Monday, April 24, 2017

Review of Hard Hearted-Highlander by Julia London


The second book in the Highland Grooms Series is a powerful heart wrenching story of lost love, tragedy and how two people make the journey back to life and love.

First let me say that there are parts of this book that took fortitude on my part to read, but it was worth reading through some really sad parts to a HAE.  This book is about Rabbie MacKenzie the brother of the hero from "Sinful Scottish Laird".  Rabbie has lost his will to live.  He has watched his precious Highlands be decimated by the English after the battle at Culloden , the love of his life died a terrible death and his clan is barely scraping by.  He is just going through the motions for one reason, because no matter how much he doesn't want to go on he knows that if he died his family would be devastated.  Now Rabbie has agreed to marry a young English woman who will bring much needed money.  He doesn't want anything to do with her when she arrives at his home.  He is not even trying to endear himself and is being rude and dismissive an all around ass.

Accompanying the bride to be from England is Bernadette Holly.  A ladies maid with a terribly tragic past. She and her love ran away from home to marry, defying her wealthy Father, who wanted her to marry  a nobleman to help him gain access to into the Ton.  Her father's men catch up with them days after they were married and drag her husband away.  She is taken home and her marriage is annulled.  She later finds out that her husband was conscripted into the Royal Navy and died at sea.  She then finds out she is pregnant but loses the baby when her father strikes her and she falls down a flight of stairs.  She has hidden deep in her mind and heart the crippling pain that has shaped who she is and what she has become.

How can Rabbie and Bernadette help each other when it is clear that the only thing they have in common is pain and heartbreak?  I have read everything that Julia has written in Historical Romance, this story is darker in that Julia delves deeper into what makes these characters so special.  They are both strong, intelligent characters who come out even stronger in the end.  There is conflict, redemption, and best of all a happy ending for them.  I am a fan of Julia's writing and think this book is a must read.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Review of Blame it on the Duke by Lenora Bell




The third book in The Disgraceful Dukes is a must read.

We finally get Nick's story.  He is a Marquess in line for a Dukedom.  He is a walking scandal.  All night bacchanals, courtesans, masquerades and wine are his specialty.   What he doesn't show the world is the nightmare that he has been living watching his father go slowly insane.  He takes care of his father and has a male companion with him at all times.  Apparently madness runs in the family.  He also has a secret mission that no one knows about involving helping those who are confined in a mad house by a relative or husbands to get rid of them.  He has decided that his line will die with him.  He does not want to marry, fall in love or have children.  What he doesn't count on is his father somehow escaping the house and gambling him away to a Baron's daughter in marriage.

Alice is the daughter of a Baron and her mother wants desperately for her to marry into the upper echelons of Society.  Alice wants nothing to do with marriage.  She has sabotaged every attempt her mother has made at matchmaking.  All she wants to do is travel to India and have an adventure.  She has in her possession an ancient Sanskrit manuscript of missing copies of the Kama Sutra and she has translated them.  She wants to go to India to donate them so that they can be published.

You know what they say about the best laid plans.  When Nick shows up at her door and tries to get out of the marriage, Alice has no objection.  Only Alice's father is adamant and her mother is over the moon.  Their is no getting out of this mess without Alex compromising his father's honor.  So they agree to a marriage of convenience.  Nick will stay in London and Alice will go to India and have her adventure.

This is a compelling, intelligent , extraordinary story of how your perspective of your world changes when you meet someone you were sure could never exist.  Lenora's writing is exquisite, lyrical and beautifully sensual.  I have read all three novels in this series and I recommend all of them.  The characters have a depth to them that will allow you to immerse yourself in them and become part of them.




Saturday, April 15, 2017

Review of Lord of Chance (Rogues to Riches #1) by Erica Ridley


This book was truly an original story that I loved.  I really enjoy Erica's writing..  I could not put it down.

Charlotte Devon is the daughter of a courtesan who is desperate to get away from London and find her father.  She is tired of being treated like a harlots illegitimate daughter especially by the Quality and the Gentleman who think she is just like her mother and will lift her skirt for a few pence.  She is under the impression that her Father is a lord and will travel to Scotland and finally be part of a family that will love and accept her.  She makes it to an Inn in Scotland and is trying to decide how she will find her father when she meets Anthony Fairfax.  Anthony is a Gentleman who gambles for his living.  When he is winning, he and his parents spend the money as fast as he makes it.  He is used to the ups and downs and has never really thought about doing anything different with his life.

Anthony is in Scotland because of a gambling debt that he cannot pay,  and decides that maybe his luck will be better away from London and he knows he will come about and will be able to pay his debts and have money to spare.  He is the middle of a card game where he is has won a substantial amount when he notices a beautiful girl staring at him. She asks to join the game and wins all of Anthony's recent windfall. Now he has to find another way to win the money to pay his debt.

Anthony is a Gentleman to his bones and when Charlotte asks him for his escort her to her room a misunderstanding about the Scottish Marriage Law has them married to each other and their journey to a HAE begins.

Anthony and Charlotte are wonderful characters that make this book worth reading.  Anthony is witty, honorable who has a heart of gold.  Charlotte is a strong woman who knows what she wants, or thought she did until Anthony shows her that she is a person worthy of love and understanding and it does not matter who your parents are or are not.

Erica's writing is soulful, witty and just beautiful.  I admit I cried a few times.  There is a dialogue between Charlotte and her mother that  is poignant and breathtaking.  Anthony's declaration of love and the last three chapters were amazing.  This one is a keeper.  Do not miss it.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Review of A Study in Scoundrels by Christy Carlyle


A tale of a Aristocratic Rogue Actor who follows no rules but his own and a young Lady who has lived by a set of rules that she grew up with.  Add in a runaway sister and a chase that covers remote parts of England and you have an adventurous romp with a wonderful mystery, enough action to have you turning the pages and a compelling, sensual and heartwarming love.

I really enjoyed this book.  There are splendid characters from the first book in the series, which I haven't read yet but will be sure to read.  Christy is a fine writer who gives us intelligent, witty, damaged characters that grow and transform themselves through their journeys and come out the other end healed and happy.

I received a complimentary copy for an honest review.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Blog Book Tour for A Study in Scoundrels by Christy Carlyle



Sophia Ruthven is the epitome of proper behavior. On paper at least, as long as that paper isn’t from one of the lady detective stories she secretly pens. She certainly isn’t interested in associating with the dashing Jasper Grey, the wayward heir to the Earl of Stanhope, and one of the stage’s leading men. But when she learns Grey’s younger sister Liddy has gone missing, she can’t deny her desire to solve the mystery…or her attraction to the incorrigible scoundrel. 

Responsibility isn’t something Grey is very familiar with. On the boards and in the bedroom, he lives exactly how he wants to, shunning all the trappings of respectability and society. Grey knows he should avoid the bewitching Sophia, but he’s never been able to say no to what he wants. And having Sophia in his arms and his bed is quickly becoming the thing he wants the most. 

As Sophia and Grey’s search for Liddy continues across the English countryside, can this scoundrel convince a proper lady that he’s actually perfect for her or will their adventure leave them both heartbroken?



Laughter tickled his ears. Weight bore down on his chest, draped over his hips. A soft weight, pliant under his hands. Heated too. Pleasure in his groin twined with pain in his head as the soft, warm weight moved against him.
He blinked, then again. Colors shimmered and blurred. The light was too dim. The room too smoky. Perfume burned his nose, too spicy and pungent.
What was that sound? A moan. A cry.
A rumbling groan reverberated in his own chest.
“Don’t leave me now,” a woman whispered near his ear. “I need release.”
He flexed his fingers, digging into the warm flesh of smooth feminine legs. Slid his hand up, finding the thicket of curls between the woman’s spread thighs.
“Yes, Grey.”
She moved against him, her breath quickening as little moans emerged. She clutched at his shoulder, her other hand on his, showing him how to touch her.
He didn’t require much direction. The role of lover was one he knew by heart. Some said he was skilled on stage, but he never doubted his expertise in the bedroom.
His own body had numbed. Whether from drink or the drugging effect of the smoke rising in whorls above his head, he wasn’t certain. But this, how to touch a woman, how to give pleasure. This he knew intuitively. This was where he excelled.
Heaven knew he’d failed at everything else.
Except acting.
But performing on stage was all a matter of illusion, of lying artfully. Sex and falsehood were his twin aptitudes.
If only he could see the woman clearly and scatter the fog in his mind. He twisted his head on the pillow and noticed a half-empty glass of blue-green liquid glowing in the low gaslight.
“What did I drink?”
A trill of laughter. Red lips. The curve of a grin in a pale face. A waterfall of red hair.
He swirled his fingers in the woman’s curls. She stilled and held her breath. He knew he’d found the key. Gently, masterfully, he touched her with all the art he’d learned from countless lovers.
“Oh, Grey.” She twitched against his fingers, dug her nails into his shoulder. “Don’t stop.”
He didn’t. Not until she gusted out a long moan, dipped her head, and sank against him as if her bones had melted.
“Absinthe,” she murmured against his chest. “A bit of laudanum.”
Grey pressed a fist to the throbbing crown of his head and tried to sit up. The lady on his chest stretched like a cat woken from a nap before rising off him and stepping away from the bed.
No, he realized when his vision cleared and he took in the books lining the walls, not a bed. Not his bedroom. He was on a settee in his London townhouse’s library, and he and his lady companion were not alone. Half-clothed bodies reclined around the musky, haze-clouded room. Some sleeping. Others smoking from an enormous bubbling hookah. At least one couple was busy, writhing and moaning in the far corner.
A man stumbled past the open library door, nude from the waist up, his shirt and coat rolled in a crumpled ball in his arms. Returning to the threshold, he let out a burp before offering, “Many happy returns, Grey. Smashing birthday party.”
How to Write a Scoundrel in Five Steps by Christy Carlyle

Make him a renegade. Every scoundrel is, in some sense, a renegade. He does not conform to society’s rules. Whether he’s a viscount or a valet, a scoundrel doesn’t give a fig what others think of his outrageous behavior. In fact, he relishes his rebellion and the effect he has on others. To shock a virginal debutante into a blush. To send a society matron searching for her smelling salts. To make a rival livid with disdain. Those are the moments a scoundrel lives for. Even if he’s meant for ultimate redemption (and, of course, he is), a true scoundrel always starts as a rule breaker.

Infuse him with magnetism. A scoundrel must draw you, tantalize you, no matter how much of a rogue he is. A scoundrel should wield a kind of magnetism that’s impossible to deny. A magnetism based on more than his charm, handsome features, and appealing physique, though it helps if he possesses those in spades. Yet even a scarred, flawed scoundrel intrigues the most proper heroine, exuding a charisma that makes her curious enough to look beyond his reputation and bad behavior. When I think of the magnetic scoundrel, Lisa Kleypas’s Derek Craven from Dreaming of You comes to mind. From his first appearance on the page, he exerted a magnetic pull on me, as a reader, and on Sara, the story’s heroine.

Turn up the confidence. Scoundrels rarely regret their sins. At least at first. To be a true scoundrel, a man must revel in his naughtiness for a while. One of the keys to being a successful scoundrel, after all, is acquiring a terrible reputation, and it takes effort to convince everyone around you that you’re an unprincipled man. Part of a scoundrel’s appeal lies in his confidence, whether in his looks, his charm, or some skill that he performs particularly well. And, no, I’m not only thinking of talents in the bedroom. Consider Han Solo, the Star Wars scoundrel we all love. Han may have suspected Leia’s feelings for him, but he knew with absolute certainty that he was one of the best pilots in the galaxy. Confidence is sexy, and scoundrels have plenty.

Dig into his history. He may be the life of the party. Embracing every sin. Indulging every impulse. But the best scoundrels have a history that’s far less about pleasure than their lifestyle would suggest. Often there’s a wound, a trauma, some deeply buried regret that they seek to block out with hedonism and sensual gratification. He can’t escape his past, of course, no matter how much he carouses. My hero, Jasper Grey, in A Study in Scoundrels has never quite gotten past the death of his brother. His guilt is what drives him to overindulge and embrace his role as a scoundrel.

Give him a formidable challenge. Every hero is presented with a challenge. Part of the appeal of a scoundrel is that he usually faces provocation with gusto. Whether he schemes to avoid marriage, or attempts to outwit a clever heroine, a scoundrel never backs down from a dare. Challenge intrigues him, excites him. Probably because his overconfidence convinces him he’ll always emerge the victor. Of course, a challenge often alters the scoundrel in ways he doesn’t expect, especially if confrontation comes in the form of a fierce, smart, determined heroine who strips away his seductive veneer and digs deep enough to unearth the man inside.
How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story? The hero and heroine of A STUDY IN SCOUNDRELS were introduced in the first book of the Romancing the Rules series, RULES FOR A ROGUE. I immediately knew that Sophia Ruthven, who was straight-laced and exceedingly proper, should end up with Jasper Grey, who reveled in being a scoundrel. The challenge was figuring out what each possessed that would appeal to the other. Since I knew Sophia loved detective novels, having them set out to solve a mystery together seemed a perfect way to keep them in each other’s company for a while. What did you enjoy most about writing this book? I enjoyed writing A STUDY IN SCONDRELS because of the opportunity to include a bit of mystery in the storyline. Like my heroine, Sophia, I am a big fan of detective novels. Sherlock Holmes was as popular in the Victorian era as he is today, and I was fascinated to learn that there were several “lady detective” novels published in Britain long before Conan Doyle’s sleuth appeared. Sophia loves mysteries and when faced with one, she can’t resist jumping in to investigate. Name one thing you won’t leave home without. A small purse-sized notepad and a pen. After getting stuck at doctor’s offices and restaurants with nothing to write on when a story ideas strikes, I’ve learned my lesson. In desperation, I’ve written on the backs of receipts, napkins, and envelopes, but nothing compares to having a little notebook in which I can organize my thoughts during all those “waiting” moments that pop up during a week. Name three things on your desk right now. Sticky notes, an unfinished cup of coffee, and way too many pens. I feel like no desk is complete without a big heaping pile of sticky notes. I love their cheery colors and find them a useful tool to capture ideas as they pop into my head. I try to limit myself to one big cup of coffee a day, but many days I get busy and don’t end up drinking most of it until it’s gone cold. And pens? I seem to attract them. I clear off my desk each morning before starting to write, but by evening the surface is covered with pens. I tend to reach for another one every time I need to write something down. What types of scenes are your most favorite to write? I love moments of tension, especially when they involve banter between the hero and heroine. Writing snappy banter is a challenge for me, but I enjoy the struggle because those are the moments that reveal so much about my characters. It’s a chance to build emotion between the hero and heroine, but banter also allows them to begin admiring each other for wit and cleverness, something beyond the initial physical attraction. Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with? Secondary characters are always hard to let go of. Often harder than my heroes and heroines, since they haven’t had their stories fully explored. I have a dozen secondary characters that I’d love to revisit, but one, Rob Wellesley from my first Avon Impulse novel, ONE SCANDALOUS KISS, persists in my mind. I’ve received several reader letters about him and would love to give him his happy ending someday. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers? Persist and never stop learning. I’ve been writing for years, began publishing three years ago, and I still feel as if I’m a newcomer. There is always more to learn, more ways to stretch ourselves as writers. Rejections come with the territory if your goal is to publish, but each rejection is just an opportunity to improve your story and hone your writing skills.
Link to Follow Tour:

Author Info
Fueled by Pacific Northwest coffee and inspired by multiple viewings of every British costume drama she can get her hands on, USA Today bestselling author Christy Carlyle writes sensual historical romance set in the Victorian era. She loves heroes who struggle against all odds and heroines who are ahead of their time. A former teacher with a degree in history, she finds there’s nothing better than being able to combine her love of the past with a die-hard belief in happy endings.
Author Links:   WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

Buy Links:      AMAZON | B & N | GOOGLE | ITUNES | KOBO

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Sunday, April 9, 2017

BOOK TAG FOR BLOGGERS

    BOOK TAG by Jaci Tobin


Fellow blogger Carol Cork  from rakesandrascals.wordpress.com has challenged me to this Book Tag post:
RULES:
You must be honest.
You must answer all the questions.
You must tag at least 4 people.
Here goes!!
1. What book has been on your shelf the longest?
Courtney Milan by Her Every Wish
I didn’t realize it until I accepted this challenge.  I love her books and have all of them!!
2. What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?
A Perfect Gentleman by Candace Camp
My One True Highlander by Suzanne Enoch

Lord of Chance by Erica Ridley
3. What book did everyone like, but you hated?
A Pirate’s life for me by Christina Dodd.  I just didn’t like the characters and never finished it.  I don’t think I would use the word hate for any book I have read.
4. What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?
The Odyssey...I don’t know why I downloaded it but I don’t think I will ever read it.
5. What book are you saving for retirement?
One of my favorite books of all time, The Windflower by Laura London, I have read this book at least ten times and will read it again and again.
6. Last page: read it first, or wait ’til the end?
I always wait ‘til the end.
7. Acknowledgement: waste of paper and ink, or interesting aside?
Interesting Aside
8. Which book character would you switch places with?
Jessica in Lord of Scoundrels...Dain is mine kind of Hero!!  I also loved that
Jessica was a lady who knew what she wanted and then she met Dain.
9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life? (Place, time, person?)
The Hummingbird by LaVryle Spencer….The first Historical  Romance I kept to read again.
10. Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.
Rangoon by Christine Monson (1985)  I found a advanced readers copy on the shelf at a Waldenbook Store and showed it to the sales clerk because I wanted to buy it.  They gave it me.
11.  Have you ever given a book away for a special reason to a special person?
I have never given one of my favorite books to someone but I always donate to the Public Library when I go through my book shelves.  If I don’t want to read it again I will donate it.
12. Which book has been with you most places?
Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase….Keep it on whatever Kindle I am using.  You never know when you need a pick me up.
13. Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later?
Robert Frost Poetry
14. Used or brand new?
Doesn’t matter to me.
15. Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?
No
16. Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book?
No
17. Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks included?
Not that I can recall.
18. Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?
Other Historical Romance Bloggers, especially Carol Cork, Wendy Loveridge and Juanita Decuir and many Historical Romance Writers.
19. Is there a book out of your comfort zone (e.g., outside your usual reading genre) that you ended up loving?

Renee Bernard’s Devil to Pay….I usually do not read Contemporary, Fantasy, Paranormal but I enjoyed this book.
Now I am Tagging:
PJ Ausdenmore  http://www.theromancedish.com/
Theresa S. http://www.themightyquill.com/TMQ
Donna Finlay
Cynthia Young


Saturday, April 8, 2017

Review of My One True Highlander by Suzanne Enoch



I have always loved Suzanne's books and this one is going on my keeper shelf along with all her other books.

This is the second book in The No Ordinary Hero Series.  

Graeme, Viscount Maxton is a genuine rugged handsome highlander.  He takes care of everyone who looks to him for protection.  He is raising his three younger brothers as best that he can.  Teaching them what they need to know so that they can survive in the Highlands where loyalty is essential and treachery is always close by.  Graeme is Laird of his estate The Lion's Den which is part of Clan Maxwell.  Graeme has money problems, tenant problems and worst of all he does not get along with the leader of Clan Maxwell.

Lady Marjorie Forrester is the sister of the Duke of Lattimer (the hero in the first book in the series) and has decided to go to Scotland to surprise her brother and attend his wedding.  While stopping at an Inn in the Highlands she is kidnapped and brought to the stronghold of the Laird of The Lion's Den by Graeme's younger brothers, thinking that Graeme can give Lady Marjorie to The Duke of Maxwell, his overlord, to use against his enemy the Duke of Lattimer.  What a mess!!  Now Graeme has to figure out a way to protect his brothers and decide what to do with Lady Marjorie.

Marjorie and Graeme start out as enemies but gradually become friends and so much more.  Their journey of discovery is full of obstacles that they will have to overcome to have their HAE. Suzanne's writing is witty, heartfelt and she takes you on an adventure that includes mischievous young boys, lots of stray animals, and great secondary characters that I hope will have their own stories. 

I recommend this book and this series.  This is a wonderful read that will leave you waiting impatiently for the next book in the series.