Genre: Historical Romance

Review: If I Only Had a Duke by Lenora Bell

Posted May 19, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: If I Only Had a Duke by Lenora BellReviewer: Rowena
If I Only Had a Duke by Lenora Bell
Series: The Disgraceful Dukes #2
Also in this series: How the Duke Was Won, Blame It on the Duke, How the Duke was won
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: August 30th, 2016
Genres: Romance
Pages: 384
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four-half-stars

After three failed seasons and a disastrous jilting, Lady Dorothea Beaumont has had more than enough of her family’s scheming. She won’t domesticate a duke, entangle an earl, or vie for a viscount. She will quietly exit to her aunt’s Irish estate for a life of blissful freedom. Until an arrogant, sinfully handsome duke singles her out for a waltz, making Thea the most popular belle of the season.

The duke ruined her plans and he’ll just have to fix them.

Garrett, Duke of Osborne, is far too heartless for debutantes or marriage—he uses dalliances and public spectacle to distract from his real purpose: finding the man who destroyed his family. When his search leads to Ireland, the last thing he needs is the determined, achingly innocent Thea, who arrives in the dead of night demanding he escort her to her aunt. His foolish agreement may prove his undoing. The road to the Emerald Isle is fraught with unforeseen dangers, but the greatest peril of all might just be discovering that he has a heart . . . and he’s losing it to Thea.

I was mighty curious about this book because it featured the drunken friend of the hero from the first book and the woman that the heroine of the first book pretended to be. I didn’t know what to expect since Dorothea had such a small part in How the Duke was Won and while I knew that I was going to love Dalton, I wasn’t prepared for how much I was going to love him.

I loved him a lot.

So this book follows James’ friend, the Duke of Osborne as he finds his happily ever after with the real Lady Dorothea Beaumont. You see, Garrett (the guy we know as Dalton from How the Duke was Won) knows all about who Lady Dorothea is. He knows that with her mother’s help, she tried to trick his friend into marrying her and he’s not a fan of hers at all. Lady Dorothea has plans that don’t include snatching up a titled gentleman for husband. She wants to retire to her Aunt’s estate in Ireland and all she has to do is get through one more season without a marriage proposal. Everything was going swimmingly until he danced with her. After that waltz, Dorothea was whisked out of the shadows and into the spotlight. She’s got gentlemen callers and while her mother is thrilled at her instant rise to popularity, Dorothea is pissed. All of her plans to retire to Ireland are in jeopardy and it’s all Osborne’s fault. Dorothea’s mind is made up and Osborne is going to be the one to fix the pickle she’s found herself in. He is going to escort her to her Aunt’s estate pronto.

Osborne thought he was doing the woman a favor. She wasn’t going to get anywhere sitting in the shadows of every ballroom. She wasn’t going to find a husband and if he got a little thrill out of embarrassing her, he figures that’s what she gets for misleading his best friend. Nobody is more surprised than Osborne is when Dorothea shows up at his house and demands that he escorts her to Ireland. He doesn’t have time for a shrew dodging his every step and since he was already on his way to Ireland, Garrett finds himself taking Dorothea with him. He’s got plans and things to do and Dorothea is not included in any of that but over the course of the trip, plans change and Dorothea becomes a lot more important to him than he imagined.

What a fun book this turned out to be. I already loved Dalton before but I really enjoyed Dorothea’s character. The chemistry between Garrett and Dorothea was off the charts and their romance hit all of my love buttons so of course I was a happy camper.

Lenora Bell cemented a spot for herself on my auto buy author list with this book and I’m so glad that I finally took a chance on this new to me author. Her romances are charming, fun and her characters are colorful and full of life. This was a great story with fantastic dialogue and characters that wormed their way right into my heart and stayed. I definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a charming historical romance full of love and laughter.

Grade: 4.5 out uof 5

four-half-stars


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Guest Review: How to Lose a Highlander by Michelle McLean

Posted May 17, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: How to Lose a Highlander by Michelle McLeanReviewer: Tracy
How to Lose a Highlander by Michelle McLean
Series: The MacGregor Lairds #1
Published by Scandalous
Publication Date: May 15th 2017
Genres: Medieval
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Forced into marriage by their king in order to stop years of inter-clan feuding, Sorcha Campbell and Malcolm MacGregor are each determined to drive the other away. Malcolm knows he can never trust his new shrewish wife, despite the fact that everything he observes seems to prove that she’s not only trustworthy, but utterly perfect for him. Sorcha knows she can never let her guard down around the man she believes betrayed her father, yet the longer she’s with him, the more she discovers he is nothing like she was led to believe. They’ll have to fight their way through past prejudices and their own determination to destroy their union in order to gain their perfect HEA in this Taming of the Shrew meets How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days tale.

Sorcha Campbell’s father may be a highlander but and she obviously part Scottish but she’s been brought up by her English mother in England.  She’s lived at court most of her life and she doesn’t want that to change. She’s been proposed to many times but her father has turned them all down as no one has been good enough for her.

The Campbell’s and the MacGregor’s won’t stop raiding each other’s lands and the king decides that it must come to an end.  The king decides that Sorcha will marry Malcolm MacGregor and make the two families kin.  No one is happy with the decree but they can’t go against the king.  Sorcha decides to do everything she can to make him get an annulment and strangely enough, Malcolm has the same idea.  After the marriage the pair just frustrate the hell out of each other to no avail.  Sorcha gets to know the people of the MacGregor clan and she starts to doubt that all of the horrible things her father had told her about them were true.  She starts to find a home and decides that she needs to try to make hers a real marriage with Malcolm.  Unfortunately Malcolm finds it hard to trust – especially a Campbell.

This was a great little story.  I really liked Malcolm and Sorcha and their plans to irritate each other to death in order to get an annulment.  It didn’t work with either of them but it was funny.  I admit that did get old rather quickly and was happy when the author moved on to getting the pair together.  It was done slowly but very well and I thought it was nice that Sorcha didn’t go from hating Malcolm to loving him.  It took a while and that was a good thing.

Overall I thought it was a cute story. I’m interested to see who the next Laird in the series is so I’m sure I’ll be reading the next book when it comes out. 🙂

Rating: 4 out of 5


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Guest Review: The Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown

Posted May 16, 2017 by Tina R in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth UnderdownReviewer: Tina
The Witchfinder's Sister by Beth Underdown
Published by Ballantine Books
Publication Date: April 25th 2017
Pages: 304
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three-half-stars

'VIVID AND TERRIFYING' Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train

The number of women my brother Matthew killed, so far as I can reckon it, is one hundred and six...

1645. When Alice Hopkins' husband dies in a tragic accident, she returns to the small Essex town of Manningtree, where her brother Matthew still lives.
But home is no longer a place of safety. Matthew has changed, and there are rumours spreading through the town: whispers of witchcraft, and of a great book, in which he is gathering women's names.
To what lengths will Matthew's obsession drive him?And what choice will Alice make, when she finds herself at the very heart of his plan?
'A richly told and utterly compelling tale, with shades of Hilary Mantel' Kate Hamer, author of The Girl in the Red Coat
'Anyone who liked Cecilia Ekback's Wolf Winter is going to love this' Natasha Pulley, author of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street
'Beth Underdown grips us from the outset and won't let go...at once a feminist parable and an old-fashioned, check-twice-under-the-bed thriller' Patrick Gale, author of Notes from an Exhibition
'A tense, surprising and elegantly-crafted novel' Ian McGuire, author of The North Water
'Beth Underdown cleverly creates a compelling atmosphere of dread and claustrophobia... Even from the distance of nearly four hundred years, her Matthew Hopkins is a genuinely frightening monster' Kate Riordan

To begin with, I don’t really read a whole lot of historical fiction. But there is something about the subject of witches that catches my attention. Call it some sort of fascination if you will, but I don’t actually know. I just know that the subject is intriguing and the cover really drew me to the book, so I submitted my request to receive a review copy. \

When I got the copy of The Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown in the mail I was actually surprised. Especially since it is not really typical of what I read. (Whether this has any leverage on the books you are chosen to receive I have no idea…) The first thing I noticed it that the cover is awesome! If I would have saw it on the shelf in a bookstore, I would’ve picked it up immediately as something about it just makes me want to know more. And then of course, the subject matter….witches. Who doesn’t remember sitting in school and listening to the teacher tell us about the horrible things that happened to people (mostly women) who were accused of being witches? Like I said, it is just a topic that pulls me in.

The Witchfinder’s Sister is a well-written and carefully researched book. It is a mixture of so many genres. We have historical fiction based on a real story, there is mystery and suspense, and even a little horror mixed in with the depiction of what happened to all the people accused of witchcraft. A little something for every reading taste to be sure.

I found the book a little tough to get through in the beginning. For me it was a little slow in places, although the book is packed with vivid description and emotion and has an interesting storyline. I still would recommend this book, as it did hold my interest and the writing was vivid and well presented.

I would like to thank the publisher for the opportunity to review this book. I think the author did an awesome job keeping the subject matter interesting and for providing such vivid description. I would actually have rated it 3.5 to 3.75 stars if the rating system here would’ve let me.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

three-half-stars


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Review: How the Duke was Won by Lenora Bell

Posted May 9, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: How the Duke was Won by Lenora BellReviewer: Rowena
How the Duke was won by Lenora Bell
Series: The Disgraceful Dukes #1
Also in this series: How the Duke Was Won, Blame It on the Duke, If I Only Had a Duke
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: April 26th 2016
Genres: Romance
Pages: 384
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four-stars

The pleasure of your company is requested at Warbury Park. Four lovely ladies will arrive… but only one can become a duchess.

James, the scandalously uncivilized Duke of Harland, requires a bride with a spotless reputation for a strictly business arrangement. Lust is prohibited and love is out of the question.

Four ladies. Three days. What could go wrong?

She is not like the others…

Charlene Beckett, the unacknowledged daughter of an earl and a courtesan, has just been offered a life-altering fortune to pose as her half-sister, Lady Dorothea, and win the duke’s proposal. All she must do is:

* Be the perfect English rose [Ha!]
* Breathe, smile, and curtsy in impossibly tight gowns [blast Lady Dorothea’s sylph-like figure]
* Charm and seduce a wild duke [without appearing to try]
* Keep said duke far, far from her heart [no matter how tempting]

When secrets are revealed and passion overwhelms, James must decide if the last lady he should want is really everything he needs. And Charlene must decide if the promise of a new life is worth risking everything . . . including her heart.

How the Duke was Won is the first book that I’ve read by Lenora Bell and it won’t be the last. It’s also the first book in the Disgraceful Dukes series. I’ve heard great things about this series and after my sister read and enjoyed it, I figured it was about time I read it for myself. I’m glad that I did because James and Charlene were a fabulous couple!

This book follows James, the Duke of Harland and he needs a wife. Someone that he can knock up with his heir so that he can go back to what he loves (make chocolate for hot chocolate). He didn’t want the title of Duke and he certainly doesn’t want wife, or love. So the quickest way that he can think to get back to his life of making chocolate is by hosting a party and only inviting four potential brides so that he can pick one of them then be on his merry way.

Charlene is the bastard child of an earl and nobody is more surprised when her father’s wife shows up at her house to offer her a job that will bring a whole lot of money her way. The money is welcome as she’s tired of struggling to pay the bills and all she’d have to do is pose as her half-sister, the legitimate daughter, Lady Dorothea. If she can pretend to be her, make the duke choose Dorothea as his bride then she’ll walk away with more money than she ever hoped to have.

There was a whole lot of shenanigans going on at this party and even though the beginning dragged a bit, I enjoyed the story as a whole. I enjoyed getting to know both Charlene and James. I enjoyed Alice and I really enjoyed Dalton. Lenora Bell wrote a charming historical romance that really gathered storm as the story progressed and it was a lot of fun. I’m so glad that I took a chance on this new to me author and I definitely recommend her stuff to anyone wanting a solid historical romance.

Both James and Charlene were fun and the chemistry between them steamed up my kindle so they get no complaints from me. I couldn’t wait to jump into the next book so that should say something. I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Wedded Bliss by Celeste Bradley

Posted May 9, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Wedded Bliss by Celeste BradleyReviewer: Tracy
Wedded Bliss by Celeste Bradley
Series: Worthington #5
Published by Berkley Books
Publication Date: May 2nd 2017
Genres: Romance
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four-stars

As a ship's captain, high-born bastard Morgan Pryce has spent his life sailing away from England. The last thing he needs is a wife. But when he fears that his titled half brother Neville is about to be snared by a gold-digger, Morgan aims to protect Neville by trapping the lovely crook into marriage first. He knows he can't allow himself to believe a word she says. If only she wasn't so convincing .

Determined beauty Bliss Worthington is not terribly fond of finding another man waiting for her at the altar after all, no one tricks a Worthington and gets away with it. Somehow she must persuade her dangerously handsome new husband to grant her an annulment because her heart is set on his brother. Soon the newlyweds must deal with a secret but mutual attraction. Morgan finds himself oddly devastated by her tenderness and braveness. When Neville shows up to rescue her from a loveless marriage, she will have to quickly decide which man is the right one for her...."

Bliss Worthington and Neville, Duke of Camberton, love each other.  Bliss knows that Neville’s uncle is against their relationship so Bliss takes it upon herself to plan a clandestine wedding.  She sent notes to Neville telling him of the plans and headed to the church the night of the wedding.  Unfortunately her notes had been read by Neville’s uncle and not Neville.  The uncle talked Neville’s half-brother, Morgan into taking Neville’s place at the wedding.  He stated that Bliss was a manipulative gold digger and as Morgan loved his brother dearly and would do anything for him, he agreed.

Bliss is obviously heart-broken and distraught when she finds out that she’s married the wrong man.  She tries to talk Morgan into an annulment but he won’t agree.  She does all she can to talk him into it with no luck.  Morgan just wants to consummate the marriage and move on.  His uncle promised him that he would own the ship he’s been sailing for his brother’s fleet and he wants that more than anything.

As time goes on and Morgan gets to know Bliss he finds that she’s not the person that his uncle made her out to be.  He starts to question his uncle and his motives and then starts to realize what he’s done to his brother.  His guilt eats at him but he can’t feel too bad about the marriage as he falls in love with Bliss.

This was a very sweet story that I really enjoyed.  I thought that Bliss was a lovely heroine and I admired her continued strength after everything she’d been through in her life.  She kept her calm and just went on with life as best she could, despite the circumstances.  She never planned on falling for Morgan – she thought she loved Neville!  But as she gets to know Morgan and her feelings grow she realizes that she never truly loved Neville and probably would have been miserable with him.  I loved the way the author wrote Bliss and the dawning realization of her feelings for Morgan – it was done well.

Morgan was the bastard son of a duke but his father had always treated him as a son and not someone he needed to forget about.  He let his sons play together and as such the pair created a bond that Morgan thought was unbreakable.  When he realized the mistake he had made in believing his uncle and marrying Bliss he felt horrible.  The confrontation between Morgan and Neville was awesome and while it turned out well it kept me on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happened.

Overall I thought it was a lovely historical romance.  While it’s the fifth book in the series I thought it was a great stand-alone.  This was my first read by Bradley but it definitely won’t be my last.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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