Tag: St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Guest Review: The Scandalous Flirt by Olivia Drake

Posted November 3, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Scandalous Flirt by Olivia DrakeReviewer: Tracy
The Scandalous Flirt by Olivia Drake
Series: Cinderella Sisterhood #6
Also in this series: Abducted by a Prince
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: October 31st 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 352
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars


Scandal begins with just one kiss. . .

Aurora Paxton was once the belle of the ball, the most sought-after debutante of the season―until a scandalous mistake ruined her. Shunned by her family, Rory was banished to the country to live in disgrace. Now she’s been summoned back to London by her stepmother, who is being blackmailed by the least likely person Rory can imagine: Lucas Vale, Marquess of Dashell.

Lucas is someone Rory’s known for years―a man as devastatingly handsome as he is coldly disapproving of her. What in the world could he want from her or her family? Rory intends to find out as soon as she comes face to face with her old foe. What she never expects, however, is that the icy aristocrat has a soft spot for her―and a secret plan to redeem her status. Could it be that Lucas has been in love with Rory all along. . .and has finally found a way to win her heart?

Aurora Paxton had it all.  Beautiful, vivacious – having the time of her life during her first season.  That all came to a crashing halt when she was found in a compromising position with an Italian diplomat, Stefano.  When her father demanded that Stefano marry Rory, Stefano admitted to having a wife back in Italy.  Rory was devastated that the man she thought loved her had lied to her.  Then her father and stepmother banished her from London and off she went to live with her aunt in Norfolk.  That was eight years ago.

When a Lady Milford shows up at her aunt’s house unexpectedly and tells Rory that her stepmother needs her help, Rory is skeptical as her aunt dislikes her intensely.  Then Lady Milford mentions that not only is her stepmother being blackmailed but that Rory’s sister, Celeste, is getting married to a duke in a month – a man that Rory thinks is way too old for her sister.

Rory heads to London and after talking with her stepmonster…uh, I mean stepmother, she heads off to work as a companion to the Marchioness of Dashell, the current Marquesses mother who is bedridden.  Rory’s stepmother believes that the Marquess, Lucas Vale, is the one that stole the letters and is blackmailing her. While working as a companion Rory will be able to search the house for the missing letters. Rory remembers the Marquess as being a stuffy prig and he proves he still is – for a bit. The longer that Rory is in the household the clearer she sees that Lucas isn’t as stuffy as she originally believed.  When Rory determines that Lucas isn’t behind the blackmail he agrees to help her find the true culprit which pushes the pair together.

The Scandalous Flirt is a book inspired by a fairy tale.  Lady Milford has enchanted slippers that supposedly bring the wearer to their true love. When Rory heads back to London Lady Milford hands over the shoes for Rory to wear.  Now, I know that the whole premise of the fairy tale is that the enchanted slippers were supposed to bring Rory to her true love but that was mostly Lady Milford and the stepmother pushing Rory toward Lucas.  Yes, Rory wore the shoes but really, I didn’t feel they had anything to do with it and they were only mentioned a couple of times in the book.  Lucas had been smitten with Rory eight years earlier and with them in close contact constantly they were bound to get closer.  Since this is based on a fairy tale I just wish that it had been more fairy tale-ish.  But that’s me. 🙂

While I liked Lucas by the end of the story, he wasn’t a soft man and for most of the book I was on the shelf as to whether I actually liked him or not.  I did believe he truly loved Rory and was happy they ended up together in the end.

Rory and I had a love hate relationship.  There were things I liked about her, definitely, but sometimes her stubbornness and I-am-woman-hear-me-roar ways drove me a bit batty.  I understand she was a feminist and that was awesome but there were occasions in the book where what she thought of as feminism was her just being reckless and yes, I’ll say it, stupid.

The romance wasn’t typical in this book but it was good.  I liked Rory and Lucas together and they played well off of each other.  I was happy that Lucas went for the poor, scandalous girl in the end.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: My One True Highlander by Suzanne Enoch

Posted April 4, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: My One True Highlander by Suzanne EnochReviewer: Tracy
My One True Highlander by Suzanne Enoch
Series: No Ordinary Hero #2
Also in this series: Hero in the Highlands
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: April 4th 2017
Pages: 320
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Rugged highlander Graeme has one thing on his mind—take a stand against the horrible Englishman Lattimer and he will be rewarded with enough money to be set for life. But when his reckless younger brothers take it one step too far and kidnaps a young woman on her way to see Lattimer, Graeme has to intervene. He cannot send the lady back without his kin getting in trouble. And when a damsel this beautiful is dropped into your lap, it’s hard to let her go...

Marjorie should be terrified she’s been captured by highland scoundrels, but it’s hard to live in terror when your captor is a devilishly handsome and sinfully tempting as Graeme is. She cannot stay by his side forever—no matter how her heart may pound at the thought—but Graeme seems to have other plans. This wicked highlander is out to seduce her and doesn’t plan to stop until she’s in his arms...forever...

Graeme, Viscount Maxton, is an impoverished Chieftan in the Maxwell clan.  He doesn’t see eye to eye with the Maxwell Laird but he stays out of his way and it works.  That is until the Laird comes to visit and basically tells Graeme that if he kills the Duke of Lattimer the Maxwell Laird would give him money and forgive the tithes that he’s late on.  Graeme is disgusted with the Laird but just shrugs it off.  He wants nothing to do with Dunncraigh and his issues with Lattimer.

Marjorie is headed to the highlands for her brother’s wedding.  He doesn’t know she’s coming but she decided to attend because A) She loves her brother and wants to meet his betrothed and B) London is frustrating the hell out of her.  She thought that now that she was a Duke’s sister (and not a ladies companion) and had money that she’d have it all but no one in London even acknowledges her being much less accepts her.  In fact people were nicer to her when she was a companion!  Once in the Highlands she stops with her companion and ends up getting kidnapped.

Graeme’s brothers, Brendan – 16, Dùghlas – 14 and Connell – 8, kidnapped Marjorie when they overheard her companion talking about how she’s the Duke of Lattimer’s sister.  Brendan gets the idea that they can ship her off as a bargaining tool to Dunncraigh and all will then be right with their world. Graeme, however, doesn’t see it that way, but he’s not sure what to do with the lass now that she’s there.  He eventually decides he needs to marry her but Marjorie aka Ree fights that.  Once she gets herself free she decides not to escape.  She doesn’t want anything bad to happen to the boys and she actually has kind of started to like Graeme.  Once she falls in love with him, however, she has to decide if she loves him more than she loves the dream she’s always had of being the belle of the ball in London.

This was a cute book.  Yes, it’s a story with a bit of Stockholm syndrome going on but I thought the way that Enoch wrote it all made it seem ok.  Also, let’s face it, this is a romance and fiction so…it is what it is. 😊

I loved the characters in this book.  Graeme was an honorable guy and despite the crazy thing his brothers did he was trying to make the best of it.  His parents had died and he had taken over the title, the lands, the cotters and the raising of his brothers when he was 20 years old and Connell was just 2 days old.  He’s had a lot of responsibility and has always done the right thing.  He was confused about his feelings for Marjorie at first but he soon embraced them and I loved that he did.  His brothers were cute – especially Connell.  He about made the whole book for me because he was so precocious. He also had a very large heart when it came to animals who needed a home. Loved. Him. Brendan was a typical surly teen and Dùghlas was just following along with his older brother.  They both ended up having a good side to them and I loved how they stood up for Marjorie in the end.

Overall it was a sweet romance and one I really enjoyed reading.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: The Duke by Kerrigan Byrne

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

Guest Review: The Duke by Kerrigan ByrneReviewer: Tracy
The Duke by Kerrigan Byrne
Series: Victorian Rebels Series #4
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: February 7th 2017
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

He is noble, notorious, and takes no prisoners...

They say that now His Grace, Collin Talmage, Duke of Trenwyth has only one hand, he might finally be a mere mortal, but no one seems willing to test the theory. Rich as Midas, big as a Viking, beautiful as Adonis, and lethal as a feral wolf, he is the English Empire’s golden son. But now he’s lost everything. Most of his family died in a terrible accident, his protégé and closest friend betrayed him on the battlefield, and his left hand was cut off while he was a prisoner of war. The only thing that’s kept him going until now is the memory of a night spent in the arms of a mysterious raven-haired woman almost a year ago…

Imogen Pritchard is a nurse by day, but a fallen woman by night. Seduced on the job years ago by a Duke who mourned for the loss of his family, Imogen has never shaken the memory of the man’s despair—or the fathomless depths of pleasure he brought to her. But as the threat of betrayals, blackmail, and secrets abound, Imogen and Collin are thrown back together in a dizzying swirl of dangerous games and earth-shattering desire. But can their love overcome the everything that threatens to tear them apart?

Imogen is a nurse who works at a hospital by day and then by night works as a serving girl at the Bare Kitten trying to pay off the debts that her father left when he died.  She’s just a serving girl and worked out with the owner that she would never be required to prostitute herself out as he had plenty of girls for that.

On a night that Imogen in working she services a group of soldiers.  When one gets a bit rowdy she’s saved by the new Duke of Trenwyth.  After a long night of him drinking and her sitting on his lap he pays the proprietor 10 pounds to spend the night with “Ginny” as she’s known there.  As it will wipe out about a 1/3 of her debt she agrees. She’s intrigued by and attracted to the new duke whose family had just died in a train crash.  She wants to comfort him and they share a beautiful night together.

One year later Imogen is working when she’s told that the missing Duke of Trenwyth is in the hospital with typhus.  Since she had it at one point she was immune so was assigned to him.  She takes care of him and soon figures out that he doesn’t have typhus and correctly diagnoses him.  When he awakens, however he doesn’t recognize her as she had worn a black wig when she was Ginny but really has blonde hair.  After a series of events where Imogen is let go from the hospital and then attacked the same night she is desperate and almost ends up a thief but for a kind patient who offers his help.

Fast forward to two years later and Cole, the Duke of Trenwyth has recovered and is still looking for Ginny.  He can’t forget her but can’t find her anywhere. On top of his frustrations is the woman next door who seems to be opening her home to criminals and prostitutes that she is attempting to reform but according to him it’s bringing down the whole neighborhood. He also believes that since she is young and her deceased husband was quite old that she took advantage of him.  Despite his annoyance with Lady Anstruther, his neighbor, he finds himself attracted to her and unable to do anything about it.

I’ve really liked the Kerrigan Byrne books I’ve read so far.  They seem to have interesting premise’s and intriguing characters – The Duke was one that had both.  First Imogen’s circumstances when the book first opens.  Not so unusual to see a woman working off her father’s debts but I liked how the author kept her relatively innocent until the duke came along.  Imogen ended up being an incredibly strong character who could give as well as she got – especially with Cole – and I admired her and the work she was doing to help the less fortunate.  She knew what it was like to be in a desperate place and she wanted to help those that found themselves in like circumstances.

Cole was a hard man to like.  He had serious anger issues after his capture and captivity and they manifested in strange ways at strange times.  I liked his possessiveness of Imogen but not so much his condescension toward her.  Imogen never let him get away with it and that I was happy about.  He was so set on finding Ginny that he couldn’t see what was right in front of his face.  Because he had changed so much Imogen didn’t feel that he was the same person he was before so kept her identity to herself.  It was a good push and pull romance, that’s for sure.

Now, that being said I did think that the book, at times, tilted toward the side of melodramatic and that was something I didn’t care for at all.  There was a lot going on in the book and there was a lot of introspection as well.  With all of that the drama got to be too much at times and I admit I found myself rolling my eyes a bit.

Overall it was a good read, and a good romance that I just had a few issues with.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Blog Tour: Somebody Like You by Donna Alward

Posted February 8, 2017 by Rowena in Giveaways, Promotions | 2 Comments

Somebody Like You by Donna Alward
Series: Darling, VT #1
Release Date: February 7, 2017
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Genres: Contemporary, Romance

A kiss to last a lifetime

Aiden Gallagher was only five years old when he appeared in a photograph on the Kissing Bridge. The town of Darling, Vermont, has used Aiden’s image on the famed bridge—local legend has it that a kiss there results in everlasting love—as part of its tourism campaign. Now, twenty years later, Aiden is asked to recreate the moment with the woman he once kissed: Laurel Stone.

Recently divorced, there’s nothing Laurel wants less than to pretend happily-ever-after with Aiden. As teenagers, their romance was no fairy tale—and Laurel has never quite forgiven Aiden for breaking her heart. But now that she is back in her hometown, and keeps bumping into police officer Aiden, Laurel can’t deny that there’s still a strong flicker between her and her old flame. Could it be that the Kissing Bridge is working its magic on Laurel and Aiden—and that all true love ever needed was a second chance?

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || GOOGLE || KOBO

Excerpt

By the time they were through, it was nine o’clock and time to open. Being a Saturday, business was brisk. Her dad dropped off the supplies and offered to stay to help cover the tagging, but with the heavy shopping traffic, Laurel decided to wait until things died down. For now the tarps covered the tags, and she’d focus on her customers. Otherwise her anger would get the best of her and that was bad for business. By six p.m., things had slowed considerably.

Laurel had been going flat out for ten hours, stopping for only fifteen minutes to run to The Purple Pig for a sandwich. Her stomach growled, her feet hurt, there was dirt beneath her nails and she really, really wanted a shower and a glass of wine—in that order. Laurel had just dragged out the hose to water the fruit trees when a half- ton truck drove into the lot and parked in an empty space.

The driver hopped out, and her heart slammed against her ribs as she immediately realized how she must look. Dirty jeans, mannish golf shirt that did nothing for her figure, scrubby ponytail through a Ladybug Garden Center ball cap, and probably smudges of dirt on her face and arms. Not that she was trying to look nice for Aiden or anything, but it was him getting out of the truck, looking sexy as hell in faded jeans and a T- shirt that stretched across his chest and shoulders.

She could pretend she hadn’t seen him. Resolutely she turned on the hose and started watering the apple trees.

“Hey, Laurel,” he called out, and that erased any hope of avoiding him.

She turned off the hose and faced him. “Aiden. What brings you by? Looking for a shrub or tree or something?”

Keep it businesslike, she reminded herself. The last thing she needed was for him to know that he had the ability to fluster her.

“I heard about what happened.”

Of course he had.

“Don’t even. I’m still pissed.”

“I know it’s not what you needed. Did Crystal tell you that you weren’t the only one hit?”

Crystal must be the offi cer from this morning. “She did.”

“Well, that must make you feel better.”

She stared at him. “Better? Seriously? Since I opened a month ago, I’ve had to have the driveway re- graded, I’ve had to replace shrubs that were stolen from out front, deal with a break-in and vandalism, and now tagging. Trust me, Aiden, the only thing that would feel better is if you actually did your job and found out who was doing this.”

She turned the hose back on.

He waited. He waited a long time. Several seconds, maybe thirty. Which was really not that long at all but definitely felt that way. She was watering the third tree when he sighed. “ You’re upset.”

“No shit, Sherlock.”

He met her gaze, and his eyes were soft, even though she’d basically just accused him of not doing his job. The understanding she saw there made her stomach churn. She didn’t want to lash out, but that was what she did when she was hurt. Angry.

Stopping by was kind and thoughtful. She kept trying to make him out to be a bad guy, and he kept being nice. It definitely made it difficult for her to hate him. Particularly since her biochemistry betrayed her at every turn. Even now, when she was utterly preoccupied with the day’s events, she seemed to notice everything. His hair, his eyes, the breadth of his chest, the armband tattoo that looked like some sort of Celtic braid, peeking just below the hem of his T- shirt sleeve. The shape of his lips . . .
He muttered something that was as creative a curse as she’d ever heard, and sounded suspiciously Irish. She couldn’t help but laugh, and tried to clamp her lips shut again. But not before he saw and heard, and his eyes took on an impish gleam.

“You’re not fine. You’re tired and upset and rightfully so. You’re also just as stubborn as you always were.” He put his hands on his hips. “I take it you’re not adverse to help, just help from me in particular.”

Her face heated. Dammit.

“Maybe this could be my penance,” he suggested, giving her a quick grin. And she wished she could take him seriously, but he always seemed to be teasing. It was one of the things she’d really liked about him and hated at the same time. Particularly now, when she wanted to be, if not mad, completely unaffected. And she wasn’t. He was trying to cajole her out of her mood and it was working.

“It’s Saturday night. Don’t you have a hot date or something?” She turned on the hose again. Focused on the large plastic pot holding a cherry tree.

“Nope. Free as a bird.”

Dammit again.

“Come on, Laurel. Peace offering. Manual labor for you to stop hating me.”

She glanced over at him. “Why do you care so much?”

He was quiet for a moment, and to her surprise the teasing expression left his face. After a while he answered, his voice a little lower. “I don’t know why I care what people think so much. I always have. I don’t like anyone to be mad at me. Maybe it has something with being one of the younger siblings in the family. I don’t know. I just know that I don’t like it that you’re still so angry.” His intense blue gaze locked with hers. “It’s starting to become a personal mission to win you over. To atone for past sins.”

“Good luck,” she said dryly, more touched than she wanted to admit.

His boyish grin was back. “Come on, Laurel. You know you can’t hold out forever. You think I’m hot.” He had the audacity to wink at her.

She rolled her eyes.

“You do. You have a thing for gingers. And you have to admit, I grew up kinda good.” His hands were still on his hips and he tensed his muscles so that his shoulders and chest tightened beneath the thin T- shirt.

“I think you’re a bit taken with yourself, to be honest,” she replied. And tried not to smile. She didn’t want to be charmed, but he was incorrigible.

“Laurel.”

Damn, his voice was all silky- smooth now. “Yes, Mr. Narcissist?”

“You know damn well you want to hate me and you can’t. Besides, I saw your face just now. Maybe if I took off my shirt . . .”

“Would you like to go somewhere private to be with yourself?” she asked, biting the inside of her lip. She shouldn’t be enjoying this so much. And she wouldn’t be, if she thought he was serious. But he was teasing her.

Like he used to do when they were friends. And today . . . she swallowed against a ball of emotion. Today she needed a friend, and all she’d had were well- meaning customers.

She looked over at him. “Jeez, Aiden. You’re looking a little flushed. I think you could stand to cool off.” And before he could reply, she flicked her wrist and aimed the spray of the hose right at the center of his chest.

The abrupt shock on his face was gratifi cation enough, but then he grinned and reached to take away the hose. She danced away, still spraying him, admiring how the shirt now clung to his skin and the little droplets lit up his face and hair. A laugh bubbled up through her chest and out her mouth as she darted around the trees, dragging the hose with her. But there were too many pots and not enough room to maneuver and within seconds he caught her, wrapped one strong arm around her and wrenched the hose away with the other, spraying her in the process.

Cold water dripped from her nose, down her neck, over her bare arms. Aiden held her close against his body, close enough she could feel the hardness of his muscles, and thrilled at it. Their breaths came fast, their chests rising and falling with both laughter and the exertion of the struggle over the hose. But it was the way he was looking down at her right now that made her feel as if the lack of air was strangling her lungs. All it would take was the tiniest move and he’d be kissing her. Her gaze dropped to his lips— he’d always had fine lips— and she swallowed, nervous and scared at her reaction and turned on as hell.

She looked up, which was a mistake. Because he was staring at her lips. And his arm tightened just a little bit at the hollow of her back. Oh God . . .

A car horn honked and Laurel jumped back. He let her go, but the gravity of the moment remained.

Copyright © 2017 by Donna Alward and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

Giveaway Alert

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Donna Alward

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

While bestselling author Donna Alward was busy studying Austen, Eliot and Shakespeare, she was also losing herself in the breathtaking stories created by romance novelists like LaVyrle Spencer, Judith McNaught, and Nora Roberts. Several years after completing her degree she decided to write a romance of her own and it was true love! Five years and ten manuscripts later she sold her first book and launched a new career. While her heartwarming stories of love, hope, and homecoming have been translated into several languages, hit bestseller lists and won awards, her very favorite thing is when she hears from happy readers!

Donna lives on Canada’s east coast with her family which includes a husband, a couple of kids, a senior dog and two crazy cats. When she’s not writing she enjoys reading (of course!), knitting, gardening, cooking…and is a Masterpiece Theater addict.


Tagged: , , , ,

Guest Review: Waiting For an Earl Like You by Alexandra Hawkins

Posted January 6, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Waiting For an Earl Like You by Alexandra HawkinsReviewer: Tracy
Waiting For an Earl Like You by Alexandra Hawkins
Series: Masters of Seduction #3
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: January 3rd 2017
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

LOVE ISN’T ALWAYS WHAT IT SEEMS.

Justin Reeve Netherwood, Earl of Kempthorn—a.k.a. Thorn—has never cared much for his neighbor’s daughter. But his twin brother, Gideon, befriended the wild, reckless, and wholly inappropriate Miss Olivia Lydall in youth, and two have been close ever since. So when Olivia finds herself in a state of romantic conflict and seeks out Gideon for advice, he’s only too pleased to oblige. Only problem: The man Olivia is speaking to is Thorn. And now it’s too late for him to tell Olivia the truth…

Thorn always believed that Olivia was too smitten with Gideon for her own good. So what’s the harm in steering her away from him? But Thorn’s charade turns out to be anything but harmless once he begins to see Olivia for who she really is: A woman full of spirit and passion…and someone he can’t live without. But how can Thorn claim Olivia’s heart when their deepening connection—and burning desire—is built on lies and deceit?

The Netherwood twins are virtually identical.  Very few people can tell them apart and Olivia Lydall, their neighbor, isn’t one of them. Thorn and Gideon were pretty inseparable when they were kids but Gideon always got along well with Olivia where Thorn didn’t.  Now they’re all grown up and Gideon is back from his travels and Thorn now sees Olivia all grown up.  He’s intrigued by her but doesn’t want to admit it.  She sees Thorn as judgmental and aloof, where she sees Gideon as a kind, charming man.

When they all head to London Olivia seeks out Gideon’s advice but he ends up kissing her.  Olivia is shocked as she’s never thought of Gideon as more than a friend but the kiss brought definite feelings that were nowhere near friendship to the surface. Every time they meet Gideon kisses her and she gets more confused.  Thorn is trying to steer Olivia away from Gideon by pretending to be him but the more time he spends with Olivia he actually starts to like her more and more and starts to fall for her.  Only problem?  Olivia thinks he’s Gideon!

This was an entertaining book for the most part although I did have some issues with it.  I can’t say that I’m generally a fan of the twin switching when it comes to intimacy.  That’s kind of a no-no with me but I dealt with it as it didn’t get too out of hand.  I did like Thorn a lot so forgave him more than a few times when he screwed up – like when he was kissing and touching Olivia and she was saying no and he didn’t stop until she gave in.  Um, no!  That’s so not ok!

That being said I thought the pair were good together.  I couldn’t see Olivia with Gideon as she would have run right over him.  He was obviously having his own problems in the book although those issues are never brought to light.  In fact the whole problem with Thorn and Gideon not really getting along now that Gideon is back from his travels bothered me.  Thorn had no idea why he felt he should leave as he thought they were close.  The true reason is never explained and that was annoying.

The ending was a bit rushed and a villain was stuck in there that was completely unnecessary but in the end I found the book enjoyable.  Yes, it had issues but the writing and general story made up for those flaws in the end.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5  

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,