Review: Again the Magic by Lisa Kleypas

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Again the Magic
Lisa Kleypas
(there is a new cover for this title, but my copy looks like the above image.)
The Wallflowers Book #0

5 Stars

McKenna!

Some romances are perfect, dreamy fairy-tales and some are deeply intense, passionate, emotional rollercoasters. This was the latter.

I love an across-the-tracks romance, especially in historicals. Again the Magic gave me that plus childhood friends-to-lovers plus second chance romance AND revenge. The perfect trope blend of FEELINGS. And Aline and McKenna have no shortage of feelings. They are both overflowing with love and hurt and insecurity and their happily ever after was so hard to come by but so satisfying. And, unlike most historical romance, we get steam from the get-go and I LOVE IT.

The secondary romance, between Gideon & Livia is just as swoony, hard-earned, and well-deserved.

I loved it.

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Audiobook Review: Potent Pleasures by Eloisa James

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2 Stars

Potent Pleasures
by Eloisa James
The Pleasures Trilogy
Audiobook – narrated by Susan Duerden

Eloisa what is you doing to me? This is not your best work.

That said, this is Eloisa James’s first work and certainly better than I can do, but still. I’m glad I started with her later works, because I know she is better than this and I will continue to read her newer work. Potent Pleasures was not a winner for me.

Alex is THE WORST. He is an unredeemable ass. I will go over why, but it’s very spoilery, because the entire plot is Alex being an ass.

Continue reading

Review: When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James (Audiobook)

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5 Stars

When Beauty Tamed the Beast
by Eloisa James
Audiobook
Narrator: Susan Duerden

Review:

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Goosedang this was good. I love fairy tale retellings and Eloisa James absolute crushes it with this Beauty and the Beast inspired story.

Linnet and Piers were perfectly matched with hilarious teasing banter and super hot sexual tension. Just loved it start to finish.

I listened to the audiobook and Susan Duerden was a wonderful narrator.

 

Blurb: 

Miss Linnet Berry Thrynne is a Beauty… Naturally, she’s betrothed to a Beast.

Piers Yelverton, Earl of Marchant, lives in a castle in Wales where, it is rumored, his bad temper flays everyone he crosses. And rumor also has it that a wound has left the earl immune to the charms of any woman.

Linnet is not just any woman.

She is more than merely lovely: her wit and charm brought a prince to his knees. She estimates the earl will fall madly in love—in just two weeks.

She is more than merely lovely: her wit and charm brought a prince to his knees. She estimates the earl will fall madly in love—in just two weeks.

If she decides to be very wicked indeed… what price will she pay for taming his wild heart?

Review: An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole

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5 Stars

An Extraordinary Union
by Alyssa Cole
The Loyal League Book 1
Paperback

 

Guuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhh

So this should have taken me a day or two to read, but I started it, then somehow lost it. And by lost it, I mean, I put it in my literal To-Be-Read pile near my bed, not in the literal Currently-Reading pile on the nightstand and then didn’t find it until almost a month later. It took no time to dive back in to the story, though.

Elle is a free black woman, but in service to the Union, she goes undercover as a mute slave in the South. She is angry – angry that she should be living free, but can’t until she does her part to free others. She’s angry that she’s treated poorly by a spoiled Southern Belle who has never had to work a day in her life. She’s angry that, as part of her disguise, she can’t speak up, but lacks the power to really speak her mind thanks to her station. But anger isn’t all she is. She’s strong and hopeful and clever and armed with an eidetic memory to serve the Union. I love her.

Malcolm wears a Confederate uniform and blends in easily, but he, too, is a Union spy. Elle is fearful of him at first and suspicious of his intentions. I was pretty suspicious, too, but he won us both over completely.

Y’all, I love forbidden romance. And this one

It’s the kind of forbidden romance that shouldn’t work. An interracial couple in the South during the Civil War. They can’t be seen together, their marriage wouldn’t be legally recognized for a century – is it really worth all the trouble? YES YES IT IS because their love is so sweet and tender and dreamy.

Love this one.

It's about to be book time. #gomezcattams #bookstagram #amreading #romancereader

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Plus, Gomez has loved to snuggle up with it since I got it.

Review: How the Duke was Won by Lenora Bell

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How the Duke was Won
by Lenora Bell
The Disgraceful Dukes #1
Paperback

Review: 
Just what I needed.

Adorable with a cast of wonderful – often unconventional – characters. I definitely fell for James (and Charlene), but loved all the secondary characters as well. I laughed aloud a few times, I shed a couple tears, and I immediately grabbed Book 2 when this one ended.

Blurb: 

The pleasure of your company is requested at Warbury Park. Four lovely ladies will arrive… but only one can become a duchess.

James, the scandalously uncivilized Duke of Harland, requires a bride with a spotless reputation for a strictly business arrangement. Lust is prohibited and love is out of the question.

Four ladies. Three days. What could go wrong?

She is not like the others…

Charlene Beckett, the unacknowledged daughter of an earl and a courtesan, has just been offered a life-altering fortune to pose as her half-sister, Lady Dorothea, and win the duke’s proposal. All she must do is:

* Be the perfect English rose [Ha!]

* Breathe, smile, and curtsy in impossibly tight gowns [blast Lady Dorothea’s sylph-like figure]

* Charm and seduce a wild duke [without appearing to try]

* Keep said duke far, far from her heart [no matter how tempting]

When secrets are revealed and passion overwhelms, James must decide if the last lady he should want is really everything he needs. And Charlene must decide if the promise of a new life is worth risking everything . . . including her heart.

Happy Book Birthday – Week of 10/9

NewReleases

Happy Book Birthday! And Happy Friday the 13th! Are you reading anything spooky today?

Twice as Wicked by Elizabeth Bright

Miss Alice Bursnell is determined to wreak revenge on Nathaniel Eastwood, Viscount Abingdon, for the seduction, ruin, and death of her beloved twin sister. But how to expose a seducer without falling prey herself? As she gets closer to Nathaniel, she finds she is in serious danger of following in her sister’s much-too-tempted footsteps. The man is nothing like the heartless rake she expected…and his kisses are truly divine. Could she be wrong about him?

When a mysterious and gorgeous woman confronts Nathaniel at a fancy ball, he suspects she has murder on her mind—his own. But the more he tries to determine who the deceptively innocent beauty is—and what she’s up to—the deeper he falls under her alluring spell. Nathaniel fears he’s in imminent danger of losing his life…or worse, his heart.

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The Look of Love by Julia Kelly

Discover the first installment in the new delightfully charming Scottish romance series where the matchmaker of Edinburgh uses her uncanny abilities to create the perfect matches—even if the couples are doubtful they’ll ever find love.

An accomplished sculptor with secret ambitions, Ina Duncan has managed to avoid marriage for years until an accidental encounter at a party leaves her near ruin and in need of a husband. Fast. Determined to find a willing husband for Ina, Edinburgh’s most powerful matchmaker, Moira Sullivan, quickly realizes that the solution to Ina’s problem might be right in front of her.

Ina’s best friend, Gavin Barrett, has a secret no one knows: he’s loved her for years. As the second son of a baronet, however, he knows he has little chance with his brilliant, beautiful friend. All that changes when Moira convinces Ina to propose a marriage of convenience to Gavin to save her from ruin. Ina only wants two things from him in return: a vow she can continue to sculpt and a promise they’ll remain in Edinburgh.

After a rocky start, happiness—and maybe passion—seems on the horizon for the newlyweds until a twist of fate bestows the title of Sir Barrett on Gavin and forces him to assume responsibilities he’s never wanted. Forced to mold herself into the perfect baronet’s wife, Ina must choose between her dreams and the man she’s learning to love.

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The Highlander is all That by Sabrina York

Elizabeth St. Claire has always been hard to please. Dreaming solely of Highlander men her whole life, no prancing London Lord can stand a chance at winning her heart…

… But perhaps a Scotsman can.

Elizabeth watches intrigued as the Highlander of her dreams, a Scotsman named Hamish Robb, arrives to oversee her season at the behest of her cousin, the Duke of Caithness. Elizabeth doesn’t hide her feelings for the striking Scot. But Hamish, determined to obey his order to protect the St. Claire sisters, steadfastly rejects her every seducing lure.

Believing that the debutante Elizabeth deserves a better, wealthier man, Hamish continues to turn away from her affection, even though he doesn’t exactly want to. Can this Highlander Scot resist the tempting seductress’ attempts to win his heart?

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Have you read any of this week’s new releases? Let me know what you thought! 

This list is by no means complete, so if you read (or wrote!) an historical romance that released this week, please comment with it!

Review: A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James (audiobook)

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A Kiss at Midnight
by Eloisa James
Audiobook
Narrator: Susan Duerden

Review:

Full discloser: I read out of order. After hearing so much about When Beauty Tamed the Beast, I picked that one up first. I’ll review in order, but SPOILER ALERT – I absolutely adored When Beauty Tamed the Beast. I think it set the bar a little too high for me because it was so good and this one didn’t quite live up to that level.

That said, A Kiss at Midnight is wonderful historical romance with a smart, interesting heroine in the Cinderella role and a Price who teems with sex appeal and a little danger. Some may not like that he betrothed to another for most of the book, but it didn’t bother me – the marriage was arranged and he had never met his fiancee. I love that the author didn’t make his fiancee out to be someone evil or awful in anyway. She just wasn’t right for Gabriel. I loved Kate and her relationships with her step-sister (Victoria), Victoria’s fiance (Algie), Victoria’s dogs, her Godmother (Henry) – actually I love everything about Henry. I loved that Kate was intelligent and clever, but not a very good actress in this role she was thrust into.

Susan Duerden narrated this audiobook and she is wonderful. Distinct voices, excellent pacing.

Blurb: 

Miss Kate Daltry doesn’t believe in fairy tales…or happily ever after.

Forced by her stepmother to attend a ball, Kate meets a prince…and decides he’s anything but charming. A clash of wits and wills ensues, but they both know their irresistible attraction will lead nowhere. For Gabriel is promised to another woman—a princess whose hand in marriage will fulfill his ruthless ambitions.

Gabriel likes his fiancee, which is a welcome turn of events, but he doesn’t love her. Obviously, he should be wooing his bride-to-be, not the witty, impoverished beauty who refuses to fawn over him.

Godmothers and glass slippers notwithstanding, this is one fairy tale in which destiny conspires to destroy any chance that Kate and Gabriel might have a happily ever after.

Unless a prince throws away everything that makes him noble….

Unless a dowry of an unruly heart trumps a fortune….

Unless one kiss at the stroke of midnight changes everything.

Review: Passions of a Wicked Earl by Lorraine Heath

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Passions of a Wicked Earl
by Lorraine Heath
London’s Great Lovers #1
Paperback

3 stars

Three stars – I like the way Lorraine Heath writes. I like her pacing, her character building, the tension, and the steamy scenes.

BUT but, I hated the hero. He was infuriating with his refusal to trust his wife. he thought she cheated on him so he banished her and flaunted his affairs. should have been major redemption through the story but, no. No groveling. he continued to believe other people – including his former paramour – over his wife. only believed her story when he heard it from a man. If I had a friend in a relationship like this, I’d advise her to run. Take that divorce and get free. he was never worth it.

He just never won me over. Not worthy.

I have a few others on my shelf from this author. Hopefully the next one is a better fit.

*DISCLOSURE: I got this book for FIVE CENTS at a thrift store. This does not impact my review. It was certainly worth every penny.

Blurb: 

With Passions of a Wicked Earl, USA Today and New York Times bestseller Lorraine Heath kicks off a new series of delightfully sinful historical romance novels featuring “London’s Greatest Lovers.” The first romantic adventure involving the titled and rakish sons of a scandalous Dowager Duchess and their tales of passion, pleasure, and love, Passions of a Wicked Earl concerns the innocent and unfairly disgraced young wife of the first brother and her brazen attempts to win back the dashing rogue’s heart…by any means necessary!

Review: The Highwayman by Kerrigan Bryne

 

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The Highwayman
by Kerrigan Bryne
Paperback

5 Stars

Swoon. This book is lush and sexy and beautiful. And, oh man, I have so many feelings.

Farah’s childhood was spent, essentially, as a prisoner in an orphanage. It was a dark and dreary childhood with one bright spot – a sweet young friendship and love that she was forced to say goodbye to far too soon. She makes a life for herself, but never lets go of that boy. Dorian Blackwell is a vengeful, blackhearted criminal who shares a history with the boy Farah loved.

Dorian is brooding and broken and Farah’s resilience and innocence is the perfect match for him. This romance is absolutely decadent. It is intense and powerful – not a light and fluffy romance by any stretch of the definition – but still totally dreamy and swoon worthy. I can’t wait to read more from Kerrigan Bryne!Farah’s childhood was spent, essentially, as a prisoner in an orphanage. It was a dark and dreary childhood with one bright spot – a sweet young friendship and love that she was forced to say goodbye to far too soon. She makes a life for herself, but never lets go of that boy. Dorian Blackwell is a vengeful, blackhearted criminal who shares a history with the boy Farah loved.

Dorian is brooding and broken and Farah’s resilience and innocence is the perfect match for him. This romance is absolutely decadent. It is intense and powerful – not a light and fluffy romance by any stretch of the definition – but still totally dreamy and swoon worthy. I can’t wait to read more from Kerrigan Bryne!

Real quick – Cover Swoon. The story is as beautiful as the cover. Late last year I tried to make a rainbow out of historical romance books and realized I didn’t have any yellow ones. I’ve been slowly remedying that – I now have 4 yellow historical romance books and The Highwayman is definitely staying on the keeper shelf.

If you read the above caption, I won this as part of a Facebook contest. Kerrigan Bryne, along with so many other amazing authors, donated prizes and I’m so grateful!

Review: The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare

The Duchess Deal

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Author: Tessa Dare
Publisher: Avon Books
Release Date: August 22, 2017
Format: eARC (provided by publisher through Edelwiess – Thank you!)

When girl meets Duke, their marriage breaks all the rules…

Since his return from war, the Duke of Ashbury’s to-do list has been short and anything but sweet: brooding, glowering, menacing London ne’er-do-wells by night. Now there’s a new item on the list. He needs an heir—which means he needs a wife. When Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter turned seamstress, appears in his library wearing a wedding gown, he decides on the spot that she’ll do.

His terms are simple:
– They will be husband and wife by night only.
– No lights, no kissing.
– No questions about his battle scars.
– Last, and most importantly… Once she’s pregnant with his heir, they need never share a bed again.

But Emma is no pushover. She has a few rules of her own:
– They will have dinner together every evening.
– With conversation.
– And unlimited teasing.
– Last, and most importantly… Once she’s seen the man beneath the scars, he can’t stop her from falling in love…

Review

5 Stars

Tessa Dare is my favourite. Ever book I’ve ever read of hers has made me giggle, swoon, and sigh. Her books feel like adult fairy tales and, if you haven’t already started devouring her backlist, please start.

Before we even get to the story, I have a few things to address. First of all this cover.

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Second of all, every Tessa Dare blurb is perfect and I don’t know how they do it. Writing blurbs is hard. But this says everything you need to know, so I’m not going to give you a summary (not that I typically do in my reviews, but please read the blurb).

Alright, now on to my feelings.

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The Duchess Deal made me feel all warm and happy. It was a big fluffy hug and it was exactly the escape I needed. It is fast-paced, swoony, and light-hearted, without shying away from life’s darkness & heaviness. I absolutely loved both our hero, Ash, and our heroine, Emma. Between them there was banter, sweetness, steam, and tension. Neither has had an easy path in life and their happily ever after is hard earned and well deserved. They are perfect together. I loved their snappy dialogue from the start. I was up way too late with this book, trying not to wake my husband with my constant giggles and sighs. This story is so romantic and so sexy.

5 stars – everything about The Duchess Deal is beautiful.