Posted in Book Review, Historical Romance, Regency Romance, Romance

5* #Review – Sophia James -The Cinderella Countess – @MillsandBoon

From rags to riches

By the earl’s side!

Abandoned as a small child, Annabelle Smith has only vague memories of her past. Now living as a healer in London’s poverty-stricken East End, she receives a life-changing visit from the rich and imposing Lytton Staines, Earl of Thornton. He needs a cure for his ailing sister and helping him thrusts Belle into his dazzling life of luxury. But it’s Lytton who makes her world come alive!

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

An elegant Earl is not the usual visitor at Miss Anabelle Smith’s rented accommodation It is her reputation as a healer that draws him to her, but when they meet there is instant chemistry. The plot is fast paced and has clever twists, which gradually reveal the puzzle of Anabelle’s former life.

The romance is charming. Lytton is an honourable character and Anabelle, self-reliant and kind, they deserve their happy ending, but are their backgrounds and the conflicts that befall them too diverse and numerous?

This is the third book in the ‘Gentlemen of Honour’series, but the first one I have read, and it is a good standalone read. However, the characters from previous books, who feature briefly here, make me want to read their stories too,

Romantic, full of secrets and simmering passion this Regency romance is the perfect escape for an hour or two.

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Posted in Book Review

5* Review – Tessa Dare – The Governess Game

The accidental governess…

After her livelihood slips through her fingers, Alexandra Mountbatten takes on an impossible post: transforming a pair of wild orphans into proper young ladies. However, the girls don’t need discipline. They need a loving home. Try telling that to their guardian, Chase Reynaud. The ladies of London have tried—and failed—to make him settle down. Somehow, Alexandra must reach his heart . . . without risking her own.

The infamous rake…

Like any self-respecting libertine, Chase lives by one rule: no attachments. When a stubborn little governess tries to reform him, he decides to prove he can’t be tamed. But Alexandra is more than he bargained for: clever, perceptive, passionate. She refuses to see him as a lost cause. Soon the walls around Chase’s heart are crumbling . . . and he’s in danger of falling, hard.

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

Alex’s supportive group of friends defy convention, preferring to listen to each other, rather than the male-dominated Regency society that surrounds them. Alex’s unusual job gains her entry into society’s most exquisite homes but only as an employee. Alex and Chase met previously at a bookshop, but he doesn’t remember her. However, he wants her for his wards’ governess, despite her lack of skills and social standing. Serendipity ensures he gets his way, but she proves to be a disturbing employee who threatens his dissolute habits.

Alex ‘s caring nature and empathy endear her to the girls. Believable and charming the two girls provide much of the story’s humour and poignancy. Importantly, they catalyse the romance between Alex and Chase. Alex wants Chase to give the girls the parental love they need but getting them the father they need involves constant interaction with the rake whose sense of the ridiculous and sensual expertise endanger her heart.

This lovely story encompasses all the best qualities of Regency romance; humour, historical detail and sensuality intertwine to make an addictive read. The plot showcases other elements of Regency society outside of the ‘Haute Ton’, which gives the story a unique perspective. Alex’s intelligence and tenacity are far more critical in this tale than her looks and social skills.

Escape to Regency London in this absorbing tale, and you may not want to return.

I received a copy of this book from Mills & Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review

Blog Tour: Eva Leigh – From Duke till Dawn – Extract and 4* Review

 

‘It’s not my habit to seduce impoverished widows…’

The Duke of Greyland lost his heart – and a princely sum – to a charming, beautiful and destitute widow who, after one passionate night, vanished without a trace. Cassandra Blair grew up on the city streets, picking pockets to survive. Greyland was a rich mark – to be fleeced and forgotten – only she’d never forgotten him.

Years later, chance brings them together again, in a London gaming hell. Grayland is desperate to have her… never suspecting everything about his lover was a lie. But finding herself in dire financial straits, at risk of losing everything, Cassandra has no choice but to beg the man she betrayed for help.

The proud Duke will assist her under one condition: she doesn’t leave his sight until her debts are paid! But can the real Cassandra – the smart, streetwise survivor – steal his heart all over again?

Book one in the Scandalous Ladies of London series

Amazon UK

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Hot romance, deep emotion and a glimpse into the seedier side of Regency England.

A different trope from the usual Regency romance, this story has some originality, an anti-heroine character rather than an anti-hero. The story creates an interesting relationship between the Duke and the con- artist, but even though she fools him once, Cassandra ultimately needs his help and position to survive, which detracts from her independence.

The Duke of Greyland lacks the arrogance customarily associated with his rank in Regency romance. He has many appealing traits, not least his passionate nature and support of those less fortunate than he. However, he does lack authenticity.

This story scores highly for sensuality, the connection between the Duke and Cassandra is hot, and the love scenes leave little to the imagination. They explain why the Duke acts as he does and their deepening emotional attachment underlines every kiss.

Overall this is a lovely story, which superficially explores the seedier side of Regency England while delivering a passionate love story.

I received a copy of this book from Mills&Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Extract:- Eva Leigh’s  ‘From Duke till ‘Dawn’

Chapter 1

London, England 1817

A woman laughed, and Alexander Lewis, Duke of Greyland felt the sound like a gunshot to his chest.

It was a very pleasant laugh, low and musical rather than shrill and forced, yet it sounded like The Lost Queen’s laugh. Alex could not resist the urge to glance over his shoulder as he left the Eagle chophouse. He’d fancifully taken to calling her The Lost Queen, though she was most assuredly a mortal woman. Had she somehow appeared on a busy London street at dusk? The last time he’d seen her had been two years ago, in the spa town of Cheltenham, in his bed, asleep and naked.

The owner of the laugh turned out to be a completely different woman— brunette rather than blonde, petite and round rather than lithe and willowy. She caught Alex staring and raised her eyebrows. He bowed gravely in response, then continued toward the curb.

Night came on in indigo waves, but the shops spilled golden light in radiant patches onto the street. The hardworking citizens of London continued to toil as the upper echelons began their evening revelries. Crowds thronged the sidewalk, while wagons, carriages, and people on horseback crammed the streets. A handful of pedestrians recognized Alex and politely curtsied or tipped their hats, murmuring, “Good evening, Your Grace.” Though he was in no mood for politeness, responsibility and virtue were his constant companions— had been his whole life— and so rather than snapping, “Go to the devil, damn you!” he merely nodded in greeting.

He’d done his duty. He’d been seen in public, rather than disappearing into the cavernous chambers of his Mayfair mansion, where he could lick his wounds in peace.

The trouble with being a duke was that he always had to do his duty. “You are the pinnacle of British Society,” his father had often said to him. “The world looks to you for guidance. So you must lead by example. Be their True North.”

This evening, before dining, Alex had taken a very conspicuous turn up and down Bond Street, making certain that he was seen by many consequential— and loose-lipped— figures in the ton. Word would soon spread that the Duke of Greyland was not holed up, sulking in seclusion. His honor as one of Society’s bulwarks would not be felled by something as insignificant as his failed marriage suit to Lady Emmeline Birks. The Dukes of Greyland had stood strong against Roundheads, Jacobites, and countless other threats against Britain. One girl barely out of the schoolroom could hardly damage Alex’s ducal armor.

But that armor had been dented by The Lost Queen. Far deeper than he would have expected.

Standing on the curb, he signaled for his carriage, which pulled out of the mews. He tugged on his spotless gloves as he waited and adjusted the brim of his black beaver hat to make certain it sat properly on his head. “Always maintain a faultless appearance,” his father had reminded him again and again. “The slightest bit of disorder in your dress can lead to rampant speculation about the stability of your affairs. This, we cannot tolerate. The nation demands nothing less than perfection.”

Alex’s father had been dead for ten years, but that didn’t keep the serious, sober man’s voice from his mind. It was part of him now— his role as one of the most powerful men in England and the responsibilities that role carried with it. Not once did he ever let frivolities distract him from his duties.

Except for one time . . .

Posted in Book Review

From Duke till Dawn – Eva Leigh- 4* Review

‘It’s not my habit to seduce impoverished widows…’

The Duke of Greyland lost his heart – and a princely sum – to a charming, beautiful and destitute widow who, after one passionate night, vanished without a trace. Cassandra Blair grew up on the city streets, picking pockets to survive. Greyland was a rich mark – to be fleeced and forgotten – only she’d never forgotten him.

Years later, chance brings them together again, in a London gaming hell. Grayland is desperate to have her… never suspecting everything about his lover was a lie. But finding herself in dire financial straits, at risk of losing everything, Cassandra has no choice but to beg the man she betrayed for help.

The proud Duke will assist her under one condition: she doesn’t leave his sight until her debts are paid! But can the real Cassandra – the smart, streetwise survivor – steal his heart all over again?

Book one in the Scandalous Ladies of London series

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

A different trope from the usual Regency romance, this story has some originality, an anti-heroine character rather than an anti-hero. The story creates an interesting relationship between the Duke and the con- artist, but even though she fools him once, Cassandra ultimately needs his help and position to survive, which detracts from her independence.

The Duke of Greyland lacks the arrogance customarily associated with his rank in Regency romance. He has many appealing traits, not least his passionate nature and support of those less fortunate than he. However, he does lack authenticity.

This story scores highly for sensuality, the connection between the Duke and Cassandra is hot, and the love scenes leave little to the imagination. They explain why the Duke acts as he does and their deepening emotional attachment underlines every kiss.

Overall this is a lovely story, which superficially explores the seedier side of Regency England while delivering a passionate love story.

I received a copy of this book from Mills&Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review

A Wedding for the Scandalous Heiress – Elizabeth Beacon 4* Review

 

A stolen kiss from a dashing stranger… at her own betrothal ball!

When Isabella Alstone receives a shockingly passionate kiss from a handsome stranger at her betrothal ball, she scandalously ends her engagement. She is even more surprised when she discovers exactly who the stranger is! Ruggedly striking Wulf FitzDevelin is illegitimate, penniless and her ex-fiance’s half-brother–their match is wholly unsuitable. Yet Isabella cannot escape the burning longing to feel his touch again! 

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

A forbidden kiss, a feisty heiress and a family divided by secrets, make this Regency romance and entertaining read.

With lots of plot twists, a heroine and hero who practically combust when they are in the same place and a scandalous family tragedy, this story is different from the usual Regency romances of debutantes and rakes but still retains a believable historical setting and a lovely conflicted love story.

Isabella’s cruel childhood makes her self-reliant and stubborn, she respects her older siblings advice but knows her mind. Wulf ‘s childhood memories are mostly bad. Shunned by polite society, he lives up to his rakish reputation until his serendipitous meeting with Isabella. Their romance is an enticing mix of innocence and sensuality, but Wulf won’t risk Isabella’s reputation despite her provocation, and their love seems doomed before it takes flight.

A gentle paced story with a few unusual plot twists, one of which remains unanswered, perhaps for another story? I liked the two main protagonists. The cast of family characters adds depth to the story without detracting from its romantic focus. Intertwined with historical detail, which sets the scene but doesn’t slow the pace, it’s perfect if you fancy a romantic Regency tale with a mysterious twist.

I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Newsletter, Sunday Snippet

Summer News and Past Shadows

Newsletter Header Summer 2016

My Summer Newsletter has finally been sent out today, it seems I’m as late, as the Summer is arriving in the UK. 🙂

I’m giving away a paperback copy of The Dangerous Gift randomly drawn on 20 September 2016 – to one of my subscribers. If you haven’t subscribed yet to my seasonal newsletter, click on the image above or here.

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There’s also a  newsletter exclusive excerpt of The Dangerous Gift and my latest novel Past Shadows. 

Past Shadows will hopefully be released later this year, here’s another taster of my  mystery , historical romance with a ghostly twist.

PicMonkey Collage 2

Happy Reading x

Posted in Book Review

4* Review: Love’s Misadventure – Cheri Champagne – Mason Siblings #1

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Historical Blurb

Miss Annabel Bradley refuses to accept life as a spinster. Her many years of pouring greedily over Gothic novels has put her head in the clouds; dreaming and hoping for the love she reads about. She has always held a tendre for her best friend, Lane Mason, seventh Earl of Devon, but she does not want to jeopardize their friendship by telling him about those indecent dreams of hers. Anna, therefore, makes a life-changing decision; she is going to accept the proposal of the next suitor to ask!

Lane Mason is an average aristocrat; absorbed in life in general, and content with his status in society. Amid a frequently occurring moment of self-loathing, Lane shockingly discovers his feelings for Anna. Now armed with the awareness of his love for Anna, Lane decides to perpetrate a devilishly clever scheme. He will pay actors to abduct the two of them in order to give Anna an adventure like the ones she reads in her treasured books.

Lane’s plans go awry, however, when they are kidnapped in truth.

Historical Buy Links

 

Amazon UK

Amazon

Historical My Review

Love's Misadventure (Mason Siblings Series book #1)This story lives up to its title. Well paced, with an exciting plot and authentic, complex characters, typical of Regency society. Carefully interwoven historic details bring to life Regency England’s elaborate balls, strict society rules and preoccupation with eating rich food at every opportunity.
Annabel is not the typical society miss; she is educated and prefers to spend her time reading and playing chess rather than shopping for the latest fashion or fripperies. At odds with this is her feminine desire for children, making marriage necessary.
Lane is not the usual Regency hero, although a Lord, he prefers to spend his time with Annabel indulging her whims for play acting, reading out loud and walks in the garden,
The dynamic between Annabel and Lane is intriguing and therein lays the first misadventure
The love scenes don’t need the dialogue. Sensitively written they portray the heat and emotional involvement between the two main characters without the need for conversation.
The secondary characters, notably Charles and the antagonist are well crafted and in the latter case both depraved and sinister. Even the characters we do not personally meet are interesting, Lane’s sister Katherine interests me and I would love to read her story.
The suspense is good and there are lots of twists. The spy theme is the overarching series theme, so this is left open ended, to be continued in book two, which I am looking forward to reading
I received a copy of this book from Pandamoon Publishing in return for an honest review.

Love’s Misadventure
by Cheri Champagne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Love's Misadventure (Mason Siblings Series book #1) by Cheri Champagne

Cheri Champagne

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5* Review The Passionate Love of a Rake Jane Lark

The Passionate Love of a Rake (Marlow Intrigues, #2)‘The Passionate Love of a Rake’ overflows with sensuous Regency romance.The second in the Marlowe Intrigues this is definitely my favourite so far.

Robert the elder brother of Edward who we met in ‘The Illicit Love of a Courtesan‘ is the passionate rake. A dark, brooding man full of mystery is gradually unravelled by Jane the Dowager Duchess of Sutton, his first love.

This story oozes romance and heartbreak.

Jane’s story reveals the exploitation of women in Regency society. Finally free of her cruel, aged husband she finds his son determined to extract the fortune his father left her by whatever means he can.

The depth of the depravity Jane experienced combined with what she sees as Robert’s abandonment of her when she needed him most ensures the story is rife with emotional conflict.

Robert’s perceptions change as the story develops and he realises why Jane rejects him even if her body cannot.

The story is effortless to read, pure escapism with plenty of excellent supporting characters to hold your interest aside from the passionate romance between Jane and Robert.

The political nature of the society during this time is well described as is the indiscriminate censure it dealt out to those out of favour.

If you are looking for something to warm the winter evenings ‘The Passionate Love of a Rake’ is perfect.

I received a copy this book from Harper Collins HarperImpulse via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Passionate Love of a Rake by Jane Lark

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Passionate Love of a Rake (Marlow Intrigues, #2)

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5* Review: The Illicit Love of a Courtesan Jane Lark

The Illicit Love of a Courtesan (Marlow Intrigues, #1)‘The Illicit Love of a Courtesan’ is Ellen’s poignant battle to overcome the abuse she suffered after husband’s death at Waterloo. Her emotional rebirth necessitates self-forgiveness and trust of others before she accepts the love which will restore her humanity and self-worth. Numerous obstacles plague her life in the form of cruel men and society’s unforgiving strictures. To find her happy ever after she must harness her fears and conquer these.

Edward a second son has lost his life motivation after the return of his elder brother to reclaim his legacy which has prospered under Edward’s stewardship. Wiling his time away in a notorious gaming hell he notices and ultimately has an intimate liaison with Ellen a courtesan who he wins for a couple of hours when he calls her protector Gainsborough out for cheating.

The passion ignites between them and even though she belongs to another Edward cannot forget her. He seeks her out and they enjoy and illicit week of passion whilst her protector is away. On Gainsborough’s return he threatens Ellen with her worst nightmare and she runs to Edward the only one who can save her.

Full of angst this story draws you in as soon as the gravity of Ellen’s situation is evident. Edward is a true hero willing to protect his lady against all evils and able to forgive her even when she lies.

The supporting cast of characters are interesting and I look forward to the next in the series. ‘The Passionate Love of a Rake’

‘The Illicit Love of a Courtesan’ is an emotional romantic story which gives an excellent insight into the vulnerability of young women in Regency society.

The Illicit Love of a Courtesan by Jane Lark

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The Illicit Love of a Courtesan (Marlow Intrigues, #1)

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4* Review: The Devil’s Thief Samantha Kane

The Devil's Thief (The Saint’s Devils, #1)Set in Regency England ‘The Devil’s Thief’  is the first in the Saints’ Devils series. It is a sensuous, amusing, exciting story which features Alasdair Sharp the first of the Saint’s Devils to reform.

Alasdair has no desire to change his ways until he finds a thief in his bedchamber intent on stealing the Stewart Pearl a priceless family heirloom. Inexplicably drawn to the young woman he discovers Alasdair offers her the pearl for a night in his bed.

Julianna Harte accepted in Regency society although her formative years were difficult decides to steal the Stewart Pearl in an impulsive moment. Careful to hide her true self from the world she maintains a low profile. Alasdair barely acknowledges her presence when their paths cross in society and his thoughtless attitude towards her is part of the reason she steals the pearl.

The fiery relationship between Julianna and Alasdair dominates the story. The many sensual encounters between the two are hot but integral to their emotional journey.

The pacing of the story and the plot’s twists ensure an interesting read. The descriptions and characters of criminal life in Regency London are well written and create an atmospheric, sinister setting. Notable characters are Hil and Templeton who Alasdair enlists to help him retrieve the pearl and Wiley the teenage thief with a golden heart who makes this story his own.

A sensual Regency romance with a strong plot and fascinating characters an excellent way to brighten the journey to work or while away a Sunday afternoon.

‘I received an ARC from Random House Publishing Group Loveswept via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review’.

The Devil’s Thief by Samantha Kane

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Devil's Thief (The Saint’s Devils, #1)

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