Saturday, July 27, 2013

How to Lose a Bride in One Night by Sophie Jordan

I love books that start with a unique beginning and the newest from Sophie Jordan certainly does that!  Annalise Hadley thinks she has struck gold, not only has she been reunited with her wealthy father and found she has sisters, but she is marrying a duke.  A duke who seems to care for her in spite of her limp and normal features.  However on her honeymoon barge the horrible truth comes out about her duke as he tries to kill her and she is thrown overboard.  Unconscious, she washes up on shore and is found by the reclusive Earl of McDowell, Owen Crawford.  An unconscious woman is not what Owen wants to deal with but something about her grabs him and he know he can not let her die.  With the help of some gypsies Annalise starts to heal on the outside but her emotions are quite strained.  Unwilling to trust another man, she decides to keep the truth about herself from Owen but after a time, her past comes back to haunt her and she must decide if Owen is worth the risk of the truth.  Owen is battling his own inner demons following his turn as a solider and Anna seems to heal him but will the truth of her past shatter the bond they have created?

This story grabbed me from the beginning and never let go!  Annalise grew up not knowing her father and suddenly she is thrown into a whirlwind and she handles it well but she is used to being alone in her solitude.  Owen shows her that she can be stronger and smarter with knowledge and skills to protect her from anything bad happening to her again.  Annalise also helps Owen see that he needs to honor his past by living and helping him move forward from the horrors of war.  I also really enjoyed watching this relationship slowly develop.  We get to see each part and how all those parts fit together to become whole and complete.  The only thing I wished that would have been different is when Annalise finally told Owen the truth.  Secret keeping always is hard for me to accept and I think it would have suited Annalise better if she had explained the truth sooner, especially after her past catches up to her.  Overall though, this is a enjoyable romance with a dash of intrigue with forgiveness, love and heat.  Well done.  4 stars.

eARC provided by Avon Books via edelweiss

Forgotten Princesses series
Could be read as stand alones but the novella really ties in with this story
Wicked in Your Arms (Forgotten Princesses, #1)Lessons from a Scandalous Bride (Forgotten Princesses #2)The Earl in My Bed (Forgotten Princesses, #2.5)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Why Dukes Say I Do by Manda Collins

Lady Isabella Wharton and her friends were part of something they would dearly like to forget but her godmother has other ideas and holds the threat of revealing what really happened to have Isabella do her will.  As such, Isabella finds herself off to the countryside in order to summon home the new Duke of Ormond, a man who seemingly ignores his duties.  Yet when Isabella meets Trevor Carey, she finds the opposite.  Here is a man devoted to caring for his tenants and land.  He never expected to inherit the dukedom and due to some bad blood in the past, he has no desire to go to London and assume the duties.  Spending time with Isabella and seeing how his beloved sisters interact with her, Trevor slowly starts to rethink his decision.  When a threat on Isabella's life becomes known, Trevor takes steps to protect her.  Will he lose his heart in the end as well?

The start of Manda Collins newest series was an enjoyable, easy read and my favorite book by her so far!  Isabella was such a strong woman who has overcome a bad first marriage and somehow still keeping her spirit intact and becoming very resilient.  Trevor quickly notices this along with a sweetness underneath, especially in the way she bonds with his sisters.  Isabella comes off a bit rude in the beginning but she grows into herself with Trevor and together they just fit.  Trevor was a dedicated man and I liked seeing his layers unfold and I really enjoyed his interactions with his sisters.  After all, what man wants his sisters to grow up into ladies?  I was pleased with the mystery aspect of this romance as well.  It does not overpower the story at all and I was surprised at the revelation in this one but the overall arc continues on through the next books while still giving a nice conclusion in this one.  This book had me laughing, smiling and sighing and flipping the pages to find out what would happen next and I eagerly look forward to the friends' upcoming stories.  4 solid stars

eARC provided by St Martins Press via

Wicked Widows series
Why Earls Fall in Love (Wicked Widows, #2)
   Jan 28th 2014

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Winning a Bride by Jade Lee

This was a charming, sexy delight of a novella! Jade Lee has penned a romance that was heartfelt and fun to read. William Benton has become the steward to his families land after it was lost due to his fathers mistakes and it is hard for Will, at times, to let the past go.  He wants his families land back but knows his elder brother has no means to purchase it back so he comes up with a new the new owners daughter, Josephine.  A woman whom he thinks to be a bit haughty and out of his reach. Yet during some nightly interludes he comes to find that Jo is kind, generous and a lady worth fighting for. A lady worth more than some land. He just needs to convince her and her father of this fact. Jo is the perfect woman to help him realize that there is more to life than titles and land and find his true worth. She is a bit wild and unpredictable and finds herself going a bit mad from the pressure of her life, from the man he father has arranged to marry her to finding the calm she needs to have in Will.  Filled with heat, banter, emotion and an interesting look at some history of the canals and how they are built, this romance is sure to make you grab more by Jade Lee. 4 stars

eARC provided by Sourcebooks via Netgalley

Back cover blurb:
Due to his aristocratic family’s downfall, William Benton serves as steward on the land his brother should have inherited. His one weakness is for the daughter of the new owner. Josephine Lawton is beautiful, charming, and enamored of titles and all things aristocratic. Or so he thinks until he discovers that it’s her father who is doing the matchmaking. When he learns that there is more to the exciting Josephine than first meets the eye, he puts all his passion into restoring his family’s honor and winning the woman he loves. It’s going to be a hot summer on the estate.

Bridal Favors series
This worked well as a standalone and gives us a glimpse of the next hero
Wedded in Scandal (Bridal Favors, #1)Wedded in Sin (Bridal Favors, #2)What the Bride Wore (Bridal Favors, #3)What the Groom Wants (Bridal Favors, #4) 
                                                               Aug 2013             Feb 2014

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Heiress Effect by Courtney Milan

Miss Jane Fairfield has four hundred eighty days until her sister reaches her majority and she can free her from her guardian.  However, during those days she must find a way to ward off any suitors after her one hundred thousand pound dowry because if she marries before her sister is old enough, her sister could be lost forever.  Her solution is simple, be dreadful at all times.  Dress flamboyantly.  Say the wrong things to important people and make them uncomfortable so they stay away yet do not completely shun her due to her wealth.  One man sees through her ruse though.  Mr. Oliver Marshall finds the bold Jane intriguing and finds himself drawn to her even though she is far from what he needs in his life as he tries to achieve success in Parliament.  Yet when he is asked to teach her a sharp lesson, he finds himself wavering but maybe not quite enough.  Will Oliver find the courage to keep Jane, just as she is, or will he push her away?

Everytime I start a new Courtney Milan story, I know I am in for a emotional, layered tale.  Each piece fits and builds to the next and you slowly savor it as you go.  The romance of Jane and Oliver is slow, built upon friendship first and put to the test due to Oliver's ambitions.  I really adored Jane and how she is ignorant on purpose.  Her clothing choices were a delight and created a vivid blur in my mind.  Jane is bold, stubborn and her uncle, her sisters guardian, feels she is a bad influence due to her birth and having to be dreadful and find a way to protect her sister from her uncles attempts to cure her seizures, weary.  Jane forces Oliver to not stand back and be walked over due to his upbringing.  He has felt out of place due to having a duke for a father (on the wrong side of the blanket) and being accepted by his half brother and being raised by his working class father.  He rarely tells the whole truth to people as a result and Jane lets him do this.  Together they fit yet they shouldn't.  Jane is wrong for where he wants to go in the world but he needs her to be himself.  There is a secondary romance between Jane's sister and a wonderful suitor that I almost wished would have been a whole story in and of itself but it just added another layer to shaping Jane and Oliver.  This is another winner from an author I think is tops for the historical genre.  True love finding a place between an unlikely, yet perfectly fit, couple who need to accept themselves with subtle humor, a dash of heat and a promise to make you smile.  4 1/2 stars

Review copy provided by the author via

The Brothers Sinister series
Best enjoyed in order but this one could be read as a standalone
The Governess Affair (Brothers Sinister, #0.5)The Duchess War (Brothers Sinister, #1)A Kiss For Midwinter (Brothers Sinister, #1.5)The Countess Conspiracy (Brothers Sinister, #3)The Mistress Rebellion (Brothers Sinister, #4)
                                                                                             Late 2013             2014

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Love and Other Scandals by Caroline Linden

Ever since Tristan, Lord Burke, burst into Joan's bedroom as a child she has been half in love with him.  When fetching a promise from her brother one morning she is greeted by Tristan all grown up and the sparks, and snipping, fly between them both.  When Joan's parents leave town suddenly, she is left in the care of her aunt who sees that Joan's fashion choices, which are guided by her mother and the height of fashion, are all wrong and helps Joan feel comfortable in some different dresses.  Coupled with the promise that Tristan made to Joan's brother about keeping an eye on Joan, this couple finds themselves together more and more.  During their time together they bicker, laugh, kiss and go on a grand adventure while developing their relationship.  A relationship Joan's mother has forbidden due to Tristan's wild ways and seemingly cold ways towards his only family he has left following his parents death.  Can Joan help her parents see the true nature of Tristan, the side he has shown her?

I thoroughly enjoyed this delightful, fun romance that was a perfect read for a lovely afternoon,  It was light, not overly angsty, humorous, sexy and the cover perfectly fits the book (a huge bonus in my book).  I loved watching the sparring between Tristan and Joan slowly grow into something more and also how Tristan saw her for who she was even before she started dressing in a more flattering way.  Joan is practically on the shelf and she attributes this to her height and non-willow like figure but Tristan sees past this to the warm, clever, kind-hearted and determined woman she is.  And though Joan's family think Tristan is too wild, Joan sees past the wildness to the man who just wants a family, a place to finally belong after being alone since a child.  I do wish the ending had not seemed so rushed, everything happened rather quickly compared to the nice easy pace of the rest of the story.  Overall, one of my favorites from Caroline Linden--light, funny, sexy and a romance that is true and deep with a couple learning to accept who they are and what they can be together.  4 stars

eARC provided by Avon via edelweiss

Hopefully this is part of a series as I would love Joan's brother and her friends to have their stories told!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Tempting the Devil by Samantha Kane

Lady Harriet Mercer is desperate to be publicly ruined in the hopes that her blackmailer will finally leave her and her son alone.  Already having a loveless marriage she has no plans to enter into another one and if her pristine reputation is ruined, the blackmailer will not accept her and keep her secret just that, a secret.  When she attempts to seduce her old childhood friend, Roger Templeton, she believes she has found the perfect man.  Roger is a devil and has no qualms about ruination...until it involves Harry.  He finds her excuses about who is trying to kidnap her son flimsy and refuses to bed her.  So let the taunting, teasing and plotting begin!  The closer that Roger gets to Harry, the more he sees that something is lurking behind Harry's cheerful facade and he is determined to find out what and help her.  But having been burned in the past by a woman makes him a bit leery of entering into the type of relationship Harry wants and she must find a way to show she is different than everyone thinks her to be.  With the blackmailer closing in, can Harry and Roger find the path to happiness together?

This is the second book I have read by Samantha Kane and it was another enjoyable experience!  I really enjoy her use of subtle wit and smoking heat while dealing with true emotions and putting a fresh twist on a topic used many times before.  Harry was a delightful heroine: intelligent, outspoken, practical, stubborn, shrewd and feisty and she was a perfect match for the kind-hearted, loyal, witty, handsome devil Roger.  Roger is a man with no money and no real connections and sort of makes his way through life on his charming actions but Harry finally makes him realize that he has nothing to offer a woman if he is still searching for himself.  I did think his reasons for trying to keep Harry at bay were a little weak and I wished he would have told her the truth but it all worked out in the end.  Harry, for her part, also could have been more truthful but the truth always has a way of revealing itself in due course and it worked well for this story. Childhood friends to lovers is always a favorite storyline and it was well done in this romance and I am very eager for more from Samantha Kane who has the sizzling, smart, intriguing storytelling down!  4 stars

eARC provided by LoveSwept (Random House) via netgalley

The Saint's Devils
Can be read as standalones but previous characters do appear in following novels
The Devil's Thief (The Saint’s Devils, #1)
The Damsel and the Devil  Late 2013