No Other Duke Will Do by Grace Burrowes

No Other Duke Will Do (Windham Brides, #3)No Other Duke Will Do by Grace Burrowes

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Actually, 4.5 stars rounded up to 5
Series: Windham Brides #3
Publication Date: 11/7/17

Delightfully, refreshingly, deliciously different! I loved this book.

Both lead characters are very nice, very loving, very honorable – just very, very good people. They don’t have any deep, dark secrets. Both are honest and up-front about their issues and don’t try to hide those from the other. They actually talk with each other and even more miraculously – they listen to each other. They both have warm, loving, supportive and caring families. Now, I know some of you are groaning and saying – How boring – but it isn’t. It is a very good story.

I think the book is about actually ‘seeing’ another person. We interact with people every day – our boss, our friend, the clerk at the store, etc. but do we actually see them or just the title and what we ‘think’ they are. One of my favorite characters in this book is Griffin, Julian’s younger brother. In most stories, Griffin would be hidden away and kept secret, but Julian doesn’t do that. Julian and Griffin have a really special relationship that says so much about the person that Julian is.

We also have the required villain of the story. He’s out to ruin Julian because Julian is preventing him from getting something that he wants. We even watch the villain grow and evolve – actually to the point where I think he might just be the hero in the next, and final, book in the series. That book should be out in March of next year.

The one thing I missed was seeing more of the Windham cousins. They are always entertaining and I miss them. There really wasn’t much room for them in the story since it took place at a house party, but it would still have been nice to have a visit. Maybe they could have at least shown up at the auction or something.

I have read and liked all of the books in this series. You can see my reviews for them here:

The Trouble With Dukes
Too Scot To Handle

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“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’s Princess Bride by Vanessa Kelly

The Highlander's Princess Bride (The Improper Princesses, #3)The Highlander’s Princess Bride by Vanessa Kelly

Series: The Improper Princesses, #3

Release Date: October 31, 2017

Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

I absolutely loved this installment of The Improper Princesses!

Victoria Knight is and governess and the natural daughter of the Prince Regent and Aden’s half-sister, after landing herself in a bit of trouble at her last post, she turned to Sir Dominick for help.

Sir Dominick suggests that Victoria take a position in Scotland while he and her brother straighten out her problem. But he recommends that Victoria keep her reason for taking a post in Scotland to herself. Upon arriving at the Kendrick’s castle, Victoria is not sure that she is better off in Scotland and that maybe it would be better to return to London and face the consequences her actions.

Nicholas Kendrick, Earl of Arnprior needs help, he has returned home after years of war to complete chaos. His estate needs attention, his grandfather is a menace and his brothers have been running wild. When Sir Dominick recommends Victoria to him, he jumps at the chance to hire her.

After a very rocky start, Victoria settles in to life with the Kendricks and starts to feel at home with the rough and rowdy bunch of highlanders, especially Nick. When Victoria begins to unravel Nick’s secrets, they grow closer and end up being caught in a compromising position. Nick immediately suggests they marry, but Victoria has secrets of her own and tries her best to keep Nick at an arm’s length.

Nick is not the sort of man that will take no for an answer, he wants Victoria, she is light and joy in a life that has known too much grief, betrayal, pain and darkness. He sets out to woo her and in doing so, shares his deepest, darkest secrets. When Victoria finally agrees to marry him and it appears that they will get their HEA, everything goes wrong. Nick learns Victoria’s secret and is deeply hurt and lashes out at her. For her part, Victoria accepts his vitriol and breaks their engagement. But before she can return to London, problems arise and someone from Victoria’s past is determined to see her dead.

This was a great story, it is well written and flows wonderfully. The story is chock full of emotion and humor, as well as steamy loves scenes and tense life or death moments. This story takes off at a gallop and doesn’t slow down until the very last page. It was truly the best book in the series and I highly recommend it. It could be read as a stand alone title, but I recommend reading the books in order for maximum reader enjoyment.

I certainly hope Ms. Kelly is planning a series for the Kendrick brothers, because it would be vastly unfair to introduce me to 6 handsome highlanders and then leaving me hanging!!

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

The Scot’s Bride by Paula Quinn

The Scot's Bride (The MacGregors: Highland Heirs Book #6)The Scot’s Bride by Paula Quinn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Macgregors: Highland Heirs #6
Publication Date: 10/31/17

Endearing, well-developed and relatable characters populate this book. It is definitely a nice read. I did notice a couple of what I guess I’d call ‘plot holes’, but, if those had been done differently, I would have been reading a different book – and I liked this one.

Charlotte (Charlie) Cunningham is an enchanting, lovely young woman who has absolutely no use for men whatsoever. She has learned a hard lesson from her father and brothers. You can’t trust any man – not even those who are supposed to love and care for you. She had loved Kendrick forever and her father and brothers murdered him (he was barely 15) to keep her from marrying him. Five years later she still passionately hates them and is just biding her time before she leaves for good. First, however, she must find a treatment and/or cure for her sister’s asthma. To do that, she sneaks out at night and visits taverns and other locations seeking out visiting physicians.

Patrick MacGregor is a charming rogue whose smile and charming words can get him out of almost any situation. If the smile and words aren’t enough he is a strong, quick almost invincible warrior. He has always avoided responsibility because he loved being able to go when and where he wanted with no entanglements. Currently, he is on his way to visit with his uncles (Ferguson’s) when he stops in a tavern for a meal and a drink and sees a shadowy figure move through the tavern – and their eyes lock.

Charlie’s family have long been enemies with the Ferguson’s and that feud renewed when Charlie’s father ordered Kendrick to be murdered. The Ferguson’s retaliated by attacking the Cunningham’s and Charlie’s mother was one of the casualties.

When Patrick is captured by the Cunningham’s he claims to be a Campbell and is welcomed into the fold. Charlie’s greedy, arrogant father hopes for a marriage match between her and the powerful Campbell’s. As Patrick and Charlie spend time together, more and more of their shields drop. Can they drop those shields and find their HEA or will an unexpected twist tear them apart? You’ll just have to read the story to see what happens.

Now – to me, one of the biggest holes has to do with Elsie’s illness. The Fergusons and Cunningham’s were friends before Kendrick was murdered – or at least the mothers were. So, why wouldn’t they have known of her illness (she’d had it since early childhood) and they could have offered the cure? She was also secretly seeing their son and surely he would have known. Just doesn’t make sense to me.

I hate that Robbie Dunbar died and I saw absolutely no reason for it.

We saw little of Charlie’s father. I think he would have been better featured as an antagonist. He was just sort of there and very dull. You would have thought he would have been a bigger villain. You have to wonder what he thought of Kendrick being found alive and what he would have done about it.

I liked Duff, but some reviewers didn’t. He is a tortured, very tortured, young man. He’s lost the love of his sister. He is guilty of a sin by omission rather than by commission. That doesn’t make him any less guilty, but it does make him at least a tad more sympathetic. Maybe he’ll get his redemption in the next book.

I would have liked to see more of Patrick’s parents toward the end of the book. The reception back on Skye was just a little too vague.

“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.”

Bound to a Spy by Sharon Cullen

Bound to a Spy (All the Queen's Spies, #2)Bound to a Spy by Sharon Cullen
Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: All the Queen’s Spies, #2

Release Date: October 24, 2017

Rose Turner is a fish out of water in Mary’s court, she would rather be running free outside than engaging in gossip and doing embroidery. Every chance she gets, she slips away, one night upon returning to the castle, she overhears a plot to kill the Queen’s husband, shocked she runs away, not realizing she dropped her shawl.

Will Sheffield is a spy for Queen Elizabeth, he is at court under the pretense of being a childhood friend of the king. He saw Rose enter and drop her shawl, but was not able to retrieve it before Lord Lysle exits the room. Worried for her safety, he garners an introduction and they form a friendship of sorts.

Rose has been sent to court to find a husband, but her family is neither wealthy or noble, so she is surprised when Lord Lysle takes an interest in her. She is still struggling with what to do with the information she overheard and is unsure who she can trust. When she revisits the location of the secret meeting, trying to learn who was speaking, she is caught by Will.

Desperate to keep her safe, but unable to disclose his mission and unwilling to let her be a causality, Will decides to share some of his information with Rose, including Lord Lysle’s involvement. Rose is hurt when she learns the “truth” about Will and tells him to leave her alone.

Will doesn’t understand why he can’t let Rose go and approaches her again in a few days. There is something between them and he isn’t ready to let it go. They share some passionate encounters, but Will knows he will be leaving soon and cannot offer marriage to Rose.

When Rose finally decides what she must do with the information she overheard, everything goes horribly wrong for her.

When Will learns that Rose is missing, nothing will stop him from finding her. He knows he cannot ask his fellow spies to help him, so he goes to her family. Once Rose is safe again, it becomes clear that she will not be able to remain in Scotland and Will will have to make a decision.

This was a really good story, it was well written and the story flowed nicely with a lot of violence, some steamy-ish love scenes, a lot of intrigue and some very tense, nail-biting moments and finally a hard earned HEA. I would have liked another chapter or an epilogue with their life in England, but even without that, I enjoyed this book.

This is the second book in the series, but it could easily be read as a stand alone title and I am happy to recommend it.

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

The Scandalous Flirt by Olivia Drake

The Scandalous Flirt (Cinderella Sisterhood, #6)The Scandalous Flirt by Olivia Drake

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Cinderella Sisterhood Series #6
Publication Date: 10/31/17

It’s magically delicious! Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. I had read some very negative reviews of this book so I started reading with some trepidation. Imagine my delight to find that I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I didn’t interpret the things others had complained about in the same way they did. Yes, there were some things that weren’t acceptable for the Regency period, but she was ‘in disguise’ and she was already a ruined woman anyway.

Eight years ago, Aurora Paxton was a beautiful, lively, intelligent, romantic and very naïve young woman in the middle of her first season. She was always surrounded by a horde of admirers – until everything changed in the blink of an eye. She was caught in a compromising position with a man who had pursued her relentlessly – professing his love. Then, when they were caught and her father demanded marriage, they found out he was married. So, she was banished to live in a small cottage by the sea with her aunt. She was totally banished from society and her family as well.

So here I have to say that I think her father was a huge hypocrite. Aurora always speaks of him as being loving toward her, etc. but I cannot reconcile that with his treatment of Aurora. I can’t explain why I call him a hypocrite with spoiling a part of the story, but his treatment of her just didn’t ring true.

Lucas Vale, Marquess of Dashell, is deeply in debt thanks to his profligate father. All of his life he has done his best to distance himself from acting any way at all like his father. Most people viewed him as stodgy and cold because of his always perfect behavior. He also admired Aurora in that season, but from a distance, because he knew she was too lively and undisciplined to be the right woman for him. So, when the scandal engulfed her and she was shipped off, he wrote her out of his life.

The book blurb makes it sound like Lucas had concocted some wild scheme to bring Aurora back to London so he could rehabilitate her reputation. That is NOT the case. Lucas had nothing to do with bringing her back – he has to marry for money and had already picked out the heiress he planned to make an offer for.

In the first couple of chapters you have – a fairy godmother, a prick from the spindle of a spinning wheel, ruby slippers, and a wicked step-mother. What a mixture of fairy tales. But – after that, those references clear up and it is on to a nice story.

I liked Lucas and Aurora, but Lucas drove me nuts sometimes. I do understand why he kept clinging to marrying the heiress – she was the only way to pay his debts, save his estates and provide for his mother and brother. The poor boy really was caught between a rock and a hard place!

There was an HEA for Aurora’s younger sister included in the book and that was nice. What I wish had also been in the story had been an HEA for Lucas’ brother – maybe with the heiress Lucas was planning to marry and an Epilogue set a year or two later. It would be nice to see the couples and their growing families.

“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.”

When a Lord Loves a Lady, A Waltz with a Rogue Collection by Collette Cameron

When a Lord Loves a Lady - A Waltz with a Rogue Collection Books 1 - 5When a Lord Loves a Lady – A Waltz with a Rogue Collection Books 1 – 5 by Collette Cameron
Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Release Date: October 23, 2017 (for the box set, each novella is already available)

What a great anthology!

A Kiss for Miss Kingsley – 4 stars
Olivia and Allen have a history, three years ago they were in love and wanted to marry, but before Allen could ask for her hand, her father decided to move the family to the Caribbean. Allen is frantic and asks Olivia to run away with him, when she refuses, he tells her that it is over between them.
Olivia was heartbroken, she left for the Caribbean a few days later and didn’t return for three years. Upon her return, her Aunt persuades her to attend a ball being given by Allen’s parents. Unsure but unable to deny that she wants to see him again, Olivia attends. Allen is looking for a wife, he knows know that he was unfair to Olivia, but she is gone and he must do his duty. He attends the ball with the intent of finding a bride and is stunned when Olivia is announced. When he asks for a dance, they both know that their feelings are still strong, but after so much time, can they find what they once shared?

Bride of Falcon – 4 stars
Ivonne (Allen’s sister) aka Ivy and Chancy Faulkenhurst aka Falcon have known each other for years, he is one of her brother’s oldest friends and the first man Ivy ever loved. Falcon left for India 6 years ago, hoping to make his fortune and be able to ask for Ivy’s hand. But things did not work out for him, first he invested his savings with a man and never heard from him again and then was injured and has returned to England with no money and no prospects. He accepted Allen’s invitation to attend the ball and hopes to get a glimpse of the woman he loves before he goes home. But uncomfortable in the crowd, he escapes to the garden, where he overhears Ivy being accosted by a suitor. When she tells the man she will never marry him and he demands to know why, Falcon steps forward and tells him that she was already promised to someone. Ivy is overjoyed to see Falcon, even though he broke her young heart when he left and he never replied to her letters. These two dance around each other and there are some misunderstandings and assumptions that almost keep them from their HEA.

Her Scandalous Wish – 5 stars
When I first started this book, I didn’t think I would accept whatever reason Ms. Cameron came up with for keeping these two apart for so long – but I was wrong! Philomena and Branford were in love, but 6 years ago, he believed she perished in a fire and he was heartbroken. Over the years he has become a rake, but no woman has touched his heart and he knows that no one ever will. Newly returned for the Caribbean and still adjusting to the title he never expected to inherit, he attends a ball with his sister and is shocked to find out that Philomena is still alive. Philomena is trying to grant her brother’s wish to marry before he dies, she spies Bradford and slips out on the terrace to avoid him, she was badly burned in the fire that killed her parents and almost died herself, but what hurt the most was Branford’s desertion. When the two share a kiss and are caught by her brother, he demands the Branford either meets him for a duel or marries his sister. Unwilling to fight, he offers for Philomena, who begs her brother to retract his challenge. When her brother collapses, she frantically agrees to marry. These two must get to know each other again and there will be many obstacles in the road to their HEA – but what an amazing journey it is!!

To Tame a Scoundrel’s Heart – 5 stars
This was my favorite book in the set – I loved Nic and Katrina! Nic was raised to believe he was the bastard son of a duke and he has made his living as a privateer. But now he has unexpectedly inherited a dukedom and two young half-sisters. He knows he needs to marry a woman who can take care of the duchy and his sisters, so he can return to the sea. When he meets Katrina, he thinks she will be perfect for the job, until he finds out that she is all but betrothed. Unwilling to let her go, he enlists her help in finding a bride. Katrina has been infatuated with Nic for years, but she has put that behind her and is looking forward to marrying her Major. Problem is, she can’t quite get her heart to believe that Richard is the man she wants. The more time she spends with Nic, the more confused she becomes. For his part, Nic has decided that he cannot have Katrina, because she deserves a man that will love her and will not leave her for the sea, but he is not convinced that Richard is that man. When Richard returns, Katrina finally realizes that Nic is the man she loves. Faced with the knowledge that he might lose her, Nic admits that he loves her more than he loves the sea and sets out to win her heart. SIGH….I am a little bit in love with Nic.

The Wallflower’s Wicked Wager – 5 stars
Shona is a peeress in her own right and is being pursued for her title and fortune, she has not had an easy life and longs to be loved for herself. While eluding a grasping fortune hunter, she trips and falls in the lake. Morgan Le Draco is a war hero but since the accident that cost him his eye and left him scarred, he is lost, estranged from his father and without a fortune or prospects, he has no idea what he will do. When a young woman falls in the lake, he doesn’t hesitate to save her. When they finally reach the shore, he expects her to be horrified by his appearance, but is delighted when she doesn’t seem bothered by his scars. Shona and Morgan have an instant attraction. When they make their way back to the house party, Shonna is confronted by a nasty woman and makes a wager with the woman – that by weeks end, she will have a kiss from the most handsome man at the party and she means Morgan. These two share a mutual dislike for their parents and both have painful pasts, as they spend time together, their bond and friendship only get stronger. But there are others determined to keep them apart and their doubts in themselves and each other, almost cost them the love of a lifetime.

This was a really wonderful anthology, I had read some of the stories before when they were first released as novellas, but I enjoyed reading them altogether even more! The writing is great and each story is well paced and well done. While the novellas are not steamy, the love scenes are appropriate to each story and I didn’t mind the lack of steamier scenes. I would happily recommend this boxed set!

Christmas Revels IV – Anthology

Christmas Revels IV: Four Regency NovellasChristmas Revels IV: Four Regency Novellas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Christmas Revels #4
Publication Date: 10/30/17

What a wonderful anthology – Four sweet, clean, happy stories with lovely HEA’s. If you want steam, you won’t find it in these stories, but they are very sweet and romantic. I was only familiar with one of the authors, but they were all great, so I’ll be looking for more of their books!

The Sergeant’s Christmas Bride by Anna D. Allen
While the scenario is highly improbable, it was a delightful story. I just loved Jacob. He is one of the sweetest and most caring heroes I’ve read in a long time. Sergeant Jacob Burrows has just returned from fighting in America. He’s tired to the bone and just wants to sleep before he continues on to his destination. He has just bedded down when he’s rudely awakened by someone holding a gun on him. Imagine his surprise when he finds out that the person with the gun is a woman and he’s at his destination.

Elizabeth FitzWalter needs a husband – quickly. She’s a Viscountess in her own right since the death of her very much-loved brother. It is amazing who and what comes out of the woodwork when a female inherits wealth and a title – she needs to avoid all of that. I like her very much. She is brave, intelligent, self-sufficient and loving. What a pair Elizabeth and Jacob make.

Home For Christmas by Hannah Meredith
Charity Fletcher lived her whole life squirreled away at her father’s country estate. She was totally neglected by him. She was lonely, but she didn’t actually realize that. Then, her father, a Baron, dies without leaving her anything at all and she is at the mercy of her cousin, Horace, who inherited. So, imagine her surprise and delight when she receives a bequest of a cottage by the sea and five-thousand pounds from someone she’s never heard of. She packs her belongings and she and her servant, Lucy Dibble, head to their new home. What they find is a shock. The cottage is much larger than Charity expected and is in a sad state of disrepair.

Colonel Lord Gilbert Narron has returned from the wars where he was wounded. His leg pains him horribly and he just needs a place where he can be alone and recuperate. So, he rents a seaside cottage and he and his servant, Sergeant Holly, set out. Finally, after many grueling days of traveling, he finally arrives at the cottage. As he enters the cottage he catches a glimpse of an intruder who is trying to cudgel him. He reacts automatically and punches the culprit. Yes, you guessed it – his attacker was a woman.

It takes Charity several days to recover enough to get out of bed – and by then, Gil has taken over the house, the repairs, hiring servants, etc. He even hired a companion to live with them and told everyone he was her cousin.

It is lovely to watch these two forge a truce and come to work together to solve a mystery. Then, of course, it is also lovely to see them grow to love each other.

I thought the Epilogue was the absolute best part of the book. I love the brothers bantering and seeing their lives several years down the road.

A Memorable Christmas Season by Kate Parker (one of my favorite authors)
I enjoyed this story of second chances, but I really wish it had been longer because a couple of things left me hanging. For instance – Susanna Dunley, Dowager Countess of Roekirk is supposed to be a very sympathetic character and she really is given all she’s been through. However, she had a chance at real love and turned it down. What left me hanging was that the story says she was ‘forced’ for marry Roekirk, however, there was no mention of how or why other than Will had nothing to offer. Say what! So, I liked the hero much more than I liked the heroine.

This story includes murder, a spymaster, blackmail and a traitor – Oh! My!

Will Marsden, newly minted Earl of Keyminster, came from nothing to have the King bestow an earldom on him for services rendered to the crown. Thirty years ago he was totally in love with Susanna only to have her turn him down and marry the Earl of Roekirk. Will was devastated and immediately chose to leave England as a spy and later a diplomat. He was totally surprised when he received an invitation to a Christmas Ball at the new Earl of Roekirk’s home.

When he arrives, it is to be drawn into hiding a body and possibly covering up a murder. Is Susanna a murderer? Will he protect her? Who is the dead man and why was he in Susanna’s home? Will Susanna and Will renew their love and finally get their HEA? You’ll just have to read the story to find out.

A Perfectly Unforgettable Christmas by Louisa Cornell
This was actually my favorite of the four stories!

Wounded in body and spirit during a drunken, midnight carriage race, Lucien Rollinsby, Viscount Debenwood wanted nothing but peace and quiet and to be left alone. Imagine his dismay when he awakens (at three in the afternoon) to the clanging of the gate next door – constantly back and forth accompanied by several loud thumps- and also the screeches of a querulous banshee.

Lady Caroline Chastleton McAlasdair, daughter of a Duke, is dismayed to see that the small, quiet, off-the-beaten-path home that she had asked her brother to find for her stay in London was actually in the middle of Mayfair. She wanted to be obscure so that she could be sure that her father would not learn of her stay in London. He is a selfish, hateful, uncaring, mean-spirited man and she wants nothing to do with him, after all, he forced her into an unwanted marriage when she was only fifteen.

Both Caroline and Lucien have some very deep and dark secrets. They can share those secrets and either ruin their budding relationship or find forgiveness and love. They have much to overcome and it is a lovely thing to watch them grow.

I loved all of the supporting characters in this story, but I particularly liked Lily, Caroline’s daughter. She is a real little hoyden and is delightful. Then, there is the long-suffering Redford, Lucien’s butler. The banter between Lucien and Redford is absolutely priceless

“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.”

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