Book Review: The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt

I recently got to spend a day reading. I didn’t read the whole time, of course, but I did manage to finish three books, and it’s been a long time since I’ve done that. This was one of the three. I love Hoyt’s books, and since I’m currently waiting for the next Maiden Lane book to come out, I feel this may be my chance to catch up on her other series.


One-Sentence Synopsis
A widow takes a position as secretary to a scarred earl, only to find that her feelings for him leave her willing to do scandalous things when she finds out he frequents a brothel in London. For a fully synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Things of Ill Repute
I sometimes think my little one sentence explanations make the books sound deviant and not as good as they really are. Don’t worry. In this case, we don’t actually see the earl, Edward, do any brothel-like things, at least not without Anna. The story is actually very sweet and sensual. Anna is plain and comes with trust issues since her late husband cheated on her and blamed her when they couldn’t have children. In fact, she’s just accepted it as fact that she’s barren.

Edward wants a family, especially children, to carry on his lineage. He’s a widower whose late wife died in childbirth. But he also has trust issues since he found out that his wife had been forced to marry him and actually found him repulsive due to poxmark scars on his body and face. When he meets Anna, he’s already been courting a woman who can deal with those scars and seems fine with marrying him, if not over the moon since it’s a marriage of convenience.

You know who isn’t turned off or repulsed by those scars? Anna. In fact, Anna is so ready to jump Edward that when she finds out he’s going to a house of ill repute in London, she takes the opportunity to go as well. Wearing a mask so he doesn’t know it’s her, she gets what she thinks she wants (in the form of some pretty steamy sexy times) only to discover that she actually wants more…like actual feelings from him. And unfortunately, she knows she can’t have it, since Edward needs children and she can’t have any.


I Do What I Want
So much conflict, but it’s so good. Anna’s secret, as well as the side plot of blackmail from one of her peers. draws the conflict out in the best way possible. Edward is not an ass, as many scarred (re: Beauty and the Beast trope) heroes are, and Anna serves as the “Why can’t women enjoy hot sex, too?” heroine, which I’m always a fan of. She does have a bit of a meek streak. She’s scared to let Edward know she was the one behind the mask, and she seems to cower a bit when bullied by the aforementioned blackmailing peer. But she also turns her nose up at what society deems proper in order to help a prostitute she finds sick on the side of the road.

Good Moms-In-Law Do Exist
Even though Anna’s late husband was a cheater and not very likable, I kind of loved Anna’s mother-in-law. Anna lives with the older woman, but instead of being that overbearing mother who thinks her son did no wrong, the older Wren knows what her son was like and now wants Anna to be happy. In fact, when she realizes there’s some chemistry between Anna and Edward, she encourages the relationship.


No Tears
It seemed like there hadn’t been a huge amount of interaction and development between the two before Anna was literally crying over the fact that he didn’t seem to want her. While I completely loved the emotion and romance behind it, I also thought it seemed a little too soon for tears.

The Romance Factor
Despite the quick shed of tears, I loved Anna’s acceptance of Edward, even though he had so many moments where he thought she was repulsed by him. I also loved Edward’s inner conflict as he tried to deal with his feelings for Anna, the fact that the masked woman in the brothel made him think of Anna which made him feel like he was cheating on Anna, and the fact that he couldn’t marry Anna because of the kid thing. Talk about a hot mess. 4/5

The Steam Factor
If anyone thinks that historicals don’t match contemporaries in eroticism, they need to read a Hoyt novel. Detailed, sensual, and paced well, the sexy times in her novels never get cold. 5/5

Final Thoughts
There’s one more book in this series I need to read. While these ones don’t rank as high as the Maiden Lane books on my faves list, I’m still enjoying them. I believe this year will be the year I make it through the whole catalog of books by this author.

Darling Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt

You might think that by the 7th book in a series, things would be winding down a bit. It felt like things were wrapping up and all the main players were getting their happily every afters. But I believe (and I hope) that this book and the one after it is setting things up for several more books. I love this series, and I’m going to be sad when it ends. Especially now, when there’s so much unfinished business.


One-Sentence Synopsis
A man who spent four years tortured in an asylum hides as a gardener helping to rebuild a well-known pleasure garden, but he doesn’t expect to form a relationship with a famous actress and her son. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
In reality, I could probably just say this was a BatB trope and nothing else would need to be said, because that alone would have been enough to make this book good. But there were so many other things I loved about this story. Apollo is mute due to a beating at Bedlam, which is probably okay for someone hiding from the law. But it does mean that Lily thinks he’s mentally deficient at first, which lends itself to some interesting conflict.


Apollo is a perfect beast: silent, not handsome, scarily huge, and yet talented and kind and tortured. It really doesn’t get much better. Lily is of course drawn to him, but considering she has her own secrets and fears, it definitely feels like they belong together.

I’m not sure why children show up so often in this trope, but at least it’s not an annoying child. Indio was cute and not constantly there.

Some of the new characters introduced are interesting. Though this isn’t his first appearance, we find out some new things about Asa Makepeace (he’s definitely not the humanitarian his brother is). We also meet Lord Montgomery, who’s probably not a good guy, as he’s manipulating people and seems to have no guilt about anything (but there’s one scene in this book that makes me speculate that he’s going to get a story with another actress in a future book).

And the background of James Trevillion becomes even more interesting, as we find that he knows Apollo from a previous interaction. Also, by this time, he’s already guarding Phoebe, so the background on that story has started.

Things That Made Me Go Hmmm
I thought that the climax and the “danger” part of the ending was a little too easy. Sure, there was some angst, but it kind of felt like a weird hodge podge of all the bad guys falling into one scene while several good guys and men of ambiguous alignment came in behind them to save the day. I won’t say it felt forced, but it was definitely less “edge of your seat” than the endings of other books.

The Romance Factor
One of my favorite parts of the romance was that Lily realizes how much she wants to be with Apollo, and then finds out he’s actually a viscount and that it won’t work. I felt so sad for her, even knowing that titled men in romance novels will always find a way to be with the woman they love, regardless of her station. Everything between Apollo and Lily was full of feels, and the fact that Apollo took nothing for granted since he never thought he’d survive Bedlam just made him that more loveable. 5/5


The Steam Factor
The sexy times in this one were just as good as the others. I will say that one of the most sensually written scenes didn’t involve sex. You’d think that other than the voyeurism, a woman watching a man emerge from a pond wouldn’t be that titillating, right? But somehow, in this case, it’s pretty hot. 5/5

Final Thoughts
So even though I read it just a few months ago, I had to re-read Dearest Rogue again to finish the series to where it currently is. I found that the second time was just as good, possibly better because I knew all the characters this time around. The newest book comes out in November, and even though that’s right in the middle of Nanowrimo, I’ll be taking some time to devour that one too.

Duke of Midnight by Elizabeth Hoyt

I was sort of sad to know that this was the last of the Ghost of St. Giles books in this story arc, but I suppose it couldn’t go on forever. Third Ghost stuff below, so if you don’t want to know, better not read this review.


One-Sentence Synopsis
A duke patrols the streets of St. Giles as the infamous Ghost to solve the mystery of who murdered his parents when he was young, but a feisty lady’s companion threatens to reveal his secret unless he helps save her brother from the insane asylum. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
After reading some other reviews, I was glad to see that I wasn’t the only one concerned about Maximus being the hero in this one, considering how much of a royal dick he was in previous books. Don’t get me wrong, I had faith that Hoyt would give him a soul, especially after she completely changed my mind about Charming Mickey, but I was still a little reluctant to like the Duke of Wakefield. In truth, I still didn’t like him as much I did the other ghosts, but he turned out alright, and when he got angsty, it really notched up the romance.

Also, can we just stop a minute to realize that a very rich man donned a mask and outfit to patrol dangerous streets and fight crime partially because his parents were murdered outside of a theater when he was young? And he’s assisted by an older man who’s been with him for years? Perhaps the author didn’t mean to go full Gotham with this, but it comes close. I mean, his last name is Batten. Come on.


I liked that Artemis wasn’t afraid of the duke and her little jabs at him about being the Ghost, especially around other people, cracked me up. The girl was playing dirty, and I liked it.

Also…Apollo. I can’t wait for his story, not just because he’s bringing me by beloved Beauty and the Beast trope, but because he’s such a tragic character. And more Trevillion…aw yiss. Don’t mind me already swooning over here.

Things That Made Me Go Hmmm
I liked Artemis and I liked that she was a fighter, but I also hated how she let her cousin walk all over her. I hate Penelope with a passion, and I wanted to shake Artemis for sticking up for her when she did. The woman has been vile since the first Ghost book, and I didn’t want anyone to sympathize with her…I wanted them to smack her.


The Romance Factor
Overlooking the fact that Maximus seemed to think it would be acceptable to make Artemis his mistress while planning to marry her cousin, the angst was high. Artemis, of course, was having none of that, and just knowing how tortured he was over it was enough to give me some feels…even if I didn’t want to like the guy. 4/5

The Steam Factor
Here’s the thing about this one. It maintained the high sexy factor of the other books, and all the sex scenes were intense and titillating. But I like it when the hero does a little more to seduce the heroine, and I kind of thought Maximus had it a little easy. I mean, he just says “You’re sleeping with me” and Artemis is like “Okay.” At least that’s what it felt like. 4/5

Final Thoughts
Though slightly redeemed, Maximus still wasn’t a super likable hero. Still, I felt good about their HEA, especially after he decided to help her with the Apollo situation. Artemis made the book, and I loved the set up for the next novel in the series. This one wasn’t my favorite, but it was still awesome.

Lord of Darkness by Elizabeth Hoyt

Not only do I like to read romance novels, but I like to write them as well. No, I’m not published. Maybe I could be, but I’ve procrastinated the editing and submission process on several novels. The writing part is the fun part for me. I bring this up because National Novel Writing Month is only a little over a month away, and I’m already getting stoked. Not only am I a co-Municipal Liaison for my region, but I have two story ideas waiting to get out. Last year I wrote three novels. Things are busier this year, so I’m aiming for one, but I can’t wait to immerse myself in this story that’s poking around inside my head.

Also, possible spoilers ahead and more Ghost of St. Giles shenanigans.


One-Sentence Synopsis
Though originally married for convenience, a lady decides to seduce her husband in order to have a baby, not realizing that he’s also the very man she’s promised to kill to avenge her first love. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
The second Ghost is revealed, and it’s a character we only met briefly in the first book of the series. Godric St. John is a studious fellow who comes across as older than he is (at least to his wife), but obviously has the constitution to patrol St. Giles at night. Like Winter, Godric is fun, trading his daytime persona for a braver one as the Ghost.


Megs wants her revenge for the man she was supposed to marry, and so the Ghost sets out to find the murderer before she does and puts herself in danger. He’s also continuing his search for children being kidnapped and made to labor making stockings, a carry over from the previous, even though two years have passed between the two stories.

By the time Megs realizes Godric is the Ghost, their relationship has already started to evolve and blossom, which makes for a very different dynamic than was expected, considering all she could think about was killing the Ghost, who she blames for the murder of her first love.

Things That Made Me Go Hmmm
I realize it was part of the conflict, but it didn’t take me long to get annoyed with Megs and her constant “must think of Roger” attitude when Godric was all up in her business. I was sick of hearing about Roger.


There is a major continuation from the previous one, and though I would say most of these can be read as stand-alones, I feel something might be lost by not having read Thief of Shadows.

The Romance Factor
The romance in this one felt like a slower burn, and Megs constant thoughts about Roger kind of made it stutter a bit. But the moments that pulled at the feels were highly effective. 4/5

The Steam Factor
Once again, Roger was a problem when it came to the sexy times, at least at the beginning. But once Megs got over thinking of him, things got hot. I’ve probably said it before, but deserves repeating: Hoyt writes some killer sex scenes. 5/5

Final Thoughts
One more to go in the Ghost arc, and considering it’s a character I didn’t like in the past, it should be interesting to see what type of Ghost he makes.

Thief of Shadows by Elizabeth Hoyt

I’m drawn by spoilers. Having read the synopses for all the Maiden Lane books, I knew that the Ghost of St. Giles plots were coming up, and I was stoked. I loved his quick appearances in the early books, especially when I found out who the Ghost was. So if you haven’t spoiled yourself already and don’t want to know, then you may want to step way from this review now.


One-Sentence Synopsis
A man who maintains the utmost propriety during the day becomes a defender of the innocent at night, but when he falls for a beautiful lady above his station, he finds himself struggling with the rigid lifestyle he’s promised himself to maintain. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
Can we talk about how much I adore the Ghost of St. Giles? First of all, I love the whole “secret life” thing, where the hero has to keep a secret but you know the heroine is going to find out. And it’s so fun when she does, because then she plays coy, and in this case, she kind of messes with his head in a very steamy moment (which I’ll bring up later).

In this case, the double life is highly pronounced. By day, Winter is a good man, running an orphanage and trying to do right by those on the dangerous streets of St. Giles. He’s also very somber. But when he’s the Ghost, he’s flirty and brave and delightful. When Isabel figures it out, it’s a seriously fun ride of ” Does she know?” and “Does he know that I know?” And somehow, that dynamic brings about those feels that I love.


There is also a character swap in the traditional roles that heroes and heroines usually take in historical romance. Many of the traits prominent in heroines make up Winter’s character, while Isabel definitely has more of a male view on sex and romance.

This book also introduces us to some upcoming characters, like Artemis Greaves, her cousin Penelope (blech), and…let me give a girly sigh here…Captain James Trevillion…who’s actually kind of a pain in the ass when it comes to the Ghost, as he decides to try to hunt him down with his dragoons. Still love him.

The Romance Factor
Two words that work for both the romance and steam levels in this book: virgin hero. The fact that Winter is a man of morals and won’t sleep with a woman he doesn’t care for just makes it that more awesome when starts his relationship with Isabel. There’s also the moment when he kisses her as the Ghost and the fear she feels for him when he’s injured. And that moment when he realizes he can’t go back to his celibate lifestyle because love. Seriously, just mop me up off the floor already. 5/5


The Steam Factor
You know those scenes that are a perfect blend of romance and eroticism? They don’t come along often, but when they do, they’re worth nothing. Isabel and Winter’s first sexual encounter is one for the books in my opinion. She knows he’s the Ghost, he doesn’t know she knows, and they’re stuck in a hiding space together. Close proximity sexy things happen, but beyond that, both characters have this huge show of emotion, and the whole thing is just awesome. 6/5

Final Thoughts
This book sets things up for the rest of the Ghost story arc. I’m so glad there are more Ghost books because the character is a blast, but this one set the bar high.

Scandalous Desires by Elizabeth Hoyt

Though I love this series, I wasn’t as enthusiastic about diving into this one, mostly because I hadn’t been sold on the hero when he appeared in the previous books. The guy was kind of a douche, and though I had faith that Hoyt would work her magic, it was still a little bit daunting at first.


One-Sentence Synopsis
A pirate has to protect his daughter and the woman he ruined, not expecting his attraction to her to turn into anything more than lust. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
No more will I lose faith in this author. By the time I got to the middle of the book, I loved Mickey. Like all romance heroes, he had a sympathetic backstory that made me do a 180 on my previous opinion. However, he really kind of maintains his bad boy persona through the whole book.


I kind of loved that Silence was willing to go to extremes to care for a child she’d only taken in and that other characters seemed to like her right away. It definitely helped emphasize the bad boy/good girl thing she and Mickey had going on.

The Romance Factor
Silence is kind of a sad character who’s had a lot of bad things happen to her in her recent adult years. Mickey had a lot of bad things happen in his childhood. The way these two interact is still fun, with a lot of foreplay, a good girl turning to the bad boy trope, and some sweet angst. 5/5


The Steam Factor
Besides the normal frequency of the sexy times on Maiden Lane, I thought these felt a little more scandalous, mostly because Silence had been fairly innocent. Even having been married, her husband definitely hadn’t been as adventurous as Mickey. 5/5

Final Thoughts
Considering how much I ended up liking the pirate, I’m now more hopeful that the Duke of Wakefield will be bearable in his story.

To Desire a Devil by Elizabeth Hoyt

This book follows To Beguile a Beast as part of Hoyt’s Legend of the Four Soldiers series, which I’ve read out of order, since I haven’t yet read the first two. I don’t think the order really matters, even if I’ve read the conclusion before I read the beginning.


One-Sentence Synopsis
A soldier presumed dead by his friends returns home after 7 years of captivity to find his title belongs to another and a lovely young woman lives in his house. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
These books feel a little bit darker than most historical romance. Even the Maiden Lane series is fairly dark, but this one deals with subjects of war, which can be harsh. PTSD was a theme in these novel, and I think the author handled it well. There were moments that made me uncomfortable, but I felt that that the discomfort added to the reading experience. There was also discussion of veteran care and how soldiers come back from the war changed. It was definitely a story with themes relevant to current issues.

The Romance Factor
Poor Beatrice. While I know the whole “He can never love me” thing is done in so many romance novels, it was particularly powerful in this one because Reynaud as much tells her he can never be under anyone’s control again. Even though the reader knows what’s up, it’s actually not hard to see why she believes she can’t have the love she’s always wanted. 5/5


The Steam Factor
Sexy times were definitely sexy, but I was a little put off by their first sexual encounter which happened in the wake of a death and seemed very matter of fact and painful for Beatrice. 3/5


Final Thoughts
Even though I’m reading the series backwards, this book was still entertaining and can be read as a standalone. Even though the mystery has been solved (did I mention there was a mystery that threads through these novels?), I think I’ll still enjoy seeing how it started.

Notorious Pleasures by Elizabeth Hoyt

I realized recently that I’m reading faster than I can kick my reviews out, but I’m thinking that things might slow down with fall getting ready to happen. And let me tell you, I’m super excited about fall. Pumpkin spice, cooler weather, and a holiday season that I’m actually looking forward to this year (which doesn’t happen every year because I’m moody).


One-Sentence Synopsis
A well raised lady tries to fight her attraction to her fiance’s brother, a known scoundrel. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
Hero was committed to being the well bred lady she was raised to be, which made her unladylike descent into lust that much better. It’s a little painful to watch her inner conflict, but it feels genuine.


I like the references to future books and I liked seeing Phoebe as a younger woman, though seeing the progression of her sight loss was a little sad. There were also cameos of the Ghost of St. Giles, who becomes a pretty big part of several future books.

Things That Made Me Go Hmmm
I wasn’t sure if I could get onboard with this duo after their first meeting involved Hero catching Griffin mounting up on another woman. Not my favorite meet-cute ever, but it worked out okay.


I really do not like Hero’s brother Maximus. I didn’t like him in Phoebe’s story either, which makes me kind of apathetic about reading the book where he’s the hero. Nothing about him says hero to me. He’s definitely more of a douche.

The Romance Factor
The historical version of the reformed bad boy and the good girl may be even better than the contemporary version of the trope. So much angst! 4/5

The Steam Factor
The steamy scenes were enhanced by the possibility they were going to get found out. I thought it might be difficult to read about a woman having an affair when she was engaged to be married, but since it was arranged and her fiance was awful, it worked for the story. 5/5

Final Thoughts
Besides not knowing how Maximus and Charming Mickey are going to make likeable heroes, I’m totally invested in the Maiden Lane world. In fact, I had to stop myself from grabbing the rest of the series at the library, partially because I have a huge reading list right now and partially because I don’t want to be that jerk who keeps others from enjoying the series.

The Leopard Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt

I was browsing my library’s catalog for novels and inadvertently checked out the digital copy of this one. I took it as a sign that I needed to read it, despite the several other books I have to read.


One-Sentence Synopsis
A well bred lady employs a steward who she’s attracted to, despite the fact that everyone else in the town thinks he’s a sheep killer. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
Historical class differences were a thing, and I enjoyed how Georgina had very few effs to give about her relationship with her steward, at least not as far as the town and her family was concerned. Sure, she had some concerns at the end, mostly around the standard “The other person doesn’t love me” trope, but I loved that when her brother tried to tell her to stay away from him, she pretty much ignored him.


I also enjoyed the backstory and family dynamic of Harry, tragic as it was, because it added another element of drama.

Things That Made Me Go Hmmm
George’s sister Violet was a royal pain. She was whiny and selfish and immature. I mean, she was only 15. However, she also represents another point I liked about the book – a supportive family. When she reveals she had relations with someone older than her, her family doesn’t force her into marriage. And even though they give George a hard time at first, when all is said and done, her brothers truly seem to want her happiness over anything else. So yay for supportive families!


Also, the heroine went by George and the hero’s name was Harry, and it took me awhile to not think of George as the man in the story.

The Romance Factor
There was definitely some angst here, which added to the romance factor. Also, I enjoyed the tradition switch to the woman being the employer, and bonus points for the sweet carved animals he made for her. 4/5

The Steam Factor
Standardly steamy for this author. 4/5

Final Thoughts
This book is part of a trilogy and was definitely enjoyable. Also, ginger heroine with wild hair is full of win.

Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt

I wrote about the most recent book published in Elizabeth Hoyt’s Maiden Lane Series several weeks ago. I liked it so much, I decided I needed to explore this world more, so I went back and started with the first in the series.

One-Sentence Synopsis
An infamous lord asks a young woman to be his guide around the area where his mistress was murdered. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
Can we talk about Lazarus’ hair? A youngish lord with silver hair was kind of amazing. I was also intrigued by the rumors of his “sexual proclivities.” And his weird physical/psychological issues with pain when he gets touched. Basically, I found Lazarus to be one of the most interesting heroes ever.

hair flip

I also had fun picking out the characters for future stories in this series. And the names were fairly ridiculous but also awesome. The Makepeace siblings are named Temperance, Silence, Winter and Asa. Love it.

Things That Made Me Go Hmmm
I was a little disappointed at the tameness of the aforementioned proclivities. To be fair, the story was set in a different time, but I was hoping for something a little more risque.

The Romance Factor
Temperance and Lazarus were a great pairing. I liked their chemistry and I enjoyed that she continued to push at his pain until she could touch him without him hurting. And I appreciated that she had to work for it, that she didn’t have the magic touch that told him they were destined to be together. 4/5

The Steam Factor
Even though Lazarus wasn’t as debauched as people thought, he was still pretty sexy, as were the scenes with him and Temperance getting their groove on. Definitely blush inducing. 5/5


Final Thoughts
Full disclosure: the blurb on this book didn’t seem like something I’d like, but I loved this story and now have to read the full series…even though I’m not entirely sure how I feel about some of the future characters.