough to admit their faults.

That said, I nearly died from all the things Ms. Jeffries made me feel, such as the intensity of the “I want to punch Victor!” emotions and the “Why, Isabella, why?!” torment.

Only, apparently, torturing me through the novel wasn’t enough because Ms. Jeffries left a sneak peek at the end of the book for Tristan’s novel, How the Scoundrel Seduces and she’s making me wait until August to read it – of course, she blames the delay on her publisher but we all know who the real culprit is. 😉

Rika Ashton

(aka The Much Tormented)

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Reading Recommendation: The Taming of Ryder Cavanaugh

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of reading Stephanie Lauren’s The Taming of Ryder Cavanaugh – the latest in her Cynster series.

The Taming of Ryder Cavanaugh (The Cynster Sisters Duo #2)

The 2nd in the Cynster Sisters duo, #1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens thrills with this fantastic tale of a Cynster who’ll stop at nothing for love.

Lady Mary has been waiting years for this opportunity. Not that her sister has thrown off her spinster ways and become betrothed, it’s finally Mary’s chance for true love. She knows exactly who she wants –and it’s not someone as wild, unmanageable, and sinfully seductive as Ryder Cavanaugh.

Ryder Cavanaugh, Marquess of Raventhorne, had never met a woman who wouldn’t happily fall at his feet–or into his bed…until Lady Mary Cynster. But Ryder has made some decisions about his life and he’ll only succeed at being the man he wants to be with Mary by his side. And convincing her of that fact is just the kind of challenge he thrills at…

The novel was a bittersweet read for me – not because the story was in any way sad or morose, but because I knew that this would be the last Cynster novel in a while, before we get to the story about the next generation. Laurens is taking a break from the Cynsters to write the next Casebook of Barnaby Adair novel – a spinoff of the Cynster series that started with Where the Heart Leads. As much as I enjoyed reading Where the Heart Leads, I’m impatient to get to Lucilla’s novel, which will hopefully be the next Cynster duo to be released in 2015. (But luckily we get a Cynster Christmas novella in 2014 to somewhat tide us over.)

The good news is that Laurens is signed on for 5 more Cynster novels – and hopefully more after that, especially now that she’s whet my appetite for the Cynster children’s novels – of which there are 79 children. 😉

On the other hand, I also want to know what’s happening in Penelope and Barnaby’s world – and in a perfect world, all these novels would be written and released simultaneously! 🙂

But since this is not the case, I’ll have to satisfy myself by raving about The Taming of Ryder Cavanaugh!

The novel starts off with Mary Cynster, the last of her Cynster generation, who’s looking for her “hero” while at the same time expecting to make a great match. Fortunately, she believes they will be one and the same. Luckily, Mary’s stubborn and determined enough to make this the case. Unfortunately, Mary has set her sights on Randolph – that’s right, Randolph not Ryder – Cavanaugh. Randolph is Ryder’s younger brother, close to Mary in age and a “hero” Mary believes has the potential to be taught how to be a great husband.

You see, Mary has one primary defining trait – she’s bossy. Her family know it, the ton know it, Mary knows it and Ryder knows it.

This is exactly why Ryder is determined to wed Mary himself. No, not because he likes getting ordered around – or so he thinks – but because he believes he can stand up to Mary.

It takes some convincing and some luck, but Ryder is able to persuade Mary into choosing and marrying him over Randolph, his half brother.

So how does Randolph feel about this?

If your expecting a love triangle, then prepare to be disappointed. Randolph is very relieved to learn that Mary has married Ryder. One, because he’s too young to get married – he’s only twenty-four. And two, because Randolph, being an informed member of the ton knows how bossy Mary can be.

Fortunately for Ryder, he adaptable to taking orders from his wife – a unique trait in an alpha male. But for Mary’s part, she’s also willing to compromise – a skill she has learned is necessary when dealing with alpha males of her Cynster cousins’ caliber.

One of the best parts about reading this novel, was reading about a couple that learns to compromise and a female who is just a little more alpha than the hero when it comes to knowing her own mind and heart. Mary’s logical, open-minded and decisive. Once she’s made a decision or promise, she sticks to it. Plus, she’s perfectly capable to brining Ryder to his knees!

It was refreshing to read about a couple who didn’t keep secrets from one another and were willing to listen to each other and work together to overcome their foes.

[Mary’s] eyes had narrowed slightly; her lips parted, but before she could speak, [Ryder] held up a staying hand. “And yes, knowing that Cynster’s only marry for love, I freely admit that I was perfectly prepared to cold-bloodedly pretend to fall in love with you if that was what it took to win you as my marchioness, to be the mother of my children and the matriarch of the Cavanaughs…” Eyes locking with hers, he drew in a massive breath, let it out with, “But then I discovered I didn’t need to pretend.”

I don’t know about you, but there is something decidedly HOT about a man who is willing to do anything – including lie and cheat – in order to win the woman he wants! 😉

So what to you think about the Cynsters? Who do you think the next novel should be about?

-Rika Ashton

(aka Book Recommender)

P.S: There are more Stephanie Laurens’ novel release details in her latest newsletter.