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Ratings and Book Reviews (15 29 star ratings
15 reviews
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4.4 out of 5
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    Misunderstanding Leads To A Second Chance

    General Mark Grimaldi is a determined man. At 34 he is already a general and a spymaster for the army. In A Duke Like No Other Mark is about to get his dream promotion and become the Home Secretary. He has spent years in the army and growing his spy network. The position of Home Secretary will mean that he can finally make some real change and create the police force he believes that the country really needs. The only thing standing in his way is a wife. Lord Tottenham, who runs the Home Office, doesn’t want a single man in the position. Which is not a problem in as far as Mark is already married. The problem stems from the fact that she doesn’t live with him, she doesn’t even live in the same country. And Mark isn’t sure he can get his wife to come home. Nicole has been living in France these last 10 years. Ever since they became estranged she has been keeping her distance as best she can. When Mark comes to France asking for her help, Nicole thinks this might be her opportunity. Marc wants something, and if he wants to get it he’s going to have to give up something in return. Misunderstanding Leads To A Second Chance Normally I hate stories where the problems all arise from a stupid misunderstanding. It is irritating when the simple truth could have made all the problems go away. In this story, however, the author managed to make it much more believable. Not something as easily corrected as simply telling the honest truth. The separation may have been misunderstanding, but there is no misunderstanding the fact that they still want each other. Despite their differences, the passion between the two characters was undeniable and exciting. The twist in the story was equally exciting and unexpected. I particularly enjoyed how the author solves the mystery, the truth is quite astonishing. This is ninth in the Playful Brides series by Valerie Bowman. It stands well as its own separate story but makes you want to read the rest of the series at the same time. Reviewed for LnkToMi iRead in response to a complimentary copy of the book provided by the publisher in hopes of an honest review.
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    Great Couple

    Mark has dedicated his life to his work. First as a soldier, a spy, and now it his goal to become the Home Secretary. It’s all within his grasp until he’s informed he won’t be considered without proving he’s a family man and must present a wife. That’s going to be tricky because Mark already has a wife and they’ve been separated for ten years. Nicole is wild and free. She is not one to settle into what society dictates. For years she has lived her life in France where she is able to live the life she enjoys. However, she waits each day for the letter that will inform her that her husband has been killed while in service to his country. When he suddenly appears at her doorstep, her emotions are all over the place. I loved this second chance story of a couple that have obstacles to overcome. There was just a tiny bit of misunderstanding that started the rift between them, but at the heart of it is a true separation of trust, beliefs, and wants. Perhaps a long honest conversation might have helped at the time but the fact that Mark was set in his belief of her position could not be ignored. Now, years later with more maturity and the opportunity to truly see one another, they may be able to heal what is broken between them. Mark had every reason to feel the way he did but I personally thought he was a bit boneheaded. Nicole could have fought harder for him and what they had but she fled instead. Nevertheless, when you take those two decisions away, this story is quite charming with a bit of angst. I enjoyed reading how they reunited, placed conditions on each other, and came together for a common cause. This is a really enjoyable book and I’d love to read about some of the secondary characters as well. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book provided by NetGalley and St. Martin's Press. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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    very pleasurable read, with romance and mystery

    I’ve received an eARC at no cost to the author. A few days ago, I read a review somewhere that talked about who much you can love a book and still acknowledge that it has some problems. And I have to say that this book fits that description. I really enjoyed it, and I really liked both the plot and the author’s writing style, but sometimes there were small problems that slightly annoyed me. An example: Mark is a very intelligent man, he knows who the world works, and knows that influence and titles are important. However, somehow, he fails to see how that might come in handy for when he decides to propose a new police force to the House of Lords, etc. Really? It was small things like this that sometimes annoyed me. Anyway, the story starts with Mark focused on trying to get a promotion and him needing a wife to achieve it – but he already has one that went to France 10 years ago. And right away we start wondering what happened between them – 10 years is a long time (in another country, especially!). I really liked Nicole, and I sympathized way more with her than with Mark (he was a bit too proud for me, and it took him too long to realize it). Their love story is a bit complicated, but like most love stories, if they had just talked to each other and weren’t so proud (and arrogant, in Mark’s case), those ten years apart would not have come to that. With all of this said, you would expect me to give a lower rating to this book, right? Wrong! Because even though it had its issues, I really enjoyed reading it – I read it in just a few hours! It was very engaging, with a Clue-like mystery to keep the plot going, and steamy romance between Nicole and Mark. I have to say, I’ve read my fair share of sexy/sexual/sex scenes, and these were some of the best! Granted, they were only bedroom scenes, but you can tell a lot about an author and their style of writing from the way they can actually describe a romantic scene: every sense most be awake (and awoken) with these scenes, and I really liked how the main characters connected by using their lovemaking as a way to be able to talk (both literally and metaphorically) to one another, and eventually work out their problems. I also liked that, even though this is an independent book, it sets the scene for the next one. All the secondary characters were there for a reason, they weren’t just there to fill in the space, they actually brought something to either the plot, the main characters development, or both. In the end, it was a very pleasurable read, with romance, mystery, and strong enough points that kept me interested and made me want to keep reading as fast as I could.
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    Historical Romance

    A Duke Like No Other by Valerie Bowman Playful Brides #9 Looking for a second chance at love historical romance with spies, strong minded stubborn outspoken characters? This might be for you. If you are looking for a believable story true to the times…probably not this book though it does have a mysterious murder to solve and an interesting group of characters. Nicole and Mark met and married quickly. She comes from a titled background and his father was without a title though there are titles on his mother’s side of the family. He has been a spy and so has she. When he needs to be “settled” to receive a promotion to a position he’s been working toward he decides to talk his estranged wife of ten years into returning to England with him. With his agreement to her condition they head from Calais to London. Shortly after they arrive a murder occurs that sets in motion changes that can and will impact both of their lives. I had trouble believing this story though it was well written. The reason they became estranged seemed like an easily remedied one if they had not been so stubborn and taciturn. I wanted to shake them both and have an intervention in which they had to speak truthfully to one another. Solving a problem for another, finding a murderer and time in the bedroom seemed less difficult for this couple than an honest conversation. I did enjoy the story…just had trouble buying into it. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC – This is my honest review. 3-4 Stars
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    Fun, sexy second chance at love!

    I just love second chance romances. General Mark Grimaldi's professional life couldn't be any better. He is finally up for the job of the minister of Home Office, the position he has wanted his whole life, but he finds out there is a small problem.....they would prefer it, if he was married. Funny thing, Mark actually is married. He just hasn't seen his lovely bride in 10 years!!!! Mark foolishly married Lady Nicole Huntington, thinking they were in love, but then he came to find out Nicole had a secret that she kept from him, thus breaking his trust. The two of them have been living separate lives, content with how things are. Now, Mark must find Nicole and ask her for a favor....pretend to be his loving wife, at least until he gets the job. Then they can go back to separate lives. Too bad Nicole has a favor of her own! Oh, my lord I loved these two. They are both so stubborn and pig headed, but deep down they both still had feelings for each other. When they make the agreement that they will help each other out with what they each want, that is when things get fun. I loved the banter between these two. I also really enjoyed the mystery revolving around Mark's cousin. It was fun watching the women help solve the "who done it". Overall, this story has some really wonderful characters and a great story line that kept me entertained....and the chemistry between Mark and Nicole was sizzling!
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