Thursday, February 28, 2013

Seduction of a Highland Warrior by Sue-Ellen Welfonder

Alasdair is a fierce warrior with a love for the glen that runs deep and he's sworn to protect the peace at all costs. His honor is everything to him and he soon finds himself challenging everything he holds dear when his greatest enemies sister captures his heart. Even a year away hasn't diminished his need for her. 

Marjory has loved Alasdair from the moment she first saw him and has set her mind and heart to having him. She's as fierce a woman as he is a warrior so there is bound to be some head butting here. Yet her brother is determined to see her wed to a Viking, anyone but Alasdair, and she does everything in her power to shoot down each suitor. 

These two are constantly needling each other even as their hearts are begging them to give in to the love they feel. Just as soon as they do, treachery strikes and threatens the peace in the Glen of Many Legends. It all comes to a head and where Alasdair thinks the trouble lies turns out to be his salvation. There are several scenes that stand out to me. One had me howling with laughter and involves a spider outside of the joy woman tents. One is the entire 4th chapter in the book where I was on the edge of my seat with anxiety as I read it and I'll leave that to you to find out when you read the story. The other is the moments in the caves both when they're alone and when there is a celebration. The caves are simply amazing and were brought to life through Sue-Ellen's wonderful writing.

This has been another fantastic read with touches of legend and a ghostly couple who made my heart cry for them as they found their peace. Sue-Ellen painted medieval Scotland so clearly for me that my senses came alive while reading. There were many a scene that had me laughing loudly leaving me with lingering smiles. I will miss the Glen of Many Legends and the people who play a part in this series whom I came to love. I'm sure I'll get a glimpse of them in the future and look forward to that day. This series of highland warriors and the women they love will stay with me for a long time to come!

ARC provided by publisher

**Reviewed by Leah**

Highland Warriors series
Sins of a Highland Devil (Highland Warriors, #1)Temptation of a Highland Scoundrel (Highland Warriors, #2)

Temptation in a Kilt by Victoria Roberts

Royal Court, England, 1603

Laird Ciaran MacGregor of Glenorchy spots Rosalia  in the great hall as her mother is disparaging her and then pinches her before flying off across the room. Their gazes meet as she slips off to go find her father. Her father introduces her to Lord Dunnehl but she can't seem to concentrate on the conversation they are having. Her eyes keep going back to Ciaran. When she asks her father who the man is, her mother berates her telling her it doesn't matter who he is, they will be leaving for home to prepare for an important guest, the Lord Dunnehl. 

Once home she is informed that she is to marry Dunnehl who is pure evil itself. This marriage will fill the family coffers again and when she refuses, she is beaten badly by her mother. She decides to run off in the middle of the night and make her way to her grandmother's home in the Highlands.  She binds herself and cuts her hair to look like a boy and then gathers just enough to get her out the door and onto her beloved horse, Noonie, and although she is in intense pain from the beating she takes flight. After several hours she stops for a rest and passes out from the pain. She's found by Ciaran's men in a clearing in the woods. They take what they think is a lad back to camp and it's only when Ciaran is checking for broken bones that he finds she is a lass. He sends his brother, Aiden, on ahead and talks her into letting him take her to the closest village to see a healer. While there, she accepts the fact that she can't make it to her grandmothers this time of year. He takes her home to Glenorchy with him and promises to take her to her Grandmother in Glengarry as soon as the weather permits. In the meantime, Dunnehl arrives for his bride to find she's gone and his men take off along with one of her father's men, James who is like a brother to her, to find her. They are found on the way to Glenorchy and James and Ciaran stage it as if James was overtaken along with the others and left tied so as to throw off Rosalia's escape.

When they arrive at Glenorchy, They find that Aiden's wife, Aisling, has had her baby. Beathag, his leman, is dismissed after she shows herself in front of Rosalia and she vows vengence upon Ciaran. They are finding themselves drawn to each other but Ciaran refuses to admit the love he feels for her because of a vow he made to his father to see his brother Declan settled before he turns to his own needs. Those feelings are put to the test as Rosalia and Aisling and her son are kidnapped by the Campbells who have sworn to destroy the MacGregors. A rescue is planned and a clan fight ensues where help comes from an unexpected source. After the rescue they both find they cannot deny what is in their hearts and plan to marry. 

Rosalia is a woman who has been beaten and mistreated by her mother her entire life while her father sat back and watched it happen. Trust does not come easy for her and I enjoyed watching as she grew to trust and to love. To accept herself for who she is and that what she considers her imperfections are actually what makes her beautiful. Ciaran is a man bound by duty who has it in his head that a vow he made to his father can only be accomplished one way. I loved watching him realize that life isn't always a straight path and it made me smile when he veered from that path just a little to include his own happiness. Choices are never either black or white, there are varying shades in between that make each of our journeys worthwhile. I'm anxious to read Declan's story, X Marks The Scot. I fell hard for this man. He's such a rogue and I'm totally head over heels for him! Victoria Roberts writes beautifully about the Highlands and I felt as if I were seeing it through Rosalia's eyes. It is well written and truly took me out of this world and into theirs. 4 Stars

**Reviewed by Leah**

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Problem with Seduction by Emma Locke

When a beautiful courtesan approaches Lord Constantine Alexander with the offer of ten thousand pounds for his aid in getting her son back, it seems like an easy 'yes'.  After all, all he needs to do is cast doubt of the childs paternity and then be on his way... but that would be too easy.  Lady Elizabeth Spencer's former paramour, after being embarrassed into giving the child up, starts to cause a ruckus about his son being stolen away from him.  And then there is Con's family.  They want him to do right by Elizabeth, she is a lady even though she left that life behind and she has plenty of money to help this debt ridden family. Con and Elizabeth know they truth about their faux relationship but these circumstances force them to spend time together and put on a united front.  As they spend time together, a mutual attraction grows and Elizabeth decides she must keep Con around to keep her son and the way to keep him is to seduce him.  Con refuses to be bedded just for sport and he refuses her advances and we get to watch them slowly find their true way to each other.  When a drastic turn arrives in the form of Elizabeth's rotten father, it will test the boundaries of their fragile relationship, which is further stretched thin when Elizabeth keeps an important bit of information from Con.  Will Con be able to trust Elizabeth again and how can they keep her son?

What an interesting, fun, sexy, emotional romance!  I enjoyed Emma Locke's debut but I think this one is even better frankly.  It may have tugged on my heart strings a bit more since I could not imagine being separated from my son but the whole story line, from Con's delightful family and all their personal struggles to Elizabeth and her obnoxious family and her need to find her place in life was such a pleasure to read.  If you have read the previous book in this series (The Trouble With Being Wicked) Elizabeth came across a bit selfish and self centered but since the birth of her son she has had a wonderful change about her, making her take stock in her life and her choices.  She is bold, clever and sassy and I really enjoyed her.  And Con.  Sigh.  Such a gentleman!  He agrees to be a babies father and when he realizes that this means more than just five minutes, it means for life, he jumps in with both feet and never looks back!  He loves and cares for his family so much but carries so much on himself.  There are five brothers (he is the fourth) but it is his twin that is causing him the most pain, especially financially.  He strives to fix this and I liked watching how all these men bounced off each other and the addition of his mother, who has no problem accepting her son's born out of wedlock son, was a nice family relationship.  Together Elizabeth and Con are a good couple who have many flaws to overcome but together find the happiness they so deserve.  A charming, well written treat filled with ups and downs that is sure to make you tear up, cheer, smile and sigh all along the way to a happily ever after. 4 very solid stars

eARC provided by the author, thanks!

The Naughty Girl Series
Best enjoyed in order
The Trouble with Being Wicked (The Naughty Girls, #1)The Art of Ruining a Rake (The Naughty Girls, #3)
                                     Spring 2013

Saturday, February 23, 2013

New Covers

Here is the latest (long) batch of lovely new covers. . .

This is the cover that was voted on for Kieran Kramers upcoming Say Yes to the Duke!!  Love it!  (Though it doesn't really 'fit' with the previous covers...) Very excited for this one!  Look for it Aug 27th.

Oh, look at this lovely red cover!  And a heroine with red hair.  Love the snow in the background :)  I really enjoyed Valerie Bowman's debut so I can't wait for Secrets of a Scandalous Marriage to come out Oct 1st!

Squee!!!  How eye catching is this green?!?  And a mask?  Ooh.  Beyond excited for this one and so happy the cover is just stunning.  Look for No Good Duke Goes Unpunished Aug 27th!

The Perks of Being a Beauty is a novella by the lovely Manda Collins set for release June 18th.  I believe this features a secondary character from her debut series.  I am so happy publishers are taking the time to make nice covers for novellas!

Miranda Neville is back with The Ruin of a Rogue.  Love that title and the cover is very sexy!  Look for it Aug 27th as well.

Grace Burrowes always has such lovely covers and Lady Jenny's Christmas Portrait is no exception.  (Christmas already?!? lol)  The green is perfect for the holidays and I adore the attention to the background detail.  Look for this one Oct 1st.

Wicked Little Secrets looks to be a new to me author.  The cover and premise have caught my attention so I hope to give this one a go on its release, Aug 6th.

Purple, my favorite :)  I like all the pretty scrollwork as well as the detail in the background.  Look for Love on a Midsummer Night Aug 6th.

Love!  The sky blue is just stunning!  Very impatient for the release of this one!  A Rake's Midnight Kiss will be out Aug 27th (boo).

And finally is the start of a new series from Sophie Barnes, The Trouble with Being a Duke.  I love that her dress has a pattern on it and masks are always intriguing :)  Look for this one Aug 27th.

Well, there you go.  Lovely, lovely covers from Avon, St Martins, Sourcebooks and Grand Central.  Now to wait. . . Which covers are your favorites??

The Duke Diaries by Sophia Nash

When Rory Lennox, first Duke of Abshire, wakes up holding a warm hand he does not realize his entire life is about to change as the hand he is holding is the sister of his former best friend...and he has no clue how he got into her bed.  It doesn't help matters that her brother is glaring at them and demanding a marriage and then satisfaction in the field.  Verity Fitzroy wakes up to mass confusion and refuses to marry Rory.  She knows nothing happened and she will not marry someone who does not love her, even if it is her childhood crush. Rory has a strong sense of duty and sets about to prove to Verity that they must marry and in the process, finds himself losing his heart. Will he be able to convince her of his true feelings?

While this is book three in this series, it can easily be read as a stand alone.  It was such a fun, flirty, sexy romp and I really enjoyed it.  I really liked Verity as she is outspoken, honest, practical and amusing with a stubborn streak.  She thinks Rory is all wit and charm but she knows underneath that facade he is so much more.  The banter between them was a delight to read and watching them both fall truly in love with each other was sweet.  When Verity realizes her private diaries are being published in the local newspaper and they hold all her thoughts on the wild bachelor party, she worries what Rory will think when he finds out who the real author is.  I thought the resolution to this area was very sweet and showed the true nature of Rory to the best advantage.  Rory and Verity both have issues in their past that they must overcome to move forward and they strive to do so.  Sophia Nash also wove in some future characters with just enough tidbits to have me anxious for them now!  Recommended for fans of fun, sexy romances who like to laugh and sigh with happiness.

eARC provided by Avon Books via edelweiss

Royal Entourage series
Can be read out of order
Between the Duke and the Deep Blue Sea (Royal Entourage, #1)The Art of Duke Hunting (Royal Entourage, #2)
Book 4: Oct 29th

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Most Scandalous Proposal by Ashlyn Macnamara

Another debut for this year and it turned out to be rather promising.  Miss Julia St. Claire has no desire to fall in love and marry, instead she leaves that to her sister Sophia who has pined over the Earl of Clivesden for years.  Yet when Clivesden suddenly shows an interest in Julia, tension abounds and Julia keeps distancing herself from the drated man but he is always there.  She turns to her childhood friend, Benedict Revelstoke for help getting out of her unwanted betrothal.  Julia would rather be ruined in the eyes of society than cause her sister pain.  Problem is Benedict will not ruin her without offering marriage...a marriage Julia fears will be one sided in love and the thing she wants to avoid at all costs. . .

I was pleasantly surprised to see that this story actually is two romances in one; Julia and Benedict and Sophia and the man she inadvertently gets compromised with.  I was afraid that Sophia's storyline was going to detract from the other storyline but instead it really added to the story as I came to realize that Sophia also needed to find her own happily ever after and closure for Julia's story to really work (though I would have really enjoyed Sophia in a full length as her story had a bit more mystery to it).  Julia is known as a bit of a frigid lady due to her desire to guard her heart and not open it to any man, not reveal her true feelings.  Her interactions with Benedict were fun and sweet though I do wish she would have given Benedict a chance a bit sooner.  Benedict had no idea of his feelings for Julia until they waltzed and suddenly his life was turned upside down and all he can do now is protect Julia but he naturally, has a hard time expressing this.  He is charming, clever and it was refreshing not to read about a rake or titled gentleman for a change of pace.  A very pleasant, yet steamy, friends to lovers story with a nice sense of family, wit and charm.  Really looking forward to the next book featuring Benedict's best friend.  3 1/2 stars

eARC provided by Ballantine Books via netgalley

Related books
A Most Devilish Rogue
 Aug 27th

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Captain Durant's Countess by Maggie Robinson

From the back cover:
Maris has always been grateful that her marriage to the aging Earl of Kelby saved her from spinsterhood. Though their union has been more peaceful than passionate, she and the earl have spent ten happy years together. But his health is quickly failing, and unless Maris produces an heir, Kelby’s conniving nephew will inherit his estate. And if the earl can’t get the job done himself, he’ll find another man who can…

Captain Reynold Durant is known for both his loyalty to the Crown and an infamous record of ribaldry. Yet despite a financial worry of his own, even he is reluctant to accept Kelby’s lascivious assignment—until he meets the beautiful, beguiling Maris. Incited by duty and desire, the captain may be just the man they are looking for. But while he skillfully takes Maris to the heights of ecstasy she has longed for, she teaches him something even more valuable and unexpected…

I ended up really enjoying this romance even though I am not terribly fond of this particular plotline.  The situation always gets tricky when someone has to hire a man to get a woman pregnant but in the end, it worked very well for Maris and Reyn.  One thing that really did not sit well with me though was Maris's marriage.  She married a man who treated her like a daughter while she was growing up with his that was just a bit off for me but I did see the deep caring and compassion she had for him.  I also was not sure how Reyn could turn himself around because when we first meet him, Maris finds him in a most wickedly comprising position but turn around he did.  I really fell for the dashing, confident, wickedly charming captain.  He dealt with the awkwardness during their times together in a good way and with that, opened his heart to Maris.  Maris was also a bit hard to warm up too but I really took to her in the second half of the book when she is finally free to just be herself.

So while the first half of the book was a bit slow and awkward, the second half let Maris and Reyn really discover the true force of their feelings and was very delightful.  There was a nice little twist at the end that seemed to end the whole odd situation in a very positive manner and I also loved the three little epilogues   They just brought a nice smile to my face to see this couple a few years in the future each time.  Plenty of steam and some wonderful secondary characters in the form of Reyn's sister and her beau add to this romance.  Recommended for fans of love growing out of unusual circumstances with heat, fun and no major drama.  4 stars

Review copy provided by eKensington via netgalley

The London List series
This could be read as a stand alone
Lord Gray's List (The London List, #1)Lady Anne’s Lover (The London List, #3)
                                     July 30th

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Devil's Touch by Victoria Vane

This was a steamy yet satisfyingly tender vignette in Victoria Vane's superb DeVere series. If you have not read Diana and Ludovic's story, do not start here as this will feel a bit out of place. Diana and Ludovic are newly married and expecting their first child within the month.  Ludovic has been told to keep his hands off his wife (humor abounds here) but he does not tell Diana and Diana is worried he is up to his old, wild ways.  She hopes to entice him back to the bedroom but he flees to London to attend to some unexpected that Diana fears involves another woman.  A confrontation ensures and the resulting passion is sure to make you blush.

I loved seeing a bit more into Diana and Ludovic's married life and this felt like an extra couple of chapters and I gobbled it up.  I loved how it is smoking hot yet at the same time, very true to their natures and very tender and sweet.  We get another glimpse of the characters who are coming up in the series and this was a great way to get a bit more back story on them.  Fans of Victoria Vane will devour this story and have a happy grin on their face when they are done with it.  I am a huge fan of Ms Vane and this is why.  4 1/2 stars

Review copy provided by the author, thanks!!

The Devil DeVere series
Best enjoyed in order, also in print
A Wild Night's Bride (The Devil DeVere #1)The Virgin Huntress (The Devil DeVere #2)The Devil You Know (The Devil DeVere #3)The Devil's Match (The Devil DeVere #4) 
Upcoming books:
  Jewel of the East (The Devil DeVere #5)
Devil By Another Name
A Devil in Diamonds

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What Happens in Scotland by Jennifer McQuiston

What a delightfully enjoyable debut!  If you enjoy the lighter fare in your romance, with wit, charm, and sizzle Jennifer McQuiston has done a wonderful job with her debut!  When Lady Georgette Thorold, who acts a proper lady at all times, wakes up to a mysterious man in an unknown inn she knows something terribly wrong has happened!  Smacking the large, very attractive, man on the head with the chamber pot, she escapes and learns the awful truth...that man is her husband.  As more and more pieces are uncovered about that wild night, she knows she needs to find James McKenzie and get this marriage annulled as she will never be under a mans control again after her disastrous first marriage.  When she finally meets up with James again she faces a new problem though.  James thinks her a thief and a liar and together they strive to uncover the truth as both of their memories are a bit foggy from that night.  Will this unlikely couple make this sham of a marriage real?

This is my favorite type of book..light, with just a touch of drama, an enjoyable, fun romance.  Georgette is a strong, confident woman that is thankful to finally be free of any man but when she finds herself tied to this burly Scotsman, she has to rethink what has happened.  James brings out a whole new side to her... opinionated and bold and he finds himself drawn to both sides of her.  James is proud and after a falling out with his family, he has striven to put his shameful past behind him and make a name for himself as a solicitor.  I loved how Georgette was able to help him mend the fences with his family.  Watching this unlikely couple find true love together was a joy to read and even though it happened all over the span of one day, it worked for me.  A truly wonderful debut and a new author that I am looking forward to more from soon!  4 solid stars

eARC provided by Avon Books via edelweiss    

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Lord of Darkness by Elizabeth Hoyt

Five books into her Maiden Lane series and Elizabeth Hoyt is still on top of her game!  Godric St. John married Lady Margaret to help her out of a tough situation and it seemed to fit for him.  Megs would live in the country away from him and he could continue with his nightly duties as the Ghost of St.Giles.  This works well until Megs, and part of his family, descend upon him and turn his life upside down when Megs tells him he wants a child.  Having married and lost the great love of his life, Godric is not too keen of this plan but concedes to it with a bargain of his own.  Megs being around causes new feelings to emerge, not just for himself but she also makes him confront his issues with his family.  Megs for her part, also lost the great love of her life and does not want to feel when she is with Godric but as his secrets are revealed, the true force of their relationship is tested.

I have been a huge fan of this series and I was not sure what to expect from this book but I should never have doubted.  I loved it.  Godric is strong, patient and sexy and I loved seeing his flaws come out and be played out and strengthened with the help of Megs.  Megs is full of life and happiness and is determined to have a child with her husband, no matter the cost.  I did get a bit frustrated with her during her first bedroom encounters with Godric as she had a hard time letting go of her past, yet she expected Godric to do that with his own past.  But Godric cleared up that matter quickly and I loved that!  We again get a bit of a mystery in St. Giles but it did not take away from the growing love between Godric and Megs, if anything it helped force the feelings front and center.  The St. Giles storyline is a bit similar to the previous book but it did allow up to catch up with almost all the previous couples as a result (no Mickey and Silence though).  Ms Hoyt expertly weaves in the characters for the next book, Duke of Midnight, and I already want that book now!  The love scenes are passion filled and you could really see how they helped this couple find the love that they thought they would never have again.  This is a passionate, lovely, emotional romance that is one of my favorite reads so far this year (as if there really was any doubt).  4 1/2 stars

Review copy provided by Grand Central Publishing via netgalley

Maiden Lane series
Best enjoyed in order!
Wicked Intentions (Maiden Lane, #1)Notorious Pleasures (Maiden Lane, #2)Scandalous Desires (Maiden Lane, #3)Thief of Shadows (Maiden Lane, #4)
Duke of Midnight Oct 15th

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Earl in My Bed by Sophie Jordan

This was a charming, delightful quick read about Paget, the daughter of a vicar, and Jamie, the new Earl of Winnigham.  Paget always thought she would marry Jamie's younger brother but with Owen off to war, she has come to realize her feelings are more platonic.  Jamie is suddenly stirring up new feelings that she never thought she could feel for this cold, uptight man.  Jamie knows that Paget belongs to Owen, even though there is no formal engagement, but with his new, unexpected duties, the girl from his childhood is beckoning to him, making him rethink his views of her just being a lowly vicars daughter.

Even though this is short, it packs quite a bit into the story.  Jamie always felt like an outcast amongst his brothers and Paget, envied their easy companionship and it has made Paget disregard him.  However, there is a spark that flares from Paget's bold treatment of Jamie and it was a pleasure watching Jamie uncover his true feelings and show a more softer side.  I did feel like the "I love yous" were a bit quick and easy but that comes with the shorter length.  This was a very appetizing story that has really piqued my interest in Owens story, which is next in this series, How to Lose a Bride in One Night and I know I will be reading it to see how he deals with this turn of events!  For a quick, emotionally satisfying romance with a dash of heat, this one is a solid choice.  3 1/2 stars

eARC provided by Avon Books via edelweiss

Forgotten Princesses series
This worked well as a stand alone
Wicked in Your Arms (Forgotten Princesses, #1)Lessons from a Scandalous Bride (Forgotten Princesses #2)How to Lose a Bride in One Night (Forgotten Princesses, #3)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Once Again a Bride by Jane Ashford

I loved the set up for this story: a bride not known to any other family members and then when her husband suddenly is murdered, she finds an entire new family.  And as I read the first few chapters, the set up was even more intriguing.  Charlotte Wylde married to please her dying father to an older man who treats her shabbily, and not just her husband but also the servants.  When his will reveals she may not sell any of his precious antiques, she is at a loss for funds.  An attempted burglary puts her welfare more soundly in her new guardians care, Alec Wylde.  Alec already has numerous obligations to his estate and caring for his two younger sisters and does not want another one but something about Charlotte, and the mystery of her existence, propels him to look deeper.  Not to mention his growing attraction to her. . .

While I enjoyed this book, it moved a little slow for my tastes, which can be a refreshing change of pace.  However, there was a lot of character development which was a true pleasure to read and discover.  I loved Alec's love and devotion to his family and his strong sense of honor.  Charlotte shed her shell that she had built around herself due to her worthless husband and emerged a strong, vibrant woman.  One of Alec's sisters adopts a cat and it adds a bit of humor to the storyline.  There is also a secondary romance between two of the servants that was a bit of a pleasant surprise but it adds length to the story.  I think fans of more traditional type Regencies will be very pleased with this story and the gradual love between Alec and Charlotte.  Filled with a strong sense of family and wonderful characters with some humor, charm, love and a dash of action, this is sure to be a winner.  3 1/2 stars

Review copy provided by Sourcebooks Casablanca through