Monthly Archives: October 2017

Lady Charlotte’s Christmas Vigil by Caroline Warfield

Lady Charlotte's Christmas VigilLady Charlotte’s Christmas Vigil by Caroline Warfield

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: None – Stand Alone Novella
Publication Date: 10/20/17

This is a very sweet and clean novella.

The story opens in November of 1818 with a man being dumped on the threshold of his lodgings in Venice, Italy. He’s unconscious and smells of the sewer. This is our introduction to the ne’er do-well brother of Lady Charlotte (Lottie) Tyree. He is David Tyree, Earl of Ambler who is on his grand tour and Charlotte is accompanying him because she’s always wanted to see Rome and he wanted to give her that. However, he has spent all of his time drinking and carousing and has seen none of the sights they were there to see.

The cause of David’s wet condition was the canal – he had decided to swim it just as George Gordon, Lord Byron had done. When he developed a very high fever, Charlotte sought out the services of a physician, Salvatore Caresini (Salvo). The diagnosis was dire – few survived putrid fever at that time.

Charlotte was determined to nurse him rather than leaving it to the doctor and his assistant. The doctor was just as determined that the only person near David would be his assistant, Giacomo because he had immunity to the disease. You have two very stubborn, protective and determined people coming together and they have to find a way to help each other and save lives.

Salvo physically removes Lottie from the rooms her brother is staying in and locks her out. He then takes her to stay at his own home with his mother and children. You will love the children – they are unruly, holy terrors. The children don’t know what to make of Lottie and the mother doesn’t trust her – after all her son is a very good looking widower!

When more and more cases of the fever show up Salvo asks Lottie to do her best to keep his children away from the market where it is ripe to catch the disease and to see that his mother only uses fruits and vegetables brought in from outside the city and only water from the well is used for cleaning. Even the well water must be boiled before drinking. She does her very best, but the disease still strikes the doctor’s home. Lottie does all she can to nurse the children she’s come to love and to nurse her brother as well.

What a lovely story of different classes and religions coming together to find love and happiness. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did!

“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

SMP Holiday Blitz

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Christmas in Kilts_Cover

Christmas in Kilts by Terri Brisbain, Lecia Cornwall, Brownwen Evans, Lavinia Kent, May McGoldrick

Jacket Summary:
Tis the season to fall in love! These five bestselling authors bring you great tiding of highlanders and romances this holiday season!

A HIGHLANDER’S HOPE by Terri Brisbin
A village harlot who would never dream she could have a different life meets a Highlander who visits for the holidays and brings with him an offer and hope.

A HIGHLAND CHRISTMAS WAGER by Lecia Cornwall
When a snowstorm forces a charming lass hiding a broken heart to take shelter in a castle with three fine Highland lairds just days before Christmas, there’s a game afoot—who will be the first to win a kiss and maybe her heart.

A SCOT FOR CHRISTMAS by Bronwen Evans
She’s ready to embrace her life and future as a spinster, he’s trying to have one last hurrah before he gives into his family’s wishes and proposes marriage to his neighbor, but fate has other ideas when the lady and the Scot meet at a holiday house party in the wilds of Scotland.

LEFTOVER MISTLETOE by Lavinia Kent
What happens when a highlander finds himself stranded, maybe kidnapped, with an English lady around Christmas… maybe the mistletoe will help answer that question.

SWEET HOME HIGHLAND CHRISTMAS by May McGoldrick
An encounter between an English officer and a desperate aunt trying to keep custody of her young niece leads to a little magic during the holidays.

Buy Link:
http://smpromance.com/historical/christmas-in-kilts/

With This Christmas Ring_Cover

With this Christmas Ring by Manda Collins

Jacket Summary:
A wallflower determined to fulfill a dying promise, the rogue she jilted years ago, and an orphaned baby are all brought together amidst the magic of Christmas in this new novella from Manda Collins.

Miss Merry Parks makes a deathbed promise to a schoolfriend that her infant daughter will be taken to her absent father. There’s only one problem—to find the baby’s father, she’ll have to consult his cousin, Viscount Wrotham, the man she jilted five years ago. The man she couldn’t forget.

Alex Ponsonby, Viscount Wrotham, is stunned to find Merry Parks—looking more lovely than ever–on his doorstep with an infant in her arms. His shock soon turns to dismay when he learns his own cousin William is the man who abandoned his wife and child. As head of the family he’s duty bound to see right is done. But he can’t let this opportunity pass. He’ll take Merry and the baby to his cousin, but he’ll woo her back in the process.

Merry agrees to travel with Alex and the baby to Wrotham Castle, where the entire Ponsonby family has gathered for Christmas, but her plans to see the baby settled then leave are ruined by a snowstorm. After five years apart, Alex and Merry will spend the week getting reacquainted. Perhaps it’s the spirit of the holiday, or the magic of the season, but there could be something else in the air this Yuletide…A Christmas Reunion.

Author Bio:
Manda Collins is the author of the Studies in Scandal series, The Lords of Anarchy series, The Ugly Duckling series and the Wicked Widows series as well as several other Regency-set romances. She spent her teen years wishing she’d been born a couple of centuries earlier, preferably in the English countryside. Time travel being what it is, she resigned herself to life with electricity and indoor plumbing, and read lots of books. When she’s not writing, she’s helping other people use books, as an academic librarian.

Buy Link: http://smpromance.com/historical/with-this-christmas-ring/

What The Earl Needs Now by Michelle Willingham

What the Earl Needs NowWhat the Earl Needs Now by Michelle Willingham

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Earls Next Door #2
Publication Date: 10/24/17

What a truly engrossing read! The prose is excellently written, the pacing is just right, and the HEA is hard won and well deserved! I loved my introduction to Michelle Willingham’s work and definitely look forward to reading more from her. This was a real can’t-put-it-down book and I definitely have to go back and read the first book in the series now!

Lily Thornton has loved Matthew Larkspur, Earl of Arnsbury, for a long time. When her father was trying to marry her off and Matthew was getting ready to leave for India, she and Matthew said their vows in front of a priest – but there was no license – and they both knew it. But they had a one night honeymoon. Lily lived on that one night for the two years it took Matthew to return – a scarred and broken man. He had been captured in India and tortured for over a year – horrible torture that I won’t describe. It broke him physically and mentally. In today’s world, we would say that he has PTSD. He loses himself in remembrances of the torture and can hurt someone.

Lily has visited Matthew almost daily since his return, but he’s broken and he doesn’t want her to cling to a broken man – so he tells her he doesn’t remember her. Oh – but he does. She doesn’t give up and keeps visiting. She seems to have a calming effect on him and he is drawn toward her light. Until something happens one day and he hurts her.

Matthew is eaten up with remorse and now Lily is afraid of him. She still loves him, but she keeps her distance from him. That is what really draws him back into the world – that and getting rid of all of the medications he’s been taking. He needs a clear head if he is going to deal with his demons and win Lily back.

Matthew is a sly devil and knows how to woo this particular lady. Oh! Yes, he does. Not with flowers, candy or jewelry – but with veterinary books and a correspondence course. Can you believe?

There are also some pretty nasty villains in this book – Matthew wasn’t captured by accident and the perpetrators are too close to home for comfort.

A couple of reviewers have commented on the speed with which Matthew handled his PTSD and criticized Lily for giving up on him. I beg to differ with them. If you look at the amount of time the story says elapsed, it wasn’t exactly quick. Yes – it happened within a few chapters of the book, but the elapsed time covered in those chapters isn’t terribly short. Then, regarding Lily – he really frightened her and hurt her – I would think anyone would have to think twice about being in his company given those circumstances.

This was a truly excellent read!

“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

Duke of Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt

Duke of Desire (Maiden Lane, #12)Duke of Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt

Series: Maiden Lane, #12

Release Date: October 17, 2017

Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Raphael, the Duke of Dyemore is one of the most tortured heroes I have ever read, but beneath the scars and the pain is a man with a huge capacity for love. His mission is to destroy the Lords of Chaos, the depraved group of men that was lead by his father until his recent death. Raphael fled England and his father and went to live with his mother’s family in Corsica at the age of twelve and hasn’t returned since. But now that his father is gone and Raphael is the new Duke, he is home to take his rightful place and to bring down the LoC.

Lady Iris Jordan is kidnapped from her carriage on her way home from Alf & Hugh’s wedding and kept captive by the LoC as revenge against Hugh (the Duke of Kyle) for his attack on them in the previous book (The Duke of Pleasure, Maiden Lane #11). So when Iris is taken to the revel and announces that they have taken the wrong woman, a very naked man in a wolf mask claims her as his prize. The leader of the LoC grants the wolf the right to woman, but tells him to kill her in the morning.

When Iris is thrown into the wolf’s carriage, she frantically looks for a weapon while he is speaking to his men, finding a gun she shoots the wolf as he enters the carriage. This is when she learns that the wolf is actually Raphael, the mysterious scarred man she met and danced with at a ball a few months ago and rather than planning on ravishing her, he was trying to save her.

Raphael had planned to send Iris to London, but now that he is wounded and he realizes that she is not married to Hugh, he decides the best way to keep her safe is to marry her himself. At first Iris resists, but then agrees that marriage is necessary. They marry in a brief ceremony before Raphael passes out from his wounds. Iris spends the next couple of days nursing Raphael and trying to learn more about her new husband’s past – she thinks she has an idea of what happened, but no one, especially Raphael is willing to give her the whole story. Iris wants answers and she wants a true marriage with Raphael. Her first marriage was not happy and she has no desire to repeat that fiasco with Raphael, but much to her dismay, he intends to keep her close, but in name only.

When the LoC come calling and learn that Iris is not only alive, but married to Raphael, he knows he must get her to London. They set out almost immediately and Iris decides to use the time to make her new husband come around to her way of thinking. But Raphael is firm in his convictions and Iris wonders if the problem is her – even as she ponders this, she makes a discovery that makes it clear that desire is not the problem. She goes to confront Raphael and stumbles upon an ambush. When the attack is over they spend the night together and Iris believes that they have turned a page and will be able to have a real marriage, but the next morning Raphael is more remote than ever.

They return to London and slowly grow closer until Raphael finally tells her the truth of his scars and the reason he is out to bring down the LoC. Iris is horrified by Raphael’s tale (an rightly so) but it only makes her realize how much she cares for him and how much he needs that love and acceptance. They share an incredible night of passion and finally consummate their marriage, Iris believes that they are finally going to have a real marriage but the next morning Raphael is more remote than ever and tells her that their night will never be repeated.

When the LoC kidnap Iris again and force a confrontation with Raphael, he knows that he loves her and will do whatever he can to make her happy, even if that means letting her go.

This was an amazing story, it was well written, flowed perfectly, had some truly horrific, dark moments, some steamy love scenes, lots of secrets, lots of pain and sorrow, some sweet moments and finally a well deserved HEA. I loved this book and would have no problem recommending it, but I would strongly suggest that you read the Duke of Sin (book 10) and the Duke of Pleasure (book 11) before reading this installment.

I am sorry to see this series end but I can’t wait to see what Elizabeth Hoyt comes up with next!

*I am voluntarily leaving a review of an eARC*

Genie’s Scandalous Spinster’s Society by Charlotte Stone

Genie's Scandalous Spinster's Society
Series: Spinster’s Society
Publication Date: 10/3/17

The third exciting and romantic entry in Charlotte Stone’s Spinster’s Society series. The Men of Nashwood are definitely shrinking the ranks of the Spinster’s Society. Finally, Genie gets her man, but it isn’t an easy path.

Francis Cullip, Duke of Valdeston, is in a very bad position. He’s desperately in love with Lady Genevieve and has been since they were children. However, her nasty father has put Francis in a position where he can neither offer for her nor tell her how he feels. All of their friends know that they are in love and cannot understand why Francis keeps Genie at arm’s length.

Valdeston is an empty dukedom. They are poorer than church mice and are deeply in debt. Everybody knows Francis has pockets to let, but he’s been making some headway since he and his friends opened an exclusive gentleman’s club in his townhouse. The dukedom once had an ample income, they weren’t rich, but they were comfortable enough. Then, the duke, Francis’ father, made a series of very bad investments and put the family on the road to ruin.

Genie’s father is a very rich, but very mean and hateful Earl who will do anything in his power to bring down the dukedom. He doesn’t even care that he’s also ruining the life and happiness of his only child. Genie doesn’t know what her father has done, and Francis can’t tell her. Even though Francis keeps her at arm’s length, she doesn’t give up. She loves Francis just as desperately as he loves her and will do whatever is necessary to win him.

Francis and Genie have a rough road to travel to find their HEA and you wonder if they’ll ever make it through. Can they overcome all of the obstacles in their path or will they end up alone and miserable? You’ll just have to read it to see.

I think we might also see the set-up for the next book in the series – a match between Sophia and Morris. That will certainly be an interesting combination if that is the case.

“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

The Highlander is all That by Sabrina York

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THE HIGHLANDER IS ALL THAT by Sabrina York
SMP Swerve
Publication Date: October 10, 2017
ISBN: 9781250147363; Price: $3.99

Description:

Elizabeth St. Claire has always been hard to please. Dreaming solely of Highlander men her whole life, no prancing London Lord can stand a chance at winning her heart…

… But perhaps a Scotsman can.

Elizabeth watches intrigued as the Highlander of her dreams, a Scotsman named Hamish Robb, arrives to oversee her season at the behest of her cousin, the Duke of Caithness. Elizabeth doesn’t hide her feelings for the striking Scot. But Hamish, determined to obey his order to protect the St. Claire sisters, steadfastly rejects her every seducing lure.

Believing that the debutante Elizabeth deserves a better, wealthier man, Hamish continues to turn away from her affection, even though he doesn’t exactly want to. Can this Highlander Scot resist the tempting seductress’ attempts to win his heart?

Author Bio
Sabrina York is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of more than twenty hot, humorous written works. Her stories range from sweet and sexy to scorching erotic romance. Visit her webpage to check out her books, excerpts and contests, and download a free teaser book filled with excerpts and reviews for her work.

Author Links
Website: http://sabrinayork.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SabrinaYorkBooks
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sabrina_york

Buy Links
http://smpromance.com/historical/the-highlander-is-all-that/

York_TheHighlanderIsAllThat

Excerpt:

The Highlander is All That by Sabrina York
Ach. This was going to be difficult, Hamish thought as the disgruntled butler and young footman—who carried their bags—led them up the sprawling staircase to their rooms, which, for some reason, were at the far end of the east wing, a portion of the mansion that was apparently very rarely used.
And by difficult, he did not refer to the mission the duke had given them. Not even to an unwanted visit to London.
But her.
He hadn’t expected to be this attracted to one of his charges, and it had hit him like an anvil.
It had been all he could do to maintain a placid demeanor. To not stare.
But damn, she was beautiful.
They all were, the St. Claire sisters. Anne was tall and willowy with serene brown eyes, and Victoria sparkled like a diamond. Even wee Mary was a beauty.
But Elizabeth?
She took his breath away.
Small and elegant with a spritely smile and bouncing black curls, she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever laid eyes on.
It was a damn shame he was here to help find her a husband.
It was a damn shame she was the duke’s cousin.
It was a damn shame he wasn’t rich.
He had nothing to offer a girl like her. He had no business even thinking about her like that.
But damn, she was beautiful.
“Well, what do you think?” Ranald asked after the butler had unceremoniously shown them to their rooms. They stood by his window and stared out at the gray London sky.
“Hmm?”
“How long do you think it will be before we can go back home?”
Hamish made a face. “The season is three months.”
“But if we get them all married off, our work is done. I say, having had a look at them, it shouldna take long.” He fingered the hem of the curtain. “That one is quite a stunner.”
Something in Hamish’s gut clenched. He had nothing to offer Elizabeth, but Ranald did. His friend had a title and the majority share in the business they ran with some of their friends. While the duke might balk at having Hamish wed his cousin, Ranald would be welcomed with open arms.
The thought made him want to pummel something.
Probably Ranald.
“They’re all lovely,” he grumbled.
“Aye. But Anne is exquisite.”
Anne?
Anne?
Relief gushed through him. He had no idea why. “Och. Aye. That she is.”
“Of course, they are all verra lovely.”
“Aye.”
“We’ll probably have to be beating off suitors with a bat.”
They grinned at each other. Whacking Englishmen was always a pleasant proposition.

Tracy’s Review:

The Highlander Is All That (Untamed Highlanders, #3.5)The Highlander Is All That by Sabrina York
Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is the much awaited follow up to the novella “The Scot Says I Do” in Say Yes to the Scot: A Highland Wedding Box Set in which we met the St. Claire sisters. This book not only brings back her Untamed Highlanders, but also several of the characters from her Noble Passions series.

The primary hero/heroine in this book are Elizabeth St. Claire and Hamish Robb, but there is a very strong secondary romance between Anne St. Claire and Ranald Gunn, Baron of Bower, as well as secondary-secondary romances for the two younger sisters, Victoria and Mary.

Elizabeth and her sisters are cousins to the Duke of Caithness and he has generously financed their season and given them dowries, but since his wife Lana is expecting their first child, he sends Hamish and Ranald to London to watch over them in his stead. Their chaperone Lady Esmerelda, is disappointed that the duke is not going join them, but decides that having two handsome highlanders around could be used to their advantage. Lady Esmerelda is on a mission and nothing will stop her from finding husbands for the St. Claire girls!

Elizabeth already has a suitor when the book opens, Lord Twiggenberry (OMG – I still crack up over that name), and as much as she knows he would be a good match, she really doesn’t like him (or the pomade he uses), she hopes for a love match and preferably with a Scotsman, so when she meets Hamish for the first time – it is like an answer to all her prayers. Hamish is equally taken with Elizabeth, but doesn’t feel like he has anything to offer her and tries to quash his desire for her.

The story that ensues is a very amusing tale complete with kidnappings, runaway marriages, an Almack’s patroness with wandering hands, stinky suitors and a second chance at love. Yup, this story has something for everyone – laugh out loud moments, heart wrenching moments, steamy moments, lots of cameos and finally several HEAs!

This book could easily be read as a stand alone title but once you read it, you are going to want to read the Untamed Highlander and the Noble Passion series just to find out what you missed!!

I highly recommend this book and am looking forward to next generation of highland heroines!

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher*

King of Hearts by Eileen Putman

King of Hearts (League of Rogues, #1)King of Hearts by Eileen Putman
Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: League of Rogues, #1

Release Date: September 28, 2017

After a drunken bet goes horribly wrong, Gabriel Sinclair finds himself with a noose around his neck and in his last moments contemplates his life and wishes for a second chance. His second chance comes in the form of Louisa Peabody…

Louisa Peabody is a woman who has been grossly wronged by the men in her life and has made it her mission to save other women from the injustices heaped on them by men. Scarred inside by the events leading up to and her incredibly brief marriage, Louisa believes that love is not for her and turns all her passion into helping other women. When her latest rescue mission goes wrong and she ends up with Gabriel instead of the woman she planned to save from the gallows, Louisa reluctantly takes Gabriel back to her home and nurses him back to health.

Once Gabriel recovers and is ready to leave, Louisa makes him an offer, help her break the woman she originally meant to save out of prison and she will pay him a small fortune for his help. Tempted by the money and the lovely repressed woman making the offer, Gabriel agrees to her mad scheme.

Gabriel and Louisa are wonderful leads that have both had more than their fair share of pain and heartache. Gabriel finds himself drawn to Louisa and fights his reaction to her – he will leave and forget he ever met her – he really will! And Louisa needs no man in her life, she will be happy to see the last of Gabriel – she really will! Ah, the lies we tell ourselves 🙂

This is a truly lovely story of second chances and the healing power of love. I thought it was really well written and paced well. The dialogue is both amusing and heartfelt. The secondary characters aka “The Flowers” are a wonderful addition to the story and add several additional storylines to this book without pulling the focus from Louisa and Gabriel. The love scenes are warm and well placed, there are some tender moments, some tense moments and moments of joy. Happily, the villains get their comeuppance and everyone gets a HEA.

I really enjoyed this book and would be happy to recommend it.

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher*

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