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.

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It’s Monday – What are you reading?

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Happy Monday everyone. May your inbox be manageable and your coffee be strong. What book are you starting the week with?

I started reading An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole a month ago. Then I misplaced it and having been driving myself crazy trying to find it and finish it. Turns out I had put it into my literal to-be-read pile by my bed. Which is different than my currently-reading pile on my nightstand. Oops. Anyway, I’m finally back to that, which is very exciting because I have an ARC of the next Loyal League book, A Hope Divided, (won in that OSRBC prize!) waiting for me.

I’m also listening to Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics, narrated by Jorjeana Marie. With a Friday the 13th in October last week, I needed something a little spookier than my usual romance reads. This is definitely doing the trick.

Last week, I finished The Highwayman by Kerrigan Bryne (review), Twice as Wicked by Elizabeth Bright (no review yet, but SO GOOD. Loved it!), and 27 Hours by Tristina Wright, audiobook narrated by Michael Crouch (really enjoyable sci-fi YA with amazing narration).

Happy Book Birthday – Week of 10/9

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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!

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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