Monthly Archives: December 2017

The Christmas of a Countess by Linda Rae Sande

The Christmas of a Countess (The Holidays of the Aristocracy Book 1)The Christmas of a Countess by Linda Rae Sande

Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Holidays of the Aristocracy #1
Publication Date: 10/24/17

What a delightfully funny, totally unlikely and improbable tale. It reminds me of those zany old romantic comedy movies from the 1940’s (like My Favorite Wife with Cary Grant & Irene Dunn) where you have a handsome, sophisticated man, a beautiful wife and lots of witty banter. If you are a regency purist, it will probably make you a bit insane. However, if you can suspend that and just enjoy a funny, romantic tale you’ll find yourself chuckling. While you don’t get explicit sexual descriptions you definitely have a libidinous bunch of characters – think rabbits – with varied and sundry locations.

Milton Grandby, Earl of Torrington, had loved his best friend’s sister since she was a child. He’d missed out on his chance to win her hand and she married another. He never married – just assumed he’d die still unmarried. At the beginning of each season he would choose a different widow to escort to all of the functions of the season – and at the end of the season, he’d buy her a parting gift and go on his way. Then, Adele is widowed and he has his chance with her.

Adele Slater Worthington knew Milton Grandby and she also knew his reputation, so when he approached her, she assumed that he wished for her to be his widow of the season. Imagine her surprise when he proposes shortly after that – and declares his love. She doesn’t believe him at first but, over time, he proves that he really does love her.

Our story begins when Milton decides that they need to spend the Christmas period at his country seat. While making the arrangements Milton learns that his valet, Alonyius Banks, has a brother who is near death. Alonyius isn’t interested in stopping at his home to see his brother even though it is right on the way. However, the coach with the Earl and the Countess manages to get through the weather to the country seat, but the coach with the servants, valet and ladies maid, is stranded.

We actually have two romances – one between the valet and ladies maid and then the continuing romance of Milton and Adele. There is much more to Alonyius than it would seem at first and you’ll learn all about it as you progress through the story.

One of the things I really like about the story is that all of the main characters are mature – in their late thirties and even into the mid-forties. The author assures you are aware that they are older because she keeps referring to their grey hair — especially the grey chest hair.

There are so many inaccuracies and improbabilities that it isn’t worth the time to go through all of them, but I’ll speak of a few.

  • There are the conversations – they might take place today, but they would definitely not have taken place during 1816. I’m speaking of almost every conversation in the book – between servants, between masters and servants, etc. They are witty and funny and I enjoyed them, but they are definitely inappropriate for that time.
  • There is the interaction between Milton and Alonyius as well as between Adele and Alice Simpkins. Their conversations are much too personal to be believable. For instance, at one point Milton says “Good God, Banks! She just needs a good lay.” And then goes on to suggest that Alonyius give her (Alice) a tumble. Then, there is the encouragement of a wedding, sharing of expensive gowns and jewelry, etc.
  • There is the choice of Alonyius’ profession. It just isn’t a believable choice given his background. I won’t explain more, but you’ll see why when you read the book
  • There are ‘old sayings’ sprinkled throughout the book – some were true to the time period and others were not – for instance ‘The whole nine yards’ wasn’t a saying until the 1900’s – but – ‘In for a penny, in for a pound’, was period accurate. I didn’t check them all, but it was an easy enough thing to do.
  • There is the lack of proper address. It is dismissed as a concern because Milton doesn’t like it. I don’t believe that would have been honored during that time period and it would have been so easy to just get it right.

This was a fun and enjoyable read – as long as you can put aside any issues with period correctness.

Please check out my reviews at:
Blog: https://flippinpages.blog/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/flippinpages…
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FlippinPagesRev
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BarbBookReview

“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

The Traitor’s Club: Jeb by Laura Landon

The Traitor's Club: JebThe Traitor’s Club: Jeb by Laura Landon
Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Traitor’s Club, #3

Release Date: December 26, 2017

Lieutenant Jeb Danvers is a former spy and “traitor” who has no desire to resume his work for the crown, but when Her Majesty makes him an offer that he cannot refuse, he agrees to take one last mission.

His mission is to travel to Scotland and find out who sent the Queen a jewel from a crown that was stolen years ago and assumed lost and retrieve the rest of the jewels. The package sent to the Queen was traced back to the MacFarlane clan and Jeb is expected to use his family connections to gain entrance.

Jeb’s father, the Earl of Stafford went to school with Laird MacFarlane and Jeb uses that connection to stay with him for a few days. He hopes to find the person who sent the jewels and return to England as quickly as possible.
Jeb meets Mariah MacFarlane shortly after he arrives and knows he has found the person who sent the jewel – but why? Why would Mariah turn on her own father?

Mariah MacFarlane is impressed by the Englishman sent by the Queen and out of loyalty to her English mother, she will do all she can to help him retrieve and return the jewels, but she has one condition, she goes to London with Jeb. She knows once her father learns of her deeds, there will be no going back to Scotland – – – ever.

Jeb doesn’t want Mariah to be involved, any more than she already is, but knows her life will be forfeit if she stays. Over the few days spent in her company, he has come to admire her and he cannot deny their mutual attraction, but until the jewels are safely returned to the Queen and Mariah’s father has been brought to justice, there can be no future for them.

As they travel to London, Mariah shares her reasons for turning on her father and also admits to the attraction between them, however, there is no time to explore their deeper feelings as they are being pursued by her father and his men. They narrowly escape the first attack, but are not so lucky the next time. Jeb is shot and Mariah risks her own life to save him.

They hide out at Caleb’s house and Mariah nurses Jeb back to health. They both know they are in love, but until they can find a way to keep her father away from her – there is no way they can have a real relationship. When Jeb’s father shows up at Caleb’s house, he insists that Jeb and Mariah return with him. He has a plan to draw out her father and end the standoff once and for all.
Unfortunately, things do not go as planned and Mariah is shot and in grave danger of losing her life. This is when Jeb realizes that she is the love of his life and that he cannot imagine life without her.

This was a short novella, but of the three I’ve read, this was hands down the best of the bunch. I loved this story, it is well written, flows perfectly, it has amazing depth for such a short book, it has a lot of action, some warmish love scenes, a lot of heart break, a visit from the Queen and from the other “traitors” and finally, a beautifully done HEA.

This is the third book in the series, but it could easily be read as a standalone title with no problems at all. I highly recommend this story and can’t wait for Caleb’s book!!

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

If Ever I Should Love You by Cathy Maxwell

If Ever I Should Love YouIf Ever I Should Love You by Cathy Maxwell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 Stars Rounded up to 5
Series: Spinster Heiresses #1
Publication Date: 12/26/17

Many kudos to Ms. Maxwell for dealing with some tough issues – and doing it superbly. Our heroine isn’t the normal skittish maiden. She has some excellent reasons for not wanting to marry and some real issues to overcome. Our hero has his own set of issues and you wonder how they are going to overcome them individually and together to finally reach that HEA they deserve. I do not enjoy dark books at all and I was fearful this one would be dark – but it wasn’t – it was wonderfully hopeful while still leaving you to wonder if they could overcome. However, it isn’t an easy read – definitely not a fluffy and light read. There were times when I wanted to turn both characters over my knee and spank them, but as you learn more about them and come to understand them, you begin to not only like, but respect them.

Leonie Charnock is a very flawed young lady who has no desire to marry. However, her parents want her to marry – and to marry into the aristocracy. Yes, she is literally for sale. That really is a sad commentary on the times, isn’t it? Her home is not a happy one. Her parents live totally separate lives and both ignore her. She has never known love and has no idea what love or happiness is. So, you can imagine how difficult it would be for her to recognize it if she found it. Then, throw in the horrendous thing that happened to her and you have the makings of a total disaster of a life. However, a little tipple now and then makes all the pain and loneliness a little easier to bear.

Roman Gilchrist is now, unexpectedly, the Earl of Rochdale. Sadly, he has inherited a debt-ridden estate and his man of business tells him the only way out is to marry an heiress – a very rich heiress. Roman is a romantic and always wanted to marry for love. His whole family has married for love and they are still in love – he wants that for himself. He soon realizes that the only way to take care of his family is to pay off the earldom’s debts and restore the family seat to a habitable condition. He also feels a deep responsibility for the tenants and others on the estate who depend on him. Therefore, he considers what his man of business has to say – and when the man of business gives him the name of the richest heiress – his mouth drops open. Leonie Charnock!

Roman and Leonie have a history from several years ago when her father worked in India for the East India Company and Roman was a soldier stationed there. I won’t tell you the story because that would be a spoiler – but I can tell you Roman never forgot Leonie. Sometimes that remembrance was not with fondness, but he never forgot her.

I absolutely loved the book, the characters, the writing – well – all of it. My only wish is that it could have been a tad longer so that we could have seen more of the friendship and interactions between the ‘Spinster Heiresses’. I would have also loved an epilogue a year or so out in the future so we could see Leonie and Roman with their bouncing baby AND also see her shocked parents visiting for the first time – shock at the changes in their daughter and how she and Roman are living.

Please check out my reviews at:
Blog: https://flippinpages.blog/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/flippinpages…
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FlippinPagesRev

“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 Highland Guardian by Amy Jarecki

The Highland Guardian (Lords of the Highlands, #3)The Highland Guardian by Amy Jarecki

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Lords of the Highlands #3
Publication Date: 12/19/17

Romantic! Exciting! Suspenseful! This book reached out, grabbed me by the heart and dragged me back in time to Scotland during the early stages of the Jacobite movement. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. While this is the third book in the lords of the Highlands series, you can easily read it as a stand-alone. However, all of the other books are so good I know you’ll want to go back and read them as well.

Amy Jarecki has captured the feel of the time superbly. The English are riding roughshod over the Scots. They consider the Scots to be barbarians and see no reason not to mistreat and maim at every opportunity. You feel the tension in the air and feel the cruelty of the English. Is it any wonder that the Scots rebelled? The characters are fully developed, the writing outstanding and the story is well planned, well-written and very exciting. You’ll fall in love with both Audrey and Reid.

Reid MacKenzie, Earl of Seaforth is a Highlander through-and-through. He’s also a Jacobite. Not because he’s a religious zealot, but because he is concerned about the sovereignty of Great Britain and doesn’t want to be ruled by ‘outsiders’ upon the death of Queen Anne. He wants Anne’s brother, James, from the Stuart line to become king. He’s the leader of the Highlanders support of ‘the cause’ and has little time for other things in his life – especially NOT a young ward. When he and his crew are returning to England from a visit to James in France, their ship is fired upon and sunk off the coast. His whole crew escapes unharmed – except for Nicholas Kinnet. As Kennet lays dying, he extracts a promise from Reid. Reid promises that he will see to the care and well-being of Kinnet’s daughter. Reid has no time to care for a child, but he’s a man of his word and will see to her care. How long can it take to find a good boarding school for her?

Audrey Kennet has always been excruciatingly shy and awkward. She’s a wallflower of the first order – or so she thinks. So, what is she to do when an unkempt stranger shows up at her door and announces that her father is dead and he is her new guardian? Well – she certainly isn’t going to trust him! Then, he announces that he will be marrying her off as soon as possible. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! She has no intention of marrying just to suit her new guardian. She finds she has strength and courage she never existed within her and manages to keep Reid off-kilter at every turn.

There is a first-class villain, of course. He sets many bad things in motion – just so he can have Audrey and her estate. I won’t mention all of the treacheries he sets off, but it takes us on a wild ride of a story. It is fast-paced, chilling, heart-wrenching and – yes – romantic. What a ride! You wonder right up to the end if they’ll survive and get their HEA! Great read!

Please check out my reviews at:
Blog: https://flippinpages.blog/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/flippinpages…
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FlippinPagesRev
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BarbBookReview

“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.”

Merry Christmas, My Viscount by Emily Windsor

Merry Christmas, My Viscount (Rules of the Rogue)Merry Christmas, My Viscount by Emily Windsor

Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Rules of a Rogue, #1.5

Release Date: November 28, 2017

This was a very sweet Christmas novella that is tied into the Rules of the Rogue series, but could easily be a stand alone title.

Spymaster and newly minted viscount, Asher Rainham is attending a holiday house party being hosted by his friend and former spy Lucas. Asher is a very sweet man who happens to be perceived as a bit odd by most people, he has a keen ability to read people, calculate odds and it a bit socially awkward. The book opens with Asher being perplexed by Mrs. Lily Mereworth, for the first time in too long to remember, Asher cannot read someone and it fascinates him.

Lily Mereworth is a distant cousin and dear friend of Rosalind, Lucas’ wife. She is a widow who is trying to find herself again after years of an unhappy marriage. She has concocted a list of things to accomplish before Christmas Eve, things that will help her reclaim her former joy and happiness. And she has managed to complete all but two things on her list – Drinking Absinthe and seducing a rogue – both of which she hopes to do at this house party.

Lily and Asher do not start out on the best of terms, she beats him at cards and he unintentionally insults her. But neither can really deny the growing attraction. Lily tries to ignore the feelings Asher invokes, because she doesn’t want to remarry and she is pretty sure Asher is not a man who would dally with a woman.

Asher wants Lily, but treads carefully, he knows he wants more than Lily is ready to give, but he is determined to win her in the end.

The story is well written, flows nicely, has a lot of amusing scenes, a few steamy-ish scenes, a great cast of secondary characters and a very well earned HEA. One of the things I liked best about this story is that Asher and Lily are not your stereotypical hero and heroine – they are both older, he is not a rake and she is not a dewy eyed virgin, it was a nice change of pace from the atypical historical romance and much appreciated by this reader.

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

To the Duke, With Love by Amelia Grey

To the Duke, with Love (The Rakes of St. James, #2)To the Duke, with Love by Amelia Grey
Tracy’s rating: 3/3.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Rakes of St. James, #2

Release Date: December 5, 2017

Maybe 3.5 stars

I liked this installment of the Rakes of St. James, but I didn’t love it.

The Duke of Hawksthorn “Hawk” wants to spare his sister, Lady Adele any heartache his past prank may cause her in the season by having her betrothed before it starts and he has found the perfect match for her, Mr. Paxton Quick, there is only one thing standing in his way……..Paxton’s sister Loretta.

Banished to the country after refusing to marry the man her uncle chose for her, Loretta is determined to make sure her beloved brother is not forced to marry against his will.

These two have an instant connection, but Hawk isn’t looking for a match for himself and Loretta has taken a vow to never marry. But neither can deny the pull of attraction between them. Hawk finds ways to see Loretta and when he finally asks her to marry him, she refuses, holding fast to her vow.

Hawk will have to find a way to convince Loretta to set aside her vow or lose the only woman he has ever loved.

The book is well written, but it is very “put-downable”, there is no real conflict, drama, angst or villain, and nothing keeping them apart save Loretta’s insistence at adhering to a vow she was forced to make. There is a bittersweet side plot involving an orphaned boy and a host of charming secondary characters, a lot of sexual tension and one or two semi-steamy love scenes and finally a HEA. This is the second story in the series, but it could absolutely be read as a stand alone title with no problem.

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

 

Christmas at Thorncliff Manor by Sophie Barnes

Christmas at Thorncliff Manor (Secrets at Thorncliff Manor, #4)Christmas at Thorncliff Manor by Sophie Barnes

Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Thorncliff Manor #4
Publication Date: 12/5/17

This is a delightful read with a mystery, hidden doors, tunnels and rooms, missing treasure and four romances. I have not read the other books in this series, but that didn’t detract from enjoying this one – it just made me want to go back and read them! If you are a Regency purist, this book may set your teeth on edge because it does contain some anachronistic language, phraseology and social standards, etc. I am usually one of those purists and frankly, I just enjoyed the book!

Lady Duncaster is quite a matchmaker and she’s invited her good friends Lord and Lady Oakland along with their four remaining unmarried daughters to spend Christmas with her. She’s also invited four imminently eligible bachelors to spend Christmas there as well. She won’t interfere, but if they come to know and love each other while they are at Thorncliff Manor, that is a good thing. They know each other already, they just need to spend some time together.

Fiona Heartly is the youngest of the four sisters and doesn’t feel there is any hurry for her to marry. She’s sweet, refined, good-natured, witty and mischievous. She is also obsessed with finding her great-aunt’s jewelry box that she is sure is hidden somewhere at Thorncliff. Edward, Earl of Chadwick is a long-time friend of the Heartly family and he and Fiona have always been close despite their age difference. He has also fallen in love with her. Can she ever see him as anything other than a friend?

Emily Heartly always has a sketchbook in her hand, but she never lets anyone see her drawings. They are private and she just feels they are good enough for anyone to see. Will the Marquess of Montsmouth be able to convince her to show him her sketches? He is a renowned art lover and expert. Will he love her sketches? Will he love her?

Laura Heartly is a published author and a genuine romantic. The Duke of Lamont has two young wards who need a lady in their lives – but he deserves love too. Can they come together and love each other?

Rachel Heartly is a scientist, very smart, very focused and very practical. She’s so focused that she has no time to worry about social skills, hair styling or fashion. Viscount Belgrave is the cousin of the Duke of Lamont. He’s very kind, good natured and curious. He loves discussing science with Rachel. Can they find love with each other?

They all have quite an adventure on their way to love and happiness and along the way, they solve a decades-old mystery and find a treasure. This is a fun read.

Please check out my reviews at:
Blog: https://flippinpages.blog/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/flippinpages…
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FlippinPagesRev

“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.”

%d bloggers like this: