Date Published: May 13, 2016
Source: Personal copy
Date Read: February 6, 2018-January 6, 2019
Get revenge. Pay a debt. Save a soul. Lose your heart.Spanning centuries and continents, five brand-new novellas from beloved historical romance authors tell the stories of men and women who find themselves wagered in a game of chance and are forced to play for the highest stakes of all: love.
First, this anthology was a limited edition/release. That time limit has past, so if any of the stories appeal to you, you can buy them separately.
Out of the five stories, I liked two of them on a 3 star level. I skipped reading one, but I knew going into this story I was going to do that because I don't like the author's writing. I ended up DNF'd the other story. So the odds were never in my favor as it turns out.
All or Nothing by Rose Lerner - 0 stars
Badly written script for a porno. The woman playing the role of heroine mocked, harassed, and fleeced the guy playing the part of the hero - then in the end fell in love with her mark (I mean hero) after getting dumped by her regular paramour. The guy was TSTL and I don't care if the heroine ends up making his life terrible. One bad sex scene after another with no plot development whatsoever and in the last five pages we get tragic back story of heroine so to understand why she is an emotionally, mentally, and financially abusive twat. Can you tell I was deeply disappointed in this story? Kind of set the tone for the rest of the book.
The Liar's Dice (Pinking Li Mystery Novella) by Jeannie Lin - 3 stars
This was a very good mystery and addition to the series. However, it was not a romance. There was barely a hint at one, and no HFN/HEA. It stated right on the cover of this book I was purchasing a historical romance anthology, and I didn't get a romance out of this story. Still I love the series and this was a nice way to end it - but don't read it for the romance.
Raising the Stakes by Isabel Cooper - DNF'd
I read the first two chapters and fell asleep. I just couldn't get the energy needed to deal with long passages that bored me. This story is a smash up of Old West romance and magical realism - it didn't work for me at all (hence the nap). After two chapters the heroine still hadn't met up with the hero, so I honestly can't say anything about the romance.
Redeemed by Molly O’Keefe - Skipped, but here's the blurb:
Denver, 1868 - After agonizing years in the Civil War’s surgical tents, Union doctor James Madison has nothing left to lose. But when beautiful, tortured Helen Winters is the prize in a high-stakes game of poker, he goes all in to save her—and maybe his own soul.
Gideon and the Den of Thieves by Joanna Bourne - 3 stars
This was a prequel to the Spymasters series. I have never read Bourne before, but I do have two Spymasters books on my NOOK for this summer's reading. There is a shit ton of dialog to get through in the first two or three chapters to slog through before the plot kicks in and things get fun. Gideon had major insta-lust, Aimee kept her head and it was a good time to read about their relationship journey as well as the gang's inner political turmoil. Aimee won additional points for not agreeing to marry Gideon after only knowing him two days, but willing to travel with him as a business partner and get to know him better. The HFN was the perfect way to end the story. I am looking forward to the other books in the series now. But all that dialog in the beginning of a novella was a drag.