2015 Book #49 – The Tempting of Thomas Carrick by Stephanie Laurens

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Title: The Tempting of Thomas Carrick
Author: Stephanie Laurens
Date finished: 5/26/15
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Mira
Publication Date: February 24, 2015
Pages in book: 456
Stand alone or series: Cynster family series #21, 2nd in Cynster Next Generation series

Blurb from the cover:

Thomas Carrick is driven to control all aspects of his life. The wealthy owner of Carrick Enterprises, located in bustling Glasgow, he is one of that city’s most eligible bachelors and intends to select a wife from the many young ladies paraded before him. He wants to take that next step along his self-determined path, yet no one captures his eye, nor his attention…not the way Lucilla Cynster did.
Thomas has avoided his clan’s estate because it borders Lucilla’s home, but disturbing reports from his clansmen force him to return. His uncle, the laird, is ailing, a family is desperately ill, and the healer is unconscious and dying. Duty leaves Thomas no choice but to seek help from the last woman he wants to face.
Strong-willed and passionate, Lucilla has been waiting for Thomas to return and claim his place by her side. She knows he is her fated lover, husband, protector, and mate just as she is his one true love. Though his return wasn’t on her account, Lucilla is willing to seize whatever chance Fate hands her.
Thomas can never forget Lucilla, or the connection that seethes between them, but to marry her would mean embracing a life he does not want.
Lucilla sees that Thomas has yet to accept the inevitability of their union. But how can he ignore a bond such as theirs—one so much stronger than reason? Lucilla is as determined as only a Cynster can be to fight for the future she knows can be theirs. And while she cannot command him, she has powerful enticements she’s willing to wield in the tempting of Thomas Carrick.

My rating: 4.0 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 “a book published this year” check box since it was published in February of this year. I have been eagerly awaiting this novel as it is a continuation of one of my favorite series I started reading in the last couple years, the Cynster series. This book marks the first of the Cynster Next Generation series which will chronicle the stories of the children from the characters in the past 20 books of the series. The overall Cynster family tree can be found here, Lucilla is the oldest offspring of Richard & Catriona (from book #3 in the Cynster series).
Lucilla is destined to be the next Lady of the Vale, her childhood home. This is highly unusual for this time as the estate would usually pass to the oldest son. However, this estate in particular is governed by the Lady (a deity) and so the oldest daughter of the current Lady of the Vale is to inherit the lands. Lucilla has always known this to be her destiny and saw no reason to fight against what would ultimately fulfill her purpose in life. For the past 10 years she has known that Thomas would be her consort (we saw the preview for this in By Winter’s Light) but the Lady instructed Lucilla to be patient and so she has waited and waited for Thomas to re-enter her life in a more permanent way. Circumstances throw them together at last and they team up to try and solve a mystery of sorts.
The ending leaves some issues open for me. Whatever happened to Nigel? Where did he go? I’m not sure if these are meant to remain open or if they will be addressed in Marcus’s novel (released TODAY! And FYI Marcus is Lucilla’s twin). I am very much looking forward to reading his story as the heroine was also introduced to us in this novel.
Overall I liked this book a lot. I was intrigued throughout and honestly once I started it I couldn’t seem to put it down. The ending felt a tad anti-climactic but I’m hoping that there is some follow-up in the next book. And it was a bit too steamy for me but I muddled through that part because I really loved the plot and the story. Lucilla is such a strong character and I really just adored her. It did end up being a tad bit wordy, hard to avoid at over 450 pages, but it wasn’t so wordy that I lost interest in the story, just that a couple points i was like “Alright let’s get on with it already, they both think the other is hot I get it.” Overall though I was immensely pleased at this continuation in an already very long series.

The bottom line: I would recommend this book, it was intriguing throughout. I love the Cynster series and I am excited that it is continuing with the Next Generation.

Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #3 – By Winter’s Light by Stephanie Laurens

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Title: By Winter’s Light
Author: Stephanie Laurens
Date finished: 1/14/15
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Mira
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Pages in book: 347
Stand alone or series: Series – Cynster family series Holiday special, 1st book in Cynster Next Generation series

Blurb from the cover:

It’s frosty December and six Cynster families come together at snowbound Casphairn Manor with members of their households to celebrate the season in true Cynster fashion—and where Cynsters gather, love is never far behind.
The festive occasion brings together Daniel Crosbie, tutor to Lucifer Cynster’s sons, and Claire Meadows, widow and governess to Gabriel Cynster’s daughter. Daniel and Claire have met before and the embers of an unexpected passion smolder between them.
However, Claire, once bitten, twice shy, believes a second marriage is not in her stars. Yet Daniel is determined. He’s seen the kind of love the Cynsters share, and Claire is the lady with whom he dreams of sharing his life. Assisted by a bevy of Cynsters—innate matchmakers every one—Daniel strives to persuade Claire that trusting him with her hand and her heart is her right path to happiness.
Claire is increasingly drawn to Daniel and despite her misgivings, their relationship deepens. But then catastrophe strikes, and by winter’s light, she learns that love—true love—is worth any risk, any price.

My rating: 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will count towards my “Bookish Bingo” reading challenge, marking off the “2014 Release You Missed” square. I have read all the other books in the Cynster series up to this point (many for which a review is posted on my blog, see link above) and I am very much looking forward to reading Lucilla’s story (to be released February 24). By Winter’s Light is the 23rd (technically) book in this series, with a seemingly never-ending listing of possible novels to come in the future. Laurens is just about to begin writing about the “next generation” with Lucilla’s story, and since Lucilla is one of about 70 cousins and extended cousins, we could see another 69 books from this generation (Jeez Louise that’s a lot). Anyways, its hard to keep who’s who straight sometimes. Luckily, Laurens has developed an extensive family tree that can show you all the children in each family (scroll over the couples to see the children’s names) that can help us make sense of where we are in the Cynster world.
I have to be completely honest. I went into this book expecting not to like it. I read about the whole Cynster family thus far and I’ve been so excited to get into reading about the next generation that I couldn’t help but think, who cares about the damned tutors?? But Laurens managed to surprise me yet again but making this a fun and interesting read. I found myself becoming involved in Claire’s story and rooting for her to open herself up to love. I also loved the back and forth between all the different P(s)OV. It made the overall story very well rounded and fun to see from all sides. Lucilla and Thomas’s interactions make me that much more excited to read her story on Feb 24.

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

Author website
: http://www.stephanielaurens.com/
Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Winters-Light-Cynster-Stephanie-Laurens/dp/0778317471/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1421331366&sr=8-1

2014 – Book #59

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The fifty-ninth book I read in 2014 was The Taming of Ryder Cavanaugh by Stephanie Laurens. I finished this book on 7/22/14. This is the second book in the Cynster Duo and the twentieth book in the Cynster family series. The Cynster Duo is actually a sub-series within the Cynster family series. I have read other books in the Cynster series and have many other blog posts on them (see link below). I rated this book 3.5 stars out of a scale of 5. This book tells the story of Mary Cynster and Ryder Cavanaugh.

Mary Cynster is the last unwed Cynster of her generation and as such is a great catch. The last available Cynster of her generation, she pretty much has her pick of who she’d like to marry. And her pick is not Ryder Cavanuagh, who annoys her and who she believes would be a dictator-like husband. The hilarious twists of fate though bring them together and Mary realizes that her and Ryder would actually suit, their strong personalities melding to form a powerful force.

Ryder has been looking for a woman to share his life with, a woman who will bring the broken pieces of his family together. And he knows that Mary Cynster, with her extended family and their obvious familial bond, is just the woman to help him accomplish that. But when an unknown villain starts threatening Mary’s life, Ryder knows he must do whatever it takes to save the woman he is falling in love with.

Overall this book was good and was an interesting addition to the series. Honestly as this point it is starting to get hard to get all the branches and members of the family straight because there are just so many of them. This book ends with all the Cynsters and connections gathering for a summer family picnic and the author spends like 3 pages alone just listing out all the children and who belongs to who and what not. It just gets to be a bit long. Otherwise is a good book and I look forward to hopefully seeing more books about the “Next Generation” of Cynsters from this author. Currently only one on the drawing board per her website is an in between book about the tutors of 2 of the Cynster Next Generation. I want to see Lucilla’s (future Lady of the Vale’s) story though.

Link to other reviews in the Cynster family series: https://rebeccabookreview.wordpress.com/category/book-reviews/book-series-book-reviews/cynster-family-series/

Link to author website: http://www.stephanielaurens.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Taming-Ryder-Cavanaugh-Cynster-Sisters/dp/0062068652/ref=tmm_mmp_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1406125599&sr=8-1

2014 – Book #57

Current cover of And Then She Fell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fifty-seventh book I read in 2014 was And Then She Fell by Stephanie Laurens. I finished this book on 7/5/14. This is the first book in the Cynster Duo and the nineteenth book in the Cynster family series. The Cynster Duo is actually a sub-series within the Cynster family series. I have read other books in the Cynster series and have many other blog posts on them (see link below). I rated this book 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5. This book tells the story of Henrietta Cynster and James Glossup.

After Henrietta, known to polite society as “the Matchbreaker” for her part over the years in breaking up various matches that would not suit in the long run, finds herself in a difficult position when she ends one of her brother Simon’s friend’s possible courtship. James is furious when Henrietta involves herself in his situation but when the girl he has been courting rebuffs him, he knows he needs to do something quickly. As part of his aunt’s will, he must marry within a year after her death to keep his inheritance. And with so many staff depending on him for their livelihoods, he has to find a wife and soon.

After explaining his situation to Henrietta, she starts to feel guilty for her part in his problems. She offers to help him find a suitable new bride. As they spend time together in their search though, they realize how much they care for each other and how attracted they are to each other. But when Henrietta starts being threatened by a mysterious gentleman, James begins to realize he may have to fight in order to hold on to her for long.

Overall this was not my favorite book in the Cynster series. I found it really hard to stay interested in the story. The hero and heroine were likable I just couldn’t get involved in the plot.

Link to other reviews in the Cynster family series: https://rebeccabookreview.wordpress.com/category/book-reviews/book-series-book-reviews/cynster-family-series/

Link to author website: http://www.stephanielaurens.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/And-Then-Fell-Cynster-Sisters/dp/0062068644/ref=tmm_mmp_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1404582969&sr=1-1

2014 – Book #45

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The forty-fifth book I read in 2014 was Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue by Stephanie Laurens. I finished this book on 5/30/14. This is the 16th book in the Cynster family series and the 1st book in the Cynster Sisters trilogy. The Cynster Sisters trilogy is actually a sub-series within the Cynster family series. I have read other books in the series and have many other blog posts on them. This book was actually a re-read for me since I’ve read it before. This time I rated it 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5. This book tells the story of Heather Cynster any Viscount Breckenridge. Very early in the novel, Heather is kidnapped and Breckenridge just happens to witness it. He follows the carriage that kidnapped Heather and attempts to save her. Heather has learned from her kidnappers though that they were abduct “one of the Cynster sisters” and therefore she wants to learn Moe about the reason for her abduction before she’ll allow Breckenridge to save her. Her sisters could potentially be in danger too and Heather will do anything to protect them.

When her abductors arrive with her in Gretna Green, however, Heather realizes that she can’t postpone being rescued any longer. She and Breckenridge then decide to walk to the Vale, which is apparently a three day journey. At the Vale they then spend 50-100 pages miscommunicating with one another. Which while probably realistic is incredibly drawn out for readers. The heroine in this book was the epitome of stubborn and it was very frustrating. The plot line of the beginning of this book was very interesting as we are trying to figure out why Heather was kidnapped and where they’re going and what not. But I found that I really had to push myself through the 100pages of the book whether Heather and Breckenridge are basically circling around each other, each loving the other but not wanting to be the first to admit it and not even wanting to show it first.

I love the Cynster family series, don’t get me wrong, but after the 16th one I am starting to get tired of the pattern. Each book has a very similar pattern, we have a hero and heroine each with a strong and stubborn personality, they have sex and fall on love and struggle to admit to each other that they are in love. I think that her books are great and I would highly recommend them to readers but I don’t know if I would recommend reading all 20 in the series. Maybe that’s why there aren’t many authors who write series’ with 20 books.

One thing I do want to talk a little about is the mention of Gretna Green. This comes up in a lot of historical romance novels. It is a place just over the border of Scotland (from England) where couples in love could run away to get married. This is swell known by the heroine in the book and what leads her to allowing Breckenridge to rescue her so she can avoid being married to the mysterious laird who had her abducted. This apparently was because of a law that was enacted in England in 1754 allowing the guardian of a person under the age of 21 to prevent marriages simply by rejecting the match. According to Wikipedia, in Scotland the age of consent for boys was only 14 and for girls only 12.

Link to Wikipedia website on Gretna Green: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gretna_Green

Link to author website: http://www.stephanielaurens.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Viscount-Breckenridge-Rescue-Cynster-Sisters/dp/0062068601/ref=tmm_mmp_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1401501271&sr=1-1

2014 – Book #40

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The fortieth book I read in 2014 was Temptation and Surrender by Stephanie Laurens. I finished this book on 5/21/14. This is the 15th book in the Cynster family series by this author. Previous books in the series were discussed in earlier blog posts this year, specifically 2014 – Book #23, 2014 – Book #21, 2014 – Book #13, 2014 – Book #12, 2014 – Book #10, 2014 – Book #6, and 2014 – Book #4 (I know that’s quite a few!). I rated this book 3.5 stars out of a scale of 5. This book tells that story of Jonas Tallent and Emily Colyton. Jonas is the brother of Phyllida, who married Lucifer (Alasdair) Cynster in the 6th book in the series, All About Love. As I’ve said in previous posts about this series, I like meeting the characters in previous books and then seeing them and learning about their characters further when they feature in their own books.

Emily is willing to do whatever is necessary to get herself and her siblings out of their horrible Uncle’s house, even if that means taking a position as an innkeeper to earn money to support her family. So they take up residence in the town of Colyton, hoping to find a treasure that their ancestors supposedly left behind for future generations while Emily also manages the inn. Jonas Tallent’s father owns the inn that Emily now manages, giving him a perfectly good excuse to talk to her whenever he wishes. Their relationship develops and Jonas realizes that he wants to protect Emily and take care of her for the rest of her life, which is nice.

I thought this book was ok. I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I have in previous books by this author but the plot was interesting enough and the main characters seemed like decent people. The hero was a little too pushy for my taste but he was a nice enough guy. I felt like the ending was a bit of a stretch, the villain’s identity I saw coming in a sense but the explanation behind it was weak and not well developed through the rest of the story I thought. Overall this wasn’t my favorite book by this author but was a decent addition to the series.

Link to author website: http://www.stephanielaurens.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Temptation-Surrender-Cynster-Stephanie-Laurens-ebook/dp/B001NLL932/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1400770991&sr=8-1&keywords=temptation+and+surrender

Link to first blog post in 2014 about Cynster family series (includes family tree picture): https://rebeccabookreview.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/2014-book-4/

2014 – Book #23

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The twenty-third book I finished in 2014 was The Taste of Innocence by Stephanie Laurens. I finished this book on 4/4/14. This is the 14th book in the Cynster family series by Laurens. Previous books in the series were discussed in earlier blog posts this year, specifically 2014 – Book #21, 2014 – Book #13, 2014 – Book #12, 2014 – Book #10, 2014 – Book #6, and 2014 – Book #4. I rated this book 3.25 stars out of a scale of 5. This book tells the story of Charlie Morwellan, brother to Alathea Morwellan from book #5 in the Cynster series. Charlie has decided that it is time for him to marry and he plans to go about it in the least passionate way possible. In his mind, passion leads only to distraction and will only harm him in the long run. Charlie believes that he needs to stay focused on the earldom and protecting his legacy.

So he decides to offer for the hand of his neighbor’s daughter, 23-year old Sarah Conningham. They have known each other their whole lives and Charlie believes they would be a good match. What Charlie doesn’t expect is to quickly become addicted to her kisses, addicted to what he believes is the taste of innocence but is in reality his addiction to Sarah herself.

I found this book a little difficult. Charlie is cold and unfeeling to Sarah for part of the story where he has to come to terms with his feelings. And while he does eventually come around, it was painful in parts to read. The back story was intriguing though. Sarah becomes the target of a villain who wants to own the orphanage she oversees and when she refuses to sell he basically tries to kill her so that he can buy it from Charlie.

While this was a good book it wasn’t my favorite in the series. Good addition to the series though and many of the previous characters were included in this story as well, which was interesting.

Link to author website: http://www.stephanielaurens.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Taste-Innocence-Cynster-Novels/dp/0060840870/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1396888358&sr=8-1&keywords=the+taste+of+innocence

2014 – Book #21

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The twenty-first book I finished in 2014 was What Price Love? by Stephanie Laurens. I finished this book on 3/30/14. This is the 13th book in the Cynster family series by Laurens. Previous books in the series were discussed in earlier blog posts this year, specifically 2014 – Book #13, 2014 – Book #12, 2014 – Book #10, 2014 – Book #6, and 2014 – Book #4. I’ve rated this book 3.5 stars out of a scale of 5. This book tells the story of Dillon Caxton, cousin of Felicity (Flick) who was the heroine in Cynster book #4 A Rogue’s Proposal. Dillon was still a young man in Flick’s story, but in What Price Love? he has grown into a responsible and trustworthy man. Priscilla Dalloway is trying to help her twin brother escape from the serious predicament he is currently in, and in the process she must obtain the Dillon’s help.

Since his part in Flick’s story, Dillon has redeemed himself in the eyes of his family and has proven himself to be trustworthy. Now the Keeper of the Registry, he holds the one thing that Priscilla believes will help her brother. As she attempts to flirt her way into getting Dillon to do her bidding, Dillon finds himself not only curious and suspicious about her motives but also drawn to her personality and her courage. When she finally entrusts him with her brother’s secret, he devises a plan to help her brother and also to put a stop to the villain’s evil plan. What Dillon doesn’t plan for, however, is her stubborn nature getting in the way of them getting married.

Dillon ends up having to fight for his lady’s hand for about the last 100 pages of the book, fighting the whole time only against the lady herself. This was one of the only things I found frustrating about this story is that Priscilla for some reason failed to ever see how much she meant to Dillon. I understand that at first she might have been hesitant but based on their interactions and how close they were, I find it hard to believe she could be that obtuse and not see that Dillon truly cared for her.

Overall though this was a very good book, especially exciting towards the middle when the villain’s plan fails. I also liked seeing Dillon return for his own story and seeing how much he matured between Flick’s story and his own. Great addition to the series!

Link to author website: http://www.stephanielaurens.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/What-Price-Love-Cynster-Novels/dp/0060840854/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1396205336&sr=1-1&keywords=what+price+love

2014 – Book #13

ImageThe thirteenth book I finished in 2014 was The Truth About Love by Stephanie Laurens. I finished this book on 3/9/14. This is the 12th book in the Cynster family series which I’ve discussed in previous blog posts. I rated this book 4 stars out of a scale of 5.

This story is about Gerrard Debbington (brother of Patience from the 2nd book in the Cynster family series). One of the things that I love about the Cynster family series is that characters can be introduced far before they star in their own novel. When we were first introduced to Gerrard (in A Rake’s Vow, the story of Vane and Patience), Gerrard assisted Vane in discovering who was stealing items from his aunt’s house party guests. Gerrard was charming and still then a boy and it was hard not to see his devotion to his sister Patience. Now starring in his own novel, Gerrard is a well-respected painter and the uncle to Patience and Vane’s 4 children. Gerrard is commissioned to paint a  portrait of Lord Tregonning’s daughter. At first he refuses, but Tregonning’s promise to give him access to his famous gardens are too tempting an offer for his painter’s soul to refuse.

Upon arriving at Hellebore Hall however, he discovers that this is not to be any ordinary portrait. Lord Tregonning’s daughter, Jacqueline, has been accused of murdering her mother and the portrait has been commissioned in the hope that in it her father would see the truth of either her guilt or innocence. As Gerrard gets to know Jacqueline, at first in order to portray her accurately and then because he can not resist her, he realizes that the real murderer is still among them. He enlists the help of his friend, Barnaby Adair (a character discussed in my earlier blog post “2014 – Book #10”) to help him solve the mystery.

One of the things that I enjoyed most about this novel was the gardens of Hellebore Hall. The gardens are well known and are extensive. There are multiple sections to the gardens, each one portraying a different Greek or Roman god. The description of the gardens was riveting, I would have loved to see such a garden in real life. The author drew up a rough sketch of the garden’s outline so reader’s can easily follow the discussions of the gardens throughout the book.

ImageThe plot was very well-paced and I was riveted throughout. Overall this was an excellent book and I would recommend to any reader!

Link to author website: http://www.stephanielaurens.com

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Truth-About-Love-Cynster-Novels/dp/0060505761/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1394403365&sr=8-3&keywords=the+truth+about+love