The Pleasures of Passion by Sabrina Jeffries 
Title: The Pleasures of Passion
Author: Sabrina Jeffries
Series: Sinful Suitors
Pages: 400 
Genre(s): Historical, Regency
Hot Buttons: Widower

When Niall Lindsey, the Earl of Margrave, was forced to flee after killing a man in a duel, he expected Brilliana Trevor to wait for him. Seven years later, Niall has returned, disillusioned and cynical - so being blackmailed by the government into helping his former love catch a counterfeiter connected to her father doesn't improve his mood.

The now widowed Brilliana wants nothing to do with the reckless rogue who she believes abandoned her to a dreary, loveless life, but she will do anything to save her father. Yet as their fake engagement brings long-buried feelings to the surface, can she let go of the old hurt and put her pride aside? And will the pleasures of their renewed passion enable them both to rediscover love?

The Pleasures of Passion is the fourth novel in the Sinful Suitors series and while you probably could read it without reading the others first, I would suggest you do read the books in order so that you can fully understand the dynamics of the characters (especially the secondary characters in the book). Plus, then you’ll have been excited for Niall and Bree’s story since they were first mentioned.

I liked both Niall and Bree and their relationship together was delightful. The way that Niall brought out the best in Bree was really uplifting and while there were plenty of times I wanted to shake Niall for being a dunce when it came to Bree’s feelings, together they were definitely better than they were alone. It’s hard not to enjoy a couple like that.

I’ll admit that I was worried that with the couple’s long separation and each blaming the other for it, we would be in for a whole heap of drama and tedious emotional angst with this story. Luckily, that was not the case. While there was plenty of emotion and chemistry between the characters, I found it never strayed into pointless drama which made me root for them both even more than I had been.

I’m a huge fan of Sabrina Jeffries’ work and this book didn’t disappoint. It had her trademark humour, banter and sparkling chemistry coupled with the great writing, scene setting and ever-present sensuality. I would definitely recommend this book but probably would suggest you buy it alongside the first three books in the series (The Art of Sinning, The Study of Seduction and The Danger of Desire) if you haven’t already done so. 5 stars.


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* I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. *

The Sinful Suitors series:

The Thing About Love by Julie James

Title: The Thing About Love
Author: Julie James
Series: /
Pages: 380 
Genre(s): Contemporary
Hot Buttons:

FBI agents Jessica Harlow and John Shepherd have a past. The former lawyer and cocky Army Ranger clashed during their training at Quantico and gladly went their separate ways after graduating from the Academy. Six years later, the last thing either of them expects is to be assigned to work as partners in a high-profile undercover sting.

For both of them, being paired with an old rival couldn’t come at a worse time. Recently divorced from a Hollywood producer and looking for a fresh start, Jessica is eager to prove herself at her new field office. And John is just one case away from his dream assignment to the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team. In order to nail a corrupt Florida politician, they’ll have to find a way to work together—a task that becomes even trickier when they’re forced to hole up at a romantic beachfront resort as part of the investigation. Suddenly, the heat behind their nonstop sparring threatens to make the job a lot more complicated...

It seems like an absolute age since Julie James last wrote a book and so I couldn’t wait to get stuck into this story.

Firstly, I’m not a massive fan of the cover of the book. It gives the impression that the story is more of a romantic suspense or gritty story when it’s more of a straight, contemporary romance. Anyway, I’m not letting that affect my rating of the book.

As with many of Julie James previous books, our heroine, Jessica, and our hero, John, are initially at odds with each other due to previous history when they were both FBI recruits at basic training. When they find themselves working with each other 6 years later, they simply start right where they left off with their fighting, sniping and banter.

That’s one of the things I adore about Julie James - she writes banter so well. The pair bounced off each other and it was witty, fun and sexy. Jess and John, too, were well developed and interesting. I believed them and was rooting for them. This was the kind of story that you needed to get back to just so you could find out what they were going to do to resolve the issues they had.

There’s no ‘big bad’ in this story so the main focus is on Jess, John, their relationship and the trials and tribulations of being in the FBI. I like the FBI element almost as much as I like it when Ms James’ writes about lawyers. I hope she continues with this kind of story and I’d love to see John’s brother, Nate, find a girl from the FBI in her next book!

So what stopped it from getting the full 5 stars? Well, I just didn’t feel this book had the sparkle of her previous books. To be fair, I adore her previous books so she’s set a high standard for herself and I know that not every book will be just as amazing. This book just didn’t quite reach those heights.

There was also quite a lot of explanation of FBI terms and procedures and the like. I needed to know the details but at times I felt the explaining was almost a side-note to the story as if the author pulled us away from the story for a moment just so she could impart the knowledge she’d gained in the (presumably immense) research for this book.

And finally, I could have done with a little more angry banter between John and Jessica at the start of the novel. Sure, I got that they didn’t like each other in the Academy but thinking back to the exhilarating banter between J.D. and Payton in Practice Makes Perfect, I could have done with something, well, more, between John and Jess in this story.

That seems like quite a lot of grievances but I honestly did like this story. Don’t make the mistake I did and read the negative reviews of this book before reading it as this can easily cloud your enjoyment of what is a really fun book. It still has Julie James’ sparkling wit and great characters and it has definitely been worth the ridiculously long wait to have this book in my hands. There’s even a fun set of questions at the end of the book so you can read and enjoy with your book club. I wasn’t expecting to be quizzed at the end of the book so I skipped those pages but it was still a fun addition!  Hopefully Ms James’ next book won’t take nearly as long to get here but this one still gets 4 stars from me.

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