Saturday, December 31, 2011

How to Dance with a Duke by Manda Collins

What a delightful, entertaining debut!  I was first drawn to the lovely cover and then when I read the blurb I was intrigued as it sounded a bit different than all the regencies out there so I was more than happy to dive in.

Miss Cecily Hurston is determined to clear her ailing fathers name of murder by gaining access to the elusive Egyptian Club, obtaining his journals and decoding them (as she is a mastermind at codes).  Only one small problem....she is female and the club is only for males and their spouses.  So what is a wallflower (who is stuck with the unflattering nickname of A Ugly Duckling along with her two cousins) and bluestocking to do?  Find a husband that won't mind her scholarly pursuits and get inside that club.  But another small problem arises and that is in the form of Lucas Dalton, Duke of Winterson.

Winterson also has an agenda that includes Cecily's father but he is on the other side of the fence.  Winterson's brother, Hurstons assistant, has been missing ever since the last excavation and Hurston seems to be the only one that knows what could have happened to him.  Since Hurston is ill and unable to communicate, Winterson also wants the journals to dig for clues for his brothers whereabouts and when Cecily's plans become know to him, he reluctantly agrees to help her sift through the eligible men.  There is, naturally, a problem with that as our couple already has quite an attraction for each other and Winterson has a hard time imagining another man with this bossy, clever, headstrong female.

Overall, this truly was a delightful book!  I was drawn to Cecily from the first page and drawn to the sparks that flew between Cecily and Lucas right away as well.  Cecily has a wall built up around her from a previous heartbreak so her back and forth attitude with Lucas was a bit frustrating and I wished Cecily would have just left her guard down for good instead of toying with Lucas and his feelings one to many times.  I really enjoyed how Lucas, a wounded war hero who did not expect to inherit his title, seemed to take life in stride and was a bit proper until he meet Cecily and he slowly let some of that properness abate and let love in.  You can just feel the love that grows between these two and you truly see how it affects Lucas and how it finally affects Cecily.  The mystery aspect surrounding Lucas' brother and her father kept me flipping the pages and it took me a bit to piece it all together and I was still surprised by a few curveballs thrown in.   For a debut I was very happy with the mix of romance and mystery, neither seemed to be overshadowing the other and it blended together into a wonderful, sexy romance.  If you are looking for a historical romance that has a lovely romance that grows over time, mixed with some interesting settings among the excavation world in London and a bit of mystery to keep you flipping the pages, Manda Collins has delivered a winner!  I know I can not wait for the next two books in the series :)  4 stars

I won an ARC of this book from Ms Collins off of Twitter.  Thanks so much!!

Ugly Ducklings series
How to Romance a Rake (Ugly Ducklings #2)
        July 31st

How to Entice an Earl   Spring 2013

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Most Antcipated for 2012

Ok, looking into the new year here are my 5 most anticipated traditionally published books:

Thief of Shadows (out July 1st) is finally Winter's story and as he has been so mysterious and quite for the most part until now, I can't wait to see how it plays out with the seemingly opposite Isabel. Ok, fine I can't wait for the next in the series either but since that says it has a publication of Dec 31st it will have to tag on to this one (Lord of Darkness).

I have adored all of Sarah MacLeans books so far and I am sure that A Rogue By Any Other Name will be another one added to my keeper cover (I mean, look at that cover!). This one releases on February 28th and I am beyond excited that I have it from Netgalley and get to read it a bit early. But I already have my paperback copy preordered :)

I don't read too many contemporaries lately but one author that is still on my auto-buy list is the talented Julie James and we can finally get Sawyer-look-alike Kyle's story on April 3rd in About That Night.

Mad about the Earl (Ministry of Marriage, #2)A Duchess to Remember (Ministry of Marriage, #3)
I know this is two books but since Mad about the Earl comes out in a few days on January 3rd, I also wanted to add A Duchess to Remember which will release on June 26th. I really enjoyed Christina Brooke's first historical and can't wait to see what happens next in the Ministry of Marriage series.

And finally I have The Rogue Pirate's Bride (out Feb 7th and I will be reading soon thanks to Netgalley and Ms Galen!).  Shana Galen instantly became an auto buy author for me with Lord and Lady Spy and I know this book has been greatly anticipated since it is the third in a trilogy so I can't wait to start it.  I believe she is working on something for later in the year as well and that will be on my anticipated list as well :)

As you may have noticed I said those were my traditionally published....that is because I have a few self-published authors that I am also eagerly awaiting and here are my top choices for them:

First up is two books from Lila Dipasqua. Undone will be out April 4th and is her first book through self publishing and I love the cover. I have loved everything I have read from her so I can't wait for this one!

But perhaps the one I am most anticipating is this one. Three Reckless Wishes (Sept 5th) follows A Midnight Dance (which I LOVED and left us with a bit of a cliffhanger) so I am just itching to read this one!!

My next author that I can't wait for their self published books is Ashley March who will be writing as Elise Rome starting in the new year.  She already has six books listed in the system and I think she will be doing some set in the 1920s so that should be fun!  Ashley is a great author who communicates so well with her readers and I adore her for that and I can't wait to see what the new year brings us from her! :)

The Governess Affair is the start of a new series from Courtney Milan and is a novella so I hope this means we can expect at least one full length novel as well :)  Release date to be determined.

So, these are all my choices for the new year.  What are you most looking forward too?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Favorite Books of 2011

Wow, I can't believe the year is almost over already!  According to I read over 150 books which I am pretty pleased about (this includes audiobooks and novellas).  I don't think I am going to try for too much more than that next year as it seems it takes me two to three days to read a book.  I sooo wish I could read a book a day :)  Anyways, here are some of my favorites that I read this year (these are what I read this year and may have been published sooner) and are not in any particular order and garnered a 4 1/2 to 5 star rating from me.

UnraveledThe Making of a Duchess (The Sons of the Revolution, #1)How the Marquess Was Won (Pennyroyal Green, #6)The Duke Is Mine (Happily Ever Afters, #3)Scandalous Desires (Maiden Lane #3)Always a Temptress (The Drake's Rakes #3)Seduction of a Highland Lass (McCabe Trilogy,  #2)Romancing the CountessUnclaimed (Turner, #2)Lord and Lady SpyA Midnight DanceSeason for TemptationViscount Breckenridge to the RescueHeiress in LoveTo Seduce A Sinner (Legend of the Four Soldiers, #2)Unlocked (Turner, #1.5)Silk Is for Seduction (The Dressmakers, #1)Midnight's Wild PassionA Lady's WishA Lot Like Love (FBI, #2)Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart (Love By Numbers, #3)
Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)New York to Dallas (In Death, #33)Holly Lane (Destiny, #4)

Lots of good ones for me this past year! (And lots of pretty covers~) What were some of your favorites this year?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

New Cover

Sigh, look at the upcoming cover for My Lady Rival by Ashley March and due out May 1st.  So pretty!  Can't wait for this one :)

And here are a couple stepbacks for two more titles I am eagerly awaiting. First is the stepback from Tessa Dare's A Week to Be Wicked (due out March 27th) and she revealed on the Ballroom Blog she is so exicted to have a true stepback! And I agree :)

And here is the stepback for a book I am dying to read like yesterday, Thief of Shadows which doesn't come out until July...sigh.

Well, I hope you all have a wonderful holidays! I probably won't be on too much so I am just reading a few books for me and will get back to my ARCs in about a week (since once I read a book I tend to forget parts of it lol)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Ruthless Prince by Gaelen Foley

Book four in the Inferno Club, best enjoyed read in order but could be read as a standalone.

~~Drake, Earl of Westwood was captured by the evil Promethean group and tortured beyond reason but never gave up his fellow members of the Inferno Club.  Now he is on a dangerous mission all on his own and has no time for his childhood friend appearing and causing havoc with him and his plans.  Drake is dark and mysterious but generous and not afraid to admit his feelings but has to hide so much behind a mask to protect him and Emily.

~~Emily is the kind of heroine you just have to love.  She is bold, clever and unwavering in her love for Drake.  I loved how our first meeting of Emily she is prepared to fight all the men with her bow and arrow (ok fine my first thought was Katniss!  Hunger Games!  I can't wait for the movie! but I got over that quickly).  She follows Drake without a second thought because she knows she has to fight for the man she loves and everyone else seems to have given up on him and she never will.

~~Their love.  Drake and Emily have a very powerful, moving love for each other that is just wonderful to read and experience.  I loved how there was no tip toeing around the love, that they just admitted to it after all these years.  After all, a gameskeeper daughter and the future Earl are not evenly matched in society but Emily and Drake are evenly matched in spirit and determination.  The only shadow on their love is Drake and his instance on carrying out his plan and in the process, he has to leave Emily mostly in the dark in order to protect her.  This causes some confusion for Emily but her support stays strong.

~~Names...When there are so many characters, especially males, I always get a bit confused when the author changes between the title surname, the first name and in some cases the last day.  I found this to be a bit true in this book as there are five males in the Inferno Club plus numerous men in the Promethean clan so I got easily confused and it threw a small hitch in my reading.

Overall, I thought this was a great ending for Drake, whose story has been building up from the previous books.  This book is full of danger and excitement and passion with a story you soon won't forget.  I thought the final climatic scene was excellent and I could just feel the hope and heartbreak stretching all the characters nerves taught.  I would have liked the epilogue to have been about Drake and Emily and not a set up for the next book but thats just because I wanted to see more of our couple together out of the Promethean house and happy :)    A very satisfactory 4 stars.

A couple sigh-worthy quotes

He shook his head, and said in a strangled tone, "You are too good for me.:
"I was meant for you."

"I love you."
"Never stop.  You are air and light and water to me"

I received this eARC from Avon via and the quotes are subject to change in final version

The Inferno Club
Can be read as standalone but best enjoyed in order
My Wicked Marquess (Inferno Club, #1)My Dangerous Duke (Inferno Club, #2)My Irresistible Earl (Inferno Club, #3)

Monday, December 19, 2011

New covers!

Here are some newish covers I noticed this week while out and about cyberworld.

Seduction of Lady X is book three in the series The Secrets of Hadley Green and I'm loving the blue against the purple.  It releases March 27th.
I'm not sure if this is book two following Samantha Grace's debut novel but I believe it is. Lady Amelia's Mess and a Half releases on June 1st and I'm really looking forward to it!
How to Romance a Rake is book two in Manda Collins Ugly Ducklings series (love the series name!) and this cover goes together very nicely with her debut book. Look for it on July 31st.
Well, this cover has grabbed my attention! You don't see much orange and after seeing the summary of the storyline, I am quite anxious to read this debut. I see it is up on Netgalley so if my time allows, I may grab it. This one releases April 1st.
The Princess and the Peer is the start of a Princess Brides trilogy and I have yet to read anything my Tracy Anne Warren and since I love anything with royalty in it, I hope to read this one :) I love the cover as well and we should see it on April 3rd.
A Gentleman Says "I Do" is book five in The Rogues' Dynasty series and I'm loving the red and the book summary. This one releases May 1st.
The Duchess of Love looks to be getting started with Bedding Lord Ned on June 5th. It also appears there will be a enovella called The Duchess of Love on April 24th to give us a little taste.

So what, if any, covers grabbed your attention?  Any new books added to your wishlist?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Lady Awakened by Cecilia Grant

Well, I have been wanting to read this book for a long time it seems.  First I was drawn to the gorgeous cover (although the modes hair color is wrong and I do believe Ms Grant acknowledged that but its still pretty) then I was drawn to the interesting sounding plot.  So when I saw this up on Netgalley I grabbed it and happily dove in.  It started off great but then the middle dragged a bit too much for me.  Thankfully the ending picked back up and it finished out strong.  Here are some of my thoughts. . .

~~Martha Russell is newly widowed and when the terms of her late husbands will become known, she is desperate to keep the estate for some pretty selfless reasons.  She comes up with the idea to hire a lover for a month in a desperate attempt to get pregnant and pass the child off as her late husbands and hopefully keeping control of the estate.  The resulting actions portray Martha as a cold woman who is very intent on her one purpose and has no room for pleasure so for most of the book it seems a bit clinical.  But like I said, her reasons are truly selfless so I did warm to Martha a bit in the beginning but it took almost until the end for me to truly like her.

~~Theophilus Mirkwood has just been given a set down by his father for his rather frivolous lifestyle and when the unassuming Martha proposes her plan to him, he accepts as he is in need of funds due to the fact his father has cut him off.  But he is quickly met with the glacier wall of Martha and it takes a whole lot for that wall to finally thaw and for him to teach her the true delights of the bed.  Theo was fun and I really enjoyed him during his scenes.  He has a natural charm with his tenants but still bungles that up from time to time and Martha is the perfect counterpart to that.  Theo is extravagant in his life and unconstrained yet generous and as a result, enjoyable to read.

~~The secondary characters add a nice balance of normalcy to this book.  There is alot of talk about opening a school and Martha is almost like their champion to help all the underprivileged boys and girls get some education.  But on the flip side of that...I almost felt like there was a bit too much talk about the poor and their needs and found myself skimming bits of it.  It was great to see both Martha and Theo develop proper relationships with their tenants and come up with a solution that would benefit both. 

Overall I liked this book but I didn't love it as much as I hoped.  I really struggled with the first half and felt like the pacing was a bit slow for me.  Miranda is unfortunately compared to a corpse for her lack of response during all the intimate moments and I feel like that is sort of a decent comparison for her.  Her heart was in the right place but she would not open her mind to Theo and I just wished that had happened a bit sooner.  It really picked up halfway through though and I really enjoyed the ending.  The writing was good and seemed to flow well and I chuckled a few times, which is always a bonus.  This is Cecilia Grants debut novel, and though I struggled,  I am looking forward to more as I am sure she has a wonderful career ahead of her!  3 1/2 stars

Couple of quotes that stood out for me

"Why me?  I suppose you've heard I'll rut anything that moves"

" suits you.
I should say so.  A plain, solid name.
If you wish it to be.  Or music, if you prefer.  All composed of breath and murmur, and sounds that never stop until you want them to."

I received this eARC from Bantam via