Category Archives: Books Historical Romance

Recent Release Review- House of Cads by Elizabeth Kingston

House of Cads

Title: House of Cads (Ladies of Scandal, book #2)
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Elizabeth Kingston
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services, April 2018
Pages: 338
Rating: 4
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 0
Description from Amazon:

Vivez la vie pleinement…Live life to the fullest.

That’s always been Marie-Anne de Vauteuil’s motto. As a Frenchwoman of highly questionable upbringing, she was shunned by genteel society when her fiancé died years ago, leaving her a penniless, fallen woman. Almost married, almost a widow…She retreated to an isolated village where no one knows or cares about her sordid past. And with no one to answer to, she will do as she pleases, including eating cake until her corset strings pop if she so chooses. But then, an invitation to London on a mission of mercy from the very family that cast her aside lands Marie-Anne back in society—and into the arms of a man who can be nothing but trouble.

When life gives you lemons…Make petit fours.

Wealthy American businessman Mason is a) accidentally engaged, b) desperate to get out of it, and c) neither wealthy nor a businessman. Marriage is the last thing on his mind. Money, however, is always of utmost importance. He’s only in London to gather material for the gossip pamphlets he illustrates, his scheme to make as much money as he can before he’s found out and skips town. But when he meets the irresistible Marie-Anne, she makes him rethink his life as a fraud, and for once consider his true talent as an artist. Her carefree attitude about life in general—and sex in particular—has Mason hoping for something he never believed possible: A proper life with a not-so-proper wife.
**
I confess to liking Kingston’s Fallen Lady (book #1 in this series) a bit more than this offering but this is still a not-to-be-missed book. The author’s lyrical prose, perfectly nuanced characterization and wit bring to life the Regency era as well as a rapscallion hero and a French free thinker. There are a few slow bits but the sexual tension is just ramped up in those times. This is a standalone book. Savor this one.

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Release Day Review-Never Deceive A Viscount by Renee Anne Miller

Never Decieve A Viscount

Title: Never Deceive A Viscount ( The Infamous Lords, book#2)
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Renee Anne Miller
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Zebra Shout, May 29, 2018
Pages: 336
Rating: 4
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 4
Description from Amazon:

Clearly, Emma Trafford’s new neighbor is a lady killer—but is the scoundrel with the scar capable of murder? Emma can barely contain her precocious younger sister, Lily—the child swears she spied their neighbor engaged in foul play in his Bloomsbury love nest. But when Lily goes too far searching for “evidence,” Emma must save the imp by distracting Simon—with an all-consuming kiss rife with danger and desire . . .

Simon Marlton, Viscount Adler doesn’t know which is more infuriating: that an anonymous intruder set his soul on fire and left a deep longing in her wake . . . or that during their encounter his signet ring, a token of his painful past, went missing. With the memory of a faint scent of paint spirits and the knowledge that his neighbor Emma is a portraitist, Simon sets out to capture his thief. He draws Emma into a flirtatious game, commissioning the talented lass to paint him—and enticing them both to reveal their whispered suspicions and deepest
secrets . . .

**
Lily is a child with a vivid imagination and she doesn’t obey her older sister, Emma, so all manner of hijinks ensues. Simon wants his signet ring back so he is following clues that lead him to Emma and Lily. Emma has his ring that Lily took, but doesn’t want Simon to know. Can she return it without his finding out?

A Viscount is falling for his portraitist and she for him. This is a fun and comfy book to curl up with.

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Advance Review- It’s All About The Duke by Amelia Grey

It's All about the Duke

Title: It’s All About The Duke: The Rakes of St. James, book #3
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Amelia Grey
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, May 29, 2018
Pages: 352
Rating: 4
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 0
Description from Amazon:

Nearing thirty, the Duke of Rathburne is finally ready to make amends for the wager that caused him and his best friends such scandal—but taking on a ward who needs a husband is a feat he’s not sure he can manage. The last he saw of Miss Marlena Fast, she was a spirited little ruffian, not the sort of bride most bachelors on the marriage mart sought. But one glance at the lovely lady she has become is enough to convince him otherwise…
Orphaned young and shuffled from family to family, Marlena counts on her fierce independence and quick wits to keep herself content. Being the responsibility of a notoriously wicked duke who upended so many lives is an unexpected challenge when she realizes he arouses her decidedly feminine desires. Marlena must be careful. She has her own scandalous secret to protect. If he finds out, will it shatter her chances of a happily-ever-after with the notorious rake?
**
Cute and coincidental, that is how I view this book. I enjoyed Marlena and her BFF Eugenia and even some of Eugenia’s fainting whenever she saw the duke. That this consummate Rake had an epiphany and became an honorable gentleman who could sponsor a ward who is in her twenties…well, that was a stretch. Okay, now you think I didn’t like the book but that is not true. Ms. Amelia Grey can write circles around most others and give you laughs one minute and have you tearing-up the next. This was a most enjoyable Historical Romance, cute and coincidental.

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Recent Release Review- The Luck of the Bride by Janna MacGregor

The Luck of the Bride

Title: The Luck of The Bride (Cavensham Heiresses Series, book #3)
Genre: Historical Romance/ Regency
Author: Janna MacGregor
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, May 1, 2018
Pages: 384
Rating: 4
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 0
Description from Amazon:

She’s leaving nothing up to chance. Not even love…
March Lawson is an orphan who, for the past eight years, has struggled to raise her siblings on a meager allowance. Most women March’s age would be picking out ball gowns for the upcoming season. But March’s focus is not on finding a husband. First, she must devote her energies to just one man: the coldhearted skinflint who refuses to release her inheritance.
Michael Cavensham, the Marquess of McCalpin, is not a heartless man. When he learns that Miss Lawson has been forging his name to procure funds, he can’t bring himself to have her arrested—not when the bold-faced embezzler is so enchantingly beautiful. Instead, McCalpin agrees to visit her home to assess the situation more closely. March has no choice but to accept. But how can she manage the handsome trustee who controls her purse strings—when he tugs at her heart strings as well?

**
Filled to over flowing with heartwarming characters we settle in for a feel good novel of a certain Happily Ever After. That is, as long as the H & h prove that they are not their own worst enemy. But there is an enemy, cousin Rupert is villain enough for them and causes a rift that may tear them apart.

This is a heartwarming story that will give the reader feel-good vibes. I enjoyed it but I did think that the impact of scandal in the 19th century was given little credence. I do recommend it for the delightful story and characters.

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Recent Release Review- Someone To Care by Mary Balogh

Someone to Care

Title: Someone To Care (A Westcott Novel, book #4)
Genre: Historical Romance/ Regency
Author: Mary Balogh
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Berkley, May 1, 2018
Pages: 384
Rating: 4.5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 0
Description from Amazon:

Once the Countess of Riverdale, Viola Kingsley throws all caution to the wind when adventure calls in the form of a handsome aristocrat. . . .

Two years after the death of the Earl of Riverdale, his family has overcome the shame of being stripped of their titles and fortune–except for his onetime countess, Viola. With her children grown and herself no longer part of the social whirl of the ton, she is uncertain where to look for happiness–until quite by accident her path crosses once again with that of the Marquess of Dorchester, Marcel Lamarr.

Marcel Lamarr has been a notorious womanizer since the death of his wife nearly twenty years earlier. Viola caught his eye when she herself was a young mother, but she evaded his seduction at the time. A prize that eluded him before, she is all the more irresistible to him now although he is surprised to discover that she is as eager now for the excitement he offers as he is himself.

When the two defy convention and run away together, they discover that the ties of respectability are not so easily severed, and pleasure can ensnare you when you least expect it. . . .

**

I love how Ms. Balogh can bring the Regency period to life and give us such superb characterizations. We sympathize with Viola’s anxiety and choices, and we understand Marcel even if we disagree with his choices. We become totally invested in both the H & h.
We are given cameo appearances by Viola’s extended family that brings us up to date on their lives. In depth looks at Marcel’s children and family round out a very large cast of characters. At times so many characters can be a bit overwhelming but their appearance in the novel is necessary to understand Viola and Marcel’s dealings.

This is the fourth book in the A Westcott Novel series and can standalone but I do encourage you to read the previous books in the series for a more complete understanding of Viola and her family.

(Isn’t that a beautiful cover? So classy, just like the author.)

 

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Recent Release Review- A Duke Like No Other by Valerie Bowman

A Duke like no other

Title: A Duke Like No Other (Playful Brides Series, book#9)
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Valerie Bowman
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: St. Martins Press, May 2018
Pages: 368
Rating: 3
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 5
Description from Amazon:

First comes love, then comes marriage. Unless it’s the otherway around. . .
General Mark Grimaldi has sacrificed everything for his military career, working his way through the ranks without the benefit of a nobleman’s title. Now, his years of dedication are about to pay off—with an offer for a prestigious promotion to Home Secretary. There’s only one condition: Mark must be married. Aside from the small matter of not actually wanting to be wed, Mark faces another troubling problem: he already has a wife.
Nicole Huntington Grimaldi has spent ten contented years in France without her husband—and without regret. When Mark asks her to return to London and play the part of his beloved wife, she sees her chance. But neither of them is prepared for news that will throw Mark’s future into chaos…nor the undeniable desire they’ve rekindled.
**
I have been a huge fan of this series but this book was just all wrong for me. Now you might be okay with the background of the couple being told in flashbacks but those just annoy me and take me away from the interesting part of the story. I liked the way the book started off with Mark seeking his estranged wife so he could get the promotion of his dreams and Nicole agreeing to help him if he will give her the child she craves. We can deduce that these two really are fond of each other but because of a misunderstanding they remain estranged. That was a good start and then we are thrown into a murder mystery that affects Mark and the coincidence is rather in your face. It is like the first part of the book didn’t set well with the author so she started an entirely different story keeping Nicole in because she was hanging around waiting to be made enceinte.
Now the book is not a complete bust because the mystery is rather fun. So if You don’t mind flashbacks and abrupt changes in storyline then you are in for a good read.

 

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Release Day Review- A Devil Of A Duke by Madeline Hunter

A Devil of A Duke

Title: A Devil of A Duke (Decadent Dukes Society, book #2)
Genre: Historical Romance Regency
Author: Madeline Hunter
Source: Free for review from the publisher via Amazon Vine
Publisher: Zebra, Apr. 24, 2018
Pages: 352
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 4
Description from Amazon:

HE MAY BE A DEVIL
He’s infamous, debaucherous, and known all over town for his complete disregard for scandal, and positively irresistible seductions. Gabriel St. James, Duke of Langford, is obscenely wealthy, jaw-droppingly handsome, and used to getting exactly what he wants. Until his attention is utterly captured by a woman who refuses to tell him her name, but can’t help surrendering to his touch . . .

BUT SHE’S NO ANGEL EITHER . . .
Amanda Waverly is living two lives—one respectable existence as secretary to an upstanding lady, and one far more dangerous battle of wits—and willpower—with the devilish Duke. Langford may be the most tempting man she’s ever met, but Amanda’s got her hands full trying to escape the world of high-society crime into which she was born. And if he figures out who she really is, their sizzling passion will suddenly boil over into a much higher stakes affair . . .

**
Ah, yes, this may be a predictable Historical Romance but, it has been awhile since I’ve encountered such writing skill. This means I need to return to reading more from Madeline Hunter. The sensuality and sexual tension between Gabriel and Amanda is off the charts. There is deliciously clever dialog as these two play a cat and mouse game. This book is so elegantly written and splendidly entertaining I didn’t want it to end. I also look forward to more from the other two Decadent Dukes, Stratton and Brentworth, in the first and future books of the series. If you want to read a master at character development then look no further. Highly recommended.

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Release Day Review- The Duke Who Ravished Me by Diana Quincy

The Duke Who Ravished Me

Title: The Duke Who Ravished Me (Rebellious Brides, book #4)
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Darcy Quincy
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Loveswept, April 17, 2018 (preorder available)
Pages: ? (Kindle ARC editions do not contain page numbers.)
Rating: 4
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 0
Description from Amazon:

Adam Fairfax, the Duke of Sunderford, happily enjoys a different woman (or two) every night—or he did, until his wards landed on his doorstep. Ever since Sunny took in the seven-year-old twin girls and their prim and proper governess, Isabel Finch, his love life has been a shambles. But, as time goes by, Sunny catches himself getting lost in Isabel’s haughty blue eyes, or following the curves beneath her unbecoming dress. An unexpected kiss ignites a passion that shocks him into realizing how thin the line between love and hate can be.

If Isabel’s hidden past were revealed, she could lose everything. Oddly enough, only when “Sinful Sunny” is near does she feel safe—or safe enough to speak up in defense of the girls. The duke’s decadent lifestyle is a disgrace, and clearly he considers Isabel a nuisance. Still, she can’t help admiring his sculpted cheekbones, strong-cut jaw, and tousled chestnut hair. When their lips meet, it’s almost as if he could kiss the secrets right out of her. Worse, she’s tempted to let him. . . .

**
This book is pretty formulaic to start; Dissipated, haughty Duke, forced to be guardian of young girls, is constantly bickering with their governess. The plain governess is only interested in her charges safety and morality. Then the two find they are attracted to each other. We’ve read this story line before but in the hands of Diana Quincy it becomes something new and very interesting. There are passionate moments and rage filled misunderstandings that all lead to a surprising Happily Ever After.

Side Characters from previous books are involved in the plot but this is definitely readable as a standalone. I enjoyed this Regency romance and can sincerely recommend it to Historical Romance readers.

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Release Day Review- Marry In Scandal by Anne Gracie

Marry In Scandal

Title: Marry In Scandal (Marriage of Convenience, book #2)
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Anne Gracie
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Berkley, April 3, 2018
Pages: 336
Rating: 4.5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 5
Description from Amazon:

Shy young heiress, Lady Lily Rutherford, is in no hurry to marry. She dreams of true love and a real courtship. But when disaster strikes, she finds herself facing a scandal-forced marriage to her rescuer, Edward Galbraith, a well known rake.

Despite his reputation Lily is drawn to the handsome Galbraith. In the gamble of her life, she agrees to marry him, hoping to turn a convenient marriage into a love match.

As heir to a title, Galbraith knows he must wed, so a convenient marriage suits him perfectly. But there is a darkness in his past, and secrets he refuses to share with his tender-hearted young bride. All Lily’s efforts to get close to him fall on stony ground, and in desperation she retreats to his childhood home–the place he’s avoided for nearly a decade.

Must Lily reconcile herself to a marriage without love? Or will Galbraith realize that this warm-hearted, loving girl is the key to healing the wounds of his past–and his heart?

**
Another winner from Anne Gracie. This story just grabs the reader with emotion packed scenes and dialog. There is a heroic intervention by Edward when he saves Lily from kidnappers. But in saving her life he may ruin her reputation. Can this battle-scarred man learn to love? Can loving a man be enough when he doesn’t love you back? This author can bring a story to life with action, adventure, and sensuality. This is a standalone novel in this series.

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Advance Review- The Hellion by Christi Caldwell

The Hellion

Title: The Hellion (Wicked Wallflowers, book #1)
Genre: Historical Romance/ Regency
Author: Christi Caldwell
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Montlake, April 3, 2018
Pages: 295
Rating: 4
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 4
Description from Amazon:

 

Christi Caldwell’s Wicked Wallflowers series burns hot as two rivals meet in the flesh and feel the heat…
Adair Thorne has just watched his gaming-hell dream disappear into a blaze of fire and ash, and he’s certain that his competitors, the Killorans, are behind it. His fury and passion burn even hotter when he meets Cleopatra Killoran, a tart-mouthed vixen who mocks him at every turn. If she were anyone else but the enemy, she’d ignite a desire in him that would be impossible to control.
No one can make Cleopatra do anything. That said, she’ll do whatever it takes to protect her siblings―even if that means being sponsored by their rivals for a season in order to land a noble husband. But she will not allow her head to be turned by the infuriating and darkly handsome Adair Thorne.
There’s only one thing that threatens the rules of the game: Cleopatra’s secret. It could unravel the families’ tenuous truce and shatter the unpredictably sinful romance mounting between the hellion…and a scoundrel who could pass for the devil himself.

**
What happens when a wild-child is thrown together with a hard-as-nails alpha? Sparks fly, venom is spit and the vitriol of hatred is unleashed. That is until the two protagonists get together and turn all of that into lust . We have met Cleopatra Killoran and Adair Thorne in THE SINFUL BRIDES series, previous to this one. They are both products of the London slums, raised by the evil Diggory until they made an escape. Cleo is the sister of Adair’s rival gambling hell owner and there is only mistrust and antipathy between the H/h and also between the gaming hells. It seems that a love match is insurmountable Until the thrilling climax.

I enjoyed this look at Cleopatra, her sisters (heroines of the next books in the series), the seamier side of London and Adair Thorne partner in the Hell and Sin gaming hell. As usual Christi Caldwell has created characters we care about and who jump off the page. The book is infused with adventure, dialog that evokes Cleo and Adair’s cockney origins and sizzling sexual tension. My only dislike is that the antipathy between the H/h went on too long for my taste. I highly recommend this standalone book but encourage you to read the SINFUL BRIDES series to get even a more in depth feel for the St.Giles, London and the world of the gaming hells.

The Vixen (Wicked Wallflowers, book #2) coming in August.

The Vixen

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