Review: Gambled Away by Joanna Bourne, Isabel Cooper, Rose Lerner, Jeannie Lin, Molly O’Keefe

Review: Gambled Away by Joanna Bourne, Isabel Cooper, Rose Lerner, Jeannie Lin, Molly O’Keefe
Gambled Away
by Rose Lerner, Molly O'Keefe, Isabel Cooper, Joanna Bourne, Jeannie Lin

Genres: Anthology, Historical Romance, Adult
Publication date: May 31st, 2016
Format: E-book

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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.

Gideon and the Den of Thieves by Joanna Bourne

London, 1793 - Soldier of fortune Gideon Gage has come home from halfway around the world, fully prepared to face down a ruthless gang to save his sister. But there's one member of the gang he could never have been prepared for: fascinating Aimée, driven from her own home by the French Revolution and desperately in need of his help.

Raising The Stakes by Isabel Cooper

California, 1938 - When the flute she won in last night's poker game unexpectedly summons an elven warrior bound to her service, two-bit con artist Sam takes quick advantage. With Talathan's fairy powers at her command, her shakedown of a crooked preacher is a sure thing...but would she rather take a gamble on love?

All or Nothing by Rose Lerner

England, 1819 - Architect Simon Radcliffe-Gould needs someone to pose as his mistress so he can actually get some work done at a scandalous house party. Irrepressible gambling den hostess Maggie da Silva would rather be his mistress, but she'll take what she can get…

The Liar's Dice by Jeannie Lin

Tang Dynasty China, 849 A.D. - Lady Bai's first taste of freedom brings her face to face with murder. A dangerous and enigmatic stranger becomes her closest ally as she investigates the crime, but can she trust her heart or her instincts when everyone is playing a game of liar's dice?

Redeemed by Molly O’Keefe

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.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

All or Nothing by Rose Lerner

This was easily my favorite short story in this anthology and not just because it had a Jewish character and a bi character. There is just something about Rose Lerner’s story-telling style that manages to sweep you off your feet and make you so invested in a story that not even extreme tiredness can stop you from finishing. Her stories are always engaging and rarely ever have dull moments. All or Nothing tells the story of struggling architect Simon Radcliffe-Gould who is starting to feel burned out because he really cannot seem to make a living off of his chosen career. He wins a bet that allows him to ‘have’ Maggie da Silva for the time period in which her best friend (and sexual partner) is gone taking care of business and instead of taking advantage, he basically takes her to his ex flame’s house party so he doesn’t have to deal with him and his advances. Basically, a slow burn kind of romance happens between Maggie and Simon as they learn more about each other and sparks fly. YAY.

The Liar’s Dice by Jeannie Lin

This short story was really fucking great. It wasn’t my favorite but it came really really close. It isn’t as romance oriented,  focuses more on the mystery aspect, is set in China (AND NOT IN the UK/US where most HRs seem to be set) and has a wonderful, dark atmosphere. The subtle romance is just enough to get my heart beating and I REALLY REALLY want an entire novel with the two main characters of this short story.  I need to know all the things about them. Either way, I know I have a new author to add to my TBR list.

Raising The Stakes by Isabel Cooper

I don’t really know how I felt about Raising the Stakes. I don’t usually mind magic in my HRs but the magical elements in this short don’t really work for me. Sam, the mc, is pretty darn awesome and badass in that she is a con artist but Talathan–who is fae (I think???)–does not work for me at all as a character. I have 0 emotional attachment to him and therefore care nothing about his presence and contribution to the story. I do think that is just a ‘me’ thing though.

Redeemed by Molly O’Keefe

If you like tortured heros and heroines, this short will 100% be for you. The best part about this short story is that just because the characters are ‘tortured’ doesn’t mean they are angsty. O’Keefe does a great job of characterizing them through and outside their torturedness. They have legit reasons to be the way they are given the horrors they have lived through but they also exist outside of those bad things. They can both be charming, sweet, courageous and awesome. The best thing about this short story is that even though is technically a short story, it is well plotted and well thought out. It functions like an entire novel instead of just a short novella that leaves you wanting more. Basically Redeemed is another winner for this anthology.

Gideon and the Den of Thieves by Joanna Bourne

In theory, I like a lot about this short story but really, I struggled with it because it almost seemed too lengthy. This short story is exciting, features a rescue and lots of other fun things but I literally did not connect with the MC and the love interest. They seemed very bland and more like plot devices than actual characters. It makes sense because the plot of this short is great but the characters made it so that I couldn’t actually enjoy this short in the ways I wanted to. That isn’t to see that all the characters sucked but the two that I should have liked, I couldn’t and that made it really hard to enjoy this story.
Overall, with me more than liking ⅗ of the short stories in this anthologies, I can safely say that Gambled Away is a winner. It features diversity of characters and locations and very well worth the read if you love your Historical Romance as much as I do!

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Rashika

Rashika is a mysterious creature who likes to hide in the shadows. It's impossible to get to know her but if you must know, she is a huge bookworm. She also happens to have a huge sweet tooth so you can always lure her over the dark side by offering her something sweet (or bribing her with books).

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  1. says

    I really like Rose Lerner and Molly O’Keefe but I had no idea they had written short stories/novellas recently so thanks for putting this collection on my radar! I’m going to have to pick it up ASAP because this is exactly what I’m in the mood for! ;)