Category Archives: Historical Romance

Release Day Review- How To Love A Duke In Ten Days by Kerrigan Byrne

How to love a duke in ten days

Title: How to Love A Duke In Ten Days

Genre: Historical romance/Victorian

Author: Kerrigan Byrne

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, August 27, 2019

Pages: 448

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon:
These men are dark, bold, and brave. And there is only one woman who can bring them to their knees…
Famed and brilliant, Lady Alexandra Lane has always known how to look out for to herself. But nobody would ever expect that she has darkness in her past—one that she pays a blackmailer to keep buried. Now, with her family nearing bankruptcy, Alexandra strikes upon a solution: Get married to one of the empire’s most wealthy eligible bachelors. Even if he does have the reputation of a devil.
LOVE TAKES NO PRISONERS
Piers Gedrick Atherton, the Duke of Redmayne, is seeking revenge and the first step is securing a bride. Winning a lady’s hand is not so easy, however, for a man known as the Terror of Torcliff. Then, Alexandra enters his life like a bolt of lightning. When she proposes marriage, Piers knows that, like him, trouble haunts her footsteps. But her gentleness, sharp wit, independent nature, and incredible beauty awakens every fierce desire within him. He will do whatever it takes to keep her safe in his arms.
**
Yay, a new Kerrigan Byrne series! We have a feisty archeologist, Lady Alexandra who along with her two best friends is hiding a secret from their school days. But someone has discovered the secret and is blackmailing her. Her family is destitute and she can no longer pay the blackmailer. That is when the idea of marrying the Terror of Torcliff becomes a good one. Evil follows Alex and Piers.
This is a great start to a new series. The meeting of Alex and Piers is a perfect start to this original plot. Ms Byrne once again kept me glued to the book, only getting up to refresh my coffee. I wanted Piers to be a bit more terrifying. He was just too easy to love. I loved the independent, accomplished Alexandra. The action and adventure was pitch perfect. Highly recommended.

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Advance Review- The Work of Art by Mimi Matthews

The work of Art

itle: The Work of Art

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Mimi Matthews

Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press, July 23, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 358

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

An Uncommon Beauty…

Hidden away in rural Devonshire, Phyllida Satterthwaite has always been considered more odd than beautiful. But in London, her oddity has made her a sensation. Far worse, it’s caught the eye of the sinister Duke of Moreland–a notorious art collector obsessed with acquiring one-of-a-kind treasures. To escape the duke’s clutches, she’s going to need a little help.

An Unlikely Hero…

Captain Arthur Heywood’s days of heroism are long past. Grievously injured in the Peninsular War, he can no longer walk unaided, let alone shoot a pistol. What use can he possibly be to a damsel in distress? He has nothing left to offer except his good name.

Can a marriage of convenience save Philly from the vengeful duke? Or will life with Arthur put her–and her heart–in more danger than ever?

**
You will not be able to put this book down. It is totally engrossing, romantic, beautifully written and full of intrigue. Arthur and Philly hardly know each other when they are thrust into a marriage of convenience. They have angered a powerful Duke with a wicked reputation. I turned pages to see how our H & h would stay safe and fall in love. There are thriller aspects to this plot that make for rapid page turning. I highly recommend this one to all HR readers. It will go on my Best Reads of 2019 list.

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Coming to Netflix- Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton Series

Bridgerton Series

Our friends over at Willow and Thatch have all the latest ondit on the Bridgerton series coming to Netflix.  Now we don’t know just when, but if Julie Andrews is going to be Lady Whistledown and the narrator…well, I just can’t wait! How about you? There are other cast announcements too.  Sign up for the Willow and Thatch newsletter and I’m sure they will keep us up to date on all Bridgerton happenings.

https://www.willowandthatch.com/cast-announcement-bridgertons-netflix/

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Do You Reread Favorite Books?

Do you reread books? I mean, do you keep a book on your shelf and take it down every few months/years to read again? These are usually books that grab us in some indefinable way. They stir our emotions, define our sense of good creative writing or even teach us something new or remind of us what we already know.

I’m not big on rereading the classics. The only literary classic I can recall rereading is Harper Lee’s TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, although there may have been others. My mind is currently all wrapped around what I’ve been book-devouring for the past few years, which are vampires, romance & mystery.
I’m not too involved with rereading non-fiction. Only one book on my shelf is worn from use and that is Sister Wendy Beckett’s THE STORY OF PAINTING. This one gets hauled out when I’m having museum withdrawal.

I have so many books in my To-Be-Read pile that rereads do take a back seat, but some oldies are just too good to not take a breather with now and then.

Here are a few of my favorite rereads, grouped in genres;
Vampires:
Lynsay Sands’ SINGLE WHITE VAMPIRE– after being introduced to the modern take on vampires by reading the TWILIGHT series; I was thrilled to find Sand’s Argeneau vampire series. They were funny, and sexy. This book was the first I read and led me to the entire series where I simply fell in love with this fun loving vampire family. This one is still my favorite of the series.

Single White Vampire
D.B. Reynolds’ RAPHAEL– I have read this book three, maybe 4, times. It is a wonderful combination of THE GODFATHER (or GOODFELLAS) and very sexy, romantic vampires. The entire Vampire’s In America Series is rereadable for me for I love scary vampires who wreak pheromones. Not to discount the fabulous wordsmithing of Reynolds.

Raphael

Lara Adrian’s MIDNIGHT BREED SERIES– Okay, I have not reread all of these yet but I will because this is the penultimate vampire brotherhood ( sorry J.R. Ward fans). In this series there is lots of action and lots of suspense and LOTS of romance. I just need some free read time to start on these again.

Midnight breed series

Romance:
Linda Howard’s KILL AND TELL-(Romantic Suspense) What can I say, this has one of the longest seductions in any book I’ve read. The over the top Alpha male (like most of Howard’s heroes) is so good that the heroine doesn’t realize she’s been seduced until it is wa-a-ay too late. Add to that delight, the steamy description of the wet New Orleans setting and I am transported. And it has a very suspenseful A+ plot.

 

Historical Romance:
Mary Balogh’s A MATTER OF CLASS– talk about delightful!!! This is one of my favorite Historical Romances and probably the shortest book I’ve read. I can’t say more because I would not want to spoil it for you.

Lisa Kleypas’ Suddenly You- Wow! a perfect book boyfriend in Jack. But let me not forget the stunning Wallflower Series, four books of sheer delight. The Hathaway Series is also totally absorbing.

 

Julia Quin’s Bridgerton Series- A fabulous family with each sibling getting a HEA.

The Duke and I

Mysteries:

I have trouble rereading mysteries because on the second read I already know “whodunit”. But I have read some again because I like the author and I am impatient for their next book. Those would be Harlan Cobin, Charlaine Harris’ Aurora Teagarden series, Kathrine Hall’s The Body in The… series.
**
Perhaps if you pick up one of the books I have mentioned you will get hooked on a few rereads too. Or am I preaching to the choir? Do you have favorite rereads? Tell me about them. Have you reread a book that didn’t hold-up to your expectations?

(Parts of this post is reposted from an earlier post.)

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Release Day Review- A Duke In Need Of A Wife by Annie Burrows

a duke in need of a wife

Title: A Duke In Need Of A Wife

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Annie Burrows

Publisher: Harlequin Historical, Feb. 1, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 288

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 3

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

A search for a duchess…despite his scandalous secret!

Oliver, Duke of Theakstone, needs a duchess, but who will accept his secret illegitimate child? He invites several eligible ladies to his estate to assess their suitability, including infuriating beauty Miss Sofia Underwood. Oliver is a master of cool practicality, so he’s hopeful when he sees the connection between Sofia and his daughter. What scares him is there’s nothing cool or practical about his attraction to Sofia!

**
Some historical Dukes can be so clueless. Oliver is fighting his attraction to clumsy, wild child Sofia and Sofia does not see herself as Duchess material. She is only at this house party because her Aunt Agnes wanted to hob-nob with the hoy-paloy. But Oliver has a secret child that Sofia accidentally meets.

There is nothing unique in this book, we have read it all before but somehow the magic happens with this author. What was ordinary becomes a fun, engrossing read. I can recommend this book to historical romance fans who like a good story with only kisses, no sex.

( Although this cover references the book content, I really don’t like it at all.)

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Audiobook Review- Her Every Wish by Courtney Milan (Novella)

her every wish

Title: Her Every Wish (The Worth Saga 1.5)

Genre: Historical Romance, Novella

Author: Courtney Milan

Narrator: Rosalyn Landor

Publisher: Courtney Milan, May 2016

Source: Purchase

Length: 4 hours, 11 minutes

Rating: Story=5, Narration=5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Audible.com:

Crash has never let the circumstances of his birth, or his lack of a last name, bother him. His associations may be unsavory, but money, friends, and infamy open far more interesting doors than respect ever could. His sole regret? Once lovely, sweet Daisy Whitlaw learned the truth about how he made his fortune, she cut him off.
Daisy’s father is dead, her mother is in ill health, and her available funds have dwindled to a memory. When the local parish announces a charity bequest to help young people start a trade, it’s her last chance. So what if the grants are intended for men? If she’s good enough, she might bluff her way into a future.
When Crash offers to show her how to swagger with confidence, she knows he is up to no good. But with her life in the balance, she’s desperate enough to risk the one thing she hasn’t yet lost: her heart.
**
There is never a problem when Courtney Milan writes a novella. Characterization and plot development is spot on. This is a lovely story of one woman’s struggle with the male dominated society of Victorian England and her struggle for confidence in the face of overwhelming odds. The romance is subtle, with Crash wooing her and Daisy being reluctant. Can they both overcome their misunderstandings? Rosalyn Landor does a wonderful job with both male and female voices. She is not my most favorite of narrators but I must admit that here she shines.

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Audiobook Review- The Proposition by Judith Ivory

the proposition

Title: The Proposition

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Judith Ivory

Narrator: Steven Crossley

Publisher: Recorded Books, March 2009

Source: Purchase

Pages: Audiobook, 13 hours, 29 minutes

Rating: Story= 5, Narration= 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:

Lady Edwina Bollash is a woman of importance and distinction who has never been the object of any man’s affection. However, when she meets Mick Tremore, a tall, handsome young man from the bottommost rung of society, she instantly attracts his attention. As Mick wants desperately to become a gentleman, Edwina decides to transform him into a man with class. From the start, she notices the way he looks at her. But what she doesn’t yet realize is that as much as she is preparing him, he is preparing her for a place in his heart–and in his bed. Narrator Steven Crossley elevates the mounting passion of Ivory’s prose, building tension with every breath and every sensuous word.

***

I have been enjoying my recent subscription to Audible’s Romance Package. This is by a classic author in the Historical Romance genre, Judith Ivory. It is a reversal on the old story of Pygmalion also better known to many as MY FAIR LADY. We meet Mick, a rat catcher in London. Edwina, a linguist and teacher, is charged with turning Mick into a gentleman in time for a Ton ball. Emile and Jeremy Laponte are wagering againist each other as to if Mick can pull off the deception. Edwina has 6 weeks to accomplish the goal.

This is a delightful tale of a spinster who is being wooed by a man from the wrong side of the tracks and how they are so wrong for each other that they can’t envision a way to be together. Steven Crossley does a wonderful job of performing both male and female voices along with various accents. But Judith Ivory’s ability to tell the story and bring to a satisfying conclusion is superb. I can highly recommend this Audiobook.

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Recent Release Review- The Girl With The Sweetest Secret by Betina Krahn

The Girl With The Sweetest Secret

Title: The Girl with the Sweetest Secret
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Betina Krahn
Publisher: Zebra, Nov. 2018
Source: Free for review from the publisher via Amazon Vine
Pages: 320
Rating: 4
Sexy Rating: 5
Violence Rating: 5
Description from Amazon.com:
When Frances Bumgarten encounters a handsome stranger in her kitchen in the middle of the night, her first impulse is to wallop the scoundrel on the head with a bread paddle. And when Frankie discovers he is “The Fox,” a disarmingly arrogant purveyor of gossip among England’s aristocracy, she’s tempted to take a second swing . . .

Never mind that Reynard Boulton, nephew of the Viscount Tannehill, is returning her inebriated uncle safely home. This chiseled intruder has sparked an infuriating physical sensation unlike anything the feisty Nevada silver heiress has experienced. In fact, the noblemen of London are so dull, Frankie’s sworn off marriage entirely. She will, however, help her younger sister win her own love match—even if it means secretly enlisting Reynard’s enquiring mind . . .

But secrets, as Reynard knows too well, can be costly. For Frankie is yet unaware that a villainous duke is scheming to claim her—and ruin him. Soon they’re racing to uncover the truth—and fueling a passion that won’t stay hidden . . .

**
A really good read! This one had me hooked and I got absolutely nothing else done until I finished reading. The characters are well drawn with Reynard deliciously hunky, Frankie sufficiently empowered and the Duke of Ottenberg evil and smarmy. Frankie’s sister Claire was a bit too silly and thus she brought my rating down from a 5 to a 4. Also Claire’s romantic outcome was a bit too coincidental. Frankie and Claire’s mother was over the top as a determined mother out to marry her daughters off to nobility.  But inspite of some minor complaints I found this book delightful.

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Some Thoughts and Some Suggestions: Audiobooks

I have been listening to Audiobooks lately. They are not new to me but during the last few weeks I’ve become quite addicted to them. I tend to like the male narrators much better than the females. That said, Julia Whelan is just astonishing, she is the author and narrator (performer) of the book My Oxford Year. It is truly a terrific book and performance. I have had discussions with audio-listener friends who really love the good female narrators like Rosalyn Landor and Kate Reading but for me they just can’t perform the male voices to my liking.

Now when it comes to the male narrators (performers), Alex Wyndham is the one who gets A+ for his narration of the Lucinda Brandt and Stella Riley books. I also give high marks to Tim Campbell narrating Christi Caldwell books and Nicholas Boulton narrating Laura Kinsale’s Flowers From the Storm. They all do justice to the female voices and can do different voices for all the book’s characters, it is like listening to a play or movie without the visual, of course.

Becoming a member of Audible online is not cheap. It costs $14.95/month and for that you get one free? book and some shorter “Audible Originals”. I have been picking up books at reduced rates by watching for deals bundled with a Kindle book purchase. If you keep your eyes out you can score an audiobook for as little as $1.99, but more often $7.49. That is much less expensive than the $20-$25 cost of many audiobooks.

I recently took advantage of an Audible offer that gives me a 3 month membership for $6.95/month with the option to cancel any time. I’m taking advantage by getting some of my pricey-ist books during this member period.

Here are some of the Historical Romance (and one Contemporary) audiobooks that rate 5-stars with me:

 

 

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Advance Review- Not The Duke’s Darling by Elizabeth Hoyt

Not The Duke's Darling

Title: Not The Duke’s Darling (Greycourt Series Book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance/Mystery

Author: Elizabeth Hoyt

Publisher: Forever, Dec. 18, 2018 (preorder available)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 496

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5
Description from Amazon.com:
Freya de Moray is many things: a member of the secret order of Wise Women, the daughter of disgraced nobility, and a chaperone living under an assumed name. What she is not is forgiving. So when the Duke of Harlowe, the man who destroyed her brother and led to the downfall of her family, appears at the country house party she’s attending, she does what any Wise Woman would do: she starts planning her revenge.

Christopher Renshaw, the Duke of Harlowe, is being blackmailed. Intent on keeping his secrets safe, he agrees to attend a house party where he will put an end to this coercion once and for all. Until he recognizes Freya, masquerading among the party revelers, and realizes his troubles have just begun. Freya knows all about his sins-sins he’d much rather forget. But she’s also fiery, bold, and sensuous-a temptation he can’t resist. When it becomes clear Freya is in grave danger, he’ll risk everything to keep her safe. But first, he will have to earn Freya’s trust…by whatever means necessary.

**
This book gave me head-scratching moments. I just found myself confused about Freya, Wise Women and the Duke’s blackmailer. Like many readers I don’t like “info dumps”, especially in first books of a new series and I’m sure Ms. Hoyt knows that and avoids it, but we are left in the dark for long periods and I would have welcomed some more information about the mystery of Aurelia’s death and also other issues. Coincidences abound, Freya jumps into the Duke’s carriage while out-running bad guys in London and then they are both at the same house party along with another person from their past.

Even though Ms. Hoyt writes well I can’t give this book more than 3-stars. I will read the next in the series because this is a terrific author and I think future books will be better.

 

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