2017 Book #89 – The Duke of Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt

51AcF2c1BfLTitle: The Duke of Desire
Author: Elizabeth Hoyt
Date finished: 10/21/17
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: October 17, 2017
Pages in book: 353
Stand alone or series: #12 in the Maiden Lane series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:


Refined, kind, and intelligent, Lady Iris Jordan finds herself the unlikely target of a diabolical kidnapping. Her captors are the notoriously evil Lords of Chaos. When one of the masked-and nude!-Lords spirits her away to his carriage, she shoots him . . . only to find she may have been a trifle hasty.


Cynical, scarred, and brooding, Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, has made it his personal mission to infiltrate the Lords of Chaos and destroy them. Rescuing Lady Jordan was never in his plans. But now with the Lords out to kill them both, he has but one choice: marry the lady in order to keep her safe.


Much to Raphael’s irritation, Iris insists on being the sort of duchess who involves herself in his life-and bed. Soon he’s drawn both to her quick wit and her fiery passion. But when Iris discovers that Raphael’s past may be even more dangerous than the present, she falters. Is their love strong enough to withstand not only the Lords of Chaos but also Raphael’s own demons?

My rating:  3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This series is one that I’ve been following for a long time and overall have really enjoyed. In the last book in the series, The Duke of Pleasure, we met Lady Iris Jordan, a friend to Hugh , the Duke of Kyle. Iris thought that she might marry Hugh because of their friendship and their common values. After Hugh finds Alf though, Lady Jordan is kidnapped on the way home from attending their wedding. The Lords of Chaos believe her to be the new Duchess Kyle, and have kidnapped her to strike back at Hugh for his involvement in trying to bring down the Lords. Once the Duke of Dyemore (Raphael) sees her there though he knows he must save her. He had infiltrated their revels to overthrow the whole group, as even though his father once led them he can not stand the thought of their existence. To protect Iris,  Raphael marries her. He doesn’t expect to fall in love with her though, and he tries to keep her separate so that she won’t be tainted by the darkness that consumes his family. Iris is determined that he won’t keep her at bay though, and she’s ready to fight for their relationship in a way Dyemore never expected.

Overall I liked this book. I thought it was a good addition to the series and I liked hearing Iris’s story after being introduced to her in the last book. She was brave and proud (in a good way) and so generous with Raphael with her love. Raphael’s story was fairly tragic and it made me quite sad but it turned out alright and Iris was able to kind of save him in a way. Which is fairly common for the Maiden Lane series actually but not a common theme for romance novels. I have said this in previous posts but Hoyt does an amazing job of making the reader fall in love with a flawed man or at times even a villain. This book stays true to that idea, Raphael is a very damaged person but the reader will end up rooting for him to find love. This was a good book for the series, and even though it wasn’t my favorite in the series I still enjoyed it!

The bottom line: I liked this book ok. Raphael’s character was a little too brooding for me and the whole story line was a little tragic. This was a good read though and a good additional to the series, I would recommend.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2016 Book #111 – The Duke of Pleasure by Elizabeth Hoyt

51bydxjcvql-_sx305_bo1204203200_Title: The Duke of Pleasure
Author: Elizabeth Hoyt
Date finished: 11/23/16
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: November 29, 2016
Pages in book: 336
Stand alone or series: #11 in the Maiden Lane series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Bold. Brave. Brutally handsome. Hugh Fitzroy, the Duke of Kyle, is the king’s secret weapon. Sent to defeat the notorious Lords of Chaos, he is ambushed in a London alley-and rescued by an unlikely ally: a masked stranger with the unmistakable curves of a woman.
Cocky. Clever. Courageously independent. Alf has survived on the perilous streets of St. Giles by disguising her sex. By day she is a boy, dealing in information and secrets. By night she’s the notorious Ghost of St. Giles, a masked vigilante. But as she saves Hugh from assassins, she finds herself succumbing to temptation . . .
When Hugh hires Alf to investigate the Lords of Chaos, her worlds collide. Once Hugh realizes that the boy and the Ghost are the same, will Alf find the courage to become the woman she needs to be-before the Lords of Chaos destroy them both?

My rating:  4.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story (finally!) of Alf. Alf has been a supporting character for a good portion of this series, when we’re first introduced to her character its as the young boy who is an information collector/seller in St. Giles. Alf was abandoned at a young age and so in order to protect herself, she’s disguised herself as a young boy for a very long time. She’s also recently started training to replace the most recent Ghost of St. Giles, since all the other ones we’ve learned of have settled down and retired and started families. So Alf takes on a new job as an informant for the Duke of Kyle, who she seems to have a bit of a crush on. And when the Duke of Kyle (Hugh) discovers that Alf is not only a girl, but also the Ghost of St. Giles who kissed him so passionately recently. And when Hugh realizes that he needs Alf’s help on an upcoming reconnaissance mission at a ball, he asks her to uncover the woman she really is deep down. As Hugh sees more of the facets that make up Alf though, he can’t resist falling in love with her.
Overall I really liked this book a lot. It was a bit unusual since the heroine starts out the story attracted to the hero but the hero thinks she’s a boy. And Alf is from the streets and it shows not only in her language but also in her thought process and her personality. I think that was one of the things I ended liking most about this book though was Alf and how full of life she was. And it was really great to read her story after hearing so much about her in the other books in the series. Readers be warned there are some steamy scenes in this book, this one definitely is a sexy read! But there was also some great character development and some really deep emotions in this book. Alf’s character develops from a cocky lad to a young lady in love (who is also still cocky). And I think the book had a great overall message, that sometimes you need to put your faith in love and have hope.

The bottom line: I really enjoyed this one, this probably ended up being one of my favorite books in the series. This was definitely an unconventional story though, Alf isn’t your classic romance heroine but she was entirely refreshing and fun. This was a great read and I would definitely recommend.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2016 Book #65 – Once Upon a Moonlit Night by Elizabeth Hoyt and BLOG TOUR


Title: Once Upon a Moonlit Night
Author: Elizabeth Hoyt
Date finished: 7/4/16
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Forever Yours
Publication Date: July 5, 2016
Stand alone or series: #10.5 in the Maiden Lane series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE:I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

From New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Hoyt comes a delightful Maiden Lane novella that begins once upon a moonlit night—and ends wickedly, wonderfully ever after . . .
Hippolyta Royle is running for her life. Pursued by hounds on a cold rainy night, the heiress flags down a passing carriage and throws herself at the mercy of the coach’s occupant. Whoever this handsome traveler may be, he is her only hope to escape a terrible fate. But should he agree to escort her to safety, he’s in for much more than he bargained for . . .
At first Matthew Mortimer doesn’t believe Hippolyta’s story, that she’s a fabulously wealthy heiress who’s been kidnapped. He assumes she’s a beggar, an actress, or worse. But once his new travel companion washes the mud from her surprisingly lovely face, and they share a breathtaking kiss, there is no turning back . . .

My rating:  3.75 stars out of a scale of 5


My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Hippolyta Royle, who we left in book ten of the series fleeing for her life after being kidnapped by the Duke of Montgomery. I’m glad that Hoyt wrote this short story to let the reader know what happened to Ms. Royle, I was deeply concerned for her well-being at the end of the last book. Hippolyta comes across a carriage while she is fleeing for her life, and the owner of said carriage, Matthew Mortimer, agrees to take her to the next town so that she can obtain passage in a mail coach to get back to London. Matthew doesn’t believe that Hippolyta is actually a wealthy heiress on the run from her kidnapper, more likely she is a down on her luck actress looking for some sympathy and a caretaker.
Overall I liked this short story a lot. I was very interested in finding out what had happened to Hippolyta after escaping from the Duke of Montgomery’s clutches. I’m glad that everything worked out for the best even though Montgomery is just a total jerk for kidnapping her in the first place. This was a sweet story and was a good addition to the series most definitely but overall it was a short story and wasn’t overly thrilling or detailed. Good story though and for anyone who likes the Maiden Lane series I would most definitely recommend.

The bottom line: I liked this novella and I thought it was a good addition to the Maiden Lane series. I appreciated learning about the fate of Ms. Royle since that was one of the open ends of book #10 in the series that I wished we had wrapped up. Nothing overly exciting but was a good addition to the series. I would recommend.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page


About the Author:

Elizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times bestselling author of over seventeen lush historical romances including the Maiden Lane series.Publishers Weekly has called her writing “mesmerizing.” She also pens deliciously fun contemporary romances under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with three untrained dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the long-suffering Mr. Hoyt.

Follow this link to enter to win a SIGNED copy of DUKE OF SIN: http://bit.ly/29dxlnQ

Social Media Links:
Twitter @elizabethhoyt
Add Once Upon a Moonlit Night to your shelf on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1S30uww

2016 Book #54 – Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt

51OK+NK3wVL._SX308_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Duke of Sin
Author: Elizabeth Hoyt
Date finished: 5/28/16
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: May 31, 2016
Pages in book: 368
Stand alone or series: #10 in the Maiden Lane series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE:I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Devastatingly handsome. Vain. Unscrupulous. Valentine Napier, the Duke of Montgomery, is the man London whispers about in boudoirs and back alleys. A notorious rake and blackmailer, Montgomery has returned from exile, intent on seeking revenge on those who have wronged him. But what he finds in his own bedroom may lay waste to all his plans.
Born a bastard, housekeeper Bridget Crumb is clever, bold, and fiercely loyal. When her aristocratic mother becomes the target of extortion, Bridget joins the Duke of Montgomery’s household to search for the incriminating evidence-and uncovers something far more dangerous.
Astonished by the deceptively prim-and surprisingly witty-domestic spy in his chambers, Montgomery is intrigued. And try as she might, Bridget can’t resist the slyly charming duke. Now as the two begin their treacherous game of cat and mouse, they soon realize that they both have secrets-and neither may be as nefarious-or as innocent-as they appear . . .

My rating:  3.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I have been a big fan of the Maiden Lane series from the beginning, this one being the tenth book in the series. This is my second book I’ve finished during my Reading Retreat, the first one being the previous book in this series. This book starts up pretty much right where the last book left off, with a scene between Valentine, the Duke of Montgomery, and his housekeeper, Bridget Crumb. The last book in the series left off in something similar to a cliffhanger, meant to entice the reader by leading them into this book’s story. (***SPOILER ALERT***) As we learned in the last book in the series, Bridget was planted in Val’s house on purpose in order to retrieve certain items he was using to blackmail women that Bridget knew well. While working for Val though, Bridget grows to care for him (somehow) and even though she knows he is somewhat evil, she still finds herself falling in love with him (again somehow).
Overall this was not my favorite book in the Maiden Lane series. I was really looking forward to this book because Hoyt (usually) does such a great job of taking a total jerk and making the reader like him. And Val had been mentioned in the last few books in the series as a quasi-villain so I was interested to see how she was going to turn his character around. I didn’t really feel like that ended up happening though. Val kept up with his blackmail and actually killed someone in front of Bridget in this book and she still ends up liking him. Most of the other villain-y heroes in the Maiden Lane series have some kind of redeeming quality but from what I could tell from this book Val was pretty much a sociopath. He had no version of right or wrong, he thought he could do whatever he wanted without caring about consequences, he was power-hungry, and he thought everything revolved around him. He did act redeeming in certain situations, for example his actions towards his sister Eve, but overall I didn’t see how anyone could’ve fallen in love with him and survived. He wasn’t really a good man. He was willing to join the Lords of Chaos for more power without really caring about the fact that they were harming women and children. So anyways, suffice it to say I couldn’t really connect with the hero and heroine in this book. It was still a good book and it was interesting to hear Val’s story but it wasn’t what I expected.

The bottom line: This definitely wasn’t my favorite in the series but I would still say that this is a good addition to the series so I would still recommend!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2016 Book #53 – Sweetest Scoundrel by Elizabeth Hoyt

51JCXeLmnuL._SX308_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Sweetest Scoundrel
Author: Elizabeth Hoyt
Date finished: 5/27/16
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: November 24, 2015
Pages in book: 328
Stand alone or series: #9 in the Maiden Lane series
Where I got the book from: Purchased

Blurb from the cover:

Prim, proper, and thrifty, Eve Dinwoody is all business when it comes to protecting her brother’s investment. But when she agrees to control the purse strings of London’s premier pleasure garden, Harte’s Folly, she finds herself butting heads with an infuriating scoundrel who can’t be controlled.
Bawdy and bold, Asa Makepeace doesn’t have time for a penny-pinching prude like Eve. As the garden’s larger-than-life owner, he’s already dealing with self-centered sopranos and temperamental tenors. He’s not about to let an aristocratic woman boss him around . . . no matter how enticing she is.
In spite of her lack of theatrical experience-and her fiery clashes with Asa-Eve is determined to turn Harte’s Folly into a smashing success. But the harder she tries to manage the stubborn rake, the harder it is to ignore his seductive charm and raw magnetism. There’s no denying the smoldering fire between them-and trying to put it out would be the greatest folly of all . . .

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I hadn’t read this book yet even though it was released last year, and this is one of the series that I usually try to stay up to date on. But I was approved for the next book in the Maiden Lane series on NetGalley so I decided to catch up before reading the newest release, out this next Tuesday May 31st! This book is about Eve Dinwoody, sister to the wicked Duke of Montgomery. The Duke of Montgomery has been a semi-villanous character in the last few novels in the series, though he doesn’t really seem truly evil. His actions towards his half-sister show that the Duke of Montgomery is in fact soft-hearted. Eve is acting as her brother’s “man-of-business” while he’s exiled to the Continent. Because of this, she is put in direct contact with Asa Makepeace, also known as Mr. Harte and the owner of Harte’s Folly, a theatre and pleasure gardens. At first meeting, Asa doesn’t find Eve appealing at all but the more he gets to know her, the more he falls for her.
Overall I liked this book a lot. When Asa was first introduced, I didn’t think there was going to be any way he could redeem himself as a character. I was pleasantly surprised in that I actually enjoyed his surly attitude by the end of the book and found his personality endearing. And Eve as a heroine was wonderful, she inspires empathy from the reader but at the same time we’re not encouraged to pity her since she really is a strong person. You can feel the tension between Eve and Asa coming off the pages and there are some pretty steamy scenes between these two. And I thought it was great that a lot of the characters from previous books were brought back in this book for a variety of scenes. I think that this book did a really great job of setting the stage for the next book, The Duke of Sin, which features the awful Duke of Montgomery. I find that to be a prevailing characteristic in some of Hoyt’s novels in that the heroes aren’t always a paragon of gentlemanly ways and honor. They’re a little crude and rough around the edges but she still gets you to fall for them all the same. There aren’t many authors who attempt that, let alone succeed so continuously. I’m looking forward to the next book, which by the time I post this I’ll have already read!

The bottom line: This was a good book and a great addition to the series. Hoyt does a great job of making the heroes rough around the edges but also endearing. I would definitely recommend this one!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #76 – Dearest Rogue by Elizabeth Hoyt


Title: Dearest Rogue
Author: Elizabeth Hoyt
Date finished: 7/21/15
Genre:  Historical romance
Publisher: Vision
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
Pages in book: 326
Stand alone or series: #8 in the Maiden Lane series
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from Amazon:

Lady Phoebe Batten is pretty, vivacious, and yearning for a social life befitting the sister of a powerful duke. But because she is almost completely blind, her overprotective brother insists that she have an armed bodyguard by her side at all times-the very irritating Captain Trevillion.
Captain James Trevillion is proud, brooding, and cursed with a leg injury from his service in the King’s dragoons. Yet he can still shoot and ride like the devil, so watching over the distracting Lady Phoebe should be no problem at all-until she’s targeted by kidnappers.
Caught in a deadly web of deceit, James must risk life and limb to save his charge from the lowest of cads-one who would force Lady Phoebe into a loveless marriage. But while they’re confined to close quarters for her safekeeping, Phoebe begins to see the tender man beneath the soldier’s hard exterior . . . and the possibility of a life-and love-she never imagined possible.

My rating: 4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I am a big fan of the books in the Maiden Lane series, one of which are already reviewed on my blog here. I hope to re-read the others in the series sometime soon and get review up for all those as well. There are many different families involved in the Maiden Lane series, so keeping everyone straight can get a little cumbersome especially with the time between book releases. The family tree I think is most relevant for this book can be found here, on the author’s website. At the bottom of this page there are also links for the other family trees involved in the Maiden Lane series should you be interested.
So this novel is about Phoebe Batten, whose eyesight has been steadily deteriorating for the past five years, and her guard Captain James Trevillion. James was injured while chasing a bad guy and his leg was basically crushed so now he isn’t fit to be a Captain anymore. Maximum (Phoebe’s brother and the hero of Duke of Midnight) hires him to guard his blind sister Phoebe. But when someone starts trying to kidnap Phoebe, James realizes that his injury is preventing him from protecting her effectively and he resigns as her guard. Then she gets kidnapped and James decides to take her somewhere that no one else knows about to protect her. And yes, they fall in love (duh).
I really enjoyed this book and I thought it was a great addition to the series. Phoebe was a great character and I just absolutely loved her. The tension between the hero and the heroine felt very real. I couldn’t put this one down, I ended up reading it in just about 24 hours. Great book and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!!
The bottom line: I would definitely recommend not only this book but the whole series. Loved Phoebe, this was a great addition to the series. Can’t wait to read Sweetest Scoundrel (comes out later this year!)
Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #2 – Darling Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt


Title: Darling Beast
Author: Elizabeth Hoyt
Date finished: 1/7/15
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: October 14, 2014
Pages in book: 321
Stand alone or series: Series – Maiden Lane #7

Blurb from the cover:

Falsely accused of murder and mute from a near-fatal beating, Apollo Greaves, Viscount Kilbourne has escaped from Bedlam. With the Crown’s soldiers at his heels, he finds refuge in the ruins of a pleasure garden, toiling as a simple gardener. But when a vivacious young woman moves in, he’s quickly driven to distraction . . .
London’s premier actress, Lily Stump, is down on her luck when she’s forced to move into a scorched theatre with her maid and small son. But she and her tiny family aren’t the only inhabitants-a silent, hulking beast of a man also calls the charred ruins home. Yet when she catches him reading her plays, Lily realizes there’s more to this man than meets the eye.
Though scorching passion draws them together, Apollo knows that Lily is keeping secrets. When his past catches up with him, he’s forced to make a choice: his love for Lily . . . or the explosive truth that will set him free.

My rating: 4.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will be counting towards my goal for the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge 2015 checklist under the “book with antonyms in the title” check box (darling and beast). I have read the other books in the Maiden Lane series, though none are yet discussed on this blog (hopefully that will be fixed in the future). I think that this is an excellent series, though I have trouble keeping the previous characters straight sometimes. Luckily, Hoyt has included a series of family trees to demonstrate the connections in the novels of the series.
I very much enjoyed this novel, there were a good amount of interesting plot twists and I was interested in the story throughout the novel. One piece of this novel specifically that I found very interesting was that at one point Lily is writing a farce (play) that her brother intends to sell to pay off his debts. I couldn’t find the exact words again but she describes a farce as a bunch of a bunch of plot twists each happening one after the other so much so that the whole idea of the play feels exaggerated and improbably. At the point in the novel when many of the characters were gathered together at the house party, I couldn’t help but notice that the events were happening much as Lily described a farce to be. I just found that interesting.

The bottom line:
  I would definitely recommend this book both as part of the series and also based on the merits of the book itself.

Author website
: http://www.elizabethhoyt.com/
Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Darling-Beast-Maiden-Lane-Elizabeth/dp/1455586307/ref=tmm_mmp_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1420719107&sr=8-1