Saturday, December 19, 2015

Review: Sweetest Scoundrel by Elizabeth Hoyt


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

I was saving to read this book for the holiday break, but an online conversation with one of my book buddies made me curious about this book, so I decided to start reading it. What was most intriguing for me was the idea of the anti-hero -- Hoyt's Maiden Lane series has featured a group of very unique male protagonists. None of them fit the "hero" mold -- some are titled, some aren't. Some are inherently good, and one was engaged in very illegal doings. One actually escaped from prison. And all of them have a dark side.

Asa Makepeace is the latest anti-hero in a long (and distinguished) line of Hoyt's anti-heroes. Unlike his brothers, Winter and Concord, Asa knew there was more to his life than his father's piety or their beer business. Sir Stanley Gilpin took him under his wing, and Asa has lived and breathed theater since he was 15 years old. His father disowned him for pursuing something so worldly, and he has been estranged from his siblings ever since.

The story in Sweetest Scoundrel actually began several novels back, when Harte's Folly burned down, and Asa Makepeace has been trying to rebuild it ever since. Harte's Folly is a testament of Asa's tenacity and resilience -- many would have looked at the ashes of Harte's Folly, proclaim it too expensive and nearly impossible to rebuild, and give up. Harte's Folly was once Sir Stanley's dream, and is now Asa's, so it's not surprising that he is determined to build it up again.

Whether it is fortunate or unfortunate that Asa has received the patronage and support of the Duke of Montgomery remains to be seen, but the Duke has actually given control of his finances to his half-sister, Eve Dinwoody. And Eve is not happy with the money pit that is Harte's Folly.

The mystery that is Eve began when she was 15 years old, when an incident happened that prompted her immediate removal from the former Duke of Montgomery's household. She has had Jean-Marie as her companion ever since, and she has an aversion to dogs, and to men. Eve is content to live the reclusive life she has lived for so long now, but she could not, in good conscience, allow Mr. Harte to continue spending her brother's money in such a cavalier manner, so, despite her better judgment, she decides to pay him a visit.

It isn't the best first meeting -- with Asa assessing Eve to be too plain, and Eve thinking Asa to be too crude. It is a curious pairing: Eve is very self-contained, and very cold. Asa is very passionate and expressive. I kept seeing him push at Eve's boundaries, and kept wondering how far back she would bend before breaking.

He glared at Miss Dinwoody through his throbbing eyes. She was tall for a woman, thin with a mannish chest, and had a face dominated by a large, long nose. She was as plain as a shovel -- and he was glad of it, because the witch was trying to steal away his sweat, his dreams, and his blood. Long nights lying awake, making bargains with the Devil and devising desperate plans. Hope and glory and everything that he breathed for, God blast his miserable soul. All he'd lusted for, all he'd despaired over, all he'd lost and then fought with bloodied fists to regain.

She was trying to steal his goddamned garden.
- Chapter 1

Eve's trauma is at the heart of her story. In a sense, Eve is frozen in time, still her 15-year-old self, afraid of the same shadows and sounds. She's alive, but not living -- content in her miniatures, and her small circle of trusted servants, and her brother, Valentine -- and it takes Asa's outrageous character to chip away at the icy wall that Eve has built up around herself. She's a bit like the princess in the ivory tower, except that she willingly hides in her tower when it is convenient for her -- but there's also a part of Eve that has always been curious --

Perhaps, in a sense, it isn't that odd a pairing, because Asa is more than ready (and willing) to satisfy Eve's curiosities. Elizabeth Hoyt is best known for the fairy-tale element in her stories -- but I think readers very rarely recognize that Hoyt has an amazing talent for writing a steamy sex scene. The encounters between Asa and Eve are very intimate, and there's a voyeuristic feeling to reading about their *cough* sexual explorations. (Read Chapter 10. I dare you not to blush. =^_^=)

It isn't a secret that Harte's Folly represents Asa Makepeace. It is his life, his dreams, his past, his present, and his future -- and he is determined to build it up again. He refused to be crushed by his father, and he refuses to be defeated by the forces around him. But it has been an uphill struggle for Asa whose reconstruction has been plagued with setbacks. What is surprising is how Harte's Folly comes to represent Eve's hope -- as Harte's Folly is slowly rebuilding, Eve slowly grows into herself as well. Her personal space grows to include Asa's office, and her circle grows to include the actors, singers, and dancers in Asa's employ. Harte's Folly becomes less a business transaction for Eve, and more a passion project.

Eve hummed as Asa escorted her back to the office, her senses still alight from Le Veneziana's magnificent performance. If they could rebuild the stage in time, finish the theater roof, complete the garden plantings -- oh, and all the other myriad things that needed to be done before they opened ... if they could do all that, then Harte's Folly would be a guaranteed success, she knew it, for she'd never heard such wonderful music, such sublime singing, in all her life.
- Chapter 12

The enigmatic Valentine Napier, the Duke of Montgomery, is absent in this novel, but his presence is strongly felt -- and I love how Hoyt was able to develop his character through his sister's eyes -- this is the person who is closest to him, and we see a very different side to Valentine. He is humanized, yes, but I appreciate that his nefarious actions aren't easily justified or explained. He is still amoral, manipulative, and Machiavellian. (I am so, so excited to read his story next.)

With each Maiden Lane instalment, we go further and further away from The Ghost, and I have to say that I miss his presence. I miss the darkness and the grit and St. Giles. With Asa's close connection to Sir Stanley Gilpin, I had wondered if there would be a return to The Ghost arc, but, apparently, Asa was privy to a very different side of Sir Stanley. (I wonder if there will ever be a prequel regarding Sir Stanley.) However, I also like how the author has expanded on the stories and the characters she has introduced.

Sweetest Scoundrel is Book 9 in Elizabeth Hoyt's Maiden Lane series. To find out more about Elizabeth Hoyt and her books, click below:
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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

ARC Review: In Search of Scandal by Susanne Lord (Release date: December 1, 2015)


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

Will Repton is a well-known plant hunter, who has recently returned home from Tibet. All of England has proclaimed him a hero, for being the lone survivor of a massacre -- the accolade has allowed Will entry into society, but all he wants to do is return to Tibet, to confront his nightmares. Will is a seasoned traveler and planner, and he has already:
1. mapped out his trip back to Tibet
2. and planned for all contingencies.

He is determined to make things right by the people he had left behind. But Will does not count on meeting Charlotte Baker, the most beautiful and most intriguing woman Will has ever met in his entire life. While Will is determined to keep his attraction (and lust) under control, Charlotte is intent in her pursuit of Will -- if not for love, then for friendship.

The book begins a bit slowly, with the author establishing the characters and backstories -- it's very interesting to note that, it is Will, with his demons and nightmares, who has the simpler and less complicated past. Charlotte Baker has led quite an interesting life, for someone who has never left England. When she was 8 years old, her sister married an earl, and Charlotte's circumstances were instantly elevated. She has a substantial dowry and a lady's education -- but her brother's very public trial has speckled her reputation. Despite this, she is still very highly-sought after -- but she is in a curious position: not a lady, but not a plain miss either. She has a number of suitors, and it is to Charlotte's credit that she isn't dazzled by their titles or their flattery. In fact, Charlotte has a series of tests that she secretly administers to her suitors, and it has allowed her to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Charlotte's heart sank further as her brother strode into the room. Wally was a secret husband test all her own. And the most important.

...

... This cool treatment was hardly unusual. Wally was inured to the unease of men and their insults.

But she was not. In the silence, her heart hardened in an all too familiar way. No gentlemen passed this test.
- loc 373

So far, only one suitor has passed most of the tests: Viscount Spencer, but, despite being the perfect suitor, Charlotte couldn't quite convince herself to accept the Viscount's proposal. It all finally made sense to Charlotte when Will Repton entered the picture. Will isn't really husband material -- and Will knows this. And he tries to convince Charlotte of this. But there's a connection between the two of them that is undeniable.

There is a hyper-awareness of societal hierarchy in this story -- Will doesn't think he is worthy of Charlotte, whom he considers a lady.

"I don't know Lord Spencer. Is he deserving of you, then?"

"Deserving of me?" Charlotte leaned on her arm to speak close, granting him a breathtaking view of her breasts. "He is far above me in rank and consequence. You mustn't say such things aloud this evening, Mr. Repton, and presume upon the good graces of our betters."
- loc 868 - 879

This is one of two obstacles that Will needs to overcome. He continues to be haunted by what happened to him in Tibet, and feels he could not move forward unless he returns to Tibet and find Aimee. And Charlotte knows she must make a good marriage if she is to maintain her reputation and protect her family's standing in society. With her brother's very open secret, Charlotte knows that she has a responsibility to abide by society's rules. She knows she must do this for the sake of her sister's family. But there's a part of her that is drawn to Will -- drawn to the danger that Will represents. Drawn to the adventure that Will represents. Will and Charlotte have an unusual courtship -- with Charlotte expressing her love very honestly and openly to Will. It's a bit disconcerting to have Charlotte offer her love, and to have Will reject it several times.

I was initially annoyed with how badly Will was behaving towards Charlotte, but I realized that it was partly an act (to what extent was it pretend is subject to further reflection) to get Charlotte to stop with her infatuation of him. He was trying to show the extreme negative aspect of him because he didn't think he deserved her hero worship. He didn't think he deserved her. For the longest time, I couldn't understand what was holding Will back -- the author didn't really delve too deeply into Will's nightmares -- but, when it was all eventually fleshed out, I understood Will's motivations better.

What I wish was developed more was Will's interest in flowers -- and how that interest transferred to Charlotte, who is, based on the descriptions about her, a very rare lady. I loved the part where Will gave Charlotte flowers, and when he talked about flowers in relation to Charlotte. ^_^

"Why hasn't he?" Mr. Repton set his glass down hard on the mantel.

"I beg your pardon?"

"Spencer. Why hasn't he learned your favorite flowers?"

"Well ..."

"He brings you tulips and roses and carnations. Never snowdrops or narcissus or lily of the valley, not that those are your favorites. Neither is jasmine, but I thought you'd like how the perfume changes at night. Never once have I seen him bring you peonies."

She could only stare back.

"White peonies, right?" He considered her, his voice gentling. "No -- cream. With a pink blush at its heart, marked by stripes of raspberry and a tangle of gold stamens within, revealed only in bloom." He blinked and diverted his stare. "That is your favorite, I think."
- loc 803-814

The story is slow to build an emotional momentum, but the author hits her groove in the middle part -- and that's when I started to really feel my heart tugging for the characters and their private torments. Susanne Lord does a good job of hinting at the other "London Explorers" that, I hope, she features in the next books in this series. George Mayhew is particularly intriguing. ^_^

Overall, this was a solid start for a new series, and a great debut book from a new author. Looking forward to reading more from Susanne Lord. ^_^

In Search of Scandal is Susanne Lord's debut novel and the first book in her London Explorers series. It was released on December 1, 2015. To find out more about Susanne Lord and her books, click below:
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Disclosure: I received this ARC via Netgalley. Thank you to Sourcebooks Casablanca and Susanne Lord for the opportunity. Yes, this is an honest review.











Thursday, December 3, 2015

Blog Tour: In Search of Scandal by Susanne Lord (My Top 10 Favorite Songs for the Holiday Season + Giveaway)


Love Saves the World welcomes Susanne Lord and her debut novel, In Search of Scandal. For this stop in her tour, I've asked Susanna for her Top 10 Favorite Songs for the Holiday Season, and here's what she listed:

Ooh! There are so many holiday songs to sift through and play again and LOVE!

1. Judy Garland singing ‘Merry Christmas’ in the film, ‘In the Good Old Summertime’ (when I want to feel a little sad over a cup of cocoa)

2. Obviously, ‘All I Want for Christmas’ sung by Mariah Carey. Obviously.

3. Darlene Love belting out ‘Christmas: Baby Please Come Home’ (played loud enough to drown out my atrocious singing)

4. Because I was discovering music in the 80’s, and because it’s awesome, Band Aid’s 1984 ‘Do They Know it’s Christmas Time?’

5. ‘The Little Drummer Boy.’ (I guess I’ve always loved the honorable, underdog-hero!)

6. ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ sung by Dean Martin. (I don’t care that he’s putting on the moves too aggressively. I love that song.)

7. Oh! One just came to me! ‘When You Believe’ from ‘The Prince of Egypt.’ Perhaps not a true holiday song, but feels like one to me.

8. The incomparable Ella Fitzgerald singing ‘What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?’

9. ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas’ by Bing Crosby (which is actually fairly sad)

10. ‘Someday at Christmas’ by Stevie Wonder, because Stevie Wonder.

One lucky commenter will receive a paperback copy of In Search of Scandal, just share your favorite holiday song. (US Only please. Enter via Rafflecopter below.) ^_^

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About the book:

Title: In Search of Scandal
Author: Susanne Lord
Series: London Explorers, #1
Pubdate: December 1st, 2015
ISBN: 9781492623502

A DARING EXPLORER
All of London is abuzz with the tale of Will Repton. The lone survivor of a massacre in Tibet has returned to England a hero, but the traumatized explorer has no time for glory. Another dangerous expedition awaits. Nothing will deter him from his quest, and no one will unearth his secret -- until Will meets Charlotte Baker.

IS NO MATCH FOR AN ADVENTUROUS HEART
Vivacious Charlotte Baker also has a mission -- to find a man whose bold spirit matches her own. When she meets Will Repton, she immediately recognizes him as her soul mate, and she’s naively willing to turn her back on the rules of propriety to ensnare him. Will is torn between his fascination with Charlotte and his vow to finish his quest. He knows what it is to risk life and limb -- but what if his most perilous adventure doesn’t lie across an ocean, but within his own lost heart?


Buy Links:
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1PMWbbJ
Apple: http://apple.co/1LkuiBr
BAM: http://bit.ly/1j6rkdk
B&N: http://bit.ly/1S2tjvd
Chapters: http://bit.ly/1ltwNwn
Indiebound: http://bit.ly/1HWOskN

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About the author:

Susanne Lord is a writer of Victorian-era romance and author of the London Explorer series published by Sourcebooks. Originally from Okinawa, off-base and on, she now makes her home in Chicago where she is an active member of Chicago North RWA. When not writing, attending theater or reading, she enjoys hiking the English countryside and visiting historic homes and gardens.

Connect with Susanne:



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Giveaway!

One lucky commenter will receive a paperback copy of In Search of Scandal, just share your favorite holiday song. (US Only please) ^_^

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Friday, November 27, 2015

Feature: “You Might Be A True Gentleman or Gentlewoman If…” by Grace Burrowes + Giveaway


How do you know if your Sig-O is a true gentleman/lady? Ask yourself a few questions ...

First, do his or her best moves, smoothest lines, and cleverest flirtations only come out in public, or are the housework sessions equally likely to produce the verbal roses and melting glances from across the laundry pile?

The hallmark of a player is that their repertoire is best displayed when there’s an audience to play to. The true gentleman or lady isn’t playing, so the good stuff can come your way any old day or night of the week.

Second, does he or she deliver the fun and flirtation in you statements (“You look good in anything… and in nothing at all.”) Do they keep to the I-statements when the topic is difficult? (“I can come off irritated any time we talk about money because I’m afraid I’m not pulling my share of the load. I don’t mean to sound that way, and I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings.”)

The guy or gal who lapses into the you-always, and you-never accusations in the middle of a difficult conversation hasn’t learned to fight fair. Time to whip out a few remedial lessons from the relationship Code Duello, or find another waltzing partner.

Third, does he or she have the touch? Always respectful in public—even when respectfully affectionate -- always cool with your respectful affections too?

The ladies and gents who treasure us the most know better than to cross that line, and we treasure them right back for their gallant attentions.

Fourth, do they listen to us? We’ve all had the experience of being on a date or in a discussion, and the person we’re with has checked out. They’re eying the door, the clock, their cool new app, or if there’s a mirror on hand (store window, shiny plate, mirror app), themselves. Um ... that would be a no.

Fifth, are they honorable? Do they give you the sense that at all times, the person you’re with will be guided by kindness and honesty, even when neither is convenient for them? If that’s the consistent vibe -- truth and compassion as their defining values -- you are in the company of a true lady or a true gentleman.

Here’s the best part: True ladies and true gentlemen tend to be discerning people, for all they are also gracious, kind, honest, and excellent company. If you’ve found a true lady or gentleman for your very own, and they reciprocate your regard, chances are they have found a true lady or gentleman in you too!

* * *

Book Information:

Title: Daniel’s True Desire
Author: Grace Burrowes
Release Date: November 3, 2015
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Summary:

An honorable life

Daniel Banks is a man of the cloth whose vocation is the last comfort he has left -- and even his churchman's collar is beginning to feel like a noose. At the urging of family, Daniel attempts to start his life over as vicar in the sleepy Kentish town of Haddondale, family seat to the earls of Bellefonte.

Challenged by passion

Lady Kirsten Haddonfield has resigned herself to a life of spinsterhood. Then the handsome new village vicar, Reverend Daniel Banks, becomes a guest of the Haddonfield family while the vicarage is being renovated, and Kirsten finds herself rethinking her position. Lady Kirsten does not know that Daniel's past is about to cast a shadow on love's future.

Buy Links


Amazon - http://amzn.to/1R7I6Eg
Barnes and Noble - http://bit.ly/1L8mc22
iBooks - http://apple.co/1RDfSSt

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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes' bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish and Lady Eve's Indiscretion. Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Grace is branching out into short stories and Scotland-set Victorian romance with Sourcebooks. She is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland.

Social Media Links

Website: http://graceburrowes.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Grace-Burrowes/115039058572197
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GraceBurrowes
Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4152482.Grace_Burrowes








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Giveaway!

Sourcebooks and Grace Burrowes is hosting a Rafflecopter giveaway that includes the entire True Gentlemen series (including an early ARC for February’s Will’s True Wish).

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Historical Romance Edition

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

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

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

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

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




Blurb:
She was a gorgeous rebel.

Defying all the rules, daring to speak her mind, Charlotte Edgerton declared her independence before she even entered the Earl of Denbigh's home. Her new guardian immediately made her a prisoner in her own room -- until she agreed to learn the lady-like arts. Furious, she complied. Anything to buy her freedom from Denbigh. She's even marry a man she didn't love to get away from her domineering guardian. In fact, love was the furthest thing from her mind ...

He was the Earl who vowed to tame her.

Lionel Morgan, Earl of Denbigh, had been betrayed at the altar by another woman and vowed that no female would ensnare him again. Then Charlotte Edgerton burst into his life. Denbigh wasn't prepared for this headstrong American -- or the passions she inspired on first sight. He knew only that he had to civilize her, present her at court, and Almack's, and then marry her off to the highest bidder. It wasn't until he nearly lost her that he realized the truth: She'd somehow reversed their roles and become the captor of his heart.

To find out more about Joan Johnston and her books, click below:

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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.)

Review: Wyoming Bride by Joan Johnston


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

Just when I thought Miranda's story was gritty, Joan Johnston presents Hannah's story. Hannah is 17 years old, and she's tired of the abuse she suffers at the Chicago orphanage where they've lived since the Great Chicago Fire killed her parents, and destroyed their father's legacy. Hannah decides to answer a mail-order bride advertisement, married Mr. McMurtry, and on her way to Montana with her new husband and her sisters. But the arduous wagon trail takes its toll on their small party, and Hannah's husband dies of cholera, leaving Hannah pregnant, alone, and lost in the wilds of Wyoming -- until Flint Creed finds her and rescues her.

It was time to put her girlhood dreams away. There was no handsome, dashing Prince Charming in her future, only solemn, honest, hardworking Mr. McMurtry. She felt tears well in her eyes and brushed them angrily away, Would she ever stop dreaming and hoping and wishing for something she could never have?
- p. 22

Flint has just suffered a disappointing rejection when the woman he has been diligently courting decides to marry his younger brother instead. Flint still needs a wife to help him as he establishes his cattle ranch in Wyoming, and Hannah's appearance in his life is very convenient.

It's not the best of beginnings, but Hannah and Flint are both willing to give this arrangement a try. Joan Johnston does something different with the second book of her Mail-Order Brides series, incorporating a second love story, between Flint's brother, Ransom, and Emaline -- the two are contrasting relationships: Flint and Hannah are a whirlwind marriage, whereas Ransom and Emaline went through a period of courtship. Despite having the benefit of time, they quickly realize that they still have some issues to work out. It's a wonderful reminder that there's no perfect formula for a relationship -- each one starts, progresses, and ends quite differently from one another.

There is a strange awkwardness with Flint and Ransom, considering they courted the same girl, and, now Ransom and Emaline would be married and be living in the same house as Flint and Hannah. This is what is interesting about this point in history: the very big factor that pragmatism and reality play -- there really isn't very much room for dreams and fantasy, when you are, not only battling other people for your livelihood, but also the harsh landscapes of the Wild West.

At the heart of the relationship problem is the idea of having children. Hannah is already pregnant, and she came from a big family. It was never an issue with her. But, Emaline's mother died of childbirth, and she has no intentions of going through the same ordeal. Then, to set this question against the context of the harsh life in the West, it becomes an even more difficult concern to address, but I thought Joan Johnston was able to weigh out pros and cons in the conversations her characters had with each other.

"Oh!" Hannah said. She put her hand to her belly, drawing the cloth down tight, then looked up at Emaline and smiled. "She kicked me."

Emaline couldn't help being intrigued as she watched Hannah's baby grow inside her. If Hannah had figured correctly, she was now a week shy of being seven months pregnant. She was already huge. Enaline was fascinated when she saw Hannah's stomach change shape as the baby moved, showing what appeared to be a bulge from a tiny hand or foot. "May I touch?" she asked.
- p. 287

What is impressive about Wyoming Bride is how distinct the pairs are -- Joan Johnston does a good job of giving an individual voice to her main characters and secondary characters. I usually get confused when there are "too many voices" in a story, but I didn't mind this one at all.

Flint's greater problem had to do with rumors of his cowardice during the war, and him continuing to struggle to find his place in Wyoming. This one was tricky -- it was Flint's word against everybody, and his only ally happens to be his own brother. It becomes such an important issue when Flint confronts Ashley Patton, a cattle baron who has been stealing and rebranding cattle from smaller farms. Flint's honor and credibility are called into question when he makes the accusation.

Wyoming Bride is such a broad, and sweeping, and total experience of the hardships of life in the West, but it also highlights the simple joys that these brave, and intrepid settlers experience as they work to make new lives for themselves.

Wyoming Bride is the second book in Joan Johnston's Mail Order Bride series, a sub-series of her Bitter Creek stories, and focuses on the lives of the Wentworth Children. To find out more about Joan Johnston and her books, click below:
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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Book Blast: My Lady Gloriana by Sylvia Halliday


Happy Release Day to Sylvia Halliday, and her new novel, My Lady Gloriana!

To celebrate the release, the publisher is hosting a a Tour Wide Giveaway for Five Winners to receive a Print Copy of MY LADY GLORIANA. (Enter via Rafflecopter below.) To visit other blogs participating in this event, click here.

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About the book:

My Lady Gloriana
By: Sylvia Halliday
Releasing November 24th, 2015 
from Diversion

Blurb:

In this twist on the Pygmalion story, a duke makes a wager that he can bed the uncouth Lady Gloriana. But the bet takes on a life of its own ...

The year is 1725. Lady Gloriana Baniard is a beautiful fish out of water. Brought up on the mean streets of London, she is a brash, blunt, obscene force of nature. But thanks to a brief marriage to a disgraced aristocrat, she is forced to live with his noble family and endure the humiliating process of learning to be a lady. Rebelling, she runs away to Yorkshire, where she intends to be a blacksmith, a skill at which she excels. She knows she’ll need a manservant to front for her. When John Thorne appears, she hires him, stirred as much by his irresistible attraction as by his strength.

John Haviland, Duke of Thorneleigh, is an arrogant, indolent gambler and womanizer. Having seen Gloriana just once, he yearns to make her his own. When he learns she has run away from her family, he makes a wild bet with his wastrel companions -- he will find the lady and bed her. Disguised as a humble servant, he becomes her assistant, learning the blacksmith trade. The clash of wills between these two proud people creates more sparks than a blacksmith’s anvil, as Gloriana learns to be a lady, Thorne learns humility -- and desire deepens to love.


Excerpt:

(John Haviland, duke of Thorneleigh, has gone for a midnight walk in the country.)

The night was more glorious than he would have imagined. The sweet scents of new grass and spring flowers filled the air with their delicate perfume, soothing his troubled soul. Impulsively, he rolled up his sleeves, then laughed and pulled off his shirt completely. He half-expected to hear the voice of his long-ago nursemaid, chiding him for common behavior that didn't suit the heir to an ancient dukedom. Gentlemen didn't go around half-clothed.

“Rest in peace, Nurse,” he murmured, recalling her with tenderness. He'd stripped naked many a time since those days -- and for far less innocent reasons. It was a mild night. Maybe he'd further scandalize Nurse’s memory by going for a swim.

He felt young, adventurous, free -- yet strangely sad and melancholy. What had happened to the carefree lad he once had been? What had turned him into this idle dissolute? Surely there was a moment he had missed -- a turning point that might have taken him in a different, more satisfying direction.

No. Tonight, with the earth wrapped in silvery moonlight, was for magic. He felt as though something extraordinary was about to happen. Something that would change his life, lead him to a path more splendid and glittering than the moon-dappled one he now followed.

He pulled off his shoes and stockings and stripped off his breeches. The sensual night air caressed his nakedness like a harlot’s hand; he felt a quivering and stirring in his groin. He suddenly ached for a woman. But not a clumsy slattern, like the innkeeper’s wife. Nor even a perfumed beauty who strolled St. James’s Park by day and slept on satin sheets by night. He wanted a goddess, as magical and lovely as this moon-kissed midnight.

He heard the soft whinny of a horse, the gentle thud of hoofs upon packed earth. The sounds seemed to be coming from the far end of the clearing. He shrank back against the tree trunk, concealing his naked body, and waited. The woman galloped onto the sand, magnificent upon her horse—a vision of perfection that took his breath away.

His longed-for goddess.


Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27257099-my-lady-gloriana 



Buy Links:

Amazon
B&N
iTunes
Kobo

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About the author:

Award-winning author Sylvia Halliday’s first historical novel, written as Ena Halliday, was chosen by Pocket Books to launch their Tapestry line. She subsequently wrote for Popular Library/Warner and Harlequin Historicals under the pen name of Louisa Rawlings, the name of her maternal great-grandmother. She has written for Kensington/Zebra under the pseudonym of Sylvia Halliday. She has published 14 historical romances. Her FOREVER WILD earned 5 stars from RT Book Reviews and Affaire de Coeur, and was a RITA finalist for the Romance Writers of America. Her latest offerings, published by Diversion Books, are MARIELLE (The French Maiden Series, #1), LYSETTE (The French Maiden Series, #2), DELPHINE (The French Maiden Series, #3), DREAMS SO FLEETING, GOLD AS THE MORNING SUN, THE RING, and SUMMER DARKNESS, WINTER LIGHT. FOREVER WILD, STOLEN SPRING, and PROMISE OF SUMMER, written by her as Louisa Rawlings, are available from Samhain Publishing.

Author Links:
Website: http://www.sylviahalliday.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SylviaHallidayAuthor/?
GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/885893.Sylvia_Halliday




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Giveaway!

To celebrate the release, the publisher is hosting a a Tour Wide Giveaway for Five Winners to receive a Print Copy of MY LADY GLORIANA. To visit other blogs participating in this event, click here.

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Historical Romance Edition

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

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

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

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

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




Blurb:
CAUGHT BETWEEN DUTY AND DESIRE ...

Sophie, the Duchess of Calton, has finally moved on. After seven years mourning the loss of her husband, Garrett, at Waterloo, she has married his cousin and heir, Tristan. Sophie gives herself to him body and soul ... until the day Garrett returns from the Continent, demanding his title, his lands -- and his wife.

TORN BETWEEN TWO HUSBANDS ...

Now Sophie must choose between her first love and her new love, knowing that no matter what, her choice will destroy one of the men she adores. Will it be Garrett, her childhood sweetheart, whose loss nearly destroyed her once already? Or will it be Tristan, beloved friend turned lover, who supported her through the last, dark years and introduced her to a passion she had never known? As her two husbands battle for her heart, Sophie finds herself immersed in a dangerous game -- where the stakes are not only love ... but life and death.

To find out more about Jennifer Haymore and her books, click below:
Website
Facebook
Goodreads
Twitter



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.)

ARC Review: Highland Heat by Jennifer Haymore


Click here to pre-order the book from Amazon, release date: November 24, 2015

Duncan Mackenzie has been, literally, saved by Grace. As he lay injured in the fields of Waterloo, Lady Grace Carrington stumbles upon him as she helped her sister, Claire, search for her husband. The attraction and fascination between them is instantaneous, but the caution and reminder of prudence just as quickly followed it. For Grace is the daughter of a powerful earl, and Duncan Mackenzie is merely a sergeant in the army, and Grace's brother in-law is his superior officer.

Duncan is the epitome of a Highlander, gruff exterior, soft interior -- he and his compatriots have seen hell together, and his loyalty to his commanding officer and brothers-in-arms is understandable. Duncan also knows that Grace is out of his league: he was a farmer who became a soldier, while she's a lady -- and valiantly tries to fight the attraction. With his new role as a Highland Knight, it becomes doubly difficult for Duncan to choose: Grace and exile to Scotland, or life as a Highland Knights protecting the whole of England.

Grace has always been the sensible and dependable sister. Her father depends on her to keep his home life, and his social life running smoothly. I don't think Grace ever expected to get married, and was content to just be of help to her father -- but, when Duncan enters the picture, Grace realizes that there is room in her life for her own wants and desires.

This is a romance about class differences, and how two people try to find a way, amidst the mustn'ts, shouldn'ts, couldn'ts and don'ts of society. It's difficult for Grace to turn her back on her family, and her role as her father's political and social hostess, and it's equally hard for Duncan to give up being a Highland Knight. Both of them have lived most of their lives knowing who they were, and understanding their place and role in society, and it all suddenly becomes unclear when love comes into the picture. And I can imagine their frustration, considering they are both of age, and are in love with each other.

What I found interesting is the timeline of Grace and Duncan's love story -- it runs concurrent to Claire and Robert's story (A Highlander's Heart) -- it's a curious juxtaposition between a love that is new and developing, and one that is in the process of being renewed and repaired.

There is an (under-developed) subplot involving the Highland Knights who are doing surveillance on a group that is plotting to overthrow the government. It's a bit vague, and the author didn't really lay out the plot in detail. I would've loved to read and understand this part of the story more, as the outcome of it has a direct correlation to what happens to Duncan and Grace. (I am currently reading Claire and Rob's story, and I am wondering if it is more explicitly explained in that story.)

Overall, Highland Heat is a great book from Jennifer Haymore. It's the first book in the Highland Knights series (Claire and Rob's story is a prequel novella), and I'm curious about the other members of the group.

Highland Heat will be released on November 24, 2015. To find out more about Jennifer Haymore and her books, click below:
Website
Facebook
Goodreads
Twitter


Disclosure: I received this ARC through Netgalley. Thank you Loveswept and Jennifer Haymore for the opportunity. Yes, this is an honest review.



Sunday, November 15, 2015

Free and Discounted Historical Romance Novels


Black Falcon's Lady (Celtic Rogues Book 1) by Kimberly Cates
FREE on Amazon

About the book:

410 pages, 5 reviews (Average customer rating: 4.6 stars)

Formerly published by Berkley Books as NIGHTWYLDE ~

An unloved English heiress ...

When shy Maryssa Wylder refuses an arranged marriage, her father exiles her to his isolated holdings in Ireland, a hell he claims is populated by savages eager to slit English throats. On her journey, she is robbed by the Black Falcon, an Irish highwayman who curses all with the Wylder name. A brigand he may be, yet she can’t forget the way he looks at her -- his dangerous passion piercing her lonely heart.

A dispossessed Irish prince ...

Tade Kilcannon has every right to hate the Wylders. Though his ancestors were Irish kings, the English have stolen his birthright, giving it to Bainbridge Wylder, a ruthless English overlord who drives the Irish crofters from their homes. Though the people of the glen think Tade Kilcannon is a rakehell, in truth, he is the Black Falcon, a masked patriot who bedevils the English. But this rogue’s heart is untouched until Maryssa Wylder saves his family from marauding soldiers.

A love worth defying two worlds ...

Maryssa blossoms because of Tade’s tenderness, but he knows that to love the English daughter of his family’s great enemy is impossible. Then disaster strikes the glen, throwing Tade’s fate and the future of those he protects into Maryssa’s hands. Maryssa faces a heart-wrenching choice, one which may cost her the very life of the man she loves.



A Love That Never Tires (Linley & Patrick Book 1) by Allyson Jeleyne
FREE on Amazon

About the book:

305 pages, 146 reviews (Average customer rating: 3.8 stars)

Linley Talbot-Martin is a girl who likes to get her hands dirty. As the daughter of a famous archaeologist, she’s been everywhere and seen everything -- except London. But when the time comes to trade her jodhpurs and work boots for silk gowns and kid gloves, she may be in over her head.

Even though she can out-ride, out-shoot, and outsmart any girl in London society, Linley is destined to be the failure of the season. No one she meets cares about ancient pottery or lost Buddhist texts, and fundraising efforts for future expeditions keep coming up short. If the Talbot-Martin team doesn’t find money soon, they will be out of a job, and Linley will lose everything she holds dear.

Patrick Wolford, Marquess of Kyre (pronounced 'Keer'), is a man who knows his place. Well-connected and respected, he is everything everyone expects him to be, but beneath his fa├žade, he is as neglected and crumbling as the family estate. Now the strain of keeping up appearances is taking its toll. The smart thing would be to marry the heiress nipping at his heels and be done with it, but when he meets Linley Talbot-Martin, who dares to shake up his seemingly proper world, he must choose between the life he’s always known and one he never dared to dream of.

The deserts of Morocco, ballrooms of Edwardian London, and jungles of India come to life in this story of difficult love and the lengths people will go in order to be with the person they were meant for.



An Oath Broken (The Oath Trilogy) by Diana Cosby
$0.99 on Amazon

About the book:

244 pages, 42 reviews (Average customer rating: 4.5 stars)

An arranged marriage to a Scot? Unacceptable!

Lady Sarra Bellacote would sooner marry a boar than a countryman of the bloodthirsty brutes who killed her parents. And yet, despite -- or perhaps because of -- her valuable holdings, she is being dragged to Scotland to be wed against her will. To complicate the desperate situation, the knight hired to do the dragging is dark, wild, irresistible. And he, too, is intolerably Scottish.

Giric Armstrong, Earl of Terrick, takes no pleasure in escorting a feisty English lass to her betrothed. But he needs the coin to rebuild his castle, and his tenants need to eat. Yet the trip will not be the simple matter he imagined. For Lady Sarra isn’t the only one determined to see her engagement fail. Men with darker motives want to stop the wedding -- even if they must kill the bride in the process.

Now, in close quarters with this beautiful English heiress, Terrick must fight his mounting desire, and somehow keep Sarra alive long enough to lose her forever to another man ...



Scotsman of My Dreams (THE MACIAIN SERIES) by Karen Ranney
$1.99 on Amazon

About the book:

390 pages, 28 reviews (Average customer rating: 4.6 stars)

In New York Times bestselling author Karen Ranney's second novel in her breathtaking series, an unconventional woman and a former scoundrel embark on a daring mission of desire

Once the ton's most notorious rake, Dalton MacIain has returned from his expedition to America during the Civil War -- wounded and a changed man. Instead of returning to his old haunts, he now spends his time at home. But Dalton's peace is disturbed when Minerva Todd barges into his London townhouse, insisting he help search for her missing brother Neville. Though Dalton would love to spend more time with the bewitching beauty, he has no interest in finding Neville, whom he blames for his injury.

Minerva has never met a more infuriating man than the Earl of Rathsmere, yet she is intrigued by the torrid rumors she has heard about him ... and the fierce attraction pulling her toward him.

Dalton does not count on Minerva's persistence, or the desire she awakens in him, compelling him to discover her brother's fate. But when danger surrounds them, Dalton fears he will lose the tantalizing, thoroughly unpredictable woman he has come to love.



Scoundrel (Lost Lords of Radcliffe Book 4) by Cheryl Holt
$1.99 on Amazon

About the book:

280 pages, 1 customer review (5 stars)

CHERYL HOLT dazzled readers around the world with her “Lost Lords of Radcliffe” trilogy. She continues the fun and excitement by telling Chase Hubbard’s story ...

When readers last saw Chase -- the most debauched wretch in the world -- he was adventuring down the Nile where he ultimately disgraced himself by betraying his best friend. With his life in shambles, he fled Cairo, but what happened to him after he left Egypt?

Only Chase could land himself in the most outrageous jam of all ...

FAITHFUL NEWTON always thought she wanted to be a nun. But as a novitiate at the Sisters of Mercy convent in rural Scotland, she can’t ever seem to take her final vows. When she’s offered a chance to travel to Rome to visit the Vatican, she happily agrees to make the journey, thinking the trip will push her into a decision. Yet while crossing the Mediterranean, catastrophe leaves her alone, robbed of everything, and abandoned on the north coast of Africa. She’s in deep trouble and desperately needs a hero who can protect her and help her return to Britain safe and sound.

CHASE HUBBARD has never been anything but a cad and scoundrel. As the bastard son of a French count, he’s always had to scrape and scrounge just to get by. A flagrant womanizer and con artist, he enjoys his wicked ways and has never aspired to better behavior. So he has no desire to play the part of hero for anyone. He’s content to loaf in Africa, where he’s suddenly found the means to live like a king, and he’s definitely in no hurry to return to London. But when pious, devout Sister Faithful crosses his path, the pretty, petite virago intrigues him as no other female ever has.

With lives on the line and love in the balance, Chase may have finally met the woman who can push him to become the man he was always meant to be ...



Warrior of Ice (Warriors of Ireland) by Michelle Willingham
$1.99 on Amazon

About the book:

288 pages, 29 reviews (Average customer rating: 4.6 stars)

Locked in a deadly game!

Physically and emotionally scarred, Lady Taryn of Ossoria knows no man would want her for a wife.Nonetheless, she's determined to free her father from his merciless overlord and enlists powerful warrior Killian MacDubh to help.

He has his own motives for confronting the High King ... Born a bastard, Killian longs to carve out a place for himself. Unaware of her true beauty, Taryn is an alluring distraction to his plan, but as traitors are revealed and loyalties tested, their forbidden love becomes the only thing worth fighting for!



Runaway (Florida Civil War) by Heather Graham
$1.99 on Amazon

About the book:

512 pages, 50 reviews (Average customer rating: 4.1 stars)

The best-selling author of One Rode West presents the first of a five-book historical saga set in nineteenth-century Florida, where Tara Brent's dangerous past and an Indian war threatens her new marriage.

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