Regency Era

Too Scot To Handle by Grace Burrowes

Too Scot to Handle (Windham Brides, #2)Too Scot to Handle by Grace Burrowes

Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Windham Brides #2
Publication Date: 7/25/17

I absolutely LOVE Grace Burrowes’ world. Yes, she has basically populated her own world. She has several series with dozens of books and in any given book, you might encounter characters from any of her other books or series. If you think about it, this just makes sense. After all, they are all existing in the same basic time and place so why wouldn’t they know or know of each other. I really like that she does that.

The Windham’s all believe in marriage for love, and so far most of them have found it. This Windham series features the nieces of the Duke and Duchess of Moreland. So far, one of them has found love and marriage and this book features the next one to do so – Anwen Windham.

Anwen is the youngest of four sisters and she is really feeling constrained. Because she was ill and almost died when she was young, everyone treats her as if she is an invalid. She isn’t. She’s actually healthier than most of the others. But, in deference to them, she presents a false front to the world. Meek and mild isn’t anywhere close to an accurate description of Anwen, but it is the face she displays. At least, it is the face she displays to everyone except Colin MacHugh. With him, she feels comfortable and free enough to express her true self.

Lord Colin MacHugh is a very uncomfortable Scot thrown into the midst of the ton. He didn’t ask to be among the aristocracy and really doesn’t want to be there. He’d prefer to be home in Scotland tending to his distilleries. However, his brother is a newly minted Duke and as the heir presumptive Colin must make his bows to society. He’d have an easier time of it if his brother were there, but he has married Anwen’s sister and they are off on their honeymoon.

I really like the way the love and trust grew between Anwen and Colin. It only moved forward and grew with no backward movement or distrust when events occurred that could have made one distrust the other. The immediate response was ‘I know he/she didn’t do that’ and there was no convincing them otherwise. That isn’t something you see very often in a romance book.

I won’t give you a rehash of the story because that would spoil your read. You can see the gist of the story by reading the book blurb. Just know that Colin was the target of a very nasty and cunning individual who was supposed to be his friend.

I’m giving it 4-stars because I just didn’t like what happened with the villains of the story. Yes, I understand this is the Regency period and that the aristocracy is immune to most prosecutions and that scandal is to be avoided at all costs. However, Colin, Anwen, and the Windhams are some pretty shrewd, crafty and inventive folks themselves and I think they could have come up with something better as punishment.

“I requested and received this 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.”

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The Danger of Desire by Elizabeth Essex

The Danger of Desire (Dartmouth Brides #3)The Danger of Desire by Elizabeth Essex

Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Dartmouth Brides #3
Release Date: 04/04/17 (Revised edition)

Please Note: This review is for the 2017 revised/reissued version.

I read the original version of this book years ago and I loved it – the changes in this new version are slight, but for all those who were upset that the hero was not a virgin in the original – you will be very happy with the revisions!

Captain Hugh McAlden has been recuperating from an injury that almost cost him his leg and is at loose ends. He has been asked by the admiralty to look into a delicate matter. His reward for a successful mission will be a knighthood and reinstatement of his command. Eager to get back on his ship, he accepts the mission and finds the perfect person to help him as he is leaving the admiralty building.

Meggs is a thief, she has been working the streets as a pickpocket for years to support herself and her younger brother. She is “working” outside the admiralty when she catches Hugh’s eye – shocked that she has been caught, she runs without hearing Hugh’s proposition. Hugh chases her through the streets and alleys of London and finally corners her. He tells Meggs what he needs her to do. Meggs takes his watch and manages to escape – but in the process, badly injuries her hand.

Intrigued by Hugh and worried for her brother, Meggs seeks Hugh out by taking his watch to the watchmaker and pretends to be trying to return it the owner. The watchmaker sends a note to Hugh
and when he comes to claim the watch, he meets with Meggs again. This time he gives her more information about what he wants to hire her for and gives her his direction.

Meggs decides that if Hugh is really willing to pay her, it would mean security for her and her brother, so she seeks out Hugh to make a deal and then collapses from complications of her injury.

Hugh nurses Meggs back to health and brings her brother to his house as well. When Meggs wakes, he tells her what he needs her to do and puts her to work in his house. As the days pass, the attraction between them grows and they dance around each other. Meggs is confused by her feelings for Hugh and can’t imagine a future with him, so when she is finally healed enough to go on the mission, she sets out determined to succeed and then set out on her new life.

When Meggs is nearly caught, Hugh realizes that Meggs means more to him than the mission and doesn’t want things to end between them. He enlists his mother to help him acclimate Meggs to society and makes provisions for her brother to train for the navy with his friend James Marlowe. At this point it appears that it will be smooth sailing to a HEA, but a surprising twist that leads to the truth about Meggs identity threatens to tear our lovers apart.

This book is well written, has funny moments, some very steamy love scenes, some intrigue, a lot of twists and turns and finally a very hard earned HEA. The book is the third in the trilogy, but it is loosely connected and could easily be read as a stand alone title.

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for a Revised copy of this book that was provided to me by the author*

Murder In Mayfair by D. M. Quincy

Murder in Mayfair (Atlas Catesby #1)Murder in Mayfair by D.M. Quincy

Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Atlas Catesby #1
Publication Date: July 11, 2017

Delightful, cleverly plotted, well-developed characters and TWO mysteries that will keep you guessing right to the end. If you love Sebastian St. Cyr, Alec Halsey, Captain Lacey, etc. you will love this book as well. I believe this is Quincy’s first foray into writing a mystery, but it sure doesn’t seem like it.

Atlas Catesby, youngest son of a baron, is a restless wanderer. He is brilliant and solutions to complex puzzles just leap out at him – when he is calm and can concentrate. To ‘relax’ for concentration he often works on impossible picture puzzles that he special orders because ordinary ones aren’t enough of a challenge. For all of that brilliance, he is filled with guilt and that guilt causes him to constantly be in rescue mode – especially for damsels in distress. Hopefully, he’ll work through that guilt through the course of the series and come to realize he has no blame for what happened to his sister.

Lilliana Warfield is a strong, resilient, intelligent woman but she is also very soft and loving inside. Since the age of sixteen, she has been married to a monster. While he doesn’t physically abuse her, he uses whatever form of mental torture he can think up. Yet she manages to remain sane and defiant and produces two beautiful sons that she loves with all her heart. She also hides a secret that she cannot let anyone discover.

There are several other characters in the book that I hope will become the ‘supporting cast’ of the series. (1) The Earl of Charlton is Atlas’ very good friend. He also seems to have a tendre for Atlas’ married older sister. Will be interesting to see if something happens there or if he just loves teasing her or what. (2) Mrs. Thea Palmer, Atlas’ sister, and a mathematician. She is married but we never meet her husband because they live separately though they care for each other. Will be interesting to figure out that whole relationship. (3) Peter and Robin, Lilliana’s children. Delightful little scamps who just need some love and attention – especially from a caring male. (4) The Duke of Somerville is someone I won’t explain, you’ll just have to read the book to find all of his relationships, but he is a very dear and caring young man.

I won’t give you a blow-by-blow of the book because you can get the gist of the story from the blurb that the publisher has developed. What you should know is that there are many twists and turns and so very many possible culprits. The murder victim is a really nasty, hateful man and you are actually happy to see him gone – the only reason to care who the real murderer is – is because Bow Street is thinking that the murderer is either Lilliana or Atlas! The real murderer will be a surprise.

Lilliana and Atlas have a real attraction between them, but circumstances make Atlas think there is no chance of a future for them. So, we will have to wait and wonder if Lilliana and Atlas get together in a future book or will they each find happiness with someone else. Since I love both of them, I’m hoping for them getting together.

“I requested and received this 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.”

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Confessions of a Dangerous Lord by Elisa Braden

Confessions of a Dangerous Lord (Rescued from Ruin Book 7)Confessions of a Dangerous Lord by Elisa Braden
Release Date:06/20/17
Series: Rescued from Ruin,#7

Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Of all the books in this series, this book is my favorite (to date) and I would give it 10 stars if I could!

Lady Maureen Huxley has been in love with Henry Thorpe, the Earl of Dunston for years and considers him her dearest friend, there was a time when she thought that he might be more than a friend, but Henry made it clear that friendship was all he would offer.

Henry Thorpe has been in love with Maureen for years and would love nothing more than to marry her, he has been dissuading her suitors for years and keeping his true feelings for her hidden. Because Henry loves Maureen, he cannot bring her into his life right now, he has spent years hunting the ruthless villain that murdered his father and he fears that Maureen would become a target if he married her.

Maureen makes a final attempt to declare herself to Henry, but when he tells her he can not be the man she wants, she says goodbye and tells him she must move on with her life.

Henry is beside himself at the prospect of losing his love and frantically tries to find a way to keep her in his life. When Maureen is courted by the Earl of Holstoke, Henry seethes, when Holstoke asks her to marry him, Henry makes a decision and chooses love over his quest for vengeance. Now all he has to do is convince Maureen to forget everything he said before and agree to marry him.

Henry turns over all his information about the villain to Reaver, assures Maureen’s father that he is done with his quest, makes plans to marry Maureen and then hunts down his bride to be. Maureen has decided that she will marry Henry, but wants to turn down Holstoke’s proposal in person before she accepts Henry, she feels that that is the right thing to do, because even though she doesn’t love him, she does like him and would like to continue being friends. Unfortunately, Henry shows up and that plan is shot – he reacts badly to seeing Maureen with Holstoke and it takes a bit of doing to calm him down.

Henry and Maureen marry and on their wedding night all hell breaks loose and Henry becomes a man that Maureen doesn’t recognize. He whisks them away from town and barely speaks to her. It isn’t until they reach Colin and Sarah’s house that Maureen learns the truth of why Henry kept her at arms length for years. When she finds out the entire truth, she is shocked, hurt and very angry.

Henry and Maureen have a long road to reach their HEA, but thankfully, the argument between them regarding Henry’s deception does not drag on and on. They talk and Maureen is very forgiving and Henry is very sincere. But the villain is not done with our lovers and when Henry must return to London to hopefully end this once and for all – an unexpected twist puts Maureen in danger and threatens to destroy their dreams of a life together.

This book is well written, has very likable characters, some laugh out loud moments, some heartbreaking moments, some suspense, steamy love scenes, cameos from Harrison, Jane, Colin and Sarah and a very hard won HEA.

This is the seventh book in the series and it would probably be helpful to the reader to have read at least the second and third books, but the author does give enough backstory to make this enjoyable as a stand alone title.

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

Addicted to the Duke by Bronwen Evans

Addicted to the Duke (Imperfect Lords, #1)Addicted to the Duke by Bronwen Evans
Release Date: 06/13/17
Series: Imperfect Lords, #1

Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

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

4.5 stars

This book opens with Alex, the Duke of Bedford rescuing Lady Hestia Cary. Hestia has been captured by pirates and is about to be handed over to Sultan Murad Bayezid – the very man who captured and enslaved Alex years before.

Fast forward four years – Alex is a recovering opium addict who uses alcohol and sex to quiet his demons. He has been summoned by Hestia on a matter of urgency and as much as he wants to refuse her, he can’t. Hestia is not for him and as much as he wishes that wasn’t the case, he knows that he will never be worthy of her. For the past few years, Alex has avoided Hestia, he knows she has feelings for him, but believes that it is just hero worship and she will eventually move on. Hestia has loved Alex for years, but has come to accept that he is not interested in her. But right now Alex is the only person she can turn to. Her cousin Fredrick is claiming that her father the Earl of Pembroke is dead and that he is the new earl. Hestia knows that her father is not dead but will soon be if she cannot reach him before Fredrick. Alex is the only man familiar enough with both her father and Mediterranean to save him.

When Alex first hears the problem, he feels bound to help, her father is the man that saved him from Murad all those years ago. But when he realizes that he will have to take Hestia with him, he is not sure he can withstand the temptation.

The story that follows is intense, there is action, adventure, steamy love scenes, betrayals, a hero with demons to fight, great secondary characters, pirates and finally a very hard earned HEA.

I thought this book was great, it is a very emotional book and treads more on the dark side than the usual historical romance. I would never consider Alex a lovable hero, he is too fierce and damaged to be lovable, but he is unforgettable, intense, dark and delicious! Hestia is a wonderful heroine, brave, loyal, loving and can hold her own. She is the light to his dark.

I would happily recommend this book and am looking forward to the next installment!

No Perfect Magic By Patricia Rice

No Perfect Magic: Unexpected Magic Book FiveNo Perfect Magic: Unexpected Magic Book Five by Patricia Rice

Barbara Rogers rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Unexpected Magic #6
Publication Date: June 27, 2017

Delightfully entertaining and witty with a perfect hero and heroine. Any book that has a beginning paragraph like “Dead meat, lemme, lemme, oh no, heel! Yummy bite, wiggle, flower lady now, please. . .” just has to be a delightful read!

I have loved the entire Unexpected Magic series. Each hero and heroine are perfectly matched to compliment the others ‘powers’. This is another match-up of an Ives male and a Malcom female, so you know sparks fly. It is part of a series but could be read as a stand-alone book. However, I would strongly suggest reading the entire series from beginning to end because it is wonderfully delightful and the characters are so very interesting.

Lady Aurelia is the daughter of a duke. She lives in pampered luxury with lots of love and every material want or desire completely fulfilled. Yet, she is a prisoner in all that luxury. No, she isn’t a physical prisoner but is imprisoned none-the-less. Aurelia has ultra-sensitive hearing and sounds from everywhere bombard her so much that she cannot focus or even carry on a normal conversation. Aurelia stays at their country estate because she cannot tolerate all of the cacophony in London.

William Ives-Madden is the bastard son of a marquess and half-brother to the current marquess. William is quiet, very quiet. He seldom speaks and spends all of his time with the dogs that he trains for others. His dream is to purchase his own property where he could train the dogs rather than traveling all over the country to do it. He also has the lady he plans to marry all picked out. His life is all planned out and set and he’ll have enough money saved to buy the property he wants within the next year. William not only trains the dogs, he ‘communes’ with them. He can read their thoughts and send them commands with his thoughts.

William is training a dog for Aurelia’s father at their country estate when Aurelia comes running out to him just at dusk. She is very upset and says she hears a child crying in great distress and they must hurry to find her. Will hears nothing, but since Aurelia is so distressed, he decides to help her conduct the search. Will sees this as an excellent opportunity to work Argyle (the duke’s dog) further. At first, Argyle cannot pick up the sounds either, but finally, between Argyle and Aurelia, they find a badly injured little girl and her also badly injured pet.

That is how the mystery began – and quite a mystery it is. The search for the little girl is hindered by the fact that she is deaf and mute and very, very frightened. You’ll love the search for her family and what happened to them. It is filled with twists and turns and leaves you guessing right up to the very end!

During the course of their investigations, Aurelia discovers that William has a dampening effect on all of the noise that tortures her life. When Will is around, she can actually focus and carry on a conversation. Will admires Aurelia but knows that there is no chance of him ever being able to marry the daughter of a powerful duke. It would also require him to live in London, which he hates and there wouldn’t be a place to train his dogs. So, what is a girl and guy who have complimentary ‘gifts’ to do? Read the book and you’ll see.

A delightful read that I’m sure you’ll enjoy!

“I requested and received this 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.”

View all my reviews

Someone to Love by Mary Balogh

Someone to Love (Westcott, #1)Someone to Love by Mary Balogh
Release Date: 11/08/16
Series: Westcott, #1

Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was hands down one of the best Mary Balogh books I have ever read. I loved it and I didn’t want it to end.

Anna Snow is an orphan, but it was not until the death of her father that she learned that she was not who she always thought she was. She has lived almost her entire life at an orphanage in Bath – never knowing who her family was or how she came to be there. All she knows is that she has a benefactor who has been paying to support her and will continue to do so, until she leaves the orphanage. Her life changes the day she receives a letter with a summons to London.

The Earl of Riverdale has died and Avery Archer, Duke of Netherby has been named guardian of Harry Westcott, the new earl until he reaches his majority. The old earl left no will, but all seems in order, so Avery is a bit surprised when the Countess of Riverdale asks him to meet with her and the solicitor without the new earl. Turns out the Countess would like the solicitor to find her late husband’s illegitimate daughter and settle a sum of money on her as long as she agrees to never contact the family or make any future claims. She is adamant that she does not want anyone especially her two daughters, Lady Camille, Lady Abigail or her son Harry, the Earl of Riverdale to know about the girl and wants to know nothing about her herself. She asks Avery to oversee this and he reluctantly agrees.

Avery comes across as an indolent, selfish fop – but he is anything but. He seems disinterested and uncaring, but he isn’t – he is unknown and unknowable – or is he?

Anna comes to London and is given the shock of her life – she is not alone – she has a large family that she never knew and never knew of her. She is also the sole legitimate child of the late earl. It seems the late earl married Anna’s mother and when her mother got ill and return with Anna to her parent’s home – the earl returned to his former life and remarried, but the problem is he remarried 4 months before his first wife died! Suddenly the table have turned and the bastard child is the lady and has inherited the family fortune! But she loses what she wants most – the brother and sisters that she always wanted.

Anna tries to make peace with her siblings, but they want nothing to do with her and refuse to take anything from her. Her extended family of Aunts and cousins, step in and begin the transformation of Anna from orphan to Lady Anastasia Westcott. Avery watches from the sidelines and steps in to rescue Anna more than once when she seems overwhelmed.

Avery’s reaction to Anna mystifies him – she is nothing like any woman he has ever met and he is sure that he cannot be attracted to her. But attracted he is and when Anna’s family suggests she marry Alexander, the new earl – Avery steps in and tells her she could marry him.

For her part, Anna is just as confused about her feelings toward Avery as he is to her. But with Avery she feels safe and she agrees to marry him. Once they marry, he takes her to find her maternal grandparents and then back to Bath to visit her sisters and the orphanage. They seem like they are off to a great start and very happy – but all that changes when they return to London.

Once back in London, they start to drift apart and they both long to recapture the closeness they had on their honeymoon, but neither really knows how. It isn’t until Avery is ready to open up and let Anna know him that they find their HEA.

This book was well written, flows nicely, has a bit of drama, a lot of laughter, some mild love scenes and an absolutely beautiful declaration scene. The book does set up the series, but I never felt like Anna and Avery got lost in the process. I would happily recommend this book and am eagerly awaiting the rest of the series!

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