Thursday, February 11, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Historical Romance Edition (Featuring: Moonwitch by Nicole Jordan)


Thank you to Shabby Blogs (http://shabbyblogs.com/) for the free frame!

Happy Throwback Thursday, everyone!

What is Throwback Thursday?
Traditionally, Throwback Thursday celebrates nostalgia, asking participants to post a personal photo or an image from their past -- usually from 5 to 10 years ago. There are a lot of book blogs that also do a book-related Throwback Thursday.



Blurb:
A SWEEPING HISTORICAL ROMANCE BY NYT BESTSELLING AUTHOR NICOLE JORDAN

When sea captain Kyle Ramsey met Selena Markham on a moonlit beach, her ethereal beauty left him stunned. But when he discovered that she wanted him to make love to her he was flabbergasted.

Their lovemaking carried them to the heights of passion, but society's response was predictable. Forced into marriage, the unexpected lovers charted a stormy course rocked by bitterness and anger. Were they destined to spend their lives in misery? Or could the moon bewitch them once again -- for good?

To find out more about Nicole Jordan and her books, click below:

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

ARC Review: Jilting the Duke by Rachael Miles (Debut Novel)


Click here to buy the book on Amazon
Click here to buy the paperback at The Book Depository

There were times when I felt that Rachael Miles's Jilting the Duke didn't read like a conventional debut novel: For one, it's amazing how skillfully she handled so many different threads and create this complex, and layered novel. There's the tangle of spies, subterfuge, and secret codes hidden in Tom's manuscripts. There's the story of Sophia's re-entry into society. There's the Somerville siblings (Aidan, Colin, etc.) and Sophia's extended family.

Then there's the very clever way she talks about Malcolm and Audrey, supporting characters whose story happens before Aidan and Sophia's. The author intersperses snippets of their story with Aidan and Sophia', and, though we only get a small portion of their story, one can sense that the author has already mapped out the world and characters surrounding Aidan and Sophia.

At its core, Jilting the Duke is a story about second chances: Before he left for war, Aidan and Sophia were young lovers who were secretly engaged. While away at war, Aidan receives devastating news that Sophia had married his best friend, Tom. All contact between the friends stopped then, and Aidan has been seething and wondering all these years.

When Tom dies, he grants joint guardianship of his son, Ian, to Aidan and Sophia. Aidan sees it as an opportunity for revenge against his former lover. Sophia knows she will need to face the long-delayed reckoning, and she has no choice but to trust in her late husband's decision. It's a complicated arrangement, and the mastermind is a man who isn't even there. Tom's dead, but, before he died, he knew he needed to make things right between his childhood best friend, and his wife.

I have to hand to it Tom -- he had little time left, but he used that time very wisely. He made arrangements for his wife and son, he wrote letters and bequeathed very thoughtful items to members of his family, extended family, and staff. There were moments as I read about Tom that I vacillated between thinking that he was the most organized, most thoughtful person (real and fictional) that I've ever known, and thinking that he was the most controlling, micro-managing person (real and fictional) that I've ever known.

The opening chapter shows that, despite the perceived betrayal, Aidan had always considered Tom his friend, and had wondered and worried about his sudden death. I love that the author highlights how enduring love is, but how equally enduring (and more resilient) friendship is.

Aidan's plan of revenge was quite ruthless. It was scary how calculating he was in his actions and reactions to Sophia. He intended to gain her confidence, find something that could damage her reputation, and destroy her in the most public way. It's also very convenient that Aidan has connections to the Home Office, so he could easily cast doubts on Sophia's loyalty to England. But, despite the numerous opportunities, Aidan never exacts his revenge on Sophia. At every chance, his love for her overpowers his need for revenge. It's especially poignant when our hero and heroine finally have the conversation, and all their questions are finally answered.

While our initial impression of Aidan is that he is cold and calculating, as the story unfolds, Aidan is shown to be quite an amazing (and incredibly lovable) hero. It's amazing to see just how much he loved Sophia, and how much he valued Tom's friendship, which would explain how deeply wounded he felt when she married Tom. We also see how deeply involved he is in Ian's life. But the author is quick to show that our hero isn't perfect -- he made poor decisions as well, and he's trying to fix them in the story.

Sophia is also an interesting heroine. Her entire life, she was always on the fringes of things: she was distantly related to a title, and the early death of her mother made for a rocky childhood. Plus, her brother, Phineas, is annoying. Meeting Aidan allowed her to embrace and accept all her unique abilities and talents, but, it was, ironically, her marriage to Tom, that really allowed her to take flight. I loved reading Ian's stories about his parents and their work. Tom and Sophia had a really wonderful marriage and partnership.

Which made me wonder about love -- and I appreciate that Rachael Miles has presented us with a story not about our "one true love" but of the different kinds of love that exist and can exist side by side. One can see Sophia's loyalty and love for Tom in how she tries to carry out all of his wishes, and in how well she knows Tom's works, but, at the same time, what Sophia feels for Aidan is unquestionable and undeniable.

But that isn't the end of the story -- because Rachael Miles has also added an intricate web of spy stuff -- there's a spy/double agent who has followed Sophia and Ian from Italy, looking for a secret list and code that Tom possessed and had sent home to England. He has killed in order to get close to Sophia, and poses a real danger to her and Tom. There's also the mysterious person who is advising the head of the Home Office, who is taking particular interest in Aidan Somerville.

And, as I write this, I realize that there is still so much more to the story. It really is a story that can be read, and reread, and, each time, one can pay attention to a particular facet and see how that proceeds -- but the end result will be the same: satisfaction.

Jilting the Duke is Book 1 in Rachael Miles's Muses' Salon series, and her debut novel. To find our more about Rachael Miles, click below:
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Disclosure: I received this ARC through Netgalley. Thank you to Rachael Miles and to Zebra Books for the opportunity. Yes, this is an honest review.

















Sunday, February 7, 2016

Free and Discounted Historical Romance Novels

Can you believe it's February? There's a lot of really good romances on sale right now, and it might be because it's almost Valentine's Day.

99 Romances for $0.99 each

Here's this week's featured Free and Discounted Historical Romance Novels found on Amazon:


Highland Barbarian (Highlander Series Book 1) by Ruth Ryan Langan
FREE on Amazon
About the book:

288 pages, 274 reviews (Average customer rating: 4.4 stars)

Death and Deception ...

Meredith MacAlpin, Scottish noblewoman, is kidnapped at the altar by infamous Highland Barbarian, Brice Campbell, and spirited away to his fortress in the Highlands. It is rumored that he is the one who has killed her people in a series of raids.

Brice Campbell is desperate to prove his innocence and bring peace to his people, but when he kills the wrong man, his enemy vows revenge.

Can enemies become lovers? Is love strong enough to defy even death?



About the book:

374 pages, 12 reviews (Average customer rating: 4.3 stars)

Stuart Windsor the Third, Duke of Billington, was facing his second marriage.

Feeling pressure from the King settle down, he agrees to an arranged marriage with the beautiful and powerful Mary Westin. But Stuart has a history with women, and an impending marriage isn’t about to slow him down.

Jacqueline Baker was struggling to make ends meet as a seamstress. She was talented but overshadowed by the store’s owner. One her way home, she encounters a mugging, and ends up taking the injured man home with her to nurse him back health. Little does she know that the man in her bed is ...

The Duke of Billington, and she can’t help but fall for his charm ...


After one night in his arms, she discovers the truth and turns him away.

But the damage has already been done ...

And someone of great importance has found out!

Stuart has to choose between complying with the King's wishes, or following his own heart in the search for true love

Please Note: This book contains Adult Language & Steamy Adult Activities, it is intended for 18+ Adults Only. Novella, with a HEA (happy ever after ending). Does not end with a "cliffhanger".



Wild, Wicked and Wanton: A Hot Historical Romance Bundle by Natasha Blackthorne
$0.99 on Amazon

About this boxed set:

47 reviews (Average customer rating: 4.3 stars)

Erotic Romance set in Regency Era America with heroines who are Wild, Wicked and Wanton.

Grey's Lady

She wanted just one naughty carriage ride ...

Beth McConnell has a secret. Sometimes in the afternoons, she escapes the drudgery of her family's shop and seduces wealthy gentlemen. One encounter is all Beth allows. She must leave them burning.

When she boldly seduces Grey Sexton, a powerful shipping magnate, Beth finds his ice-over-fire combination of ironclad self-control and sensual indulgence too tempting to resist. Surely, one or two more clandestine trysts wouldn't hurt?

But Grey Sexton demands more. His possessive determination to own her, body and soul, threatens to expose her erotic life. To give into his demands means losing her good name and her place in her brother's home ... everything she holds dear. She must turn away, for she knows that a poor girl can never afford to trust her heart to a gentleman.

Reader Advisory: Grey's Lady is an erotic / hot historical romance. It contains scenes of frequent, explicit sex and graphic sexual language. It contains a non-traditional romance plot and an unconventional heroine.


White Lace and Promises

New York Merchant Prince Grey Sexton loves the audacious, spirited young temptress who seduced him in a Philadelphia bookseller’s and made passionate love to him in his carriage. Her fiery nature broke through his cold self-protection.

Beth McConnell loves her husband-to-be very much, yet she wonders if she will ever be able to present herself as the respectable lady he needs for his wife.

What started out as a secret, tumultuous affair has blossomed into something neither of them can live without. But under the strains created by the differences in their social rank, they begin to have serious doubts about the future. And dark secrets from their past threaten to tear them apart.

Can their love prevail?


Alex’s Angel
Erotic Romance ~ Georgian Historical Set in USA ~ Novel Length 100,000+ words

In the wake of a devastating epidemic, sheltered Emily Eliot finds herself alone, making her own decisions for the first time. When desperation leads her to sell her virtue, she walks straight into trouble.

Enter one gorgeous, golden haired gentleman bent on protecting her.

Alexander Dalton came to the Blue Duck Tavern seeking to lose himself in sexual pleasure. But when he saw the delicate and vulnerable young woman, he couldn't turn away.

Emily is alarmed by her own intense responses as this charismatic and carnal man introduces her to erotic pleasure. Having lived as a virtual prisoner of her grandmother's suffocating manipulation, Emily bridles under Alex's possessive, protectiveness. And Alex's charming smile hides a dark secret that could destroy their chance at happiness.


Emily’s Seduction
Book Four in the Wild, Wicked and Wanton Series

Love is the most seductive sacrifice of all. Before he can share his deepest, darkest secrets with her, he has to show her what seduction truly means.

For the first time in a long time, Alex is genuinely happy. He's found a woman he can love. Now he wants only to enjoy his life. But the past won't let him go. His dark secrets threaten to engulf him. Yet how can he tell his innocent fiancée about the horrific things he's experienced?

Emily finds herself locked in a battle with the darkness that appears to hold Alex captive. As he reveals more of his inner torment, as he seduces her into carnal decadence, she wonders who is this man she's so desperately in love with.

Can their love survive this intense journey of erotic exploration, shocking revelations and unsettling discoveries?

Reader Advisory: Emily's Seduction is an Erotic/Hot Historical Romance and contains frequent scenes of explicit sex and uses graphic language. Emily's Seduction also features sensual spanking, toys, voyeurism and one scene of ménage.



My Favorite Rogue: 8 Wicked, Witty, and Swoon-worthy Heroes
Preorder for $0.99 on Amazon, release date: April 19, 2016

About this boxed set:

Eight New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors bring you an exclusive collection of historical romance featuring dukes, rakes, rogues, and more!

The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan

Ambitious, driven Hugo Marshall has never met a problem he can't fix. Then again, he's never met Serena Barton -- and she just may be his match.

Tempting Juliana by Lauren Royal

London, 1816: Lady Juliana Chase loves playing matchmaker -- and she’s good at it. So why is everyone ignoring her good intentions and shaking up her sensible plans?

Worth: Lord of Reckoning by Grace Burrowes

Consummate rake and man of business Worth Kettering repairs to his country estate to sort out complicated family matters, only to find his lovely housekeeper, Jacaranda Wyeth, takes on the challenge of sorting out him -- and she means business!

Forever Betrothed, Never the Bride by Christi Caldwell

Hopeless romantic Lady Emmaline Fitzhugh is tired of sitting with the wallflowers, waiting for her betrothed to come to his senses and marry her. She decides to take matters into her own hands!

Forbidden (The Wicked Woodleys) by Jess Michaels

Just one kiss will lead to a forbidden affair, just one lie could destroy it all.

The Captain's Bluestocking Mistress by Erica Ridley

Spinster Jane Downing wants off the shelf and into the arms of a hot-blooded man -- Specifically, the dark and dangerous Captain Grey. How hard can it be for a bluestocking to learn the language of love?

Romancing Lady Stone by Delilah Marvelle

When Lady Cecilia Evangeline Stone finds herself robbed and stranded on the back roads of Russia, she has to depend on a reformed criminal to find her way home. Can she survive his unexpected charm? Or will her heart be robbed, as well?

Once Upon A Duke by Eva Devon

Lady Kathryn Darrel is fed up with being a perfectly behaved widow. She's desperate to be seduced and the notorious Duke of Darkwell just might be the one to oblige. In this game of seduction, where both have vowed never to give their heart again, can love win the day?



Much Ado About You (Essex Sisters Series Book 1) by Eloisa James
$1.99 on Amazon

About the book:

400 pages, 83 reviews (Average customer rating: 4.1 stars)

When you're the oldest daughter, you don't get to have any fun!

Witty, orphaned Tess Essex faces her duty: marry well and marry quickly, so she can arrange matches for her three sisters -- beautiful Annabel, romantic Imogen and practical Josie. After all, right now they're under the rather awkward guardianship of the perpetually tipsy Duke of Holbrook. But just when she begins to think that all might end well, one of her sisters bolts with a horse-mad young lord, and her own fiancé just plain runs away.

Which leaves Tess contemplating marriage to the sort of man she wishes to avoid -- one of London's most infamous rakes. Lucius Felton is a rogue whose own mother considers him irredeemable! He's delicious, Annabel points out. And he's rich, Josie notes. But although Tess finally consents to marry him, it may be for the worst reason of all. Absurd as she knows it to be, she may have fallen utterly in love ...



Someone to Watch over Me (Bow Street Series Book 1) by Lisa Kleypas
$1.99 on Amazon

About the book:

384 pages, 174 reviews (Average customer rating: 4.2 stars)

Someone to Watch Over Me is a classic tale from New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas. In this Regency romance, Kleypas, the author of Seduce Me at Sunrise, tells the story of a scandalous beauty with no memory of who she is and the man determined to unravel the secrets of her past.



The Duke and I With 2nd Epilogue (Bridgertons) by Julia Quinn
$1.99 on Amazon
About the book:

437 pages, 509 reviews (Average customer rating: 4.4 stars)

Can there be any greater challenge to London's Ambitious Mamas than an unmarried duke? — Lady Whistledown's Society Papers, April 1813

By all accounts, Simon Basset is on the verge of proposing to his best friend's sister -- the lovely and almost-on-the-shelf Daphne Bridgerton. But the two of them know the truth -- it's all an elaborate ruse to keep Simon free from marriage-minded society mothers. And as for Daphne, surely she will attract some worthy suitors now that it seems a duke has declared her desirable.

But as Daphne waltzes across ballroom after ballroom with Simon, it's hard to remember that their courtship is a sham. Maybe it's his devilish smile, certainly it's the way his eyes seem to burn every time he looks at her ... but somehow Daphne is falling for the dashing duke ... for real! And now she must do the impossible and convince the handsome rogue that their clever little scheme deserves a slight alteration, and that nothing makes quite as much sense as falling in love.
Thursday, February 4, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Historical Romance Edition (Featuring: The Stranger I Married by Sylvia Day)


Thank you to Shabby Blogs (http://shabbyblogs.com/) for the free frame!

Happy Throwback Thursday, everyone!

What is Throwback Thursday?
Traditionally, Throwback Thursday celebrates nostalgia, asking participants to post a personal photo or an image from their past -- usually from 5 to 10 years ago. There are a lot of book blogs that also do a book-related Throwback Thursday.



Blurb:
Together For All The Wrong Reasons ...

The Marquess of Grayson never felt a twinge of guilt when he stole the beautiful Lady Pelham right out from under his best friend's nose. After all, they were well matched in all things -- their sensual appetites, wicked wits, provocative reputations, and their absolute refusal to ruin their marriage of convenience by falling in love.

But then a shocking turn of events sent her roguish husband from her side. Four years later, he has returned a powerful, irresistible man who is determined to seduce his way into her affections. No, this is not at all the man she married. But he is the man who might finally steal her heart ...

To find out more about Sylvia Day and her books, click below:

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Review: The Lost Soul of Lord Badewyn by Mia Marlowe


Click here to buy the book on Amazon

As one reads through Meg and Samuel, Lord Badewyn's story, one gets a sense of the author's fascination with the angel/fallen angel mythos -- and this is confirmed in her Author's Notes at the end of the book. The Lost Soul of Lord Badewyn is wonderfully researched, and well-presented, with the details of Lord Badewyn and Grigori's lives nicely interspersed through the story -- the author made sure that the backstory did not overshadow the love story between Meg and Samuel.

Meg Anthony is the Order's Finder -- a power that has far greater implication beyond it's name because, whenever Meg goes to "find" something, she actually leaves her body behind and risks death if she cannot return to it. Her uncle and cousin used her abilities for nefarious purposes, but Meg was able to escape, and has been under the care and tutelage of the Duke of Camden's sister. Meg has been spending the recent years of her life learning how to be a lady, a necessary skill if she is to move smoothly through London Society during her missions for the Order, but her past is quickly gaining on her, and, for her protection, Meg is being sent to Wales, to Lord Badewyn's very, very remote estate.

Samuel is a Watcher, and, while he isn't officially a member of the Order, he has assisted the Duke of Camden in several endeavours. Samuel is happy to live in Wales, and he bristles at the unexpected arrival of Meg Anthony at his doorstep.

Samuel was hiding. That's what monsters did, wasn't it? If they weren't disposed to terrorizing the populace, they burrowed themselves away, only appearing when the moon was full, cloaked in legend and half-truths.
- loc 292

There's a bit of Beauty and the Beast, and a bit of Cinderella in how Samuel and Meg's courtship unfold. Samuel isn't very sociable, and keeps to himself. (And he has a really awesome library.) But Meg charms him with her freshness and honesty. Samuel is half-(fallen) angel and half-human, and lives with his uncle (father) Grigori, and, before Meg's arrival, they seemed to have a very good father-son relationship. But, the ugly side of their relationship is revealed when Samuel falls in love with Meg, and he must protect Meg from Grigori's lascivious intentions.

Samuel closed his eyes. If he got the kiss he wanted, it wouldn't be enough. Once his lips touched hers, he'd want to sweep into her chamber and seduce her thoroughly. A jumble of conflicting desires warred inside him. He could lose himself in her.

And maybe find himself as well.
- loc 778

This is the part that confused me -- I wondered why it was necessary for Samuel to remove himself and Meg from his own house and run away to an even more remote part of Wales. As I was reading through this part, I felt that the author was looking for a convenient way to get her hero and heroine alone together -- however, in the later chapter, Samuel explains the urgency, and why he needs to protect Meg from his father. (Read about The Grand Cycle from loc 1458)

While I loved Marlowe's take on the Fallen Angel story, what I loved even more was the side story between the Duke of Camden and Vesta LaMotte. They are on-again, off-again lovers, and they are currently off, because the Duke of Camden is still consumed by guilt and questions surrounding his wife's sudden death. The Duke's motivation for creating the Order of the MUSE was to find a person who could help him contact his late wife from the beyond. In the previous books, the Duke was unsuccessful in his search for a true medium -- but, it seems, he has finally found the real deal.

I loved Camden and Vesta's story for several reasons: there's the obvious class difference: he's a duke, and she's a courtesan. That alone would have made for an interesting story. But, there's the added element of their powers: Camden is the head of the Order, and Vesta is one of his associates. It's tricky to form a relationship with someone you work with, trickier still to maintain a good working relationship once the love/desire has fizzled. There was always a lot of tension between Camden and Vesta, sexual and otherwise -- but I appreciated how, as senior members, they maintained a professional front when they were dealing with the Order's business.

Vesta is amazing in her steadfastness to Camden. A lesser woman would have given up the battle. (Really: how do you win against a ghost?) She was patient and understanding and supportive -- but she also lead an independent life away from Camden. I'm imagining if the medium weren't real, if Vesta would give up on Camden -- but, I don't think she ever would. Vesta strikes me as the kind of person who would stick around.

The Duke of Camden holds himself responsible for his wife and son's tragic deaths, and he wants, no, he needs answers. Camden is a man stuck in a moment of time, and he refuses to move on until he can settle things with his wife. He has been searching for a way to communicate with his wife, and has been disappointed by pretenders -- there's a bit of selfishness to Camden's pursuit, and I really wanted to dislike him for how he has been dealing with Vesta. But, I could not ignore the selflessness that he has exhibited in opening his home to members of the Order.

The Lost Soul of Lord Badewyn seems to be the last book in the series, and, I have to admit Marlowe ties up all the loose ends very well -- resolving everything from the first two books up to this one.

To find out more about Mia Marlowe and her books, click below:
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