Category Archives: Books Historical Romance

Advance Review- The Importance of Being Scandalous by Kimberly Bell

The Importance of Being Scandalous

Title: The Importance of Being Scandalous
Genre: Historical Romance/ Victorian
Author: Kimberly Bell
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Entangled, July 25, 2017 preorder available
Pages: 250
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 4
Description from Amazon:
A horse race in trousers on Rotten Row. Visiting a gaming hall in a dress that would make her mother faint. Sneaking an invitation to a masquerade ball attended by only the wickedest, most debauched members of society…
None of these things are scaring off bookish but strong-willed Amelia Bishop’s stuffy, egotistical fiancé.
The only thing left is to entice childhood friend Nicholas Wakefield into a truly engagement-ending scandal. The Wakefields are the height of propriety, and Nicholas’s parents have made it clear a wife from the neighboring Bishop family would be unacceptable…
But Nicholas would give up his family and his fortune if Amelia would ever see him as more than just a childhood friend. He’ll go along with her scheme, even if it means ruining them both, because he’s got a plan that will change her mind about him being merely the boy next door.
**
Sometimes I just get lucky. I pick a book with an author I have never heard of and all turns out to be fabulous. This isn’t always my luck but it was this time. Kimberly Bell is a fairly new author. She has a 3 book series and this book that I hope will have at least a sequel because there were characters to whom I was not ready to say “good-bye”.
Nicholas and Amelia are meant for each other but Nick was away on the continent for two years and Lord Montrose proposed so Amelia said “yes”. Nick hadn’t written in over a year so he must have forgotten her. Nick returned and he still loves her, but how to end it with Lord Montrose whose overbearing and controlling attitude made him a pitiful villain? Why pitiful? He is so sure of himself and totally discredits Amelia’s attempts at ending the engagement and tells her he will bankrupt her family if she doesn’t marry him. Hilarity ensues as Amelia creates one scandal after another to rid herself of the impossible man. She has help from her invalid sister Julia and Nick’s best friend Jasper. I’m hoping that Julia and Jasper get together in the next book although they never meet in this book.

There are laugh out loud hijinks and Jasper is a fabulously funny character.
If a book can push my funny buttons then this one did for me. I love witty repartee and every word from Jasper is a gem. Julia also is wise and pushes Amelia to do what is right but not always proper. Nick is a besotted lover and Amelia needs Julia, Nick and Jasper to help her. Lord Montrose and Amelia’s mother are delightful in their villainous machinations.
I highly recommend this book. This one is going on my yearly “best of” list.

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Advance Review- Scandalous Ever After by Theresa Romain

Scandalous 3

Title: Scandalous Ever After (Romance of The Turf, book #2)
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Theresa Romain
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca, July 4, 2017 preorder available
Pages: 352
Rating: 3.5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 5
Description from Amazon:
After years apart, old friends Lady Kate Whelan and Evan Rhys reunite at a race. They’ve been masking their feelings for each other for years, but when Evan must protect Kate from her late husband’s secrets, he may not be able to resist her any longer.
After being widowed by a steeplechase accident in Ireland, Lady Kate Whelan abandons the turf. But once her mourning is complete, her late husband’s debts drive her to seek help in Newmarket amidst the whirl of a race meet. There she encounters antiquities expert Evan Rhys, her late husband’s roguish friend—whom she hasn’t seen since the day of his lordship’s mysterious death.
Now that fate has reunited them, Evan seizes the chance to win over the woman he’s always loved. But once back within the old stone walls of Whelan House, long-held secrets come to light that shake up everything Kate thought she knew about her marriage. Now she wonders who she can trust with her heart—and Evan must decide between love and a truth that will separate him from all his heart desires.
Romance of the Turf Series:
A Gentleman’s Game (Book 1) currently $.99 on Amazon for Kindle, Deet’s Rating 3.5
Scandalous Ever After (Book 2)
**
This book played out very much like book one in the series for me. It was so slow in the beginning I almost didn’t finish and then at about 2/3 of the way through it picked up to go taking off at a gallop. Theresa Romain can write beautiful prose and dialog but I do wish she would not put us to sleep early in the book. There is a scene with Kate’s children and Evan that did provide quite a bit of plot information but it went on way too long. Some coincidences were just a bit TOO coincidental, and the wrap up left me scratching my head wondering “Why?” All that being said, it still was a good book. Yes, I know after all my peeves, that doesn’t make sense, but it is a good read in spite of the flaws. If you like the historical facts about horse racing in the Regency Era then this book is very well researched, as is the first in the series.

 

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Review- A Fallen Lady by Elizabeth Kingston

A Fallen Lady

Title: A Fallen Lady
Genre: Historical Romance/ Regency
Author: Elizabeth Kingston
Source: purchase
Publisher: Author
Pages: 364
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 5
Description from Amazon:

Six years ago, to the outrage of her family and the delight of London gossips, Lady Helen Dehaven refused to marry the man to whom she was betrothed. Even more shockingly, her refusal came on the heels of her scandalous behavior: she and her betrothed were caught in a most compromising position. Leaving her reputation in tatters and her motivations a mystery, Helen withdrew to a simple life in a little village among friends, where her secrets remained hers alone.

For reasons of his own, Stephen Hampton, Lord Summerdale, is determined to learn the truth behind the tangled tale of Helen’s ruin. There is nothing he abhors so much as scandal – nothing he prizes so well as discretion – and so he is shocked to find, when he tracks Helen down, that he cannot help but admire her. Against all expectations, he finds himself forgiving her scandalous history in favor of only being near her.

But the bitter past will not relinquish Helen’s heart so easily. How can she trust a man so steeped in the culture of high society, who conceals so much? And how can he, so devoted to the appearance of propriety, ever love a fallen lady?

**
After having read several very positive reviews of this book I just had to see what all the superlatives were about. I was not disappointed! This is the type of book that makes a reader cringe at any interruption. I wanted nothing more than to just continue reading and I was so sorry when it ended.

Helen had a trauma so devastating to her that she can hardly get words out to describe the horror. So she keeps her secrets deep inside; only sharing them with her best friend, Marie-Anne.
Stephen’s estate is close to where Helen lives and Helen’s brother has asked Stephen if he will help him to reconcile with Helen. Even though Stephen is very proper and views Helen as a fallen woman he is attracted to her but she keeps her secrets and distance. Stephen has some secrets of his own that he doesn’t share; he has quite a few.

This is a very emotional book. These two have to navigate a societal divide in order to be together. I kept reading to see how this author’s stunning prose and sensitive characterization would bring these two broken people together. Turns out, she does it beautifully.

Highly recommended!!

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Release Day Review- Say Yes To The Scot by Cornwall, Harrington, McGoldrick and York

Say yes to the scot

Title: Say Yes to The Scot
Genre: Historical Romance/ Highlanders/ Anthology
Authors: Lecia Cornwall, May McGoldrick, Anna Harrington and Sabrina York
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Swerve, June 20, 2017
Pages: 410
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 4

Description from Amazon/ Review From Deet:
HOW A LASS WED A HIGHLANDER by Lecia Cornwall
In this retelling of The Princess and The Pea, Laird Alex Munro of Culmore has just five weeks to find a bride and marry her…or else the clan will be cursed with ill luck. Cait MacLeod finds herself caught in a clan feud, and when she tries to stop a deadly raid, she ends up as Alex Munro’s prisoner. With timing running out, is this couple meant to be?

This is a fairytale complete with the expectation of fairy help or interference. It is a true Highland story with clan hostilities, good Lairds and bad and bonnie lasses who are looking for romance. Side characters seem so much wiser than the protagonists. Deets rating: 4.5

A MATCH MADE IN HEATHER by Anna Harrington
She was the laird’s daughter. He was nothing more than a penniless, nameless Scot with nothing to offer but his heart. Fate tore them apart, but now he’s back in her life with status, money and a title. Can they let go of past hurts and find love?
Whatever Anna Harrington writes turns out to be page turning and beautifully written and this story is no exception. There are revenge, longing, lust and dark secrets. Deet’s rating: 5

A MIDSUMMER WEDDING by May McGoldrick
Their marriage was two decades in the making. The young, educated woman and her highland, pirate husband, betrothed when they were still children. But on the day of their wedding, Elizabeth Hay and Alexander Macpherson are in for a surprise.

Another luscious addition to this anthology. Be prepared to put on a sweater because the chill of these characters in the rain for two days will give you trembles. Deets rating: 4.5

THE SCOT SAYS I DO by Sabrina York
Catherine Ross’s world is turned upside down when her brother gambles away every penny they own. But to make matters worse? He’s lost everything to none other than Duncan Mackay, the rugged Scot who Catherine loved for years–but he never noticed her, and now she positively loathes him. But her brother’s in danger of going to Newgate, and the despicable Duncan has a plan– she can claim back the money and save her brother. If she marries him…

This one is so yummy! Sabrina York knows her Highlanders and she can make us fall in love with the tough, brawny, yet tenderhearted Duncan just as Catherine did all those years ago. Deet‘s rating: 5

This Anthology is really a cut above the usual in that every novella was a winner. I’m used to finding stories in anthologies that are good and not so good and in this one they are all better than good. They are excellent. There is beautiful romance, suspense and sexy times. This is one for the keeper shelf.

 

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Advance Review- The Pleasures of Passion by Sabrina Jeffries

The pleasures of passion

Title: The Pleasures of Passion (Sinful suitors, book #4)
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Sabrina Jeffries
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Pocketbooks, June 20, 2017, preorder available
Pages: 401
Rating: 4
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 4
Description from Amazon:

When Niall Lindsey, the Earl of Margrave, is forced to flee after killing a man in a duel, he expects his secret love, Brilliana Trevor, to go with him, or at the very least wait for him. To his shock, she does neither and sends him off with no promise for the future. Seven years and one pardon later, Niall returns to England disillusioned and cynical. And being blackmailed by the government into working with his former love to help catch a counterfeiter connected to her father doesn’t improve his mood any. But as his role as Brilliana’s fake fiancé brings his long-buried feelings to the surface once again, he wonders who is more dangerous—the counterfeiter or the woman rapidly stealing his heart.

Forced to marry another man after Niall was exiled, the now widowed Brilliana wants nothing to do with the reckless rogue who she believes abandoned her to a dreary, loveless life. So having to rely on him to save her father is the last thing she wants, much less trusts him with….But as their scheme strips away the lies and secrets of their shared past, can she let go of the old hurt and put her pride aside? Or will the pleasures of their renewed passion finally enable them both to rediscover love?

***

There is a lot going on in the first 50 pages so you better pay attention. This is a lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers trope that works because Ms. Jeffries is really adept at this kind of plotting. She does quite a bit of info dumping in the guise of dialog, which does make it more palatable. There is a mystery going on as to whom is the counterfeiter with some red herrings thrown in the path of our solving. As with most misunderstandings in HR we do wish that the Hero and Heroine would just confess their secrets to each other and get on with it, although, there are good reasons to stay quiet. This gets a bit exciting when the villain is uncovered.

Sabrina Jeffries has once again crafted a lusciously sensuous and intriguing addition to a very entertaining series. This is a standalone book so no problems if you are new to the series. I have enjoyed all the books in this series and recommend them to all Historical Romance readers.

 

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Rereading Sarah MacLean- Nine Rules To Break When Romancing A Rake

 

Nine Rules to Break

I originally posted this review  when this book was first published.  This week I reread it and liked it just as much as the first time.  I’m reposting in the hope that you will read this terrific book, the first by Sarah MacLean.

Title: Nine Rules To Break When Romancing A Rake
Genre: Regency Historical Romance
Author: Sarah MacLean
Publisher: ?
Source: Purchase
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 5
Description from the author’s website:
A lady does not smoke cheroot.
She does not ride astride.
She does not fence or attend duels.
She does not fire a pistol, and she never gambles at a gentlemen’s club.
Lady Calpurnia Hartwell has always followed the rules, rules that have left her unmarried—and more than a little unsatisfied. And so she’s vowed to break the rules and live the life of pleasure she’s been missing.
But to dance every dance, to steal a midnight kiss—to do those things, Callie will need a willing partner. Someone who knows everything about rule-breaking. Someone like Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston—charming and devastatingly handsome, his wicked reputation matched only by his sinful smile.
If she’s not careful, she’ll break the most important rule of all—the one that says that pleasure-seekers should never fall hopelessly, desperately in love
**
There is nothing I love more in a Historical Romance then fabulous writing and a yummy plot. Well…perhaps a good dose of humor, too. This book has all those and it made for a can’t-put-it-down read.
Callie is the all too respectable young woman who sees her chance for marriage and children fading into the land of lost dreams. She decides if she can’t have what she wants then she will have adventures like the men have. She makes her version of a Regency bucket-list and decides passionate kissing should top the list. Once she starts on the slippery slope of checking off her list, all manner of compromising situations ensue.
This delightful romance is laugh out loud in some scenes and also brought tears to my eyes in other scenes. The author weaves a spell that makes the reader care deeply about Callie and her happiness.
If you trust me, you cannot but delight in this book.
P.S. Lord Ralston, the hero, is the rake in question and don’t we love the bad boys?

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Advance Review- Duke With Benefits by Manda Collins

Title: Duke With Benefits (Studies In Scandal, book #2)

Duke with Benefits

Genre: Historical Romance/ Mystery
Author: Manda Collins
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, June 27, 2017 (preorder available)
Pages: 320
Rating: 4.5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 5
Description from Amazon: Lady Daphne Forsyth is a brilliant mathematician with a burning passion for puzzles. When she learns that the library belonging to her benefactress houses the legendary Cameron Cipher—an encrypted message that, once solved, holds the key to great riches—Daphne is on the case. Unfortunately, her race to unlock the cipher’s code is continually thwarted by a deliciously handsome distraction she hadn’t counted on. . .and cannot resist.
Dalton Beauchamp, the Duke of Maitland, is curious as to why Daphne is spending so much time snooping around his aunt’s bookshelves. He’s even more intrigued by her bold yet calculating manner: She is unapologetic about her secret quest. . .and the fiery attraction that develops between them both. But how can they concentrate on solving a perplexing enigma once the prospect of true love enters the equation?

***
This is the second book in the Studies in Scandal series that was introduced in book #1, Ready Set Rogue. The series deals with four highly intelligent young women who together inherit a country estate from a benefactress who believes in their bluestocking leanings. To keep their inheritance the women must live at the estate for a year.
Daphne Forsyth has an inability to tell a white lie, she takes most everything spoken literally, which often causes others to have hurt feelings. This distresses Daphne since she is really a nice young woman who does not mean to hurt her friends. Dalton finds her entertaining and tries to help with her social faux pas. He is also falling in love with her and meets resistance from Daphne who has no desire to marry. She is content to be a bluestocking mathematician. There are evil villains who will stop at nothing to secure the treasure for themselves.
I thoroughly enjoyed this addition to the series. The romance is fun and certainly steamy, the mystery kept me guessing and the characters are well developed. I do think the reader will enjoy this book more if they read the first book in the series. That book gives a true foundation for the mysteries and the young women. However this book can be read as a standalone.
I can recommend this book to all Historical Romance readers. I certainly look forward to the next book in the series.
.

 

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Advance Review- Scandal of The Season by Liana Lefey

Scandal of the season

Title: Scandal of The Season

Genre: Historical Romance/ Regency

Author: Liana Lefey

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Entangled Select Historical, May 30, 2017

Pages: 300

Rating: 4.5

Sexy rating: 4

Violence rating: 4

Description from Amazon:

Five years ago, Lord Sorin Latham fled England’s shores to avoid heartbreak and scandal in the form of one Lady Eleanor Cramley. On returning home, he finds the young miss he used to scold for lack of decorum is now a stunning woman who fires his blood. But he must resist temptation or risk losing his honor as a gentleman and the friendship of those he holds dear, including Eleanor.

Lady Eleanor is determined to be the paragon of propriety Sorin urged her to become. But now that he’s back, the man she once thought of as an older brother makes her long to be anything but proper. She must make Sorin see her as worthy of his heart and his desire without losing his good opinion, or her Season will end in disgrace.

**

A new-to-me author, Liana Lefey, has come up with a very enjoyable friends-to- lovers story.  Sorin and Ellie are each afraid that the other sees them as nothing more than a brother or sister and each is endeavoring to show the other that there is more to their feelings.  However they keep getting it wrong until a villain forces their hand.

This is a most entertaining book from an author that I hope to hear more from.  It is well written, historically accurate and a fun read.  The side characters are well developed with a hint of more books to come.

 

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Advance Review- Charming Ophelia by Rachel Miles

Charming Ophelia

Title: Charming Ophelia (The Muses Salon Series)

Genre: Historical Romance (Novella, e-book)

Author: Rachel Miles

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Zebra, May 30, 2017

Pages: N/A

Rating: 4

Sexy rating: 3

Violence rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

 

Ophelia Elliot has delayed marriage long enough. Now, for the sake of her future, she must choose between three impatient suitors. But she’s determined to use only the most rational of methods to make her decision. And when her dear friend, Sidney Mason, offers to help, how can the discerning debutante resist? Besides, spending time with him is no hardship—his dashing looks and irresistible laughter have delighted her for years. Not that Sidney is a suitable prospect. As a member of Parliament, he’s already married to the state. No matter how chivalrous his attentions, falling in love with him would be most unreasonable . . .

The fact is, Sidney finds Ophelia infuriatingly stubborn—and yet there is no other woman for him. Convincing her that she must marry for love—his love—will be a formidable challenge. So he concocts a clever strategy to expose her suitors’ true natures—and show the strong-willed beauty that when it comes to marriage, it is imperative that she follow her heart—straight into his strong and loving arms.

 

**

 

This is a delightful novella.  The book description gives a true synopsis of the story and the book is entertaining in the ways that Sydney tries to convince Ophelia that there is no other suitor for her hand than he. The “ways” are a bit outlandish but they seem to work. This is a quick and easy, sweet bon-bon of a book.  Sydney is the perfect Hero but I do wonder why Ophelia hasn’t seen his worth before now. I highly recommend this book to all romance readers.

 

 

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Advance Review- The Lady Travelers Guide to Scoundrels and Other Gentlemen by Victoria Alexander

The Lady Travelers Guide

Title: The Lady Travelers Guide To Scoundrels and Other Gentlemen

Genre: Historical Romance/Victorian

Author: Victoria Alexander

Source: free for review from the publisher

Publisher: HQN books, June 1, 2017(preorder available)

Pages: 544

Rating: 3.5

Sexy rating: 5

Violence rating: 4

Description from Amazon:

Really, it’s too much to expect any normal man to behave like a staid accountant in order to inherit the fortune he deserves to support the lifestyle of an earl. So when Derek Saunders’s favorite elderly aunt and her ill-conceived—and possibly fraudulent—Lady Travelers Society loses one of their members, what’s a man to do but step up to the challenge? Now he’s escorting the world’s most maddening woman to the world’s most romantic city to find her missing relative.

While India Prendergast only suspects his organization defrauds gullible travelers, she’s certain a man with as scandalous a reputation as Derek Saunders cannot be trusted any farther than the distance around his very broad shoulders. As she struggles not to be distracted by his wicked smile and the allure of Paris, instead of finding a lost lady traveler, India just may lose her head, her luggage and her heart.

***

We do eventually find the lost Aunt Heloise and that is what kept me finishing the book.  India had a most annoying personality and Derek kept me wondering why he was becoming enamored of this impossible woman.

This is a long book that I kept putting down and picking up again after reading something else. It seemed to just drag for me. Since I was not fond of either the H or the h, I just didn’t care all that much.  Can the author write a pretty phrase? Well of course she can! But that wasn’t enough to keep me interested in the story. This could have been a really good book if only it was shorter, and the protagonists were more likeable.

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