Review – Trusting Miss Trentham by Emily Larkin

trusting-miss-trenthamShe’s more than just an heiress…

Letitia Trentham is noteworthy for three reasons. One, she’s extremely wealthy. Two, she can distinguish truth from lies. Three, she’s refused every man who’s ever proposed to her.

Until Letty receives a proposal she can’t turn down.

Icarus Reid barely survived the Battle of Vimeiro. He lives for one thing—to find the man who betrayed him to the French. He doesn’t want to marry Miss Trentham; he wants to use her talent for uncovering lies.

Suddenly, Letty finds herself breaking the rules, pretending to be someone she’s not, and doing things a lady would never do. But her hunt for the truth may uncover more than one secret—including the secret that haunts Icarus day and night. The secret he intends to take to his grave…

Buy Amazon point right

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                         Trusting Miss Trentham (Baleful Godmother Historical Romance Series ~ Book 3)

Time for Review road sign illustration design over a white background

I received a complimentary copy of the book for my review.

MY REVIEW:

Wealthy heiress Letitia (Letty) Trentham has turned down countless proposals over the last six years.  It’s not that she doesn’t want to be married, it’s just that she wants to find a man who genuinely desires her, not her fortune.  Letty has a unique and magical gift, which she received on her twenty-first birthday – the ability to tell if words spoken are truth or lies.  Letty’s stepbrother investigates each suitor, usually finding that they are seriously in debt.  He tells Letty his findings, and she questions them when they propose.  All their declarations of love, affection, and fidelity ring false, leaving Letty feeling that she’ll never find love.

Major Icarus Reid, now retired from being a soldier, knows that he will not live to see another year.  All he wants before he dies is to find the traitor who betrayed him and his men to the French, causing their capture and torture.  Icarus was the only survivor, and suffers guilt and nightmares now, reliving his torture every night.  He even looks forward to welcoming death to end his pain once he sees justice done.  He has heard stories about Letty, and how she can discern whether a person is telling the truth, and he wants her to help him find the traitor.

Letty is taken aback when she’s approached by the gaunt, obviously ill man who requests her help.  At first, she thinks it’s just a ploy to get close to her, but his answers to her questions all have the ring of truth.  Letty agrees, and one by one, they confront each possible suspect, and she determines if they are honestly answering the questions Icarus poses.  Eventually, they have to travel further afield to reach the remaining potential betrayers, and Letty volunteers to go along, disguised, and posing as his wife.  There is no instantaneous flaring attraction between Letty and Icarus.  In fact, he finds her plain, while his own looks have suffered due to his illness.  As they become better acquainted, they find themselves respecting and liking each other.

Letty is a very sympathetic character.  She has no illusions about herself, and is strong enough to stick to her principles, even if that means she will never marry.  Yet, she’s very compassionate and generous and loving to her family.  Icarus is an honorable, but wounded and vulnerable man.  The anguish he suffers from his nightmares is truly heartbreaking.  Author Emily Larkin has written another amazing book which I read in one sitting.  There were so many facets to the story, and questions begging to be answered.  TRUSTING MISS TRENTHAM flowed along effortlessly, and this book had it all for me.  There was slow building romance, steamy passion, mystery, exceptional protagonists, and a bit of magic.  I love, love, love this book and the Baleful Godmother series, which I’m delighted to give my highest recommendation.

5-blue-roses

Reviewed by Rose 3

heat-level-hotblue-flame-heart

 

Posted in Emily Larkin, Historical Romance, Review | Leave a comment

Lord Sebastian’s Secret by Jane Ashford – Spotlight Tour, Excerpt, and Giveaway

cvr-lord-sebastians-secret_-jane-ashford

Title: Lord Sebastian’s Secret

Author: Jane Ashford

Series: The Duke’s Sons, #3

ISBN: 9781492621621

Pubdate: January 3, 2017

Genre: Historical Romance

 

He’s hidden this shameful secret all his life…

Lord Sebastian Gresham is a battle tested soldier and brilliant strategist.  Yet all his life he’s had to hide his complete failure to decipher letters. In his own mind, he’s just stupid. What a miracle it is that he’s found the perfect bride. Lady Georgina Stane is beautiful, witty, and brilliantly intelligent. Sebastian is head over heels in love, proud as a peacock, and terrified. But if she finds out his secret, he’ll lose her love forever.

Buy Links:                          Amazon: http://amzn.to/2hnjOyi                                              B&N: http://bit.ly/2gl0zpf   iBooks: http://apple.co/2hf595m

 JANE ASHFORD, a beloved author of historical romances, has been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, and Spain, as well as the United States. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews.

 Social Networking Links

 Website: www.janeashford.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JaneAshfordWriter

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/842700.Jane_Ashford

jane-ashford_-author-photo

A NOTE FROM JANE ASHFORD:

Dear readers of The Duke’s Sons series,

We’ve reached volume three, Lord Sebastian’s Secret, out on January 3. The military Gresham brother’s story turned out to be quite a romp. On a visit to his betrothed’s family, Cavalry major Sebastian faces a plethora of impertinent pugs, ubiquitous younger sisters, and a prospective father-in-law dedicated to ancient Saxons and arcane philosophy. Very much not Sebastian’s forte, for several reasons. Fortunately, there’s the lovely Georgina, who makes any amount of adaptation and effort worthwhile. Sebastian would do anything for her, and he very nearly does!

I really like the Gresham family. I’m feeling sad right now as I finish the fifth and final volume about them. I kind of hate to let them go. Should I consider revisiting the clan in future? Hmm. Is there anyone from the stories you’d really like to see again? Get in touch and let me know.

And thanks so much for reading!

Jane Ashford

READ AN EXCERPT:

Sebastian closed his eyes and gritted his teeth. He could all too easily picture the astonishing news that he had eloped running through his family—the letters flying back and forth, the disbelief and consternation. The surreptitious brotherly smirking. An image of his mother’s astonished face made him wince.

“Some people think I don’t care about convention,” muttered the marquess. “Not true. And this was too much. An elopement!”

“Except that it wasn’t, Papa,” Georgina pointed out. “It was an unfortunate accident. I think you might have had more faith in my character.”

Frowning at the floor, the older man said something too softly to be heard. Sebastian thought it might have been, “It wasn’t you I was worried about.”

“The duchess is sending your brother,” said Georgina’s mother. She tried to speak blandly, but Sebastian got a clear sense of a woman getting the better of an argument at last.

The marquess glared at the group with a mixture of defiance and contrition.

“Which brother?” Sebastian asked.

“Randolph,” supplied his hostess.

Sebastian groaned softly. If anything could have killed his appetite at this point, the news that a brother had been dispatched to sort him out would have done it. He supposed this was his mother’s idea of just retribution for what she probably characterized as “antics.” She would have known that he would never elope.

If she’d had to send a brother, she could’ve drafted Robert. He’d have made a joke of the whole matter and charmed everyone so thoroughly that they saw it the same way. Alan or James might have refused to be embroiled in such a tangle at all. Nathaniel was still on his honeymoon. Mama couldn’t order him and Violet about quite so easily, anyway.

Randolph, though. Sebastian nearly groaned again. Randolph was usually glad for an excuse to take a few days’ leave from his far-northern parish. And he positively delighted in helping. Sebastian supposed that was why he’d become a parson. Part of the reason. He’d also been asking “why” since he could speak. According to family legend, that had been the first word Randolph learned. Sebastian certainly remembered being followed about by a relentlessly inquisitive toddler.

Nathaniel, a responsible six-year-old, had become so tired of saying he didn’t know that he’d taken to making things up. Sebastian still sometimes had to remind himself that discarded snakeskins were products of reptilian growth rather than intense surprise. Sebastian smiled. Randolph had spent several months trying to startle snakes out of their skin after that tale.

Then Sebastian’s smile died, and he put down his last sandwich. Randolph would revel in Mr. Mitra and the marquess’s lectures on reincarnation. There would be no end to his questions, or to the incomprehensible discussions after the ladies had left the dinner table. Sebastian only just resisted putting his head in his hands.

Georgina was looking at him, though, her expression anxious. He tried a reassuring smile. From her response, he judged that it was only marginally effective. He bolstered it, vowing to deal with Randolph. He would face anything to save her distress.

Georgina stood, holding her still half-full plate to her chest. “I believe I’ll go to my room now,” she said. “I’m quite tired.”

Her father looked guilty, her mother approving. Sebastian wondered at the determination on her face. It seemed excessive for a walk up a few steps. Was her leg hurting? One look at her father told him he would not be allowed to assist her to a bed.

Night had deepened by the time Georgina managed to hunt down Hilda and corner her in a little-used reception room, where she’d apparently been holed up for a good while, judging from the cake crumbs. Georgina stationed herself between her youngest sister and the door and confronted her with hands on hips. “Have you lost your mind?” she demanded.

For a moment, it seemed that Hilda might deny everything, but then she slumped back on the sofa and let out a long sigh. “I only meant to leave you overnight, but everything went wrong from the very first. Whitefoot didn’t like being led. He jerked the rein right out of my hand and ran away. I had to take your Sylph to the Evans farm before I could chase after him. It took hours before I got him there as well.” She paused and looked indignant. “Emma abandoned me! She turned tail and rode home. And she’s been practically hiding in her bedchamber ever since.”

“Perhaps she feels a sense of remorse for having done something absolutely outrageous,” Georgina suggested.

Hilda wrinkled her nose. “Well, we came back first thing the next morning to get you.”

“That does not excuse…”

“And you were gone!” Hilda actually dared to look reproachful. “As if you’d vanished into thin air.”

“Thick mud, more like,” said Georgina.

“If you had just waited, or only walked a little way along the trail, we would have found you. And there wouldn’t have been such a very great fuss. Why didn’t you? How could you be so clumsy as to fall into a gully?” Hilda cocked her head. “I never even knew it was there.”

“Don’t even dream of blaming this on me!” Georgina gazed at her sister. They were alike in coloring and frame, but apparently their minds ran on entirely different paths.

separator

Time for Review road sign illustration design over a white background

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my review.

MY THOUGHTS:

Unlike a typical romance novel, LORD SEBASTIAN’S SECRET opens with Georgina Stanes and Sebastian Gresham happily engaged and eagerly awaiting their upcoming wedding.  Sebastian is traveling to Georgina’s home to meet the rest of her family and to wait for his own family to arrive for their marriage.  Sounds like a happily ever after, right at the beginning of the book.  What could possibly go wrong?

The Stanes family is very eccentric, to say the least.  Georgina’s father, the marquess believes he is a reincarnated king, her mother breeds pugs, dozens of them run free through the house, taking great joy in becoming very affectionate with guests’ legs, and her sister Hilda, is a scheming liar, determined to do whatever it takes to install herself in the newlyweds’ home.

As Sebastian walks into this chaos, he’s hiding a secret.  He has a condition that makes it impossible for him to distinguish letters and written words, therefore he’s never learned to read.  In school, he was thought of as stupid and lazy, and he allowed everyone to think that.  For years, his valet has covered for him, handling his correspondence, and he chose a career as a soldier, a vocation where reading was unnecessary.

Georgina and Sebastian are wonderful people – I like them both very much.  She is lovely, kind, and compassionate.  He is a gentleman, handsome, and honorable.  They are perfect for each other, and very much in love.  I hated to see the trials they had to go through, and I hated Sebastian’s anguish at the thought that Georgina would jilt him if she knew the truth about him.

As much as I like the protagonists, my enjoyment of this novel was greatly reduced by the intense dislike I felt for Georgina’s father, and in particular, her sister.  I realize that the author had to create conflict, or there wouldn’t be a story, but the selfishness of these two characters left a bad taste in my mouth.  When there is one final hurdle for Sebastian and Georgina to overcome before they wed, they find a solution together. This bodes well for their future, and indicates that theirs will be a successful and happy union.

single blue rose croppedsingle blue rose croppedsingle blue rose cropped                   Heat Level: Warm                        Reviewed by Rose 3

Rafflecopter Giveaway:

Enter to win one of ten copies of Heir to the Duke, the first in The Duke’s Sons series by Jane Ashford – CLICK ON DIRECT LINK BELOW:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/NTRjYTdhZjdlZjllOTI4OGFhZGI5NGU3ODI3MzgxOjQ0OA==/?

 

 

Posted in Historical Romance, Jane Ashford, Promotions, Review, Rose | Leave a comment

Review – Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan

miracle-on-5th-avenueIt will take a Christmas miracle for two very different souls to find each other in this perfectly festive fairy tale of New York!

Hopeless romantic Eva Jordan loves everything about Christmas. She might be spending the holidays alone this year, but when she’s given an opportunity to house-sit a spectacular penthouse on Fifth Avenue, she leaps at the chance. What better place to celebrate than in snow-kissed Manhattan? What she didn’t expect was to find the penthouse still occupied by its gorgeous—and mysterious—owner.

Bestselling crime writer Lucas Blade is having the nightmare before Christmas. With a deadline and the anniversary of his wife’s death looming, he’s isolated himself in his penthouse with only his grief for company. He wants no interruptions, no decorations and he certainly doesn’t appreciate being distracted by his beautiful, bubbly new housekeeper. But when the blizzard of the century leaves Eva snowbound in his apartment, Lucas starts to open up to the magic she brings…This Christmas, is Lucas finally ready to trust that happily-ever-afters do exist?

Buy Amazon point rightClick on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                                Miracle on 5th Avenue

MY REVIEW:

Time for Review road sign illustration design over a white background

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my review.

Eva Jordan has been extremely busy in recent months, working at Urban Genie, the new business she and her friends, Paige and Frankie, started.  While her friends have managed to find their happy-ever-afters, Eva is lonely.  Though she believes in love, maybe it’s just time to have a no-strings fling and some fun.  As soon as she completes her current project, she’ll work on that.  Currently, a friend and client has commissioned Eva to decorate her grandson’s home for Christmas while he is out of town.  Eva loves Christmas, and intends to throw herself into this project wholeheartedly.

Successful crime author, Lucas Blade, has encountered a problem he never had before – writer’s block.  His deadline is rapidly approaching, and his publisher is anxiously waiting, but there are no words.  None.  Lucas decides to return to his home without letting anyone know he’s there.  He doesn’t want his family to hound him with Christmas invitations.  Lucas hates Christmas – three years ago his wife died at Christmastime.  When Eva enters his home, intent on setting up Christmas cheer, Lucas tackles her, thinking she is an intruder.

Eva and Lucas get off to a rocky start, to say the least.  He wants no company, especially a happy, Christmas loving Pollyanna.  Eva is determined to complete the job she’s been paid for, whether Lucas wants it or not.  The choice is taken out of their hands, when a nasty snowstorm makes it impossible for Eva to leave.  Then the strangest thing happens – Lucas finds himself inspired by Eva, and begins to write furiously, using her as his character inspiration.

After their initial antagonism wears off, Eva and Lucas realize they have a sizzling chemistry.  Eva is ready to start that fling she has been thinking about, but Lucas is more reluctant.  He knows that Eva believes in love, and he wants no part in that kind of pain ever again.  Inevitably, passion wins out, and they begin a scorching affair.  Everything is wonderful, until Eva falls in love, and can’t stop herself from telling Lucas, who wants no part of it.  Facing Lucas’ rejection of her feelings, Eva decides to end the affair, leaving him desolate, and herself heartbroken.

I love Sarah Morgan’s writing.  Though I’m not a huge fan of contemporary romance, I’ll read her books, which always seem to flow along so effortlessly, that I’ve sat and read the whole book before I even realize it.  Her characters are real, and sometimes flawed, as Lucas is in this story.  He had a deep love for his first wife, but the marriage had serious problems, which left Lucas wary of an emotional entanglement.  He’s still appealing, vulnerable, and, oh, so sexy.  Eva is also a very likeable character.  I admired her strength in being able to walk away from a painful situation, yet I wished she had just been a little more patient.  Still, author Sarah Morgan penned a wonderfully romantic and satisfying conclusion to MIRACLE ON 5TH AVENUE, which I’m happy to highly recommend.  The whole FROM MANHATTAN WITH LOVE series makes for excellent, heartwarming reading.

Rating 4.5              heat-level-hotblue-flame-heart

Reviewed by Rose 3

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ready Set Rogue by Manda Collins – Blog Tour, Excerpt, Review and Giveaway

readysetrogue_blogtour

 READY SET ROGUE    by Manda Collins

From the bestselling author of The Lords of Anarchy series, comes the exciting first installment of Manda Collins’ new Studies in Scandal series: READY SET ROGUE (St. Martin’s Paperbacks; January 3, 2017; $7.99; 978-1-250-10986-6). Collins is back in the Regency era with a passionate, yet unexpected romance that comes in the wake of a thrilling murder mystery.

When scholarly Miss Ivy Wareham receives word that she’s one of four young ladies who have inherited Lady Celeste Beauchamp’s estate with a magnificent private library, she packs her trunks straightaway. Unfortunately, Lady Celeste’s nephew, the rakish Quill Beauchamp, Marquess of Kerr, is determined to interrupt her studies one way or another…

Bequeathing Beauchamp House to four bluestockings—no matter how lovely they are to look at—is a travesty, and Quill simply won’t have it. But Lady Celeste’s death is not quite as straightforward as it first seemed…and if Quill hopes to solve the mystery behind her demise, he’ll need Ivy’s help. Along the way, he is surprised to learn that bookish Ivy stirs a passion and longing that he has never known. This rogue believes he’s finally met his match—but can Quill convince clever, skeptical Ivy that his love is no fiction?

Don’t miss Ready Set Rogue, the first in Manda Collins’ new series set in Regency England!

 Buy Links: Amazon | BAM | iBooks | B & N | Indiebound | Kobo

AUTHOR BIO: Manda Collins is the author of The Lords of Anarchy series, which includes Good Earl Gone Bad and A Good Rake is Hard to Find, as well as several other Regency-set romances. She spent her teen years wishing she’d been born a couple of centuries earlier, preferably in the English countryside. Time travel being what it is, she resigned herself to life with electricity and indoor plumbing, and read lots of books. When she’s not writing, she’s helping other people use books, as an academic librarian.

MANDA COLLINS SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
Twitter: @MandaCollins
Facebook: @MandaCollinsAuthor
http://www.mandacollins.com/

SMP ROMANCE SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
Twitter: @SMPRomance
Facebook: @SMPRomance
http://smpromance.com/

READ AN EXCERPT:

Despite her discomfort and distress at being drenched, she was in possession of the sort of temperament that did not allow the petty annoyances of life to dampen her spirit. He could not think of a single other lady of his acquaintance who would meet such a situation with such equanimity.

“If you wish,” he said over his shoulder, “you may remove your gown and wrap up in one of the blankets . . .” He trailed off as he saw that she was already in the process of doing just that. He swallowed at the sight of her breasts outlined by the wet fabric as she tried to reach behind to unbutton her gown.

“I am trying to do just that, but I’m afraid this gown requires the assistance of another pair of hands.” In another woman he might have suspected her of flirtation, but there was a sort of shy diffidence in the way she spoke that told him she was not trying to be coy. It was a refreshing change from the cynical seductions he was used to in London.

But when he looked up, their eyes caught, and he muttered a curse. She might be an innocent, but she had a wellspring of natural sensuality that just might do him in.

Completely unaware of the direction of his thoughts, she asked, “Would you mind helping me?”

He was crossing toward her before she even finished speaking, and when he moved to stand behind her, he was almost jealous of the wisps of damp hair that kissed the nape of her neck. “Move your hands,” he said thickly, un- able to say more in case he’d tell her what he was truly thinking.

As he bent his head a little to see the buttons, Quill was assailed by the scent of woman mixed with rosewater ris- ing from her warm skin. He fumbled a little as he set his fingers working against the fastenings, unable to resist dragging a little against the smooth skin of her back as one by one he pulled the bindings free. It was near impossible for him to breathe as he watched inch after inch of her gown part to reveal first the almost transparent fabric of her chemise, then neatly threaded laces of corset below.

As if she sensed his hesitation, she said quietly, “That’s good enough. I think my gown bore the brunt of it.”

The danger of the temptation she posed suddenly making its way into his brain, Quill pulled his hands back as if they’d been licked by flames. “I’ll go have a look at the fire,” he said pointedly as he turned his back to her and placed one hand against the wall beside the stone fireplace and gazed down into the actual flames below.

Perhaps it would have been safer for them both if they’d pressed on to Beauchamp House, he reflected as he tried not to listen to the rustling of her clothes as she slipped out of them. It had been years since he’d felt the sort of uncontrolled desire that held him in its grip now. It was impossible to forget every luscious detail of her. From the smooth skin of her bare back to the flush in her cheeks.

He’d also been cursed with a healthy imagination when it came to his carnal desires, which now unhelpfully flooded his mind with all the delicious ways in which two adults could put a rainy afternoon in close quarters to good use.

“You may turn around now,” Ivy said finally, after several fraught minutes of him trying to think of everything but the woman undressing just feet away from him, and failing miserably.

When he turned, he saw that the thick wool blanket that covered her was about as unflattering a garment as it could be. But even that did nothing to quell the effect of her loveliness on him.

“You may sit beside me if you like,” she said tentatively, her green eyes perhaps seeing more of his discomfort than he was comfortable with. “There’s no other chair here, and it would be ridiculous for you to sit on the floor when there is a perfectly good seat here.”

His expression must have shown his skepticism as he looked pointedly at the empty place beside her on the small bed.

“Do not be missish, my lord,” she said, echoing his own words to her as they huddled beneath his greatcoat. “We are both sensible creatures. I can sit beside you without unleashing my base passions on you and offending your delicate sensibilities.”

Despite his misgivings, Quill bit back a laugh. “I believe that is supposed to be my line,” he said with a grin. “You must think me a poor figure of a man if you think I will collapse in a fit of the vapors.” As he spoke, he walked the few steps to the other side of the cottage and lowered himself gingerly to the cot beside her.

“Hardly that,” she said holding her blanket at the neck while extending her other hand toward the heat of the fire. “You looked so serious, I thought to relieve the tension a bit, that’s all.”

“You use humor like that frequently, don’t you?” he asked, unfastening the diamond stick pin from where it nestled in the now-crumpled folds of his cravat.

Before she could respond, he said, “Let’s use this to hold that,” holding up the pin.

Nodding, she shifted a little to face him, lifting her chin so that he could duck his head and see what he was doing as he stabbed the pin through the thick blanket. Pulling back a little, he looked up to find her green gaze lingering on his mouth. And unable to stop himself, he gave in to the temptation that had dogged him ever since they set out together that morning.

Pulling her against him, he covered Ivy’s mouth with his own, and kissed her.

Copyright © 2017 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press.

separator

Time for Review road sign illustration design over a white background

I received a complimentary copy of this novel for my honest review.

My Review:

Aphrodite Wareham (Ivy) has unexpectedly received a bequest from a woman she’s never met.  Along with three other female scholars, or bluestockings, she has been invited to spend a year at Beauchamp House, the estate of the late Lady Celeste.  After that year, it will be determined which of the four ladies will actually come to own the home.  Anxious to view Lady Celeste’s library, Ivy sets off to travel to Beauchamp House by mail coach.  While at a stop, she is accosted by a bully, and then rescued by an aristocratic gentleman.

Torquil (Quill) Beauchamp, Marquess of Kerr, has no intention of letting his aunt’s estate leave the family and into the possession of four scheming females.  Or, so he thinks.  He feels his beloved aunt was taken advantage of, and plans to evict the ladies from Beauchamp House immediately.  While taking a break from his travels, he encounters a lovely lady being manhandled by a rough character, and steps in to help.  He’s angry to learn that this lady is one of the scheming females on her way to his aunt’s home.  He offers her a ride there, solely so he can keep his eyes on her.

They arrive to find the other ladies already in residence, along with Quill’s cousin, Serena, who is acting as chaperone.  It’s soon apparent that all of the ladies were taken by surprise by the bequest, as none of them had even met Lady Celeste.  It seems that she carefully researched and selected the ladies, each with a different academic  talent.  Being a bluestocking and unmarried herself, Lady Celeste realized how difficult scholarly pursuits are for women, and wanted these ladies to have the benefit of her home and her various collections.  Soon, Quill realizes that he was wrong in his judgment, and understands his aunt’s actions.

However, it’s also very apparent that Lady Celeste did not die a natural death, but was, in fact, murdered.  Ivy takes a letter that Lady Celeste wrote before her death to Quill, and they decide that together they will solve the crime.  Once Quill accepted that the ladies weren’t common thieves, the more charming aspects of his personality came through.  Initially, when he felt threatened, he was rude and abrasive, but now he shows graciousness and flirtatiousness.  His physical attraction of Ivy was there from the start, and now with his guard down somewhat, she begins to find him attractive as well.

As they investigate, Quill and Ivy find themselves alone, and their physical attraction takes off like a rocket.  I found this part a little hard to accept, as their affair seemed to me to happen far, far too quickly.  Also, it seemed out of character for both of them to act so recklessly.  Quill’s strict code of honor dictates that he propose, but Ivy is not so sure this is what she wants.  While they are fumbling their way through their fledgling romance, accidents start happening, and it looks like Ivy is now the target.

READY SET ROGUE is very fast paced and flows along well.  Quill and Ivy are both likeable characters – she’s brave and determined, and he definitely has some heroic tendencies.  I could not figure out who the mysterious attacker was, and I always enjoy when that happens.  I like to be surprised, and have the resolution not be so obvious.  The passion and love did happen very quickly, but by the resolution, I was convinced of their genuine feelings for each other.  I look forward to the upcoming bluestocking’s stories and recommend this book which I very much enjoyed.

Rating 4Reviewed by Rose 3

LEAVE A COMMENT TO BE ENTERED TO RECEIVE A COPY OF THIS BOOK.

 

Posted in Historical Romance, Manda Collins, Promotions, Review, Rose | 2 Comments

My Favorite Historical Romances of 2016

best-of-2016

A baker’s dozen of my favorite romance reads for 2016:

best-of-2016-book-covers

Mary BaloghOnly Beloved – A stellar finale to the Survivors’ Club series. The Duke of Stanbrook, who has provided shelter and refuge for his wounded friends finally gets his own happily-ever-after.                                                                                                                            My review here: http://wp.me/p3QRh4-oQ                                                                                Buy Amazon point right    Amazon Buy Link here:  Only Beloved (A Survivors’ Club Novel)  separatorMary Balogh & Grace BurrowesOnce Upon a Dream – Two of my favorite authors teamed up to write related stories of widowed noble gentlemen heading for a houseparty.  They have children who only add to the charm and warmth of these very engaging stories.                                                                                                                                  My review here: http://wp.me/p3QRh4-nP                                                                                 Buy Amazon point right Amazon Buy Link here:  Once Upon A DreamseparatorKelly BowenA Duke to Remember – An agent for a discreet troubleshooting agency searches for a lost duke and finds a breathtaking romance.  Kelly Bowen writes fantastic protagonists and this story is everything you want in a romance novel.                                 My review here:https://rosesareblue.net/2016/07/26/a-duke-to-remember-by-kelly-bowen-release-day-blitz-excerpt-review-giveaway/                                                                           Buy Amazon point right  Amazon Buy Link here: A Duke to Remember (A Season for Scandal)separator

Kerrigan ByrneThe Hunter – This amazing and steamy book details how an emotionless killer-for-hire falls in love with his intended victim, and how he’s restored.  My review here: http://wp.me/p3QRh4-kE                                                                                  Buy Amazon point right  Amazon Buy Link here:The Hunter (Victorian Rebels)  separator

Megan FramptonWhy Do Dukes Fall in Love – A self-contained and emotionless duke flaunts convention and hires a female secretary, who soon works her way under his guard.  Megan Frampton just keeps getting better, and this book is brilliant and entertaining.                                                                                                                                         My review here: http://wp.me/p3QRh4-q3                                                                                      Buy Amazon point right  Amazon Buy Link here: Why Do Dukes Fall in Love?: A Dukes Behaving Badly Novel  separator

Elizabeth HoytDuke of Pleasure – A heroic duke defies established rules and falls in love with the brave, unrefined woman of the slums who saved his life.  The Maiden Lane series just keeps getting better.  Review forthcoming.                                                                Buy Amazon point right  Amazon Buy Link here:  Duke of Pleasure (Maiden Lane)  separator

Eloisa JamesMy American Duchess – I fell in love with this duke, who falls for an American heiress with two broken engagements behind her, and who is now engaged to his own brother.                                                                                                                                   My review here: http://freshfiction.com/review.php?id=58635                                                Buy Amazon point right Amazon Buy Link here:My American Duchess  separator

Sabrina JeffriesThe Danger of Desire – A rake with secret demons is determined to protect a young lady who will go to any lengths to find out who caused her brother’s ruin.  Great story of romance that neither expected or wanted.  Review forthcoming.                Buy Amazon point right Amazon Buy Link here:The Danger of Desire (The Sinful Suitors)                               separator

Lisa KleypasMarrying Winterborne – A rough-around-the-edges business tycoon and a delicate aristocratic lady cannot possibly make a successful match.  Or can they?  Review forthcoming.                                                                                                                         Buy Amazon point right Amazon Buy Link here: Marrying Winterborne                                                                separator

Emily LarkinUnmasking Miss Appleby – A deliciously unique and compelling romance with a touch of magic.  This one captivated me completely.                                     My review here: http://wp.me/p3QRh4-rS                                                                                     Buy Amazon point rightAmazon BuyLink here:Unmasking Miss Appleby (Baleful Godmother Series) (Volume 1)separator

Caroline LindenSix Degrees of Scandal – Childhood friends, then sweethearts, they were destined for each other.  They were tragically parted, and now, years later, have a second chance in this passionate and emotional story.                                                           My review here: http://wp.me/p3QRh4-me                                                                                 Buy Amazon point right Amazon Buy Link here:  Six Degrees of Scandal                                                                    separator

Kate Noble The Dare and the Doctor – A friends-to-lovers story with a hero so honorable, he almost gives up his chance at love.  A wonderful, emotional read.                My review here: http://smittenbybooks.com/2016/historical/nov-the-dare-and-the-doctor-kate-noble.php                                                                                                                         Buy Amazon point right Amazon Buy Link here:  The Dare and the Doctor (Winner Takes All)                         separator

Karen RanneyAn American in Scotland – An emotional and engrossing love story along with a dark dose of American history.  Very well written.                                               My review here: http://wp.me/p3QRh4-l9                                                                                    Buy Amazon point right Amazon Buy Link here:American in Scotland, An (Maciains)

Posted in Caroline Linden, Elizabeth Hoyt, Eloisa James, Emily Larkin, Grace Burrowes, Karen Ranney, Kate Noble, Kelly Bowen, Kerrigan Byrne, Lisa Kleypas, Mary Balogh, Megan Frompton, Sabrina Jeffries, Special Posts | 1 Comment

Review – A Match Made in Mistletoe by Anna Campbell

a-match-made-in-mistletoeA mistletoe wish …
All her life, Serena Talbot has been in love with the handsome boy next door, Sir Paul Garside. She always eagerly looks forward to Paul’s visit to her family over the Festive Season, even if he usually brings along his dark, sardonic friend Lord Hallam. This year, Serena is determined that Paul’s kiss under the mistletoe will lead to a proposal. Even if she has to enlist every ounce of Christmas magic she can get her hands on to make that happen.

But the mistletoe gets it wrong!
When Serena slips a sprig of mistletoe from the village kissing bough under her pillow, it’s not Paul who turns up in her dreams as the man she’s going to marry, but brooding, intense, annoying Giles Farraday, Marquess of Hallam. Still more annoying, once everyone arrives for the annual Christmas house party, she can’t stop watching Giles, and thinking about Giles. And kissing Giles, whether there’s mistletoe about or not. Now Paul wants to marry her, and Giles wants to seduce her–and Serena has a bone to pick with the old wives who came up with all this superstitious nonsense in the first place.

A Christmas of confusion lies ahead! Will mistletoe magic lead the way to a happy ending?

Buy Amazon point rightClick on title below for Amazon buy link:
A Match Made in Mistletoe: A Regency Novella

separator

Time for Review road sign illustration design over a white background

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

For years, Serena Talbot has been in love with her neighbor, Paul, and has been patiently waiting for him to notice that she’s all grown up.  Serena has a feeling that at this year’s Christmas houseparty, Paul will finally really see her and ask her to spend her future with him.  While anticipating Paul’s arrival, Serena decides to indulge in an old superstition.  She slips a bit of mistletoe under her pillow, and goes to bed, expecting to dream of her future spouse.  The only problem is – it’s not Paul she dreams about.  Instead, Giles Farraday, her brother’s friend and frequent visitor shows up as her love.  Giles was orphaned as a child, and has been spending holidays with Serena’s family since he was only eight years old.  Over the years, Serena mostly ignored him because she only had eyes for Paul.

Now, as the guests begin to arrive, Serena is feeling unsettled by her dream, and is now aware of Giles in a way she never has been before.  Unknown to anyone else, Giles has loved Serena for years, and was fully aware that she only wanted Paul.  He and Paul are best friends, and he made no attempt to win Serena’s affection, feeling it would be hopeless anyway.  Yet, now Serena’s eyes follow him, and he sees sensual curiosity there.  Serena convinces herself that she only wants Giles to teach her how to kiss, so that when Paul finally kisses her, she will know what she is doing.  Giles’ kisses have a strong effect on Serena, and she can’t stay away from him.  But, it’s Paul she wants, isn’t it?

What a tangle this turns into!  Paul decides he’s ready to settle down with Serena, yet she’s strangely elusive these days.  Giles knows he’s only being used, but he can’t stay away from Serena either.  As for Serena, she’s not sure which way is up.  While Paul was not really a villain at all, he was actually quite likable, I still was rooting for Giles.  The dark, brooding, sexy, sad man stole my heart.  I’m a sucker for a character with a sad childhood, and when he suffers from unrequited love, too, I am lost.  I love how Anna Campbell painted the two men so differently – Paul was golden in looks, and had a sunny personality, while Giles was dark and had a bleak past and hidden depths.  Can a new attraction overrule a lifetime of dreams?  Serena has to sort out her true feelings and bring an end to this love triangle.

A MATCH MADE IN MISTLETOE is a short but compelling read.  I couldn’t put the book down without knowing that Serena was going to make the right choice.  The author skillfully  showed Serena’s youth in some of her actions, and caused me to wonder if this story would end the way I wanted it to.  I’m a huge fan of epilogues, and there is a lovely one here.  I’m happy to recommend this well written and engaging book which contains much more depth than a typical novella.  The backdrop of the Christmas holiday just adds to the pleasure of the reading experience.

Rating 4Reviewed by Rose 3

Posted in Anna Campbell, Christmas, Historical Romance, Review, Rose | 2 Comments

The Trouble With Dukes – Release Blitz, Q&A with Grace Burrowes, Review, Excerpt, and a Giveaway too!

the-trouble-with-dukes-banner

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: THE TROUBLE WITH DUKES     Author: Grace Burrowes

Series: Windham Brides, #1     On Sale: December 20, 2016

Publisher: Forever     Mass Market: $7.99 USD

eBook: $6.99 USD     Add to Goodreads

This first novel in a new Regency series from USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes is a spinoff of her highly popular Windham series.

THEY CALL HIM THE DUKE OF MURDER…

The gossips whisper that the new Duke of Murdoch is a brute, a murderer, and even worse—a Scot. They say he should never be trusted alone with a woman. But Megan Windham sees in Hamish something different, someone different.

No one was fiercer at war than Hamish MacHugh, though now the soldier faces a whole new battlefield: a London Season. To make his sisters happy, he’ll take on any challenge—even letting their friend Miss Windham teach him to waltz. Megan isn’t the least bit intimidated by his dark reputation, but Hamish senses that she’s fighting battles of her own. For her, he’ll become the warrior once more, and for her, he might just lose his heart.

Listen to Chapter 1 of the audiobook!

AUTHORS LOVE THE TROUBLE WITH DUKES!

 “The hero of THE TROUBLE WITH DUKES reminds me of Mary Balogh’s charming men, and the heroine brings to mind Sarah MacLean’s intelligent, fiery women… This is a wonderfully funny, moving romance, not to be missed!” —Eloisa James, New York Times bestselling author of My American Duchess

 “Grace Burrowes writes from the heart–with warmth, humor, and a generous dash of sensuality, her stories are unputdownable! If you’re not reading Grace Burrowes you’re missing the very best in today’s Regency Romance!” —Elizabeth Hoyt, New York Times bestselling author

 “Sexy heroes, strong heroines, intelligent plots, enchanting love stories…Grace Burrowes’s romances have them all.” —Mary Balogh, New York Times bestselling author

“THE TROUBLE WITH DUKES has everything Grace Burrowes’s many fans have come to adore: a swoonworthy hero, a strong heroine, humor, and passion. Her characters not only know their own hearts, but share them with fearless joy. Grace Burrowes is a romance treasure.” —Tessa Dare, New York Times bestselling author

“THE TROUBLE WITH DUKES is captivating! It has everything I love in a book–a sexy Scotsman, a charming heroine, witty banter, plenty of humor, and lots of heart.” —Jennifer Ashley, New York Times bestselling author of The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie

trouble-with-dukes BUY THE BOOK HERE:

 Amazon    Audible    Barnes & Noble    Books-A-Million

Google Play    iBooks    Indiebound    Kobo

THE SERIES: 

The Trouble With Dukes, #1

Too Scot To Handle, #2

Series Page on Goodreads

grace-burrowes-credit-wax-creative-inc

5 Questions for Grace Burrowes

I’m honored to welcome Grace Burrowes to Roses Are Blue today to answer five burning questions:

  1. Which of your characters was the most difficult to write or gave you the most problems?

I suspect you have heard me bellyaching lately about a certain Welsh duke. Julian, Duke of Haverford, is the hero for my third Windham Bride, and this guy… I finally figured out that the way he was treating me—he was always too busy tending to some duke-ly duty to give me any scenes—was how he went through life. His Grace and I wrestled for the duration of an entire book, but we’re friends now… until revisions hit.

  1. Which of your own characters would you like to meet?

Hamish, Duke of Murdoch. If I can’t meet him, then can I please, please, please just hear his lovely Scottish voice? (And actually, I can, because there is a positively scrumptious audiobook version of The Trouble with Dukes coming out the same day as the print and ebook.)

  1. Did one of your own books ever make you cry?

A lot of them do, and it’s often not the big black moment that sends me pelting for the tissues. The scenes that get to me are usually scenes between estranged siblings, or other family members that have been at the outs. Often, part of stepping up to the plate for an HEA is getting things right with your family and friends. When I see a character do that, or try to do that, I know he or she will find the courage to reach for the brass ring of a lasting intimate attachment. And then there are the scenes where hero and heroine come through for each other. I love those, but they can make my very teary.

  1. Do you prefer to write about ordinary people, or nobility (titled gents)?

Honestly, there ought not to be a whole lot of difference. We have the same needs and hearts, regardless of station. I am drawn to more aristocratic historical characters because they in many ways had less freedom than people in other walks of life, and because I know them better as a function of where historical romance has been as I’ve read it for the past forty years. I tend to write large casts—I’m from a big family—and thus all kinds of people show up on the page (also horses, dogs, cats…).

  1. What’s your favorite period in history to write and to read?

I don’t have one. When I go to the UK, I’m as fascinated by Scara Brae, the Neolithic village on Orkney, as I am by the Duke of Wellington’s town house. I do think the Regency period resonates strongly with the present day, particularly for women. After a long period of expanding freedoms and rising influence, the end of the Napoleonic wars saw a retrenching of women’s roles, until the heavily corseted, entirely a-sexual, “angel of the hearth,” became the ideal role for women in the eyes of many Victorians. The Regency woman could look back to her grandmother’s day, when evening attire might expose a woman’s breasts with no breach of propriety, and also peer forward to what her daughter faced, a world where midwives were pushed out of birthing rooms in favor of disease-spreading male physicians. Interesting times!

Thank you, Grace, for taking the time for this mini interview!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Grace Burrowes grew up in central Pennsylvania and is the sixth out of seven children. She discovered romance novels when in junior high (back when there was such a thing), and has been reading them voraciously ever since. Grace has a bachelor’s degree in political science, a bachelor of music in music history, (both from Pennsylvania State University); a master’s degree in conflict transformation from Eastern Mennonite University; and a juris doctor from the National Law Center at the George Washington University.

Grace writes Georgian, Regency, Scottish Victorian, and contemporary romances in both novella and novel lengths. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America, and enjoys giving workshops and speaking at writers’ conferences. She also loves to hear from her readers, and can be reached through her website or her social channels.

Website    Facebook    Twitter    Goodreads

FOLLOW FOREVER ONLINE:

Website    Facebook    Twitter    Instagram    Pinterest

 READ AN EXCERPT:the-trouble-with-dukes-quote-graphic-2

“I don’t want any damned dukedom, Mr. Anderson,” Hamish MacHugh said softly.

Colin MacHugh took to studying the door to Neville Anderson’s office, for when Hamish spoke that quietly, his siblings knew to locate the exits.

The solicitor’s establishment boasted deep Turkey carpets, oak furniture, and red velvet curtains. The standish and ink bottles on Anderson’s desk were silver, the blotter a thick morocco leather. Portraits of well-fed, well-powdered Englishmen adorned the walls.

Hamish felt as if he’d walked into an ambush, as if these old lords and knights were smirking down at the fool who’d blundered into their midst. Beyond the office walls, harnesses jingled to the tune of London happily about its business, while Hamish’s heart beat with a silent tattoo of dread.

“I am at your grace’s service,” Anderson murmured, from his side of the massive desk, “and eager to hear any explanations your grace cares to bestow.”

The solicitor, who’d been retained by Hamish’s late grandfather decades before Hamish’s birth, was like a midge. Swat at Anderson, curse him, wave him off, threaten flame and riot, and he still hovered nearby, relentlessly annoying.

The French infantry had had the same qualities.

“I am not a bloody your grace,” Hamish said. Thanks be to the clemency of the Almighty.

“I do beg your grace’s—your pardon,” Anderson replied, soft white hands folded on his blotter. “Your great-great aunt Minerva married the third son of the fifth Duke of Murdoch and Tingley, and while the English dukedom must, regrettably fall prey to escheat, the Scottish portion of the title, due to the more, er, liberal patents common to Scottish nobility, devolves to yourself.”

Devolving was one of those English undertakings that prettied up a load of shite.

Hamish rose, and for reasons known only to the English, Anderson popped to his feet as well.

“Devolve the peregrinating title to some other poor sod,” Hamish said.

Colin’s staring match with the lintel of Anderson’s door had acquired the quality of man trying to hold in a fart—or laughter.

“I am sorry, your—sir,” Anderson said, looking about as sorry as Hamish’s sisters on the way to the milliner’s, “but titles land where they please, and there they stay. The only way out from under a title is death, and then your brother here would become duke in your place.”

Colin’s smirk winked out like a candle in a gale. “What if I die?”

“I believe there are several younger siblings,” Anderson said, “should death befall you both.”

“But this title is Hamish’s as long as he’s alive, right?” Colin was not quite as large as Hamish. What little Colin lacked in height, he made up for in brawn and speed.

“That is correct,” Anderson said, beaming like headmaster when a dull scholar had finally grasped his first Latin conjugation. “In the normal course, a celebratory tot would be in order, gentlemen. The title does bring responsibilities, but your great-great aunt and her late daughter were excellent businesswomen. I’m delighted to tell you that the Murdoch holdings prosper.”

Worse and worse. The gleeful wiggle of Anderson’s eyebrows meant prosper translated into “made a stinking lot of money, much of which would find its way into a solicitor’s greedy English paws.”

“If my damned lands prosper, my bachelorhood is doomed,” Hamish muttered. Directly behind Anderson’s desk hung a picture of some duke, and the old fellow’s sour expression spoke eloquently to the disposition a title bestowed on its victim. “I’d sooner face old Boney’s guns again than be landed, titled, wealthy, and unwed at the beginning of London season. Colin, we’re for home by week’s end.”

“Fine notion,” Colin said. “Except Edana will kill you and Rhona will bury what’s left of you. Then the title will hang about my neck, and I’ll have to dig you up and kill you all over again.”

Siblings were God’s joke on a peace-loving man. Anderson had retreated behind his desk, as if a mere half ton of oak could protect a puny English solicitor from a pair of brawling MacHughs.

Clever solicitors might be, canny they were not.

“Then we simply tell no one about this title,” Hamish said. “We tend to Eddie and Ronnie’s dress shopping, and then we’re away home, nobody the wiser.”

Dress shopping, Edana had said, as if the only place in the world to procure fashionable clothing was London. She’d cried, she’d raged, she’d threatened to run off—until Colin had saddled her horse and stuffed the saddle bags with provisions.

Then she’d threatened to become an old maid, haunting her brothers’ households in turn, and Hamish, on pain of death from his younger brothers, had ordered the traveling coach into service.

“Eddie hasn’t found a man yet, and neither has Ronnie,” Colin observed. “They’ve been here less than two weeks. We can’t go home.”

“You can’t,” Hamish countered. “I’m the duke. I must see to my properties. I’ll be halfway to Yorkshire by tomorrow. I doubt Eddie and Ronnie will content themselves with Englishmen, but they’re welcome to torment a few in my absence. A bored woman is a dangerous creature.”

“You’d leave tomorrow?” Colin slugged Hamish on the arm, hard. Anderson flinched, while Hamish picked up his walking stick and headed for the door.

“Your pugilism needs work, little brother. I’ve neglected your education.”

“You can’t leave me alone here with Eddie and Ronnie.” Colin had switched to the Gaelic, a fine language for keeping family business from nosy solicitors. “I’m only one man, and there’s two of them. They’ll be making ropes of the bedsheets, selling your good cigars to other young ladies again, and investigating the charms of the damned Englishmen mincing about in the park. Who knows what other titles their indiscriminate choice of husband might inflict on your grandchildren.”

Hamish had not objected to the cigar selling scheme. He’d objected to his sisters stealing from him rather than sharing the proceeds with their own dear brother. He also objected to the notion of grandchildren when he’d yet to take a wife.

“I’ll blame you if we end up with English brothers-in-law, wee Colin.” Hamish smiled evilly, though he counted a particular few Englishmen among his friends.

A staring match ensued, with Colin trying to look fierce—he had the family red hair and blue eyes, after all—and mostly looking worried. Colin was soft-hearted where the ladies were concerned, and that fact was all that cheered Hamish on an otherwise daunting morning.

Hope rose, like the clarion call of the pipes through the smoke and noise the battlefield: While Eddie and Ronnie inspected the English peacocks strutting about Mayfair, Hamish might find a peahen willing to take advantage of Colin’s affectionate nature.

Given Colin’s lusty inclinations, the union would be productive inside a year, and the whole sorry business of a ducal succession would be taken care of.

Hamish’s fist connected with his brother’s shoulder, sending Colin staggering back a few steps, muttering in Gaelic about goats and testicles.

“I’ll bide here in the muck pit of civilization,” Hamish said, in English, “until Eddie and Ronnie have their fripperies, but Anderson, I’m warning you. Nobody is to learn of this dukedom business. Not a soul, or I’ll know which English solicitor needs to make St. Peter’s acquaintance posthaste. Ye ken?”

Anderson nodded, his gaze fixed on Hamish’s right hand. “You will receive correspondence, sir.”

Hamish’s hand hurt and his head was starting to throb. “Try being honest, man. I was in the army. I know all about correspondence. By correspondence, you mean a bloody snowstorm of paper, official documents, and sealed instruments.”

Hamish knew about death too, and about sorrow. The part of him hoping to marry Colin off in the next month—and Eddie and Ronnie too—grappled with the vast sorrow of homesickness, and the unease of remaining for even another day among the scented dandies and false smiles of polite society.

“Very good, your grace. Of course you’re right. A snowstorm, some of which will be from the College of Arms, some from your peers, some of condolence, all of which my office would be happy—”

Hamish waved Anderson to silence, and as if Hamish were one of those Hindoo snake pipers, the solicitor’s gaze followed the motion of his hand.

“The official documents can’t be helped,” Hamish said, “but letters of condolence needn’t concern anybody. You’re not to say a word,” he reminded Anderson. “Not a peep, not a yes-your-grace, not a hint of an insinuation is to pass your lips.”

Anderson was still nodding vigorously when Hamish shoved Colin through the door.

Though, of course, the news was all over Town by morning.

 

Time for Review road sign illustration design over a white background

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

 MY REVIEW:

Megan Windham is in a sorry situation indeed.  It’s bad enough that her first romance was with a cad who only used and then rejected her, but now she is being blackmailed.  If she doesn’t consent to marry Sir Fletcher Pilkington, he will expose her indiscretion, thus ruining her and bringing shame to her family.  While Pilkington has no feelings for Megan, the cruel man desperately wants her dowry.  He is getting impatient with Megan’s excuses and delays, and decides to put the pressure on.  As he begins to bully Megan in a public place, Hamish MacHugh steps in to intervene.

Hamish has just inherited a dukedom.  After years of fighting, the last thing he wants is the responsibility of being the Duke of Murdoch.  He longs to be home in Scotland, but he’s here in London, escorting his sisters as they enjoy the social whirl.  Hamish is familiar with Pilkington, and some of his actions during the war, so he’s quick to come to Megan’s aid.  During his stint at being a soldier, Hamish fought fiercely and gained a reputation for brutality.  There are even some who call him the Duke of Murder.

Megan doesn’t see very well, at all, but she can see that Hamish is not the brutal man some are calling him.  She treats him with respect and courtesy, and shows him kindness that few others in town have.  Despite his reluctance, Hamish soon finds himself taking dancing lessons from Megan.  The big, rough-around-the-edges duke and the gentle aristocratic lady seem to have found a mutual liking for each other and become friends.  Soon, Megan confides her problem with Pilkington.  Hamish truly knows the kind of person he is, and is adamant that Megan can’t possibly be forced into marriage with him.  As Hamish works at being Megan’s hero, a romance develops between the seemingly unlikely couple.

I love Hamish and Megan individually, and as a couple.  Megan did not pre-judge him, based on rumors.  She saw beneath his rough exterior to the heart of gold underneath.  Hamish endured a lot while he was a soldier, and most of what is said of him is greatly exaggerated and based on false assumptions.  He shows himself to be Megan’s hero, and she, his heroine.  Their love was sweet, warm, and passionate.  Author Grace Burrowes skillfully added many beloved characters from the original Windham books, as Megan is cousin to Gayle, Devlin, and Val.  The family interaction is one of Grace Burrowes’ strength, and that only ramped up my enjoyment of this book even more.  THE TROUBLE WITH DUKES has everything I enjoy in a story – emotion, warmth, passion, subtle humor, and strong characters.  I sat down with this one and didn’t put it down until several hours later when I had finished it.  Highly recommended.

Rating 4.5Reviewed by Rose 3

RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY – Click on the link below to enter to win a copy of The Trouble With Dukes:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/26635ce2402/?

Posted in Grace Burrowes, Historical Romance, Promotions, Review, Rose | Leave a comment

Review – When All the Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz

when-all-the-girls-have-goneJayne Ann Krentz, the New York Times bestselling author of Secret Sisters, delivers a thrilling novel of the deceptions we hide behind, the passions we surrender to, and the lengths we’ll go to for the truth…

When Charlotte Sawyer is unable to contact her step-sister, Jocelyn, to tell her that one her closest friends was found dead, she discovers that Jocelyn has vanished.

Beautiful, brilliant—and reckless—Jocelyn has gone off the grid before, but never like this. In a desperate effort to find her, Charlotte joins forces with Max Cutler, a struggling PI who recently moved to Seattle after his previous career as a criminal profiler went down in flames—literally. Burned out, divorced and almost broke, Max needs the job.

After surviving a near-fatal attack, Charlotte and Max turn to Jocelyn’s closest friends, women in a Seattle-based online investment club, for answers. But what they find is chilling…

When her uneasy alliance with Max turns into a full-blown affair, Charlotte has no choice but to trust him with her life. For the shadows of Jocelyn’s past are threatening to consume her—and anyone else who gets in their way…

Buy Amazon point rightClick on title below for Amazon buy link:
When All The Girls Have Gone

 

separator

Time for Review road sign illustration design over a white background

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

As Charlotte Sawyer is caring for her step-sister’s plants and mail while Jocelyn is taking an “off the grid” break, a small package from Jocelyn’s best friend, Louise, causes some concern.   It contains keys to Louise’s storage locker and a cryptic note about being paranoid and keeping a copy of the file in the locker.  Puzzled and concerned, Charlotte tries to contact Louise, only to find out that she has died, and a private investigator is now answering her phone.  Since Charlotte can’t contact Jocelyn, she agrees to work with the investigator, Max Cutler, to determine if foul play was involved in Louise’s death.

Charlotte is currently the activities director at a retirement village, and is recovering from being jilted five days before her wedding several months ago.  While she accepts part of the blame for her failed almost-marriage, she’s understandably somewhat wary of men and relationships.  Her self confidence also took a hit, and she considers herself boring, unlike her exciting step-sister.  Max is not at a good place in life either.  He’s coming off a failed career as a profiler, which directly led to a failed marriage.  There’s a traumatic incident from Max’s childhood which still haunts him and affects his life today.

Things really heat up for Max and Charlotte, both professionally and personally, as they pursue the investigation into Louise’s death.  When signs point to Jocelyn’s investment club, and a long ago crime being a factor, everyone is a potential victim.  An attempt to kill Charlotte and Max draws them closer together as they race to identify the murderer before he / she kills again.

As is the case with most of Jayne Ann Krentz’s protagonists, Max and Charlotte are fully fleshed out characters, who are admirable, but have flaws, but those flaws make them stronger.  Both are intelligent, likable, and at a vulnerable place in life.  I love that Charlotte wasn’t above getting a little of her own back when her ex comes sniffing around, and I love that Max was happy to take part.  They understand each other and admire and desire each other.  I wish there would have been more intimacy than what was portrayed, because their attraction is one of the strongest elements.  The storyline is unique and exciting, and I just breezed through the whole book in one sitting.  WHEN ALL THE GIRLS HAVE GONE is a fantastic, well written romantic suspense novel that I thoroughly enjoyed and heartily recommend.

Rating 4.5Reviewed by Bonnie

Posted in Bonnie, Jayne Ann Krentz, Review, Romantic Suspense | Leave a comment

Mistletoe, Mischief, and the Marquis by Amelia Grey – Release Blitz, Review, and Excerpt

mistletoe-mischief-marquis_banner-1

MISTLETOE, MISCHIEF, AND THE MARQUIS by Amelia Grey

E-Original published by Swerve                          Publication Date: November 29, 2016

ISBN: 9781250141170                                            Price: $1.99

Book Description

The Marquis of Wythebury, is expecting an ordinary Christmastide at Hurst—until he is set upon by a beautiful miss who takes him to task for not allowing his young nephews to play outside. In his mind, a five and seven year old needn’t get chilled in the snow; better to plop them in front of the fire with a book. Few people have ever been brave enough to challenge him over anything, much less the rearing of his wards. The cheeky Miss Prim has no such compunction. No matter how fetching he finds her, he can’t give in to his attraction…for she is the sister of his best friend.

Growing up the middle child of five rambunctious girls, Lillian Prim doesn’t understand why two young boys visiting Hurst don’t know how to play until she meets their dashing guardian. The Marquis of Wythebury is commanding and intensely serious-minded. To her surprise, she’s captivated by him. It’s all she can do not to give into her feminine fantasies about her kissing him. Lillian has no intention of falling in love with the Marquis, but she will create Christmastide mischief and teach the boys and the handsome Marquis how to play, in Mistletoe, Mischief, and the Marquis, by New York Times bestselling author Amelia Grey.

Author Bio

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author AMELIA GREY read her first romance book when she was thirteen and she’s been a devoted reader of love stories ever since. Her awards include the Booksellers Best, Aspen Gold, and the Golden Quill. Writing as Gloria Dale Skinner, she won the coveted Romantic Times Award for Love and Laughter and the prestigious Maggie Award. Her books have sold to many countries in Europe, Indonesia, Turkey, Russia, and most recently to Japan. Several of her books have also been featured in Doubleday and Rhapsody Book Clubs. Amelia is the author of more than twenty-five books. She’s been happily married to her high school sweetheart for over thirty-five years and she lives on the beautiful gulf coast of Northwest Florida.

Author Links

Website: http://www.ameliagrey.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmeliaGreyBooks

Buy Links

Amazon: http://smarturl.it/agreykindle

B&N: http://smarturl.it/agreynook

iBooks: http://smarturl.it/agreyibooks

Read an Excerpt:  Mistletoe, Mischief, and the Marquis 

She retraced her steps down the dimly lit corridor.  When she rounded the corner that went into the sitting room at the top of the stairs, she stopped.  The Marquis leaned casually against one of the chairs.  There were no lamps burning in the sitting area, just light from corridor that bridged one section of the house to the other, but she could see well enough to know he was staring at her.  And, she’d swear to anyone that he was looking like he wanted to kiss her.

“My lord, what are you doing here?”

He straightened from the chair and stood before her.  “I could ask you the same question.”

“I went to check on Fallon.  I hope you don’t mind.  I wanted to make sure he didn’t have a—“ She stopped and bit down on her bottom lip.

“You have a habit of not finishing your sentences, Lillian.”

“With you, I’m always afraid I will say something I’ll regret.”

He huffed a grunt.  “You?  Regret something you’ve said to me?  I don’t believe that could happen.”

At times, he could make her smile without trying.  “I might have regretted it if I’d told you what I wanted to this afternoon.”

“So you have no remorse for calling me a worrywart, and there’s something worse you could have said.   Now, you have me curious.  What is it you might regret?”

“You don’t want to know,” she said and started to walk past him, but he sidestepped and blocked her way.

“Oh, but I do.”

“If you insist.”  She lifted her chin and said, “I was going to tell you that you are smothering the boys with your rigorous studies and your overly-cautious regimen of their play time.  You will end up hurting them more than you help them if you continue.”

“Ah—smothering them, am I?” he said in a tone that held a tinge of humor.  “And what exactly is it that you were doing when you came to check on Fallon tonight?”

“I only wanted to make sure he was all right.  It’s not that I was particularly worried about him being sick once I knew his stomach was the problem and not a chill from his wet feet.”

“So you came up to look in on him because you weren’t worried.  That makes no sense, Lillian.”

“You worry enough for both of us.”

He moved closer to her and lowered his voice even softer when he said, “You gave him a kiss.”

She gasped as he heart jumped up to her throat.  “You saw me?”

He nodded.  “I decided to pass on the card games tonight and check on him, too because I was worried and wanted to make sure he hadn’t turned sick again.  I didn’t want to disturb your time with him so I waited here for you.  Why did you kiss him?”

She nervously moistened her lips.  “I don’t know other than it seemed the right thing to do.  I know it was very forward of me and I shouldn’t have.”

“I thought it was a sweet comforting gesture.”

“You’re not upset with me?”

“I appreciate all kindness shown to my nephews.”

His light green gaze swept up and down her face so gently all she wanted to do was say, “kiss me.”   She lowered her lashes so he couldn’t see her hunger for him and murmured, “I wish you hadn’t waited.”

“Why?”

Because she didn’t want to be alone with him.  She didn’t want to think about how despite her efforts, she had fallen in love with him and wanted to be caught up in his arms and swept away by his stirring kisses and caresses.

separator

Time for Review road sign illustration design over a white background

I received a complimentary copy of this novella in exchange for an honest review.

Seth Wythebury, the Marquis of Wythebury, has become guardian to his two young nephews after their parents died.  While he loves the boys, and is kind to them, the circumstances of their parents’ death has made Seth very over protective.  He stresses lessons and learning and all but wraps them in cotton wool to keep them safe.  Seth receives an invitation to a house party, which he is inclined to decline, but his friend insists that he come and bring the boys with hm.  While en route, the boys’ governess becomes ill, and Seth, fearing that the boys may also become ill, leaves the governess at an inn to recover while they continue on.

When Lillian Prim finds two young boys looking glum and sitting in a hallway by themselves, she encourages them to come outside and play.  When Seth returns to where he left the boys to wait for him, and finds them gone, he anxiously begins searching for them.  The trail leads outside, where he is promptly hit smack in the face by a snowball thrown by Lillian.

After Lillian apologizes, and they introduce themselves, Seth is shocked to find that Lillian doesn’t fawn over him the way most women do.  She is sister to two duchesses, which accounts for her lack of awe at Seth’s title.  Though he’s intrigued by the lovely lady, Seth still insists on taking the boys inside, out of the cold, so they don’t become ill.  Lillian disagrees with Seth’s coddling, and tries to encourage him to let the boys have fun.

MISTLETOE, MISCHIEF, AND THE MARQUIS is a delightful novella which has a lovely and fun loving young lady trying to loosen up the marquis, who has taken his guardianship very seriously.  While Seth was never a stick in the mud, he’s so fearful of some illness or accident befalling one of the boys, that he’s smothering them.  Although Lillian and Seth appear to be polar opposites, they have a definite attraction and affection.  When they are caught in a compromising situation, can Seth convince Lillian that he’s the right man for her future?  This sweet and short novella is guaranteed to fill a couple hours with plenty of smiles.

single blue rose croppedsingle blue rose croppedsingle blue rose croppedsingle blue rose croppedReviewed by Bonnie

Posted in Amelia Grey, Bonnie, Historical Romance, Promotions, Review | Leave a comment

Review – My Scandalous Duke by Theresa Romain

my-scandalous-dukeONE GOOD FRIEND DESERVES A LOVER…

Lady Eleanor Palmer, a practical young widow, wants a family of her own. Her first marriage was an adventurous disaster, so this time, nothing but the most proper sort of man will do. Absolutely not who she’s looking for? The impulsive, roguish Duke of Hampshire…even though she has secretly loved him as long as she can remember.

Nicholas Langford, the Duke of Hampshire, has always relied on Eleanor’s humor and good sense. Who else would guide him through a scandal with laughter and grace? He would do anything to ensure his old friend’s happiness—even help Eleanor find a suitable new husband.

As Eleanor makes plans for a new life without him at its center, Nicholas realizes the depth of his own feelings. But he can offer Eleanor nothing she thinks she wants. How can he convince her he is everything she truly desires?

Buy Amazon point right

Click on title below for Amazon buy link:                                                    My Scandalous Duke

separator

Time for Review road sign illustration design over a white background

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Lady Eleanor Palmer, her brother Sidney, and Nicholas Langford, the Duke of Hampshire, have a long term friendship that goes back to their childhood.  When Eleanor made her debut, she realized her feelings for Nicholas had turned to love, and waited three seasons for him to notice her as a woman.  That never happened, and finally Eleanor gave up her dream and decided to marry a man she was mildly fond of, and who made her laugh.  Unfortunately, her now deceased husband quickly laughed his way through her dowry, disillusioning Eleanor even further.  When she was widowed, Eleanor moved back in with Sidney, but now he and his wife have a new baby, and Eleanor feels it’s time to move on.  Though she just turned thirty, she still has time to remarry and have children.  She just needs to find a suitable man, and one who’s not too jolly this time.

Though his friendship with Eleanor suffered a bit during her marriage and widowhood, now that she’s back in society, Nicholas is finding out all over again how much he enjoys her company.  He knows her marriage was not ideal, and wants to see her happy, so he determines that he’ll screen the candidates for her future husband.  Who knows?  Maybe at the age of thirty-one, it’s time he settled down too.  Though Eleanor still loves Nicholas, he can’t see what’s right in front of him – until Eleanor accepts a marriage proposal from another man.

I’m a sucker for a friends-to-lovers story, and MY SCANDALOUS DUKE pushes all the right buttons.  I love both Nicholas and Eleanor, who are so likeable and so right for each other.  I was thrilled that Eleanor finally, after years of unrequited love, ‘fessed up about her feelings.  Nicholas’s gift to Eleanor, when he learned that her deceased husband sold her pianoforte, was truly swoonworthy. Though the passion was not as explicit as Theresa Romain’s usual style, the emotional impact was substantial, and the steam was definitely felt.  I highly recommend this delightfully romantic and satisfying novella.  The ending will leave you with a smile and a happy sigh.

Rating 4Reviewed by Rose 3

Posted in Historical Romance, Review, Rose, Theresa Romain | 2 Comments