The Danger in Tempting an Earl by Sophie Barnes

the danger in tempting an earl (July29)

  • Title:  The Danger in Tempting an Earl
  • Series:  At the Kingsborough Ball #3
  • Author:  Sophie Barnes
  • Genre:  Historical Romance
  • Published:  July 2014 – Avon
  • Source:  Publisher

My take:  Lucien Marvaine has returned to England to assume the title Earl of Roxbury. His father and older brother died while he was away and he’s next in line. He’s also being pressured to marry and produce an heir.

Katherine is a widow and beginning to go out in society again. She intends to never marry again. Rather, she will raise her baby daughter and is thinking seriously of becoming a lady’s companion to her sister-in-law. Well, that was her plan. She didn’t expect her life-long friend Lucien to reappear after his abrupt departure following her marriage.

Can these two fall back into their comfortable friendship or will it become more? As they try to convince the other to court various people will they figure out they belong together?

There’s also another glimpse of a shooting at the Kingsborough Ball that has been featured from different characters’ perspectives in each of the three books in the series. In fact, the mystery of who the shooter is and why the shot has been taken is cleared up in this book. That added drama to the story.

If you enjoy a historical romance trilogy you’ll want to give the books of At the Kingsborough Ball a try. They are light and quick reads. I would recommend reading them in order.

How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days by Laura Lee Guhrke

how to lose a duke in 10 days

  • Title:  How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days
  • Series:  An American Heiress in London, #2
  • Author:  Laura Lee Guhrke
  • Genre:  Historical Romance
  • Published:  April 2014 – Avon
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:   They had a deal… From the moment she met the devil-may-care Duke of Margrave, Edie knew he could change her life. And when he agreed to her outrageous proposal of a marriage of convenience, she was transformed from ruined American heiress to English duchess. Five years later, she’s delighted with their arrangement, especially since her husband is living on another continent. But deals are made to be broken… By marrying an heiress, Stuart was able to pay his family’s enormous debts, and Edie’s terms that he leave England forever seemed a small price to pay. But when a brush with death impels him home, he decides it’s time for a real marriage with his luscious American bride, and he proposes a bold new bargain: ten days to win her willing kiss. But is ten days enough to win her heart? (publisher)

My take:  Ok, so it’s only May but this may be my favorite historical romance so far this year. Laura Lee Guhrke had me from page one. I loved Edie and Stuart and I loved Guhrke’s handling of the marriage-of-convenience trope.

After being ruined in America Edie simply wants to find a titled man in England who needs her money and will agree to leave her alone once they marry. Stuart, the Duke of Margrave, is just the man and since he wants to go back to Africa he’s happy to take her offer. Stuart is used to getting his way – either by pure charm or because he’s the Duke. When he returns five years later it’s as a wounded man who needs someone to care for him. Definitely not what Edie signed up for! She refuses to accept him as her husband and threatens divorce or at least separation. He gets her to agree to give him ten days to convince her to stay in the marriage. He has no idea how difficult this challenge will be.

Along the way we find out how Edie was ruined and the effect it has had on her life. She slowly reveals the details to Stuart which only increases his resolve that he and Edie should be together. He also reveals what brought him back from Africa. That scene was so well-done and evoked a lot of emotion which is part of the reason I loved this book. Another part is the epilogue. Not your average “oh look, they have a baby” epilogue. One of the story lines is wrapped up beautifully. That’s all I’ll say about it.

This is the second book in the An American Heiress in London series. I didn’t read the first book but, given my enjoyment of this book, I don’t think it was necessary. Still, I look forward to reading the first: When the Marquess Met His Match.

Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

romancing the duke

  • Title:  Romancing the Duke
  • Series:  Castles Ever After, #1
  • Author:  Tessa Dare
  • Genre:  Historical Romance
  • Published:  January 2014 – Avon
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  (publisher) As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens. She never doubted romance would be in her future, too.  The storybooks offered endless possibilities.

And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off.  One by one by one.

  • Ugly duckling turned swan?
  • Abducted by handsome highwayman?
  • Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?

No, no, and… Heh.

Now Izzy’s given up yearning for romance. She’ll settle for a roof over her head.  What fairy tales are left over for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who’s never even been kissed?

This one.

My take:  When Izzy’s father died he left her penniless and, because his heir was a nephew, homeless. So when she receives word her godfather has died and bequeathed her a property she’s thrilled and relieved – until she sees said property. It’s a fixer upper of a castle inhabited by a man who had no idea someone else had taken over ownership.

The man who was under the impression the castle was his is none other than the Duke of Rothbury. Izzy finds out immediately he’s a force to be reckoned with. He’s tall, handsome, and blind. She’s always considered herself plain and at 26 years of age, probably on the shelf. For obvious reasons he can’t believe she’d be drawn to him and she’s not used to attention from a man. Their repartee throughout the book was entertaining.

A plot line about the books Izzy’s father wrote involves devoted fans who show up in costume at the castle. That eventually figures into the main plot (with a twist) and moves it toward a tidy conclusion.

Tessa Dare’s story is fun, funny and sometimes borders on silly. I enjoyed it all and would recommend it for when you need a light and fun read.

If Wishes Were Earls by Elizabeth Boyle

  • if wishes were earls
  • Title:  If Wishes Were Earls
  • Author:  Elizabeth Boyle
  • Series:  #3, Rhymes with Love
  • Genre:  Historical Romance
  • Published:  December 31, 2013 – Avon
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  When you wish upon an earl . . .

Harriet Hathaway has only ever wanted one man: the Earl of Roxley. After a passionate interlude at a house party, Harriet is convinced Roxley will do the right thing and propose. But when she returns to London, she finds the roguish earl on the verge of proposing to another.

Yet Harriet refuses to believe that her hopes of a happily-ever-after are completely lost—for she can see the desire still flickering in the earl’s eyes when he looks at her from across the dance floor. And when they are alone . . . there is one wish neither can deny.

. . . the most extraordinary things can happen

The Earl of Roxley is in a dangerous fix—and to keep Harriet safe, he must hold her at arm’s length. He won’t entangle her in the murderous mystery that is threatening to destroy his family and his future. But keeping Harriet Hathaway out of his troubles proves as impossible as it is to keep the determined beauty from stealing his heart.  (publisher)

My take:  Thoughts upon finishing this book: “Well, that was fun!”  I love historical romance and enjoy reading new-to-me authors.  If Wishes Were Earls is the first of Elizabeth Boyle’s books I’ve read and I enjoyed it very much.

What’s not to like? We have an almost financially ruined Earl in love with a childhood friend who just happens to love him back (and has even less money than he does). The problem is, he’s being blackmailed and must marry the daughter of his blackmailer if he doesn’t want to lose what’s left of his family’s holdings. And then there’s the business of some missing diamonds that have several people chasing after the Earl.

It sounds like it could be a bit complicated but Boyle laid it all out in a humorous and enjoyable fashion that had me looking forward to reading each time I picked the book up. That’s my sign of a good book. Since it’s part of a series I look forward to reading the previous two books.

The Scandal in Kissing an Heir by Sophie Barnes

the scandal in kissing an heir

  • Title:  The Scandal in Kissing an Heir
  • Author:  Sophie Barnes
  • Series:  #2, At the Kingsborough Ball
  • Genre:  Historical Romance
  • Published:  December 31, 2013 – Avon
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  Lady Rebecca is determined to find a husband on her own terms, rather than marry any of the aging suitors her greedy aunt and uncle foist upon her. Her chance comes at the Kingsborough Ball, where she meets several potential grooms…yet no one compares to the dangerously handsome Daniel Neville.

Daniel Neville, notorious rake and heir to the Marquis of Wolvington, is in need of a bride, but finding a lady who’s willing to accept his past, is an entirely different matter. When he spies a stunning woman across the ballroom, Daniel believes he’s found her…until scandal erupts around them. How can he convince Rebecca to take a chance on him…and on the love that could be theirs forever after?

My take:  Calling all debutantes and wallflowers! If you attend  the Kingsborough Ball, and if the first two books in the series are any indication, chances are you’ll find a marriage prospect! And he’ll either be on the road to being reformed from his rakish ways or he’ll be open to you setting him on that path 🙂

The Scandal in Kissing an Heir is the second installment in the series and I enjoyed it just as much if not more than the first. Daniel is the quintessential rakehell and Rebecca is the lady in need of rescuing. Her aunt and uncle have put the word out that she’ll go to the highest bidder. And that highest bidder would be a creepy old Duke. When Daniel sees that Rebecca would do almost anything to not be wed to the Duke he sees a way to redeem himself in the eyes of his uncle (whose title Daniel will inherit). The uncle told Daniel he must leave his old habits and find himself a wife. So. Daniel and Rebecca form an alliance and resolve to help each other – knowing all the while that it won’t be a marriage of love but at least they like each other.

Sophie Barne’s story was an entertaining way to spend a few hours. I enjoyed the characters and the happily-ever-after resolution – and I look forward to going back to the ball in the next book of the At the Kingsborough Ball series.

The Trouble With Being a Duke by Sophie Barnes

the trouble with being a duke

  • Title:  The Trouble With Being a Duke (#1 At The Kingsborough Ball)
  • Author:  Sophie Barnes
  • Genre:  Historical Romance
  • Published:  August 2013 – Avon
  • Source:  Publisher

My take:  The Trouble With Being a Duke is the first in a new series by Sophie Barnes. I found it to be light and entertaining for the most part. I enjoyed the main characters. Anthony is rather new at being the Duke of Kingsborough but he shows great promise in his ability to fill his late father’s shoes. Isabella is delightful and fairly self-assured. Anthony is smitten almost at first sight of Isabella at his family’s masquerade ball. The attraction is mutual but she can’t allow him to find out her true identity. 

Isabella leaves the ball with Anthony wondering who she really is and where she lives. A search ensues the following day. A Cinderella story if there ever was one! It was fun seeing how the Duke handled the obstacles he found in his way as he tried to find their happily-ever-after.

I think most fans of light-hearted historical romance will enjoy this book. There’s a bit of drama but mostly it’s as light and sweet as cotton candy.

How to Lose a Bride in One Night by Sophie Jordan

how to lose a bride in one night

  • Title:  How to Lose a Bride in One Night  (Forgotten Princesses, #3)
  • Author:  Sophie Jordan
  • Genre:  Historical Romance; Series
  • Published:  July 30, 2013 – Avon
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  He saved her life…

When Annalise Hadley is tossed over the side of her honeymoon barge, the newly-minted duchess knows she’s been left for dead — for her husband’s only interest is in her vast dowry, not her muddied lineage. However, she didn’t count on a savior. Especially not an honorable, sinfully intriguing earl who will tempt her to risk everything—again.

Now he will seduce her heart and soul

A man with his own demons, Owen Crawford, the reclusive Earl of McDowell, is enchanted by the mysterious, courageous woman he rescued. He will help her heal, teach her to protect herself, and then send her away—so that she’ll never see he’s far from the hero she believes him to be.

But days and nights alone prove that some secrets are meant to be discovered…some desires are too powerful to resist…and some wounds can only be healed by love. (publisher)

My take:  What grabbed my attention first was the title. It sounded cute but it has a dark beginning in which a bride is left for dead by her new husband (a duke, no less!) at the bottom of a river.

It’s not like any historical romance I’ve read but it’s how the main characters meet. With the help of gypsies he sees to her care. He’s fighting demons from his war days and she’s fighting nightmares of her husband finding her and killing her for certain this time. And when she finds out her rescuer is a gentleman she worries he’ll feel bound by duty to return her to her husband.

So they don’t share their secrets but she convinces him to teach her how to protect herself for when she is well enough to leave. Of course, romance and drama follow.  There’s an exciting denouement that had me quickly turning the pages. I liked this unusual historical romance.

This book concludes The Forgotten Princesses series. Although I didn’t read the previous books I didn’t feel lost. It can definitely stand on its own.

My Notorious Gentleman by Gaelen Foley

my notorious gentleman

  • Title:  My Notorious Gentleman – The Inferno Club #6
  • Author:  Gaelen Foley
  • Genre:  Historical Romance
  • Published:  July 2013 – Avon
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  In this newest Inferno Club book, the aristocratic men of New York Times bestselling author Gaelen Foley’s series face their greatest challenge yet: Marriage!

Notorious Lord Trevor Montgomery has fearlessly met danger head-on. Now he must confront his greatest challenge yet: marriage!

Shy, warm-hearted Miss Grace Kenwood knows she is ‘just’ the parson’s daughter, with no chance of tempting her new neighbor, Lord Trevor Montgomery. After all, every eligible beauty for miles around is swooning over the brooding former spy. He’s the picture of sin, and though he once had the audacity to kiss her senseless, he can have no interest in someone like her. Yet somehow, the seductive rogue unleashes her own inner devil…

Every lady loves a hero-but Trevor has not a blind bit of interest in any of them–except for the refreshingly candid Grace Kenwood. If he had a heart left, Grace might steal it. She insists he’s better than he thinks. He’s sure she’s absolutely wrong. Until danger threatens, and Trevor rediscovers how easy it is to be a hero…for the right lady. (publisher)

My take:  This is the first of The Inferno Club series books I’ve read. I’m sure fans of the series will enjoy Trevor’s book and those new to the series wouldn’t be lost starting here.

Trevor Montgomery wants nothing more than to buy a farm and live a quiet life. The farm he buys is next door to the wallflower he’d recently met at a ball. He’s not sure if this is a good thing or not. Turns out, he’s quite happy with his good fortune – in real estate and neighbor.  He win’s her heart and the respect of all Thistleton by underwriting an extreme makeover for the entire village.

Grace, Trevor’s neighbor, has been on the shelf for a while so when Lord Trevor comes along and sweeps her off her feet she can’t believe her happiness. That is, until she finds out the daughter of Lord and Lady Windlesham (who is betrothed to another) has her sights set on him as well.

So, there’s drama on the romance front as well as the home front when the threat of retaliation from a London gang on one of Thistleton’s own sparks violence. Will Trevor and Grace find peace and happiness? What will become of Lord Baron Brentford? You’ll have fun reading My Notorious Gentleman to find out.

The Secret Life of Lady Julia by Lecia Cornwall

the secret life of lady julia

  • Title:  The Secret Life of Lady Julia
  • Author:  Lecia Cornwall
  • Genre:  Historical Romance
  • Published:  May 28, 2013 – Avon
  • Source:  Publisher

My take:  Julia Leighton was told on her eighth birthday she would marry the Duke of Temberlay (aka Dull Duke David) when she was grown. Fast forward several years and Lady Julia was at her betrothal ball wishing the Duke would at least compliment her on her gown or ask her to dance. He was more interested in playing cards with his friends so when a charming gentleman (Thomas Merritt) waltzed Julia out of the ballroom for a romantic tryst she didn’t say no. When those actions made apparent she was a compromised woman she was  disowned by her family and refused by her fiancé. Several months after her son was born she became a lady’s companion to the sister of a British diplomat on their way to Vienna for peace talks.

Julia is not only beautiful but she’s also quite smart. When the British diplomats find out she speaks 3 or 4 languages they ask her to be their eyes and ears around the palace they’re staying at in Vienna. No one expects her, being a lowly Lady’s companion, to be able to understand what’s being said in her presence. She earns the respect of the diplomats and one in particular has feelings for her.

As fate would have it, Thomas Merritt and Julia’s paths cross in Vienna. Even before he met Julia he’d been (unjustly) disowned by his family so he became a jewel thief. He would woo the ladies of the ton and relieve them of a jewel or two. He stole the jewels and his valet would fence them thereby providing food and housing for the two. They show up in Vienna to strike it rich by relieving  wealthy royalty of their jewelry. As luck would have it they run into problems. Could it be that Thomas and Julia could help each other? Will Julia risk Thomas learning her secret? And what will happen if he does?

The Secret Life of Lady Julia held my interest to the last page. I liked the political aspects – diplomatic and social – and I enjoyed Thomas and Julia’s relationship. They were honorable and had strength of character which dictated they take responsibility for their decisions. They were a good match on all levels. This is the first of Lecia Cornwall’s books I’ve read and I look forward to reading others in the future.

*  *  *

lecia cornwall

Lecia Cornwall is a PRO member of the Romance Writers of America’s Seattle and Calgary Chapters. Her background includes all facets of writing, including running a successful freelance writing business specializing in direct marketing and advertising. Both history and writing have been lifelong passions. Lecia currently lives and writes in Calgary, Alberta, the heart of the Canadian West.

A Bride by Moonlight by Liz Carlyle

a bride by moonlight

  • Title:  A Bride by Moonlight (Series: Fraternitas Aureae Crucis #4)
  • Author:  Liz Carlyle
  • Genre:  Historical Romance
  • Published:  February 2013 – Avon – 432 pages
  • Source:  Review copy from the publisher via Edelweiss

Synopsis (publisher):  Royden Napier, Baron Saint-Bryce, is tall, dark, and ruthless—and on the hunt for a dangerous beauty . . .

On the eve of her escape to the Continent, bold, beautiful Lisette Colburne accepts a proposal she dare not refuse: masquerade as the future bride of the steely-eyed Royden Napier and help him solve his most dangerous case. Soon Lisette is in even greater danger—of losing her heart to the one man with the power to destroy her . . .

Estranged from his aristocratic family, the enigmatic Napier has forged a reputation as Scotland Yard’s most relentless police commissioner. He’s vowed to bring Lisette to justice—but with every forbidden kiss and every tantalizing touch, he finds himself becoming less convinced of her guilt . . . and more certain he must have her. But when danger touches Lisette, can he save her?

My take:  A Bride by Moonlight is the 4th book in the Fraternitas Aureae Crucis series. We met Napier and Lisette in the third book, The Bride Wore PearlsTheir book starts where TBWP left off – a murder has taken place and now Lisette is a prime suspect in Napier’s investigation.

I enjoyed Napier and Lisette’s reluctant relationship. Reluctant until it wasn’t, that is. They are incredibly strong characters who’ve lived their lives with purpose and a sense of honor and duty. Sometimes it was misguided honor and duty but admirable none the less. I would love to see this pair in their own series as a crime-solving couple who have a passionate love for each other.

Liz Carlyle’s attention to detail is appreciated – wow, this author does her research! I was thankful for the list of characters and their relevance to each other and the story. It would be easy to be confused by such a large cast especially when many are related by blood or marriage.

If you enjoy intricate detail and strong characters in your historical romances, I think you’ll like  A Bride by Moonlight.

Spotlight: The Avon Social Reader

The Avon Social Reader

New App integrates with Facebook to allow advance excerpts, sharing, and DRM-free purchasing

 

New York, NY – October 16, 2012 –Around the world, women are reading in new ways, often online or on a device, and sharing what they read via social media outlets. In many cases, Facebook has become a key part of the equation. Consumers are spending hours each day browsing the latest headlines while interacting with their friends, families and acquaintances through the platform.  Now, leading romance publisher Avon Books is piloting a free Facebook app, AvonSocialReader.com, which will give readers the chance to read excerpts from Avon’s latest books, share their favorites with friends, and discover new content based on what their friends are reading.  Up to 20 percent of each book will be available to read, and once a book is browsed in the app, a person can choose to have that book show up in their News Feed or timeline for friends to see. There will also be clickable buy links to DRM-free editions of the selected Avon books from allromanceebooks.com.  Consumers can also choose to purchase DRM-enabled versions of the books at other online retailers.

A recent online consumer survey indicated that romance readers are highly active in the digital arena, purchasing e-books and sharing information via social channels.  Many of the respondents pointed to Facebook as being the center point of their social/digital sharing world.  “Many are using apps to share the news stories that they are reading online instantly with their friends,” says Liate Stehlik, Senior Vice President and Publisher of William Morrow and Avon Books.  “The recent word-of-mouth phenomenon surrounding Fifty Shades of Gray confirms that women are talking about the books they are reading in equal measure.  Thus, Avon worked to create a simple way for friends to connect on Facebook over the books they are most passionate about.”

 

She continues, “The Avon Social Reader is a fun, user-friendly way for readers to sample an interesting mix of excerpts posted to this Facebook app every month, and then virally spread the news about what they are reading via social media.”

 

Partnering with allromanceebooks.com allows Avon, for the first time, to offer a DRM-free option to their authors and readers, “a publishing capability many of them had asked us to pursue,” Stehlik says.  The files can be delivered as secure Adobe ePub -book editions.  Bestselling author Tessa Dare expresses her excitement, saying, “I know that DRM can be a frustration for honest, paying readers who just want to purchase and read books on their preferred devices.  Avon’s experiment will help me reach a new segment of the digital readership.”  New York Times bestseller Cathy Maxwell says, “I’m excited that readers will now have a new way to get the inside scoop on our books – and what a great, easy way to share with all of their friends on Facebook!”

The Avon Social Reader is intuitive and easy to use.  Fully integrated within Facebook Platform, the app enables readers to flip from status updates to a book excerpt that a friend is reading with one quick click. The more they use the app and interact, the better it gets!

The Avon Social Reader will be launched out via Facebook today, with excerpts and buy links for the following titles:

 

 

  • A Blood Seduction: A Vamp City Novel  by Pamela Palmer
  • A Lady by Midnight by Tessa Dare
  • A Night Like This by Julia Quinn
  • A Scandalous Scot by Karen Ranney
  • A Warrior’s Promise by Donna Fletcher
  • A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare
  • After the Abduction by Sabrina Jeffries
  • Chosen: A Dark Breed Novel by Sable Grace
  • Confessions from an Arranged Marriage by Miranda Neville
  • Darkness Becomes Her by Jaime Rush
  • Dark Desire by Christine Feehan
  • How to Be a Proper Lady: A Falcon Club Novel by Katharine Ashe
  • Lady Alexandra’s Excellent Adventure: A Summersby Tale by Sophie Barnes
  • Last Vamp Standing by Kristin Miller
  • Lyon’s Bride: The Chattan Curse by Cathy Maxwell
  • Mating Season: A Cabin Fever Novella by Alice Gaines
  • Nine Lives of an Urban Panther by Amanda Arista
  • Once Burned: A Night Prince Novel by Jeaniene Frost
  • Perilous Pleasures by Jenny Brown
  • Sins of a Virgin by Anna Randol
  • Skies of Fire: The Ether Chronicles by Zoe Archer
  • Tarnished: The St. Croix Chronicles by Karina Cooper
  • The Art of Duke Hunting by Sophia Nash
  • The Way to a Duke’s Heart: The Truth About the Duke by Caroline Linden
  • Under a Vampire Moon: An Argeneau Novel by Lynsay Sands
  • Wanted: Undead or Alive by Kerrelyn Sparks
  • When Dreams Come True by Cathy Maxwell
  • Wicked Road to Hell: A League of Guardians Novel by Juliana Stone
  • Winter Garden by Adele Ashworth

 

Facebook® is a registered trademark of Facebook Inc.

 

More information about The Avon Social Reader is available online at Avon’s Facebook page,www.facebook.com/avonromance or via the direct link, www.AvonSocialReader.com.

 

About HarperCollins Publishers HarperCollins, one of the largest English-language publishers in the world, is a subsidiary of News Corporation (NYSE: NWS, NWS.A; ASX: NWS, NWSLV). Headquartered in New York, HarperCollins has publishing groups around the world including the HarperCollins General Books Group, HarperCollins Children’s Books Group, Zondervan, HarperCollins UK, HarperCollins Canada, HarperCollins Australia/New Zealand and HarperCollins India. HarperCollins is a broad-based publisher with strengths in literary and commercial fiction, business books, children’s books, cookbooks, mystery, romance, reference, religious and spiritual books. With nearly 200 years of history HarperCollins has published some of the world’s foremost authors and has won numerous awards including the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, the Newbery Medal and the Caldecott. Consistently at the forefront of innovation and technological advancement, HarperCollins is the first publisher to digitize its content and create a global digital warehouse to protect the rights of its authors, meet consumer demand and generate additional business opportunities. You can visit HarperCollins Publishers on the Internet athttp://www.harpercollins.com.

Spotlight on The Way to a Duke’s Heart by Caroline Linden

Charles de Lacey, Lord Gresham, is running out of time, running from his responsibilities, and running from love.

Destined to be a duke, Charles de Lacey has led a life of decadent pleasure, free of any care for propriety or responsibility. It comes as a terrible shock to learn that he might be stripped of everything, thanks to his father’s scandalous past. He has no choice but to find the blackmailer who would ruin him—and his only link to the villain is a woman who may be part of the plot…

To save his fortune and title, he vows he’ll stop at nothing—in fact, he’s all too eager to unravel the beautiful, tart-tongued Tessa Neville. She intrigues him and tempts him like no other lady ever has. With only his heart to guide him, and keenly aware that his entire future is at stake, Charles must decide: is she the woman of his dreams, or an enemy in disguise?

♦  ♦  ♦

The Way to a Duke’s Heart by Caroline Linden is one of several Avon romances that are part of the K.I.S.S. and Teal campaign in support of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance. Other titles/authors are:

The Ugly Duchess by Eloisa James

Nightwatcher by Wendy Corsi Staub

The Look of Love by Mary Jane Clark

A Lady by Midnight by Tessa Dare

Chosen by Sable Grace

Sins of a Virgin by Anna Randol

For more information: www.kissandteal.com

The Bride Wore Pearls by Liz Carlyle

Title:  The Bride Wore Pearls

Author:  Liz Carlyle

Genre:  Historical Romance

Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages

Published:  Avon – July 31, 2012

Synopsis:  Beneath the elegant façade of Victorian high society, the mysterious men of the St James Society play only by rules of danger and desire…

Rance Welham, the Earl of Lazonby, has survived scandal and disgrace, even evading the Queen’s justice at the end of a hangman’s rope. Now he’s about to gamble everything on something far more dangerous—pure, unquenchable desire.

An exotic and elegant beauty, Lady Anisha Stafford fled her native India after her husband’s death to seek refuge within London’s secretive St James Society. But accepting protection from a man society’s whispers call a cold-blooded killer is a double-edged sword . . . especially when he’s the most captivating and irresistible man Anisha has laid eyes on since leaving Calcutta.

In a world where treachery abounds, no one can be trusted—and no true passion can be denied. Together, these two tempestuous souls will risk their lives for a love that could redeem them both…or destroy everything they hold dear.

My take:  The Bride Wore Pearls has a very different tone to it than other Historical Romances I’ve read. It’s exotic and lush in descriptions of setting and characters. There’s a paranormal aspect woven throughout the story but mostly in the background. This is the third book in the series and I think I would have benefitted by reading the books in order to understand the paranormal theme. That said, Liz Carlyle does a good job of catching the reader up on secondary characters which makes me want to read the previous books.

I enjoyed Rance and Anisha. They are two strong characters who don’t back down from anyone or anything – especially Anisha. She’s been married before and has two young sons. She doesn’t want her brother to match her with someone he feels suitable. If she decides to marry again it will be on her terms. Rance refuses to be anything more than a friend to Anisha. He feels his reputation around the ton wouldn’t be good for Anisha or her sons. You know where this will end up going, right?

For me the fun was seeing how Carlyle let the two find their way to each other. I also thought the mystery of who was behind the false accusation that has plagued Rance for years was interesting and made for an exciting scene or two near the end. Recommended for fans of Liz Carlyle and Historical Romance fans looking for something a little different.

Source:  Publisher

Disclosure:  See sidebar. I was not compensated for my review.

About Liz Carlyle

A lifelong Anglophile, Liz Carlyle cut her teeth reading gothic novels under the bedcovers by flashlight. She is the author of seventeen historical romances, including several New York Times bestsellers. Liz travels incessantly, ever in search of the perfect setting for her next book. Along with her genuine romance-hero husband and four very fine felines, she makes her home in North Carolina.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Liz’s Tour Stops

Thursday, August 2nd: The Book Garden

Tuesday, August 7th: Bookfan

Wednesday, August 8th: Broken Teepee

Friday, August 10th: Alpha Heroes

Tuesday, August 14th: A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, August 15th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews

Thursday, August 16th: …the bookworm…

Saturday, August 18th: Mary’s Cup of Tea

Monday, August 20th: BookNAround

Tuesday, August 21st: WV Stitcher

Date TBD: Life In Review

Date TBD: In the Hammock Book Reviews

Date TBD: Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Books

The Bet by Darlene Panzera

Title:  The Bet

Author:  Darlene Panzera

Genre:  Romance; Novella

Published:  June 2012 – Avon Books

Synopsis:  Jenny is about to lose the ranch that’s been in her family for generations. It looks like she’ll have to marry someone with money in order to save it. Most of the town is placing bets on who she’ll marry and then a stranger shows up and bets $10,000 she’ll marry him within five weeks. Who is this mysterious man? Could he be a knight in shining armor or does he have an ulterior motive?

My take:  This was a fun story – a real page turner! The Bet could easily have been a full length book. I enjoyed the fast pace and how the drama, humor and light romance combined to make an entertaining story.

Given the short form it was easy to accept the brief secondary character descriptions and quick turns in the plot. I was amazed by how much Panzera packed into her story –  that’s why I think it could be a full length novel. I would enjoy learning most of the characters’ back stories and it would be nice to see the story play out more slowly.

I can see why Debbie Macomber named The Bet the winner of the Readers’ Story Contest. I think fans of Macomber will enjoy it and I’ll definitely look for more books by Darlene Panzera.

Note:  You can find The Bet as a bonus story included with Debbie Macomber’s Family Affair (there are a few editions so look for the one with the pink sticker on the cover).

Disclosure:  I received a review copy from the publisher for the TLC Book Tour. I was not compensated for my review.

♦  ♦  ♦

About Darlene Panzera

A graduate of the Writer’s Digest Advanced Novel Writing School and The Christian Writer’s Guild apprentice program, Darlene is an active member of Romance Writers of America’s Greater Seattle and Peninsula Chapters. She’s attended numerous conferences and classes, served five years on the board of RWA’s Peninsula Chapter and in 2011 served as chapter president.

Darlene is the winner of the “Make Your Dreams Come True” contest sponsored by Avon Books which led her novella, The Bet, to be published with Debbie Macomber’sFamily Affair released June 2012. She received a second contract with Avon Books, a division of HarperCollins, for the full length manuscript of The Bet, and is currently working on her next novel.

She’s also published several short stories and  A Look of Love was a top finalist for Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards Contest.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Darlene now lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and three  children. When not writing, she enjoys camping, hiking, photography, horseback riding, crafts, music, and lazy days at the lake.

Find Darlene at her website, www.darlenepanzera.com. You can also connect with Darlene on Facebook and Twitter.

Darlene’s Tour Stops

Thursday, July 12th: All-Consuming Media – guest post

Wednesday, July 18th: Deco My Heart

Thursday, July 19th: Joyfully Retired

Monday, July 23rd: …the bookworm…

Tuesday, July 24th: Take Me Away

Wednesday, July 25th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews

Thursday, July 26th: Tiffany’s Bookshelf

Friday, July 27th: WV Stitcher

Monday, July 30th: Bookfan

Wednesday, August 1st: Silver & Grace

Tuesday, August 7th: Creative Madness Mama

Monday, August 13th: Book Reviews by Molly

Scandal Wears Satin by Loretta Chase

Title:  Scandal Wears Satin (The Dressmakers #2)

Author:  Loretta Chase

Genre:  Historical Romance

Published:  June 2012 – Avon

My take:  Sophy Noirot runs the PR side of the Noirot sisters’ dressmaking business. She makes sure that the society column in the morning paper includes detailed descriptions of the dresses that come from their shop. They are still the new shop in town and must gain more business in order to survive. Their most important customer has just fled town after deciding she didn’t want to marry the man who’d compromised her. That means a lot of lost orders for the dressmakers but it could also mean the loss of a friend.

Sophy hatches a plan to find Lady Clara and help her save face while avoiding marriage to the cad. She’ll need help carrying out the plan and finds the best person to help is Lady Clara’s brother Lord Longmore. What she didn’t count on was the instant attraction to Longmore. Conveniently he feels the same about Sophy.
The strength of this second book in the dressmakers series lies in the give and take between Longmore and Sophy. They are on an even playing field when it comes to understanding each other. Longmore’s self-deprecating humor when talking to Sophy was endearing and made me laugh. Sophy is a truly decent and mostly innocent young woman who only wants what’s best for Longmore’s sister as well as what’s best for her sisters’ business.
The characters shine in Scandal Wears Satin.  As in the first book I enjoyed the dress descriptions. I look forward to seeing what Loretta Chase comes up with next in the series. Recommended to fans of Historical Romance and the Dressmakers series.

Source:  Avon via Edelweiss

Disclosure:  See sidebar. I was not compensated for my review.

A Night Like This by Julia Quinn

Title:  A Night Like This

Author:  Julia Quinn

Genre:  Historical Romance

Published:  May 2012 – Avon

My take:  Anne Wynter, governess to three precocious girls, and Daniel Smythe-Smith, Earl of Winstead, have something in common. Actually they have at least two things in common. First and foremost, they’ve completely fallen for one another. Secondly, they’ve been looking over their shoulders for years. She – because someone has vowed revenge on her for something that wasn’t her fault eight years earlier. He – because, well, the same thing but three years earlier. I don’t want to spoil by telling the details but I can say Julia Quinn added some good drama to this second book in the Smythe-Smith Quartet series.

I loved the easy give and take between Anne and Daniel. They “got” each other’s humor and truly enjoyed being together. It was hard not to smile while reading their scenes. I’m new to the series and the author but I will be reading more.

The opening scene at the annual Smythe-Smith Quartet musicale was hilarious. Anne was pulled into action when one of the girls faked illness at the last minute. She must play the piano with the other three girls. Maybe it’s my music teacher background that had me laughing at Anne’s reaction to the horrible performance of each of her students. It’s a very funny scene. That is also when Daniel sees Anne for the first time. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Julia Quinn has a new fan in me. Her characters, setting and story were truly entertaining. I recommend it to fans of Historical Romance, family series, and a fun story.

Source:  Avon

Disclosure:  See sidebar. I was not compensated for my review.

For Love and Honor by Cathy Maxwell, Lynne Hinton, Candis Terry

Title:  For Love and Honor

Authors: Cathy Maxwell, Lynne Hinton, Candis Terry

Genre: Romance anthology

Published: June 2012 – Avon

My take:  For Love and Honor contains three separate novellas with the common theme of soldiers. The first, The Bookish Miss Nelson, is a historical romance. A soldier gets into a fight and his punishment is to accompany the daughter of a superior officer home through enemy lines. This is not the type of mission he signed up for but he accepts his assignment.

The second novella is Letters From Pie Town by Lynne Hinton. One of Pie Town’s own has been wounded in Afghanistan and is recovering in Germany. The novella is made up of letters of encouragement from the small New Mexico town’s citizens.  Even though I haven’t read the original book I was brought up to speed on several characters through the letters.

The third novella, Home Sweet Home, is about a soldier feeling guilt for being the only member of his team to come home. He doesn’t feel he deserves any happiness and wants to cut himself off from his girlfriend and others. His hometown takes matters into their own hands and find a way to start him on the road to his future.

Of the three, I’d say my favorite was Letters from Pie Town. I liked the quiet, cozy feel of the small town people and their letters. I will definitely seek out other books by Lynne Hinton. If you’re a contemporary romance fan you may like Home Sweet Home for the usual reasons but I liked it because it included information about reuniting soldiers with their dogs (and other animals). There’s an actual group that brings the animals to the States from wherever the soldier served!

Source:  Avon

Disclosure:  See sidebar. I was not compensated for my review.