Thursday, May 31, 2012

Winners! (Diamond Jubilee Hop Giveaway)

After 10 days and 73 entries, Rafflecopter (through has chosen two winners for my Diamond Jubilee Hop giveaway.

I live in a small city, in a smallish island in the Philippines called Iloilo so I am thrilled to find out that my blog has been found/read by fellow book lovers from as far away as Brazil, Belgium, the Czech Republic and Japan.

A question to my fellow international readers: How do you get your books?

I'm thankful for Book Depository's free worldwide shipping offer and rely on Amazon Kindle and Smashwords for my e-book needs.

Congratulations to:



Stephanie Verhaegen

I've sent you emails. Please respond within 48 hours?

Thank you, again, everyone for joining!

Thank you to Romance at Random for hosting the hop!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Lady's Revenge by Tracey Devlyn

Cora deBeau has just lived through hell. During a covert mission in France, she was captured, interrogated and tortured by Valere, one of Napoleon's key men. She has returned to England alive, but not entirely whole.

Guy Trevelyan works as a cipher for the same spy network as Cora. When he was assigned to rescue a spy known as The Raven, Guy did not know it would be his childhood friend Cora.

Guy could not believe the atrocities done to Cora, but, unfortunately, their mission is far from over -- Valere has come to England to finish what he started with Cora. With danger following closely behind them, Guy knows he must keep Cora safe and help her heal.

I had a hard time writing down a summary for this novel because I could not really figure out what the central action is of the story. What I chose to follow in the story was Cora's journey of healing: she suffered a most horrific fate at the hands of the French and was on the brink of death when she was rescued by her brother, Ethan and their friend, Guy Trevelyan.

Cora is a woman who has used her wits and her beauty to gain secrets for England -- but she has lost her beauty and her wits were not enough to keep her from being captured.

It is interesting what happens next -- Devlyn takes us through Cora's gradual healing. Scarred and bruised, we see the physical signs of Cora's abuse fade as she gradually rebuilds her trust in herself and the people around her. It is a slow and arduous process -- and it takes Tracey Devlyn 432 pages to accomplish the healing process.

Guy Trevelyan plays a significant role in Cora's recovery. He's always felt attracted to Cora and it is his devotion to her that gives Cora confidence in herself again.

"Depending on others will not weaken you, Cora ... You'll still be the strong and courageous person you've always been." Before he thought better of it, he placed a tender kiss on her lips.


When he straightened, he was relieved to see the dazed look in her eyes. So much better than the terror he witnessed yesterday. Progress.

"Another step, Cora."
- p. 84

There is no issue here about love -- our hero and heroine are honest about the attraction and affection that they feel for one another and the author chooses not to dwell on the development of these into love. What Devlyn focuses on, instead, is how Guy and Cora work towards making Cora better.

Now here is where the story gets a bit complicated: while this is happening to Cora and Guy, we learn that Cora's brother gets kidnapped by Valere and Guy's meetings with a myserious cloaked figure called The Specter. (This was not dealt with much and is a big gap in the story BUT the second book is about Ethan so I assume his story will be told there.)

Then we learn that Valere is in England and is on Cora's trail.

We also learn about Cora and Ethan's parents and the mystery that surrounds their murder. (And questions about their loyalty to England.)

Lastly, we also find out about moles in Nexus (the spy network) and informants within Cora's own household.

There is also the side story of Dinks (Cora's lady's maid) and Bingham (another servant). And Cora's unwillingness to accept Guy's love because she knows her reputation will tarnish Guy's name and position in society.

Did I think the author accomplished her purpose in the story? Yes.

But there were too many extraneous details and events (Chapter 28 and 29, the Rothams Ball) and just so much happening in this novel -- that I felt it diminished the main point of the story.

Will I buy Devlyn's second book? Yes. I want to see if Ethan's story will fill some gaps left from this story.

This is the first book in Tracey Devlyn's Nexus series and her debut novel. The second book, Checkmate, My Lord is scheduled for release in February 2013.

To find out more about Tracey Devlyn, visit her website. She's also on Facebook.

Final Note #1: I felt Cora's skills as a spy were inconsistent -- there is a kick-ass scene in Chapter 19 when she instinctively reacts to Guy touching her while she is in the bath.

Without warning, her hand cut through the air and connected with his throat, a spray of soapy water following the burst of action. An explosion of pain sent him reeling to the floor, clutching his neck.
- p. 191

But, why and how does Valere manage to catch her unawares three times? (Twice, her cat, Scrapper, serves as deus ex machina and buys her time.)

Final note #2: Cora is very preoccupied with hair in the story. Her own and Guy's.

Tangled ebony waves framed his strong cheekbones, creating an untamed yet peaceful prospect.
- p. 198
Monday, May 28, 2012

Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal by Grace Burrowes

Maggie Windham is the illegitimate daughter of the Duke of Moreland with a courtesan and was adopted by the Duke and Duchess of Moreland when she was a young girl. She may have scandalous beginnings but she is determined not to have a scandalous life (like her natural mother) -- Maggie has striven to live a spotless, quiet life away from the prying eyes of society.

On the surface, it seems that Maggie has it all: a comfortable and independent life, a family who supports her, wealth and connections, etc. -- but when something valuable goes missing and Maggie cannot find it, she is forced to open her house and her life to Benjamin Hazlit.

Benjamin Hazlit has worked for the Windhams for a long time and is privy to a lot of the family's secrets. He has also worked for members of the Ton: locating runaway daughters, exposing marital infidelities, uncovering financial problems, etc. -- his work involves probing into the deep dark secrets of the upper-crust and keeping those secrets.

When Maggie Windham suddenly hires him for a job, he is curious and determined to discover what secrets Maggie Windham hides -- but he must also make sure that Maggie doesn't discover all of his secrets first.

This is the second book in Grace Burrowes' The Duke's Daughters sub-series (and the fifth book in the Windham Family series) -- in this installment, we meet Maggie, the Windham's eldest adopted daughter. Maggie is a paragon and the Windhams adore her and rely on her sensible nature. But Maggie is a puzzle: she doesn't go out much in society, except to visit with her mother and sisters and her brothers. And not much is known about her in social circles.

Like an iceberg, a portion of Maggie is exposed to all, but a large part of Maggie is submerged -- while her family has seen glimpses of it, the greater part of Maggie's personality has been kept hidden.

Maggie worries that, because of her origins, any close association with her might result in social disaster. She has kept suitors away and has very few friends. (She hesitates to even let a dog in her house.) She is a woman who is so composed and in control of herself and all aspects of her life -- but like the stillest and most placid water, one touch still causes ripples. And that's what Benjamin Hazlit sees.

I like Ben Hazlit -- he's a very good investigator and has amazing powers of observation. (He reminds me of the modern Sherlock, from BBC) -- he moves in society but society keeps a wide berth from him, afraid that Ben might discover their secrets.

The inclusion of Maggie's two families and Ben's cousin serves to show the bigger world that our hero and heroine live in. What is wonderful is that there is an intimacy to the encounters of Benjamin and Maggie, despite the problems they face, when they are together -- there is a peacefulness that exists.

I love how Ben and Maggie share their worries with each other. They have a very comfortable and very honest love. I love how, in the end, it is not only Maggie who is saved by their love, but also Ben and his relationship with his sisters.

Maggie's two mothers are also a study in contrast: while both Esther and Cecily have had their share of scandals, Esther, the Duchess of Moreland has chosen to reform for the sake of her children. She has withstood her husband's unfaithfulness not once, but twice and has exhibited an immeasurable love for her children: both natural and adoptive. Maggie has always feared that she would be like her mother -- and, in the end, ironically, it is revealed that she is exactly like her mother Esther. A woman who was willing to sacrifice herself and her all for the sake of love.

This is not a novel about monumental moments, but of small gestures: held hands, borrowed riding gloves, stolen locks of hair, tea and creme cakes -- all infinitesimal in the grand scheme of life but utterly essential in the building of love.

The next book, Lady Louisa's Christmas Knight, features Louisa Windham and will be released in October 2012.

To find out more about the author and her upcoming books, visit her website. Grace Burrowes is also on Facebook.

Final note: I would love to read more about Archer, Ben's cousin and heir. I hope he gets his story told. ^_^
Friday, May 25, 2012

Beguiling the Beauty by Sherry Thomas

Reading Romances Challenge for May:
1) Read a futuristic or sci-fi romance.
2) Read a book by a favorite author or from a favorite genre.
3) Read a book by recommended by a friend
4) Memorial Day: Read book whose author is now deceased.
5) Mother’s Day: Read a book where the heroine is a mother, the hero or the heroine spends the book searching for or trying to get to their mother.

* * *

Let me preface this review by saying that I have been waiting for this book for 2 years (Sherry Thomas last released a book in May 2010) -- and, when this book was finally available and Book Depository sent me an email telling me my copy was on its way, I have been waiting every Tuesday (that's when the mailman usually brings my books) for this book to arrive.

It arrived yesterday -- and I read it immediately.

And the wait was worth it.

Venetia Townsend Easterbrook has been married and widowed twice before the age of 22. She's been a widow for 8 years now and is enjoying a sojourn in America. She does not know the Duke of Lexington and has never been introduced to him nor do they move in the same social circles -- she knows of his reputation as a scholar of fossils and so she attends his lecture.

It comes as a surprise to her when, during that lecture in America, he uses her as an example for what he claims are the deceptive dangers of beauty.

Venetia is mortified and humiliated at having her whole life laid out, dissected, analyzed and interpreted incorrectly by someone she doesn't know, in front of an audience so, when she finds an opportunity to exact revenge on Christian, she takes it.

Venetia books passage on the Rhodesia, knowing full well that Christian would be on the same ship. When she set out on her revenge, she intended to leave her mark on the Duke of Lexington -- to impress herself on him and show him just how formidable she is. All she wants is his heart on a plate before they land in England. And the plan works too well --

Christian de Monfort fell in love with Venetia almost 10 years ago and has remained in love with her through her first marriage ... and then her second marriage. As a man of science, he relies on tangible fact to prove or disprove his theories -- and everything he has observed about Venetia leads him to believe that she is a fortune-hunting opportunist. (This does not change the way he feels about her, though -- the attraction remains.)

He instantly regrets his indiscreet use of her as an example during his lecture but he doesn't realize the far-reaching implications of his thoughtlessness.

Because of this novel, I have come to appreciate the word "impression" and its many meanings. An impression has multiple degrees and can be something vague and evanescent to something deep and lasting. (See impression at

When Christian first saw Venetia, it forever changed him. (To say that she made a very good first impression on him would be an understatement.) Like the fossils that he studies, that one moment imprinted itself permanently into Christian's mind and heart.

It was not allure, but grace, like the sight of land to a shipwrecked man. And he, who hadn't been on a capsized vessel since he was six ... suddenly felt as if he'd been adrift in the open ocean his entire life.


He felt a sharp, sweet ache in his chest: His life would never again be complete without her.
- p. 3

His succeeding observation and conclusion regarding Venetia's character is an example of another sense of the word "impression" -- (see meaning #5 at -- formed from an incomplete knowledge of Venetia, he accepted what he saw (and heard) as truth. He then sublimates what he feels for her into his research and stufy -- even writing a paper about how her beauty is a detriment to civilization.

The journey our hero and heroine take is both literal and figurative: they are on the Rhodesia returning to England and they have also unwittingly embarked on a journey that forces them to confront their past and present (mis)conceptions.

On board the ship, much like an expedition, our hero and heroine excavate in order to discover and what they find surprises them: he is not so distant, staid and serious with her and she is not the terrible beauty her first husband (and the Duke -- initially) thought her to be.

I love Christian and Venetia -- they are very certain of themselves and walk through life confident and unafraid -- it makes their situation ironic: here are two people who are very assured of their place in the universe and are very good at reading other people (see Chapter 6) but they cannot properly read each other.

They are both so fiercely independent and self-reliant -- so perfectly balanced and suited for each other.

Sherry Thomas looks into how we come to know and love people: with eyes wide open, Christian and Venetia could not see beyond their prejudices but, blindfolded and veiled, they are able to see each other clearly.

Beguiling the Beauty is the first book in Sherry Thomas's new series about the Fitzhugh family. The second book, Ravishing the Heiress is scheduled for release in June 2012. The third book, Tempting the Bride, will be released October 2012.

(Yes, I have already pre-ordered the two books.)

Note: In her acknowledgements, Sherry Thomas mentions Judith Ivory's Beast as having inspired this book. Have you read it? What do you think?
Thursday, May 24, 2012

Perilous Pleasures by Jenny Brown

Adam Selkirk, Lord Ramsay, has served a man known as The Dark Lord for nine years. He continues to be haunted by his sister Charlotte's death during the Terror and continues to hate the woman who caused it: La Belle Isabelle, a courtesan.

It is with great unwillingness that Adam carries out The Dark Lord's dying wish to collect La Belle Isabelle's daughter, Zoe and to bring her to Scotland. It is believed that Zoe holds the key to Adam's Final Teaching -- the last step before Adam becomes The Dark Lord.

Zoe Gervais is shocked by the revelation of all the secrets from her past: that her mother had bargained her to The Dark Lord, and that her education and placement at Mrs. Endicott's school have all been at the behest of that distant and unknown person. And now she has no choice but to go with Adam, a man who clearly hates her and her mother.

This is the third book in Jenny Brown's Lords of the Seventh House series -- I feel that her work is getting more esoteric. In the first book in the series, Lord Lightning, the addition of astrological elements was refreshing and novel.

Perilous Pleasures, on the other hand, is encumbered by all the reference to ancient practices and old magic.

Zoe serves as the reader's interpreter as she, too, is new to this world of magic and superstition. But Zoe is unreliable as her knowledge of it is very limited to what she has read in books and learned in schools.

The Dark Lord's heir must not touch iron.

There was only one kind of creature that feared cold iron -- a witch. She was too good a student of science to believe in witchcraft, but still, he had read her thoughts, more than once. And though he was an educated man -- far better educated than she was -- he obviously believed in wizardry. She couldn't shake the feeling that perhaps what he believed in was more than just fantasy.
- p. 67

The ambiguity of whole thing does lend to the overall air of mystery in the novel, but it also frustrates the reader. Are we supposed to believe in magic in this story?

I had difficulty understanding the author's project:

If the story serves to show the fight between magic and science and too show that England in 1803 was rife with superstition that should be disputed, why does Zoe (who seems to represent science) repeatedly "fall under Adam's spell"? Why does the author continually debunk science over magic?

She couldn't shake the feeling that perhaps what he believed in was more than just fantasy.
- p. 67

"So my father hoped when he married my mother. He, too, was a man of enlightened principles and refused to accept that his life could be ruined by some ancient curse. He didn't want to tell his wife-to-be about our family history, afraid that she'd laugh at him and call him a superstitious fool. But when she quickened, and the midwife told them she'd be having twins, he was forced to tell her the truth."
- p. 244

(I highlighted the last part of the quote for emphasis.)

"I could never regret it. You just made me feel as if I was the most beautiful woman in the world."

"You are," he said.

"It's your magic that has made me so."

"Do you wish for me to remove the spell?" ...

"Never. I'm coming to love your magic." ...
- p. 260

It is interesting to note that, while Zoe seems to be accepting magic, Adam was in the process of shedding it. (See p. 108 when Adam decides between using his bronze blade and his surgical blade, which is made of steel.)

The scope of this story felt too broad and would explain the lack of clear focus and direction --

That being said, there are some wonderful moments in the story. I especially enjoyed the quandary Zoe and Adam find themselves in when Adam could not break the spell he had put on her when he compelled her to marry him.

"How can I choose," she answered, "when you've made me want you so, with your enchantment?"
- p. 166

Overall, this was an okay read. I will get the next book in Brown's series because she offers a unique narrative perspective in historical romance novels.

I hope she regains the balance between astrology and telling her story in the next book.

To read more about Jenny Brown, visit her website. She's also on Facebook.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lord Atwood's Lovers by Eva Clancy (e-novella/ARC)

Imogen and Charles have the perfect marriage --

In public, it is obvious that they love and adore one another and, in private, they share a very honest and openly passionate relationship.

When Alexander Lambert arrives in town and Imogen invites him over for dinner, their harmonious relationship is disturbed and tested and Charles is forced to confront a dark secret from his past.

Lord and Lady Standish epitomize a love match and are well-liked in society. To the ton, they are well-mannered, polished, and abide by the rules of society -- they seem to be everything that they are expected to be.

Behind the closed doors of their townhouse, they are magnified versions of themselves -- gone are the boundaries that restrain them in public. Imogen and Charles are expressive of their love and desire for each other.

Eva Clancy gradually peels back the layers of her hero and heroine -- as the story progresses, we read about Imogen's secret thoughts about her deceased husband, Edward and her feelings toward him; we also find out about Charles' past and the secret he has kept hidden from his wife and from society.

This novella is an exploration of public personas and the secret lives they lead -- Clancy shows us that we are comprised of many different aspects and depths -- for all of Imogen and Charles' honesty with each other, they still had much to discover about one another.

When Alex enters the picture, one would think that the idyllic nature of the Standish marriage would be destroyed -- but the author shows us that love has an all-encompassing ability --

What I love about this novella is how the author treated the menage scene -- it did not feel gratuitous. The desire and passion that the three feel is authentic.

This is Eva Clancy's debut and I look forward to reading more from this author.

Lord Atwood's Lovers will be released on June 1, 2012.

Disclosure: I received an ARC through Netgalley. (Thank you to Harlequin for accepting my request.)
Monday, May 21, 2012

Diamond Jubilee Hop + Giveaway

This hop celebrates the 60th year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II and is being hosted by Romance at Random.

The Diamond Jubilee takes place in 2012, marking 60 years of The Queen’s reign. The Queen came to the throne on 6th February 1952 (her Coronation took place on 2nd June 1953).

Buckingham Palace is responsible for coordinating the events of the Diamond Jubilee central weekend (2nd–5th June 2012), as well as for organizing The Queen’s program in her Diamond Jubilee year.

- Trivia copied from the Romance at Random page

The hop also celebrates the upcoming release of About Last Night by Ruthie Knox. (Scheduled release date: June 11, 2012)

For more information about the book and the author, click here.

Romance at Random is hosting a giveaway from May 21 to May 31.

26 Winners in all will be chosen (US only):

1 winner, 1 copy – Born To Darkness by Suzanne Brockmann
1 winner, 1 copy – The Proposal by Mary Balogh
1 winner, 1 copy – Darker After Midnight by Lara Adrian
3 winners, 1 copy of Witchful Thinking by HP Mallory
10 winners, 1 copy of a PREVIEW from Net Galley of About Last Night by Ruthie Knox
10 winners, 1 copy of PREVIEW from Net Galley of Deep Autumn Heat by Elisabeth Barrett

For US readers, please go to Romance at Random and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway there. Good luck!

 * * * * Now for the good stuff * * * *
(thank you for patiently reading through this)

I am hosting my own giveaway:

*This giveaway is via Rafflecopter and is open to International Readers.
*This giveaway will run until May 31.
*Rafflecopter will select 2 winners:

Each winner will receive an $8 Amazon Gift Card
1 book of their choice from Book Depository (max amount $8)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hop on to the other bloggers and see how they are celebrating:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean

Sixteen years ago, Michael, Marquess of Bourne, lost everything to a game of cards. Betrayed by his guardian and stripped of his wealth, name and reputation, Michael retreats to the hells of London and finds his fortune there.

He has never forgotten or forgiven Viscount Langford, the man he lost it all to. And Michael has had one goal in mind all these years: revenge.

Fate throws a wrench in Michael's well-laid plans: the land he sought to regain has transferred hands once again, ironically in another game of cards -- and the new owner of Falconwell happens to be Penelope Marbury.

Penelope doesn't want the additional dowry. She's done with the marriage mart and wants nothing more than to quietly and peacefully sit on the shelf -- but as the eldest daughter of the double Marquess of Needham and Dolby, she knows she has a responsibility towards her sisters.

But fate throws a wrench in the Marbury marriage plans when Michael kidnaps and compromises Penelope --

Needing to protect her family's name and her sisters' reputations, Penelope and Michael agree to the pretense of a love match. It seems harmless and innocent enough in the beginning but, as the charade continues, both Michael and Penelope realize that something inconvenient is growing between them -- are they willing to risk it all for love?

Penelope Marbury is a cross-over character from Sarah MacLean's previous series, Love by Numbers (see Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart) -- I'm glad she finally has her own story.

It's been eight years since she and the Duke of Leighton broke off their engagement and Penelope is still feeling the repercussions of that failed engagement and wary of the whispers that still follow her about her inadequacies. Now her father has gifted her with a burdensome present -- Falconwell has been added to her dowry -- while most girls (like her sister Olivia) would jump at the chance of adding to her "market value," poor Penelope just sees it as confirmation that her character and person aren't enough to entice a man.

She knows her duty to her family and to her sisters and she's willing to play the puppet one last time but the appearance of an old friend changes all that.

Michael wants Falconwell back and the only way he can get it back is by marrying Penelope. He forces Penelope into a compromising situation, leaving himself and her no choice but to marry. He wants a marriage of convenience, of a wife that will give him no trouble; a wife who will stay out of his way while he continues with his plans of revenge --

It grates at Penelope that she can never have the kind of love that the Duke of Leighton has for his duchess; it grates at her even more to pretend to be in love with Michael (and knowing in her heart that she is nothing more than a pawn and necessary means to Michael's end) -- she knows she can never have love with Michael but she's determined to have the next best thing: adventure, excitement and a chance to live a life free of restriction.

I like Penelope. I like that she finally found her voice and the courage to stand up for herself.

"As you care not a bit for my wishes, I have decided to take my own pleasues in hand. As long as I receive invitations to adventure, I shall accept them."
- p. 319

I didn't like Michael's reason for revenge -- he wagered his entire heritage and lost ... and he blames the other player for his own folly? Granted the Viscount Langford really intended to take Bourne's inheritance but, in a game of cards, no one can predict the outcome. Then I found it contrary that he would be in the business of ruining other gentlemen the same way he was ruined. Granted he doesn't gamble, but he is still party to the ruination of other men.

Also, why doesn't he want Penelope calling him Michael? Why does he insist on being called just Bourne and not Lord Bourne?

My one problem with this story is the narrative time -- things seem to happen within hours/days of each other and the changes that happen to our hero and heroine seem too sudden, too abrupt, too convenient and too unbelievable.

She was starting to fall in love with her husband.

The startling realization came as he handed her up into the carriage...

She was falling in love with the part of him that ice-skated, played charades, teased her with wordplay, and smiled at her as though she were the only woman in the world. She was falling in love with the kindness that lurked beneath his exterior.
- p. 287

(Note: They had only just finished playing charades and they went ice skating the day before.)

While this story had flaws, it also had a lot of attractive qualities: the secondary characters are all very interesting: Penelope's two sisters, Philippa and Olivia are interesting and I am curious about Bourne's friends, Cross, Chase, and Temple.

I also loved the letters that P and M exchanged throughout the course of their childhood.

A Rogue by Any Other Name is the first book in Sarah MacLean's new series, The First Rule of Scoundrels.

The second book, One Good Earl Deserves A Lover features Cross and Philippa Marbury and is due out late 2012. (Based on the preview at the end of this book, it promises to be a very, very interesting story.)

Sarah MacLean has a great blog entry on her favorite Historical Romance reads. Click here to read it.
Friday, May 18, 2012

Forevermore by Lauren Royal (e-novella)

They met at his cousin's wedding where he's an honored guest and she's there because of the flimsiest connections.

Clarice knows that her visit to Cainewood Castle is only a brief interlude from her normal life -- but she could not help but be dazzled by the ceremony, the dinner and dancing and the very young man paying attention to her.

Cameron Leslie may be younger than Clarice but he knows what he feels for Clarice and wants to explore the attraction a little more -- if only Clarice would cooperate.

In this novella, Lauren Royal explores the fine line between reality and fantasy -- Clarice is burdened by the former. She is painfully aware of her place in the world -- of her lack of connections and of the simplicity of her life. She is content with her lot in life but, Cameron's entry in her life is both a blessing and a curse to her -- Cameron represents everything that she can never have in her life -- a castle, a noble man and a chance at love. The contrast between her reality and fantasy is too broad and too painful for Clarice.

...Clarice was nearly thirty-two years old. Old enough to know she had no business lusting over a young man of any sort, let alone one dressed in the trappings of aristocracy.
- p. 10

Her heart fluttered as it hadn't since her all-too-short youth. Evidently the fairytale hadn't ended yet. But it would, and then she would fall back to Earth, hurt again by a man.
- p. 57

Cameron gently (and ardently) reminds Clarice that the two need not be at war with each other -- that her fantasy can be a reality. And that she has value far more precious than a title and connections:

"You've the kindest heart, the sweetest soul. I wouldn't want you to behave any other way than you do already. And no matter what you say, we have quite a bit in common."
- Cameron, pp. 90-91

Forevermore is a novella that is connected to Lauren Royal's Jewel Trilogy (best read after Book 2: Emerald).

Forevermore is FREE, by the way!

I've actually had the pleasure of reading all of Miss Royal's books -- I really enjoy her stories and my favorite has to be the Ashcroft sisters in her Flower Trilogy.

I am looking forward to Lauren Royal's new venture into e-publishing and eagerly await her announcement of a new book. (Crossing my fingers and hoping it's soon!)
Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Lady's Lesson in Scandal by Meredith Duran

Reading Romances Challenge for May:
1) Read a futuristic or sci-fi romance.
2) Read a book by a favorite author or from a favorite genre.
3) Read a book by recommended by a friend
4) Memorial Day: Read book whose author is now deceased.
5) Mother’s Day: Read a book where the heroine is a mother, the hero or the heroine spends the book searching for or trying to get to their mother.

* * *

While most girls dream of a Cinderella ending to their stories, Nell Whitby has her feet firmly planted in Bethnal Green's mud and filth. She's too busy counting coins, hoping she has enough to pay for rent and for her mother's medicine. While her friend Hannah stares at glossy pictures displayed in store windows, Nell stares at the bleakness of London's East End, wary of the leers from men, hoping for the day to end and waiting for a new one to start so she can go to work again.

But, what happens when a girl from the working class discovers she actually belongs with the noble class?

Following the death of her mother (and her mother's odd last words), Nell had planned to exact her revenge on the Earl of Rushden when she broke into his house -- but she discovers that there is a new earl and that she's the old earl's missing daughter -- not a bastard as her mother implied, but a legitimate one.

One look at Nell and Simon St. Maur, the new Earl of Rushden, is convinced she is the missing heiress to the Aubyn fortune. He needs Nell, desperately -- the future of the Rushden estate and his personal fortune (or lack thereof) depend on it. He strikes a bargain with her: he'll help her secure her place and birthright and, in return, she'll share her inheritance by marrying him.

Simon's claim sounds unbelievable to Nell but she accepts the bargain: how could she say no when the world is laid down at her feet and is hers for the stealing taking?

This book surprised me in a delightfully pleasant way. (I would add more adverbs and adjectives here to convey just how delightful, pleasant and amazingly wonderful this story is.) I was ready to read about Nell's transformation from factory girl to earl's daughter a la My Fair Lady -- but Meredith Duran cleverly shifts the focus of the story and takes it to a whole new level:

Yes, there are details about Nell's transformation but it is a transformation that takes place externally and internally.

But this story is about something more. It is about change, love, faith, identity, social class and everything else that comprises a person's dimensions.

A lady was meant to carry nothing but a handkerchief, smelling salts, and perhaps a vial of scent. She jammed her hands inside, feeling for the coins Simon had handed over, laughing, when she'd collected on their billiards-game wager. She didn't meet his eyes as she yanked down the window and thrust out her hand.


... "You carry some coin in your purse?"

Aye, and I've gone on my knees, too, she thought... I've crawled in the mud and I'll be damned now if I travel without a coin when I have one.
- p. 285 (right after Nell's introduction to London society)

I love that Nell never loses her identity or her sense of self. At the end of the story, she's changed but, intrinsically, she still has "old Nell's" heart, soul and dignity.

Power plays a key role in the story. Nell has grown up only knowing powerlessness. She's a cog in the great machine and doesn't imagine herself being something more. As an adult, she tries to speak out against the injustices she sees around her: the lack of ventilation at the factory, her sister in-law's plight and her step-brother's cruelty -- but Nell is made to realize that she has no power to affect any sort of change.

Simon, on the other hand, has been trained to wield power from an early age. As the heir of the Earl of Rushden, Simon has always known his place in the world. It is not necessarily the place he would have wanted for himself -- he would have been happy with his piano and his compositions -- but he has managed to carve it out to suit him.

Early in the story, there is a power struggle between Nell and Simon. While it seems Simon has the upper hand, Nell makes small victories by asserting herself in front of Simon and the staff of Rushden House.

I really like Simon St. Maur -- like Nell, he has a very pragmatic view of the world; unlike Nell, he has never seen the world beyond the boundaries of the titled class -- but Simon never shows pity for Nell. Only admiration and understanding. It is Simon who teaches Nell about power and the good Nell could do once she has it.

"I'm not weak. You're wrong if you think I am."

"Not weak," he murmured. "But these calluses on your palms tell their own story. Your time and labor haven't been your own. Imagine what it would be to set your own course, Nell. To answer to no one's bidding. I can make that possible for you."

It wasn't a promise many could offer. But she didn't doubt that he could keep it.
- p. 180

Their arrangement also undergoes a transformation: it began as a business transaction but, the paradigm shift that our hero and heroine experience, changes the relationship to one of pleasure and love. =^_^=

I love how Simon and Nell's "love" changes: from mercenary, to friendship, to romantic and, ultimately, to an unconditional love. What I love about Duran's story is that she doesn't give our hero and heroine a convenient happily-ever-after -- Simon and Nell struggle to overcome the differences in their backgrounds and the two worlds they live in.

In the end, when they declare their love for each other, one believes it and is happy for them -- it is a well-deserved happy ending. ^_^

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Winners! (100th Review Milestone Giveaway)

Thank you to everyone who joined, especially to those who liked my Facebook page -- your participation has allowed me to break through to 30-likes barrier and I can now access a new Facebook feature. Yay!

I really enjoyed the process and have read through all the recommendations posted.

And the winners of my 100th Review Milestone Giveaway are:

Allie L.



I've sent emails to your Rafflecopter-registered email addresses.

You have until May 17, 12 AM EST to reply (or new winners will be chosen.)

Thank you Rafflecopter for making this easy and painless. ^_^

Until the next giveaway! ^_^

The Surrender of Miss Fairbourne by Madeline Hunter

Her father dead and her brother missing (and presumed dead), Emma Fairbourne is left to run the family business: an auction house and one of London's best. In order to maintain appearances, Emma is forced to work on the sidelines, letting her father's employees run the show.

Emma does not count on her father's silent partner finally emerging and deciding to play a more active role in the running of Fairbourne's. Darius, the Earl of Southwaite, has several reasons for imposing on Emma's hospitality (or lack thereof):

First, he has recently discovered that some of Fairbourne's acquisitions have come from questionable, possibly treasonous, outlets. Second, he wants to protect Emma from any sort of scandal. Last, he wants Emma.

Darius' sudden involvement surprises and annoys Emma. With an auction house to run and consignments to secure, she has a lot on her hands and she cannot afford to be distracted by her undeniably handsome partner.

As Emma (and Darius) prepare for Fairbourne's greatest auction, Emma discovers her father's shady dealings and possible cause of his death. Smuggling is involved -- and Emma finds herself willingly enmeshed in the dangerous web when it seems her brother's freedom is at stake.

When I was reading this book, I recall experiencing the same difficulties when I read Madeline Hunter's Ravishing in Red -- I stopped and started the latter book several times before buckling down and finishing it. My decision paid off and I ended up enjoying the 3 other books in the series (and deciding that The Rarest Blooms was one of my favorite series for 2011.)

The Surrender of Miss Fairbourne has a lot of good parts: I really enjoyed the auction house and felt that Hunter could have focused on the difficulties (and eventual triumph) that Emma faced running it. Chapter 22 could have been the ending -- and it would have been a wonderful and cohesive story.

The banter between Emma and Darius was also nicely done -- I loved the playfulness of the "Outrageous Misconception" --

The addition of the smuggling (and eventual discovery of a more sinister underground affair) throws the story off. I felt the parts that focused on Southwaite, Ambury and Kendale were not that seamless and jarred me each time.

Is this a story with elements of lightness and humor? Is this one with menace and danger? The author seems to test both angles and then backtracks, never committing to one -- which is why I, personally, could not find myself fully engaged in the story.

He had a passing notion that this reticule's contents meant more to her than he knew. The idea did not last long because the erotic potential of her position could not be ignored.
- p. 245

Even Emma's involvement (and the consequences of said involvement) were glossed over.

She had decided not to contemplate the future, or whether she might find herself soon with a real gaoler...
- p. 295

This is a story with a lot of potential that wasn't explored. Will I be buying the next book? Yes, because I want to find out what happens to Cassandra (Emma's friend).

The Surrender of Miss Fairbourne is Book 1 in Madeline Hunter's The Fairbourne Quartet. The Conquest of Lady Cassandra is scheduled for release October 2012.

Final note: He did not caress the slight soreness that still felt the echo of his fullness. Instead he sought another spot of shocking intensity and began torturing her with touches designed to madden her. - p. 188

Too vague. I'm still actually not certain what "spot" the author is referring to. (What's odd? The author uses the word "vulva" in the latter part of the story. See p. 247)
Monday, May 14, 2012

The White Swan Affair by Elyse Mady (ARC)

Perhaps when Hester Aspinall was younger, she was more fearless and carefree -- but she is not longer that woman. After losing her intended to a tragedy at sea, Hester has promised herself that she would lead an impeccable life as her brother's assistant in his tailoring shop in London. For several years, she has kept her promise -- living an almost invisible, faded life -- content to keep house for her brother and to help him with his livelihood.

Then her perfect life is shattered when her brother gets arrested at The White Swan, a notorious pub. Branded "unnatural," Hester's brother, Robert, is sent to Newgate to await trial and Hester is left to fend for herself and to work to prove her brother's innocence.

But Hester is not alone -- her brother's landlord, Thomas Ramsay has offered to help them. After trying, and failing, to handle things by herself, Hester accepts Thomas' help.

Thomas has his own reasons for helping the Aspinalls -- he's always been drawn to Hester and has seen glimpses of the beautiful woman hiding behind the plain facade. He's had brief interactions with her in the years that Robert has been his tenant -- now he has a chance to discover more about this woman who, in her quietness and simplicity, has captivated him more than any other woman.

After reading the first seven chapters, I felt the novel leaned more towards Historical Fiction rather than romance -- the core of the story is Robert Aspinall and what happened to him after his arrest at The White Swan.

According to the author's notes, Robert Aspinall is a real person (and tailor) and the events at the White Swan and subsequent trial of the Vere Street Coterie actually did happen in 1810. (Author's Notes, p. 366)

Hester and Thomas are Mady's own invention and, I felt their inclusion in Robert's story made for a fuller, rounder character and allowed the author to explore the different facets of love.

Love is the central theme of this novel. Mady bravely subjects her characters' relationships to trials (a literal one at the end of the story) to see which ones will survive.

Hester's undaunting love for her brother and the sacrifice she makes for his sake is admirable.

Hester honest and open love for Thomas' -- her willing admission and acceptance to be his mistress, is similarly amazing -- Thomas and Hester share a love that ought not to be: Thomas is the third son of a baronet and moves in respectable circles. Hester is a fallen woman who also happens to be in trade. They have known that they should stay away from each other and to find love with their own class but their feelings for each other is too irresistible:

"I desire you, when I know it is the last thing I should want."
- Thomas, p. 172

It is interesting to note that there is only one other famous Hester in literature and her character is also tested because she loved a man she shouldn't. (See Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter.)

Robert's own discovery of love and self is the most powerful.

Homosexuality was a criminal offense in 19th century England -- and Mady shows us the backlash that occurs after Robert's arrest. No one was willing to take Robert's case -- and Hester and Robert fall prey to an opportunistic charlatan of a solicitor. Robert and the other men arrested with him are treated poorly and suffer in Newgate.

After living a life of denial, Robert finds the courage to say what is in his heart. It is love that allows Robert to survive the hardship of prison. (See Chapter 19.)

Mady makes reference to William Shakespeare's The Tempest -- and it is an apt comparison: Robert and Hester are like Prospero and Miranda, outcasts who are seeking to regain what they have lost --

Prospero had magic and the island's magical inhabitants to do his bidding. Robert and Hester had no power and no magic --

They did have love and that proved to be powerful enough to surmount any and all obstacles:

"We are both of us imperfect, Robert. If you can love me for my faults and my sins, I can love you for yours."
- Hester to Robert, p. 258

This is Elyse Mady's first full-length historical novel and it is full of detail and story, providing us with an authentic experience and unflinching view of life, love and the law in England in 1810.

The White Swan Affair is scheduled for release on May 21.

To read more about Elyse Mady, visit her website.

Disclosure: I received an ARC through Netgalley. (Thank you to Carina Press for accepting my request.)
Monday, May 7, 2012

100th Review Milestone Giveaway! (International)

This project began in November 2010 -- the end of the year was coming and I had to make my year-in-review lists --

I tried to think of the books I had read that year and I was certain I read a lot of them -- (my very light wallet was testament to this) -- but I could not recall most of the books I had read!

I wanted to treat the books I read with more respect -- so I promised myself that I would take a minute or two to write down my thoughts after each book. I got myself a Moleskine Book Journal -- and, after a year, I had filled out most of the pages -- it was time to buy a new journal -- but, when I took a look at the price, I realized how many more books I could buy for the same price ... and blogger is free to use.

So I took the plunge and started to post my entries online.

Blogging about the books I read is time consuming -- but the benefits can't be beat:
*I am reading better. I think about the books that I read and I savor the words.
*I've also discovered new authors through fellow book bloggers. (I would never have found Cassandra Dean if not for Reading Romances blogiversary party.)

I am also writing better. Entries in my Moleskine started it with just "I liked it!" or "This was okay." -- but now I am tapping into my background as an English Lit mahor and teacher and remembering words and theories that have all but faded from memory, replaced with a new vocabulary (that of a parent) --

I want to thank Nikki, who found me (I don't know how) -- and was my first and only GFC follower for a while. ^_^

I have review #101 and I'm reading a book which is review #102. I hope I can break 200 reviews before 2012 ends.

Now for the giveaway:

*This giveaway is via Rafflecopter and is open to International Readers.
*This giveaway will run until May 15.
*Rafflecopter will select 2 winners:
Each winner will receive an $8 Amazon Gift Card
1 book of their choice from Book Depository (max amount $8)

This is my first giveaway and my first time to use Rafflecopter. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping this works. ^_^

A Week to be Wicked by Tessa Dare

Minerva Highwood needs to go to Scotland to present her findings to the Royal Geological Society of Scotland. She also needs to prevent Colin Sandhurst, Lord Payne, from marrying her sister. Ever efficient, she comes up with an excellent solution: Take Colin with her to Scotland.

Colin never had any intentions of courting or marrying Minerva's sister, Diana -- or to go along with Minerva's harebrained scheme to go to Scotland so she could talk about rocks.

But there's something so delightfully endearing about Minerva when she's being teased that Colin just can't resist.

Despite his better judgment, he goes along with Minerva -- but, as is the story of Lord Payne's life, things go awry.

What should have been a 4-day trip by mail coach turns into a week-long ordeal for the two -- proving to be a volatile combination, Minerva and Colin experience adventure and trouble that tests the limits of what they are willing to do for each other.

Minerva Highwood is the middle sister and is the misfit of her family. Spindle Cover has become a refuge for her -- for once in her life, she doesn't feel out of place. And Spindle Cove has also offered Minerva a chance to leave her mark in the world -- she discovers "Francine" (the fossil of a giant lizard) in one of the caves in Spindle Cove and knows that her discovery ensures her the top prize from the Royal Geological Society and will secure her place in science.

...this was why the symposium was so important to her. Why Francine meant everything. This was why, a few mornings ago, she'd opened up the trunk that held her trousseau and swapped out those bridal fantasies for new, scientific goals. Minerva had never been the daughter her mother would have wished. She was different from her sisters... She could live with being a hopeless excuse for a fashionable, elegant lady ... so long as someone, somewhere, respected and admired her just for being her. Minerva Highwood, geologist and bookworm ...
- p. 133

What she doesn't count on is her growing feelings for Colin. Minerva is a realist and knows that Colin would never fall for a girl like her -- but as their week together progresses, she allows herself to pretend -- just for this time -- that he just might surprise her.

She trusted this man. He was a known liar and a shameless rake, but she trusted him.
- p. 206

One either loves Colin Sandhurst or hates him -- this was Minerva's dilemma early on and this also becomes the reader's dilemma. Colin is unapologetic about the wild life he lived in London and he doesn't regret how he's been living in Spindle Cove, either. He's too carefree and too flippant and he doesn't seem to take things seriously -- but, even as early as the first book (A Night to Surrender) one can see glimpses of a decent Colin who can be trusted (sometimes) to get the job done.

Minerva compares Colin to Bristol Diamonds and it's a perfect description of him:

"They're a kind of rock formation. On the outside, they look like ordinary pebbles. Round, brownish gray. But when you crack them open, inside they're filled with crystals in a hundred different shades."
- Minerva, p. 89-90

Geology is at the heart of this story -- and our characters are like the rocks that Minerva studies. Both Minerva and Colin are formed by natural and "chemical" events: Colin's being orphaned at a young age and his insomnia; Minerva's lack of acceptance from her mother; Minerva's farsightedness and childhood, etc -- the crags and textures of their personalities and decisions have been shaped by their past and the pressures they had withstood in order to be where they are.

Tessa Dare demonstrates that, as rock are not just rocks, Colin and Minerva invite a closer look and a deeper study. They are not the "main event" as Bram and Susanna are (characters of the first book in the series) -- but their story is one worthy of telling and one worthy of reading.

A Week to be Wicked is part of Tessa Dare's Spindle Cove series. The next book, A Lady by Midnight is set for release Fall 2012. (Can you say, "auto buy?" ^_^)
Sunday, May 6, 2012

Quicksilver by Amanda Quick

Someone is killing off glasslight readers and Virginia Dean is next on the list.

Owen Sweetwater has been hired by Jones & Jones to look into the deaths of the glasslight readers when he finds Virginia half-awake from a drugged sleep and lying beside the murdered body of Lord Hollister.

He knows who she is, once seeing her at a session intended to determine if her talent is real or fake -- and admired the way she handled that situation. Owen admires even more the way Virginia is handling this situation -- as they struggle to find their way out of the labyrinth of glass, they stumble upon a clockwork device that emanates psychical energy.

Thus Amanda Quick sets the stage for her latest story set in the Arcane world of Victorian England.

Virginia and Owen both possess considerable talent that happen to complement each other in this particular investigation. Wanting to find out how she fits into the plot, Virginia decides to assist Owen in his investigation.

Quick expertly mixes mystery, suspense with a bit of "magic" and a bit of "romance" -- I enjoyed reading the procedural aspect of the novel. Readers new to Quick should be forewarned that her romances are not typical -- she has a very Victorian/intellectual approach to building the relationship of her characters.

I really liked how calm and collected Virginia is -- she has an amazing supernatural gift and one that she uses to help others (though she does profit from it). She's very careful and very thoughtful -- she's not pretty but her features seem very distinct: red-gold hair and blue-green eyes (p. 21) -- also that she is "on the shelf" (p. 67).

Owen is the more interesting of the pair, Amanda Quick presents another family of talents (comparable to the Jones and Winters families) -- the Sweetwaters have a very specific set of talents, one that sets them apart figuratively and literally. They are not members of the Arcane Society but they have a working relationship with members of the Arcane. They are respectable and accepted in Polite Society but they do not mingle or socialize. They exist on the fringes, defenders of a sort.

One does not hire the Sweetwaters if there is anything normal or routine about the investigation... Our clients come to us when they have run out of options. We are the last resort.
- Owen, p. 62

I love that the author introduced us to other members of Owen's family: Nick, Matt, Tony as well as some aunts. (I can imagine a series focusing mainly on the Sweetwaters. ^_^)

Amanda Quick has really developed, quite successfully, her Arcane/Talent mythos and it fits so well into Victorian England. The world she has built is immersive and expansive with characters that are all very compelling.

My biggest problem is that Quick completes the Arcane series through different genres (contemporary and futuristic paranormal) -- but I only read historicals. (I have read all of Quick's historicals since she started writing them in the early 90s. My favorites are: Mystique, Mischief, Affair and her Lavinia Lake + Tobias March trilogy.)

To learn more about the Arcane Society and Amanda Quick's other works, visit Amanda Quick's website.

Favorite line in the novel: "A man can learn a great deal about women from novels," Matt said. "You should try it sometime." p. 262 (referring to sensation novels) Very meta-textual. ^_^
Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan (e-novella)

Hugh Marshall has a very specific agenda -- it involves sticking with the Duke of Clermont long enough in order to collect on a wager they made. The prize would be big enough for Hugh to build on the dream he's had since he ran away from home when he was 14 years old.

He's on track to winning the bet -- until the Duke brings to Hugh's attention a very delicate problem.

Hugh feels no love or loyalty to the Duke -- he is merely a means to his ends, but, anything that affects the Duke's finances, affects Hugh's --

Serena Barton had her life and future destroyed by the Duke and she is determined to make him pay. She's a woman with no means or resources -- so she does the only thing she could --

Every day, she sits on the bench outside the Duke's house -- hoping he would give in to her demands or, if not, hoping that the gossips will do what they do best --

But it is not the Duke who is disturbed by Serena's presence in Mayfair -- Hugh stares out the window and wonders what terrible deed the Duke has done to Serena to incite such a display of defiance. Deep inside, Hugh knows the Duke and he knows he does not need to stretch his imagination too much to find the answer.

Serena has nothing to lose; Hugh has everything to lose -- it is a contest of wills that neither one can afford to forfeit.

Courtney Milan introduces her new series, The Brothers Sinister with this e-novella (a Book "0.5") -- what is so amazing about this piece is how rich and complete the story is -- it is short but, in 50-or-so pages, Milan provides us with a panorama of emotions and narrative.

Hugh and Serena are not wealthy or important people -- they are people at the lower rungs of society, struggling to make a life that defies social expectations.

Hugh is a coal miner's son and ex-boxer -- but he is in control of the decisions of one of the most important men in London. And he is determined to make something of himself: the richest coal miner's son in all of England - loc 674, 1659, 1672

Serena ought to be devastated and damaged from her ruination -- but she is done being a victim and is fighting for her future. The odds (and the weather) are against her, but she refuses to be cowed by anyone -- including Hugh.

I am done with things happening to me. From here on out, I am going to happen to things.
- loc 424

Milan shows us that there is dignity in their struggle and a nobleness to their aspirations. Milan tells their story beautifully with a bittersweet innocence --

I love the letters exchanged between Serena and Hugh -- in a different life, in a different situation, their letters can be viewed as flirtatious and the attraction they feel as playful -- but, in their particular situation, there is a silent edge to their exchange: a need to "one-up" the other.

I address one final thing. You are not mine, and I'll thank you not to address me in so familiar a fashion.
S. Barton
- loc 849

Still yours,
- loc 860

This is the tragedy of Serena and Hugh. Even something as simple as flirtation can not be simple -- everything, everything comes at a cost.

This is business, not romance.
- (Hugh) loc 1221

The Governess Affair is an extraordinary love story -- one that has left me breathless, enchanted and wanting more. I look forward to reading about Robert, Oliver and Sebastian. ^_^

The first book in the series, The Duchess War (Robert's story) is scheduled for release Summer 2012.

For more on the author (and her amazing work), visit her website.
Wednesday, May 2, 2012

An Heir of Deception by Beverley Kendall (e-book)

Beverley Kendall's story begins where most novels end: at the wedding of our hero and heroine, who have loved each other since they first set eyes on each other.

But our hero, Alex, gets jilted at the altar and our heroine, Charlotte leaves nothing but a letter to Alex with barely an explanation or apology and no trace or clue to her whereabouts.

It is five years later, and Charlotte is back in England and she must face the repercussions of her decision that fateful day. More is at stake now, because Charlotte not only has to fend for herself -- but also to defend her son, Nicholas.

And one of the most important people she must face is Alex. Except Alex does not want to have anything to do with Charlotte anymore -- it took him 5 long years to finally put the betrayal behind him and he's ready to move on.

But one look at Nicholas, and Alex knows that he must risk his heart once again -- for the sake of his son.

This is, perhaps, Kendall's most visceral work, laying her characters' hearts and souls bare -- writing about Alex's anguish and pain so vividly -- raw and angry. Alex has loved and wanted only Charlotte and was a wedding vow and a kiss away from fulfilling his lifelong dream -- only to have the dream stolen from him by Charlotte herself.

But Charlotte had very good reasons to do what she did -- and while she was a hapless victim of circumstance and had very few options all those years ago, but she has come back a different person -- one who is willing to stand up and fight for the ones she loves.

One of my favorite scenes in the novel is during Charlotte's first evening back -- and she dreams of Alex.

And then he was gone.

Her arms lay empty on the tangled whit bed sheets. Charlotte reached out again with an urgency that bordered on desperation, endeavoring to stop the panic from taking over ...

"Alex. Alex. Alex," she cried out in the dark.
- loc. 949

In An Heir of Deception, Beverley Kendall explores loss and yearning, family and a sense of belongingness, sacrifice and redemption --

Kendall's writing is emotional and evocative -- and her descriptions are amazing! My favorite line: "Silk tulle and Indian muslin crushed as they joyously embraced." - loc. 1535

This was one of my most anticipated (e-)book releases for 2012 -- and it exceeded my expectations.

An Heir of Deception is part of Kendall's Elusive Lords series.


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