Tag: Historicals

Review: The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean

Posted September 1, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 10 Comments

Review: The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLeanReviewer: Rowena
The Rogue Not Taken (Scandal & Scoundrel #1) by Sarah MacLean
Series: Scandal and Scoundrel #1
Also in this series: A Scot in the Dark (Scandal & Scoundrel, #2), The Day of the Duchess (Scandal & Scoundrel, #3)
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: December 29th 2015
Pages: 419
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars


The youngest of the infamous Talbot sisters scandalized society at the Liverpool Summer Soiree, striking her sister’s notoriously philandering husband and landing him backside-first in a goldfish pond. And we thought Sophie was the quiet one…

When she finds herself the target of very public aristocratic scorn, Sophie Talbot does what she must to escape the city and its judgment—she flees on the back of a carriage, vowing never to return to London…or to society. But the carriage isn’t saving her from ruin. It’s filled with it.


The Marquess of Eversley was espied descending a rose trellis—escaping an irate Earl and his once-future countess. No lady is safe from Eversley’s Engagement Ending Escapades!

Kingscote, the Marquess of Eversley, has never met a woman he couldn’t charm, a quality that results in a reputation far worse than the truth, a furious summons home, and a long, boring trip to the Scottish border. When King discovers stowaway Sophie, however, the trip becomes anything but boring.


He thinks she’s trying to trick him into marriage. She wouldn’t have him if he were the last man on earth. But carriages bring close quarters, dark secrets, and unbearable temptation, and suddenly opposites are altogether too attractive…

Holy cow, this book!

I think this book entertained the socks off of me throughout the entire thing. Right from the very beginning, I was wrapped up in Sophie and King. Their first conversation? LOVED IT. When he realizes that she’s still around? LOVED IT. All of the bickering, all of the sexual tension, I ate it all up. I’m hard pressed to find something that I didn’t like though if I had to choose, it would probably be King taking Sophie to meet his father at his childhood home. That wasn’t a bundle of fun but it wasn’t supposed to be. I should probably mention the initial scandal that Sophie was part of as well. I wasn’t a fan of that either. That freaking brother in law of hers was such a dickhead that I’m glad she pushed in the pond.

This book had everything that I love in my romances so of course it was a winner in my book.

Sophie Talbot is the quiet one. She’s the Talbot sister that nobody pays much attention to because she’s not as glamorous as her other sisters or as scandalous. She’s kind of a wallflower and she despises all things that have to do with the ton but she is loyal and when she comes across her brother in law doing some shady shit with someone not her sister, she does what any loyal sister would do. She pushes him into a pond like a boss and then tells him off…in front of an audience. Needless to say, after that whole drama, Sophie is not popular amongst the aristocracy. She’s also in big trouble with her mother. Trying to escape the ball is turning out to be a whole lot of trouble.

Kingscote, the Marquess of Eversley meets Sophie Talbot when he’s climbing down a trellis of the very same ball where she caused quite a commotion of her own. He’s running from a woman’s fiance’ and she’s running from everyone else. Sophie asks King for a ride home and he said no. He thought that would be the end of his association with Sophie but haha, yeah right.

These two had me in fits throughout the entire book. They bickered like champs and the adventure they went on had me bent over laughing my ass off more than once. I loved watching them fall in love with each other at the same time that they were fighting with each other. They got on each other’s nerves but they couldn’t stay away from each other and I seriously adored the both of them.

This was a wonderfully written and completely charming historical romance that entertained the socks right off of me and made me want more from this world. I couldn’t wait to start the next book in this series. I’m hoping that we haven’t seen the last of Sera, Sophie’s sister. Highly recommend for fans of MacLean’s other works and for fans of the lighter historical romances like Julia Quinn, Tessa Dare and others like them.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5


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Review: When the Duke was Wicked by Lorraine Heath

Posted April 2, 2014 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Publisher: Avon, Harper Collins

When the Duke was WickedRowena’s review of When the Duke was Wicked (Scandalous Gentleman of St. James #1) by Lorraine Heath.

They are England’s most eligible bachelors, with the most scandalous reputations. But for the right woman, even an unrepentant rogue may mend his ways…

Lady Grace Mabry’s ample inheritance has made it impossible for her to tell whether a suitor is in love with her—or enamored of her riches. Who better to distinguish beau from blackguard than her notorious childhood friend, the Duke of Lovingdon?

With no interest in marriage, Lovingdon has long lived only for pleasure. He sees little harm in helping Grace find a proper match. After all, he’s familiar with all the ploys a scoundrel uses to gain a woman’s favor. He simply has to teach the lovely innocent how to distinguish honest emotions from false ones. How better than by demonstrating his wicked ways. But as lessons lead to torrid passion and Grace becomes ensnared in another man’s marriage plot, Lovingdon must wage a desperate gamble: Open his heart fully—or risk losing the woman he adores…

Lady Grace Mabry is in the market for a husband. She’s got to make a good choice in husband because she’s only getting married once. She doesn’t want to get stuck married to a man who only wants her for her money and she doesn’t want to get stuck with a man who was kind to her while courting, only to find out after they’re married that he’s cruel and abusive. But how does one go about finding out what guys are the good ones and which ones are the bad ones?

You go to the man that you’ve loved your whole life who found happiness with someone else and then lost them and is now a shell of the man you once knew, of course.

Grace seeks her childhood friend Lovingdon out late one evening to try to get his help on choosing a husband. That first meeting that us readers get to see had me cracking up. What a memorable picture to paint for the reader. Grace is shocked, Lovingdon is annoyed and I was laughing my ass off. That first meeting that we get to see sets the story up for even more greatness.

Throughout the entire book, I laughed at the dialogue between Lovingdon and Grace. I laughed through each and every single scene with these two in it (when I wasn’t swooning from how sexy Lovingdon was). I really came to love the hell out of both of these characters.

Lovingdon has no plans to ever marry again, let alone fall in love with anyone else. So when Grace worms her way into his life and turns his world upside with her shenanigans, he’s confused by how much his thoughts revolve around her. She’s become a constant in his thoughts and at first, he thinks it’s because of her outrageous cry for help but if that’s the case, why does he keep picturing her naked and underneath him?

Grace has loved Lovingdon ever since she was a little girl and he said kind words to her after she was made fun of by the other kids. Her love for him only grew and when he fell in love and married another woman, her young heart was broken and she vowed that she’d get married only to a man that loved her as fiercely as she loved him. She wanted a love match like her parents and she was going to get it…with or without Lovingdon’s help.

Lorraine Heath delivers another wonderfully romantic read with characters that touched my heart. I fell in love with both Lovingdon and Grace , and their story. Their story made me laugh, made me sigh and made me fall in love. I loved the way that Grace became more than the girl next door to Lovingdon. I loved seeing his heart thaw toward Grace and seeing him come into his love for her was exciting to read. I was rooting for the both of them throughout the entire story and this book took me to all of my happy places.

I’m pretty anxious for the rest of this series. I cannot wait for Drake’s story. This book was fantastic, I can’t recommend this book enough. Just read it already. ☺

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

This book is available from Avon. You can purchase it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

Posted January 8, 2014 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Publisher: Avon, Harper Collins

Rowena’s review of Romancing the Duke (Castles Ever After #1) by Tessa Dare.

In the first in Tessa Dare’s captivating Castles Ever After series, a mysterious fortress is the setting for an unlikely love . . .

As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens. She never doubted romance would be in her future, too. The storybooks offered endless possibilities.

And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off. One by one by one.

Ugly duckling turned swan?
Abducted by handsome highwayman?
Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?

No, no, and… Heh.

Now Izzy’s given up yearning for romance. She’ll settle for a roof over her head. What fairy tales are left over for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who’s never even been kissed?

This one.

Tessa Dare strikes again!

This book was another fantabulous addition to Tessa Dare’s back list.  It entertained, the romance was steamy and the characters were memorable.  There isn’t much more that you can ask for in a romance.  Dare delivered a wonderfully romantic story that reminded me why I started reading in the first place.  Not too long ago, Holly and I were talking about how we missed the old school romances that ate us up with emotions.  The ones that were full of angst and gutted us with goodness.  Dare captured all of my favorite things in this book and I couldn’t be happier.

Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up with a famous writer as a father.  Her father wrote fairy tale stories that starred Isolde herself and Isolde is a celebrity because of it all.  It was funny to see a historical celebrity who had a fan club.  People who geeked out over books like we do.  But Isolde’s father is dead and everything that she once had, now belongs to a spiteful and hurtful cousin who threw Isolde out on her butt.  She’s got nothing left in this world.  No home, no food and yet, when she gets mail from an old friend of her father’s that speaks of an inheritance, Isolde heads over to this castle and finds out that she’s inherited the castle.  The whole thing.

The problem is, the castle she inherited is already occupied by someone who claims to be the owner.  And that owner is tall, dark and completely scary.  But with nothing to lose, Izzy isn’t going to be run out of her inheritance.  She’s staying and she’s going to build herself a home and a life.

Ransom, The Duke of Rothbury is the rightful owner of the castle and he’s living in it.  He’s also not in the mood or the right frame of mind to deal with others right now so he’d like to be left alone but this lovely distraction refuses to go away.

Over the course of the book, Ransom softens toward Isolde and Isolde proves to be addicting to Ransom.  Their romance made me laugh and it made me sigh.  Ransom turned out to be quite the hero for Isolde and I adored reading this entire book.  Tessa Dare writes the kind of historicals that stay with you long after you’ve finished the book and this was one of those books.  This book is proof of my adoration of all things Tessa Dare.  She won me over with her Spindle Cove series and I have every faith that this is going to be another fabulous series.  I’m already looking forward to more so I’m hoping that we won’t have too much of a wait.

Read this book, you won’t be sorry!

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

This book is available from Avon.  You can purchase it here or here in e-format.  This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Guest Review: Why Dukes Say I Do by Manda Collins

Posted December 9, 2013 by Whitley B in Reviews | 0 Comments

why dukes say i doWhitley’s review of Why Dukes Say I Do (Wicked Widows #1) by Manda Collins.

Even in London society—where everyone knows what you did last season—you never know who’s next in line to walk down the aisle, in Why Dukes Say I Do…


With her whirlwind social life in London, Lady Isabella Wharton has little interest in the customs of the country. But when her godmother asks her to pay a visit to her bachelor grandson in Yorkshire, Isabella can’t refuse. It behooves her to please the old dowager, since she harbors one of Isabella’s most scandalous secrets. So off she goes to see the newly-titled—and notoriously rustic—Duke of Ormond…


Trevor Carey doesn’t care about what goes on behind ballroom doors. He is content with the simple life—and isn’t ashamed to admit it to a society flirt like Lady Isabella. But the country air brings out a different side of Isabella—one full of longing and passion. Can her sophistication be hiding a desire for love? When a blackmailer from the city arrives to threaten Isabella, Trevor will shield her from harm—even travel to London. Can the duke tackle the ton on Isabella’s behalf …and manage to keep her all to himself?

The first in a new trilogy, Why Dukes Say I Do was a sweet, solid book that filled my every duke-snaring expectation.  I’d been in a bit of a rut when I picked up this book, and it got me right out of it.  I loved (almost) every bit of this book, from the scandal that set it off to the duke’s sweet little sisters.

Trevor was a leading man after my own heart: down to earth and unassuming, solid, respectful.  He’s a country gentleman through and through and even when he puts his foot in his mouth it’s only because he’s trying to do the right thing.  I have to admit, I find it exceedingly sexy when a man has such a large…work ethic. 😛  I very much enjoyed his interactions with Isabelle and his sisters, the way he did his best to navigate the female sphere of society for their sake even though it made him thoroughly uncomfortably.  So adorable.

I also enjoyed that Isabelle had an astute understanding of gender dynamics.  That wasn’t the focus of the novel, but it still warmed my heart when she’d snidely point out male privilege to Trevor.  They were small moments — this isn’t a book about first wave feminism — but they were very welcome.  But they did lead to my one complaint about the novel: Isabelle and Trevor have a very frank conversation about power, and the lack of it that women have and Isabelle’s issues with it in particular.  It’s a great scene, and Trevor expresses his willingness to respect Isabelle’s needs.  And then…yeah, that gets thrown out the window a few scenes later.  *sigh*  Well, I’ll just pretend she set him straight afterward and enjoy all the rest of this book.

Rating: 5 out of 5

This book is available from St. Martin’s Paperbacks.  You can purchase it here or here in e-format.  This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Guest Author: Anne Gracie – The Trouble With Minor Characters

Posted February 5, 2013 by Holly in Giveaways, Promotions | 31 Comments

Anne Gracie is here with us today to celebrate her latest release, The Autumn Bride.


The Trouble With Minor Characters . . .

I’ve always had trouble with minor characters. When I first started writing I was told I had too many of them, that I should just stick to the hero and heroine. I try, but I’m always battling minor characters who want to take over.
In my latest book, the Autumn Bride, a minor character, an old lady, not only took over, she pretty much stole the show.
The Autumn Bride is the start of a new series about four girls — Abby, her sister and two friends — all orphans, all trying to make ends meet in a London where respectable jobs are scarce and badly paid.
They vow to stick together, like sisters, because women without family are very vulnerable.
One night in a bold act born of desperation, Abby climbs through the window of a mansion, intending to steal something. Instead, finds Lady Beatrice Davenham, a lonely, vulnerable old lady, bedridden and at the mercy of neglectful and unscrupulous servants.

Abby tiptoed closer to the bed, straining her eyes in the darkness. What she’d taken for a bundle of clothes piled on the bed was an old woman lying awkwardly, fallen between her pillows, her bedclothes rumpled in a twist.

“You’re a gel. Wearing breeches, but I can still tell you’re a gel.”
“Yes.” Abby waited. If the woman screamed or tried to raise the alarm she’d dive out of the window. It was risky, but better than being hanged or transported.
“You’re not here to kill me?”
Abby blinked. “Pity?”

After several more nocturnal visits, Lady Beatrice invites Abby and her ‘sisters’ to move in with her, and everyone’s fortunes change. The girls become the Chance sisters — their second chance at life. Lady Beatrice gets a second chance, too.

“I’ll take the very best care of you, as if you were indeed my beloved aunt. We all will,” Abby said.
“I believe you, child. You’ve already done me a power of good.”
Abby was puzzled. “In what way?”
“I was so bored before you came along! Now I have gels in breeches climbing through my window at all hours of the night, bringing me soup and conversation and plotting to sack my butler. And gels kicking my cook—I want to meet this Daisy who’s terrified of me and yet can kick my cook! She’s a sizable grim wench, Mrs. Caudle!—and gels bringing me cats and kittens, and who knows what else? For the first time in . . . oh, forever, I want to see what the next day brings.”
Abby looked at her in astonishment, then found herself grinning. “It’s going to be an adventure for all of us, isn’t it?”
“It is, dear gel, it is,” Lady Beatrice said. “And I can’t wait.”

And it is an adventure, especially when Lady Beatrice’s nephew returns after nine years abroad. He knows she has no nieces, and he wants rid of these impostors.

“How did you meet my aunt? And spare me the faradiddle about being her niece, for I know the truth of that one.”

Abby eyed him cautiously. She wasn’t going to admit a thing she didn’t have to. “Didn’t Lady Beatrice tell you?”
“Oh, yes,” he said, dry as sandpaper. “Apparently you flew in her window like a good fairy.”

I had such fun with this book. The Autumn Bride is a rags to riches story about the joy of friendship, second chances, sisterhood — and love. I hope you enjoy it.

Question: if you could have a second chance at something, what would it be? I’ll give a copy of THE AUTUMN BRIDE to someone who leaves a comment.


Please note: you must include a valid email address with your comment to be eligible. Contest ends: 2/10/13 @ 11:59pm.

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