The Cowboy Who Saved Christmas

Happy publication day!

The Cowboy Who Saved Christmas by

Jodi Thomas, Sharla Lovelace and Scarlett Dunn

Published:  October 27, 2020 – Kensington

E-galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

My take:  I have no doubt fans of Historical Romance (American West) and authors Jodi Thomas, Sharla Lovelace and Scarlett Dunn will enjoy this collection. It’s a great way to sample each author if you haven’t had a chance. I’m a fan of Jodi Thomas but Lovelace and Dunn are new to me and I look forward to reading more of their work.
I love an anthology at this busy time of year because I can read a complete story in a short time – this book hit the mark. It will tug your heartstrings and engage in an emotional and heartwarming way. If you enjoy historical romance, add The Cowboy Who Saved Christmas to your reading list this season.
***
Father Goose by Jodi Thomas
A young man, fresh out of the army and in need of a job, agrees to take a group of 5 young school girls to their father’s ranch in Texas. He must get them home before Christmas. Meanwhile, a young woman decides to escape her life of drudgery and signs on to chaperone the girls for the trip. This rag-tag group will make the arduous journey that could set the path of the future for them all.
*
The Mistletoe Promise by Sharla Lovelace
Two people with a history must overcome pride and learn to trust again. Told in alternating chapters from the perspectives of Josie and Ben I learned their story and was soon hoping for their HEA.
*
Christmas Road by Scarlett Dunn
A veteran rides home hoping to see his ill mother for what could be her last Christmas. What he didn’t expect was to meet a young widow and mother of two girls who’d help nurse his mother. This a story of survival during challenging times and the honorable people who step up to help. A heartwarming tale about finding the magic of Christmas.

About the authors:

Jodi Thomas is a New York Times bestselling author and fifth-generation Texan who sets many of her award-winning stories in her home state, where her grandmother was born in a covered wagon. A multi-RITA Award winner and member of the prestigious Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame, she’s written over 50 novels with millions of copies in print. Her most recent releases are The Little Tea Shop on Main and the first book in her new Honey Creek series, Breakfast at the Honey Creek Café is out now. Please visit her at http://www.JodiThomas.com

Sharla Lovelace is the bestselling, award-winning author of sassy, sexy love stories. Being a Texas girl through and through, she’s proud to say she lives in Southeast Texas with her retired husband, a tricked-out golf cart, and two crazy dogs. She is the author of the exciting Heart of the Storm series, the fun and sexy Charmed in Texas series, and five stand-alone novels. Connect with Sharla at http://www.sharlalovelace.com, or find her on social media as @sharlalovelace at all the places! 

Before becoming a published author, Scarlett Dunn was an entrepreneur. Her love of history and the adventurous souls who settled the West inspired her to write historical inspirational romance novels. She lives in Kentucky, and as an avid outdoorswoman she enjoys any activity under the sun where she develops her characters and plots. Readers can find her at http://www.scarlettdunn.com or on Facebook, Twitter (scarlettdunn2), or Instagram.

THE COWBOY WHO SAVED CHRISTMAS
By Jodi Thomas, Sharla Lovelace, & Scarlett Dunn
Kensington Books, an imprint of Kensington Publishing
On Sale: October 27th 2020/
Trade Paperback/Fiction $15.95 ($21.95 CAN) / 978-1-4967-2549-3

Re-Release Spotlight: A Texas Kind of Christmas

A TEXAS KIND OF CHRISTMAS, which originally came out last October, recently won first place at the National Federation of Press Women’s Communications Contest. It was re-released on September 29. You can read my original post here.

A TEXAS KIND OF CHRISTMAS

By Jodi Thomas, Celia Bonaduce, & Rachael Miles

Zebra Books, an imprint of Kensington Publishing

On Sale: September 29th 2020/

Mass Market Max/Fiction $8.99 ($10.90 CAN) / 978-1-4201-4869-5

LEGENDARY AUTHOR JODI THOMAS HEADLINES NEW CHRISTMAS COLLECTION WITH THREE CONNECTED STORIES FEATURING HISTORIC DALLAS HOTEL IN 1859, BUILT & MANAGED BY FASCINATING LOCAL WIDOW, SARAH COCKRELL 

 

It’s Christmas Eve, 1859, and everyone who is anyone is headed to the glorious St. Nicolas Hotel for the most talked about ball of the season… 

New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas headlines A TEXAS KIND OF CHRISTMAS, a holiday-themed collection of three connected stories set in 1859 Dallas and based on the true history of the St. Nicholas Hotel. Built and managed by Sarah Horton Cockrell, a Texan businesswoman known for her contributions to the development of the state, the famed St. Nicholas was one of the most fashionable, grand hotels of its time. In the hands of Jodi Thomas, Celia Bonaduce, and historian and novelist Rachael Miles, this real-life setting comes to life in three romantic tales infused with vivid imagery and witty prose. A TEXAS KIND OF CHRISTMAS evokes the grandeur of a bygone era and the indomitable pioneer spirit of the region and is sure to be the fan favorite romance collection of the Christmas season.


About the authors:

Jodi Thomas is a New York Times bestselling author and fifth-generation Texan who sets many of her award-winning stories in her home state, where her grandmother was born in a covered wagon. A multi-RITA Award winner and member of the prestigious Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame, she’s written over 50 novels with millions of copies in print. Her most recent releases are The Little Tea Shop on Main and the first book in her new Honey Creek series, Breakfast at the Honey Creek Café is out now. Please visit her at http://www.JodiThomas.com

Celia Bonaduce, also the author of The Venice Beach Romances and the Welcome to Fat Chance, Texas series, has always had a love affair with houses. Her credits as a television field producer include such house-heavy hits as Extreme Makeover: Home Edition; HGTV’s House Hunters and Tiny House Hunters. She lives in Santa Monica, CA, with her husband and dreams of one day traveling with him in their own tiny house. She can be found online http://www.CeliaBonaduce.com

Rachael Miles is an acclaimed romance novelist and historian specializing in the 19th century, as well as a professor of literary history. A fifth-generation Texan and native of Dallas, she now lives and teaches in New York. Visit her online at http://www.RachaelMiles.com.


THE HISTORY BEHIND A TEXAS KIND OF CHRISTMAS: 

➢ Sarah Horton Cockrell opened the St. Nicholas Hotel in 1859 under her own management, one year after her husband, Alex Cockrell, died at the hands of a Dallas sheriff. It was known as one of the most fashionable, grand hotels of its time until it burned down in the Dallas Fire of 1860. It was the first building constructed taller than two stories and the crowning social event Dallas society was the grand ball with which it made its debut. Sarah Horton Cockrell named the hotel after the man she chose as its manager – Nicholas H. Darnell, a captain in the Indian wars of 1839, Speaker of the House of Representatives in the Texas Congress of 1842, and Lieutenant Governor elected in the first state election of 1846. 

Sarah Horton Cockrell (1819-1892) 

➢ An astute businesswoman, real estate maven and transportation pioneer whose wealth and power defied gender conventions of the time, Sarah Horton Cockrell went on to own nearly 1⁄4 of Downtown Dallas, opening the Dallas Hotel (later known as the St. Charles), a number of flour mills and other businesses. She constructed the first iron bridge across the Trinity, leading to enormous economic development for the state. 

➢ After Sarah Horton Cockrell’s death in 1892, The Dallas Morning News’s obituary stated that her funeral procession and floral tributes were among the largest ever seen in Dallas.


To Have and to Hoax

To Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters

Publication date:  April 7, 2020 – Atria Books

Digital review galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:  Five years ago, Lady Violet Grey and Lord James Audley met, fell in love, and got married. Four years ago, they had a fight to end all fights, and have barely spoken since.

Their once-passionate love match has been reduced to one of cold, detached politeness. But when Violet receives a letter that James has been thrown from his horse and rendered unconscious at their country estate, she races to be by his side—only to discover him alive and well at a tavern, and completely unaware of her concern. She’s outraged. He’s confused. And the distance between them has never been more apparent.

Wanting to teach her estranged husband a lesson, Violet decides to feign an illness of her own. James quickly sees through it, but he decides to play along in an ever-escalating game of manipulation, featuring actors masquerading as doctors, threats of Swiss sanitariums, faux mistresses—and a lot of flirtation between a husband and wife who might not hate each other as much as they thought. Will the two be able to overcome four years of hurt or will they continue to deny the spark between them? (publisher)

Guest review by Katie, Bookfan daughter!

I am an avid reader of historical romances set in the Regency period and I was intrigued by the premise of this novel. What worked for me: there was absolute chemistry between James and Violet and witty dialogue between the two. Violet’s character, especially, made me laugh out loud more than once. The author created a host of interesting and eclectic characters throughout the novel.

What did not work for me: I found the use of obscenities to be jarring and unnecessary. Each time I flinched and it made me think less of our hero and his character. I also found the amount of day drinking and general heavy drinking to be surprising. These two elements made me feel like I was reading a modern novel that happened to be dropped into a Recency background. The incongruity left me unsettled.

Overall, the author is excellent at creating original characters and laugh out loud dialogue and fans of women’s fiction may enjoy the modern sensibilities of this historical romance.


About the author:

Martha Waters was born and raised in sunny South Florida, and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She works as a children’s librarian in North Carolina, and spends much of her free time traveling. To Have and To Hoax is her first novel.

Buy TO HAVE AND TO HOAX:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Books-a-Million

IndieBound


 

Promised by Leah Garriott

Promised by Leah Garriott

Expected publication:  Feb. 18, 2020 – Shadow Mountain

Book courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:

Margaret Brinton keeps her promises, and the one she is most determined to keep is the promise to protect her heart.
 
Fooled by love once before, Margaret vows never to be played the fool again. To keep her vow, she attends a notorious matchmaking party intent on securing the perfect marital match:  a union of convenience to someone who could never affect her heart. She discovers a man who exceeds all her hopes in the handsome and obliging rake Mr. Northam.
 
There’s only one problem. His meddling cousin, Lord Williams, won’t leave Margaret alone. Condescending and high-handed, Lord Williams lectures and insults her. When she refuses to give heed to his counsel, he single-handedly ruins Margaret’s chances for making a good match—to his cousin or anyone else. With no reason to remain at the party, Margaret returns home to discover her father has promised her hand in marriage—to Lord Williams.
 
Under no condition will Margaret consent to marrying such an odious man. Yet as Lord Williams inserts himself into her everyday life, interrupting her family games and following her on morning walks, winning the good opinion of her siblings and proving himself intelligent and even kind, Margaret is forced to realize that Lord Williams is exactly the type of man she’d hoped to marry before she’d learned how much love hurt. When paths diverge and her time with Lord Williams ends, Margaret is faced with her ultimate choice: keep the promises that protect her or break free of them for one more chance at love. Either way, she fears her heart will lose. (publisher)

My take: What a delightful novel! I thoroughly enjoyed Leah Garriott’s story of a young woman who wants to secure a husband who will let her live a peaceful life as she will let him live as he likes. She doesn’t want to risk her heart after having it stomped on by a previous fiancé. No, an arrangement that doesn’t involve romantic love but instead offers security seems the pathway to a content life. She has that in mind when she and her brother attend a house party that is really a matchmaking party. She meets Lord Williams and Mr. Northam – cousins who vie for her attention which tests her resolve about what she wants in a marriage.

Promised is filled with humor, drama, sparkling characters and settings that drew me in. I enjoyed it all and can’t wait to see what Leah Garriott writes next. I think Promised will appeal to fans of Jane Austen and romantic regency novels.


 

A Texas Kind of Christmas

A Texas Kind of Christmas by 

Jodi Thomas  Celia Bonaduce   Rachel Miles

Expected publication:  Oct. 29, 2019 – Kensington Books

Book courtesy of the Kensington and NetGalley

Description:

It’s Christmas Eve, 1859, and everyone who’s anyone is headed to the glorious St. Nicholas Hotel for the most talked about ball of the season. It’s the kind of Texas night where anything can happen—even love . . .
 
ONE NIGHT AT THE ST. NICHOLAS
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Jodi Thomas
 To escape her stepmother’s plot to marry her off, Texas heiress Jacqueline Hartman spends Christmas Eve sharing a hideout with an accused bank robber. After a night in Nathaniel Ward’s arms, Jacqueline is certain she has met her match after all. But will his heartfelt promise of love lead to his demise at the hands of the law?
 
BIRDIE’S FLIGHT * Celia Bonaduce
Seamstress Birdie Flanagan gets the surprise of her life when she receives a beautiful gown—and a sudden invitation—for the ball of the season! Birdie creates a stir from the moment she arrives, capturing the eye of the dashing Captain Douglas Fairbanks.  But will a secret from her past keep her from her long-awaited happily-ever-after?
 
SPIRIT OF TEXAS * Rachael Miles
When lovely spinster Eugenie Charpentier makes a trip across the Texas frontier with former Texas Ranger Asher Graham, she dreams of an adventure, and the rough-and-tumble cowboy is happy to oblige. But both Eugenie and the rugged lawman are keeping secrets. Can they find each other—and love—on the dance floor at the Christmas ball?  (publisher)

My take:  What initially sold me on this book was seeing Jodi Thomas’s name. I think it’s the first time I’ve ready anything by Celia Bonaduce and Rachael Miles. It turned out to be a great introduction because I’ve added them both to my TBR list. I’m a fan of historical romance of this era and a US setting and I’m glad to have found new-to-me authors. I enjoyed their writing style.

The connection shared by the three novellas is a Christmas Ball hosted at the grand Dallas hotel, The St. Nicholas. It is the destination and main setting for the characters but Christmas plays a minor role. At the forefront are well-to-do fathers looking to marry off their daughters, a financially independent spinster who might have found her soul mate, and the terrible beauty that is the Texas terrain. I enjoyed each story and recommend the book to fans of the authors and historical romance.


THE HISTORY BEHIND A TEXAS KIND OF CHRISTMAS: 

➢ Sarah Horton Cockrell opened the St. Nicholas Hotel in 1859 under her own management, one year after her husband, Alex Cockrell, died at the hands of a Dallas sheriff. It was known as one of the most fashionable, grand hotels of its time until it burned down in the Dallas Fire of 1860. It was the first building constructed taller than two stories and the crowning social event Dallas society was the grand ball with which it made its debut. Sarah Horton Cockrell named the hotel after the man she chose as its manager – Nicholas H. Darnell, a captain in the Indian wars of 1839, Speaker of the House of Representatives in the Texas Congress of 1842, and Lieutenant Governor elected in the first state election of 1846. 

Sarah Horton Cockrell (1819-1892) 

➢ An astute businesswoman, real estate maven and transportation pioneer whose wealth and power defied gender conventions of the time, Sarah Horton Cockrell went on to own nearly 1⁄4 of Downtown Dallas, opening the Dallas Hotel (later known as the St. Charles), a number of flour mills and other businesses. She constructed the first iron bridge across the Trinity, leading to enormous economic development for the state. 

➢ After Sarah Horton Cockrell’s death in 1892, The Dallas Morning News’s obituary stated that her funeral procession and floral tributes were among the largest ever seen in Dallas.


ABOUT THE AUTHORS 

Jodi Thomas is a New York Times bestselling author and fifth-generation Texan who sets many of her award-winning stories in her home state, where her grandmother was born in a covered wagon. A multi-RITA Award winner and member of the prestigious Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame, she’s written over 50 novels with millions of copies in print. Her most recent releases are The Little Tea Shop on Main and her historical anthology, A Texas Kind of Christmas (Nov. 2019). The first book in her new series with Kensington, Breakfast at the Honey Creek Café, comes out May 2020. Please visit her at http://www.JodiThomas.com.


Celia Bonaduce, also the author of The Venice Beach Romances and the Welcome to Fat Chance, Texas series, has always had a love affair with houses. Her credits as a television field producer include such house-heavy hits as Extreme Makeover: Home Edition; HGTV’s House Hunters and Tiny House Hunters. She lives in Santa Monica, CA, with her husband and dreams of one day traveling with him in their own tiny house. She can be found online http://www.CeliaBonaduce.com

Rachael Miles is an acclaimed romance novelist and historian specializing in the 19th century, as well as a professor of literary history. A fifth-generation Texan and native of Dallas, she now lives and teaches in New York. Visit her online at http://www.RachaelMiles.com.


Meet Jodi Thomas, Rachael Miles & Celia Bonaduce at these Upcoming Events! 

Wednesday, November 20, 2019 @ 6pm DALLAS WOMAN’S FORUM at the Alexander Mansion of Dallas Cocktails and Hors d’oeuvres with Jodi Thomas, Rachael Miles & Celia Bonaduce (Author Talk, followed by Q&A and Book Signing) 4607 Ross Avenue Dallas, Texas 75204 

Thursday, November 21, 2019 @ 11am DALLAS WOMAN’S FORUM at the Alexander Mansion of Dallas Luncheon with Jodi Thomas, Rachael Miles & Celia Bonaduce (Author Talk, followed by Q&A and Book Signing) 4607 Ross Avenue Dallas, Texas 75204 

Thursday November 21, 2019 @ 6pm INTERABANG BOOKS 10720 Preston Rd #1009B Dallas, TX 75230 

Saturday, November 23, 2019 @ 11am DALLAS ARBORETUM – Rosine Hall 8525 Garland Rd. Dallas, Texas 75218


 

 

One Wish: A Christmas Story by Jodi Thomas

One Wish: A Christmas Story by Jodi Thomas

Expected publication:  Oct. 29, 2019 – Zebra

Digital galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

My take: Maggie has a journal where she has recorded wishes over the years. Ranging from flowery, hopeful wishes to now – when she wishes to spend a day with a good man. She doesn’t hold out much home that she’ll get her wish.

On a night just before Christmas she’s the only person in her mercantile when three men with bad intentions come in and threaten her. They don’t realize there’s another person in the shop and he upsets their plan. He is a man from Maggie’s past. She and Sam knew each other as children. Twenty years have passed and they have an opportunity to get re-acquainted.

This is a novella about finding friendship and possibly love. It’s a warm story peppered with Jodi Thomas’s trademark humor. I enjoyed it! The format is perfect when you need a little escape during a busy day.


 

The Valentine’s Curse by Jodi Thomas

The Valentine’s Curse by Jodi Thomas

Published:  Dec. 18, 2018 – Kensington

Book provided by the publisher and NetGalley

Description:  New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas takes you back to the Old West, where two strangers find love in the least likely place, with the least likely person, just in the nick of time . . .
 
As a Yankee in Texas two years after the Civil War, cowboy Broderick Monroe is given the jobs no one else wants to do—including keeping company with the cursed Widow Allen at the annual Valentine’s Day dance thrown by his boss’s wife.
 
After losing two husbands to the war, Valerie Allen has become a local pariah. Rumor has it that if a man touches her, he’ll be dead by morning. But Brody believes in curses about as much as he believes in love.
 
One secret embrace in the moonlight leads Valerie to think she has found a kindred spirit, but fate—and the curse—aren’t done with her yet . . . (publisher)

My take:  This novella was originally part of the anthology Be My Texas Valentine (published in 2012). It’s a story of two people who’ve been dealt some hard blows by life. When they meet at a Valentine’s dance they know they aren’t meant to be. He agreed to sit next to her when asked by his boss’s wife and she is too proper to disagree. But that doesn’t mean she must speak to him. She’s known around the county as a cursed widow. He’s known as a Yankee and only tolerated because of his strong work ethic. As always happens in a Jodi Thomas story, unexpected circumstances will change the course of lives and this reader loved finding out how. Told in the author’s warm and charming style this is a novella her fans and those of historical western romance will want to read. I’m glad I finally discovered it!


 

The Sins of Lord Lockwood by Meredith Duran

  • Title:  The Sins of Lord Lockwood
  • Series:  Rules For The Reckless #6
  • Author:  Meredith Duran
  • Pages:  368
  • Published:  February 2018 – Pocket Books
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  Back from the dead, an earl seeks vengeance.

Liam Devaliant, Lord Lockwood, was born into a charmed life. Charismatic, powerful, and wild, he had the world at his feet – and one woman as his aim. His wedding to Anna was meant to be his greatest triumph. Instead, in a single moment, a wicked conspiracy robbed him of his fortune and freedom.

…But will his long-lost countess pay the price?

Four years later, Liam has returned from death with plans for revenge. Standing in his way, though, is his long-absent bride. Once, he adored Anna’s courage. Now it seems like a curse, for Anna refuses to fear or forget him. If she can’t win back Liam’s love, then she means at least to save his soul…no matter the cost.

My take:  Anna is in need of a husband in order to maintain control of her land and title. Liam is in need of a wealthy wife in order to take care of the debts incurred by his estate. Neither want to be saddled with a mate that will force a change in lifestyle so when they find they actually enjoy the other’s company a match is made. The wedding follows fairly quickly and then, when the couple is ready to depart on a perfect honeymoon, the groom disappears leaving the bride bewildered, hurt and then angry. Especially when Liam reappears four years later.

This is a novel that shifts from the time of the wedding to after Liam’s return. That worked to flesh out the story without getting too far into an emotional whirlpool – which could easily have happened if told in a linear way. Liam became a sympathetic character the more I learned what happened to him. And yet I could understand Anna’s frustrations and anger because she could only work with the information he allowed her to know. Meredith Duran made me care about her characters. I loved the supporting ones as well. This isn’t a happy-go-lucky historical romance. There are raw emotions explored which made the outcome even more rewarding.

This novel can stand alone. Of the six I’ve only read this and the fifth book. I’d love to catch up in the series.


About the author:

Meredith Duran is the author of ten previous novels, including The Duke of Shadows (winner of the Gather.com First Chapters Romance Writing Competition); Wicked Becomes You (included on the Woman’s World List of Best Beach Reads for Summer 2010), and the USA TODAY bestseller and RITA Award Winner Fool Me Twice. She blames Anne Boleyn for sparking her lifelong obsession with British history, and for convincing her that princely love is no prize if it doesn’t come with a happily-ever-after. She enjoys collecting old etiquette manuals, guidebooks to nineteenth-century London, and travelogues by intrepid Victorian women. Visit her at MeredithDuran.com, on Twitter @meredithduran and Facebook: AuthorMeredithDuran


The Sins of Lord Lockwood

By Meredith Duran

Publication Date: February 27, 2018

ISBN: 9781501139048

Price:  $7.99  – Paperback – Pocket Books


 

A Lady’s Code of Misconduct by Meredith Duran

  • a-ladys-code-of-misconductTitle:  A Lady’s Code of Misconduct
  • Series:  Rules for the Reckless, #5
  • Author:  Meredith Duran
  • Pages:  384
  • Genre:  Historical Romance
  • Published:  February 28, 2017 – Pocket Books
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL…
Trapped in the countryside, facing an unwanted marriage and the theft of her fortune, Jane Mason is done behaving nicely. To win her freedom, she’ll strike a deal with the most dangerous man she knows—a rising star in politics, whose dark good looks mask an even darker heart.

…NEVER GOES TO PLAN.
The bitter past has taught Crispin Burke to trust no one. He’ll gladly help a lovely young heiress, provided she pays a price. Yet when a single mistake shatters his life, it is Jane who holds the key to his salvation. And in a world that no longer makes sense, Crispin slowly realizes that she may be the only thing worth fighting for…  (publisher)

My take:  This was my first full-length Meredith Duran book and I enjoyed it. We have Jane whose parents died leaving her in the care of her father’s brother (and family). She’d been raised with respect, a sense of adventure, and a thirst for knowledge. Now in her early twenties she’s been relegated to a corner and virtually ignored by her relatives. But they love her inheritance. Their goal is to see her married to their son (her cousin) and the money will go to the family.

Then we have Crispin. He’s a second son so not much use to anyone but himself. Because of events during his formative years he’s become a man intent on gaining political power by any means possible – maybe that will impress his father. For now he’s seeing a partnership with Jane’s uncle as useful in attaining his goal. When Jane puts her own plan for a better life into play Crispin finds himself helping her. When the unexpected happens their plans take a turn neither would have though possible.

A Lady’s Code of Misconduct was a fun read. I enjoyed Duran’s characters and plot. The amnesia and marriage of convenience tropes played out in such an entertaining way. Plus, there’s a villain who made me think of a Regency era James Bond villain 🙂 Unexpected, for sure! I also liked the foreshadowing of the next book in the series. At least I think it could be the next. Looking forward to it.


Praise for A Lady’s Code of Misconduct:

“A sham marriage, political intrigue, and a case of amnesia provide a backdrop for this absorbing Victorian romance…Although Duran (Luck Be a Lady, 2015, etc.) has written a novel as layered as an onion, the characters are well-drawn and the plot flawlessly executed. Add in some very steamy sex, and the fifth installment of Duran’s Rules for the Reckless series can’t help but delight. This book weaves its spell so thoroughly that the most fortunate reader will be the one who has time to read the entire thing in one sitting. A masterful tale of suspense, forgiveness, and love.”

Kirkus Starred Review for A Lady’s Code of Misconduct

 

“Romance at its finest.”

New York Times bestselling author Liz Carlyle for A Lady’s Code of Misconduct

 *  *  *

Praise for the Rules for the Reckless series:

“This flawless novel in the Rules for the Reckless series, set in 1886 London, pivots seamlessly to Catherine Everleigh and Nick O’Shea, lively characters who won readers’ hearts in Lady Be Good…These intelligent, multilayered characters embody the best aspects of this wonderfully indulgent series.”

Publishers Weekly (STARRED REVIEW, Luck Be A Lady)

 

“Hot on the heels of Lady Be Good comes Catherine Everleigh’s story, and readers know they’ll be in for a fun, sexy and poignant roller coaster ride. Well-paced, simmering with sexual tension and peopled with memorable characters, this is a love story to be savored.”

—RT, TOP PICK HOT REVIEW (Luck Be A Lady)

 

“Love transcends the limits of wealth and social rank in the smart, likable third Rules for the Reckless historical…Duran gives her characters depth: Christian grapples with his desire for revenge and anxiety over unexpectedly becoming his father’s heir, and Lilah is a pawn who fears exposure and ruin. Readers will especially look forward to Catherine finding her own romance in a future installment.”

—Publishers Weekly (Lady Be Good)


About the author:

MEREDITH DURAN is the author of ten previous novels, including The Duke of Shadows (winner of the Gather.com First Chapters Romance Writing Competition), Wicked Becomes You (included on the Woman’s World list of Best Beach Reads for Summer 2010), and the USA Today bestseller and RITA Award–winning Fool Me Twice. She blames Anne Boleyn for sparking her lifelong obsession with British history, and for convincing her that princely love is no prize if it doesn’t come with a happily-ever-after. She enjoys collecting old etiquette manuals, guidebooks to nineteenth-century London, and travelogues by intrepid Victorian women. Visit her atMeredithDuran.com, on Twitter @meredithduran and Facebook AuthorMeredithDuran.

*  *  *

A LADY’S CODE OF MISCONDUCT

Fifth in the Rules for the Reckless series

By Meredith Duran

Publication Date: February 28, 2017

Pocket Books

ISBN: 9781501139024

Price: $7.99

Historical Romance

a-ladys-code-of-misconduct

Someone to Hold by Mary Balogh

  • someone-to-hold-feb7Title:  Someone to Hold
  • Series:  Westcott #2
  • Author:  Mary Balogh
  • Pages:  400
  • Published:  February 7, 2017 – Jove Books
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  A reversal of fortune befalls a young woman in the latest Westcott novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Only a Kissand Someone to Love.
 
Humphrey Wescott, Earl of Riverdale, has died, leaving behind a fortune and a scandalous secret that will forever alter the lives of his family—sending one daughter on a journey of self-discovery…
 
With her parents’ marriage declared bigamous, Camille Westcott is now illegitimate and without a title. Looking to eschew the trappings of her old life, she leaves London to teach at the Bath orphanage where her newly discovered half-sister lived. But even as she settles in, she must sit for a portrait commissioned by her grandmother and endure an artist who riles her every nerve.
 
An art teacher at the orphanage that was once his home, Joel Cunningham has been hired to paint the portrait of the haughty new teacher. But as Camille poses for Joel, their mutual contempt soon turns to desire. And it is only the bond between them that will allow them to weather the rough storm that lies ahead…  (publisher)

My take:  Mary Balogh continues her Westcott series with Someone to Hold. It is Camille Westcott’s story – she’s more bewildered and hurt than angry about her situation. Little by little she wakes up to her new circumstances and decides to actually do something about her new path in life. That path takes her to an orphanage in Bath where she decides she’d like to give teaching a try.

Seemed a bit of a fish out of water story to me but Balogh made it work. I think my favorite parts of the story centered around the orphanage and school scenes. Camille blossomed in her new surroundings and discovered things about herself she didn’t know in her old life. She also discovered Joel, the local portrait artist who volunteered to teach painting at the orphanage school. He grew up at the orphanage and could share that perspective with Camille. The two became friends and then more.

Although I thought the pacing was a bit uneven it was a nice story about finding new possibilities in even the most dire circumstances and about finding family when you thought all hope was lost. Recommended to fans of the author and historical romance.

Finish the Series 2016 Challenge Wrap-Up

I’ve been working toward reading three series for a few years. In 2016 I managed to finish reading the Brothers Sinister series by Courtney Milan:

the-governess-affair  the-duchess-war  a-kiss-for-midwinter  the-heiress-effect  the-countess-conspiracy  the-suffragette-scandal  talk-sweetly-to-me

 

Sweetest Regret: A Novella by Meredith Duran

  • sweetest-regretTitle:  Sweetest Regret: A Novella
  • Author:  Meredith Duran
  • Pages:  98 – Kindle edition
  • Genre:  Historical Romance; Christmas
  • Published:  November 2016 – Pocket Star
  • Source:  purchased

My take:  This novella was originally part of the anthology: What Happens Under the Mistletoe and was recently released as a single short e-book.

Georgiana and Lucas find themselves together at a Christmas house party that was supposed to have been hosted by her father. They haven’t seen each other in two years and are not on good terms because of what happened two years ago. Lucas works for or with Georgiana’s father and has been given an assignment that involves the house party. There’s some animosity on the part of both and each feels justified in feeling that way. Their repartee was enjoyable. I normally find novellas lacking but I thought Meredith Duran did a great job developing her characters and story. If you enjoy historical romance novellas with a Christmas theme you might like Sweetest Regret. I’d love to read one of her full-length novels.

Blog Tour Spotlight/US Giveaway: The Dare and the Doctor by Kate Noble

the dare and the doctor (11:22:16)

 

THE DARE AND THE DOCTOR

  • Kate Noble
  • Pocket Books
  • Pub date: November 22, 2016
  • ISBN: 9781476749402
  • Price: $7.99
  • Mass Market Paperbound
  • A Winner Takes All Novel (#3)

 

Description:  National bestselling author Kate Noble’s THE DARE AND THE DOCTOR lures readers back to the dazzling, irresistible Winner Takes All Regency Romance series. Margaret Babcock has always been content with her quiet life in the country. But every now and then, she feels the urge to spread her wings. Her late mother used to whisper, “What’s the worst that could happen?” at the start of an adventure, and now Margaret’s continuing the tradition. So when Dr. Rhys Gray, her longtime correspondent on matters botanical, invites her to speak to the London Horticultural Society about her new rose hybrid, she accepts. She’s excited about her first visit to London, but even more so about getting to see her friend Dr. Gray. When she arrives, Rhys is eager to show her the wonders of the city, and the two spend many happy hours together just as friends, of course! But would friends miss each other quite as fiercely when they’re apart; or feel such a spark when they’re together? Margaret finds that friendship with Rhys is much more complicated than she’d imagined…especially when it turns out her friend has forgotten that he may be promised to another woman.


About the author:

katenobleKate Noble is the national bestselling author of The Lie and the Lady, The Game and the Governess, third in the witty, sexy Winner Takes All Regency Series, and the critically acclaimed, RITA Award-nominated Blue Raven series. Under the name Kate Rorick, she writes for television, as well as novels based on the Emmy Award-winning web series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, for which she is also a writer and producer. She lives in Los Angeles. Visit Kate at katenoble.comFacebook, and Twitter.


Praise for the Winner Takes All series:

booklist_starreview_badge“With her usual witty writing and exquisite flair for characterization, Noble offers [The Lie and the Lady]. The effortless manner in which she wrote The Lie and the Lady as a separate love story while at the same time gracefully connecting it to The Game and the Governess and cleverly hinting at what is to come in the series is nothing less than brilliant.”

Booklist (STARRED REVIEW, The Lie and the Lady)

 

“After a scandalous escapade with John, a commoner she thought was the Earl of Ashby. Letitia returns to England as the fiancée of a somewhat older, titled widower- only to find out that her new home is right in John’s backyard . . . heartwarming.”

Publishers Weekly (The Lie and the Lady)

 

“The Earl of Ashby trades places with his friend and secretary in order to prove he can win a woman without the benefit of his title in The Game and the Governess…It’s a delicious treat to watch Ned grow from earl to man, and see the stalwart Phoebe get everything she deserves.”

Bookpage (TOP PICK IN ROMANCE, The Game and the Governess)

 

“The subtle development of romance between the devil-may-care earl and the proper governess is the impetus behind this winning novel, complete with rich characters and a multi-dimensional plotline.”

—Publishers Weekly (STARRED REVIEW, Best Summer Romance pick, The Game and the Governess)


WINNER TAKES ALL GIVEAWAY (US)

the game and the governess (giveaway)  cover-final  the dare and the doctor (11:22:16)

To celebrate the third in the Winner Takes All series, The Dare and the Doctor, we are hosting a giveaway and the WINNER will TAKE ALL books in the series: The Game and the GovernessThe Lie and the Lady and The Dare and the Doctor! Please note, you can enter at all participating blogs listed below but you can only win once. U.S. only.

 Click here and fill out the form.

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Fall of Poppies

  • Fall of Poppies (LTER win)Title:  Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War
  • Authors:   Heather Webb, Hazel Gaynor, Beatriz Williams, Jennifer Robson, Jessica Brockmole, Kate Kerrigan, Evangeline Holland, Lauren Willig, Marci Jefferson
  • Pages:  368
  • Genre:  Historical Fiction
  • Published:  March 2016 – William Morrow Paperbacks
  • Source:  Publisher; Library Thing Early Reviewers

Description:  On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month . . .

November 11, 1918. After four long, dark years of fighting, the Great War ends at last, and the world is forever changed. For soldiers, loved ones, and survivors, the years ahead stretch with new promise, even as their hearts are marked by all those who have been lost.

As families come back together, lovers reunite, and strangers take solace in each other, everyone has a story to tell.

In this moving, unforgettable collection, nine top historical fiction authors share stories of love, strength, and renewal as hope takes root in a fall of poppies.  (Goodreads)

My brief take:  Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War is an anthology of stories about World War I. They revolve around Armistice Day (Nov. 11, 1918) – “where were you then?” and “what happened before and after?”.

I liked all of the stories but one stood out from all the rest: All For the Love of You by Jennifer Robson. It’s about a young American woman in Paris who meets an injured American soldier at her place of work and forms a unique friendship. Circumstances out of their control determine what happens next… until one day when they meet again. I loved the story and will definitely look for more from author Jennifer Robson.

Recommended to fans of historical fiction/romance anthologies – especially with a Great War theme.

Someone to Love by Mary Balogh

  • Someone to Love (11:1)Title:  Someone to Love
  • Series:  Wescott #1
  • Author:  Mary Balogh
  • Genre:  Historical Romance
  • Pages:  400
  • Pub. Date:  November 8, 2016 – Signet
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  The New York Times bestselling author of Only a Kiss launches a new series with the death of an earl and the revelation of a scandalous secret…

Humphrey Wescott, Earl of Riverdale, has died, leaving behind a fortune that will forever alter the lives of everyone in his family—including the daughter no one knew he had…

Anna Snow grew up in an orphanage in Bath knowing nothing of the family she came from. Now she discovers that the late Earl of Riverdale was her father and that she has inherited his fortune. She is also overjoyed to learn she has siblings. However, they want nothing to do with her or her attempts to share her new wealth. But the new earl’s guardian is interested in Anna…

Avery Archer, Duke of Netherby, keeps others at a distance. Yet something prompts him to aid Anna in her transition from orphan to lady. As London society and her newfound relatives threaten to overwhelm Anna, Avery steps in to rescue her and finds himself vulnerable to feelings and desires he has hidden so well and for so long.  (publisher)

My take: Mary Balogh is back with the first in her new Wescott series: Someone to Love. I love a good historical romance and Balogh writes wonderful novels to escape into. This story is a little different in tone from the usual historical but I liked it every bit as much as all of her books.

It’s a Cinderella story to be sure but the prince is not your run-of-the-mill hero. No, Avery’s a bit mysterious – you just know he’s more than the public image most of the world sees. I won’t spoil because it was fun to learn his secret – nothing monumental but it made me smile just the same.

Anna was so courageous and was easy to cheer on as she met her new life head-on. It was fun to see her life change and yet she held on to certain aspects of her past. She was a refreshing character who I hope we’ll see more of in future books in this series.

If you’re a fan of the genre or Mary Balogh I think you’ll enjoy Someone to Love as much as I did. It will go on sale Nov. 8th.

The Winemakers: A Novel of Wine and Secrets by Jan Moran

  • The Winemakers (4:5)Title:  The Winemakers: A Novel of Wine and Secrets
  • Author:  Jan Moran
  • Genre:  Historical Fiction/Romance
  • Pages:  368
  • Published:  April 2016 – St. Martin’s Griffin
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  In 1956, when Caterina Rosetta inherits a vineyard in Montalcino, Italy from a grandmother she’s never known, she discovers a long-buried family secret – a secret so devastating it threatens the future of everything her family has worked for. Many years before, the Rosetta family’s hard-won dreams of staking their claim in the vineyards of California came to fruition; but as an old murder comes to light, and Caterina discovers a tragedy that may destroy the man she loves, she realizes her happiness will depend on revealing the truth of her mother’s buried past.  (publisher)

My take:  The Winemakers is an old-fashioned saga of a family looking to fulfill their dreams of making their Napa vineyard a success. I loved the strong female characters who put very little above the love of family and winemaking. That said, they were governed by the patriarchal rules of society (of that time) and the church so they had great limitations on what they could do. There was also a huge secret that threatened any happiness for Caterina. This led to much unhappiness and unfulfilled dreams that would ultimately guide their actions.

The setting changes from France to Italy to California over the course of many decades. Most of the dual-storyline is set either in the 1920s or the 1950s. I enjoyed reading both storylines and thought Moran did a wonderful job of portraying both eras in all three countries.

I think anyone who enjoys a sweeping family story (which got a bit melodramatic at times) will like The Winemakers. My thanks to the publisher for sharing a copy with me.


JAN MORAN is the author of the novel Scent of Triumph, and Fabulous Fragrances I and II, which earned spots on the Rizzoli Bookstore bestseller list. A fragrance and beauty expert, she has been featured in numerous publications and on television and radio, including CNN, Instyle, and O Magazine, and has spoken before prestigious organizations, including The American Society of Perfumers. She earned her MBA from Harvard Business school and attended the University of California at Los Angeles Extension Writers’ Program.

The Lie And The Lady by Kate Noble

  • Cover.Final-2Title:  The Lie and the Lady
  • Author:  Kate Noble
  • Series:  Winner Takes All #2
  • Pages:  384
  • Published:  December 2015 – Pocket Books
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  John Turner thought only of winning a bet when he swapped identities with his friend the Earl of Ashby. He didn’t wager on winning the fiery Countess of Churzy’s heart with his lies, or on falling for her in return. Publicly humiliated when she learned of the betrayal, the impoverished countess fled, and John thought Leticia was lost to him forever…until fate brings her practically to his doorstep. Can he regain her trust—and her heart—this time as himself?

Determined to make a new life for herself, Letty knows she must avoid Turner—and his maddening kisses—in order to survive. But some things are too intoxicating to be denied. If she turns her back on her dashing rogue—again—will she lose her chance at love forever? (back of the book)

My take:  Lady Churzy was betrayed by Mr. Turner in a very public way that left her whispered about wherever she went. She couldn’t outrun the lie that scandalized the ton. That didn’t stop her from looking for a new life and security. When she met Sir Barty in Paris she thought she’d finally found the life she was looking for – the life she needed.

John Turner made a big mistake but he thought he could correct it so he kept looking for Letty (Lady Churzy). When he found her practically in his own back yard he couldn’t believe his good luck. But that feeling didn’t last long. Would he ever be able to convince her to trust him?

The plight of an unmarried woman without means at that time was at the forefront of the novel and I had sympathy for Letty for that reason. But to accomplish her goal she had to be calculating so she risked hurting people very close to her. I just knew that wouldn’t end well for most of them. I wasn’t sure how Letty and John would find their HEA but I soon knew the author would get them there.

The character that charmed me the most was Lady Margaret, the nineteen year old daughter of Sir Barty. She was quite introverted and chose to spend the majority of her time in the gardens and greenhouse. Margaret was beginning to evolve in the late pages of the novel and I hope we’ll see more of her at another time.

The Lie and the Lady was entertaining, a bit melodramatic, and, in some spots, laugh out loud funny. I enjoyed the main characters and the supporting ones – townspeople, servants, and such. Noble’s descriptions made it easy to envision the various settings and characters. This is the first of her books I’ve had the chance to read and I look forward to more in the future.

Recommended to fans of Kate Noble and Historical Romance.

Spotlight on: The Lie And The Lady by Kate Noble plus a giveaway of Book #1

Cover.Final-2

Truth be told, The Lie and the Lady “is nothing less than brilliant” (Starred Booklist)

 

  • THE LIE AND THE LADY
  • Kate Noble
  • 2nd in the Winner Takes All series
  • Pocket Books
  • December 29, 2015
  • ISBN: 9781476749396
  • $7.99

“With her usual witty writing and exquisite flair for characterization, Noble offers readers the second, splendid book in her Winner Takes All series. The effortless manner in which she wrote The Lie and the Lady as a separate love story while at the same time gracefully connecting it to The Game and the Governess (2014) and cleverly hinting at what is to come in the series is nothing less than brilliant.”

Booklist Starred Review


Cover.Final-2

John Turner thought only of winning a bet when he swapped identities with his friend the Earl of Ashby. He didn’t wager on winning the fiery Countess of Churzy’s heart with his lies, or on falling for her in return. Publicly humiliated when she learned of the betrayal, the impoverished countess fled, and John thought Leticia was lost to him forever…until fate brings her practically to his doorstep. Can he regain her trust—and her heart—this time as himself?

Determined to make a new life for herself, Letty knows she must avoid Turner—and his maddening kisses—in order to survive. But some things are too intoxicating to be denied. If she turns her back on her dashing rogue—again—will she lose her chance at love forever?

The Game and the Governess was dubbed a “winning novel, complete with rich characters and a multi-dimensional plotline” by Publishers Weekly (starred review), a “delicious treat” by Bookpage, “Immensely entertaining and eminently satisfying” by Booklist (starred review), and RT Reviews (four star HOT) promised “charming characters will sweep readers away into the story”.  Second in the captivating Winner Takes All series, THE LIE AND THE LADY is “nothing less than brilliant” (Booklist starred review) and will reward readers as the perfect literary escape.

 


AuthorPhoto

Kate Noble is the national bestselling author of The Game and the Governess and the critically acclaimed, RITA Award-nominated Blue Raven series. Under the name Kate Rorick, she writes for television, as well as novels based on the Emmy Award-winning web series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, for which she is also a writer and producer. She lives in Los Angeles. Visit katenoble.com@NobleRorickfacebook.com/katenoblewriter.


Buy Buttons for THE LIE AND THE LADY:

http://books.simonandschuster.com/The-Lie-and-the-Lady/Kate-Noble/Winner-Takes-All/9781476749396


 

US Giveaway

One copy of Book #1 in the series

the game and the governess (giveaway)

Please click here and fill out the form

Giveaway has ended


Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva by Eliza Redgold

  • naked - a novel of lady godiva (7:14)Title:  Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva
  • Author:  Eliza Redgold
  • Genre:  Historical Fiction
  • Pages:  320
  • Published:  July 2015 – St. Martin’s Griffin
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  We know her name. We know of her naked ride. We don’t know her true story. Lady Godiva is a true legend. She famously rode naked through the streets of Coventry, covered only by her long, flowing hair. She did this to convince her husband to lift a high tax on her people. But there is more to the story. Naked is Godiva’s tale with a twist. A tale of sensual passion, obsession, greed, and mercy, this epic retelling lays bare the lengths this legendary woman went to fight for what was right…and fight for her heart.  (back of the book)

My take:  Several weeks ago I posted a Spotlight about Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva by Eliza Redgold. While I didn’t have time to read it then I knew as soon as my schedule opened up I would be diving into Godiva’s story.

As noted in the description above I knew the basics of Godiva’s story but not much else. Redgold’s version captivated me from the start. I loved the vivid descriptions of setting and era as well as the main characters and townspeople.

I learned about the danger and subterfuge that regularly challenged Godiva and her people. The Danes (Vikings) were determined to take the Saxons’ land by any means. Lucky for the good people of Coventry – they had their brave and determined Lady Godiva. Would Godiva think herself lucky to have Leofric as her husband?

I won’t risk a spoiler by revealing more of the book. If you enjoy historical fiction/romance I think you’ll enjoy Godiva’s story. I certainly did.

#FitWalkers Weekly Check-in and a review: Candle’s Christmas Chair by Jude Knight

  • FitReaders2015Sat:   10,657
  • Sun:   6,463
  • Mon: 10,494
  • Tue:    11,935
  • Wed:   12,725
  • Thu:    12,576
  • Fri:      10,097

Another week of indoor walking. I try not to wish time away but Spring can’t arrive soon enough. Hoping all my New England friends are well and have dug out from the blizzard. You’ve been in my thoughts.

Read on the treadmill:

candle's christmas chair  Little Beach Street Bakery (3:31:15)


 

  • candle's christmas chairTitle:  Candle’s Christmas Chair
  • Author:  Jude Knight
  • Genre:  Historical Romance; Christmas
  • Published:  December 2014 – Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Source:  Author

Synopsis:  When Viscount Avery comes to see an invalid chair maker, he does not expect to find Min Bradshaw, the woman who rejected him 3 years earlier. Or did she? He wonders if there is more to the story. For 3 years, Min Bradshaw has remembered the handsome guardsman who courted her for her fortune. She didn’t expect to see him in her workshop, and she certainly doesn’t intend to let him fool her again.  (author)

My take:  When author Jude Knight let me know her novella was free on Amazon I checked it out and promptly downloaded it to my Kindle. I enjoy historical romances and love when there’s a Christmas theme.

Candle is a nickname for Viscount Randall Avery. He’s quite tall and has red hair, hence the nickname. He met Minerva at a house party three years ago and couldn’t forget her even though it seemed she wanted nothing more to do with him. Min had been told, by an unreliable source it turns out, he only wanted her for her money. She quickly left the party without saying goodbye. What a shock for both when they met again in Min’s workshop. Candle was there to order a wheelchair for his mother.

Min was determined not to get involved with Candle. The differences were too much to overcome – he a peer and she a shopkeeper’s daughter. Candle took that as a challenge and set to work at winning Min’s heart and trust. This part was so charming that I don’t want to spoil it for other readers except to say I learned quite a bit about the language of flowers. I also found the wheelchair aspect of the novella quite interesting.

Knight included a bit of drama that I was happy didn’t go down a predictable road. I enjoyed this novella and recommend it to fans of the author and historical romance.

Note:  Check Jude Knight’s website for buy links for various retailers and to read about her other books.