Tag: Harper Collins

Review: An Affair with a Notorious Heiress by Lorraine Heath

Posted June 1, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: An Affair with a Notorious Heiress by Lorraine HeathReviewer: Rowena
An Affair with a Notorious Heiress by Lorraine Heath
Series: Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James #4
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: May 30th 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 384
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four-stars

The son of a duke and an infamous mother, Alistair Mabry, Marquess of Rexton, fought his way to respectability. Now, the most eligible bachelor in London, marriage-shy Rexton will take only a wife with an impeccable reputation, good breeding, and a penchant for staying out of the gossip sheets. But when he strikes a deal to be seen “courting” a sweet young debutante whose notorious older sister has blemished her chances for marriage, Rexton is unexpectedly drawn to the highly inappropriate, calamitous Tillie, Lady Landsdowne herself.

After a scandalous incident that sent shockwaves throughout society and disgraced her, Tillie refuses to cower in the face of the ton. Instead, she will hold her head high as she serves as a chaperone for her younger sister, but Tillie is convinced Rexton’s courtship is shrouded with secrets—ones she vows to uncover. However, doing so requires getting dangerously close to the devilishly handsome and forbidden marquess…

An Affair with a Notorious Heiress is the fourth book in the Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James series by Lorraine Heath and it follows Alistair Mabry, Marquess of Rexton. Rexton has a bunch of siblings that we’ve come to know throughout this series. I have enjoyed every single book in this series and that didn’t stop with this one. Lorraine Heath is one of my go to historical romance authors because she writes historical romances that have that old school feel and I fall into each of her stories so very easily.

The Marquess of Rexton is no stranger to scandal. His mother wasn’t born into the aristocracy so when his father married her, she wasn’t really accepted but that didn’t stop his father from loving the hell out of her anyway. Rexton was bullied at school because of his mother. He grew up and had to deal with a scandal that was not his and he swore that when he grew up and took a wife, she would be above reproach. His children will never know the pain he endured when he was a child.

Lady Mathilda Landsdowne is a walking scandal. She’s a divorced woman who was caught kissing her footman and all this time later, she’s still paying for her actions. She has plans to leave England and return to New York to start over but first, she needs to get her younger sister situated and make sure that she marries someone who is worthy of her. Someone that will take care of her and make her happy, because Tillie knows all too well the misery behind marrying the wrong guy.

Rexton was approached by Tillie’s uncle to pay some attention to her younger sister, Gina in hopes that other gentlemen will take notice of her since Tillie’s divorce scandal has kept Gina from having the season she deserved. Rexton has no plans to marry Gina since she’s too young for him but when one of the best racehorses is dangled in front of his nose, he finds himself asking the young girl to dance…and then asking to take her for a ride in the park.

Tillie is suspicious of Rexton and she’s also attracted as hell to him. The attraction she feels for him is definitely returned and their story kind of takes off right when they meet. Rexton is immediately drawn to Tillie, to the strong front she puts up for everyone to the obvious love and support she has for her younger sister, Gina. The more time that Rexton spends with Tillie, the more that he wants her. Tillie is fighting her attraction to the man that is “courting” her sister but it’s a losing battle.

Lorraine Heath did such a great job of pulling my heartstrings with this book. Between Tillie not wanting Rexton to suffer from loving her and Rexton wanting to protect Tillie from everything and everyone around her, I was happy sighing all over the place. I completely connected with both of their characters and their situations. I wished for them to work things out and for them to find a way to be together and in the end, I got my wish.

Tillie was a strong heroine that was hellbent on making sure that her sister didn’t make the same mistakes she did and I really loved the relationship between the two sisters. Gina wanted Tillie’s happiness just as much as Tillie wanted Gina’s and I loved how Team Rexton Gina was. That was just too adorable for words.

Rexton was everything that I hoped he would be and I loved seeing him fall in love with Tillie. I loved seeing how close he was with his family and the way that they all came together to accept Tillie into the fold was just too stinkin’ good. The way that they banded around Rexton and his woman made my heart swell. He was such a good man and my bloodthirsty heart was satisfied with the beat down he gave anyone who dared to touch Tillie.

Heath worked her magic and it paid off because this was a fine romance and I’m super glad that I read it.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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: Historical, 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

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: Historical, Romance
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
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

Review: Blame it on the Duke by Lenora Bell

Posted May 4, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Blame it on the Duke by Lenora BellReviewer: Rowena
Blame It on the Duke by Lenora Bell
Series: The Disgraceful Dukes #3
Also in this series: How the Duke Was Won, How the Duke was won, If I Only Had a Duke
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: April 18th 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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four-stars

Have you heard? The future Duke of Barrington has just been gambled away by his father. To an heiress!The delicious details thus far...

Nicolas, Lord Hatherly, never intended to marry—nor add to the “mad” Hatherly line—but now he must honor his father’s debt to a social-climbing merchant or lose the family estate.

A notoriously wild marquess, won by her father at a game of cards, is the very last thing Miss Alice Tombs wants. She’s spent the last three seasons repelling suitors in spectacular fashion so she’d be at liberty to explore the world. She’ll just have to drive this one away as well.
Until Nick proposes an utterly tempting arrangement: one summer together to prove the legitimacy of their union, then Alice is free to travel while Nick revels in the time he has left before the Hatherly Madness takes hold.

It will be easy to walk away after a few months of make-believe wedded bliss—won’t it? Alice and Nick are about to find out...one sultry night at a time.

This ought to be fun . . .

I have been looking forward to reading Alice’s book ever since I met her in book 1, How the Duke was Won and she went on and on about being a vegetarian. Her shenanigans were definitely memorable and I was thinking about how far she was likely to come from those days when I started this book. I don’t know why I was surprised that she was being paired up with Nick since this series follows all of the disgraceful Dukes and he was definitely one of those but I was a little surprised.

Nick is known around London for his completely inappropriate parties that he hosts at his house with his crazy father running amock. Nick and his friends love entertaining themselves with strippers and naughty dance shows. Their parties are filled to the brim with all sorts of wickedness and he wouldn’t have it any other way. When his father comes home and announces to a roomful of gentlemen trying to enjoy a show that he has gambled Nick away to an heiress and Nick will marry her pronto, Nick is floored.

The very last thing that Alice wants is a husband. Especially one that is forced on her, no matter how handsome he is. She’s spent so much time making herself as unbecoming as she can to chase away potential suitors so that she can travel that she’s furious when her Dad announces her engagement. She longs to travel to India to present some work on the Kama Sutra that she did and becoming a wife gets in the way of that. Once she’s married, her life is in the hands of her husband and she won’t ever be free again. But when Nick presents an arrangement that just might help Alice out, it’s hard for her to refuse. That’s why she finds herself getting to know Nick and the more she finds out about him, the more curious she becomes.

He’s not at all what she expected but the same can be said for him. They become friends of sorts and the more time they spend together, the closer they get.

I adored seeing them fall in love with each other. Alice was a fabulous heroine who knew her mind and knew what she wanted out of life. I loved how thirsty she was for knowledge and when Nick teaches her the art of lovemaking, it was so much fun. I loved Nick’s mission in life and I adored the way that he took care of his crazy father and felt his very real concerns about his own health as he gets older. The love he had for Alice, the way that he loved her for who she was and not for how pretty she was, hit me right in my feelings.

The romance between Nick and Alice was great. I loved that they fell in love slowly and that they really got to know each other over the course of their time together. They were great characters with great support systems in their friends and I just loved this book to pieces.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars

Review: Cold Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas

Posted April 11, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Cold Hearted Rake by Lisa KleypasReviewer: Rowena
Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Ravenels #1
Also in this series: Devil in Spring
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: October 27th, 2015
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 419
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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four-stars

A twist of fate...

Devon Ravenel, London's most wickedly charming rake, has just inherited an earldom. But his powerful new rank in society comes with unwanted responsibilities... and more than a few surprises. His estate is saddled with debt, and the late earl's three innocent sisters are still occupying the house... along with Kathleen, Lady Trenear, a beautiful young widow whose sharp wit and determination are a match for Devon's own.

A clash of wills...

Kathleen knows better than to trust a ruthless scoundrel like Devon. But the fiery attraction between them is impossible to deny—and from the first moment Devon holds her in his arms, he vows to do whatever it takes to possess her. As Kathleen finds herself yielding to his skillfully erotic seduction, only one question remains:

Can she keep from surrendering her heart to the most dangerous man she's ever known?

Cold Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas is the first book in the Ravenels series. It’s a book that I’ve been meaning to read but never got around to until now. What a great historical romance this book turned out to be. I shouldn’t have doubted Kleypas’ ability to entertain me but it’s been so long since I’ve read one of her historicals and I forgot how great she is at writing entertaining characters who make me laugh, happy sigh and love to death.

Devon Ravenel has just inherited an earldom from a cousin he despised. So he’s stuck with a title he doesn’t want, estates that are falling down around their ears and with each passing day, he’s getting responsibilities that he hates. He also inherited his cousin’s widow and three younger sisters. He has no idea what to do about any of it and he doesn’t want to figure it out.

Kathleen’s husband is dead and the new earl that took over his title is moving in and making changes. She needs him to fix things around the estate but he plans on selling the place and she has to figure out her next move…with her three young sisters in laws in tow.

Devon was a solid hero that came full circle. He was a complete douche in the beginning but the more invested he became in Ravenel House and the title that he inherited from his bastard cousin. I thought he was a good brother, and then a good cousin to Ladies Pandora, Cassandra and Helen. He was also really good to his bastard cousin’s wife, Kathleen. Kathleen nagged him into caring and he started caring about more than his family, his responsibilities and everything around him. He started caring the most about Kathleen and he wanted her with a fierceness that surprised him. I really enjoyed seeing him come into his own. He was older and he was overwhelmed but he didn’t shy away from his new life and I loved him for that.

Kathleen started off with such promise. I did love how much she adored and wanted to protect her late husband’s sisters. They were important to her and she cared about them so she took on the responsibility of making sure that they were taken care of in their brother’s absence. I also really liked her form of nagging the present earl into doing his duties.

The romance between Devon and Kathleen steamed up the book. I enjoyed getting to know them both. The slow progress of their relationship over the course of the book was interesting and it was fun. It was classic Kleypas historical romance and I enjoyed the heck out of it. The characters weren’t perfect but they didn’t need to be. I loved how flawed they were, how much color they brought to the story. I enjoyed getting to know Devon and Kathleen, West and the sisters. They were all such great characters and I couldn’t start the next book fast enough. This was an enjoyable book and a fabulous start to a series. I recommend.

4 out of 5

four-stars