Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Retro Review Tour ~ The Enlightenment Series by Joanna Chambers (Reviews + Giveaway)

Retro Review Tour ~ The Enlightenment Series by Joanna Chambers (Review + Giveaway)

Covers by Natasha Snow

Provoked (Enlightenment #1) 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK  (FREE till June 17)

David Lauriston is struggling to build his reputation in Edinburgh’s privileged legal world. His humble origins are enough of a hurdle, never mind his recent decision to defend a group of weavers accused of treason, prompting speculation that he may harbour radical sympathies. The last thing he should be doing is agreeing to help the brother of one of the convicted weavers find the government agent who caused his brother’s downfall.

David’s personal life is no more successful. Tormented by his forbidden desires for other men, and the painful memories of the childhood friend he once loved, David tries his hardest to live a celibate existence, castigating himself whenever his resolve slips. 

But then—into David’s repressed and orderly world—bursts Lord Murdo Balfour.

Cynical, hedonistic and utterly unapologetic, Murdo could not be less like David. Whilst David refuses to entertain the prospect of entering into a loveless marriage for propriety’s sake, Murdo is determined to wed one day—and has no intention of giving up the company of other men when he does so. But as appalled as David is by Murdo’s unrepentant self-interest, he cannot resist the man’s sway.

Murdo tempts and provokes David in equal measure, distracting him from his promise to find the agent provocateur responsible for the weavers’ fate, and forcing him to acknowledge his physical desires.

But is Murdo more than a mere distraction? 

Is it possible he could be the very man David is looking for?

4.5 Stars!!!

David Lauriston is a hard-working lawyer trying to build his reputation in Edinburgh. His humble origins, his recent defense of a group of men accused of treason and his secret desires for other men, even if after he gives in to the anonymous encounters he berates himself for his weakness, are a hurdle for his aspirations. Helping the brother of one of his defended find the agent provocateur who turned him in probably won't help, either, but his strong sense of duty makes him unable to say no when Euan McLennan asks for his aid. 

Meeting Lord Murdo Balfour, who couldn't be more different from David if he tried, turns David's world upside down and even if he knows there's no future for them, seeing as Murdo is intent on marrying for convenience and propriety sake and still seeing other men, he just can't resist the older man. Not even when he suspects he might be the agent he and Euan are looking for. 

David was a fantastic character and I loved seeing how loyal he was to Euan and his brother. I found his self-recrimination at his forbidden desires realistic considering both his upbringing and the fact that he'd been discovered kissing a boy by his father when he was barely 16-years-old. Despite the fact that we only see Murdo through David's eyes, it's obvious there's more to him than the mysterious, cynical man he appears to be and I'm eager to know more of him and see how it will all play out in the next two books in the series.

I absolutely loved the start of this series, Provoked is fast-paced, magnificently written, utterly captivating and I simply couldn't put it down until the very last page.  

*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. ***

Beguiled (Enlightenment #2)

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK 

Two years after his last encounter with cynical nobleman Lord Murdo Balfour, David Lauriston accidentally meets him again in the heart of Edinburgh.

King George IV is about to make his first visit to Edinburgh and Murdo has been sent North by his politician father to represent his aristocratic family at the celebrations.

David and Murdo’s last parting was painful—and on Murdo’s part, bitter—but Murdo’s feelings seem to have mellowed in the intervening years. So much so, that he suggests to David that they enjoy each other’s company during Murdo’s stay in the capital.

Despite his initial reservations, David cannot put Murdo’s proposal from his mind, and soon find himself at Murdo’s door—and in his arms.

But other figures from David’s past are converging on the city, and as the pomp and ceremony of the King’s visit unfolds around them, David is drawn into a chain of events that will threaten everything: his career, his wellbeing, and the fragile bond that, despite David’s best intentions, is growing between him and Murdo.

4.5 Stars!!!

Beguiled is book 2 in the Enlightenment series by Joanna Chambers and they need to be read in order. 

David and Munro meet again two years after parting ways less than amicably when Munro is part of the King's entourage on his trip to Edinburgh and David can't say no when Murdo suggests they spend time together during the time he'll be in the city. 

I loved seeing David's reticence regarding Murdo melt under Murdo's attentions. Despite him realizing that whatever is happening between them will eventually come to an end, he just can't say no to Murdo. He still sees life in blacks and whites, but that's part of his charm. I saw a big change in Murdo, though, even when he is still determined to marry, he seems very drawn to David. I just love how protective of him he was.

This book had a bit more action, seeing as David ends up involved in a chain of events that could put in danger all he's worked for and even his life. The writing is fantastic and the way David and Munro's relationship is developing is very organic and realistic and I just adore them together. 

*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. ***

Enlightened (Enlightenment #3) 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

David Lauriston has been recuperating at Lord Murdo Balfour’s Laverock estate for the last five months. At Laverock, he has regained his health and confidence and has found—with Murdo—more happiness and contentment than he has never known before.

David is all too aware that some day soon he will have to leave Laverock—and Murdo—and return to his legal practice in Edinburgh, just as Murdo will have to return to his life in London. But when David’s mentor, Patrick Chalmers, asks David to return to Edinburgh to visit him on his deathbed, it seems that day has come sooner than either David or Murdo would have wished.

Chalmers begs David to undertake one last piece of business for him: to secure the future of Chalmers’s daughter Elizabeth. But to carry out his old mentor’s wishes, David must travel to London, with Murdo.

No sooner have the two men arrived in the capital than they encounter Murdo’s ruthlessly manipulative father, who reveals a shocking secret that rocks David to his foundations. What’s more, when David discovers Elizabeth is facing far greater danger than even her father feared, he is determined to help her, no matter the cost to his own safety.

As the stakes rise, it is Murdo who must choose what he is prepared to sacrifice to keep David at his side, and ask whether there is any possibility of lasting happiness for men like them.

5 Stars!!!

Enlightened is book 3 in the Enlightenment series by Joanna Chambers and I can't stress enough that these books need to be read in order, as there's an ongoing storyline that won't make sense otherwise.

David has been recuperating at Murdo's country home and slowly taking over as his man of business while he's there. He's happier than he's ever been, but a letter from his mentor who is on his deathbed and a trip to London where he'll finally meet Murdo's father might put a stop to his bliss.  

Oh man, but is David stubborn! I could understand him up to a certain point, he's used to working hard for what he wants and being at Laverock recuperating meant he was missing out on working on his cases and all. Still, with a broken leg and a fractured head, I was glad Murdo was there to force him to take things easy. And really, it wasn't like David wasn't loving both the attention and helping Murdo out with all the estate's business. I loved the growing intimacy between them and all the little details showing how deep Murdo's feelings went. 

The secondary storyline with Elizabeth and Euan was really good, as well, and I loved seeing how it ended. 

I hated Murdo's father with a passion and I was really, really proud of Murdo for the way he solved both his and Elizabeth's problem in one big swipe, even if it was at the expense of his reputation. 

Overall, this was my favorite book in the series and I loved having the chance to read them back to back and not having to wait in between the installments as it made the experience even better for me. Joanna Chambers' writing was superb and thoroughly captivating, making me fall for both David and Murdo and root for their HEA. This is a series I'd read over and over and not grow tired of it. Definitely recommendable! 

*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. ***

June 13 - Bike Book Reviews, MM Good Book Reviews
June 15 - Keysmash, The Librarian's Corner
June 17 - Dog-Eared Daydreams, Padme's Library
June 19 - Jessie G Books
June 21 - It's About The Book, Sarandipity, Bayou Book Junkie, My Time Out Book Blog, Gay Book Reviews, Ellie Reads All The Books, My Fiction Nook, Urban Smoothie Read, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, From Top To Bottom Reviews, Boy Meets Boy Reviews

Author Bio

Joanna Chambers always wanted to write. She spent over 20 years staring at blank sheets of paper and despairing of ever writing a single word. In between staring at blank sheets of paper, she studied law, met her husband and had two children. Whilst nursing her first child, she rediscovered her love of romance and found her muse. Joanna lives in Scotland with her family and finds time to write by eschewing sleep and popular culture.

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