Saturday, November 29, 2014

Discounted Historical Romance Novels (Black Friday edition)

Happy Thanksgiving to readers in North America! I hope everyone is having a wonderful, restful weekend with your friends and families. ^_^

This is a special edition of my weekly feature because there are so, so many amazing offers online right now:

First, for readers wanting to get a Kindle, now is a very good time to consider getting one. The basic kindle is priced at $49 (with special offers) and the Fire HD 6 is $79. All offers can be seen here.

Now for the books:

Amazon is offering a 30% discount on any one (1) print book purchased by November 30, 2014. Use code: HOLIDAY30 Click here for full Terms & Conditions

About the book:

RITA Award-winning author Sarah MacLean reveals the identity of The Fallen Angel's final scoundrel in the spectacular conclusion to her New York Times bestselling Rules of Scoundrels series ...

By day, she is Lady Georgiana, sister to a duke, ruined before her first season in the worst kind of scandal. But the truth is far more shocking -- in London's darkest corners, she is Chase, the mysterious, unknown founder of the city's most legendary gaming hell. For years, her double identity has gone undiscovered ... until now.

Brilliant, driven, handsome-as-sin Duncan West is intrigued by the beautiful, ruined woman who is somehow connected to a world of darkness and sin. He knows she is more than she seems, and he vows to uncover all of Georgiana's secrets, laying bare her past, threatening her present, and risking all she holds dear ... including her heart.

About the book:

Readers of Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Sabrina Jeffries will love Ashlyn Macnamara’s novel about a smoldering new love that is threatened by past betrayals.

Viscount Lindenhurst cannot seem to find a governess who meets his impossible standards -- until Cecelia Sanford becomes the first woman to interrupt the widower’s brooding in years. Lind had returned home from the Napoleonic wars, broken in body and soul and longing for his wife’s embrace, only to find her changed. Before they could reconcile, an accident struck their son and claimed her life. Now enter Cecelia, with her soft curves and sharp tongue -- a tempting distraction, it is true, but not a welcome one.

Past the usual marrying age and haunted by a scandal of her own, Cecelia soon finds herself caring for both the child and the man. The viscount is brittle and even abrupt at times, yet she cannot deny the attraction that stirs her body in his presence. Moved by the deep sense of abandonment that tortures his soul, Cecelia aches to fully awaken Lind’s heart from its rancorous slumber -- if she can just keep their pasts from destroying a second chance at love.

About the book:

This historical romance is cotton candy with a razor on top. Themes include male virginity, BDSM, religion and language you really shouldn't use at home. If you are easily offended by graphic sex and dirty humor, this book is not for you.

After Miss Leona Olivia Webster had allowed herself to fall in love with a dashing childhood friend who had left her scorned and pregnant, she is done chasing her happily-ever-after. Shunned by society, she dedicates herself to raising her young son and putting money in their pockets. She doesn't expect to be drawn to her latest master, a brooding man of hulking presence who carves random messages into walls with his Persian blade as a means of starting a flirtation.

Malcolm Gregory Thayer, the earl of Brayton, may have dedicated himself to a life of religious virtue after leaving the monastery due to dark tendencies, but after meeting Leona, he begins to yearn for the life that had never been his. When he meets a retired French courtesan who invites him to embrace what he has long feared, he seizes the opportunity to become the man he always wanted to be. His new mission is clear. He intends to finally serve the one thing he never had: his heart.

About the book:

London, 1820

The mission did not go quite as Robert Ware -- known in society as the new Earl of Kirkland -- planned. A spy in the service of His Majesty, Robert is a "guest" at a masquerade party as he retrieves vital information for a murder investigation. Until he's quite unexpectedly interrupted by an exquisite, masked woman with glittering green eyes. And a pistol she has cocked and aimed right at him ...

Lady Sophia Merrill has defiantly taken up justice's shining sword, determined to expose the brigand who murdered her eccentric but brilliant father, and stole his latest invention. Now she must masquerade as Robert's betrothed in order to infiltrate the Inventor's Society and find the killer. But the undeniable potent attraction between them not only imperils the investigation, but Sophia's reputation ... and both of their lives.

About this book: 
Two Sisters ...
Julia Herington is overjoyed when her stepsister, Louisa, becomes engaged -- to a viscount, no less. Louisa's only hesitation is living a life under the ton's critical gaze. But with his wry wit and unconventional ideas, Julia feels James is perfect for Louisa. She can only hope to find a man like him for herself. Exactly like him, in fact ...
One Choice ...
As the new Viscount Matheson, James wished to marry quickly and secure his title. Kind, intelligent Louisa seemed a suitable bride ... until he met her stepsister. Julia is impetuous -- and irresistible. Pledged to one sister, yet captivated by another, what is he to do? As Christmas and the whirl of the London season approach, James may be caught in a most scandalous conundrum, one that only true love, a bit of spiritous punch -- and a twist of fate -- will solve ...

About this boxed set:

Rose Gordon’s His Yankee Bride: From the movement Carolina Ellis sees one Mr. John Banks, she knows she must have him -- no matter the cost. John Banks wants nothing to do with the scandalous, sweet talking, ever-present, American beauty named Carolina, or so that’s what he keeps saying ...

Christi Caldwell’s My Lady of Deception: For Georgina Wilcox, only child of the notorious traitor known as “The Fox”, there are too many secrets to count. However, after her interference results in great tragedy, she resolves to never help another ... until she meets Adam Markham.

Lord Adam Markham is captured by The Fox. Imprisoned, Adam loses everything he holds dear. As his days in captivity grow, he finds himself fascinated by the young maid, Georgina, who cares for him.

Ruth Hartman’s Love Birds of Regent’s Park: Lucy Ashbrook discovers that birds aren’t the only pleasing things at the Regent’s Park Bird Sanctuary. A certain Sanctuary worker, Oliver Barrow, has stolen her heart. But Oliver has a secret that just might get in the way of anything more than friendship developing between them. Can they find a way to be together in spite of the many obstacles?

Katherine Bone’s Duke by Day, Rogue by Night: Constance Danbury’s only hope of escaping a forced marriage is to trust a clandestine pirate, a man who must choose between vengeance and protecting his identity, an act that forces him to cross into more dangerous territory… losing his heart.

Patty Kiyono’s Searching for Lady Luck: A pretty lady named Rose seems to bring Charlie Brannigan good luck every time she appears. Could she be his ticket back to the big time?

Moriah Densley’s Song for Sophia: Desperation has led Anne-Sophia Duncombe to a life of exile. Still, she is always just one mistake away from capture and a marriage she would rather die than endure. As a last resort to remain hidden from her former life, Sophia attempts a radical scheme; a life of humility and disguise.

Kim Bowman & Kay Springsteen’s Something Like A Lady: Jonathan Durham, Fourth Earl of Seabrook, needs a wife, and Lady Annabella Price's mother wants her to find a husband. But how will Jon convince his unwilling bride to give their marriage a chance when's she's determined to have it dissolved?

Melissa MacKinnon’s Return to Me: Marek can’t deny his desire for Brynn, but these are wartimes, and she is the enemy. And though love knows no prejudice, the world in which he lives isn’t nearly as forgiving.

Kristin Vayden’s Redeeming the Deception of Grace: Lady Grace Hashiver has perfected the art of hiding behind a sarcastic wit when it comes to dealing with the rakish Ewan Emmett Duke of Greys, her childhood tormentor. It’s her only weapon, for if she let her guard down even for a moment, surely he’d know just how much she loved him. A love she knew could never happen.

B. G. Lashbrooks’ Olivia’s Journey: When Olivia Manning finds a wounded Confederate soldier on the wrong side of the Ohio River, she has a difficult decision to make. Help him live and risk the wrath of her uncle, or let him die and have his blood on her hands. She risks everything for him, and when he wakes, she has even more difficult decisions to make…like letting him into her heart.

Happy Reading, everyone!
Friday, November 28, 2014

Blog Tour: Twice Tempted by Eileen Dreyer (Review + Giveaway)

Twice Tempted is one my most-anticipated books for the second half of 2014, and I'm so excited to be part of the blog tour for the release of Eileen Dreyer's latest from her amazing Drake's Rakes series.

To celebrate the release of Twice Tempted, there is a giveaway for the complete set of the Drake's Rakes series, including Twice Tempted! (5 lucky winners will be chosen. Enter via rafflecopter below.)

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About Twice Tempted:

Fiona Ferguson's troubles began with a kiss ...

It feels like a lifetime ago that Alex Knight saved Fiona from certain doom .. and stole a soul-shattering kiss for good measure. Wanting nothing more than to keep her safe, he left her in the care of her grandfather, the Marquess of Dourne. But Fiona was hardly safe. As soon as he could, the marquess cast her and her sister out on the streets with only her wits to keep them alive. Alex has never forgotten that long-ago kiss. Now the dashing spy is desperate to make up for failing his duty once before. This time he will protect Fiona once and for all, from a deadly foe bent on taking revenge on the Ferguson line -- and anyone who stands in the way ...

Buy links:
Barnes and Noble:

Excerpt from Twice Tempted:
He arched an eyebrow. “Lord Whitmore again? Please, Fiona. Don't do that to me. When I hear Lord Whitmore, I think of my uncle, who had six fingers and thought bathing was a trick of the devil.”

She giggled. “I can understand your wanting to maintain the distinction.”

“Every time you call me Lord Whitmore, I will call you Eloise.”

She glared at him, the curtains clutched to her chest like bedclothes, as if she were a maiden in threat of seduction. “You wouldn't.”

He shrugged. “It is your name. Lady Eloise Fiona Ferguson Hawes.”

“No one knows,” she hissed.

He leaned in very close. “I do.”

She reared back and almost tipping the ladder again. “That is patently unfair.”

He shrugged and reached up for the curtains. “All is fair in love and safety.”

She refused to budge. “I do not believe that is precisely the quote.”

Grinning, he put his foot on the second rung, just beneath her. “Close enough.”

And then he made the mistake of looking into her eyes. Her blue, blue eyes that were suddenly black with arousal. He heard the sharp intake of her breath and saw the erratic pulse beating at the base of her long white throat.

His own body reacted just as it had every time he'd gotten close to her. He focused in on her, his grip on her tightening. Still she didn't move, caught in the circle of his free arm, her hip pressed against his chest, her mouth just above his. All he had to do was climb another rung, and he could satisfy a four-year-old craving.

His heart was galloping suddenly, and he could feel a bead of sweat roll down his back. He could see a glow on her forehead, her upper lip. Her eyes widened, as if she could read his thoughts, and he could scent something new. Arousal. Need. Hunger. His own body was shaking with it. He swore his cock had taken on a life of its own, and his brain simply shut down.

He leaned a bit closer, his foot still on the step beneath her and paused, giving her a chance to escape, to clout him in the head if necessary. She didn't. She watched him the way prey might a raptor, unsure and wary. He didn't blame her. He wasn't certain how much control he had over himself. It had been so long since he'd had a woman. So much longer since he'd really liked the one he had.

Slowly, so he didn't startle her into tipping the ladder, he rose up and set his other foot on the rung. She was frozen in place, one hand fisted around the blood-deep velvet, the other clenched against the ladder, as if she was still uncertain whether to use it.

She didn't. She inhaled, her mouth opening just a bit, as if there wasn't enough air. As if she were struggling to stay afloat.

Sink, Alex wanted to say as he lifted himself face-to-face with her, mouth-to-mouth. Sink into me.

“I knew it!” a voice screeched behind him, shattering the moment. “What did I tell you about lettin' them jackanapes in here?”

Fiona reared back, as if he'd attacked her, again throwing the ladder off balance. Alex instinctively pulled back to stabilize them. He pulled back too far and the ladder tipped.

There was a lot of yelling and a couple of muffled thuds as Alex landed on his back, cushioning Fiona's fall. He wasn’t so lucky.

“Are you all right?” Fiona asked immediately, leaning over him.

“Serves him right,” the housekeeper snapped from the doorway.

He had hit his head so hard he was seeing stars. But he was smelling cinnamon and Fiona, so he really couldn't complain

“That is enough, Mrs. Quick,” he heard. “Alex? Your eyes are open. Can you hear me?”

Rather than admit that he was too distracted by the plump pressure of her breast against his chest to answer, he simply closed his eyes and groaned. The act would have been unworthy of him if his head weren't pounding and his arse aching from hard contact with the floor

“Mrs. Quick,” she was saying, her hand on his cheek. “See if Mr. Clemson is outside. Send him for the doctor.”

He knew his injuries didn't merit such concern. “No doctor.” He blinked a couple of times until the multiple Fionas resolved into one. “I'll live. My head is a bit bruised is all.”

In retaliation, she took away both her hand and breast, which almost set Alex to groaning again. She actually smacked him on the arm. “Then don't frighten me like that ... again.”

“Don't know why you let him in here at all,” came the grumble from the doorway.

Untangling them both from the curtains, Fiona sat up. “Thank you, Mrs. Quick. I think we're all right now.”

“Ya think that, do ya?”
 Fiona gave her the kind of glare that betrayed her aristocratic heritage. The housekeeper, still grumbling, clasped her hands in a parody of good servile behavior and stalked off down the hall.

Fiona looked back down to where Alex lay, and he could see the cost of the last tumble on her face. He should have been outraged. He was lying in a nest of curtains with a fresh headache and the humiliation of his fall, and she was ... laughing.

She tried so hard not to. She held her hand to her mouth. She shook her head. He could see her shoulders heave. He would have chastised her, except the minute he opened his mouth, he burst out laughing, too.

“You are not very beneficial to my amour propre,” he wheezed up at her.

She couldn't stop laughing, full-throated, full-bellied, as if too much suppressed laughter had simply spilled over. “I ... I ... didn't ...”

“Mean it,” he managed, making it up as far as sitting beside her. “Yes, I know.”

She frantically shook her head. “Think anything could be so ... funny!” She was gasping, bent over her hands at her waist. “The look on your face!”

He had meant to get up, to reassert his mastery of the situation. He refused to sacrifice this perfect moment with her on the floor. Wrapping an arm around her shoulder, he wiped at the tears that coursed down her cheeks.

“It's not that funny,” he groused.

She started laughing again. “Oh, yes it is. You can have no idea of how long it's been since I had the chance to laugh. Since I last saw your sister, I think.”

He had to grin. “Well, yes. Pip would set anybody to laughing. She's a ridiculous little thing.”

For that he got a resounding smack on his chest. “Do not dare speak ill of my best friend.” She hiccuped, her eyes widening a bit. “My only friend, actually. Except for Sarah and Lizzie. And now that Sarah is married to my brother, I have no idea at all how we will meet again.”

There was the faintest plaintive note in her voice that made Alex want to curl her completely into his arms and shield her from hurt. Dear God, how lonely she must have been. “I promise,” he said instead. “I fully respect my sister's loyalty. It's her good sense I frequently question.”

Her breathing was evening out. She nodded. “Pip does have a knack for acting before thinking.”

“She's like a whirlwind.”

“She needs to finally capture her Beau,” Fiona said with a definite nod. “That would settle her down.”

Alex snorted. “Poor Beau. He'd never have another moment's peace.”

And for a long moment, they just sat there in a pool of sunlight and velvet, his arm around her and her head on his shoulder. It felt so good. So whole.

It couldn't last. If he didn't move, he'd damn well take her here on the floor. He opened his mouth to tell her, and then made the mistake of meeting her gaze again.

Her lips were still parted, but she wasn't laughing anymore. He could see the pulse jumping at her throat, and her hands were clenched again, as if she were trying hard to keep them to herself.

He didn't know why. Lifting his own hand, he cupped her cheek. Again he gave her the chance to pull away. Again she didn't. His own heart started to skip around. He was rock hard. There was no longer a question. He had to kiss her.

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My Review:

It did begin with a kiss, as Eileen Dreyer's novella (which introduced the students of the Last Chance Academy) suggests. Fiona and Alex are kindred souls -- something they recognized in each other when they met at the academy all those years ago. Back then, Alex was not free to love Fiona because he was married, but the connection and chemistry was undeniable, and fans of the Rakes (me, included) were left to wistfully imagine what it would have been like if Fiona and Alex had a chance to explore the possibilities between them. But now, even though his wife has died, Alex still does not believe he is free to love Fiona, doesn't believe he is worthy of Fiona's love and doesn't believe he can dare to dream to be with her. Instead he focuses on protecting her and rescuing her from the terrible, and deadly, situation Fiona and Mairead unwittingly find themselves in.

In Twice Tempted, Eileen Dreyer has ramped up the intrigue. Dreyer's background is romantic suspense and she showcases a masterful (and very wicked) mind in crafting the delicate balancing act of protecting one's self, protecting one's family and name, and protecting one's country. It is terrifying to realise the power and reach of The Lions and I did wonder if Alex would succumb to the pressure they were exerting on him.

The Rakes all see Alex as a White Knight: a virtuous and noble defender and champion, but Alex doesn't believe he deserves the name. Even now as he walks the fine line between patriotism and treason, Alex doubts his own heart and ability. While he has devoted his life to protecting the people he loved, his success rate is 0%. He failed to save his late wife, and he is about to, potentially, fail at saving his stepfather, Fiona, and England.

He thought of the promise he had only recently made to Drake, that he would not fail to contact him the minute the Lions approached. Nothing was more important than his duty to his country, he'd vowed. Not honor. Not life. But what about his father? Just what would a charge of treason do to that magnificent heart? Alex stood for a long time. Before he moved on, he gave one nod of his head. He never went back to Drake's.
- loc 806

There's blackmail that involves Alex's late wife's letters (which incriminate her), and now it is revealed that Alex's stepfather was also involved. Then there is Fiona and Mairead, who are being pursued by The Lions. What do they want from two orphans with no social connection or pull? What is so important about these sisters?

So many questions in the story. So many mystery boxes to unlock. The task is daunting, but Eileen Dreyer has created characters that are more than capable of handling the situation. I was delighted and impressed by how intelligent and clever Fiona and Mairead are. They have defied expectations and broken molds as heroines. They are a wonderful combination of book-smart and street-smart -- when we discover what happened to the sisters all those years ago in Edinburgh, we assume the worst: the brothel, the streets, etc. -- but we discover how greatly we have underestimated these two amazingly brave women.

Had Fiona had a top hat to hide beneath? How had she disguised that flame-bright hair and unforgettable face? How had she protected Mired? Suddenly it was important to know.
- loc 2497

I speak about Fiona and Mairead together because that is how they have always been: as twins, their lives intersect in the most primal way. And, with Mairead's quirks, Fiona has had to manage her sister for their entire lives. Like the other characters in the story, I wondered about Mairead, who was always talked about in the previous books, but never seen. Even then, Fiona had protected her and kept her from everyone's view. In Twice Tempted, we finally meet the mysterious Mairead, and she is lovable in her own special way.

The sisters share one great passion for the stars, and Fiona has long relied on Orion's constancy -- it's a heartbreaking representation of the one thing Fiona wants and desperately lacks in her life: someone to rely on. The interesting reflection about stars is that they are fixed points in space and we have, through history, relied on them to guide us -- but, the stars disappear during the day when the sun outshines them, but, in our darkest hour, in our gravest need, those same stars will shine the brightest.

... Fiona had been created for the skies, for the bright light of the sun, for rapier-sharp debate and sly humour. It was the way he'd always seen her in his mind, as a primal force. But Fiona was not only that bright spirit waving from the carriage, or the tight, controlled lady who survived her grandfather. She was the muck of the gutters. The thin, honed steel of survival. She was so much more than he had fallen in love with, and he didn't know how to absorb it all.
- loc 4299

Elegant and exciting are the two words that best describe Eileen Dreyer's Twice Tempted, breathtaking and entertaining are the other two words. Twice Tempted is Book 2 in the Last Chance Academy sub-series and Book 5 in the Drake's Rakes series (and it is awesome).

Disclosure: I received this review copy through Netgalley for this blog tour. Thank you to Eileen Dreyer and to Grand Central for the opportunity. Yes, this is an honest review.

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About Eileen Dreyer:

New York Times best-selling author Eileen Dreyer has won five RITA Awards from the Romance Writers of America, which secures her fourth place in the Romance Writers of America prestigious Hall of Fame. Eileen is an addicted traveler, having sung in some of the best Irish pubs in the world. Eileen also writes as Kathleen Korbel and has over three million books in print worldwide. Born and raised in Missouri, she lives in St. Louis County with her husband Rick and her two children.

Eileen’s social media:

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To celebrate the release of Twice Tempted, there is a giveaway for the complete set of the Drake's Rakes series, including Twice Tempted! (5 lucky winners will be chosen. Enter via rafflecopter below.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Release Day! Master of Pleasure by Delilah Marvelle (Book Review)

The review copy I received stated that it was an uncorrected proof and that there might be changes to it when it is finally published. I'm very curious about those changes, because, as I read my copy, I could see the "rough draft-ness" to it, but I could also tell that this book has a lot of potential.

Malcolm has a very dark backstory: he was sent away by his father to a monastery to cleanse him of his degenerate tendencies. Except that it isn't Malcolm who needed such help: it was his twin brother, James. Delilah Marvelle delves into Malcolm's very complicated family history: of his hyper-religious father, of his dangerously-abusive/sexually-deviant twin brother, and of his own sexual issues. I had the impression that Malcolm was at odds with his family and had expected this book to be about how our hero would confront his brother and his past, which made me wonder how/where Marvelle would introduce the romantic element to this story.

"... We Thayers are crazy like that. Once we get attached to a person, it takes a knife." Malcolm let out an exasperated breath. "You have no idea what it's like having a twin. My brother touched a finger to my heart long before I even had one. Despite hating this monastery, it's been a blessing. It's allowed me to become my own person. Life away from my brother is certainly quieter. And tame. Very, very tame."
- loc 234

When Nasser arrives at the monastery, there was a part of me that thought he might be a female pretending to be male, but I was mistaken. Nasser and Malcolm end up lifelong friends and it is Nasser who will introduce our hero to the School of Gallantry.

Malcolm's heroine is Miss Leona Olivia Webster, an unmarried mother to a six-year-old boy, Jacob, who happens to be very interested in Christianity at the moment. Leona's situation is complicated: Jacob's father is trying to gain guardianship over their son and is using Leona's poverty as the reason. There's a class difference between Leona and Malcolm, he's titled and she's working class, and it's one of the reasons why Leona is a bit wary of Malcolm.

"You and I both know your level of standing would never find its way down to mine. You're an earl and I'm nothing more than the daughter of a deceased plantation owner whose finances went bankrupt. I also have a six-year-old. I'm not exactly a good investment for a man like you."
- loc 842

I had a problem with time in this story and the quickness in which the conflict is presented and then resolved. A huge chunk of the first part of the book focuses on Malcolm, which left Malcolm and Leona very little time and space to develop their own love story. The remaining chunk of the book actually happens during one instance: during the first two hours of Leona's first day at work. During that time:

1. Malcolm's friend, Andrew (Holborn) and Leona's son (Jacob) are sent to the water pump to get fresh water.
2. Leona initiates a kiss and Malcolm bites her tongue hard, intentionally. It starts a conversation where:
- They talk about Malcolm's unusual sexual preference
- Malcolm announces that they must marry and return to Persia
- Leona informs Malcolm that she doesn't want to travel by sea and won't go with him to Persia
3. Madame de Maitenon arrives and talks with Malcolm about his concerns

Then, after two hours:
1. Jacob and Andrew return with water and Jacob proceeds to play pirate with a real dagger. Jacob stumbles and embeds the dagger into Malcolm's thigh.
2. Andrew and Jacob leave to find a doctor, leaving Malcolm and Leona to further discuss and explore Malcolm's dark needs.

It's a lot of information to sift through and I didn't think there was enough time to develop a meaningful relationship between our hero and heroine. From what I could see, the central conflict is Malcolm's dark/morbid sexual tastes and how he could introduce Leona to this. There is a reflection about normal/abnormal and this is something that Malcolm really struggles with. It's part of his tragedy -- he is at odds with himself and with the world. He sees Leona as the bridge between himself and everyone else, but he doesn't know how she fits into his life or how he would fit into his. Madame de Maitenon and the School of Gallantry act as guide, helping them navigate through the waters of their unusual courtship.

Delilah Marvelle is known for her frank and direct approach to sex in historical romance and I have to admire her for her boldness in telling Malcolm's story. Master of Pleasure has a very different tone from the other books in the series, but, this is about the School of Gallantry and this new angle is a good addition.

To find out more about Delilah Marvelle and her books, click below:
Thursday, November 27, 2014

Blog Tour: Never Judge a Lady by her Cover by Sarah Maclean (Review + Giveaway)

Love Saves the World is honoured to be part of Sarah Maclean's blog tour for Never Judge a Lady by her Cover, the final book in her stunning The Rules of Scoundrels series. Avon is hosting a Tour-Wide Giveaway for $50.00 Choice Book Seller Gift Card and Print Set of The Rules of Scoundrels Books 1-3. (Enter via Rafflecopter below.)

To visit Sarah Maclean's other stops, click here.

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About the book:


By day, she is Lady Georgiana, sister to a duke, ruined before her first season in the worst kind of scandal. But the truth is far more shocking -- in London’s darkest corners, she is Chase, the mysterious, unknown founder of the city’s most legendary gaming hell. For years, her double identity has gone undiscovered ... until now.

Brilliant, driven, handsome-as-sin Duncan West is intrigued by the beautiful, ruined woman who is somehow connected to a world of darkness and sin. He knows she is more than she seems and he vows to uncover all of Georgiana’s secrets, laying bare her past, threatening her present, and risking all she holds dear ... including her heart.


Buy Links:

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My Review:

The summary begins with the phrase "by day" as though Lady Georgiana Pearson was a masked superhero protecting her real identity -- the truth of Georgiana is even more complicated: she doesn't have two lives, she has three: the world knows her as Lady Georgiana, ruined at 16 with a bastard daughter. The members of The Fallen Angel know her as Madame Anna. And a privileged few know her as Chase, the enigmatic and extremely powerful owner of The Fallen Angel.

For the most part, Georgiana had no problems shifting between Anna and Chase -- it was when Georgiana finally decided to resume her place in society that things got ... complicated.

Complicated is a word that is used quite a bit in Never Judge a Lady by her Cover. It's what describes Duncan West's past and his relationship with Lord Langley. Complicated is how Georgiana describes her needs and wants -- or, rather, what she believes her daughter, Caroline, needs and wants. It is because of Caroline that Georgiana is making this sacrifice: offering herself up like a lamb at the altar of London Society. I like how we use the word "complicated" to explain the seemingly unexplainable, and seemingly unsolvable. It is an apt term to describe Georgiana and Duncan, who both wield such amazing power: Georgiana, as Chase, keeps many of Society's secrets and isn't afraid to use it; Duncan controls the press and can bend and shape truth as he wants. But Georgiana, as Georgiana, is powerless as she seeks out acceptance for her daughter and Duncan has no choice but to follow Lord Langley's wishes -- and Duncan is powerless as he tries valiantly to save Georgiana, while he saves himself as well.

Maclean presents the conflict quite clearly: it's Duncan vs. Langley and Duncan vs. Chase, and it's Georgiana vs. herself. The greater question is, who is allied with whom? Duncan believed he and Chase had a long-standing relationship that he could rely on, but the straight, uncomplicated line becomes a complicated triangle when Georgiana enters the picture. All at once, Duncan wonders whether he could trust Chase and whether he ought to be afraid of the power that Chase holds. Georgiana trusts Duncan, but there's a part of her that could not completely trust his motives -- especially when the connection to Langley is revealed. Is Duncan using Anna against Chase? Is Duncan using her to further an unknown agenda? It is evident that Sarah Maclean had planned this out very well, and she guides her readers smoothly through the complex threads and issues in the story.

There's also a distinct cadence to Maclean's storytelling -- a beat, not unlike one's heart, which captures so clearly the emotions of the story: the urgency, the heartbreak, the defencelessness, and the passion. Georgiana wants Duncan, but Georgiana needs a title to secure her daughter.

"I wish we were other people," she said, quietly. "I wish we were simple, and all we cared about was food on our table and roofs over our heads."

"And love," he added.

She did not hesitate. "And love," she agreed.

"If we were other people," he asked, "would you marry me?"

It was her turn to look at the sky, to imagine that instead of here -- in Mayfair, by the light of a glittering ballroom, wearing a gown worth more than most people made in a year -- she was in the country, children pulling on her apron strings as she pointed out the constellations.

And how magnificent that would be. "I would."

"If we were other people," he said, pleasure in his tone as his fingers stroked over her face, "I would ask you."

She nodded. "But we aren't."
- loc 5302

It's wonderful to see Georgiana grow up: in Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord, she was a young lady faced with dimming prospects because of her condition. It seemed that she didn't have many choices open to her. In a sense, that detour in her life served as a blessing -- as a duke's daughter and a duke's sister, society had specific expectations of her. But, outside of London's watchful eye, she was able to grow up and define herself. I could imagine her living the rest of her life as Chase/Anna, and running The Fallen Angel -- I think it would have been a meaningful and fulfilling life for her. But it would be a denial of her heritage and her birthright, which is why Georgiana is now faced with an identity crisis. How does she fit her 26-year-old self in the shoes she left behind ten years ago? It's like fitting a square peg into a round hole.

"I never feel quite as though I belong there."

Because she did not belong there.

They walked for a bit longer. "But that does not mean that you cannot belong there."

"First I have to wish to belong there."

He understood. "The devastating battle between what one wants, and what one should want."

"She deserves a family," she said. "A respectable one. With a home. And a --" She stopped, considering the rest of the sentence. "I don't know." She cast about for something that would provide normalcy, finally settled on: "A cat. Or whatever normal girls have."

As though that did not sound positively idiotic.

He did not seem to think so. "She is not a normal girl."

"But she could be." If not for me. She left the last unsaid.
- loc 2293

There's a very thoughtful conversation about power and choice in the story: at its core, power is about having the ability to act or do. Both our hero and heroine have spent their adult life amassing power and wielding it carefully. In truth, it was a bit frightening seeing Chase act in such an omnipotent and omnipresent way. It was quite spellbinding how effortlessly Duncan West was able to sway the public's opinion of Georgiana through his newspapers. But power does not have a physical manifestation: it is not strength or courage. Outside of their domain, Duncan and Georgiana are like everyone else -- just as fallible and as imperfect and just as helpless in the face of a difficult decision.

Reading Maclean is a sensory experience: her scenes are vivid and affecting. Her words and characters tickle the mind and touches the heart. Never Judge a Lady by her Cover is an amazing end to an amazing series.

Disclosure: I received this ARC via Edelweiss as part of this event. Thank you to Sarah Maclean and Avon for the opportunity. Yes, this is an honest review.

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About the author:

Sarah MacLean grew up in Rhode Island, obsessed with historical romance and bemoaning the fact that she was born far too late for her own season. Her love of all things historical helped to earn her degrees from Smith College and Harvard University before she finally set pen to paper and wrote her first book.

Sarah now lives in New York City with her husband, baby daughter, their dog, and a ridiculously large collection of romance novels.

She loves to hear from readers. Please visit her at

Author Links:



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Avon is hosting a Tour-Wide Giveaway for $50.00 Choice Book Seller Gift Card and Print Set of The Rules of Scoundrels Books 1-3. (Enter via Rafflecopter below.)

To visit Sarah Maclean's other stops, click here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Throwback Thursday: Historical Romance Edition

Thank you to Shabby Blogs ( 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.

A Lady's Pleasure by Renee Bernard, published October 2006

Seeking revenge, she discovers how delicious a case of mistaken identity can be ...

Merriam Everett has always been regarded as a shy, docile creature. But for one night, Merriam the Mouse has become a temptress who will recklessly take her pleasure with the arrogant earl who once slighted her, and then leave him aching with lust. A fine plan, if Merriam had not just seduced the wrong rogue!

Drake Sotherton left England amid dark speculation and has returned to seek vengeance against Julian Clay, the man he believes murdered his wife. Convinced that the masked beauty who seduced him is Julian's pawn, Drake tracks her down and proposes that she become his mistress for the Season. Every sensual desire, every secret longing will be explored ... and fulfilled.

But keeping his enemy close is a dangerous game. Merriam is an irresistible mix of innocence and abandon, and each encounter proves more soul-searing than the last. With a passion this wild, this wonderful, one Season will never be enough ...

This is Renee Bernard's debut novel. I remember being excited by her fresh perspective and enjoyed the sensualness (and daring) of her characters. She followed up this series with the Jaded Gentlemen, which, to date, remains one of my all-time favorites.

To find out more about Renee Bernard and her books, click below:


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.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Blog Tour: Christmas Delights by Heather Hiestand (Exclusive Excerpt + Giveaway)

Love Saves the World kicks off the holiday season with Christmas Delights by Heather Hiestand. Heather will be awarding a $25 AMAZON or BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click here to visit Heather Hiestand's other blog stops.

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About the book:

The sweetest gift is the hardest to unwrap ...

Lady Victoria Allen-Hill never dreamed she’d be a widow at twenty-one -- let alone a virgin. Her father insists that she attend a matchmaking house party in the snow-covered seaside town of Pevensey in hopes she’ll find a suitable husband. But for Victoria, it’s an opportunity to indulge in a passionate affair -- and the handsome inventor she meets at the Christmas Eve masquerade ball may be just the man for the job ...

Lewis Noble is the cousin of London’s famed Redcake sisters, so it almost stands to reason that he’s just as irresistible as one of their sugar-iced pastries. Lewis catches the eye of every woman at the party -- but Victoria is the only one who catches his. He won’t be tied down in her father’s business, but watching other men court her amid a flurry of engagements ignites a jealousy he’s never felt before. A dose of honesty may be just the thing to mend their broken hearts -- for many holidays to come ...

"Before I realized it, the unusually strong and well-developed characters of The Kidnapped Bride had sneaked up on me and captured my full attention. This is one of the best shorter books I have ever read." -- Delle Jacobs, author of Lady Wicked

"A delightful, sexy glimpse into Victorian life and loving with two wonderfully non-traditional lovers." -- Jessa Slade, author of Dark Prince's Desire on His Wicked Smile

“You’re awfully young for an assignation,” Lewis said. “I must be a decade older than you.”

“I’m a widow. I’m allowed.”

“You are?” He held back a chuckle, though he had hardened enough to make clear thought difficult.

“I’ve been locked up in my father’s home for a year and a half.”

He thought he saw a muscle twitch just under her right eye. “It is not right, what happens to young widows,” he agreed.

“I’m lonely, Lewis. You’re a nice man, and so attractive.” Her fingers found their way up his other sleeve, so that she massaged the muscles of his biceps on both sides.

He hadn’t realized how sore those muscles were, after a day of wielding a wrench. Imagine what such talented hands could do with his neck, shoulders, and back. Then his gaze drifted to her bosom, which was not quite pressed against him, and he imagined what he could do with the rest of her.

“You are so young, Lady Allen-Hill. You might conceive a child.”

Her eyes gleamed. “I brought a rubber.”

He blinked. “You brought a what?”

“A condom,” she said patiently. “I understand that’s what everyone calls them. I’m a modern girl, you see. I thought ahead. I want a bit of fun, like anyone would at a house party. Isn’t that why you came?”

“I came to work on the submarine,” he said, his thoughts about a million miles away from the earl’s machine shop.



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About the author:

Heather Hiestand was born in Illinois, but her family migrated west before she started school. Since then she has claimed Washington State as home, except for a few years in California. She wrote her first story at age seven and went on to major in creative writing at the University of Washington. Her first published fiction was a mystery short story, but since then it has been all about the many flavors of romance. Heather’s first published romance short story was set in the Victorian period, and she continues to return, fascinated by the rapid changes of the nineteenth century. The author of many novels, novellas, and short stories, she has achieved best-seller status at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. With her husband and son, she makes her home in a small town and supposedly works out of her tiny office, though she mostly writes in her easy chair in the living room.

For more information, visit Heather’s website at Heather loves to hear from readers! Her email is

Social media:

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Heather will be awarding a $25 AMAZON or BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click here to visit Heather Hiestand's other blog stops.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

New to You 2015 Reading Challenge (hosted by Herding Cats & Burning Soup)

New to You Reading Challenge

I know I signed up to do some challenges in 2014, but haven't been able to complete them. One of my early resolutions for 2015 is to be a more mindful and more organised reader, which is why I'm very excited to do this challenge for 2015!

The details:

This one is super flexible.
Basically ... read something "new" to you in 2015 and review it.

This can be a debut author.
A brand new to you author.
And old favorites "debut" book.
A new series.
A first time reading a new genre (ex if you read your first New Adult book)
or any other new that crosses your path

Everyone is welcome to join -- blogger, author, reader
Any genre/heat level is fine.

Level 1 -- 6 "new to you"s
Level 2 -- 12 "new to you"s
Level 3 -- 24 "new to you"s
Level 4 -- 36 "new to you"s
Level 5 -- 48 "new to you"s
Level 6 -- 72 "new to you"s
Level 7 --100+ "new to you"s

I'm going to try for Level 1.

Here's my list of new-to-me authors that I plan to read in 2015:

1. Miss Goldsleigh's Secret by Amylynn Bright
2. To Love a Wicked Scoundrel by Annabelle Bryant
3. For the Love of a Soldier by Victoria Morgan
4. Once Upon a Duke by Eva Devon (I've read the books she wrote as Maire Claremont)
5. Lord of the Rakes by Darcie Wilde
6. The Rake's Handbook by Sally Orr

Join the fun and sign up at Anna's blog. Click here.


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