Sunday, December 21, 2014

His Saving Grace by Sharon Cullen

Ten months ago, Lady Grace Ashworth's husband was reported killed in battle.  Her husband's brother, the new Earl and his wife immediately swept her out of the house to the dowager house.  Now, her brother-in-law has arranged marriage for her with a neighbor that started visiting after her husband died.  Grace does not want to remarry because she loved her husband so much but she hates living in the dilapidated dowager house alone so she will agree to the match.  The day after, a carriage pulls up to the dowager house and her husband climbs out.  He is not the same man due to a brain injury he received.  Michael only wants the best for Grace and attempts to drive her away from him.  

The struggles they have while learning how to work with Michael's injury are poignant and the reader feels great empathy toward Grace.  The struggles that Michael goes through to find happiness with the man he is now are beautifully written.  The flash backs helped establish how Michael and Grace met and what their relationship was like before he went to war.  I was hoping for a bigger blow out when Michael returned to the manor house with the sister-in-law.  I only wish their HEA could have included the children Grace wanted.

This was a wonderful novel.  I thought that the cover of the book was hotter that the contents.  And, that was fine.  Every once in a while, I want to read a book that makes me think and every other page isn't sex.  

Off topic of the content of the novel, I wonder why the editors don't go onto Goodreads when the are thinking about a title and see how many other novels have the same title?!  When I searched, this was the fifth "His Saving Grace" I found.  

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you.

I've Got My Duke to Keep Me Warm by Kelly Bowen

Gisele Whitby and her step-daughter escaped her abusive husband by "dying" in a fiery barge explosion.  Now, her husband, Adam Valence, is getting married to a young woman that looks remarkably like Gisele and Gisele will stop at nothing to save an innocent girl from his abuse.

On her way to London, she finds Jamie Montcrief at a tavern and when he performs a heroic dead, Gisele realizes he is the one to help her.  Jamie Montcrief is a former Cavalry officer and the bastard son of a Duke.  He is perfect for the rescue mission.  

There was just the right balance of intrigue, romance and eccentric characters to make this a fun book to read.  I felt sympathy for Gisele and loved the creative ways she saved other victims of spousal abuse.  The way she got back at her husband was awesome.  Jamie is the perfect wounded hero in need of a good woman.  It was an unusual twist with the battered wife who is still married and the hero attempting to seduce her.  
I loved this novel.

I received this book s an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you.

Monday, December 8, 2014

How to Beguile a Duke by Ally Broadfield

Catherine Malboeuf has traveled to England from New Orleans to reclaim her ancestral home, Walsley Manor, for her mother.  She is after her great-grandmother's journal that gives hints to the location of a tiara that was rumored to have once belonged to the Empress Elizabeth of Russia.  She finds that the Nicholas Adair, Duke of Boulstridge has bought the house and restored it..  She offers to buy the Manor and Nick refuses.  Then Nick proposes a wager:  if she secures the an offer of marriage from a member of the Ton, he will sell her Walsley Manor.  Nick doesn't think that a woman that wears breaches under her skirt with a cutlass tucked into them will have a chance.  Little does he know, Catherine's mother still has friends in England.

I liked that Catherine wasn't the typical Ton miss.  She wears breaches under her skirt and her father is a French pirate (wrongly accused).  Nick is a typical stuffy aristocrat until he meets Catherine.  I loved the slow build up until they reached their HEA.

I can't wait to read more from this author!

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Dare to Love by Alleigh Burrows

Nivea Horsham has loved her brothers best friend, Adair Landis for fifteen years.  Adair is taking Nivea to her family's estate where her younger sister is getting married.  While in the first hours of their journey, the coach hits a ditch and the axle breaks.  Landis decides to unhitch the horses and ride to Vincent Hall.  This requires Nivea to also ride.  Her family is horse obsessed and Nivea hates riding.  Because she wants to attend the wedding, she is forced to ride.  When they get to her family's estate, she has lost quite a bit of weight due to the exercise and has also gained confidence.  After Nivea's maid alters her gowns, Landis starts to really notice her.  He ends up seducing her and thoroughly breaking her heart when he calls her a whore after her closest male (and married) friend invites her to lunch.  In London, Dare returns to his man-whore ways and slowly comes to realize that he needs Nivea to complete him.  He only acts when his father who is on his death bed signs a contract for Dare to marry the neighbor.

I am of two minds about this novel.  I liked the quick witted writing and thought the ending was great.  While Nivea starts off as an plump wallflower that is invisible to her brother's arrogant friend, she grows into a desirable confident woman as she loses more weight.  She is able to deal with Dare seducing her then dumping her.

On the other side, there were things throughout the novel that I got annoyed about. I did not like the character of Dare until almost the end and found him exactly as how the book described him:  arrogant and supercilious and even shallow.  There were many times that I wanted to reach in and just smack Dare and yell at Nivea that she could do much better that a man-whore.

I was totally surprised to find out that this is the authors first novel and this isn't the last in a series.   There are many places in the book where it reads like the author is reminding the readers of events that took place in past novels.  One big pet peeve is the form of address for Nivea.  As her father is the Earl of Cheltenham, she is not "Miss Horsham" but "Lady Nivea".  And the cover!  Dare had been abused by his father and had horrible scars on his back.  He would only have sex with women if he didn't expose his back.  The guy on the cover needs a shirt.

On a side note, I searched the title to leave my review on Goodreads.  Do editors check to see how many other books have the same title?  I had to search by the author's name to find the title.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you.

Duke of Thorns by Sara Ramsey

Callista Briarley wants a home of her own.  Her father is gone and she has survived a battle at sea so she could go to her father's ancestral home in England so she could claim it as her own.  She is in a contest with two of her female cousins to make the best match and inherit the estate.

Gavin Emmerson-Fairhurst, the Duke of Thorington, is cursed.   His fortunes have been reversed due to his shipping investments and now he needs to secure an heiress for his younger brother and husbands for his sisters.

Thorington attempts to teach Callista the ways of Society so she will be a match for his brother Anthony.  Only they didn't count on falling in love.

This is the first book in The Heiress Games.  I thoroughly enjoyed the strong characters of Callie and Thorington.  They are not the typical Hero and Heroine.  She runs her own "shipping" business and he has been married, widowed, and attempted to steal a bride.  The sparks fly between them.  I liked that while this is the first in this series, some of the characters that were in the earlier books are in this series, and it doesn't read like you are missing things.  It flowed well.  

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and the Publisher in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you.  

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Master of Pleasure (School of Gallantry, #5) by Delilah Marvelle

Leona Webster allowed herself to fall in love with a childhood friend who broke off their engagement to further his career as a pianist. She was left alone and pregnant.  Now, her only focus is on raising her young son.  

Malcolm Thayer, the Earl of Brayton was sent to a monastery at age 18 after he was accused of impregnating the bishop's daughter (he only kissed  her).  As he is approaching the end of his term at the monastery, he saves the life of Nasser, a Persian Prince, who rescues him from another year.  Malcolm's only issue is enjoying pain.  

Some ten years later in England, Malcolm rescues Leona from a creditor and offers her a job as long as he remains in England.  This leads to an unusual romance between Malcolm and Leona.

This is the second in the series that I have read.  I liked that they tie together, but they still stand alone.  Malcolm was quiet a different hero.  He wasn't a rake, but a virgin that knew he was waiting for the right woman to bring him the right amount of pain.  Leona is struggling to make ends meet and also escape notice of her son's father.  This book had it all, erotica, a tortured hero, and a strong heroine. 

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  After realizing that the book had just been published and Delilah Marvelle offers her books for .99 cents during the first few days of release, I bought it.

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Earl's Defiant Wallflower (The Dukes of War #1) by Erica Ridley

Grace Halton's mother is sick and in need of medical attention so Grace goes to England to claim her dowry from her grandparents.  She plans to return to America and take care of her mother once she gets the dowry.  However, her grandparents have told her they will only release the money to her husband.  And, because she is an American and her grandparent's money carries the taint of (gasp) trade, she is being given the cut direct by English Society.  (Even her lady's maid her grandmother assigned to her disappears as soon as they hit the door to a ball.)  The only men she is attracting are the rakes and men without a good reputation.

Lord Oliver York has returned to England from war.  His father had never intended for Oliver to inherit the earldom so he meticulously plotted to bankrupt the estate because he thought Oliver was going to die in the war.  Now, Oliver needs a wealthy heiress to salvage his estate.

Oliver sees Grace across a crowded ballroom and immediately seeks a dance.  This leads to a surge in Grace's popularity and there is the possibility of  potential suitor until Oliver spoils it.

This is technically the first in the Dukes of War series about four friends who left for war and only three of them returned.  I thoroughly enjoyed .5 and found this one just as well written and enjoyable.  Even the secondary characters had had depth and were thought out.  (Mr. Downing needs a HEA too!)  I kept hoping that Grace's grandparents would redeem themselves (the didn't believe their daughter was sick and were quite mean to Grace) and they did in the end.  (I will admit that I wanted to smack the maid that ditched Grace at every society function instead of doing her job.)   I enjoyed this book so much, that I will be buying it when it is released.

I know that there are only four books in this series.  PLEASE, PLEASE have a 4.5 for the Duke of Ravenwood and Sarah Fairfax.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Tall, Dark and Royal by Vanessa Kelly

Dominic was a butcher's son then raised at court.  While at court, he meets Chloe Steele and becomes devoted to her.  Chloe was seduced by a Prince and got pregnant.  Now, years later, she has been reunited with her son and Dominic.  She is in danger due to angering the ex-fiancee of a girl she is protecting at her safe house.

I have only read one of The Renegade Royals series and found that this book is not a stand-alone.  It is the back story for Dominic, the man in charge of gathering the royal bastards.  It is well written, but as I said, if you haven't read the series, it is hard to follow.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

His Wicked Seduction: League of Rogues, Book 2 by Lauren Smith

Horatia Sheridan has loved her brother's friend, Lucien Russell, the Marquess of Rochester, since she was fourteen.  Lucien had pulled her from the coach wreck that had killed her parents.  However, Lucien has buried his feelings for Horatia because "League Rule 2" is "one must never seduce another member's sister."  When Lucien was at Cambridge, he formed The League of Rogues with four other men:  Cedric, Viscount Sheridan (and Horatia's brother), Godrick, Charles and Ashton.  Throughout the book, there are various hints that something happened at Cambridge with Hugo Waverly.  As the novel opens, Horatia is shopping with a footman an Lucien and Charles are following her.  A coach that was shadowing Lucien suddenly attempts to run him over as Lucien is approaching Horatia.  Lucien pushes her out of the way.  This seems to spark the feelings that he has buried.  When the League decides to keep Cedric and his sisters safe, they send them to Lucien's estate.

I thought this novel stood out from the rest of the genre.  To start, Lucien is into dominance and tying up his lovers.  Horatia lays her feelings for Lucien out and he didn't immediately reciprocate and there is the HEA.  Lucien had to work for his HEA.  There were also times that I forgot who the main characters were because the supporting characters were so well written.  The scene between Ashton and Lady Melbourne should be in it's own book.  I know that this series is "League of Rogues", but I really would like to see a series on Lucien's siblings.  I liked how the reader only gets hints of why Waverly wants revenge.  It is something that will be disclosed novel after novel and not repeated each time to "catch up" the reader.

I received this novel as an ARC from NetGalley.  I will be purchasing this novel and the first League of Rogues novel.

As said, I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Lady Elinor's Wicked Adventures by Lillian Marek

This was a thoroughly delightful adventure that I couldn't put down.

Harcourt deVaux, Viscount Tunsbury has been best friends with Philip Tremaine, Viscount Rycote since they were children.  Harry spent all of his school vacations with Philip's family since his own was incredibly dysfunctional.  He loves Philip's sister, Lady Elinor but doesn't want the taint of his family's reputation damaging her.  Harry leaves for a four year grand tour and when he returns, the Marchioness of Penworth (Philip and Elinor's mother) insists that Harry stay with them instead of a hotel.  The Marquess is heavily involved in politics and the Marchioness sees it is upsetting him and insists they go on a tour of Europe.  They start in Paris and end up in Rome and the Italian countryside looking for Etruscan tombs.

This novel was fresh.  The hero wasn't a Duke and Elinor's father wasn't one either.  It wasn't set among the drawing rooms, ball rooms or races during the Season.  I found that the extended family trip to Italy was a wonderful backdrop.  The author even threw in some stereotypical Italian characters for comic relief.  It is quite obvious that Ms. Marek did research on the Victorian dress, the political situation in Italy (specifically Rome) and the Etruscan tombs.  Every book needs a villain or character the reader hates and this book had three!

If I had a real book shelf, this novel would go on the top shelf where I could pull it out and re-read it again and again.  I can not wait to see what is next!

Friday, November 14, 2014

A Rake by Any Other Name by Mia Marlowe

Richard Barrett, Lord Hartley, has been summoned home from Paris when his father fell from the roof.  He has already asked Lady Antonia Pruett's father for permission to ask Antonia to marry him and isn't happy to have to return to his family home.  But, what he finds is the family estate is on the verge of total ruin and his parents want him to marry heiress, Miss Sophie Goodnight.  The last place Sophie wants to be is in England.  She was raised in India where her father built a substantial fortune.  Richard's parents throw him at Sophia every chance they get.  But, as they fall in love, Lady Antonia is doing her best to make sure that she keeps Richard as hers.  Little does everyone know, but the mystery of why Lord Somerset fell from the roof is going to change their lives in a very dramatic way.

I enjoyed the spirited character of Sophie.  She made an excellent heroine because she wasn't the typical English miss looking for a title.  Richard was a noble hero that was quite likable.  The secondary characters of Richard's grandmother and the villain, Lady A. added to the liveliness of the novel.  It was an enjoyable read.

I received this novel as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Rake's Handbook: Including Field Guide by Sally Orr

The opening exchange between widowed Elinor Colton and Ross Thornbury had great potential.  Their conversation about a fig leaf on a statue could have started the build up to a steamy romance and HEA.  However, after the fig leaf situation, Elinor encounters her late husband's cousin, Mr. Browne, and their talk leads to Thornbury's plans for his estate and the need for access to hers.   It sets the tone for the remainder of the book.  This book should have been a romance.   Yet, it revolves around Thornbury wanting to build a foundry on his property and needing water access from hers.  She refuses because her cousin tells her how much smoke the foundry will belch, destroying the house her husband built for her.  The romance part comes from "The Rake's Handbook: Including Field Guide" that Ross wrote as sarcasm and people took as fact.  Yes, Ross is a Rake and quotes from the book in an attempt to seduce Elinor.  .

I was  bored with the "I need access to your land" and "Don't give him access to your land.  It will ruin our village and your home."  I was surprised that I got to the beginning of chapter nine, or 118 pages on my e-reader, before I stopped and read the ending.   The sad part is, I thought that Elinor and Ross were great characters.  It is proof that you can still have great characters and a bad book.  Unless you are a fan of the Industrial Revolution in England, DO NOT BOTHER.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Shocking Secret of a Guest at the Wedding by Victoria Alexander

This book picks up just before the wedding of Camille and Grayson Elliott.  Jackson Quincy Graham Channing has discovered that his father, Colonel Basil Channing, isn't dead as his mother and grandfather have told him for the past thirty years.  Colonel Channing brings Jack to England and to his family home, Millworth Mannor.  After Camille and Grayson's wedding, he introduces his so to the family.  (They are thrilled because Basil's twin, and older brother, is he Earl and only had girls.  Now the title won't leave the family.)  Jack meets the wedding planner Lady Theodosia Winslow.  Teddy and her mother had to start an event planning business when her father left them with a large pile off debts.

I liked the characters of Teddy and Jack and the adventures they have to find their HEA.  In the previous book, I hated Delilah.  Now that she is a supporting character, I found that I liked her much better or perhaps is is the influence of Sam.  The other supporting characters, Jack's parents and his family, made this a lively book.  

I received this ARC from NetGalley and the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

What a Lady Demands by Ashlyn Macnamara

When Cecelia Sanford was fifteen, she was in love with her brother's friend Richard Blakewell, Viscount Lindenhurst.  Shen she saw him stripping so he could swim, her curiosity was aroused.  Eight years later, Cecelia is applying to be the governess of Lindenhurst's son.  In that eight years, Lindenhurst's world has turned upside down.  He returned from war injured and when his young son fell into the pond, he was unable to reach his wife in time to help her rescue the boy.  Cecelia has barley escaped a scandal and is being blackmailed.  She needs this job to hide.

I loved the story line of this book.  Normally, the heroines are virgins.  Cecelia isn't and she knows what she wants.  She is determined to get what she wants, Liind.  Lind is the tortured hero, now bitter about what he discovered when he returned home.  He needs Cecelia to make his life whole.  The book is sensual without being smutty and borders on erotic.  It was a quick paced read with a twist that the reader doesn't expect.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Viscount's Christmas Temptation by Erica Ridley

This novella was a wonderful beginning to the Dukes of War series.

Lady Amelia Pembrook has been organizing her brother's life since she was four and managing his home since he became the Duke of Ravenwood.  The day after Christmas, she is going to turn 30 and has decided in her uber-organized world that she is going to make a list using Debrett's Peerage, barons and viscounts need not apply, and meet her choices at the Viscount Sheffield's seventy-fifth annual Christmas Eve Ball.  However, the ball has been canceled for the year since the needed ballroom was struck by lightning and is now under renovation.  Amelia invades the Viscount Sheffield's home and announces that she is going to find a new venue for the ball and plan it for him.  What she doesn't plan on is falling in love with Sheffield.

I loved the humor in the novella. After Sheffield gets over his initial shock of Amelia insisting she is going to organize his family's annual ball,  he humors her by going from location to location to find the "right" location for the ball.  The characters were well written.  The back of the novella has nice sized teaser for "The Earl's Defiant Wallflower" that shows that the quality of the novella wasn't just a one-hit-wonder.  I can't wait!

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Accidental Countess by Valerie Bowman

Lady Cassandra Monroe has loved Julian Swift since she was sixteen and he kissed her at her birthday party.  But, he came to her birthday party to say good bye to his intended fiancee, her cousin Penelope, and only kissed her on the forehead.  Julian is back in London after recuperating from his injuries for the past several months when he comes to Penelope's house looking for her.  Penelope has no interest in Julian and hides leading their friend Lucy Hunt to invent a house party that Penelope is going to attend and when Julian doesn't recognize Cassandra, Lucy introduces her as Patience, Penelope's pretend friend.  Julian is looking for Penelope to break off their intended engagement because he loves Cassandra.  Cassandra was the one that wrote him endless letters, giving him a reason to survive the war.  They keep up the pretense of Cass being Patience until Cass's parents crash the house party.  Julian is devastated by the betrayal of someone he loves.  Got to read the novel to find out the ending.

I will admit that at first, I felt like I was dropped into a play that was in the middle of the second act.  But, I wanted to give the novel a chance because I liked the characters.  Cass is sweet and loyal to her odd group of friends.  I thought that Lucy was a delight and I stopped reading so I could get her book, "The Unexpected Duchess".  The hero, poor Julian, just wanted to find Penelope to break it off so he could find Cass.  After I got into the novel, I found it funny and a great comedy of errors.  The only character I didn't like was Penelope.  I just wanted to throttle her.  She has to invent friends to use as pretend chaperons and excuses for not being places. 

There is a sneak peak at the next book featuring Garret Upton and his nemesis Jane Lowndens.  I can't wait!!

One thing I don't get is the title.  Throughout the novel, we know that Julian's brother, Donald, the Earl, is missing in Europe.   Julian and Cassandra aren't even married at the end.  The only tie to the title is a two paragraphs at the end of the novel.  And, when I looked up the title on Goodreads, there are three other novels with the same name.  

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  

Sunday, October 26, 2014

He's No Prince Charming - Elle Daniels

"He's No Prince Charming" is an exceptional romance by debut author Elle Daniels.

The novel opens with Marcus Bradley, Marquis of Fleetwood witnessing Danielle Strafford assist his fiancee Anne Newport to elope with the clerk from his solicitor's office.  Marcus needs a wife with a large dowry so he can secure the finances to break the marriage contract between his sister Caroline and the Duke of Harwood.  

Danni owns a book store under the ailias of Danielle Green that serves as the cover for her true mission - helping couples elope to Gretna Green.  Marcus goes to the store and blackmails her into helping him find another wife. 

I was hooked from the opening.  At that point, I think I fell in love with Marcus.  He is a truly tortured hero that isn't the big scary guy the Ton makes him out to be.  All he wants to do is to save his sister from a marriage that he thinks will be abusive.  Danni is someone that you would want to be a friend.  She is loyal and sees the good side of Marcus.  The book was well paced and had some inteeresting chapters like when Danni burst into Marcus's room as he was leaving the bath or when Marcus buys a dress at a local dress shop for Danni and unknowingly encounters his mother.  I can't wait to see what happens with Marcus's mother in the next novel.  One of the best things was knowing this was the first in a series.   

"He's No Prince Charming" reminded me of how I felt when I read Eloisa James's first novel.  This is an amazing debut novel.  If I had a real book shelf, I would put Elle Daniels next to Eloisa James and Grace Burrowes.  I can not wait until the next novel about Marcus's sister Caroline and the Duke is out!  

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Tempting the Governess by Vivienne Westlake

 Christine Aubrey was the governess to the Blake children.  Theodore "Teddy" Blake was in love with her then.  His sister and her husband died in a carriage accident and he is raising her children.  The former pupal has rehired his governess to help with his niece and nephew.  Teddy now has the temptation of his former governess as an adult.

I thought this novella was brilliant.  It isn't the average plot for a historical romance.  The heroine is eleven years older than the hero.  But, it works brilliantly.  The adult characters are well drawn and the children don't come off as brats (sorry, I have read some books that the child characters absolutely spoil the book by being a brat or too adult-perfect).  There is a tension between Teddy and Christine that is palpable.  The only complaint I have is that I felt that I was just dropped into the novella when it is already underway.  I felt that it could have opened as Christine was returning to the Blake's house.  But, this isn't the typical plot, so it works.  I just wanted a longer book!

I received this novella as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Scandalous Summer Nights by Anne Barton

Lady Olivia Sherbourne has always been headstrong and in love with her brother's best friend.  For ten years, she has waited for him to realize she is more than his best friends sister until at a ball, she is told that James is going to Egypt.  She finally tells James how she feels and kisses him.  James goes on an exploratory trip and Olivia follows.

I will have to admit that I read the book a while before I wrote the review because I always try to post after it within a month of publishing.  The book was a pleasant read, but not memorable.  The characters were pleasant in a milk toast sort of way.  Perhaps I would have felt different if I had read the others in the series.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Madeleine's Christmas Wish by Ella Quinn

This novella was only 64 pages on my e-reader and I have to admit that I only could get through the first seven before I checked to see how many pages I had left.

Madeleine, Comtesse du Beaune, is the object of an evil officials desire to marry her.  When she turns him down again, he sends his men to grab her thirteen year old sister to go to a brothel in England to collect information.  Madeleine agrees to go in her sister's place.  Georges, Marquis Curzy-le-Châtel is a French spy that has lived in England for many years.  Madeleine was supposed to have been his wife, but the marriage contract was not finalized before his father died.  He rescues Madeleine when she arrives in England and together they return to France.

I am not a big fan of novellas.  And 64 pages of actual writing is way too short.  There have been novellas that I have read that I have loved and wished they were longer.  I am very disappointed by this novella after having liked her first novel so much.  There was no time for character development and I just didn't like the story background or the characters.

I received this novella as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

What a Lady Needs for Christmas by Grace Burrowes

Lady Joan Flynn is attempting to escape Edinburgh (believing she is in disgrace and fleeing a scandal) when she  discovers that the last train out until Monday morning is full.  Behind her in line is Dante Hartwell (who has earned the nickname "Hard-Hearted).  When Dante's daughter hears the stationmaster tell Joan that there are no more seats until Monday, she insists that Joan travel with him.  On the train, Joan tells Dante that she needs to marry and as Dante needs a society wife to help his sisters and children make better matches, he agrees to marry her.   During their stay at the house of Dante's friend, Ian MacGregor.

I normally do not read the seasonal novels.  However, I read this one because of how much I like Grace Burrowes novels.  Again, I was not disappointed.  If you have not read the prior novels in this series, do not worry.  This flows brilliantly and reads well as a stand alone.  I liked how strong of a character Joan was, independent and not afraid to admit that she designs clothing and makes her own.  Dante is a hard working man that only wants the best for his family and will even marry a second time to gain a better station in their society.  He is a strong defender of Joan when she believes that she has been compromised. In the end, he finally learned that his property wasn't the source of happiness and took a risk with Joan and her family.

I again am glad I had the provilage to read a Grace Burrowes novel before publication for review.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Season For Desire by Theresa Romain

Giles Rutherford was in England with his father, Richard, searching for the gems that his mother had hidden when she eloped and left for America with his father.  Lady Audrina Bradleigh, the youngest daughter of the Earl of Alleyneham, was abducted by David Llewelyn when the abduction was stopped by Giles.  Audrina's father does not believe her that she was being abducted and insists that he take Llewlyn back to London while Audrina travels with Giles, Richard and Lady Irving.  During the search for his mother's gems, they end up at the Castle Parr where the romance between Giles and Audrina grows deeper. 

I liked the hero and heroine.  Audrina wasn't a simpering virgin and Giles wasn't the rake needing to be reformed.  The supporting characters added a humor to the story that was appreciated.  My only issue with this novel is it feels like it is the second in a series of connected novels with the constant references to Audrina's sister Charissa to the Duke of Walpole.  I was surprised and disappointed to find out that while this is the fourth in "The Holiday Pleasures" series, the only connection is that they all take place around Christmas.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you.

The Prince Who Loved Me by Karen Hawkins

Again, Karen Hawkins has proved why she is one of my go to authors because I know I will not be disappointed!  "The Prince Who Loved Me" had a semi-Cinderella feel, but without the evil stepmother and step sisters. 

When Bronwyn Murdoch was sixteen, her widowed father was forced by the new vicar and his wife to wake up to the fact that his daughter was growing up.  Now, she thinks she is firmly on the shelf and is looking forward to her step sisters, Sorcha and Mari, marrying and helping her papa with his patients. 

Alexsey Vitaly Grigori Romanovin, Royal Prince Menshivkov of Oxenburg was at the age where his grandmother, the Grand Duchess Natasha deemed he should marry.  He is visiting a friend, Lord Strathmoor at Strath's uncle's castle with his grandmother so he can start his bride hunt.  Alexsey is hunting when he stumbles upon Bronwyn in one of her favorite spots to read.  Bronwyn assumes that Alexsey is her neighbor, Sir Henry's huntsman.  When Bronwyn refuses to tell him her name, he calls her Roza.  Later, at a ball, Alexsey discovers who his Roza is.  This leads to a one sided infatuation with Alexsey doing his best to convince Bronwyn of the attraction.

I liked that this had that Cinderella feel but without the wicked step-mother/step-sisters.  The step-mother was actually quite likable and loved Bronwyn.  I was hoping that there would be a book for Strath and Sorcha, but that was nixed in the ending (oh well).

Bronwyn was a strong character and wasn't afraid to be labeled as "on-the-shelf".  Alexsey is a wonderful Prince Charming.  The supporting characters were so well written and weren't just after-thoughts.

This is one of those books that you can read again and again.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you very much!

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Kidnapped Bride by Heather Hiestand

Dougal Alexander has a photographic memory.  When he is giving his report on the capture of the jewel thief, Manfred Cross, to the lord that hired him, he realizes that Freddy's "maid" looks like Lord Judah Shield.  Dougal returns to Edinburgh and tracks down Lady Elizabeth.

This novella is the fourth in the Redcakes series.  I liked that this was not set among the nobility and there is a glimps of how the rest of the real world lived.  So far, I have enjoyed the Redcakes series.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for a honest review.

Lord of Regrets by Sabrina Darby

Natasha Polinoff was the mistress of Lord Marcus Templeton.   Marcus is under the full control of his grandfather.  If Marcus has an illegitimate child, he will loose his inheritance.  When Natasha announces she is pregnant, Marcus locks her in her room and goes to find the surgeon.  While he is gone, Natasha escapes with what she can carry through the bedroom window.

Five years later, the guy Marcus has hired to look for Natasha finally finds her.  Marcus rushes to the village she is living in and blackmails Natasha into marrying him.  He brings her back to London and his family where Natasha is miserable and takes it out on Marcus.  Marcus finally accepts his grandfather's offer and leaves her to assist in the peace negotiations.  

While I thought the novel was well written, I found Marcus so annoying through the entire novel that I wanted to reach through the pages and slap him.  He is such a waffler.  One minute he is the wimpy "poor me, I am being controlled by my grandfather", then the next it is the strong "you are going to marry me or else".  Marcus had a backbone that could be removed at will.  His most annoying line is "I'm only a man.  Tell me what you want from me."  I liked Natasha until she pushes Marcus to go to France then she is hurt that he left.  She sulks then starts a pseudo-fling that causes rumors to reach Marcus in France.  

Overall, I would have to give the book 3.5 stars.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Lady's Disgrace by Callie Hutton

Lady Abigail Lacey has jilted by her fiancee who eloped with another woman.  Now she is the laughingstock of the ton.  Her brother, the Duke of Manchester, is desperate to rescue her damaged reputation by marrying her off quickly.  When his long-time friend, Rector Joseph Fox, calls on him to seek a donation for a school, Manchester seizes upon the opportunity to arrange a marriage between Joseph and Abigail.

This was a well written, engrossing novel that I didn't want to end.  Abigail and Joseph are very strong characters and make this story very appealing.  I thought that the villain was also well written.  I just wish that the villain would have gotten the punishment suited to attempting to kill Abigail several times.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher, Entangled Publishing, LLC in return for an honest review.  Thank you very much.

The Duke of Snow and Apples by Elizabeth Vail

Charlotte Erlwood is attending her great aunt's house party in the hopes that she ca land a wealthy, titled husband.  When she arrives, her great aunt places the first footman, Frederick Snow, at her assistance.  Little did Charlotte know, but Frederick is the lost Duke of Snowmont.

I really wanted to love this book, from the description, it looked like it was going to be the perfect blend of Romance and Fantasy.  Yet, I had a hard time getting beyond the first chapter.  I was surprised to find out that this is the authors first novel.  This novel read as if it were the last in a series.  I felt like there were big chunks of the story missing.  There is no explanation for the type of world this is set in and the type of magic the inhabitants use.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Misadventures in Seduction (A Masquerading Mistresses Novella) by Robyn DeHart

Prudence Hixby and her brother, Johnston, are raising their siblings when Johnston decides to join the War.  Prudence is upset because she needs him to help with.  She seeks the help of a gentleman that has been interested in her before and trades her virginity to keep Johnston safe.  However, unknown to Prudence, she ends up in the wrong bed.  Harrison Carlisle, the Duke of Sutcliffe has desired Prudence for a while, but can't court her because he is a spy for the Crown.  Harrison recruits Johnston into his agency, but when Johnston is killed Prudence blames him.

I hate the term "novella".  To me, that is a story stuck in an anthology where the reader is left wondering where the rest of the story is.  But, since it is printed on the cover, I guess I will have to use the word.  This NOVELLA is very well written.  I loved the characters of Prudence and Harrison.  Prudence is a strong woman that willingly sacraficed her marriage prospects to raise her siblings.  When she meets Harrison, she doesn't like him but that is because she is attracted to him.  Harrison is just a great guy.  He knows he wants Prudence, but can't have her because of his dangerous occupation.

Apparently, this is the third of the series, yet, it read wonderfully as a stand alone.  Robyn DeHart is a wonderful author.  I can't wait to get the first two!

So far, I have been thrilled with the quality of authors from Entangled Publishing.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and Entangled Publishing.  Thank you for the opportunity to read a wonderful book.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Lord Savage by Mia Gabriel

Lord Savage is the historical (set in 1907) version of "Fifty Shades of Grey".  Evelyn Hart is at the end of her mourning and her father wants her to marry again.  Her first marriage was a business alliance set by her father and she wants to have fun before she has to enter another loveless marriage.  In London, Evelyn meets Lord Savage and is set up as his Innocent and he her Dom.

I am not a big fan of reading erotic/BDSM in the first person.  Yet, set in the Victorian period, it worked.  This is the first in a series and I hope the next picks up where this left off.  My only frustration was I can't find an author website to track when the next book will be published.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher.

What a Duke Desires by Anna Campbell

Camden Rothermere, Marquess of Pembridge, has known Penelope Thorne since childhood.  She is one of the few girls that he felt comfortable around.  When he proposes to her, he is shocked that she questions why he wants to marry her.  After all, the Thornes have a reputation for trouble and what girl in her right mind would say no when she could be the Duchess of Sedgemoor?  When Penelope says no, she leaves with her aunt on a tour of Europe.  Nine years later, Penelope and Camden are reunited when Camden promises her brother on his death bed to see Penelope safely to England.

On their return to England, Pen and Cam encounter every type of obstacle imaginable. They are finally forced to marry to save Pen's reputation when the yacht they are on sinks and the local magistrate is a minor lord that Cam knows assumes they are married.

I loved how Camden had to finally realize that he loved Penelope and would do anything to keep her.  Penelope needed that unconditional love.  This was a great read from beginning to end.

The Laird by Grace Burrowes

After ten years of being away from his family home, Michael Brodie has finally come home to the bride he married and left the next morning.  During his absence, Brenna MacLogan Brodie has had to hold the clan together and grow up (they were married when she was sixteen) and still deal with clan members that hated her. 

If my fairy godmother were to appear and tell me I could pick two authors and purchase every one of their novels at B&N I would pick Grace Burrowes and Karen Marie Moning.  I started reading Grace Burrowes books when I got "The Captive" as an ARC and loved it.  I read "The Traitor" and wished I was Millie.  I have been reading Ms. Burrowes other books that my library has as ebooks when they are available and have loved them too.  I find her novels are as her website says "Beautiful Love Stories, Beautifully Told."

That being said, I had the hardest time reading this book and have rewritten this review several times. 

Let me start with what I loved about the book.  I loved Michael Brodie.  I noticed him in “The Traitor” and was thrilled that he got his own story.  After ten years at war, and much of it behind enemy lines, Michael is finally able to return to his beloved Highland home and the bride he left.  The reader gets the feeling that Michael was given a mission by the British government to surrender to the French side to protect Sebastian St. Clair. 

I loved that Michael didn’t come home and immediately ravage his wife.  He took time, understanding and patience to seduce her, to build her trust and help her emotional wounds heal.  I loved the strong character of Brenna Brodie.  A young girl left on her own to take care of a castle after her mother-in-law left and after her father-in-law died.  She is strong enough to take care of her clan.  I loved that Brenna let Michael seduce her and let him help her heal.  I was thrilled when Sebastian and Millie came for a visit toward the end of the novel. 

There were parts of this novel that upset me and I had a very hard time reading.  Michael’s uncle Angus was a pedophile that had abused Brenna until she “developed” and other children in the area.  After Michael’s dad died, Angus took his revenge on Brenna by making the villagers hate her. 

Toward the end of the novel, Michael has started to realize that the villagers hate Brenna and Angus has done something to her.  When Angus goes to Aberdeen to visit a brothel that specializes in young children, Michael and Brenna’s cousin Hugh search Angus’s house.  They find proof of what Angus has done over the years and the leather satchel contained the money that Angus stole, blaming Brenna and her cousins.  Michael confronts Angus at the start of the celebration for his homecoming.

I hated how much of a part Angus was to this novel.  I wish that Michael could have figured things out more toward the middle of the novel and confronted Angus earlier so the remainder of the novel be about healing.  I have worked with children that have been abused and this was very upsetting to me.  I found that it detracted from what could have been a very wonderful book if dealt with earlier.  I wish that the villagers had had the opportunity to apologize to Brenna for how they treated her.  Angus had stolen every letter that Brenna and Michael wrote each other.   I wish that once they were discovered that Michael and Brenna could have read what they wrote to each other as part of the healing process.  I also wish that we could have seen more of the romance between Hugh and Elspeth.  I wish that we could have spent more time with Sebastian and Millie.

Even after what I hated about the book, I still thought that it was well written.  I loved the main characters.  I just wish some things were different.

I received this book from NetGalley and the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, for an honest review.  Thank you very much for the privilege of reading this novel.

Not Quite a Wife (Lost Lords #6) by Mary Jo Putney

James, Lord Kirkland is in Bristol on business when he suffers a malaria attack and is attacked and robbed.  He is brought to the local infirmary run by Laurel Herbert.  Laurel Herbert is the wife that left him ten years ago. 

James and Laurel met through her brother, Daniel.  Daniel had been sent to the Westerfield Academy due to being deemed too religious by his parents. They met when Daniel invited James to visit his home.  After proposing to her the night they met, they are married three weeks later when Laurel turned eighteen.  They spend the next year traveling to James’s various properties and holdings.  When they finally reach London, James’ spy business intrudes on their bliss.  He is almost attacked in his study and kills the assassin as Laurel watches.  Horrified, she leaves her husband and seeks refuge with her parents.  Her parents tell her that her place is with her husband.
Ten years later, Daniel is now an ordained minister and physician.  Daniel and Laurel set up an infirmary and a mission to help the poor in Bristol.  Because James had had two malaria attacks during their year marriage, Laurel knows what will happen and what to do.  During the fever, James and Laurel make love.  And, of course, Laurel ends up pregnant. 
They reunite for the sake of the child.  But, not before Laurel attracts the attention of a local evil ship owner by rescuing the Jamaican slave he has just bought and is attempting to take on his ship. 

“Not Quite a Wife” is part of the “Lost Lords” series.  There are parts about this novel that I really liked and parts that I really hated to the point that I had to put it down and read something else.  I liked James.  He has been in the other “Lost Lords” as the spy master and I was thrilled to see that he got his own book.  I did not like Laurel.  She was married to the man for a year.  She knew what he did.  When he is being attacked and she yells for him to look out what does she expect James to do?  Not defend himself, tell the bad guy to stop?  Laurel at some points was just too much of a prig.  There was just too much of the religious in this book for my cup of tea.  I hope if Daniel gets his own book that it is toned down. 
After reading this novel, I have to give it 3.5 stars because I should not dislike a heroine as much as I disliked Laurel in parts of this novel. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The de Valery Code by Darcy Burke

Margery Derrington and her aunts are facing poverty and desperatley search their meager house from top to bottom when they find a rare medieval manuscript.  They contact Rhys Bowen to sell the manuscript.

This begins a great romance with secrets and a mystery.  It was a very enjoyable read.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Kidnapping The Brazilian Tycoon by Carmen Falcone

Addison Reed's fiance has been killed and she will do anything to protect his interest in an indigenous tribe in Brazil.  However, Brazilian tycoon, Bruno Duarte, owns the plot of land the tribe lives on and is intent on selling it.  Addison kidnaps Bruno to blackmail him in helping the tribe get more time to relocate.  Bruno realizes that he needs Addison to make his dying father happy, he negotiates with her to marry him in exchange for relocating the tribe.

I loved Addison's determination and how devoted she was to her friends.  Bruno was a smoking hot self made man that had a troubled past.  The chemistry between Addison and Bruno started as tense but ended up as white hot. Just loved it.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Geek Billionaire Makeover (a Sexy in Seattle novel) by Theresa Meyers

Image consultant Caroline Parker is has been out for revenge against Joshua Martin since she was in high school.  Josh has had the hots for her since high school when he was her younger brother's best friend.  Caroline always thought he was just one of her brother's geek friends and wanted revenge because she believes that he wrote a letter to her father causing her to be sent to a military style boarding school in another country.  Also, she feels that Josh robbed her brother of his share of his company as an original founder.  Now, Josh is the CEO of Aeon Industries and needs Caroline to bring him from geek to GQ so he can get funding for his project.  Caroline is being blackmailed by Mr. X.  He demands that Caroline be Josh's image consultant and get the plans for his latest project or he will frame her brother for murder.

While I liked the book, there were just way too many times that I was left scratching my head and was looking to fill in some continuity issues in the book.  There was more was more of an explanation as to why Josh hates crowds than for some of the major plot lines in the book.

1.  The whole blackmail thing seems to be a major part of the plot, after all, that is why Caroline got herself hired as Josh's image consultant.  Yet, it is wrapped up very offhandedly.  And Josh didn't seem bothered about the woman he has fantasized over attempting to blackmail her.

2.  The other thing a reader needs to get around is Caroline's fixation on her brother being left out of the company.  Throughout the novel, until the last chapter, there are references:  "This all could have been Connor's - at least a third of it."   There was a sentence from Josh's perspective of how there was a "secret" account that he had.  The reader has to assume that he has been putting one third of the profits into the "secret" account for her brother.  At the end of the book, he is called up on stage at Comic-Con to be introduced.  Was he back with the company?  We will never know.

3.  There was a lot of continuity problems with Caroline and this military school in a "foreign" country".  One page mentions that Josh was a sophomore and she was a senior.  Another page said she was sent to boarding school at sixteen.  Another page said she was sent to boarding school in Eastern Europe April of her Junior year. So, how old was she and was it boarding school or military school.  What military man would send his child to a school (no matter what type) in EASTERN former Communist block countries EUROPE.

4. So much of Caroline's issues revolve around her father.  Is he alive?  In the first chapter, there is a mention of thinking that the person could be calling about her father being in trouble at the VA hospital.  There are other vague references to him but nothing about present day and why he is at the VA.

So, what could have been a great book ended up with an editor failing to catch some glaring continuity issues.

I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Highlander's Obsession by Vonnie Davis

I didn't know why I requested "A Highlander's Obsession" from NetGalley.  I rarely read contemporary and when I do, they are "traditional" romances, not "shape shifter" romances.  The cover was incredibly hot, so I decided to give it a go.  Boy, was I glad I did.  I thought my e-reader was going to melt from the hot Highlanders!

Effie Iverson Munro has received an inheritance from a in Scotland and is taking her beloved granddaughter, Paisley Munro with her.  Paisley is a vet tech that has the unusual ability of being an animal communicator.  Which is helpful because Creighton Matheson and part of his clan are shape-shifters.

With Effie inheriting her uncle's estate, the shape-shifters are worried that she is going to threaten the land and the rumors start flying making Creighton hesitant to trust Paisley.

This book was humorous and passionate from beginning to end.  Paisley developed from a woman leary of others due to her parents rejection and her fiancee using her as a money-maker to a confident woman secure in the love of Creighton.  The supporting characters were more than background decoration.  I can not wait for Creighton's brothers to have their own novels.

This is definitely a must buy book!

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!

Love Is by Kate Pearce, Marie Hall, Zoe York and others

"Love Is" is an anthology of forty novellas from Historical Romance to Contemporary to Science Fiction.  The novellas are grouped by category and each one is given a "Heal Level" from 1 lip to 5 lips.

I liked the quick style of the novellas.  I found new authors and some new books to read.  This is a book that I will pull up on my e-reader when I don't have time for a full length novel, but need something quick to read.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you.

The Wager (a Sisters of Scandal Novella) by Lily Maxton

Anne Middleton doesn't follow society's rules.  She has a wager with her sister that their host has Confessions of a Courtesan and is searching his library when she is caught by Michael Grey, the Earl of Thornhill.  Thornhill once courted and had proposed to Anne's widowed sister.  Anne writes a letter of apology to Thornhill and this begins a friendship through letters revolving around their discussion of the novel.

I liked the uniqueness of the letters that Michael and Anne exchanged in the beginning of the book.  They were able to develop a relationship that Anne would not have normally allowed because he had courted her sister a year ago and she didn't want to be compared to her sister.  There is a desire between them that the letters brought out.  Michael tempts Anne through a wager and takes their relationship from paper into the physical.

This was a great novella.  I enjoyed reading it and the first in the series.

I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you.

The Irresistible Miss Peppiwell (a Scandalous House of Claydon novel) by Stacy Reid

The Honorable Lord Anthony Thornton is searching for a new mistress when he sees Phillipa Peppiwell at a ball and is enchanted with her beauty.  When he seeks an introduction, Phillipa attempts to shut him down until her obsessively unwanted "suitor" Lord Orwell demands a dance.  Anthony saves her by telling Orwell she had promised him the current waltz and whisks her away.  While Anthony is struggling to fight his attraction to Phillipa (he has been rejected by other ladies of the Ton due to his highly amorous nature) he also pursues Lady Jocelyn Rathbourne.  Phillipa is also being courted by Lord Hoyt but she is holding back accepting his proposal due to the scandal in her past.  When the secret that Anthony has been withholding is made public, their future is at risk.

I will have to admit that I liked the characters of Anthony and Phillipa.  I understood why Phillipa didn't want to marry and why she was cautious around Anthony.  The family relationships between Anthony and his siblings and parents were well written.  However, I disliked Phillipa's mother and aunt.  They only thought of their reputation not how Phillipa felt.  Her sister didn't deserve to marry her beau.  She only thought of how Phillipa's marriage to Anthony would affect her marriage chances.

This is the second book by Stacy Reid that I have read.  It runs concurrent with "The Duke's Shotgun Wedding" and explains what Anthony did that caused the Duke to marry.  (If you haven't bought it, DO IT NOW!  It was awesome!)  Both of the books are steamy hot!  I enjoy Ms. Reid's novellas because it isn't plot buried among sex scenes.  The sex scenes are well written as part of the plot.

She calls them "novellas" but I hate that word.  To me, it is synonymous with stories stuffed in an anthology that I am left wondering where the remainder of the story is.  Stacy Reid has NOVELLAS.  There is a beginning, middle with a conflict, and an end with conflict resolution and HEA.  The characters are not flat like "novellas".  There is true character development.  Her books are ones that I will read over and over while I am waiting for the next one in the series.

I received this novella as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you very much!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A Winter Wedding by Amanda Forester

James Lockton, the Duke of Marchford knows he has to marry and requires a suitable bride, but most of his time is taken up catching spies for the Foreign Office.  He has figured out that his Grandmother and her companion, Penelope Rose, are the infamous matchmaker Madam X and has given her an ultimatum:  find him a wife or marry him herself.

I noticed Marchford in "A Midsummer Bride" when he was an awesome supporting character and had hoped he would get his own novel.  Penelope started falling in love with him and Marchford was just starting to notice her for her intellect and recognize she was able to assist him with exposing French Spies.  This novel opens with intrigue.  Marchford is chancing the man in England behind the French spies and needs Penelope's help.

It is unfair to call the other characters beyond the Hero and Heroine "secondary".  They are not afterthoughts, but well drawn and like able characters.  The Dowager is the perfect grandmother, loving and just a touch eccentric.  She adds spice by being in love with the Earl of Langley and planning her own wedding!

Again, Amanda Forester gave readers a well written novel.  This is the third in a series and it was so well written that a reader could pick it up first and not feel like they needed to read the previous two before they could read it.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Quiz: Which Type of Historical Romance Heroine Are You? (And Contest)

Quiz: Which Type of Historical Romance Heroine Are You?

#1 What word best describes you?

a) effervescent
b) nonconfrontational (mostly) 
c) stealthy

#2 My favorite hobby is ...

a) comparative study of the male form
b) looking after my darling baron   
c) target practice

#3 What is the perfect late night snack?

a) bread, cheese, meats, lemon tarts … whatever can be liberated from the kitchen
b) the baron's kisses
c) ratafia, shaken not stirred

#4 My ideal man must have ...

a) a sublime derriere
b) an aptitude for growing hardy, contrary flowers 
c) brains

#5 What accessory do you never leave home without?

a) my corset (large bosoms are such a trial)
b) my composure 
c) my pistol


If you choose mostly As ... then you are as sparkling and resourceful as Her Serene Royal Highness Dagmar from The Truth About Leo by Katie MacAlister. Dagmar may have been raised in a strictly formal manner, but she’s never let that stop her from pursuing anything that catches her interest. She’s a bit quirky, marches to her own drummer, and has a fine, fine appreciation of the manly form.

If you choose mostly Bs … then you are clearly the stuff a baroness is made of, much like Millicent, from The Traitor. Milly is sweet, fierce, determined, and brave but slow to trust. Sebastian, Baron St. Clair, is ALSO sweet, fierce, determined and brave, and relentless when it comes to protecting those he cares for. Alas for both Sebastian and Milly, an enemy stalks them who is not sweet. By the time Milly is done with Sebastian's enemies, they are not very brave either. So if you chose mostly B's, the bad guys better steer mighty clear of you!

If you choose mostly Cs … then you are equipped to be a master spy like Jane Bonde from Love and Let Spy by Shana Galen. Jane is smart, cunning, and loyal, but she has her weaknesses too. Her latest weakness goes by the name Dominic Griffyn. Planning a wedding and defeating a villain intent upon the destruction of England is tricky, but if you're the sort who multitasks easily, then you too have Jane's unique skills and panache.
Enter to win 5 Historical Romance Novel Bundles Featuring Katie MacAlister, Grace Burrowes, and Shana Galen at the link below.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Game And the Governess by Kate Noble

Edward "Ned" Granville, the Earl of Ashby is known as "Lucky Ned" and he lives up to his name.  After the war, he hires his friend, John Turner, as his secretary.  John is attempting to rebuild his family's mill.  Their friend is Dr. Rhys Gray.

They make a wager that a woman will fall in love with Granville even if he doesn't have a title, so Ned and John switch places.  Poor Phoebe Baker is a governess in a home they are visiting

I just could not get involved in this book.  I didn't like the first chapter and I attempted to read past the fifth, but I found the main characters very flat.  Ned was an ass and Phoebe needed a backbone.  I even did my normal trick of reading the ending, but I HATED the ending.  So, I put this book down and called it a "Do not finish".

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Letters At Christmas by Amber Lin

"Letters At Christmas" is a novella that was originally published in an anthology and is now being released on its own.

Three years ago, Hale Martin left three years ago to make his fortune so he could marry Sidony Harbeck.  He had promised to be gone one Season and to write her daily.  After three years, she is furious that he never wrote and now he has finally returned to claim her.  Hale makes a wager that she will agree to marry him before Christmas.

While the writing is good, the story was just too short to make Sidony into a likeable female lead.    Also, Hale was Sidony's brother Geoffrey's best friend.  Geoffrey didn't notice that Hale and Sidony were getting quite close and "anticipated their marriage vows"?  There was something that happened to/with Geoffrey over the death of their parents.  At one point, Hale even asks him about it and it was brushed off.  I wish that there was another novella about Geoffrey.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Heir by Grace Burrowes

I had received "The Captive" by Grace Burrows as an ARC.  When I realized who the author was, I was groaning.  I had attempted to read several of her "Lonely Lords" series but for some reason, I couldn't get past the first chapter.  I think I had left my brain somewhere else.  By the first chapter of "The Captive", I was hooked.  I went to Ms. Burrows website to find the first book she had written and found "The Heir".  So, I went to my library's website and reserved "The Heir".  There were four other people on hold prior to me for one electronic copy.  By the time I got "The Heir", I had been sent the ARC for "The Traitor".  I ended up reading "The Heir" and "The Traitor" simultaneously.

The Hero, Gale Windham, Earl of Westhaven is the second son and now heir to the Duke of Moreland.  The Duke is not the typical English father.  He is loves meddling in his children's business.  Windham is attempting to pull himself out of grief for his older brother Bartholomew.

Windham is brained by a fireplace poker by his housekeeper, Anna Seaton, because she thinks he was groping the chambermaid.  Windham extracts his revenge on Mrs. Seaton by being a terrible patient.  As his wounds heal, Windham realizes that he has fallen in love with Mrs. Seaton.

Anna Seaton is the granddaughter of an Earl.  Her parents had died and Anna and her siblings were raised by her grandparents.  Her older brother has gotten himself in debt and arranged a marriage with a man that Anna found unsavory.  Anna and her sister, Morgan, are fleeing their brother.  As the relationship with Windham slowly progresses, he begins to realize that his Anna has a secret.

I was simply enthralled with "The Heir".  I find that Grace Burrows gives readers characters that are well drawn out.  Windham has his faults but is thoroughly likeable.  Anna is a strong woman that knows what she wants.  I loved the bond of family between Windham and St. Just and Valentine.

This book was borrowed from my local library.  I am grateful they have the extensive collection of novels by Grace Burrowes.

The Traitor by Grace Burrowes

Again, I am blown away by Grace Burrowes novels.  I was so thrilled to receive an ARC for "The Traitor".

Sebastian St. Clair is the son of an English father and a French mother.  When the Treaty of Amines is struck, his mother and father travel to France to visit her father and relations.  While they were in France, war broke out and his father had to leave.  Sebastian and his mother were left in France and his mother died.

In adulthood, he was forced to join the French army to survive.  English officers who were captured out of uniform were brought to him to torture.  Now that the war is over, Sebastian is back in England and is the Baron St. Clair.  The men that think he tortured them are challenging him to duels.

Millicent Danforth is the newly hired companion of Lady Frederica, Baroness St. Clair, Sebastian's Aunt.  When Milly needs to return to her aunt's house, Aunt Freddy has Sebastian drive her.  This starts the romance and verbal sparring between Milly and Sebastian.  Sebastian figures out that Milly can't read or write and patiently teaches her.

This book is beautifully written from beginning to end.  The all of the characters are well drawn out from main characters to secondary characters.  The conclusion of the novel was well plotted and gave a great resolution to the suspense that was woven throughout the novel.  

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Rogue With A Brogue by Suzanne Enoch

"Rogue With a Brogue" is a delightful twist on a Highlander romance because the novel is set in London.  Arran MacLawry is in London with his older brother (and laird) and sister prior to his brother's marriage.  The MacLawry's are attempting to negotiate truce with other clans against the Campbells.  Arran is in a Mayfair ballroom attending a masked ball as a fox when he meets Mary Campbell who is also masked as a fox.

Mary Campbell is a strong, independent woman that know what she wants even if it is her family's enemy.  When Mary's father finds out that she has been seeing Arran on the sly, he pushes an arranged marriage with a slightly unbalanced cousin.

I loved the chase of the romance and the tension that was created by one being a MacLawry and one a Campbell.  It was Romeo and Juliet with a happy ending.  Well written characters with a compelling plot made this a could-not-put-down book.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Why Lords Lose Their Hearts (Wicked Widows #3) by Manda Collins

This is the third book in a series.  DO NOT READ THIS BOOK UNTIL YOU HAVE READ THE OTHER TWO.  It is definitely not a stand alone.  I spend the first several chapters attempting to figure out what was going on.

The novel opens a prologue explaining why Perdita is the widowed Duchess of Ormonde.  Her husband, Gervase, was abusive.  He is holding a knife to Perdita's throat while her friend, Georgina, and sister Isabella are attempting to keep him from killing her.  He ends up dead.

Now that her mourning is over, Perdita is in London.  Her sister, Isabella, has married Gervase's heir and is the new Duke of Ormonde.  Isabella and Georgina were getting threats, but they were resolved in their books.  Now Perdita is getting the notes and other threats.  Lord Archer Lisle was the previous Duke's secretary and is the current Duke's secretary.  He has loved Perdita since Gervase married her.  He has appointed himself as her protector and wants to marry her.

While I liked the characters of Perdita and Archer, I really disliked the feeling that I was missing something the entire novel.  The love story of Archer and Perdita seems secondary to figuring out who is threatening her to the point it almost seemed an after thought and the author had really wanted to write a murder mystery.

The conclusion of the book was disturbing.  Rather than having Perdita's persistent suitor, Lord Dunthrop, be the villain and wrap it up neatly, there is a totally unexpected villain.  The villain has a bizarre and truly not needed back story that I found put a damper on what I did like about the book.

Just an odd thing that I found annoying is when Archer married Perdita, he referred to her as Mrs. Lisle.  Archer is the youngest son of a Duke, thus he has a courtesy title.  As his wife, Perdida would be referred to as Lady Archer.

There was enough of this book that I did like to give it 3.5 stars.  I am going to have to read the first two so I can enjoy this one.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Married to Rogue by Donna Lee Simpson

Lady Emily Sedgley was banished to the wilds of Yorkshire when her marriage fell apart.  Lady Emily and her estranged husband, Baxter, the Marquess of Sedgley even have a legal seperation.

Emily has gotten bored in her banishment and is returning to London for the Season.  Her husband arrives in London after years on the Continent with his mistress, an actress, in tow.  Baxter is stunned when he sees Emily across a crowded theater and realizes that he still desires her.  However, Emily has attracted the attention of a young French suitor and Baxter has mysterious accidents.  Baxter's mother pops up several times demanding that Emily loose weight so she can attract Baxter (like that was needed!) and they can secure the line.

My only issue with this book is the minor story line revolving around Grishelda May van Hoffen.  She is introduced as Grishelda and referred to Grishelda then the character announces the prefers May.  That story line is continued in the next book.

Both the characters of Emily and Baxter were well developed.  As a reader, I felt empathy toward Emily for being stuck in the country and only having food to keep herself happy.  Baxter was finally realizing that he let his mother ruin their relationship and what a mistake that was.

This book was originally published in 2000 under the title Lady Delafont's Dilemma.  I am not going to quibble over the issue that normally the title does not match the last name in English Aristocracy.  I am just glad that the book was republished and I got to read it!

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Trouble With Harry by Katie Macalister

I am extremely grateful that Sourcebooks, Inc has re-released Katie Macalister's books.  There are some that show their age.  Katie Macalister infuses humor with well developed characters that make the books timeless.

Harry, the Marquis of Rosse is in desperate need of a wife for his five "wild things".  He posts an ad in the local paper for a wife.

Lady Frederica Pelham, better known as Plum is almost broke and needs a husband to support her and her niece, Thom.  Plum was married when she was younger, but the man was already married.  He was banished to the continent and his family supported him as long as he stayed there.  Plum could not make a good marriage after that disaster so she used her several weeks of marital bliss to write "Guide to Connubial Calisthenics" under the pen name of Vyvian LaBlue.  After almost being mauled by the local blacksmith, Plum makes up her mind to respond to Harry's ad.

After six hours, Harry has run out of applicants when Plum arrives as they are leaving.  There is an instant attraction between Harry and Plum.

Between the antics of Harry's children, the "Guide", the over romantic butler and Plum's plotting, this book was one of the funniest, well written books I have read.  The characters were well well developed and likeable.  I am waiting for a romance between Plum's niece, Thom, and Nicholas Britton, Harry's godson.

Again, a wonderful book from Katie Macalister.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Once Upon a Duke by Eva Devon

This novel was not the typical romance novel.  The heroine is a widow who was abandoned to the country while her husband enjoys the seedier side of London.  

Ryder Blake, Duke of Darkwell has been in a personal hell since his wife died of small pox.  He is earning the nom de plume of the Duke of Darkness, Duke of Debauchery and whatever the ton can come up with.  Katheryn Darrell wants to experience passion and seeks out Darkwell.  She falls madly in love with Darkwell, but it takes a calculated pursuit and the absolute ruin of her reputation to claim him.

I can't wait for the next in the series.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Meet the Earl at Midnight by Gina Conkle

Miss Lydia Montgomery has been sold into marriage by her step-father when the step-father stole money from his employer, Lord Sanford, Earl of Greenwich, to cover the money her step-brother.  Lydia is an accomplished self-taught artist.

Lydia and Edward have an almost instant attraction.  She doesn't care that Edward is scared.  The blossoming of the relationship made this an awesome read.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can't wait to read more by Gina Conkle.

I received this book as an ARC for NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Seduction of Sarah Marks by Kathleen Bitttner Roth

Sarah Marks wakes up in a bed in an inn with a stranger.  Not only doesn't she know who he is, she doesn't know who she is!  Sarah quickly finds out that the man is Augustus Malvern, Lord Eastleigh.  Sarah is suffering from amnesia due to a blow to her head during a coach robbery.  Eastleigh takes Sarah to his estate where he lives with his grandmother who believes she is the Queen Mother and her daughter (Eastleigh's mother) is the Queen.  Throw in the hilarious siblings and the family doctor to add humor to the book.  While there are some hilarious chapters, there is a huge plot twist that was totally unexpected.

Eastleigh is a tortured hero that find his salvation in Sarah.  Sarah is a strong character that I was routing for. Eastleigh's cousin Sir Robert Garreck, aka Sir Crocodile is another tortured hero waiting for a book.

Awesome read - four out of four stars.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Knight of Love by Catherine LaRoche

I had this little thing called "life" interrupt my reading for a while.  During that time, Knight of Love was on my NetGalley shelf and I hadn't downloaded it before it got archived.  So, I went to B&N and bought the book. I was extremely glad that I didn't blow the book off.

The book is set in the midst of a German revolution.  As it opens, Prince Kurt von Rotenburg-Gruelsadt is having his stable master flog his fiancee, Lady Lenora Trevelayn in front of the village.  When he calls a halt to the flogging, he has the blacksmith carry Lenora to her room in an attempt to further humiliate her.  Lenora shows her strength by walking to her room.  Since her parents left prior to the wedding, Prince Kurt has shown his true colors as a sadistic monster who physically abuses her at every opportunity.  Weeks later, Lenora finds a way to escape and ends up with her true Knight, Wolfram von Wolfsbach und Ravensworth. Wolfram is half English and German like Lenora and is the Earl of Ravensworth.

Over all, I would give the book 3.75 stars.  I can't go higher because as much as I liked the book, there were way too many things that irritated me. In 1848, Lenora's parents just left her at her fiancees castle before the marriage.   There wasn't a reason given for them having settled the marriage contract and returning to England only to return for the wedding.  I don't imagine that travel across Europe was that easy in 1848.

Wolfram could have been dialed back a bit.  There were some sections that he was just over the top.  I pictured him as this huge muscle bound guy, kind of out of place for the time period.  One minute, he wanted to be a Knight of the Round Table, the next he was attempting to get in touch with his feminine side by being a romantic.

I just didn't find a purpose for the anal sex scene at the end of the novel.  Was this supposed to be an erotic historical novel?  Was it to show that Lenora fully trusted Wolfram?  It felt like the author was up against a deadline and couldn't figure out another way to end the novel.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Captive by Grace Burrowes

I loved "The Captive".  It wasn't the standard cookie-cutter romance and shows the darke edge of life.  The characters aren't perfect; they are attempting to escape their own demons.   The book was very well written and makes me want to read other novels by Ms. Burrowes.

Hero:  Christian Severn, eight Duke of Mercia..  He was captured by the French and tortured.
Heroine:  Gillian, Countess of Greendale.  She was married to an older man that couldn't get it up unless he beat her.  She was held in this abusive relationship until his death and even then, he set his will so he could control her from beyond the grave.

While Mercia was being held captive in France, his wife and heir died leaving his daughter, Lucy.  Something happened to Lucy and she no longer talks.  Gillian and Mercia's wife Helene were cousins.  When Greendale was alive, he kept Gillian away from Lucy.  Now that he is dead, Gillian is going to help the lost little girl.  When Gillian appears at Mercia's house demanding he return to his estate to care for Lucy.

There are minor characters that deserve their own novel.  I want to know more about Mercia's captor, Girard who aide Mercia in the end.

When this novel is released, I will be purchasing it.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Trapped at the Altar by Jane Feather

I keep forgetting that I don't like this time period.  For me this was a don't move beyond the prologue.  I gave the book an honest try. It isn't anything against the author.  I have found that Jane Feather's books are well written, I just don't like this time period.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Mischief by Moonlight by Emily Greenwood

This book has a very simple, timeless plot:  boy meets girl, boy finally realizes he wants girl only to loose her to his best friend.

Colin Pearce, Earl of Ivorwood has lost the girl that he loved to his friend without even telling the girl he loves her.  Then, the friend, who is a soldier, has to return to Spain and asks Colin to watch after Josie!  Colin becomes a permanent fixture in Josie Cardworthy's house after a year and when Josie is planning her wedding, she attempts to hook Colin up with her spinster sister, Edwina.

This was a good book that I enjoyed reading through the ups and downs it took to get Colin and Josie to their HEA.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Noble Destiny by Katie MacAlister

Noble Destiny is the second in the Noble series.  It was originally published in 2003 but is being re-released along with Noble 1 and 3.  Before I progress, I must say that one of my BIGGEST pet peeves is books that are over 10 years old and are re-published.  They just seem so dated when you read them.  However, the two books in the Noble series are the exception.  They are as fresh and as full of humor as when they were first published.

The heroine is Gillian's cousin Lady Charlotte Collins.  During Charlotte's third season, she elopes with an Italian count because she didn't care for that year's suitors and was bored!  The marriage was a disaster - the count was unable to perform after the consummation - five years later, he dies, his family disowns her and takes every last penny she had left.  She returns to England a social outcast.  Her own brother won't talk to her.

The novel opens with Charlotte locking her cousin Gillian in the library so Gillian couldn't leave for a trip to the West Indies with her husband and children.  Charlotte has the nerve to call Gillian selfish and forbid her from leaving.

At first, I didn't like Charlotte.  After all, she locked the door to the library so Gillian couldn't leave when Gillian's three year old had to widdle.  What a spoiled, self centered brat!!!  As the story progresses, Charlotte's character matures. Before she leaves for the West Indies, Gillian suggests that Charlotte gets married.  So, Charlotte traps Alisdair "Dare" McGregor, into marriage.  Dare refuses to give Charlotte what was lacking in her first marriage, a sex life, because they don't love each other.  Charlotte has to figure out how to make Dare love her and starts putting his wants and needs before hers.

Again, Katie MacAlister has thrown in some unusual servants.  You won't find Carson the butler in this book!

So, what started out as a book I didn't like ended up as a book that I need to purchase for my shelf.  This is a must re-read.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher.

The Truth About Leo by Katie MacAlister

Leopold Ernst George Mortimer, the Earl of March is in Copenhagen by the way of Russia.  He is a spy in the service of the Crown.  He has just rescued a cat from a tree when his horse bolts and he finds himself on the wrong end of a sword, left for dead.  Dagmar Marie Sophie is a Serene Royal Highness of Denmark and her cousin is evicting her from her house.  She can't turn to her father's family because they disowned him when he married the daughter of an English Duke.  Her grandfather's title is vacant and the only relative left is a minister with way too many kids to support.  She can't get passage on a ship to England because she isn't English enough.  When she finds Leo unconscious in her garden, she persuades her cousin to let her marry Leo so she can get passage to England.  While on the ship, Dagmar nurses Leo back to health.

This begins a witty romp where two people thrown together find love and learn how to have a relationship. When they reach England, Leo runs into characters from the first three books in the Noble Series.

This was another great historical romance by Katie MacAlister.  I love that she doesn't take the genre too serious and injects humor into the books.  The characters are well developed and very likable.  (Nothing is as bad as having a hero or heroine that you hate by chapter 2!)

The Truth About Leo is a new publication.  The book is so well written that it blends seamlessly into the first two (Noble Intentions and Noble Destiny) that were published in 2002 and 2003.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Noble Intentions by Katie MacAlister

What a fun, hilarious book!  It is a romantic comedy in book form and I was hooked from the first chapter.  This book has some hilarious characters in the pirate butler, triplet servants and Gillian's gassy dogs.

Gillian Leigh is a walking disaster.  She has just set curtains on fire when her cousin Charlotte tells her that the Black Earl is attending the ball.  Noble Britton is returning to London society after the death of his wife so he can clear his name of her murder.  He is with several of his friends when he spots Gillian across the ballroom.  Nobles friends are shocked that he is interested in her.  Sir Hugh calls her the "Amazon".  After their marriage, Noble is the victim of some mysterious accidents.

Combine romance with comedy and a mystery gives this book a timeless quality.  I was surprise to find out that it was originally published in 2002.   It was a wonderful read.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

What a Lady Craves by Ashlyn Macnamara

The novel opens with Alexander Sanford's ship wrecking in a storm on the English coast.  After eight years, he is returning to England after salvaging his family fortunes in India.  He had left his fiancee Henrietta Upperton behind.  Later, Henrietta started hearing rumors that Alexander has married and is devastated. She is almost shunned by society.  She is now working as the companion to his great-aunt, the Dowager Countess of Epperly.   Alexander is brought to the Dowager's house by his manservant, Satya, after he washes ashore.

Henrietta is a strong character.  She survived Alexander's betrayal and emulates Mary Wollstonecraft.  I found the character of Alexander to be a bit annoying.  He says that he is "honor bound", but that didn't stop him from jilting Henrietta and marrying another woman so he could preserve the other woman's honor.  What about Henrietta's honor?

I loved the passion that still flowed between Henrietta and Alexander even though Henrietta wants to fight it.  He realizes that he made a mistake eight years ago and still loves Henrietta. 

One of the other things that annoy me is how young children are written in romance novels.  The characters of Alexander's daughters aren't any different.  They come across as spoiled, pouting brats.

There is a mystery in this novel that the author keeps the reader hanging by giving out only little clues at a time.  In the end, there is the dramatic resolution and pledging of undying love.  

This was a great opener to a new series. 

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.