Sunday, June 26, 2016

99-cent Historical Romance Novels


Stranded with the Scottish Earl by Anna Campbell (e-novella) for pre-order: Release date: June 30, 2016
$0.99 on Amazon

About the e-novella:

141 pages, release date: June 30, 2016

Blame it on the rain ...

After her engagement to a local landowner ends in scandal and recrimination, Miss Charlotte Warren vows never to marry. Her father might write to say he’s found her the perfect husband -- she’s sticking to her spinsterish guns. But when in the middle of a spring flood, her father’s choice turns up on the doorstep under an unconvincing alias, she has no choice but to take him in.

That doesn’t mean she’s going to marry Lord Lyle. No way.

Except he’s very handsome… And he kisses like a dream ...

And when a girl finds herself trapped alone in a great big house with a roguish Scottish earl, who knows what will happen? Even to the most resolute and independent lady.

Ewan Macrae, Earl of Lyle, doesn’t believe in love at first sight -- until he sees Charlotte Warren’s portrait. One glimpse of the real Charlotte, and he knows this is the lassie he means to carry off to the Highlands as his bride.

But his beloved is no easy conquest. She’s stubborn and headstrong, and dead set against becoming a wife.

Will lashings of Scottish charm, some highly convenient privacy, a scattering of sizzling kisses, and an eventful day battling the elements to save the spring lambs combine to change Miss Warren’s mind about marriage?

They most definitely will, if this proud Scotsman has any say in the matter!



The Seduction by Nicole Jordan
$0.99 on Amazon

About the book:

384 pages, 102 reviews (Average customer rating: 4.3 stars)

BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Nicole Jordan's Princess Charming.

As the most notorious rakehell in Regency London, Lord Damien Sinclair sought only his own pleasure, until his beloved younger sister, Olivia, was injured and her reputation ruined during a forbidden tryst. Now Damien will do anything to destroy the young nobleman guilty of hurting Olivia. ... And Vanessa Wyndham will protect her foolish brother at all costs, even if it means entering into an illicit bargain with the dangerously handsome "Lord Sin." When Vanessa offers to act as a companion to Lord Sin's invalid sister, Damien agrees with one scandalous condition -- he'll forgive her brother's debt if she agrees to become his mistress.

And so the seduction begins. But once the affair has ended, will they escape with their hearts intact?



Celtic Fire by Joy Nash (Druids of Avalon Book 1)
$0.99 on Amazon

About the book:

320 pages, 61 reviews (Average customer rating: 4.0 stars)

When a Roman commander travels through Britannia to investigate a haunting vision, an ambush by hostile Celts leaves him with an unexpected prize -- a beautifully enchanting witch.



Kissing the Enemy by Leighann Dobbs and Harmony Williams (Scandals and Spies Book 1)
$0.99 on Amazon

About the book:

224 pages, 2 reviews (Average customer rating: 5 stars)

Stealing a code book from an enemy spy should be easy for someone like Frederica Vale. As the plain looking older sister, she's practically invisible at social events. Never mind that she has no experience as a spy or that the codebook rests in the possession of one of the most powerful men in England. Freddie has no choice-she's desperate to save her young sister from the lecherous intentions of their guardian and recovering the book is her only option.

Tristan Graylocke has never been able to measure up to his brother, the Duke of Tenwick. But being second best has its advantages. No one pressures him to get married and produce an heir, leaving him to carouse at will -- an activity that lends itself perfectly to the brothers’ secret lives as spies.

When an alluring enemy spy shows up at the house party planned specifically for the purposes of passing along a code book, Tristan finds himself drawn under her spell. Freddie seems innocent and inexperienced. Is her innocence is a clever guise, or is she being coerced by someone?

Tristan and Freddie soon find themselves engaged in a seductive game of cat and mouse where each will do what they must for their country, especially if it involves kissing the enemy.



A Kiss of Fate by Mary Jo Putney (Guardian Book 1)
$0.99 on Amazon
About the book:

416 pages, 40 reviews (Average customer rating: 3.9 stars)

Her captivating stories and vibrant characters have earned New York Times bestselling author Mary Jo Putney enthusiastic praise from reviewers and readers alike. Now, from the majestic mansions of eighteenth-century London to the mist-shrouded wilds of the Scottish Highlands, she brings you her most breathtaking romantic adventure yet.

Laird of an ancient, powerful Scottish clan, Duncan Macrae is committed to ending the ceaseless strife between Scotland and England. But he also has other, secret powers -- those of a Guardian, humans with mystical abilities to control nature’s forces and see into the hearts of others. And from the moment he encounters the young and independent English widow Gwyneth Owens, his fiery spirit is irrevocably drawn to claim her as his own -- a passion that will not only set his loyalty to his land against his sworn Guardian vows, but will also threaten everything he cherishes most.

Though Gwynne’s father was a Guardian, she believes that she has inherited only her mother’s beauty, not her father’s power. Then one kiss from the dangerously alluring Laird of the Macraes ignites a hunger that shakes her to her soul -- and reveals visions of a looming catastrophe that threatens England and Scotland both. Only by becoming Duncan’s wife, and ultimately betraying the man she loves, can she avert disaster.

As destiny and two mighty nations clash, Gwynne and Duncan must push their powers and passions beyond the most forbidden limits if they are to save their love -- and secure the future.

With Mary Jo Putney’s consummate skill and dazzling historical detail, A Kiss of Fate brings an unforgettable period to life -- and will forever enthrall your senses with memorable characters and sweeping emotions.



Highlander's Reckoning by Emma Prince (The Sinclair Brothers Trilogy Book 3)
$0.99 on Amazon

About the book:

396 pages, 60 reviews (Average customer rating: 4.7 stars)

Book Three of the Sinclair Brothers Trilogy

He is forced to marry ...

Daniel Sinclair is charged by Robert the Bruce to secure the King's ancestral holding in the Lowlands -- and marry the daughter of the castle's keeper to secure a shaky alliance. But the lass's spirit matches her fiery hair, and Daniel quickly realizes that the King's "reward" is more than he bargained for.

She won't submit without a fight ...

To protect her secret -- and illegal -- love of falconry, Rona Kennedy must keep her new husband at arm's length, no matter how much his commanding presence and sinfully handsome face make her knees tremble. But when an all-out war with Raef Warren, the Sinclair clan's greatest enemy, finally erupts, will their growing love be destroyed forever?


The Hero Least Likely (Boxed Set of 7 stories)
$0.99 on Amazon
About the boxed set:

2 reviews (Average customer rating: 4.5 stars)

7 Heroes you least expect ... 7 Heroes you'll never forget.

SCOUNDREL EVER AFTER by Darcy Burke
When wallflower Audrey Cheswick runs away with England’s most wanted criminal, she learns adventure comes with a price—not just her reputation or her virtue, but her heart. If Ethan Jagger can escape the hangman’s noose and start anew, will she consent to love a scoundrel ever after?

FOREVER BETROTHED, NEVER THE BRIDE ~ Christi Caldwell
War-torn veteran, Lord Drake devotes himself to forgetting his days on the Peninsula through an endless round of meaningless associations. He no longer wants to feel anything, but Lady Emmaline is making it hard to maintain a state of numbness. With her zest for life, she awakens his passion and desire for love.

DESIRES OF A BARON ~ Rose Gordon
Giles Goddard, Lord Norcourt is odd. Odder still, he has suddenly taken a fancy to his brother’s love interest, the fallen Lucy Whitaker. Lucy was once thrown over by a lord and she has little desire to let it happen again, but she’s about to learn that his desires just might be enough for the both of them.

ATHENA'S ORDEAL ~ Sue London
Quincy Telford, Duke of Beloin, has hated Viscount Bittlesworth as long as he can remember. Now the man’s daughter is constantly in his path. Can he escape her temptation and avoid peril in the increasingly dangerous game of cat and mouse he is playing with his blackmailer?

THE EARL'S SCANDALOUS WIFE ~ Ruth Ann Nordin
Season after Season of not being able to secure a wife, Lord Clement's life changes for the better when a beautiful stranger kisses him. Now he has a wife who has it all: beauty, passion, and excitement. But it's not over. Thanks to her tainted past, her newfound love with Perry is threatened when her brother comes back into her life. Can she protect Perry from finding out the truth or will her brother get the upper hand?

THE MAJOR'S FAUX FIANCEE ~ Erica Ridley
When Major Bartholomew Blackpool learns the girl-next-door from his childhood will be forced into an unwanted marriage, he returns home to play her pretend beau. He figures now that he's missing a leg, a faux fiancée is the best an ex-soldier can get. He admires her pluck, but the lady deserves a whole man -- and he'll ensure she gets one.

CORINNA ~ Lauren & Devon Royal
What’s a colorblind Irishman to do when he’s blackmailed into impersonating a renowned landscape artist, lying to all of London society, and risking the TON’s collective wrath if he’s found out? Why, fall for the lovely and unattainable marquess’s daughter next door, of course. But his fetching neighbor is no simpleton and an artist in her own right. When she realizes his ruse, will she expose his misdeeds ... or find herself drawn into the hoax?
Thursday, June 23, 2016

ARC Review: Once a Soldier by Mary Jo Putney (Release date: June 28, 2016)


Click here to pre-order the book from Amazon, Release date: June 28, 2016
Click here to pre-order the paperback at The Book Depository

In the opening chapter of the book, a group of 5 men are locked in a room with no probable escape route. Guards are at the door, and death is certain in the morning. On this, their last night together, they decide to talk about what they would do differently if they had another chance and another day to live --

Maybe it's Fate or the Divine, or a bit of both, but these men find a way to escape and to live to fight another day. They decide to hold each other to the promises they made the night before -- with an added agreement to update each other through letters left at an agreed-upon location. Thus, the Rogues Redeemed go their separate way, intent on changing their lives -- present and future.

Will Masterson joined the war with a death wish. Feeling responsible for the death of his wife and son, Will feels he is beyond redemption -- and he thought he was finally going to see the end of his journey in that locked room with those men. After this last brush with death, Will finally realizes (and accepts) that death isn't in his cards yet, and starts to make plans to return home to England, his title, and his life, and responsibilities.

But he has one last mission to fulfil for King and Country: accompany the brave soldiers from San Gabriel back to their country, and to do some reconnaissance to ascertain the political stability of this young, war-damaged country. He does not count on meeting Athena Markham, British, who works as companion and friend to Princess Sofia -- and he is instantly attracted.

But Will and Athena aren't young or fanciful or with their heads in the clouds -- they accept the reality of who they are: Athena is the illegitimate daughter of a lord and a courtesan, and Will is a broken, haunted man on his way home to England. While they entertain the idea of an affair, Will and Athena both decide to take the sensible route and "just be friends" while Will is in San Gabriel.

Much of the first half of the book focuses on San Gabriel and descriptions of how war has devastated the small country. Their king and his heir are still missing, the current regent is a very old man who serves as a titular figurehead than an actual leader, and Princess Sofia, on the cusp of her 25th birthday, is next in line for the throne. I kept trying to look for the romance between Will and Athena between the lines -- and I could see two people who have made the decision to sacrifice their own personal interests/desires for the sake of a greater purpose. Athena is devoted to San Gabriel and to Princess Sofia, whom she loves like a younger sister.

Athena has an interesting background -- she is illegitimate, and, while her mother wanted to have a daughter, it was clear that she didn't know how to protect or care for her daughter. Athena's father begrudgingly gave some financial support, but made it clear that she was not welcome or wanted in his household. At school, Athena was known as Lady Whore's Daughter, and that's something that has not and cannot forget. It's ironic that she finally found her place and her home in a foreign country, among foreign people. So I understand her reluctance to give all of that up to be with Will -- Will who will bring her back to England, because his life and responsibilities are there. Will who will indirectly subject her to society's scrutiny and insults again --

Will lost the loves of his life, felt responsible for it, and had sought oblivion during the war. Now he's found a glimmer of light, a reason to live in the form of Athena Markham. But, should he risk his recently-restored, but still-fragile heart on something as momentary as a temporary affair. I have to give credit to Will for proposing marriage several times -- because it shows that he is willing to put himself on the line for Athena.

There's a secondary love story that develops between Justin and Princess Sofia -- and, again, Mary Jo Putney touches on the dualism of duty/desire -- Princess Sofia cannot marry a commoner. Princess Sofia cannot marry a foreign commoner. But she wants Justin, and Justin wants her. What I love about Princess Sofia is that she isn't passive, and she doesn't give up easily -- she arranges for a quick time away from the castle, so that she could enjoy Justin's company (and hopes that Athena and Will can discover each other outside of the castle and their responsibilities).

This is where the story gets interesting -- when they discover that there is a French general who has nefarious designs on Princess Sofia and on the country -- and Will must, once again, become the soldier that he is. I love how Putney framed this into a David and Goliath battle -- pitting the very limited resources of San Gabriel versus the French general's army. Will shows amazing leadership and courage -- and Athena is admirable in how she contributed to the defense of the country.

A slow start leads to a satisfying end, and fans of Putney's Lost Lords will delight at seeing new graduates of Westerfield figure in this new series.

Once a Soldier is the first book in Mary Jo Putney's Rogues Redeemed series, and will be released on June 28. To find out more about Mary Jo Putney and her books, click below:
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Disclosure: I requested this ARC through Netgalley. Thank you to Kensington Books and Mary Jo Putney for the opportunity. Yes, this is an honest review.










Thursday, June 16, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Historical Romance Edition (Featuring: How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back by Sophie Barnes)


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

Happy Throwback Thursday, everyone!

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.


How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back by Sophie Barnes, first published January 2012


Blurb:
Emily Rutherford is having a very bad day.

Of course, having the man you’ve loved forever announce his engagement to your (now very former) best friend will do that.

Emily is sure nothing good could possibly come out of this horrid situation. But she lets her sisters -- along with Francis Riley, the delectable but brooding Earl of Dunhurst -- convince her that a season in London will be just the thing.

Now Emily has a choice: sulk in a corner while her sisters enjoy the glitter of the ton ... or become the belle of the ball, dazzling everyone on an earl’s arm. But as Francis helps Emily get back on her feet, she quickly realizes that a childhood crush is nothing compared to the power of true love.

To find out more about Sophie Barnes and her books, click below:
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Goodreads

Book Review: Magic in the Stars by Patricia Rice


Click here to buy the book on Amazon

I'm a big fan of Patricia Rice's Magical Malcolms series -- I love the idea of two families who are so ideologically different in that Capulet vs. Montague way (minus the tragedy), and, yet, every so often, will have their sons and daughters meet, find common ground, and fall in love. I was so pleased to see that she is revisiting these two families, and moving them a few generations forward.

Magic in the Stars is the first book of Patricia Rice's Unexpected Magic series, and features Lady Azenor Dougall and Lord Theophilus Ives. Like her Malcolm forebears, Azenor (or Aster, as she prefers to be called) shares the same magical talents -- in her case, she is very, very accurate with reading the stars, allowing her to understand people's characters based on their birthdays, and charting their futures. After not heeding her own readings, which resulted in tragedy, she's learned her lesson -- and she's on her way to Iveston, despite the distance, inconvenience, and the weather, to warn the current generation of Ives men of the impending doom that she has read in their charts.

Instead of finding Malcolm Ives, the current Marquess, Aster comes face to face with Lord Theo, Malcolm's younger brother and heir. Aster already knew that convincing the Ives men of what she has read would be difficutl: Malcolm magic and Ives logic have never, in so many generations, agreed on anything.

What's interesting is that both Theo and Aster are interested in the same area: the stars, but they approach it from different disciplines: Theo is an astronomer, and is working on creating a telescope with a greater (and clearer) lens to prove the existence of more planets. He's been trying to get funds to build an observatory, so he could prove the existence of Uranus and of other planets beyond.

Aster is into astrology, and uses the same maps and charts -- the same findings from the Royal Astrological Society, but it is to understand human nature and to predict and prevent catastrophe. There's an instant recognition of shared interest, but an equally instant recognition for the differences in their world views.

After Aster shares her readings of his brother's charts, Theo is skeptical, but also curious about the passion and persuasion that drove Aster to travel by herself to Iveston to tell them of what she read in the stars. Aster is also very, very beautiful -- and, for the first time in a very long time, Theo is interested and attracted.

When something does happen to Malcolm and he becomes incapable of managing the Ives' estates, Theo is thrust into the limelight -- and he understands that he needs to work to secure the succession -- unwanted, unwished-for territory for him. He enlists the help of Aster, to help find him a wife who would understand the Ives temperament. It's, honestly, ironically clear from the beginning that Aster and Theo belong together -- and Theo realizes this. So does Aster -- but Aster has long believed that she brings doom and destruction to anyone who dares get close to her.

This is one aspect of Aster's life that I couldn't quite accept: did her family really believe that Aster brought doom and devastation to those who dared to live near her? I really felt bad about how she had to live away from her family, and how she had to make sure her companions didn't stay with her for longer than a few months at a time. I know that the Malcolms are an eccentric family, but, surely, they would not allow one of their own to be so isolated from her family? This is one of Aster's major hang-ups, which defines how she views the world. Theo isn't really the best partner, but, because he is willing to stay with Aster, despite of the danger, Aster is willing to compromise (and set aside her doubts and misgivings) to be with him.

Theo doesn't seem to know why he wants to be with Aster. In the beginning, I could see that he recognized a kindred spirit -- someone who stood calmly in the midst of the Ives chaos. But, his stance slowly changes, and he leans on his physical attraction to Aster when he is confronted by Aster's idiosyncrasies. For a man who is challenging astronomy, by saying there are planets beyond those that have been found, I couldn't understand why he couldn't see the value of what Aster does.

Here lies my problem with this story: I didn't like that he would dismiss Aster's concerns as hoaky. I didn't feel there was enough conversation between our hero and heroine about finding a middle ground, or finding a bridge between the world of astronomy and astrology. Instead, the author created a pattern: something bad would happen, Aster believed it was because of her, and Theo would distract her with kisses. This carries through to the end, when, Theo's problems at the Iveston estate are resolved, but Aster's is all up in the air.

I enjoyed reading this story, but there were a lot of gaps and questions that keeps me from loving this book.

Magic in the Stars is Book 1 in the Unexpected Magic series. To find out more about Patricia Rice and her books, click below:
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Sunday, June 12, 2016

99-cent Historical Romance Novels

Well, summer is officially over in my part of the world, and school starts tomorrow. I'm in the midst of completing one review and I'm also reading Elizabeth Hoyt's Duke of Sin -- I expect I will be blogging intermittently until I figure out my kids' new schedule for this school year.

Amazon has some really nice discounts for their Fire Tablets:

In the meantime, here are some featured 99-cent historical romances found on Amazon:


Magic in the Stars by Patricia Rice (Unexpected Magic Book 1)
$0.99 on Amazon

About the book:

275 pages, 206 reviews (Average customer rating: 4.5 stars)

He’s a scientist who studies the stars. She’s an astrologer who predicts the future. Can a lonely witch save a handsome unbeliever from his own doom?

The Lonely Witch

While creating zodiac charts for her eccentric and mysterious Malcolm relations, Lady Azenor Dougall -- a talented astrologer -- realizes the alignment of the stars poses a fatal threat to her beloved siblings. To protect those she loves, she flees her Scots home ... and searches for an answer.

The Handsome Scientist

Lord Theophilus Ives, heir presumptive to the Marquess of Ashford, is a renowned astronomer who has perfected a telescope capable of seeing beyond Saturn’s moons. If only the women his all-male family attracted were as predictable as the laws of science. Nonetheless, Theo is undaunted by the tumult of his life -- until the day the luscious Lady Azenor arrives to warn them that his brother, the Marquess, is in terrible danger.

The Magic in the Stars

Can Lady Azenor Dougall convince a laughing disbeliever of peril? And can she escape the fate her stars predict if she lingers too long in Lord Theo’s enthralling company?

If you enjoy the humor of Eloisa James, the history of Jo Beverley, or the emotion of Mary Jo Putney, don’t miss this exciting new chapter in Patricia Rice’s acclaimed romance series!



Countess So Shameless by Liana LeFey (A Scandal in London Book 1)
$0.99 on Amazon

About the book:

299 pages, 84 reviews (Average customer rating: 4.1 stars)

No one can compete for Lady Mélisande’s coveted affections like the Italian rogue she met five years prior during a visit to Versailles. Her encounter with Lord Alessandro Orsini awakened a passion so fierce that the mere memory of it still ignites her senses. So when the celebrated rake resurfaces in London, Mélisande succumbs to temptation and shamelessly proposes an affair for the Season.

Alessandro has never forgotten the girl he met in Versailles -- his perfect match. Though the fiercely independent lady has sworn off marriage, it doesn’t stop him from vowing to make her his wife. While seducing her body, he wages tender warfare on her heart’s defenses. But a bitter rival also burns to possess Mélisande, and luck has provided the means to bend her to his will: a scandalous secret that could ruin her. The price of his silence is nothing less than her hand in marriage, forcing Mélisande to choose between the desires of her heart and everything else she holds dear.



Duke of Thorns by Sara Ramsey (Heiress Games Book 1)
$0.99 on Amazon

About the book:
322 pages, 56 reviews (Average customer rating: 4.4 stars)

The Briarleys are one of the oldest families in England -- but after centuries of sin and scandal, they are on the verge of extinction. Now, at the most talked-about house party of the summer, the surviving Briarley heiresses will create a new set of scandals while attempting to win back their birthright -- if love doesn’t conquer all their schemes.

A devil who won’t be denied ...

Too powerful to care for such petty things as morals, the Duke of Thorington lives as he pleases. And it pleases him to be known as a cruel, heartless blackguard -- one no sane woman would dare to marry. But when his fortunes unexpectedly crumble, he must find a way to save his family from ruin. To succeed, Thorington needs an heiress. There’s only one problem ...

A lady who can’t be contained ...

Bold, daring Callista Briarley has survived riots, plagues, and revolutions while building her own privateering enterprise, but the sharks of English society are an entirely new challenge. It will all be worth it if she wins Maidenstone Abbey -- a house her ancestors spent centuries killing each other for. To succeed, Callie needs a powerful ally. There’s only one problem ...

Two hearts destined to ignite ...

During the most infamous house party of the summer, Callie and Thorington have one chance to secure both their futures. But Callie’s need for freedom is directly at odds with Thorington’s brand of control. When her past puts them both in danger, will their unexpected love be enough to conquer all?



Taming the Wicked Wulfe by Tammy Jo Burns (The Rogue Agents Trilogy Book 1)
$0.99 on Amazon

About the book:

353 pages, 22 reviews (Average customer rating: 4.1 stars)

Rebekah is forced into a proxy marriage to a man she despises for the sake of her orphaned niece and nephew. Her new husband, Thorn Wulfe, holds the key to all the secrets of her long-buried past.

Thorn, considered the Wicked Wulfe by many of the ton, operates one of London’s most notorious gaming hells, the Lady Luck. When his brother is killed, he finds his life turned upside down with a wife he does not want, and two children to care for.

When old secrets come to light and enemies make themselves known, Rebekah and Wulfe are going to have to decide what is more important ... the past, the present, or the future? Will they be able to learn to trust and love one another along the way? Or will their secrets keep them apart forever?

A Regency romance that will draw you in and tug at your heartstrings.



Spy Fall by Diana Quincy (Rebellious Brides Book 1)
$0.99 on Amazon

About the book:

277 pages, 59 reviews (Average customer rating: 4.5 stars)

“Lovers of historical fiction could hardly do better than Diana Quincy’s Spy Fall,” proclaims Fresh Fiction. In this uniquely fresh and innovative Regency romance, a fearless French parachutist lands on top of a wicked rogue who endangers her mission -- and her heart.

Mari Lamarre is gaining fame on both sides of the Channel for her daring aeronautic endeavors, but she hasn’t come to Dorset to showcase her talents. Rather, she’s been tasked with recovering sensitive information that may have fallen into the hands of the Marquess of Aldridge. It’s the riskiest adventure of her career—and it begins with a crash landing. Her fall is broken by the Marquess’s very own son, Cosmo, who’s clearly a rake and a drunk, not to mention a liability. So why does Mari find him so utterly alluring?

When he first spots the vision of loveliness in the sky, Lord Cosmo Dunsmore surmises he’s imbibed one drop too many, and an angel has come to fetch him. Little does he know that this female daredevil will make him feel more alive than ever before. But when their torrid affair takes a shocking turn, Cosmo must choose where his loyalties lie: with his respectable father -- or with the captivating beauty whose fierce passion makes him feel like a new man.



At the Spy's Pleasure by Tina Gabrielle
$0.99 on Amazon

About the book:

228 pages, 29 reviews (Average customer rating: 4.1 stars)

Every gentleman has his secrets ...

London 1821
After years of marriage to a selfish man who preferred gambling to his young bride, Jane, the widowed countess of Stanwell, now seeks what she was long denied -- a satisfying lover. Naturally, a lady needs a list of eligible candidates, which doesn't include the dangerously handsome (if far too arrogant) Gareth Ramsey ... until he steals a sinful kiss from Jane's all-too-willing lips.

Reputed as an arrogant barrister, Gareth's real occupation is as a spy in the service of His Majesty, and his suspect is on Jane's list of possible lovers. With her life in danger, there's no safer place for Jane than with him -- and in his bed. But Jane is as distracting as she is infuriating, and keeping her by his side while he pursues his mission might just endanger them both ...
Thursday, June 9, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Historical Romance Edition (Featuring: This Magic Moment by Patricia Rice)


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

Happy Throwback Thursday, everyone!

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.


This Magic Moment by Patricia Rice, first published 2004


Blurb:
When Harry unexpectedly inherits the title Duke of Sommersville, childhood friend Lady Christina consents to marry him so that she and her money can help save the estate, but what will save their friendship, and their marriage?

Everything about Lord Harry's easygoing life is about to change. After unexpectedly inheriting the title of Duke of Sommersville, he's also discovered it comes with a load of debt. To save the estate, he's going to need money. Lots of it -- and quick.

Lady Christina has no problem with Harry marrying her for her dowry. After all, they've been friends since childhood. But gone is the laughing, charming boy she once knew. And she won't share anything of herself until she gets that Harry back. No matter how tempting he proves to be ...

An enchanting historical paranormal romance, fans of Stephanie Laurens, Christina Dodd and Mary Jo Putney will delight in Rice's richly complex and addictively compelling clash of science and magic in this Georgian romance.

To find out more about Patricia Rice and her books, click below:
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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Book Review: Only Beloved by Mary Balogh


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

At fifty years old, and after devoting almost a decade of his life caring for the Survivor's Club, and then seeing them get married one after the other, George, Duke of Stanbrook, discovers that he is not looking forward to the looming prospect of returning home to Penderris alone. He imagines following in his fellow Survivors' footsteps -- and find himself a wife to settle down with. As he thinks about it more, there's only one lady that comes to mind: Dora Debbins, the older sister of Agnes Keeping, now married to Flavian, Viscount Ponsonby (Only Enchanting). Dora is almost forty years old and now lives alone in her cottage near Middlebury Park.

One of the challanges of writing this review is finding the words to describe the love story of George and Dora -- everything is happening quickly, but to call it a whirlwind would be inaccurate. There's a wonderful chemistry and companionship between George and Dora, but no fireworks. If you read back to the occasion where George and Dora met and talked in Only Enchanting, one would fancy thinking that this story started there, but there's also an element of surprise to finally see who George ended up with. (I don't think I'm alone in thinking that it may be Imogen and George in the end.) And while George never pushes or rushes, there's a sense that Dora has been swept up into this whole thing and hasn't quite found her bearing. Perhaps it was the suddenness of George's appearance and ensuing proposal, or perhaps it was age, or perhaps both of them decided it was about time, but Dora accepts George's offer of marriage, and they both agree to get married in a month.

During the engagement, it's the same contradictions -- nothing happens, and everything happens. George and Dora are busy preparing for the wedding: Dora is getting fitted for a wardrobe fit for a duchess, and George is laying the stage, and making preparations for Dora's introduction to society. And, yet, nothing happens: it's almost a recitation of any typical Regency day -- except it is not a typical Regency day. It is Dora's first time ever to go to London and to move around in society. Despite being well-born, she never had a season, because of the scandal of her parents' divorce. Then there's the knowledge that her mother, whom she hasn't seen or talked to in her entire adult life, lives in London.

It's amazing how Mary Balogh does it, where the tension gradually build up -- the only comparison I can make is to a frog in water that is slowly being heated. If Dora or George had known, from the beginning, the trials that they were to face once they married, perhaps they would not have jumped into it so quickly? But, like the frog, things come to a slow boil -- but, unlike the frog, Dora and George have the mindfulness to realize when the situation was getting out of hand.

Our hero and heroine realize that they don't get a free pass on marital issues when, on their wedding day, during the ceremony, a person from George's past shows up and reminds everyone present of the tragedy of George's first wife's death -- old gossip becomes the latest on-dit, and old doubts become the basis for new questions. And Dora is, unfortunately, caught in the crossfire. What happened the day Lady Miriam died? Could George have saved her? Why did George allow his only son and heir to enlist? And why doesn't he talk about it with her?

The incident at the wedding is the most exciting thing in this story -- and it is hushed up quickly, and in the background. What follows next is the trip home to Penderris -- where life resumes for George, and starts afresh for Dora -- and even their moments together are so ... placid. One would get the impression that this is a boring book -- but it isn't. I promise you, it's a story that simmers just a little on the surface, but there's a lot happening underneath.

Much of what happens between the two of them is introspective -- Dora wonders how she can make George happy. And, one realizes, that is, indeed, a tall order: George sacrificed so much and worked so hard for the lives and happiness of the members of the Survivors Club. It was a tireless and loving endeavor, and he's given so much to the people around him. No one is deserving of happiness as George -- and it falls on Dora's shoulders to provide that happiness.

But Dora also deserves to be happy: she gave up her youth and her chance at marriage to take care of Agnes. When her father remarried, she moved away to give her new stepmother the space she needed. When Agnes was widowed and needed a place, it was Dora who gave her a place to stay. She's waited all her life for her moment, after supporting her sister and her father through theirs.

But there are wrinkles in their marriage: the same introspection and quiet companionship that we marvel at, also contributes to the feelings of uneasiness within Dora -- and these are exacerbated by the visit through the portraits gallery. Where are the portraits of Lady Miriam and of Brendan? We get the sense that the Duke has kept a large chunk of his life secret from Dora and from the readers. And none of the other members of the Survivors Club are there to reassure Dora or us that it is fine -- we are all left in the dark.

When all is revealed in the end and George finally breaks his silence, I understood why George never talked about it -- and it adds another layer of heroism to his character.

As I was reading George and Dora's story, I kept remembering this line from the movie adaptation of Whitney Otto's How to Make an American Quilt:

Young lovers seek perfection. Old lovers learn the art of sewing shreds together and of seeing beauty in a multiplicity of patches.

Only Beloved is the last book in Mary Balogh's Survivors Club series. To find out more about Mary Balogh and her books, click below:
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Sunday, June 5, 2016

99-cent Historical Romance Boxed Sets


Regency Rakes Boxed Set by Wendy Vella
$0.99 on Amazon

About the boxed set:
630 pages, 1 customer review (5 stars)

DUCHESS BY CHANCE

In this captivating historical romance, the Duke of Stratton is shocked to learn he has a fiancée he’s never met. Forced to wed Miss Eva Winchcomb, can they make their marriage real despite coming from two completely different worlds?

Winner: Romance Writers of New Zealand Clendon Award for a full-length romantic manuscript.

RESCUED BY A VISCOUNT

Miss Claire Belmont’s life is thrown into turmoil when she finds out her brother left something behind in France before he died. Going against her family’s wishes, she is determined to uncover the secret of what it is, and is forced to turn to the one man she vowed to avoid at all costs for help. Claire has always feared that if anyone can disrupt her well-ordered life and see the vulnerable woman behind the polite facade, it will be Viscount Kelkirk and now they are thrown together, she realizes her fears were justified.

TEMPTING MISS ALLENDER

Seven years after her disastrous debut, Miss Patience Allender has reluctantly returned to society to chaperone her sister. No longer the meek, mild Miss, she will never again allow a man to humiliate her. However, Patience’s resolve is severely tested when she comes face-to-face, with the very man who shattered her heart. Desperate for help when her family is thrust into danger, Lord Belmont is the only one she can turn to -- but can she do so and keep her heart whole or will he destroy her once again?



Seven Nights Of Sin: Seven Sensuous Stories by Bestselling Historical Romance Authors
$0.99 on Amazon

About the boxed set:
671 pages, 21 customer reviews (Average customer rating: 4.8 stars)

One night, one tryst can change everything ... Seven Sensuous stories by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Sabrina York, with bestselling and award-winning authors Maggi Andersen, Lynne Conolly, Eliza Lloyd, Suzi Love, Hildie McQueen, and Victoria Vane. Enter a world of passion and mystery where dashing heroes and dauntless heroines come together in a scorching conflagration that will will tip your world on its end.

LUSCIOUS by Sabrina York
ONE SCANDALOUS NIGHT by Maggi Andersen
THE DEVIL YOU KNOW by Victoria Vane
UNDER A SILVER MOON by Hildie Mcqueen
MY DEAR MR. FORRESTER by Eliza Lloyd
WHAT HE WANTS by Lynne Connolly
PLEASURE HOUSE BALL by Suzi Love



Knights and Ladies: 4 Medieval Romance Novels
$0.99 on Amazon

About the boxed set:
9 customer reviews (Average customer rating: 4.3 stars)

Laurel O’Donnell - THE ANGEL AND THE PRINCE
In this exciting medieval romance, the French lady knight known as the Angel of Death wages a battle of wills and desires against her dreaded enemy -- the English warrior known as the Prince of Darkness.

Elizabeth Rose – LADY RENEGADE
Storm MacKeefe is a Highlander used to winning his earnings through competitions. When he is tricked into accepting the job of hunting down the leader of a band of renegades, he has no idea the person he’s tracking is Wren -- a blind woman who leads a small army of women warriors.

Catherine Kean – A KNIGHT’S REWARD
When a LADY in hiding with her son reunites with the LORD she loved and lost years ago, she fears loving him again would mean risking his life. As the LORD investigates stolen cloth shipments, he uncovers dangerous secrets, including those about the lady. Will he lose her and all that’s dear to him -- or will he win a knight’s greatest reward?

Lily Baldwin – TO BEWITCH A HIGHLANDER
She will protect her identity with her very life if necessary. Who will protect her from herself?

Shoney's lightning speed with a bow captures Ronan by surprise, and their chance meeting ends with him lying unconscious at the bottom of a ravine.

When he awakens, he cannot rid his mind of her startling beauty, her valor, or the secret fear he glimpsed in her steel eyes. He vows to find her, but as the mysteries of her identity unfold, his courage and heart are tested as never before.



A Valentine to Remember
$0.99 on Amazon

About the boxed set:

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

A special Valentine boxed set from three much-loved authors. Historical Romance authors Sue London and Sandy Raven, known for their adventurous heroines and brave heroes, team up with Gail Dayton, best-known for her steampunk and historical fantasy stories, for a sexy and heart-warming historical romance collection!

To My Valentine by Gail Dayton - Lady Lydia Daventry betrayed Captain Alexander Ferguson by marrying another. Then she followed her military husband -- and Captain Ferguson -- to Spain, compounding his sense of betrayal. Now the husband is dead and the army at the end of a desperate retreat to the coast and ships back to England. Alex finds her trying to herd her little party of women and wounded soldiers to safety and escorts them the last few miles. Can they find their way back to each other?

Jack Valentine by Sue London - Artie Graham thought upholding the tradition of Jack Valentine was a sweet way to show his love of Norfolk. What he didn't expect was to find a woman even more enthusiastic about it ... and him.

The Valentine Gift by Sandy Raven - Believing they were unable to give each other the child they wanted so desperately, forces one couple to consider other options. They are then blessed many times over!




A Kiss and a Promise
$0.99 on Amazon

About the boxed set:
10 customer reviews (Average customer rating: 4.4 stars)

This exciting medieval romance boxed set includes these four full length novels --

The Baron's Bounty by Elizabeth Rose -
After seeing only the shoes of the Scottish king's murderer, Isobel MacEwen is sent as a proxy to marry an English baron. Lord Conlin de Braose is a baron of the Cinque Ports and risks his life to save his betrothed when her ship goes down in a storm. To his dismay, instead of his betrothed he has saved a proxy who has an odd passion for shoes.

Not Mine to Give by Laura Landon -
In a blood-drenched midnight vow, Lady Katherine Downing pledged she would keep the Bishop’s crown safe from the Scottish lads who’d stolen it, and return it to England where it belonged. And by king’s edict, she would then wed the Earl of Rivershorn, William Bolton. But a man as evil as Bolton could never have her hand ... or her heart. Not once she’d kissed her Scot.

Finding his entire family slaughtered at the hands of William Bolton suddenly elevated Duncan Ferguson to laird of the clan. His mother, father and two sisters died protecting the stolen crown from Bolton, who took his remaining youngest sister, Brenna, as hostage. Once she is rescued, nothing will stop Duncan from honoring his father’s memory by taking the crown back from the woman who has hidden it. Nothing will stop him from keeping the crown out of the hands of the bloody English. Except, perhaps, his beautiful, stubborn English wife -- Lady Katherine -- and her stubborn midnight vow.

Champion of the Heart by Laurel O'Donnell -
He is an outcast THIEF known as the Black Fox, vowing revenge against those who unjustly stripped his father of his knighthood and lands. She is the PROTECTOR of the orphaned children of her village, promising to bring the Black Fox to justice for his dark deeds. Can Fox uncover the sinister secrets from their past and become the champion of his lady's heart?

Winter Fire by Sue-Ellen Welfonder -
Flames of winter burn the hottest ...

When Katla MacKenzie meets a dashing stranger in an enchanted place, she gladly gives her heart -- and her passion -- to the lover she only knows as the Lord of Winter.

Gunnar MacLeod can’t resist the bonnie lass and seduces her—or is he the one seduced? A long-standing clan feud comes between them, but a heart that loves is powerful, and Gunnar will do whatever he must to claim Katla as his own.
Friday, June 3, 2016

Blog Tour: A Common Scandal by Amanda Weaver (Review + Giveaway)


I am so pleased to welcome back Amanda Weaver and her new book, A Common Scandal, the next book in her Grantham Girls series.

To celebrate the release of A Common Scandal, Amanda Weaver is hosting a Tour Wide Giveaway for a $30.00 Amazon eGift Card. (Enter via Rafflecopter below). To follow the rest of the tour, click here.

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A Common Scandal

The Grantham Girls #2
By: Amanda Weaver
Releasing May 30, 2016

Carina Press

Blurb

:

Finishing school taught Amelia Wheeler how to put on a well-mannered performance -- when she’s not bored and looking for trouble. Lady Grantham’s is behind her and now it's time for Amelia to keep her promise to her dying mother: marry a title and leave her wild days behind.

That promise would be much easier to keep if Nate Smythe hadn’t just reappeared in a London ballroom. The son of an impoverished sailor, Nate -- Natty, as he used to be called -- has grown up to become handsome, rich and polished. He claims to be looking for a proper bride who can advance his business interests, but that doesn’t stop him from seeking out Amelia every chance he gets. Challenging her. Kissing her.

Suddenly, struggling against her simmering passion is the least of Amelia's problems -- one of her titled suitors is hiding a desperate secret that could stop Amelia from pleasing her parents or finding happiness with Nate. As a weeklong house party threatens to derail her hard-won future, Amelia must decide: fight against disaster or act like the lady she's promised to become?

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Despite knowing the sort of marriage she was destined for, she’d resisted making a choice for so long because she’d hoped in time she might encounter a suitable man who sparked some kind of fire in her. But not once, in all her forays into Society, had she met a man who raised more than mild curiosity. She’d read about flaming passions and heated kisses in the lurid, forbidden novels she had traded with Vic and Grace, but her blood had never been stirred by a flesh-and-blood male. She’d begun to think those passions were the invention of novelists and no man could ever make her feel that way. And now one had, and he was hopelessly out of her reach. It was wretched, wanting something she couldn’t have.

“What’s the verdict? Does Cheadle love you madly or not?”

She didn’t trust herself to look at Natty, knowing her insides would plunge in an unwelcome, delicious way. When he came near her, it was as if her whole body stretched luxuriously and unfurled. Terribly unhelpful, when she was determined to send him packing and behave.

“I’m sure the answer will always be ‘not’, regardless of the state of the petals and irrespective of whatever he might proclaim. Isn’t Lady Julia waiting for her glass of punch or something?”

“Pardon?”

“The lovely Lady Julia Harrow. I saw you sitting with her. Surely she’s missed you by now.”

“Somehow I doubt it,” he muttered. “And what of Cheadle? Surely he’s climbing the walls pining after you.”

She sighed and turned to face him, tossing the last of the ruined flower to the ground and brushing her gloved fingers together. “You know he’s not, Natty. Men don’t pine after me, only my money. The only reason anyone at these things speaks to me is because of my fortune.”

“I’m speaking to you and I have my own fortune, thank you very much.”

“You only speak to me to tease me.”

“You used to like it when I teased you.”

“I’m not a child anymore.”

“Obviously.”

The word hung between them for a moment, rife with meaning. He might have only meant she was all grown-up and out in Society, except his eyes made a lightning-fast perusal of her body as he said it, so fast, he was likely unaware he’d done it. In a rush, it broke over her that Natty was aware of her in the same way she was aware of him. Not as an old playmate from his childhood. As a woman. He was as affected as she was, even if he was spending his evening paying court to Julia Harrow.

His eyes made their way back to hers and they both held the gaze. This newly discovered knowledge sizzled through her body. Her skin flushed and her breaths grew shallow. Natty’s eyes stared into hers. His lips parted slightly, as if he, too, was baffled by this sudden shift in the air. The atmosphere around them felt charged, the way it did when thunder began rattling the windows and lightning lit the night sky, but still the rain refused to fall. At any minute the clouds could collide and deluge the world, but until then, all the energy of the universe danced on the breeze.

She wanted to tease and flirt with him to see how far things would progress. She wanted to see the skies open up. She wanted to be drenched by the rain.

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26308934-a-common-scandal 


Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/162192-the-grantham-girls

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Common-Scandal-Grantham-Girls-ebook/dp/B0150Z3PLA/
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-common-scandal-amanda-weaver/1122625748
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Amanda_Weaver
_A_Common_Scandal?id=4YCCCgAAQBAJ 


iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/a-common-scandal/id1037741011?mt=11
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/a-common-scandal-1

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Amelia Wheeler and Nate Smythe are childhood friends, who grew up together, but whose lives took different turns when Amelia's father decided to move his family to London, and Nate went to work on a ship. It is many years later, and the height of the London Season, and neither one had dreamed they would cross paths once again. A lot of old feelings resurface when Amelia and Nate meet again for the first time, and a lot of new feelings also start to grow -- they've always loved each other. They've always preferred each other's company over anyone else's -- but, as Nate says at one point: they aren't children any more -- and practical needs and wants supersede personal ones.

Amelia is another graduate of Lady Grantham's Finishing School, and, despite "graduating", Amelia never really gained the polished refinement that she needs to survive the London Season. Our heroine is used to the side comments about her (lack of) pedigree, and she's perfectly fine displaying just how unsophisticated she is with her words and her fists -- but Amelia also needs to consider her ailing mother's wishes for her only daughter to marry a title, and, with it, the acceptance of a society that had shunned her when she married "beneath" her.

Nate is a self-made man, and he needs to marry a title in order to advance his small shipping business. He's already decided to court Lady Julia Harrow, daughter of the Earl of Hyde, who owns the largest shipping business in England.

This is one of two themes that the author tackles in her novel: Amelia wants to please her mother, and Nate wants to gain society's approval. Amelia had little support on the homefront, and she faced a lot of hostility in the battlefront that is the ballroom. While Amelia behaves a bit audaciously, it is not for lack of provocation -- and I felt really bad that she kept getting baited by the other ladies. And Nate had no support. Period. His mother and siblings all died when he was away at sea, and I could see how Nate looked up to the Earl of Hyde, and saw him as a potential mentor/father figure.

They knew they could never be together, so they did what they thought was the best course of action, which is to push away and hurt each other. Marriage became a contest between Nate and Amelia, and whoever lands the proposal and the title wins the game -- but it's really a game where both of them would end up as losers, because, whenever they are together, there's this undeniable chemistry and the indisputable knowledge that they really belong with one another.

The contest takes both of them to a house party hosted by one Evelyn, the daughter of the Earl of Tewsbury -- Amelia does her best to behave and entertain the attentions of Lord Radwill, while fending off the unwanted attentions of Mr. Cheadle. And Nate is busy getting to know Julia Harrow.

The house party is a bit typical with the games and the chances of flirtations, but, it also offered an opportunity for Nate and Amelia to discover that, among the ton, there are people whom they could consider their friends. I have to say that I really liked Julia Harrow's character. I thought she was unique and stood out from all the other ladies.

Weaver introduces a bit of mystery with the arrival of Mr. Morley, and Mr. Cheadle's reaction to his "friend's" stay -- and it's a question that you want to get an answer to, so you keep reading. We already knew that Mr. Cheadle was a fortune hunter, but, when the author reveals his motivations ... wow.

What makes this childhood friends-to-lovers story stand out is the author's decision to detach the old friendship of Nate and Amelia with their new relationship. The author doesn't rely entirely on old memories and old feelings to fuel the desire between the two -- but, instead, Amelia shows Nate how much she has matured and grown, and Nate shows Amelia how confident and resolute he has become. How can you not admire someone who has worked so hard to get to where he is right now?

Disclosure: I received this ARC from Netgalley for this blog tour. Thank you to Amanda Weaver and Carina Press for the opportunity. Yes, this is an honest review.


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About the author:


Amanda Weaver has loved romance since she read that very first Kathleen E. Woodiwiss novel at fifteen. After a long detour into a career as a costume designer in theatre, she’s found her way back to romance, this time as a writer.

A native Floridian, Amanda transplanted to New York City many years ago and now considers Brooklyn home, along with her husband, daughter, two cats, and nowhere near enough space.

Website: http://www.amandaweavernovels.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Amanda-Weaver/642963329073960
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AWeaverWrites
GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7855753.Amanda_Weaver

* * *

To celebrate the release of A Common Scandal, Amanda Weaver is hosting a Tour Wide Giveaway for a $30.00 Amazon eGift Card. (Enter via Rafflecopter below). To follow the rest of the tour, click here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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