Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas (audiobook) – Narrated by Beverley A. Crick

This title may be downloaded from Audible via Amazon

She was unmarried, untouched, and almost 30, but novelist Amanda Briars wasn’t about to greet her next birthday without making love to a man. When he appeared at her door, she believed he was her gift to herself, hired for one night of passion. Unforgettably handsome, irresistibly virile, he tempted her in ways she never thought possible . . . but something stopped him from completely fulfilling her dream.

Jack Delvin’s determination to possess Amanda became greater when she discovered his true identity. But gently-bred Amanda craved respectability more than she admitted, while Jack, the cast-off son of a nobleman and London’s most notorious businessman, refused to live by society’s rules. Yet when fate conspired for them to marry, their worlds collided with a passionate force neither had expected . . . but both soon craved.

Rating: Narration – A- : Content – A-

I was really pleased to see that some of Lisa Kleypas’ older, previously un-recorded/out of print titles are making their way into audio format, and even moreso when Suddenly You popped up at Audible with Beverley A. Crick as the narrator. (I’m not so pleased that Tantor’s next foray into Ms. Kleypas’ backlist, Someone to Watch Over Me, uses one of the worst narrators I’ve ever heard, but that’s another story!)

Suddenly You was originally published in 2001, and it’s easy to understand why it’s such a firm favourite with many. It’s got a higher steam-quotient than some of the author’s other books dating from this period, but the thing I most enjoyed about it was the way in which the hero is so completely smitten with the heroine from the outset and is wonderfully supportive and encouraging of her throughout.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.

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My Once and Future Duke (Wagers of Sin #1) by Caroline Linden (audiobook) – Narrated by Beverley A. Crick

This title may be downloaded from Audible via Amazon

What happens at the infamous Vega Club…

Sophie Campbell is determined to be mistress of her own fate. Surviving on her skill at cards, she never risks what she can’t afford to lose. Yet when the Duke of Ware proposes a scandalous wager that’s too extravagant to refuse, she can’t resist. If she wins, she’ll get 5,000 pounds, enough to secure her independence forever.

Stays at the Vega Club…

Jack Lindeville, Duke of Ware, tells himself he’s at the Vega Club merely to save his reckless brother from losing everything, but he knows it’s a lie. He can’t keep his eyes off Sophie, and to get her he breaks his ironclad rule against gambling. If he wins, he wants her – for a week.

Until now.

A week with Jack could ruin what’s left of Sophie’s reputation. It might even cost her her heart. But when it comes to love, all bets are off….

Rating: Narration – A- : Content – A-

Better late than never, so they say, and I’m pleased to agree with that when it comes to the release of this first book in Caroline Linden’s Wagers of Sin series. My Once and Future Duke was released in print at the end of February and I’m happy to report that the audio version – narrated by the ever-reliable Beverley A. Crick – was worth the wait.

In the prologue, we’re introduced to the three heroines of the series – Sophie, Eliza and Georgiana – when Sophie is sent to school by her grandfather, Viscount Makepeace, who wants nothing to do with her. He disowned Sophie’s father when he married an opera singer, and Sophie has lived all her life abroad as the family travelled frequently to her mother’s engagements. When her voice began to fail, Sophie’s father did what he could to support his family by gambling; having some knowledge of mathematics, probabilities and odds, he didn’t do too badly and Sophie learned many card games from him – and from the lads in the stables, she learned dicing, how to calculate odds, when to be cautious and when to take a risk. Sophie’s parents died when she was twelve and she was left to the care of the viscount, who made it clear that his financial support would stop when she was eighteen, so she has devised a plan which will secure her future – but it’s risky and means she will have to live on the edge of respectability.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.

Chasing the Other Tisdale (Regency Blooms #3) by Jessica Jefferson (audiobook) – Narrated by Beverley A. Crick

This title may be downloaded from Audible via Amazon

She’s the other sister…

Overshadowed by the beauty of her older sister, Lillian is better known as the other Tisdale: unremarkable and unsure how she will ever deliver on the promise of her family’s name.

He’s a rake in need of reforming…

Will Colton leads a frivolous existence, embracing notoriety instead of managing his family’s fortune. Determined to forget his financial burden and his father’s growing resentment, he maintains a lifestyle dedicated to pleasure and self-indulgence. When Will is invited to the Tisdale estate for an extended holiday, he never expects to become friends with the forgettable Lillian.

But when a family secret comes to light, he must choose between leaving London and protecting the honor of one woman or staying and risking the reputation of another. Upon his return, Will finds the girl he left behind has come out of the shadows and into her own. Lillian’s finally the center of attention, and not all of it good. With his own reputation in tatters, can a reformed rake lure her out of the hands of London’s bachelors and back into his own arms? Can he escape his past and reclaim her heart, or has he lost her forever?

Rating: Narration – B+: Content – C+

Jessica Jefferson is an author I’ve been aware of for a while and isn’t one I’ve either read or listened to before, but seeing Beverley A. Crick’s name listed as the narrator for her Regency Blooms series gave me a good reason to pick up one of her books. While I have some quibbles about the pacing and some aspects of the writing, Chasing the Other Tisdale was an enjoyable, if somewhat predictable, listen.

Lillian – Lilly – Tisdale is the second of four daughters (all named after flora and fauna; Ambrosia, Tamsin and Rose are the others) and is often referred to as “the other Tisdale”, overshadowed by the remarkable beauty and popularity of her older sister. When we first meet her, she is just seventeen; awkward, a little dumpy, a little spotty and not at all confident in herself. She falls in love-at-first-sight with her brother’s friend, the handsome, charming, man-about-town, Will Colton, when she almost literally falls from a tree into his lap. The two strike up an unlikely friendship which continues after Will returns to London and they start writing to each other on a regular basis. The letters themselves are fairly disappointing in content; I’d hoped we would hear more of the couple falling for each other through their correspondence, but that doesn’t really happen. It’s clear, however, that Lilly is in love with Will while he doesn’t quite understand, at this juncture, exactly why Lilly’s letters mean so much to him.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.

Bedchamber Games (Rakes of Cavendish Square #3) by Tracy Anne Warren (audiobook) – Narrated by Beverley A. Crick

This title may be purchased from Amazon

Rosamund Carrow has spent years learning the law by assisting her barrister father, despite the frustrating truth that the profession is closed to women. When he dies unexpectedly, necessity compels her to disguise herself as a man so she can step into the courtroom to finish his cases. She’s willing to put her reputation at risk, but she never expects that the greatest peril will be to her heart…

Lord Lawrence Byron is a rising star in London’s legal circles, despite his reputation as an unrepentant rakehell. When an upstart young barrister defeats him in court, he’s determined to discover everything he can about his rival. He’s stunned when he uncovers the shocking secret that his new opponent is actually a beguiling, brilliant woman… one he can’t help but want in his bed. Passion draws them together as they break all the rules, but it may lead to something more lasting – like love…

Rating: Narration – A-; Content – B-

I’ve enjoyed the three stories that comprise Tracy Anne Warren’s Rakes of Cavendish Square trilogy in both print and audio – with the exception of the audiobook version of Happily Bedded Bliss (book two) which is the only narration to which I’ve ever awarded an F grade. I was glad, therefore, that Tantor Audio engaged Beverley A. Crick to narrate this last instalment, Bedchamber Games, which tells the story of the one remaining unmarried Byron sibling, Lord Lawrence, who, although the brother of a duke, has built himself a career and sterling reputation as a barrister.

Lawrence is at the top of his profession, known to possess one of the keenest legal minds around, and his reputation for winning his cases is pretty much second to none. So it comes as a bit of a shock one day when he is bested in court by a young barrister, new to London, named Ross Carrow. But Lawrence is gracious in defeat, acknowledging that his opponent’s carefully reasoned arguments carried the day, and invites Mr. Carrow to have a drink with him at his club the following evening.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.

Ready Set Rogue (Studies in Scandal #1) by Manda Collins (audiobook) – Narrated by Beverly A. Crick

This title may be downloaded from Audible.

WHO WILL WRITE THE BOOK OF LOVE?

When scholarly Miss Ivy Wareham receives word that she’s one of four young ladies who have inherited Lady Celeste Beauchamp’s estate with a magnificent private library, she packs her trunks straightaway. Unfortunately, Lady Celeste’s nephew, the rakish Quill Beauchamp, Marquess of Kerr, is determined to interrupt her studies one way or another…

Bequeathing Beauchamp House to four bluestockings—no matter how lovely they are to look at—is a travesty, and Quill simply won’t have it. But Lady Celeste’s death is not quite as straightforward as it first seemed…and if Quill hopes to solve the mystery behind her demise, he’ll need Ivy’s help. Along the way, he is surprised to learn that bookish Ivy stirs a passion and longing that he has never known. This rogue believes he’s finally met his match—but can Quill convince clever, skeptical Ivy that his love is no fiction?

Rating: Narration – A-; Content: C+

Ready Set Rogue is the first book in Manda Collins’ new Studies in Scandal series, which features four young ladies – all known as bluestockings – who unexpectedly inherit a country estate. Lady Celeste Beauchamp, a lady of some erudition, wished to enable the women to pursue their studies unencumbered by the responsibilities they all bear towards their families and bequeathed them her home – complete with its marvellous library and collections of artefacts – for the period of one year, at the end of which one of them will inherit outright.

Needless to say, Lady Celeste’s closest relative, her nephew, Torquil, the Marquess of Kerr, is not at all pleased at the prospect of the property going out of the family, and he is determined to find a way to counter his aunt’s instructions. To this end, he travels to Beauchamp House in order to confront the women and get rid of them if he can, and is frustrated when bad weather interrupts his journey and means he is stranded for longer than he would like at a coaching inn en route. While there, he comes to the aid of an attractive young woman who is being accosted by a ruffian in one of the public rooms. He assumes, given her drab clothing and the fact she is travelling with several trunks full of books, that she must be a governess, so discovering she is actually one of the scheming women he has set out to thwart does nothing to improve his mood.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.

The Danger of Desire (Sinful Suitors #3) by Sabrina Jeffries (audiobook) – Narrated by Beverley A. Crick

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This title is available to download from Audible.

To root out the card cheat responsible for her brother’s death, Miss Delia Trevor spends her evenings dancing her way through high society balls, and her late nights disguised as a young man gambling her way through London’s gaming hells. Then one night, handsome Warren Corry, the Marquess of Knightford, a notorious member of St. George’s Club, recognizes her. When he threatens to reveal her secret, she’s determined to keep him from ruining her plans, even if it means playing a cat-and-mouse game with the enigmatic rakehell.

Warren knows the danger of her game, and he refuses to watch her lose everything while gaining justice for her late brother. But when she starts to delve beneath his carefully crafted facade, can he keep her at arm’s length while still protecting her? Or will their hot desires explode into a love that transcends the secrets of their pasts?

Rating: Narration – A-; Content – B

The Danger of Desire is the third in Sabrina Jeffries’ current Sinful Suitors series, and while not as strong as the previous book (The Study of Seduction), it’s nonetheless an enjoyable and sensual tale of an unlikely couple struggling to keep their secrets in the face of an unexpected and almost overwhelming attraction.

Warren Corry, the Marquess of Knightford is widely known to be a rogue of the first order. His reputation as a womaniser is well-deserved, and he is usually to be found traipsing around the stews of London every night, patronising the brothels and drinking establishments until the early hours. He’s also cousin to Clarissa, Countess of Blakeborough and, like her husband, Edwin, is a member of the St. George’s Club, a gentlemen’s club much like all the others, except that its members have banded together with the aim of protecting their female relatives from fortune hunters and other unscrupulous men. When Clarissa asks Warren to ask around about her friend, Miss Delia Trevor, he initially suspects her of matchmaking. But when she explains that Delia has been behaving oddly of late, Warren realises Clarissa’s request originates from concern for her friend and agrees to see what he can find out.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.

My Fair Princess (Improper Princesses #1) by Vanessa Kelly (audiobook) – Narrated by Beverley A. Crick

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Despite being the illegitimate daughter of a prince, Gillian Dryden is happily ignorant of all social graces. After growing up wild in Italy, Gillian has been ordered home to England to find a suitable husband. And Charles Valentine Penley, the excessively proper, distractingly handsome Duke of Leverton, has agreed to help transform her from a willful tomboy to a blushing debutante.

Powerful and sophisticated, Charles can make or break reputations with a well-placed word. But his new protégée, with her habit of hunting bandits and punching earls, is a walking scandal. The town is aghast, but Charles is thoroughly intrigued. Tasked with taking the hoyden in hand, he longs to take her in his arms instead. Can such an outrageous attraction possibly lead to a fairy tale ending?

Rating: Narration – A-; Content – B-

My Fair Princess is the first book in Vanessa Kelly’s new Improper Princesses series, which is a spin-off of her previous one, Renegade Royals. Just as the heroes of those books were all illegitimate sons of various Royal Dukes (they were a promiscuous lot!), the heroines of these are the illegitimate daughters of various Royal Dukes. It should be noted that George III and Queen Charlotte had seven adult sons, most of whom liked to put it about more than a bit, so this handful of wrong-side-of-the-blanket offspring is most certainly within the bounds of possibility 😉

The illegitimate daughter of the Duke of Cumberland, Gillian Dryden has lived for most of her life in Sicily with her mother and step-father, to whom she became very close. Gillian was heartbroken when he was murdered by bandits, and swore to hunt them down and kill them. She is making good on her vow, but when her latest escapade doesn’t go according to plan, there is no alternative but for Gillian and her mother to leave Sicily immediately, which they do with the help of her half-brother (another royal by-blow) Griffin Steele.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.