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!

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It’s Monday – What are you reading?

This week has been busy and I haven’t had nearly as much time to read as I’d like. I’m almost finished with The Highwayman by Kerrigan Bryne! This is one of those books I really wanted to just sit and devour, but life has been full of interruptions. I’m not mad, I’ve been able to really savor it. It’s excellent. I’ll post a full review soon.

On audio, I finished A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James & The Heir by Kiera Cass.

I’ll post a review of A Kiss at Midnight later this week!

The Heir gets 3 stars from me, but – disclaimer – I haven’t read the rest of the Selection Series. I picked this up in a 2-for-1 sale on Audible and didn’t bother to realize or remember that it was number 4 in a series. Oops. It was fine. I’m not sure it really moved me to read the earlier books or to continue reading from this point. It was just okay.

 

Next up, I have a few ARCs on my Kindle. Right now, my next paperback on deck is either Hate to Want You by Aisha Rai or Again the Magic by Lisa Kleypas, depending on if I find myself in a contemporary or historical mood. I’m currently listening to 27 Hours by Tristina Wright and narrated by Michael Crouch – one of my favorite narrators!

 

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.

Release Day Blast: How to Marry a Marquess by Stacy Reid

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Happy Book Birthday to How to Marry a Marquess by Stacy Reid!

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Lady Evie Chesterfield is a darling of the ton who refuses to become engaged. She’s been desperately in love with her brother’s friend, Richard Maitland, Marquess of Westfall, since forever. But the dark, dangerous marquess only sees her as a friend and refuses to marry any woman. When circumstances change and Evie has no choice but to take a husband, she decides to convince London’s most notorious gentleman to marry her by seducing the scoundrel.

Richard Maitland decided long ago that he wanted nothing to do with love. So when the gorgeous, off-limits Evie asks him for lessons in seduction, Richard knows he’s playing with fire. Despite Richard’s determination to protect her from his dastardly reputation, he is tested at every turn by his need for the infuriating, but enticing, Lady Evie. Before too long he is faced with making an impossible choice…

Buy: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Entangled Publishing |

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About Stacy Reid:

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I am an avid reader of novels with a deep passion for writing. From an early age, I started writing short stories for pleasure. I knew the dozens of romance novels I devoured were onto something when I met my husband at fifteen and fell in love after a week!

Life got in the way and I stopped writing for years. Then at the age of twenty-six with a degree in Human Resource Management, I decided to focus on my passion—writing. I especially love romance and adore writing sensually hot paranormal fantasy, historical and contemporary stories.

I live a lot in the worlds I create and I actively speak to my characters (out loud). I have a warrior way “never give up on my dream.” When I am not writing, I spend a copious amount of time drooling over Rick Grimes from Walking Dead, watching Japanese Anime and playing video games with my love—Dusean.

Follow Stacy: Website  | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram |

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To celebrate this release and the release of The Wolf of Kisimul Castle by Heather McCollum, Entangled Publishing is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card, Scottish Shortbread, English Tea, and print books from Stacy Reid and Heather McCollum.

Enter here.

Release Day Blast! New Historical Releases!

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What an exciting release week for historical romance! I’m so excited to celebrate these releases! Some of these are part of a series, but they are all standalone stories.

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A Dance with Seduction

A Dance with Seduction
Alyssa Alexander
Release Day: July 24, 2017

Vivienne La Fleur is one of London’s most sought after opera dancers and one of England’s best weapons: the spy known as the Flower. When a French agent pressures her to change allegiance by abducting her sister, Vivienne is forced to seek the help of the only man in London who doesn’t want her, Maximillian Westwood.

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Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

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An Earl for the Archeress

An Earl for the Archeress
E. Elizabeth Watson
Release Day: July 24, 2017

Lady Mariel is an archeress of unrivaled skill, as is Robert, the Earl of Huntington. With a tongue as sharp as her arrows, Mariel wants nothing to do with the gallant earl. Robert is intrigued by his Scottish wilding but they are no match made in heaven.

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Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

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My Hellion, My Heart

My Hellion, My Heart
Amalie Howard & Angie Morgan
Release Day: July 24, 2017

Lord Henry Radcliffe can only exorcise the demons of his past through physicality. Intent on scandalizing London, Princess Irina Volkonsky is a hellion and every gentleman’s deepest desire. She knows better than to provoke the earl, but will stop at nothing to win the heart of the only man she’s ever loved.

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Amazon| B&N | iBooks | Kobo

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The Importance of Being Scandalous

The Importance of Being Scandalous
Kimberly Bell
Release Day: July 25, 2017

Nicholas would give up his family and his fortune if Amelia would ever see him as more than a childhood friend. He’ll go along with her scheme, even if it means ruining both, because he’s got a plan that will change her mind.

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Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

To celebrate these releases, Entangled Publishing is giving away a Historical Tea Time prize pack with a Royal Albert Teacup & Saucer set, a tea sampler, and 4 print Entangled Select Historical books! Enter here.

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Review: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

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The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
Mackenzi Lee
Audiobook, narrated by Christian Coulson

About the Book: 
A young bisexual British lord embarks on an unforgettable Grand Tour of Europe with his best friend/secret crush. An 18th-century romantic adventure for the modern age written by This Monstrous Thing author Mackenzi LeeSimon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda meets the 1700s.

Henry “Monty” Montague doesn’t care that his roguish passions are far from suitable for the gentleman he was born to be. But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quests for pleasure and vice are in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

So Monty vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Witty, dazzling, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is an irresistible romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.

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REVIEW: 

4 stars

This book had a lot going on. It was really enjoyable, but there was a lot. Like, maybe too much.

Historical fiction with a male/male romance, bisexual representation, biracial representation, a bluestocking sister, a disapproving abusive father who is also a hypocrite, a boring chaperone, an evil duke, thievery, pirates (sort of), alchemy and magic.

All of this is stuff I enjoy in a book, but maybe it should have been two books? I would have read both of them happily. The first half of the book felt like an absolutely delightful m/m historical romance full of adventure and steep obstacles for our heroes to overcome. I was 100% in.

Then things title a little and now we are in a fantasy novel… sort of? (I’m not against this sudden switch from realism to magical realism on principle. It can really work for me. See: Magonia.) It was a little too jarring. Maybe it wasn’t enough for me? Instead of one piece of magic in an otherwise standard historical setting, I could have used more magical underground in this setting. I think that would have helped.

The last half of the book just wasn’t as cohesive as the first. The ending was a bit unsatisfying – I’d rather see a real path to an HEA, rather than a “screw you dad, we’ll figure something out.”

I really did love the three main characters, even spoiled Monty. I want to know Felicity and Percy more and the single POV did prevent that – though it appears that I’ll have that desired fulfilled by Felicity’s companion POV novel! I loved the relationships between the three. It felt realistic and comfortable, which made me ache more when things weren’t right between them. Really looking forward to Felicity’s story.

Happy Book Birthday! The Scars Between Us by MK Schiller!

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I am so excited to celebrate the release of The Scars Between Us by MK Schiller, out today!

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About The Scars Between Us

Emma Cooper is determined to fulfill her mother’s dying wish to scatter her ashes with Aiden Sheffield in Linx, Texas. Just one problem. Why Texas and who the hell is Aiden Sheffield? The only clue is a faded piece of her mother’s stationary. Emma imagines Aiden is a former love of her mother’s, but when she meets the beautiful, damaged stranger, she realizes her assumptions couldn’t be more wrong. He’s hot and young. And Emma is as confused as ever.

Aiden Sheffield would rather go to hell than Linx. Who does Emma think she is disrupting his carefully built life? The last thing the Marine needs is to slice open the sealed wounds of his painful past. Yet, as he gets to know the lovely Emma, a woman who manages to smile even though she’s lost everything, he changes his mind. He will not let her go to hell alone.

But neither is prepared for the devastating evil waiting for them at the end of the road. It might just destroy them.

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| Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Entangled |

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About MK Schiller

Not knowing a word of English, MK Schiller came to America at the age of four from India. Since then, all she’s done is collect words. After receiving the best gift ever from her parents—her very own library card—she began reading everything she could get her greedy hands on. At sixteen, a friend asked her to make up a story featuring the popular bad boy at school. This wasn’t fan fiction…it was friend fiction. From that day on, she’s known she wanted to be a writer. With the goal of making her readers both laugh and cry, MK Schiller has penned more than a dozen books, each one filled with misfit characters overcoming obstacles and finding true love.

|Website | Twitter | Facebook |Goodreads| Newsletter |

To celebrate the release, MK Schiller is giving away a basket of goodies, including a Michael Kors bag! Enter here.

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Review: Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean

A love that neither can deny…

THE DAY OF THE DUCHESS
Scandal & Scoundrel #3
Sarah MacLean
Releasing June 27, 2017
Avon Books

The one woman he will never forget…

Malcolm Bevingstoke, Duke of Haven, has lived the last three years in self-imposed solitude, paying the price for a mistake he can never reverse and a love he lost forever. The dukedom does not wait, however, and Haven requires an heir, which means he must find himself a wife by summer’s end. There is only one problem—he already has one.

The one man she will never forgive…

After years in exile, Seraphina, Duchess of Haven, returns to London with a single goal—to reclaim the life she left and find happiness, unencumbered by the man who broke her heart. Haven offers her a deal; Sera can have her freedom, just as soon as she finds her replacement…which requires her to spend the summer in close quarters with the husband she does not want, but somehow cannot resist.

A love that neither can deny…

The duke has a single summer to woo his wife and convince her that, despite their
broken past, he can give her forever, making every day…

New York Times, Washington Post & USA
Today 
bestseller Sarah MacLean is the
author of historical romance novels that have been translated into more than
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wenty languages, and winner of back-to-back RITA Awards for best historical romance from the Romance Writers of America.

Sarah is a leading advocate for the romance genre, speaking widely on its place at the nexus of gender and cultural studies. She is the author of a monthly column celebrating the best of the genre for the Washington Post. Her work in support of romance and the women who read it earned her a place on Jezebel.com’s Sheroes list of 2014 and led Entertainment Weekly to call her “gracefully furious.” A graduate of Smith College & Harvard University, Sarah now lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.

 

 

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4 and half stars

Going into the book, I already hate Malcom based on his appearances in previous books. Sarah MacLean’s whole audience already hates him. And we don’t hate him by mistake. We hate him because he deserves it. He treats Seraphina like dirt – he cheats on her. WHEN SHE IS PREGNANT. This second-chance romance isn’t just about Malcolm earning Sera’s forgiveness – he has to earn the entire audience’s forgiveness.

Looking at it that way, Sarah MacLean basically set herself up for failure. Nevertheless, she persisted. And crushed it.

Before I started reading, I knew Sera deserved her Happily Ever After, but I think Mal deserved to be a part of that. By the end, I was rooting for them. I was crying and laughing and swooning.

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This book is emotional and angsty and sexy and almost perfect. My one complaint and what took it from a 5 star read to a 4.5 star read is a spoiler, so it’s behind the cut.  Continue reading

EXCERPT + Giveaway: ELOPING WITH THE PRINCESS by Robyn DeHart!

A secret princess. A confirmed bachelor. A hasty wedding.
Title: Eloping with the Princess
Author: Robyn DeHart
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: 5th June 2017
Series: The Brotherhood of the Sword #3 (standalone series)
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, Scandalous
Cover Designer: Erin Dameron-Hill
Editor: Alethea Spiridon
“Robyn DeHart’s vibrant characters sweep the reader into a clever and sensual romp that is not to be missed.” – Julia London, NYT Bestselling Author 
When a fellow member of the Brotherhood of the Sword drops off a mysterious lady in need of protection at the house of Viscount Jason Ellis, he agrees to keep her safe not fully knowing what that will entail. Once Isabel Crisp learns the truth of her identity, that she’s the last remaining member of the royal family from the island nation of Saldania, her world is tipped upside down.
A plot to usurp the throne from Victoria after a marriage comes to light. Isabel realizes rather quickly that if she were already married the men would not succeed with their plan. Jason reluctantly agrees to marry her, but in name only as he’s bound to learn the title to his brother’s son, the rightful heir. But keeping his hands off his tempting and willing wife proves too difficult and the passion between them ignites.
“I could have already cut you on more than one occasion,” Jason said. Ever since their first lesson in fencing, Jason had wanted to spar with her again. Today he’d been unable to wait any longer.
“Your skills are more refined than mine,” she said.
“True, but I do not believe that is the problem. You are distracted. We do not have to continue. Perhaps you’d prefer additional lessons from my mother on how better to fit in with ladies of the ton.”
Her eyes flared with anger, and he suppressed the urge to smile. “I don’t think that will be necessary.” She jabbed him with her foil, her steps more precise and strong. “I believe I managed the situation, and I sincerely doubt those particular women will visit again.”
He lifted a brow. “It was only a suggestion, considering how this first visit went. I suspect you’ll receive more visitors and likely some invitations to attend tea with other ladies in town.”
“They were mocking me,” she said, again jabbing at him, her anger evident in every move. “I believe it might be the last time.”
And just like that, she was in a furious battle where their foils clanged against each other. She met every lunge, every strike.
“You’ve been practicing,” he said.
“Perhaps a little,” she admitted.
“But you have some moves that I haven’t taught you yet,” he said after a particularly crafty placement of her foil.
She tilted her head, and her brows rose. “I might have found a book on fencing in the library.”
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A life-long lover of stories and adventure, it was either become a stuntwoman for the movies or live out those adventures from the safety of her PJ’s and computer. Award-winning author, Robyn DeHart chose the latter and couldn’t be happier for doing so. Known for her unique plotlines and authentic characters, Robyn is a favorite among readers and reviewers.
Twitter: @RobynDeHart

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FRI Historical Sale Blitz & Interview – Historical Romance Love

Historical Sale Blitz

The first books in these series are on sale for just a couple more days!

To celebrate the sale, authors Robyn DeHart, Ally Broadfield, and Harmony Williams are spending the week with us! Today they share the love for the historical romance genre.

What do you love write (and read) historical romance?

Ally Broadfield (author of the How To series): I’m dating myself here, but by the time I turned twelve during the 1980s, I had read all of the children/teen books, all the mysteries, and all the gothic novels at our local library, so the librarian showed me the historical romance section and I never looked back. There’s nothing like historical romance to help you forget about the pressures and problems in your life and experience life and love in a different time and place.

Harmony Williams (author of The Ladies of Passion series): I love lighthearted, funny books. I’m also a sucker for friends-to-lovers, enemies-to-lovers, and fake engagement/relationship plots! Especially if they involve a wallflower, spinster, or governess.

Robyn DeHart (Author of The Brotherhood of the Sword series): I love the atmosphere and the social rules and the clothes and British guys are hot!

What historical romance books or authors would you recommend to readers new to the genre?

Ally: Jane Austen (Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice), Julia Quinn (The Duke and I, Ten Things I Love About You), Amanda Quick (Mistress, Ravished, Scandal), Sherry Thomas (Private Arrangements, Not Quite a Husband), Lisa Kleypas (The Wallflowers series), Jude Deveraux (A Knight in Shining Armor), and many, many more!

Harmony: Captive Bride by Bonnie Dee, One Step Behind by Brianna Labuskes, anything by Julia Quinn, Sally Mackenzie, Julie Anne Long, or Tessa Dare (especially When a Scot Ties the Knot).

Robyn: Suzanne Enoch is my go-to girl for historicals.

What about you? What’s your go-to recommendation for historical romance? 


Start the How To series, by Ally Broadfield, with How to Beguile a Duke.

Start the Ladies of Passion series, by Harmony Williams, with How to Play the Game of Love. 

Start the Brotherhood of the Sword series by Robyn DeHart, with Undercover with the Earl.