Reader’s Edyn

I always felt like I could do something more than just read. Finally, I have found both a creative outlet and a chance to do something meaningful with my reading. This blog was created in appreciation of and tribute to all of the authors who have brought me joy through their books. These reviews are my way of giving back to authors and providing recognition for the hard work that each one completes every day!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Review: The Wicked House of Rohan by Anne Stuart (The House of Rohan Prequel)

Title: The Wicked House Of Rohan
        (The House of Rohan Trilogy Prequel)
Author: Anne Stuart
Release Date: July 1, 2010
Publisher: MIRA
Category: Historical Erotic Romance
Type: Digital, Audio, CD


Desperate, starving, Kathleen Strong makes her way to a job interview that promises a chance at proper employment...and maybe a bite to eat. Accused of "gross immorality," she's adrift after being dismissed from her governess position, despite being entirely innocent.

That innocence is precisely what a mysterious group of debauched aristocrats finds so alluring about Miss Strong. When they propose a scandalous offer that she can't refuse...she can't refuse. But if the darkly gallant Alistair Rohan, a gentleman involved in all manner of wicked deeds himself, has anything to say about it, Kathleen can escape her disrepute in another way.

Of course, the escape route looks very similar to the group's illicit proposition itself...

Excerpt:             (from the kindle version)

By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age.
If you are under the age of 18, please exit this site.

1740, Venice
Miss Kathleen Strong was so hungry she could have eaten three of the pigeons that normally fluttered through St. Mark's Square, raw. The only problem being that they were wily little creatures, and every time she got close they flapped away, knowing that a scarecrow like her wouldn't be providing bread crumbs.
But today it was pouring rain. There were no tourists. The pigeons had deserted the place.
Still, she could be glad of the rain. It kept her awake and alert enough to make her appointment with Sir Wesley Marblethorpe. She hadn't had a bed in two days, and sleeping in an alleyway had its drawbacks, like rats and other nighttime predators. She had no weapon apart from a particularly nasty hairpin about six inches long, fairly suitable for jabbing a miscreant in the eye. She was long past being squeamish.
She was reasonably clean, thanks to the presence of water everywhere. Her serviceable gray dress was stained, to be sure, but she'd gotten most of the darker spots out, and she'd even managed to plait her hair in severe braids, affixing them to the base of her neck with the hairpin cum Excalibur. She knew that Sir Wesley would see her just as she was, a proper British governess, down on her luck, admittedly, but starched and proper enough; presuming he didn't look too closely, she would qualify for whatever form of employment Sir Wesley was offering.
If she got the job she might even have enough nerve to request an advance on her salary and she could liberate her meager belongings from Signora Montalba, the beady-eyed landlady who'd kicked her out two days ago. The very idea of asking such a boon made her shrink with shame, but her last meal had been a withered apple, and that was a day and a half ago. If she didn't get something to eat soon she was going to end up facedown in the Grand Canal.
Palazzo del Zaglia was up ahead, on one of the less busy campos. There were none of Venice's omnipresent cats around, and Kathleen wondered idly if she'd ever eat one. Probably not. She liked cats.
In truth, there was no way to tell for sure if this large, crumbling building was indeed Palazzo del Zaglia. She should have approached it from the water side, but she hadn't enough money for a gondola.
She would just have to hope for the best. The steady beat of the rain had turned her bonnet into a sodden mass that hung limply around her face, and her hair was plastered to her head beneath it. She would look unprepossessing indeed, but the advertisement said Sir Wesley was quite desperate. As was she. Surely a match made in heaven.
She climbed the cracked stone steps to the intimidating door and pulled the bell. Next she'd have to face a superior servant, who might just send her off with a flea in her ear. She had no idea what she'd do in that case.
But the man who opened the door was a far cry from a servant. A bit on the short side, with a little too much paunch and a simple bag wig set askew on a balding pate, he wore a well-trimmed goatee and had the smallest, meanest eyes she'd ever seen.
"Miss Strong?" He had a high-pitched, almost effeminate voice. "Miss Kathleen Strong?"
She wondered if she was supposed to curtsy. If she tried she might very well pass out at his feet, which would hardly improve matters. She managed a slight dip. "Sir Wesley?" she said hopefully.
"Indeed. But my poor Miss Strong, you're soaked! Please come in out of the rain and dry off. My friends won't mind waiting."
"Your friends?" she said doubtfully, relinquishing her bonnet and reticule into the hands of the supercilious servant she'd been expecting.
"Marcello, please take Miss Strong into the dining room or whatever the hell Alistair is calling it. Miss Strong, I'll be joining you in a moment."
Her brain hadn't melted in the Venetian rain, even if it felt like it. She knew, immediately, that this was not the kind of employment she was seeking. She should say she'd made a mistake, turn and get out of there as fast as she possibly could.
But where could she go?
Sir Wesley must have read the indecision on her face, and he smiled winningly, like a chubby, naughty little boy intent on mischief.
She'd dealt with naughty little boys and she knew just how to handle them. The grown version couldn't be so different.


Kathleen is unemployed. Thrown out of her governess job for being immoral, she is currently living on the streets and desperate for work. I am not entirely sure just how she finds out about an available job position she is to interview for – somehow I lost that detail. But she shows up and finds out that the position is basically to do what already lost her previous employment. Did that make sense? She is to participate in a ceremony of sorts that would end her virginity … which everyone believes is gone anyway. She may have lost her job based on lies, but with everyone believing she is now soiled, why not hear these men out? Rather a crude fate if you ask me. But innocence is what they are after, and innocence is about all that Kathleen has left.

Alistair, I believe, is just plain bored. One drunken night, he and his cronies devised a new order – The House of Rohan and someone came up with a hair-brained scheme that in order to begin this new group, one virgin must have sex with one member of the new found “society” while the others look on. I mean who comes up with this junk? But it makes for a wicked little story. A renowned rake, Alistair is nominated by the group (all too eager to see the master at work) to be “the one” who woos Kathleen before the group. Kathleen nips that in the bud right quick. She knows Alistair. He was, at one time, the object of her greatest desires and so she refuses to allow him to be the one to deflower her. Except the dense man does not seem to recognize her even a little … or does he?

So I wasn’t too sure about this story, but I went ahead and read it anyway. I have to tell you, Ms. Stuart sucked me in from the very beginning. The descriptions were very real to me and I found myself intrigued from beginning to end. I would most definitely love to read a full length novel from this author. If this is merely a snippet of what she is capable of, then she has the potential to become one of my “go-to” authors. My only issue is that everything was going very well and then all of a sudden … BOOM … over! The story came to a quick little ending with so much occurring in the space of a few pages, you have to wonder if Ms. Stuart was dead set on a specific number of pages and ended up cramming it all in. She could easily have turned this into a much longer book – possibly even a full length book. I do know that this is the beginning of a series, but I am not confident that Kathleen and Alistair are revisited. I would hope so, but it looks to be stories about the rest of the debauched members of this errr … elite group. In any case, I saw many components within this story that makes me believe I would enjoy further reading of Ms. Stuart’s books. If you enjoy erotic historical romance, you can bet you will most likely enjoy this author.

Kindle version purchased for personal library

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Review: Marooned In Miami by Sandra Bunino

Title: Marooned In Miami
        (Re-released as Marooned with the Millionaire
              April 8, 2013 with Evernight Publishing)
Author: Sandra Bunino
Release Date: January 1, 2012
Publisher: Zeb Bradley
Category: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Type: Digital


A fierce Miami storm bring sexy strangers together at The Hotel Del Santos for a night of desire.

Stephanie, still reeling from a failed marriage, needs a break from the past. Shying away from the convention center crowds while on a business trip, she finds solace tucked away in a secluded hotel on South Beach.

Jason, a wealthy Seattle builder, has the worst luck with love. He swears he will never allow another woman to get under his skin, until the clicking of a pair of sexy stilettos across the hotel lobby floor attracts his attention.

Cut off from the outside world, the lives of these two strangers collide and burn with desire when a storm strands them together. Neither wants anything more than a glorious one-night stand.

Their chemistry is undeniable and propels them to a second meeting in Sin City. However, Stephanie soon learns she has more reason to be wary of her mysterious lover than a broken heart.

Excerpt:             (from the Evernight website)

By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age.
If you are under the age of 18, please exit this site.

Las Vegas. Sin City. A place known for glitz, glamour, excitement and fantasy. It was a premier adult playground where one could pretend to be anything or anyone because “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”
Jason held her hand and gestured toward the lobby with his other. People stared as he escorted her through the hotel to the waiting limousine. By herself, she was exposed and vulnerable, but at Jason’s side she was strong and empowered. Yes. She was in Sin City and Stephanie was going to play the part and enjoy every minute.
“Where are we going?” she asked, sliding into the limo.
“One of my favorite restaurants and I have a surprise for you after dinner.”
“I love surprises, and I have one for you too.” Stephanie leaned over and brushed her lips against his. Her fingertips grazed his thigh and traveled slowly up his leg. A strong hand encircled her wrist at the same time a low growl emanated from his mouth. Her eyes popped open and locked on his darkened stare. The intensity took her breath away.
He leaned over and whispered in her ear. “It’s taking all of my self-control not to take you right here in the back of the limo.”
“What’s stopping you?” she whispered back.
“Damn, we are going to have a fun five days together,” he said in a husky voice, raising his eyebrow.
Stephanie giggled and shifted in her seat as Jason loosened his grip on her wrist and interlaced his fingers with hers. They sat in silence for the rest of the short ride. The limousine turned at the François Hotel and Casino and came to a stop at the private entrance to Le Cote Noir.
The tinkling of piano keys, flickering candlelight and the deep shades of red took over Stephanie’s senses like a soft warm blanket as they walked into the restaurant. “Mr. Royce, it’s so good to see you this evening. Right this way.”
The maître d swiftly escorted them to a secluded table next to floor to ceiling windows overlooking the spectacular view of The Strip.
“I know I said it before, but I’m glad you took me up on my offer and arrived early. We have a lot of time to make up.”
“Speaking of offers, Jason. The clothes, the jewelry, you know I can’t accept any of it.”
Jason reached across table and took her hand in his. “You think too much. Just allow me to take care of you for a few days. Relax and let go, we’ll figure out everything else later.”
Stephanie opened her mouth to speak, but then closed it. She knew it was a losing battle to spar with Jason about his gifts. At that moment the only thing that mattered was that she was with him. It was enough for her. Yes, we will figure the rest out later.
“Are you ready for surprise number one?” Jason asked as the server removed their dinner plates.
He rose and walked to her side of the table. She closed her eyes as a finger grazed the nape of her neck before he pulled her chair out and took her arm in his. She trembled in response to his sizzling touch on her bare back as he lead her through the doorway to the outside terrace. The maître d handed Jason and Stephanie each a glass of port as they walked onto an outdoor patio that jutted over the edge of the building. A cool breeze blew through her hair but she was instantly warmed by a sip of the rich liquid.
“It’s beautiful. I’ve seen the fountains at street level before but never this high up,” Stephanie said, walking up to the railing. She couldn’t actually hear the activity on the busy boulevard from their location high above The Strip, but the intensity in the air was evident. She gazed down at the famous fountains of The Castillo Hotel & Casino.
Jason took the port from her hand and placed the glasses on a nearby table. Stephanie instinctively leaned into the warmth of his palm on the bare small of her back. A sigh escaped her lips as his hand slipped inside the fabric of her dress and ventured lower until his fingertips brushed the top of her ass. The lights on the terrace dimmed and music began to play. A flash of light from the water below signaled a single long spray from the middle of the lake. It multiplied and set off a continuous line of water in the air that moved forward and back with the music. As the water danced in the air, the music’s volume increased. Stephanie placed both hands on the railing. He moved behind her and ran his fingers up the planes of her back and down both of her arms. Continuing his assault of warm kisses down her neck and between her shoulder blades, the tip of his tongue followed the trail back up her neck and stopped at her ear. Stephanie gasped and leaned into his body for support. His arms provided the stability she needed to remain standing.
“My self-control is giving out,” Jason whispered in her ear as his hand inched upward taking her dress hem along with it. Stephanie felt the evidence of his arousal pressing firmly against her back. She tilted her head up to meet his gaze.
“Let’s go,” she said with a coy smile.


Jason is jaded. A millionaire, he has been very successful in business and recently broke off an engagement after finding his fiancé in bed with the personal trainer. He has sworn off women with long-term goals, believing they are all after his money and nothing more, so he goes after short romps and one-night stands. When he sees Stephanie in the lobby of the hotel, he is immediately drawn to her and when the elevator gets stuck during a tropical storm, he knows he wants more – a night of sexual release.

Stephanie is just finalizing her divorce after finding out her husband had been having an affair. While she is resolved to the split, she still wears her wedding ring to discourage men. SH travels a lot for work (a pharmaceutical company) and doesn’t want to deal with any messy romances while on the job. She feels attraction to Jason as soon as she meets him, but isn’t initially entertaining a hook up … until she does. The impending storm is the perfect back drop for a one-night stand. And why not? She isn’t married and this won’t be messy at all.

Meh. **PARTIAL SPOILERS* I really didn’t care for these characters. The cliché millionaire who solves every issue and always gets what he wants because money talks and he can set whatever mood he wishes in the middle of a tropical storm – because that’s so likely. The characters had absolutely no depth. I really disliked that Stephanie told Jason she was still married and still he pushed the issue and ultimately participated in an affair with a married woman while Stephanie participated in the charade (whether actually married or not). No reason for her not to come clean after they had done the nasty. Then her Ex shows up and … Well, I still can’t figure out exactly why that happened. There was absolutely no point in that happening. So later they figure out a time to hook up again and VIOLA! Jason just so happens to know exactly al of her likes and dislikes as well as clothing sizes – because everyone figures all of that out after one night with a complete stranger. Guess I will assume money talks again and allows every bit of information he desires to appear at his fingertips. And he knows she lied about being married. For a guy who is jaded, he should be a lot more mistrusting. My other problem was that I did not realize this was a continuing series. So their one-night stand is basically the first book and the second hook up is the second book. Don’t know that this was necessary, but for some reason the author thought it was. And there was absolutely zero conflict! None! I guess, in my way of thinking, if you are going to go for a common storyline, you better make your story shine in some way. Otherwise it is just a knock off of a junk story with no substance. There was absolutely nothing in this story that made me like the characters, connect with the characters on any level, or have an iota of wanting to read the next book. The only prop I can give is that Stephanie felt a little uncomfortable with all of the extravagant gifts that her room is loaded with. Jason has presence of mind to tell her they are on loan so not to worry. But I’d be a little creeped out that he stocked an entire villa with everything she loved including and right down to her preferred brand of toiletries. Can we say stalker? Caught a few typos as well. 

Now, I will say that what I read was the first release of this book and that it doesn’t even come up on Amazon anymore even though it is still present in my Kindle. Evernight Publishing picked the book up in 2013 for a re-release. According to the publisher, the book was changed and lengthened a bit. I would hope that it is a better version, but I’m not inclined to buy the new version to find out. Also, the excerpt that I found on the Evernight site is in no way included in the version of the book that I read. But it also takes place after where the initial book cuts off, so it could simply be the “extended” part I mentioned. So take it for what it is worth, but the first release isn’t worth your time.

Note: The author website included in the review appears to be under construction. I was unable to find any information on it, but included it in case it gets fixed and someone decides to visit it.

Kindle version purchased for personal library