Sunday, August 2, 2015

Free and Discounted Historical Romance Novels

Here are this week's featured free and discounted historical romance novels:


In The Spinster's Bed (Spinster House) by Sally MacKenzie
FREE on Amazon

About the novella:

130 pages, 18 reviews (Average customer rating: 3.9 stars)

At Spinster House, a woman can enjoy the spoils of single life -- or find the love of a lifetime ...

It has been twenty years since Lord William Wattles laid eyes on Annabelle Frost. Still, he remembers everything -- her ethereal beauty, her bookish intelligence, her surprisingly modern attitudes about love ... and lust. But Belle’s allegedly wanton behavior led her father to send her away to save the family’s reputation. Now she resides at Spinster House in the village of Loves Bridge, where an unmarried lady can live -- and in Belle’s case, support herself as a librarian -- in peace ...

Beautiful, passionate Belle—sworn off marriage? William can’t believe the woman he once knew could end up like this. But when the hands of fate bring him to Loves Bridge, his long-lost love might just end up back in his arms. Is their unwavering desire worth the sweeping scandal that is sure to follow them both? Absolutely.



Falcon's Fire (Lords of Conquest) by Patricia Ryan
FREE on Amazon

About the book:

384 pages. 31 reviews (Average customer rating: 4.1 stars)

Beautiful and impulsive, Lady Martine vows never to fall in love after her mother dies of a broken heart. But for her brother’s sake, she agrees to wed, sight unseen, the younger son of an English baron. The betrothal has been arranged by her brother’s old friend and fellow Crusade veteran Thorne Falconer, a landless knight in service to the baron.

Born into wretched poverty, the powerful and handsome Thorne pursues the one thing that separates the rich and the poor: land. As a reward for finding a wife for the hot-headed young Edmund, Thorne is to receive what he most craves, a grand manor of his own.

Neither Martine nor Thorne counts on their overwhelming attraction to each other. As the two improbably lovers struggle to deny their desire, they are drawn into a passion so fiery it sweeps away everything but all-consuming love.

Originally published by NAL, Falcon’s fire was nominated by Romantic Times Magazine as Best First Historical Romance; nominated by the Literary Times as Outstanding Historical; Golden Heart finalist.



The Earl's Secret Bargain (Marriage by Deceit Book 1) by Ruth Ann Nordin
FREE on Amazon

About the book:

288 pages, 58 reviews (Average customer rating: 3.8 stars)

Lord Davenport and Lord Pennella have just made a bet for the hand of Miss Regina Giles. The gentleman she chooses wins the loser’s estate.

It’s the most daring wager at White’s, and quite possibly the most foolish.

Toby York, the Earl of Davenport, knew it was a mistake to make the wager when Lord Pennella stormed into White’s bragging that he could get any lady he wished. Toby really should have kept his mouth shut. But he didn’t.

And now there are only three things he can do to protect Miss Giles. One, he must get her to choose him instead of Pennella. Two, he must make sure she never finds out about the wager. And three, he must quietly break off the engagement so that she is free to marry a gentleman worthy of her. As long as he doesn’t fall in love with her, there should be no problems.

Too bad things never work out the way they’re planned.



Defying the Earl (Regency Charms, Book 1) by Annabelle Bryant
$0.99 on Amazon

About the book:

85 reviews (Average customer rating: 4.7 stars)

Game ...

Matchmaker Wilhelmina Montgomery helps cupid’s arrow find its mark in the drawing rooms of the Ton, effortlessly pairing even the most unlikely couples for a discreet fee. Perhaps not an appropriate pursuit for a lady ... but with an ailing sister to care for, it’s Whimsy’s only hope at securing their future.

Set ...

Meanwhile, penniless aristocrat Valerian St. David, Earl of Dashwood is society’s favourite matchbreaker; assisting those who want to escape engagement without being sued for breach of promise. Cynical, yes ... but with no intention of falling in love himself, Valerian considers himself ideally suited to the role.

... And match!

When Whimsy discovers that Valerian has set out to break the very engagement she has been painstakingly arranging, she refuses to allow this mysterious saboteur have his way. Yet she didn’t expect to find the handsome Earl so distractingly alluring. And suddenly, it seems that the Ton’s last two loneliest hearts are in danger of meeting their match ... in the most inopportune of places.



The Naked Duke (Naked Nobility Book 1) by Sally MacKenzie
$1.99 on Amazon

About the book:

320 pages, 57 reviews (Average customer rating: 3.4 stars)

The Surprise Of Her Life

Sophisticated. Scandalous. In fact, Miss Sarah Hamilton, a proper Philadelphian, finds London society altogether shocking. How can it be that she has awakened from her innocent slumber to find herself in bed next to a handsome -- and exceedingly naked -- man? The laughing onlookers standing in the doorway are no help whatsoever and surely this amorous lunatic cannot be a duke, as he claims. She is compromised -- though she most certainly will not marry him!

The Sweetest Moment Of His

James, the Duke of Alford, is enchanted by his unexpected bedmate -- and not at all afraid of her pink-cheeked fury. True, the circumstances and place of their meeting are most unusual, but the spirited American who's pummeling him with a pillow is an incomparable beauty. If Sarah will only listen to his perfectly reasonable explanation, James is sure that he can capture her heart ... forever.



The Wedding Bargain (Effington Family Book 1) by Victoria Alexander
$1.99 on Amazon

About the book:

384 pages, 41 reviews (Average customer rating: 4 stars)

Maximillian Wells, the Earl of Trent, couldn't believe his ears -- or his eyes. Before him stood beautiful, unattainable Pandora Effington, the town's most scandalous beauty, and the fiery heiress was making him a most tantalizing offer. If he wanted to take Pandora's hand in marriage, he had to play a game of her devising -- and he had no intention of losing. Most of London's eligible bachelors left Pandora cold and she longed for a true hero -- a man who would do anything in his power to win her love. Maximillian's very touch sent shivers down her spine and made her dream of long nights spent in his arms. But was he willing to risk everything he held dear to prove his love?



Beauty's Kingdom by Anne Rice
$2.99 on Amazon

About the book:

370 pages, 152 reviews (Average customer rating: 4 stars)

Before E. L. James and Sylvia Day, there was Anne Rice: Discover Beauty’s Kingdom, the fourth novel in the bestselling Sleeping Beauty series

Mega-bestselling author Anne Rice, writing as A. N. Roquelaure, returns to the mysterious kingdom of Queen Eleanor in this new chapter of her Sleeping Beauty series. When the great queen is reported dead, Beauty and Laurent return to the kingdom they left twenty years before. Beauty agrees to take the throne, but she insists that all erotic servitude be voluntary. Countless eager princes, princesses, lords, ladies, and commoners journey to Beauty’s realm, where she and her husband usher in a new era of desire, longing, and ecstasy. Provocative and stirring, Rice’s imaginative retelling of the Sleeping Beauty myth will be adored by her longtime fans and new readers of erotica just discovering the novels.

This book is intended for mature audiences.
Saturday, August 1, 2015

Review: The Curse of Lord Stanstead by Mia Marlowe


Click here to buy the book on Amazon

While I had some reservations the first Mia Marlowe book I read, I have to say I had none with The Curse of Lord Stanstead. This new book was a page-turner from beginning to end. And it has to do with the amazing cast of characters that Marlowe has created.

The Sensory Extraordinaires are part of an organization headed by the Duke of Camden -- the members all come from different walks to life and levels of society: one is a viscount, one a former maid, one an heir to an earldom, and one a courtesan -- but what they all have in common is the gifts they possess.

The Duke of Camden is like a regency Professor Charles Xavier, who has the gift to detect others who have a unique ability. His latest discovery is Cassandra Darkin, a fire mage who has recently come into her power. The Duke assigns Vesta LaMotte, another fire mage, and Garret Sterling, to oversee Cassandra's training.

I really enjoyed the world that Marlowe has created for her characters. It's still London, but it's a London that is filled with people with special gifts -- it reminded me a bit of the London in Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell -- the contrast between the ordinary and the extraordinary just brought out the best in one another. While Clarke's characters have very personal motivations, what drives Marlowe's characters is their sense of responsibility to use their powers for the good of the many.

"The life you conceived for yourself is over. Oh, there will still be routs and balls and all the trimmings of a Season. ... But you will never be the same debutante running hot in the husband hunt again."

Cassie frowned at her. "You make my life sound so frivolous."

"That's because it is. It was. You may safely give up plans to wed some lord and preside over a proper household. it is never going to happen. You're not meant for that life."
- loc 588

We see the world through Cassandra's eyes -- and we understand her bewilderment and reservation -- entering this new world would mean turning her back on her life and dreams, but it's also impossible not to be attracted to her fellow "muses" and their talents. Especially Garret Sterling. Like Cassandra, I became fascinated with all the members -- and Marlowe does a good job of dropping hints to each one's backstory and history.

Part of the fire mage personality is passion, and, in Marlowe's world, this passion needs to be ... *ahem* extinguished from time to time, or else it would consume the mage. Garret has volunteered to help Cassie with her predicament, and it's fascinating to read about their early encounters: all business, but also all pleasure. We're often wary of lust in romance novels, but Marlowe's take of it is assuring: she shows how it is impossible to separate one's heart and one's body -- and, eventually, Garret and Cassie succumb to feelings beyond lust and passion.

Falling in love and creating a relationship is just part of Marlowe's story -- the greater story is how the agents of M.U.S.E. use their abilities to help protect their country. Garret and Cassie are the active agents in this story and they had two assignments: first, to recover the Infinitum, and, second, to subdue the ASP. I was a bit concerned with the waxing/waning excitement caused by the resolution of the first case and the beginning of the second case -- there was a brief moment when I felt the story could've ended at the end of the Infinitum case, but I trusted that the author had a point to the ASP plot --

And it was amazing! Garret has psychic abilities, but he also has the curse of "dreaming" of his loved ones' deaths -- ever since his fiancee's death, Garret has closed himself off to the possibility of a deeper connection -- but Cassie knocks down Garret's defences. It's very subtle, but Marlowe quietly tackles the idea of pre-determination -- are we truly powerless to change the course of our lives or do we have a say in our future? (Short answer is no. The longer answer is the reason why Marlowe pursued the ASP storyline.)

There are some really beautiful exchanges between Cassie and Garret, highlighting emotion and drama. Here's my favourite:

"Does that mean --"

"That I love you." He smiled down at her. "With all my heart."

And then he was done with words.
- Loc 1880

When I finished reading this book, I felt a great sense of satisfaction and enjoyment -- and now I find that I am stalking Mia Marlowe's website, waiting for an announcement for the next instalment of this series.

The Curse of Lord Stanstead is Book 1 in Mia Marlowe's Order of the Muse series. To find out more about Mia Marlowe and her books, click below:
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Disclosure: I received this review copy via Netgalley. Thank you to Entangled Publishing and Mia Marlowe for the opportunity. Yes, this is an honest review.
Thursday, July 30, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Historical Romance Edition

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

Happy Thursday, everyone! And welcome to a new feature on Buried Under Romance and Love Saves the World.

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.

The Historical Romance Edition:
Since Mary of Buried Under Romance and I are unapologetic lovers of historical romances, we've decided to focus on our beloved genre.

Here are our rules:
1. It must be posted on a Thursday.
2. It must be a historical romance novel published before October 3, 2008.




Blurb: 
London's most talented criminal is about to be fingered ...

Lady Viola Preston can relieve a gentleman of the studs at his wrists without his being any the wiser and pick any lock devised by man in less than a minute. But she's careful to wear gloves when she steals jewels. Because when Viola touches a gemstone with her bare skin, it "speaks" to her, sending disturbing visions -- visions almost as unsettling as the sight of the cool-eyed stranger who catches her red handed.

Now Viola will only be stealing at Greydon Quinn's behest. And even more daunting than the violent history of the red diamond he's after is the prospect of a night in the devastatingly handsome lieutenant's arms. Touch has always been Viola's weakness, and the full body-to-body contact Quinn has in mind is about to shatter her defenses and set her senses reeling.

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


Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads



Head over to Mary @ Buried Under Romance and Ki Pha of Doing Some Reading for their picks for Throwback Thursday.^_^

Fellow historical romance readers are welcome to join us. Enter your link below so we can visit your TBT: HR Edition post for the week! (Then go here to copy the Link code to your blogs.)

Mini-Review: A Game of Persuasion by Emma Locke (e-novella)


Click here to get the book for FREE on Amazon (limited time offer)

This e-novella is the prequel to Emma Locke's The Art of Ruining a Rake, and chronicles Lucy's planned seduction of Roman Alexander. Lucy has loved Roman from childhood, and, on the cusp of her spinsterhood, she has decided to take matters into her own hands and has planned for her one glorious night with the man of her dreams. Many would use this to lure men to marriage, but there's something different with Lucy's plan -- she plans to leave and begin her new life as headmistress of her own school. All she wants is the memory of Roman and the experience of Roman -- and nothing more.

"The trouble is, I'm in love with a man who would make a terrible husband, and yet I don't want to marry anyone else. I will have him once, because I cannot bear not to have him at all." Her voice wavered. "It shall have to be enough for a lifetime."
- Chapter 1

Lucy enlists the help of Celeste Grey, and I loved how Emma Locke timed Lucy's story to connect with Celeste and Trestin's story. When Celeste decides to help Lucy seduce Roman, we wonder what Celeste's motivations are: is it to punish Roman for his interference with her affairs? (There's a hint of Les Liaisons Dangereuses in that.) But unlike the French novel, Lucy is nobody's pawn -- she is her own person and acts according to her own will.

I did love the insight that Celeste brings -- how the act of seduction is a slow and gradual process -- how it has nothing to do with beauty, and a lot to do with attraction. I love that there wasn't any need to transform or improve Lucy's outward appearance (the Cinderella effect), but all that was needed was to change how she thought about herself.

Emma Locke uses the word "game" in the title, but there is also a very emotional (very heartbreaking) element in this e-novella -- and it's from the most unlikely person: Roman Alexander. Roman is transparent, yet impenetrable -- and this e-novella reveals what it is that our beautiful, broken angel of a hero wants most: to be loved. It's a bittersweet tragedy to be loved by all and, yet, not be loved at all. Roman is popular and well-liked -- but he yearns for that one authentic connection. How he breaks my heart when he bares himself to Lucy.

..."Tell me who it is who's captured your heart."

Misery flashed across his handsome face so quickly, she almost didn't see it. Then he was sporting his rakish smile again. "Must I pick just one?"

...

His eyes dimmed, a frown wrinkled his brow, and inside, Lucy died. He didn't fancy all the women in the world. Just one of them.

Someone who didn't return his affection.

...

"But does she know how you feel?"

He turned away and stared out over the dancers. "That I admire her? That she is part of my soul? My best friend, my right arm, the pillow on which I sleep at night? Life without her is gray and misery. Yes, Lucy-love, she knows."
- Chapter 7

On the technical side, Emma Locke really maximises the full power of Poe's single effect -- at the end of the novella, you are rooting for this couple. You want them to work out their personal issues, and work through the complications of their relationship, and get together. This book will leave you on a heart-wrenching cliffhanger -- but, thank goodness, the completion of this story is just a click away. ^_^

A Game of Persuasion is Book 2.5 of Emma Locke's Naughty Girls series. To find out more about Emma Locke and her books, click below:
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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Happy Release Day! The Curse of Lord Standstead by Mia Marlowe


Title: The Curse of Lord Stanstead
Series: The Order of the M.U.S.E.
Author: Mia Marlowe
Genre: Historical, Historical Romance
Length: 295 pages
ISBN: 978-1-63375-377-8
Release Date: July 28, 2015
Imprint: Select Historical

Blurb:

When only seduction will do ...

Wherever Cassandra Darkin goes, fire is sure to follow. It’s not until she’s swept into the arms of a handsome, infuriating stranger that she learns she’s responsible for the fires. As it turns out, Cassandra is a fire mage ... and with her gift comes a blazing desire for sins of the flesh.

With his pretenatural ability to influence the thoughts of others, Garrett Sterling is sent to gather Cassandra for the Order of the M.U.SE. He’s entirely unprepared for his immediate attraction to the comely little firestarter. But it’s an attraction that he must quell, even as his body craves her touch and her fiery, sensual hunger.

For Garrett’s gift has a dark side … and the moment he begins to care too much for Cassandra, he knows he will doom her to an inescapable fate.

Find Mia Marlowe at:

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