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!

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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








* * *

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).

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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:

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.)

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:
Website
Facebook
Goodreads
Twitter

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.

* * *

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




* * *

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.
Saturday, November 14, 2015

Review: Texas Bride by Joan Johnston


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

This book (and author) came under my radar when a fellow blogger recommended it on Facebook. I can't remember anymore who it was (I've narrowed it down to two), but I want to say thank you to them -- because this book kept me company when my children were at home sick with a virus.

Texas Bride is the first 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.

I think the history of mail-order brides is very compelling -- there's something about risking it all, traveling half-way across the country in order to marry a man you've never met before. For the most part, it's women who dream of having a better life who answer these advertisements. Miranda Wentworth grew up in the lap of luxury -- the daughter of a famous Chicago banker, but their lives changed forever when the Great Chicago Fire destroyed her father's life work, and turned her and her siblings into orphans. Now that Miranda is 18, she needs to leave the orphanage, and her options are very limited: to wash dishes for minimum pay, or to be a mail-order bride. The first choice will allow her to live close to her siblings in Chicago, but Miranda takes the second choice -- hoping that her new husband would be able to help her get her siblings out of the orphanage and allow them to live with her in her new home in Texas.

There's such a practicality and pragmatism to the mail-order bride system -- one wonders if love is ever a factor when a man posts an advertisement or when a woman answers said advertisement -- and that's, I think, were romance novels fit in. We need to believe that it is possible for these men and women, who risk their happiness in order to find a helpmeet, to find love.

He didn't watch his future bride step down from the coach because he wanted the possibility of a fairy tale to last as long as possible.
- p. 35

Jacob Creed lost his wife to childbirth, and now he needs a new wife to take care of his daughter and father-in-law while he manages his small farm. Jacob needs an extra pair of hands to help him with the day-to-day running of his household and farm -- because of his fight with his father-in-law, who owns a large majority of Bitter Creek, it's been an uphill struggle for Jacob to make ends meet. It was, literally, a long shot when Jacob posts an ad in a Chicago newspaper hoping to find a wife, and, as luck would have it, he gets a lot of responses for it.

But it is Miranda's letter that intrigues Jacob, and so he arranges for her to travel to Texas.

There's a lot of deception between Jacob and Miranda: Jacob didn't mention his daughter in the letter, and Miranda never mentioned her siblings, or her two younger brothers whom she brought with her to Texas. It really isn't the best start to a marriage, but I appreciate that Joan Johnston decided to tell an unvarnished, no sugar-coating version of the life of mail-order brides. This is part of what drew me to the series -- Miranda isn't Mary Poppins, and things don't magically get better when she arrives. The house is still in dire need of repair. Jacob is still engaged in a feud with his father-in-law.

Joan Johnston writes a compelling family drama of one family being ripped apart by the greedy machinations of Alexander Blackthorne, and one family being patched together (Miranda's and Jacob's) -- there's such a heart to Johnston's characters and story, that draws you in.

Miranda is a wonderful heroine, who is way over her head, but she is really trying her best and doing her best to help Jacob. She's placed in a difficult situation when she needs to act as mediator between her brothers and her new husband. Jacob is gruff and keeps his feelings bottled up. He is still grieving for his late wife, whom he loved, and doesn't quite know what to do with his new wife. He had vowed to himself that he wouldn't bed her, but that was before he had met her -- and Miranda is beautiful. Miranda is beautiful inside and out, and it's an irresistible, incredibly attractive combination to Jacob.

There's not a lot of courting involved, since they're already married -- and it's difficult to nurture intimacy considering the amount of work they do every day -- but, in the midst of chores, of cows, of children, there's a wonderful dynamic that develops between our hero and heroine, as their odd family slowly mix together.

She felt protected. She felt cherished.

Of course, those feelings were an illusion. She wanted them to be real. She warned herself to be careful, to be cautious, not to let herself become vulnerable. She didn't want to lose her heart to a man who couldn't -- or wouldn't -- love her back. Better to remain friends. Better to remain safe than sorry.
- p. 180

The "villain" of the story is very curious: Alexander Blackthorne is an English lord who married Jacob's mother -- he has then proceeded to convert the town and own most of it. I'm not really certain why there is such enmity between Alexander and Jacob -- my impression is that it's really tough love at work, but it seems a bit extreme, and I couldn't imagine how difficult it is for Jacob's mother, who is caught in the crossfire.

Overall, this was an absorbing page-turner. I ended up reading the second book in the series right after I finished this one.

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