Tag: Avon

Sunday Spotlight: Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean

Posted June 17, 2018 by Rowena in Features, Giveaways | 8 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

Sarah MacLean is an auto-buy author for me. I really love her stuff and am super excited for the release of this book. The last book of hers that I read got 5 stars so I’m really looking forward to digging into this new series. I have every faith that I’m going to love it just as much as her other series.

Sunday Spotlight: Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLeanWicked and the Wallflower (The Bareknuckle Bastards, #1) by Sarah MacLean
Series: The Bareknuckle Bastards, #1
Published by Avon
Publication Date: June 19, 2018
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
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When Wicked Comes Calling...

When a mysterious stranger finds his way into her bedchamber and offers his help in landing a duke, Lady Felicity Faircloth agrees—on one condition. She's seen enough of the world to believe in passion, and won't accept a marriage without it.

The Wallflower Makes a Dangerous Bargain...

Bastard son of a duke and king of London's dark streets, Devil has spent a lifetime wielding power and seizing opportunity, and the spinster wallflower is everything he needs to exact a revenge years in the making. All he must do is turn the plain little mouse into an irresistible temptress, set his trap, and destroy his enemy.

For the Promise of Passion...

But there's nothing plain about Felicity Faircloth, who quickly decides she'd rather have Devil than another. Soon, Devil's carefully laid plans are in chaos, and he must choose between everything he's ever wanted...and the only thing he's ever desired.

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

His scar went white and a muscle pounded in his cheek. “He touched you. Your hair.” His gaze was locked on it where it fell around her shoulders, unpinned.

She shook her head. “Yes, but not much. It’s only down because I gave the women my hairpins.”

“Not much?” he said, drawing closer to her. “I saw him with a lock of it in his filthy paw. I heard him describe it. Like silk. And I heard you cry out when he pulled it.” He paused, his throat working to keep words back. Words that came anyway. “He touched it. And I haven’t.”

An echo came from earlier, from inside his bedchamber, the words he used to describe her hair. Hair that I imagine falls in rich, mahogany waves when it is pulled from its severe moorings.

Her eyes went wide. “I didn’t know you wished to—”

He lifted his hand, then, and for a moment, she thought he would do it. Touch her. For a moment, she imagined what it would be like for him to slide his strong fingers into her hair and run them along her scalp, now free from the tight binds of hairpins and coifs. She imagined leaning into that touch. Leaning up to him.

Him leaning down to her.

“I should take it,” he whispered. “My payment. I should touch it.”

She blinked up at him. “Yes.”

The decision warred in him. She could see it. And she saw him make it, too, saw him give in to the desire and reach for her. Thank God.

His touch was barely there, and the most powerful thing she’d ever experienced. Her breath caught in her throat as he sifted her hair through his fingers. Would his hand be warm? Would he let himself touch her? Would he kiss her?

“I should have killed him for touching it,” he said, softly. “It wasn’t . . .” She hesitated, then whispered, “It wasn’t like this.”

His gaze found hers in the darkness. “What does that mean?”

“I won’t remember him,” she said. “Not when you are here now.”

He shook his head. “Felicity Faircloth, you are very dan- gerous.” Devil’s fingers—work-rough and warm—moved to her cheek, traced down the curve of it, to her jaw. Lin- gered there.

She shivered. “Being here . . . with you . . . it makes me feel like I could be dangerous.”

He tilted her face up to his glittering eyes, to the Covent Garden mist. “And if you were? What would you do?”

I would stay, she thought, madly. I would explore this terrifying, magnificent world. She didn’t say those things, however. Instead, she focused on the third answer—the shocking one. The one that came on a flood of want. “I would kiss you.”

For a moment he did not move, and then he took a deep breath and raised his other hand, cradling her face in his warm grasp before repeating, “You are very dangerous.”

She did not know where the words came from when she said, softly, “Would you let me?”

He shook his head once, his gaze on hers. “I wouldn’t be able to resist.”

Later, she would blame the darkness for her actions. The rain on the cobblestone streets. The fear and the wonder. She would blame his warm hands and his beautiful lips and that scar on the side of his face that made him somehow impossibly handsome. She had to blame something for it, you see, as Felicity Faircloth, aging spinster wallflower, did not kiss men.

What’s more, she absolutely did not kiss men who lived in Covent Garden and carried cane swords and were named Devil.

Except in that moment, when she rose up on her toes and did just that, pressing her lips to his full, soft ones. He was so warm, the heat of him coming through his linen shirt and waistcoat—the waistcoat she grabbed instantly and without thought, as though he might be able to keep her steady in the wild moment.

As though he weren’t the reason it felt so wild, with the way he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her tight against him, the movement making her gasp her surprise. He growled—a deep, delicious sound, and his teeth nipped at her lower lip before he whispered, like darkness, “Take it then. Like you mean it.”

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Gleam widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: June 2018

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About the Author

Sarah MacLean

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | TUMBLR | GOODREADS

“Romance novelist Sarah MacLean has reignited the genre with a bolder edge.” – The New Yorker

New York Times, Washington Post & USA Today bestseller Sarah MacLean is the author of historical romance novels that have been translated into more than twenty languages, and winner of back-to-back RITA Awards for best historical romance from the Romance Writers of America.

A columnist for The Washington Post, Sarah is a leading advocate for the romance genre, speaking widely on its place at the nexus of gender and cultural studies. Her work in support of romance and the women who read it earned her a place on Jezebel.com’s Sheroes list of 2014 and led Entertainment Weekly to call her “gracefully furious.” A graduate of Smith College & Harvard University, Sarah now lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.


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Guest Review: How to Forget a Duke by Vivienne Lorret

Posted June 13, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: How to Forget a Duke by Vivienne LorretReviewer: Tracy
How to Forget a Duke by Vivienne Lorret
Series: Misadventures in Matchmaking #1
Published by Avon
Publication Date: May 29, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-stars

The Bourne Matrimonial Agency has one rule: Never fall in love with the client. A simple thing to remember...unless you’re a matchmaker with amnesia.

The Duke of Rydstrom needs a wife. Preferably one with a large fortune and a complete lack of curiosity. The last thing he needs is a meddling matchmaker determined to dig up his dark family secrets.

All Jacinda wants is to find a bride for a duke. How hard could that be? He’s handsome, enigmatic...and hiding something. She’s sure of it. Determined to discover what it is, she travels to his crumbling cliffside estate. Yet, by the time she washes up on his beach, she can no longer remember who she is or why the duke is so familiar to her. All she knows is that his kisses are unforgettable—and she intends to use every skill she can to discover what’s in his heart.

When Miss Bourne can’t remember what brought her to his ancestral home, Rydstrom intends to keep it that way. Yet as the days pass, his true challenge will be safeguarding his secret while resisting this woman who—confound it all—may well be his perfect match.

The Bourne Matrimonial Agency is where the Crispin Montague, the Duke of Rydstrom goes when he decides he needs a wife.  The agency is run by three sisters, Jacinda, Ainsley and Briar Bourne, along with their uncle.  The uncle is the figurehead for the agency as the girls do all the work, but of course that wouldn’t be proper so everyone thinks that the uncle runs it all.

Jacinda is incredibly devoted to finding matches for the subscribers of TBMA and when someone comes in looking for a match she wants all of the information she can get about them so that she can make a perfect match.  When the Duke of Rydstrom enters and states he wants a wife, the sisters are thrilled because finding this man a match will be a feather in their fledgling business’s cap. Unfortunately for Jacinda, the duke isn’t too forthcoming about himself.  This leads Jacinda to believe that she needs to do more digging.  She decides to dress as a maid in his home and investigate him, but she’s caught by the duke himself before she can find out too much.  She does get a clue about something going on in his family home, so she decides to head there.

The duke realizes that the secret he’s trying to keep may be discovered by the nosey Jacinda Bourne so he heads to his family seat to stop her. What he finds is Jacinda, washed up on shore near the village, with amnesia.  The doctor tells him that no one can tell her information about herself because then she might get false memories, so the duke is stuck taking care of Jacinda in his home and trying to keep her and his secret – his illegitimate sister – away from each other.

While Jacinda is in his home the duke sees another side of Jacinda – not just the nosy busy-body he thought her before.  He sees a bright, intelligent, kind woman who is definitely curious, but in a way he can accept.  Jacinda and Crispin actually become friends and their feelings start to grow deeper from there.  Crispin would love to have Jacinda as his wife but his estate is broke and he needs money in order to keep his home up and running and secure a future for his sister. How can he love one woman yet bring himself to marry another?

This was a cute story.  I like the premise of the book and many of the characters.  Unfortunately, I didn’t like Jacinda all that much.  Ok, I disliked her intensely.  She annoyed the hell out of me with her attitude from page one of the book.  She was constantly into things that didn’t concern her and snooping where she shouldn’t – then making excuses for it all.  She improved a tad bit when she had amnesia but she was still annoying even then.

Crispin was a great character as was his sister, Jacinda’s sisters and uncle, the servants and even the villagers.  I liked them all.  Unfortunately because I didn’t like Jacinda I couldn’t fully get into the romance because I wanted Crispin with someone else.

So, while I like the writing and writing style, as well as many of the characters and the premise, this book fell short for me because of the heroine.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Guest Review: Too Wilde to Wed by Eloisa James

Posted May 21, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Too Wilde to Wed by Eloisa JamesReviewer: Tracy
Too Wilde to Wed by Eloisa James
Series: The Wildes of Lindow Castle #2
Also in this series: Wilde in Love
Published by Avon
Publication Date: May 29th 2018
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
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four-stars

The handsome, rakish heir to a dukedom, Lord Roland Northbridge Wilde—known to his friends as North—left England two years ago, after being jilted by Miss Diana Belgrave. He returns from war to find that he's notorious: polite society has ruled him "too wild to wed."

Diana never meant to tarnish North's reputation, or his heart, but in her rush to save a helpless child, there was no time to consider the consequences of working as a governess in Lindow Castle. Now everyone has drawn the worst conclusions about the child's father, and Diana is left with bittersweet regret.

When North makes it clear that he still wants her for his own, scandal or no, Diana has to fight to keep from losing her heart to the man whom she still has no intention of marrying.

Yet North is returning a hardened warrior—and this is one battle he's determined to win.

He wants Diana, and he'll risk everything to call her his own.

After Lord Roland, better known as North, was jilted by Diana Belgrave he went off to fight in the Revolutionary War. It’s been two years since he left and he comes home to find that Diana is working as a governess in his home.  When he confronts Diana on his first day back he finds a very different woman than the one he proposed to. This Diana talks a lot, has freckles on her face and beautiful red hair – she’s not the quiet, meek, biddable, high wig-wearing, fashionable woman that she was. North actually likes this Diana better. North finds comfort in Diana’s presence and he soon realizes that he still loves her. In fact he loves her more now than he did before because she’s a more genuine person.

Diana is extremely sorry for the way that she jilted North, but she had to do it in order to save her nephew. She knows that she can’t stay in the Wilde household now that North is back but when she tries to leave, North stops her. They are soon finding comfort in each other’s arms and Diana knows that North would love to keep her for his own. North, however, is the heir to the Duchy and both he and Diana know that she would make a horrible Duchess. How can North even think of taking another wife when it’s Diana he’ll love forever.

Too Wilde to Wed is another wonderful book in the The Wildes of Lindow Castle series. I loved the characters so much in this story and was so happy we got to read North and Diana’s story – especially after how the first book ended.

Diana was such a lovely woman. She was extremely down to earth and knew her own mind.  She had put through the ringer with her mother and tried to conform to her mother’s wishes but in the end her sister Rose, and her family, took precedence over what her mother wanted. I so admired Diana for the strength she had shown throughout all she’d been through after jilting North and was so happy when she got her HEA.

North was my kind of hero. He was a bit emotionally tortured but also knew his own mind and what he needed in his life. I just loved him! Something about his personality just spoke to me and the decisions he made in the end made my heart melt. Choosing love over everything else is what makes a great romance – and this book had that.

I can’t wait to see what happens next in this series – and there are so many Wilde’s to choose from! Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long for the next book.

Rating: 4 out of 5 

The Wildes of Lindow Castle Series

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart by Sarah MacLean.

Posted May 10, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart by Sarah MacLean.Reviewer: Rowena
Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart by Sarah MacLean
Series: Love by Numbers #3
Also in this series: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord, Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart
Published by Avon
Publication Date: April 26, 2011
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 367
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Goodreads
four-stars

There is no telling where a scandal might lead...

She lives for passion.

Bold, impulsive, and a magnet for trouble, Juliana Fiori is no simpering English miss. She refuses to play by society’s rules: she speaks her mind, cares nothing for the approval of the ton, and can throw a punch with remarkable accuracy. Her scandalous nature makes her a favorite subject of London’s most practiced gossips... and precisely the kind of woman the Duke of Leighton wants far far away from him.

He swears by reputation.

Scandal is the last thing Simon Pearson has room for in his well-ordered world. The Duke of Disdain is too focused on keeping his title untainted and his secrets unknown. But when he discovers Juliana hiding in his carriage late one evening—risking everything he holds dear—he swears to teach the reckless beauty a lesson in propriety.

She has other plans, however; she wants two weeks to prove that even an unflappable duke is not above passion.

Every Thursday in 2018, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

This review was originally posted on April 12, 2011.

Sarah MacLean is fast becoming one of my go to authors for wonderful historical romances. She writes the kind of romances that never fail to make me laugh, tear up and sigh all throughout the story. This story is no different. I was first introduced to MacLean’s work back when she released her first romance, Nine Rules to Break when Romancing a Rake. I read and adored that book and was anxious for the next installment in this series, Ten Ways to be Adored when Landing a Lord. I enjoyed Nick’s story and was even more anxious for Juliana’s story and finally, we have it.

This book wasn’t as funny as the first two but it still a wonderful romance novel. The chemistry between Simon and Juliana is undeniable and I totally fell right in with all of it. The fighting, the making up, the confusion- all of it made for one helluva ride.

This book starts up not too long after the last book left off. Gabriel and Callie are happily married as are Nicholas and Isabel. Nicholas and Isabel still have their girls over at Minerva House and Georgeanne is still over there, pregnant and still trucking along. Simon, brother to Georgeanne is back in London, pretending that his world is not going to come crawling down because his sister went and got herself pregnant and is hiding away at his friend’s house in the country. He’s also trying to stay far away from that damn scandal a minute maker, Juliana Fiori who he secretly has the hots for.

Juliana is living with Gabriel and Callie, suffering through more of the same dull balls and gossip that is nearly always about her. She knows that she’ll never fit in with these dull English folks and she’s at the point where she doesn’t care if she does either. She hates the English, well with the exception of her English family members and she most definitely hates the uptight, Duke of disdain, the Duke of Leighton.

These two rub each other the wrong way and it was only a matter of time before they’d be rubbing each other in a totally different way. Simon spends much of this book, saving Juliana from yet another almost-scandal and he also spends a good chunk of the book fighting his feelings for her. Juliana bets Leighton that she could bring him to his knees in two weeks because she thinks that nobody can live their lives without passion and Simon is like, do your worst. Reputation matters most in the end and he’s going to be standing firmly on his feet at the end of the two weeks.

Now throughout the book, there were plenty of times that I wanted to strangle both Simon and Juliana. Simon mostly because everything with Penelope and then with his sister, it all just made me want to give him a swift kick in the nuts but not once in all the times that I was annoyed with him, did I hate him. MacLean did a good job of making me anxious for him to get it right without making me lose interest in him as a hero. I should have hated him right along with Juliana but like Juliana, I couldn’t.

I liked Simon. When things finally come together for him and Juliana, my heart did a little happy dance inside my chest. I was so happy for the both of them and that’s why I love reading books by Sarah MacLean. She makes me come to love her characters a little more with each book.

I loved Juliana from the jump. From the time we meet her in the previous books and Callie is trying to teach her how to become a lady with manners, I loved her. She always got everything wrong and yet, she was so charming that I couldn’t help but love her. Want to be her friend, want what’s best for her. I hated when those stupid cows at the balls were mean to her and I loved the friendships that blossomed between her and Marianna and then later, Georgeanne. Her character really came into her own in this book and I enjoyed watching her grow into the woman she was in this book.

I can’t help but want books for both Benedick and Georgeann…hell, it would be totally awesome if they were to meet and then fall in love with each other. They were both wonderful characters in this book and my greedy ass wants more!

All in all, this book was another wonderfully written story about two people who take the long road to their happy ending. They fought, they laughed and they got to know each other and then in the end, they fell in love with each other. You can’t ask for more and I definitely recommend this book to historical lovers and to fans of Sarah MacLean, you won’t be disappointed with this one.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Love By Numbers

four-stars


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Guest Review: A Match Made in Bed by Cathy Maxwell

Posted April 20, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: A Match Made in Bed by Cathy MaxwellReviewer: Tracy
A Match Made in Bed (Spinster Heiresses #2) by Cathy Maxwell
Series: Spinster Heiresses #2
Also in this series: If Ever I Should Love You
Published by Avon
Publication Date: April 17th 2018
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-stars

Once upon a time there were three young ladies who, despite their fortunes, had been on the marriage mart a bit too long. They were known as “the Spinster Heiresses” . . .

Miss Cassandra Howell is too tall, too bookish, and too smart—but she does have money and a father who wants a grand title for her. Cassandra hasn’t felt a desire to marry until she meets the sinfully handsome Duke of Camberly, who captures her imagination . . . until Soren York, Earl of Dewsberry and her family’s sworn enemy, steps in the way.

The Holwells ruined Soren’s family, and he’s lived on the knife’s edge trying to resurrect their fortunes . . . until he considers marrying the Holwell Heiress. Not only would her dowry give him the funds he needs, he has secretly had an eye on the independent-minded bluestocking since they both first realized the differences between men and women.

She likes to read; he has no patience for books. She knows little of sex; he is a man of the world and willing to school her. Her family destroyed his; his offer of marriage may be her only salvation.

Now Cassandra and Soren must learn to love each other for who they are, not what they are—and the lessons are becoming an exercise in absolute pleasure.

Cassandra is a woman who will inherit a ton of money when she gets married.  Soren, the Earl of Dewsberry needs money so he thinks to marry her.  She doesn’t want to marry a fortune hunter, she wants to marry for love. On top of that, Soren and Cassandra’s families have been enemies for many years so there’s really no chance that her father will let her marry.

Though Cassandra says she doesn’t want to marry Soren she can’t help but be attracted to him.  Despite her thoughts on love she decides that maybe Soren is the man for her.  Unfortunately the life that the two plan together may be very different from the one they end up with.

This was a cute book.  It was a good story, but unfortunately I thought it lacked a certain spark between the H/h.  IDK, maybe it was because Cassandra nay-sayed Soren so often that I didn’t really see the connection between them when she finally capitulated.  Whatever it was it wasn’t good.  That’s not to say that I didn’t like the book.  It was a decent read and an entertaining way to spend an afternoon.

This also gave us a view into the Duke of Camberly, who Cassandra had had her eye one.  It’s pretty obvious that her friend and the Duke will have their book next but frankly I really didn’t like the guy.  He was not the type of man I want as a hero in a romance novel so I’m not at all sure I’ll be reading the next book in the series.

Spinster Heiresses Series

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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