Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Scandalous Summer Nights by Anne Barton

Scandalous Summer Nights by Anne Barton

This is book 3 in the Honeycote series.

Everyone knows that Olivia Sherbourne is in love with James Averill, but when she learns that he is going on an extended expedition to Egypt she decides she better make her move. She must declare her feelings to him before he leaves.

James has always found Olivia attractive, but what kind of gentleman would he be if he lusted after his best friend's sister?  Knowing that he must get away from Olivia before he does something stupid, he leaves for the country. He never expected Olivia to follow him.

Realizing that following James and lying to her family about her destination was wrong, Olivia decides to go ahead and travel to where her family thinks she is. James wouldn't be a gentleman if he allowed her to travel alone, and insists that he travel with her.

Can Olivia use this time to make James realize that she is his destiny?

I just love this series and this book was no exception. Olivia has known that James was her destiny and she just needed to convince him of it. I loved watching her go after her dreams. James, trying to be the gentleman, tried very hard to not fall under her spell.  It was great fun watching the back and forth between these two.

Definitely one for the keeper shelf. I can't wait to see what Barton has in store for us next!

You can get this book at the following retailers:

Thanks go to Forever (Grand Central Publishing) via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Accidental Countess by Valerie Bowman

The Accidental Countess by Valerie Bowman.

This is book 2 in the Playful Brides series.

Lady Cassandra Monroe has been in love with Captain Julian Swift for years. Although he is engaged to her cousin, Cassandra still eagerly awaits his return from the war after having written him many letters while he was away. When Julian does return and doesn't recognize Cassandra, her friend Lucy introduces her as Patience Bunbury, a fictitious friend that Cassandra's cousin made up to get out of doing things she didn't want to do. 

Julian is trying to locate his betrothed to end things with her. Having been told that she is attending a house party, he agrees to attend as a means to finally talk to her. He never expected to be entranced by a woman that his betrothed mentioned in letters to him. 

What happens when he finds out that the woman that has so enchanted him is the same girl that has been sending him letters that got him through the war?

Since finishing The Unexpected Duchess, I've been eagerly awaiting Cassandra and Julian's story. Bowman did not disappoint. I would definitely recommend reading book one before venturing into this one. It will make it much more meaningful.  You will also better understand why Lucy did what she did.
As with the previous book, Bowman had me laughing outloud at the antics of the characters. Bowman knows how to get just the right amount of laughter, suspense and romance to make the perfect combination. 

Jane and Upton's story is next in May of 2015 (ugh, so far away...). I really can't wait to see what Bowman has planned for them. I love the way the two of them have played off of each other through the previous two books. I also can't wait to see what antics Lucy gets everyone into!

You can purchase this book at the following retailer:

Thanks go to St. Martin's Press via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Madeleine's Christmas Wish by Ella Quinn

Madeleine's Christmas Wish by Ella Quinn
This is book 5.5 in the Marriage Game series.
Madeleine would do anything for her family, so when the government wants to take her little sister to work as a spy in a brothel she steps in to take her place.  Resigned with her fate, she hope to find some help in Paris before she is sent to England.

Georges, the Marquis Cruzy-le-Ch√Ętel, has been working as a spy in England for years. When he hears that Madeleine is in danger, he intercepts her as soon as she is off the boat. Having once been betrothed to Madeleine, he feels the need to protect her.

Madeleine is determined to get back to France and her family but the only way she will be safe is to travel with Georges. She agrees to a marriage in name only and plans to have her marriage annuls when arriving home.

Georges isn't about to let the woman he loves annul their marriage and sets out to woo her on their voyage home. Will he be able to change her mind and have a real marriage with the love of his life?

This was a nice short read. Unfortunately the writing seemed to be off to me. I don't know if Quinn was trying to convey the speech pattern of someone whose native tongue was not English, but it fell short to me. Having worked with children whose second language is English for many years, it just didn't feel authentic to me. But having said that, it was still an enjoyable, quick red.

You can get this book at the following retailers:

Thanks go out to Kensington Books via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.
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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Never Marry a Viscount by Anne Stuart

Never Marry a Viscount by Anne Stuart.

This is book 3 in the Scandal at the House of Russell.

After her family is disgraced when her father ruins his business and commits suicide, Sophie Russell wants to follow in her sister's footsteps and find the the person who is truly responsible for their downfall. She and her sisters know that their father didn't do what they say he did.  Her sisters have gone after two of their suspects, which leaves the third, Viscount Griffiths, for Sophie. When she goes to the Viscount's home looking for a way in, she finds that they are in need of a cook. Having a love of cooking, she steps right into the position. 

Viscount Griffiths, Alexander, is expecting a courtesan to arrive any day. So when Sophie arrives and acts like his new cook, he thinks that this is a cover story to explain why his new mistress is in him home. He can't figure out why she keeps during down is attempts of seduction when he is paying her to be at his beck and call in the bedroom.

Even though Sophie is still trying to find evidence that Alexander framed her father, she can't help but think the man she has come to know is innocent. As their attraction for each other grows, will Sophie ever learn the truth?

I really enjoyed this book and the series it is a part of. This story could be read as a stand alone, but I think it would be much more enjoyable to read the three books in the series. You are able to see how the villain interacts will all three sisters.

So one of my favorite parts of the story is that before ever going into Alexander's home she has been spying on him as we goes for his daily swim. This is so contrary to how a "lady" should behave during this time period, that it quite livened up the story.  I love that the author had the servants figure out who Sophie was from the beginning and that they tried to protect her from being found out and Alexander's advances. I was laughing out loud at their antics.

This is definitely a series that you should put on your TBR list!

You can find this book at the following retailers:

Thanks go out to Montlake Romance for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Not Quite a Wife by Mary Jo Putney

Not Quite a Wife by Mary Jo Putney

This is book 6 in the Lost Lords series.

Married when they were quite young, Laurel Herbert and James Kirkland separated and have been living their own lives for the past 10 years. That is until James is brought into Laurel's infirmary one day. Having been beat up and in the midst of a fever, James thinks he is dreaming of being intimate with his wife. That is until a month later Laurel informs James that she is pregnant.

Having lost his wife once, James will do anything in his power to get his wife back. They agree to at least be cordial to each other for the sake of the baby. Laurel moves to London to live with James for a month to see if they can make it work.

Can James convenience Laurel that their marriage is worth saving and make it a marriage in truth?

Let me start by saying that I haven't read the stories that come before this in the series. I had planned on doing so, but it just didn't happen.  There were a few parts in which I had wished that I had (it would have been easier to keep everyone straight), but even saying that I don't think it took away from my enjoyment of the story not having read them.

I really liked James. He wanted his marriage to work so badly, but when it didn't he thought that that was what he deserved.  I was heartbroken for him.  I thought that Laurel was a little too judgemental when she left him after a year of marriage, but then we wouldn't have a storyline would we?

This is definitely a series that I want to go back and read. The next book in the series is about Laurel's brother and it looks to be just as good!

You can get this book at the following retailers:  

Thanks go out to Kensington via Netgalley for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Season for Desire by Theresa Romain

Season for Desire by Theresa Romain

This is book 4 in the Holiday Pleasures series.

Lady Audrina Bradleigh is expected to marry well and behave with propriety. Since she is not one to follow the rules, this leads her to do outrageous things including indulging in illicit affairs. One of her cohorts decides to take things a little far and kidnaps Audrina thinking to marry her to get her dowry which he desperately needs. Lucky for Audrina, her father has help in finding her and saves her from disgrace. Wanting to keep her out of trouble, Audrina's father has her go with Giles Rutherford, his father and Lady Irving to find a long lost family heirloom. 

Giles Rutherford is indulging his father in a quest to find the long lost jewels that his mother left behind when she married her husband and moved to America. He needs to make sure that his father doesn't make any unwise decisions that would affect the whole family. Thinking to never marry because of debilitating arthritis he inherited from his mother, Giles is surprised to find himself so attracted to Audrina.

Over the course of solving the mystery of the missing jewels, Giles and Audrina develop feelings for each other. Can those feeling overcome the difference in their stations and what they thought they wanted out of life? 

I really, really enjoyed this story. The secondary characters were just as entertaining as the H/H. Romain did something with this novel that I haven't seen much of before. The point of view changed multiple times between the H/H as well as the secondary characters. I thought this was a refreshing change and added a lot to the enjoyment of the story. 

The interactions between all the characters was so enjoyable. It was like watching a well written comedy that had me laughing out loud throughout the story. Bravo, Theresa Romain!! Thanks go out to Kensington Books for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.

You can get the book at the following retailers:

Thanks go out to Kensington Books via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Once Upon a Plaid by Mia Marlowe

Once Upon a Plaid by Mia Marlowe.

This is book 2 in the Spirit of the Highlands series.

After four years of marriage, there is a huge distance between Katherine Douglas and her husband William. Having lost several children during pregnancy, Katherine is determined to let her husband go free to be able to marry another so that he may get the heir that he needs.

William's love for his wife has never faltered during their marriage. He is devastated when his wife tells him that she is going to try and get an annulment. Can he convince her that their marriage is worth saving? 

Since this story was about a married couple that already loved each other, it was definitely a different type of tale. 
William was not someone that expressed his feelings and that is what Katherine really needed to see. She had never seen him grieve for their lost children and felt that their loss meant nothing to him.

I felt like this story was more about learning how to communicate with each other within a marriage, rather than a love story in the true sense. Even saying that, I did truly enjoy the story. There was a secondary romance, a mystery to be solved and a foe to battle. Overall a great combination.

You can get this book at the following retailers:

Thanks go out to Kensington via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Darling Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt

Darling Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt

This is book 7 in the Maiden Lane series.

Lily Stump, one of London's premier actresses, is down on her luck. Having left her previous employer and signing on with someone knew for more money, she thought all would be fine. She hadn't counted on the theatre burning down, not being able to find work and then having to move out of her home. She now finds herself living in the remains of the burnt theatre and living off the money that writing plays brings in.

Having escaped Bedlam, where he was placed for a crime he didn't commit, Apollo Greaves, the Viscount Kilbourne spends his days hiding from the Crown. He works on the remains of the theatre gardens trying to bring them back to life.  Because of an injury while in Bedlam, he is unable to talk. He uses this to his advantage to hide as a simpleton. He soon realizes that he didn't hide it well enough when he meets Lily and he calls him out on it.

Lily's son has taken a liking to him and the three of them end up spending lots of time together working on the garden, having picnics and just conversing. But what happens to their idyllic life, when his real identity is discovered?

This was the first book in this series that I have read...nothing like picking it up with book 7, huh? Having said that, I was in no way confused about what was going on. There were characters from the previous books in this story, but I don't think that it took anything about from it because I hadn't read them.

I did really enjoy this story. Most historical romances are not between a lord and an actress, so it was a nice change of pace. Having one of the main characters also be mute was definitely something that stands out in this book. Hoyt did a wonderful job with this and it was not a distraction to the story. We also have the mystery of who actually committed the crime that Apollo was accused of.

Overall, it was a great out of the ordinary read for me and I will definitely be going back to read the books that come before this.  The next book in the series is about 2 of the secondary characters in this one and Hoyt did a wonderful job of giving us just enough about them to keep us coming back for more!

You can get this book at the following retailers:

Thanks go out to Forever Publishing via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Once Upon a Christmas Kiss by Manda Collins

Once Upon a Christmas Kiss by Manda Collins.

This is book 3.5 in the Wicked Widows series.

Miss Winifred Nightingale's employers have given her time off to visit with her sister during the holidays. She never imagined that they would be invited to the local lord's house party to celebrate.  

Sir Lucien Blackmore has finally agreed to visit his cousin's for the holidays, but only because the woman that he has grown to care for will be out of town during that time. He never expected to see her at his cousin's home.

When Winifred has some mysterious things happen to her, she goes to Lucien as her only male friend and asks for his help. She thinks that if he acts as her betrothed, that these things will stop happening. Lucien agrees with the condition she think about making the betrothal real when they find the culprit. 

What is a woman to do when the man of her dreams gives her everything she wants and didn't think she could have for Christmas?

Ever since seeing Winifred and Lucien together in a previous book, I had hoped that Collins would write about them becoming a couple. I'm so glad that she did. This was a different kind of a story as the couple knew each other at the start and the hero has basically declared himself to the heroine. It definitely didn't take away from the love story. You still see the building of their relationship and how Winifred and Lucien start to connect on a different level than they had previously.

I would definitely read the other books in the series before reading this one, just to get the full backstory of Winifred and Lucien. This was a nice ending to the series. I only wish that we had been able to see the other three couples in an epilogue where they learn that Winifred and Lucien had gotten together...

You can purchase this book at the following retailers:

Thanks go out to St. Martin's Press via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Moment of Passion by Jess Michaels

A Moment of Passion by Jess Michaels

This is book 2 in the Ladies' Book of Pleasures series

Lady Jacinda is horrified when she opens up a birthday gift to see the much talked about Ladies Book of Pleasures. She doesn't need anything else to tarnish her already shaky reputation. Unfortunately, the Duke of Carnthorn sees her gift and wants her as his mistress.

Jason, the Earl of Northfield, is a longtime friend of Jacinda's and offers to act like he is courting her to keep Carnthorn away. But what happens when their pretend courtship turns into something more than just friendship?

I fell in love with Jason when I read A Matter of Sin. His personality just won me over, so I was excited to read his HEA. Michaels did not disappoint.  

I loved that Jason stepped up to help Jacinda. It showed what type of man that he was and had me falling in love with him all over again. I also really liked Jacinda. She has a shy personality and Jason brought out the best in her. 

The dialogue between the characters had me laughing outloud during several of the scenes. Always a plus in my eyes! 

As with all her stories, Michaels has a way of drawing you in and making you believe that you have a personal relationship with the characters. I know I'm reading something really good when I actually feel the heartache of a character in the story.  This happened multiple times throughout this story.

I can't wait to read Grace's story, A Measure of Deceit.  My fingers are crossed that we get to see lots of Isabel & Seth as well as Jacinda & Jason.

You can get this book at the following retailers:

Thanks go out to Samhain Publishing via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

The Love Match by Lily Maxton

The Love Match by Lily Maxton

This is book 3 in the Sisters of Scandal series.

Since her two older sister have gotten married, Olivia Middleton is the sole focus of her mother who is trying to get her married to a man with a title. Going to a house party where she can mingle with eligible men, Olivia would much rather be in the library or in her room reading a book. That is until she meets William Cross.

William Cross, known as a heart breaker amongst the ton, is determined not to marry for love. He saw his father die from a broken heart and wants no part of it. As much as he doesn't like it, he is intrigued by Olivia and can't seem to stay away from her.

What happens when they find themselves in a compromising position? If Olivia marries, she want it to be a love match, but the only one offering for her doesn't believe in love...

Once again, Maxton writes a great story with just a few words. The story is full of witty comments and laugh out loud moments that having me sitting down to read each new story that Maxton graces us with.

Olivia is perceived as being one type of person. But as William comes to know her, he is able to see the real her, the one that she hides from most people and he is intrigued. Olivia is happy that she has found someone that she can talk to. With most people she just has short and sweet answers for any question they might throw at her. She feels a real connection, both mentally and physically.

Loved this story and I am sorry to see this series come to an end...

You can purchase this book at the following retailers:

Thanks go out to Entangled Publishing via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

If He's Daring by Hannah Howell

If He's Daring by Hannah Howell

This is the 6th book in the Wherlocke series.

Catrin Gryffin de Warrenne is chasing after her brother in law who has taken off with her son, when her horse goes lame. Lucky for her, there is a carriage near. Because it's the only thing she can do, she steals the carriage to continue the pursuit of her son.

Sir Orion Wherlocke can't believe that someone stole his carriage which happened to have his son in it. Even knowing who took it and that she promises to bring it back, he can't leave his son in the hands of a stranger.

Giles, Orion's son, befriended Catrin when they stopped to rest the horses and when Orion catches up with them conveniences them to help Catrin get back her son.

Orion knows that Catrin is not someone to have an affair with and then leave, so when he finds himself attracted to her he has to decide if he wants to give up his bachelor ways. Is he willing to do that for a once in a lifetime love?

There is so much that I love about this story, but I don't want to give away too much! I loved Orion and Catrin together. Howell does a masterful job with the secondary characters, several of whom we've met in previous stories. They add so much to the rest of the story and it just wouldn't be complete without them.

If you've not read the rest of the books in the series, I recommend reading them first.  It's not a necessity to do so, but you will enjoy the story a lot more in doing so.

I can't wait to read more about his family!!

You can get this book at the following retailers:

Thanks go out to Kensington Books via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.

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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Beguiling the Earl by Suzanna Medeiros

Beguiling the Earl by Suzanna Medeiros

This is book 2 in the Landing a Lord series.

Catherine Evan has been in love with the Earl of Kerrick since they met. Unfortunately, she has had to wait to have her coming out to pursue him. As the season starts, Catherine eagerly awaits having her first dance with Kerrick. She soon learns that Kerrick's mother has plans for Kerrick to marry the daughter of her best friend, but that doesn't stop them from forming an attachment as he has no plans to marry the other woman.

Unbeknown to most of the ton, Kerrick works for the government and has one last assignment. He must pretend to court a young woman, the very one his mother wants him to marry, to get close to her father to see if he is a traitor.

Can Kerrick save the relationship he has just started with Catherine while trying to do his job or will she be swept up by someone else?

I've been eagerly awaiting Kerrick's story since I read Loving the Marquess. Medeiros did not disappoint. She had me laughing throughout the story with the witty conversation and antics of the characters which is what brings me back to reading more from an author.

Medeiros does a great job of getting you invested in her secondary characters. They have as much depth of character as the H/H of the story, which leaves the reader hoping to see them again! I was happy to read at the end of the novel that Rose (the other woman) and Brantford (Kerrick's boss) would be getting their story next. I can't wait to read it!!

You can get this book at the following retailers:  

Thanks goes out to Suzanna Medeiros via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Sweet Surrender of Janet Buchanan by Paula Quinn

The Sweet Surrender of Janet Buchanan by Paula Quinn

This is book 1.5 in The MacGregors:  Highland Heirs

Darach Grant is sent to save his cousin's home from the enemy. Unfortunately, that means that he has to see Janet Buchanan again.  Darach is not ready to settle down and Janet is the one woman that would make him change his mind.

Janet was expecting Darach's cousin to help get rid of the enemy, not the man she can't seem to get out of her head even while sleeps.

Can these two strong-willed highlanders realize that what they need is right in front of them?

I fell in LOVE with the MacGregor/Grant cousins when I read The Seduction of Miss Amelia Bell (the first book of Quinn's that I had read). If you haven't read it, I would definitely read it before this one because Darach and Janet's romance really starts in that story and then continues with this one.

This was a quick read but I read it right after the previous book and felt like I never left my group of friends.  It was fun watching Darach and Janet together.  They each knew what what to say to get the other one going.  Quin did an excellent job with the back and forth between the two of them.

I noticed that the next two books in the series don't feature the male cousins, but I hope they make an appearance in them as I can't wait to visit them again!! I'm also going to have to go back and read the stories about the cousin's parent and grandparents because Quinn gives us bits of their past that has me itchin' to read their stories too!!

You can get this book at the following retailers:

Thanks go out to Forever via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Q&A with Becky Lower

Please welcome Becky Lower to the blog today.
Becky loves to write about two people finding each other and falling in love, amid the backdrop of a great setting, be it present day middle America or on a covered wagon headed west in the 1850s. Contemporary and historical romances are her specialty. Becky is a PAN member of RWA and is a member of the Contemporary and Historic RWA chapters. She has a degree in English and Journalism from Bowling Green State University, and lives in an eclectic college town in Ohio with her puppy-mill rescue dog, Mary.

Where so you get your inspiration for your characters and your plot? 

I was fortunate to have the Cotillion Ball mark its appearance in American society in the decade prior to the Civil War. This is such a rich period in American history, and my characters are living and reacting to the changes in society. So far, there’s been the struggle to integrate the American Indian, the abolitionist movement, the expansion of the railroad and the Gold Rush. There are plenty more events, big and small, in the years to come, including the Civil War. 

Do you write outlines before you begin or just start writing and let the story evolve…do you know the ending before it is written? 

I usually know the beginning and the end before I start, but I keep it vague in order to let the magic happen. I like to have my characters surprise me. I do follow Blake Snyder’s beat sheet to make certain I’m hitting on all cylinders, and lately, I’ve found that writing a synopsis first helps, too. Although my finished product seems to stray from the synopsis a bit. 

Favorite place to write? 

I love my office. I head there every morning with a cup of coffee and my little dog, Mary. On a good day, I write until noon or so, then spend time on Facebook, twitter, etc. I wish I could say this was a daily routine, but I’d be lying. 

How do you choose names for your characters? 

Names are the most fun thing for me. My Cotillion Ball series has nine children named for herbs and spices. I’ve also featured a family with children named for the virtues. And for my Irish hero in Book 4, I wanted an unusual Irish name. I had been playing with a different story line, and an Irish ghost named Parr, which means “from the stable.” It fit with my hero’s occupation, so I went with it.
Do you treat your writing like a 9 to 5 job and keep writing hours or are you moved to write in a less structured way? 

Ideally, I like to keep to a structure. I’m my most creative in the morning, so I try to work on the WIP while the house is quiet. Afternoons are spent on social media, or writing guest blogs, things like that.  
How do you research settings to make them believable? 

I love to travel within America, and am always up for a road trip. I’ve walked the historic cobblestone streets of St. Louis. I traveled the route of the Pony Express and the Oregon Trail. I’ve touched the ruts still visible from the thousands of wagons that traversed this country in the 1800s. I love this country and have the utmost respect for the men and women who fought to tame it. My writing gives me an excuse to immerse myself in the history of the country when this land was raw and rough. I may never be Laura Ingalls Wilder and be able to live on the edge of civilization, but I can write about it.

Becky's new book is The Duplicitous Debutante which is book 6 in her Cotillion Ball series.

In 1859, ladies of New York society were expected to do three things well: find a husband, organize a smooth-running household, and have children.

Rosemary Fitzpatrick’s agenda is very different. As the author of the popular Harry Hawk dime novels, she must hide her true identity from her new publisher, who assumes the person behind the F. P. Elliott pen name is male. She must pose as his secretary in order to ensure the continuation of her series. And in the midst of all this subterfuge, her mother is insisting that she become a debutante this year.

Henry Cooper is not the typical Boston Brahmin. Nor is he a typical publisher. He’s entranced by Mr. Elliott’s secretary the moment they meet, and wonders how his traditional-thinking father will react when he brings a working class woman into the family. Because his intentions are to marry her, regardless.

Rosemary’s deception begins to unravel at the Cotillion ball, when Henry recognizes her. The secretarial mask must come off, now that he knows she is a member of New York society. But she can’t yet confess who she truly is until she knows if Henry will accept her as F. P. Elliott.

The more time they spend together, the closer they become. But when Rosemary reveals her true identity to him, will Henry be able to forgive her or has her deceit cost her the man she loves?

Want a chance to win The Duplicitous Debutante? Check out the giveaway below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Duplicitous Debutante Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, October 7
Interview & Giveaway at Historical Romance Lover
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, October 8
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter

Thursday, October 9
Review at The Lit Bitch
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry

Friday, October 10
Review & Giveaway at Fic Central
Spotlight & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Monday, October 13

Tuesday, October 14
Review at SOS Aloha
Spotlight & Giveaway at Susan Heim on Writing

Thursday, October 16
Spotlight at Flashlight Commentary

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Monday, October 6, 2014

The Red Wolf's Prize by Regan Walker

The Red Wolf's Prize by Regan Walker.
This is book 1 in the Medieval Warriors series.
Having lost her father during the fighting with King William, Lady Serena of Talisandvcan't believe that the king has given her to one of his knights. Knowing that her "husband" will soon arrive, she dyes her hair, dresses as a servant and leaves with several of her people to join up with her brother.

Sir Renaud de Pierrepont can't believe that his intended bride has run off instead of stay and wed him. While searching for his intended, his men find several servants heading north. Returning with them is a servant girl that immediately attracts Renaud. He tries to woo the servant, who is actually his intended, with no success.  

Finally resigned to her fate, Serena reveals to her husband whom she is and they quickly marry. But what happens when Serena finds herself falling for the enemy?

This was the first book that I have read by Regan Walker and I really enjoyed it. She did a great job with telling the history of the time without overwhelming the reader with all the facts and overshadowing the romance of the story.  Having not read many story of this time period, I was happy to read the write-up at the end of the novel explaining a little more about the time period.

Walker did an excellent job of writing the conflict going on with Serena and her conscience. Serena wanted to hate her new husband because of what he was, but when she saw how he cared for her people she had to see the person he was and not what he was.  There was enough conflict between them to make it believable that Serena could have eventually falling in love with her enemy.

I loved all the secondary characters that Walker included and am happy to hear that some of them will be getting their own stories.

Walker is definitely an author that I will be putting on my TBR pile!

You can purchase this book at the following retailers:

Thanks go out to CreateSpace for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.

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Sunday, October 5, 2014

Christmas Brides Anthology

One Hot Scot by Suzanne Enoch
This is book 0.5 in her Scandalous Highlanders series.

Julia Prentiss is wandering the woods trying to get away from the man that kidnapped her from her aunt's wedding. She comes across a man emerging from a lake and he is NAKED! She can't believe what she is seeing. She doesn't know whether to hide and ask the man for help.

Duncan Lenox feels obligated to help when he comes across the stranded lady. He has been out trying to find when is killing his animals and staying at his cabin. Duncan takes Julia back to the cabin where they proceed to get to know each other.

The kidnapper shows up at Duncan's cabin, but he puts them off. He later takes her to his home and proceeds to marry her.

I am a HUGE Suzanne Enoch fan and have read almost all her books, but I really couldn't get into this book. I know that with a novella the action needs to go quickly, but to meet the man, jump into bed with him and then marry him within 24 hours is just a bit unbelievable.   

After writing this review last November, I did read the books that came after this (The Devil Wears Kilts and Rogue with a Brogue) and thoroughly enjoyed them.

Once Upon a Christmas Scandal by Alexandra Hawkins

Lady Ellen can't believe that her father has increased her dowry so that there will be more men for her to choose from when she finally decides to take a husband. Her father is dying and he wants to see her settled before he does.  Knowing that every fortune hunter that hears about it will be at her door, Ellen is not looking forward to the holiday parties her mother is throwing.

Lord Derek Swainsbury wants to catch the killer of his sister. What better way than to act like he is courting the newest heiress as he knows the killer will go after her next? But what happens when he falls under her spell? Will she believe that he doesn't want her money?

This is a very quick read.  Hawkins did a good job of telling the story in such a short amount of words. I didn't feel like the love story was rushed or unbelievable. The connection between Ellen and Derek was almost instantaneous and fairly leapt off the page.

This novella is a part of the Lords of Vice series featuring the sister of Lord Vanwright. I've not read any of those stories, but after reading this novella I will definitely be getting them to read in the future.  

The Scandal Before Christmas by Elizabeth Essex

This was book 3.5 in her Reckless Brides series.

Lieutenant Ian Worth needs a bride and he will take just about anyone. In a rash moment, he told his father he was already married and now he needs to make it true. Ian runs into a shipmate and tells him what he is looking for in a wife - shy, undemanding and someone who will not mind his going off to sea. This shipmate just happens to have an unmarried daughter that fits Ian's needs. They arrange for Ian's perspective bride to come for a visit.

When Anne Lesley arrives, Ian hardly even notices her. Later in the day, Anne overhears Ian talking about her (let's just say it wasn't nice) and decides to go for a walk. Ian joins her and they begin to get to know each other. Anne quickly gets over her shyness and Ian sees the potential that she has as a bride.

Ian's father arrives and they must hide the fact that they are not married yet. They quickly fall in love and rush to get married with a special license.

This is the first book I have read by Elizabeth Essex. I did like her style of writing and found myself laughing at some of the antics in the story (which is always good), but I really didn't care for the story itself. Anne was way too forgiving of Ian and the things she overheard him say. It would have taken a lot longer for him to worm his way into my heart! I've looked at the other books in the series and they look like they have promise. 

I will probably see if my library has copies of them to give this author a second chance. I probably would have given this book 2 stars, but I really enjoyed the character of Pinky! He saved the book in my opinion. 

Since reviewing this novella in July, I have read another book in the series.  A Scandal to Remember was thoroughly enjoyable and I definitely want to go back and read the rest of the series. I think Essex is definitely better at writing full length novels rather than short stories.

It Happened Under the Mistletoe by Valerie Bowman.

Running from a marriage minded miss, Oliver Townsende dashes into the silver closet only to find another person hiding.  Miss Cerian Blake is hiding from men seeking her hand only for the dowry she brings.  The two of them concoct a plan to thwart their admirers, they act like they are interested in each other. What happens when their acting becomes all too real?

I thoroughly enjoyed Bowman's short story.  She got me to believe that these two could have fallen in love in such a short amount of time.  

This story is book 3.5 of the Secret Brides series and after reading this novella, I want to go read the rest of the series!!

You can get this book at the following retailers:

Thanks go to St. Martin's Press for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.

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