Tag: Sophia Nash

Review: The Duke Diaries by Sophia Nash

Posted February 24, 2013 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Publisher: Avon, Harper Collins

After a wild, scandalous night, Rory Lennox, the Duke of Abshire, finds himself in the bed of his sworn enemy’s wholesome sister, Verity Fitzroy. To protect her honor and keep the peace, he agrees to marriage, but it’s an engagement neither is happy about—until unimaginable occurrences make them view the other in a new, passionate light.

Verity Fitzroy is sent home to Derbyshire after she is found in bed with the Duke of Abshire, her brother’s former best friend, Rory. It doesn’t matter that they’re both fully dressed and so very hungover that they couldn’t have done anything even if they’d wanted to, Verity is ruined. Verity’s brother wants Rory and Verity to marry before any word of the scandal is heard but soon they have other things to worry about. Some diaries cataloging scandalous events perpetrated by the Royal Entourage have been found and they are now being published twice a week! 

Verity is determined NOT to marry Rory. She doesn’t want to marry him even though she’s been in love with him since she was 13. She feels that there’s so much about her that’s unmarriageable and when Rory finds out that SHE is the author of those diaries all hell will break loose. 
Verity and Rory get closer as they spend more time together and Rory starts to fall in love. He sees Verity though as not many people do and he knows that she will try to save her family from scandal and the diaries by throwing herself on the martyr pyre so that others, including Rory are not blamed. 
I had only read a couple of books by Nash before this one – neither, I might add, in this Royal Entourage series – and really liked them. Both Verity’s brother and Rory are part of the Royal Entourage and their cohorts have been running amok for years. All this time Verity has been on the sidelines looking and listening and had documented the happenings of these aristocrats. Verity has no idea how the diaries were stolen, who knew about them enough to actually steal them and how they got into the hands of the newspaper – and she never does find out. She just knows that she must come clean about their author as they are starting to say that Rory was the one that wrote them. Her martyrish attitude really didn’t do a whole lot for me even though I did like Verity for the most part. 
Rory was a strange ball of wax. He was supposedly this horrible rake, and I’m sure he had his share of women over the years but he wasn’t rakish in the least. He was apparently this spy for the crown as well but we only get to hear tidbits about that. The more I think about it we really didn’t get to know all that much about Rory during the book except for a couple of incidents in his life. I liked him but I didn’t really know him.

The romance between the hero and heroine was nice but nothing extraordinary, imho. They were good together and they did nice things for each other. This is something I expect from a romance. Unfortunately there just wasn’t that extra umph to it all that would have made it a great read. 

There was also a part of the story that had to do with Verity’s abigail that was confusing. Verity HAD to go to London to help her out in some way but we’re never told what that is. It’s all very mysterious and even at the end of the book we don’t figure out what the issue was. It was so obviously sequel or series baiting and I personally found it a bit frustrating. 
In the end I found it to be a good read but not without its issues. I did like getting to know that characters and might have to pick up the next in this series as I had really liked Nash’s books that I had read previously. I have to find out what happened with the abigail, right? 🙂

Rating: 3 out of 5

Sophia Nash

Tagged: , , , ,

What I Read Last Week

Posted February 18, 2013 by Tracy in Features | 3 Comments

Happy President’s Day to you all! It’s George Washington’s birthday and while I’m happy to celebrate I like this day more because I’ve got the day off. Woohoo! Lol I know, it’s all about me, right? 

Sorry that I’ve neglected the blog this past week. I mentioned last week that my youngest was sick and it continued throughout the week. She was find Tuesday and Wednesday and then got sick again Wednesday night (all night) and then on Thursday and Friday too. The rest of the weekend has been recovery…for all of us. Wow – I’ve never seen anything like that in the years I’ve been a mom. Crazy. She’s better now though so…yay! 

Reading: between doctor and bathroom visits I managed to read. I was a little disappointed this week in some of the books that I read that I liked but yet expected to be better. I hate it when that happens!

I started off the week with The Devil’s Triangle by Toni De Palma. This is a YA book that I read for The Book Binge and frankly while it sounded good I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. It’s not that long of a read so I was skeptical. OMG was I wrong. This is the start of a series and I honestly can’t wait to read the next book. The story is about a guy who dies and is sent back to earth for a girl named Grace. He’s given a month but he’s not sure what he’s supposed to do about Grace. What he finds in this town in New Jersey is so much more than he expected. He found…another life he’d been living and a girl he loves but was torn from by the Devil. It’s just this totally crazy, far-fetched story and it worked really well. My review will post over there on Wednesday if you want more info. 🙂 4.5 out of 5 

Next up was a re-read – Almost Like Being in Love by Steve Kluger. I had lent this to my mom to read and when she gave me a bag of books back before she left this one was in there. I just kept looking at it as it was calling me to read it again. Lol It was just as good the second time as it was the first. If you haven’t read this wonderful story you really should. It’s about 2 guys, Travis and Craig, falling in love in high school and then 20 years later Travis decides he NEEDS to find Craig because he’s the only man he’ll ever love. There are some issues though (like Craig having a long term boyfriend) but I thought Kluger did a great job of working it all out. 5 out of 5 

Next up was What Happens in Scotland by Jennifer McQuiston. The first novel by this author and it was good. The story is about a couple who wakes up next to each other, supposedly married, and have to piece the previous night together to figure out many things – mainly if they truly are married. It’s a cute tale and I’m looking forward to reading more from McQuiston in the future. 3.75 out of 5 

Immortal Ever After by Lynsay Sands is book 18 in the Argeneau series. The story centers around Anders and his life mate Valerie, who was kidnapped by a vampire and used for blood. She obviously thinks the kidnapper was a nutjob so Anders isn’t quite sure how he’ll tell her that he’s an Immortal and yes, has to drink blood to live. The story was good but not as exciting as past books have been. I really liked Anders and Valerie together which was good and we got to see some characters from previous books. 3.5 out of 5 

I know, I know, Love Irresistibly by Julie James doesn’t come out until April but I couldn’t resist diving into the story as I love her books so much. Unfortunately while a liked this one I just couldn’t get into these characters as much as I have the others in previous books. I still laughed many times and parts were quite touching so that was a good thing. I’ll post my review when it gets closer to the release date. 3.5 out of 5 

The Duke Diaries by Sophia Nash was my last read for the week. This is book 3 in the Royal Entourage series. I didn’t read the first two books but that wasn’t a problem. This pretty much stood alone. The story is about Verity who is the sister of one of the Duke’s in the Royal Entourage. She has listened at doors and such since she was 13 and has written all the stories down. Someone steals a couple of those diaries and starts to publish them in the paper. Then there’s Rory who is one of the Duke’s and after a night of escapades wakes to find himself in bed with Verity. They must marry and Rory does his best to convince her but Verity is absolute in her belief that she will not marry – as well as the thought that Rory will not WANT to marry her after she tells everyone she’s the author of the diaries. The story is good and I really liked Rory a lot but Verity was a hard sell for me. She was strong but did everything for everyone else and never herself. She pretty much turned martyr toward the end of the book never sits well with me. I’ll post more in my review later. 3 out of 5 

My Book Binge reviews that posted last week: 
Big Bad Bite by Jessie Lane 
The Dark Lady by Maire Claremont 

Happy Reading!

Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: The Art of Duke Hunting by Sophia Nash

Posted March 26, 2012 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Publisher: Avon, Harper Collins

Judith’s review of The Art of Duke Hunting (Royal Entourage #2) by Sophia Nash

The Hangover meets Regency England in RITA Award-winning author jSophia Nash’s wickedly clever and wonderfully sensual Royal Entourage historical romance novels. In The Art of Duke Hunting, the second in her series, the dashing Duke of Norwich–on the morning after a most extravagant royal bachelor party that he simple cannot recall–awakens on board ship and well out to sea…and in the arms of a stranger, an enchanting and most proper lady. The Art of Duke Hunting is funny, sexy, and wonderfully romantic, as fans of Karen Hawkins, Elizabeth Boyle, and Victoria Alexander will most assuredly agree. And unlike the members of the Royal Entourage, you will happily recall every delicious moment of it.

This second novel in the “Royal Entourage” series features characters who are a part of the close inner circle of the Prince Regent of England, a man who lived “high on the hog” and whose excesses are the stuff of historic legend. Unlike many historical romance novels, “Prinny” as he was called is an active character. His close friends have really screwed up this time–a bachelor party for one of the highest ranking dukes was so out of bounds and actually destructive that the unwashed masses in England (as they were often characterized) have finally had their fill. As a means of reclaiming any modicum of his people’s loyalty, Prinny has decreed that his circle are ALL going to be married and being living staid and proper lives with wife and babies and such. Here the Duke of Norwich, best friend to the Duke of Kress (who is a main character in the first novel) has disappeared as far as his chums are concerned. Actually he ended up on a passenger ship bound for the Continent and he is scared spitless. A long held and well-known curse rests on his family and he just knows he is going to die by drowning. Thus he has determined that he will never marry and the line of succession will end with him. Obviously, someone of the female persuasion has a different idea as she has determined that the duke is going to be around for awhile. If that were not the case, we wouldn’t have a story, would we?

This is a truly fun novel and lovers of historical fiction will find lots here that will please. The heroine is a woman of strong will and self-determination. She is a widow and she knows what she wants and it is, first and foremost, her own independence. That is, until she offers “comfort” to the duke while they are caught in a storm that could have easily sunk their ship and ended their lives. Out of this sexual encounter comes the necessity of a marriage–of convenience, to be sure, but a marriage that the duke is determined will never produce an heir. The new duchess is an artist of note and while she wants to proceed with her original plans to tour distant lands and their artistic treasures and museums, she has developed a “connection” or perhaps it is safe to say a sense of affection for her erstwhile husband, even though they have agreed that they will lead separate lives. In this case, that agreement appears to be in trouble.

This is another fine novel from a writer that has given romance lovers some fine novels and this book will not disappoint. The two main characters are people of the kind that we would probably love knowing, in spite of their aristocratic station. They have set goals for their lives, want to live productively rather than while away their days playing, and feel a deep sense of responsibility for the families who depend on them for their livelihood and future prosperity.  The duke is a man who also has an artistic bent but it has been ridiculed out of him by a hard and unloving father.  Yet he uses his talents to develop a new method of bring fresh water to the citizens of London.  In the midst of their strange relationship is the knowledge that the Prince Regent’s popularity is nil and the Duke of Norwich’s marriage is still a well-kept secret–on the command of Prinny himself.  So there is political stuff here, romance of a rather strange nature, and two people who have difficulty coming to terms with the situation in which they find themselves.

Good reading, people, and the kind of historical romance I really enjoy.  There is so much humor here–the dialogue in general is witty with the exchanges between the main characters especially fine.  Yes, their circumstance is serious but underneath it all is that sense of fun and humor that makes it a delightful book to enjoy and one that will entertain from page one.  I don’t think you’ll want to miss this one.  It will be especially good to have read book one in this series although both are stand alone novels.  The two stories really do enhance one another.

I give this book a rating of 4 out of 5

The series:
Book Cover Book Cover

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.
This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Tagged: , , , , , ,

Guest Review: Between the Duke and the Deep Blue Sea by Sophia Nash

Posted March 19, 2012 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 1 Comment

Publisher: Avon, Harper Collins

Judith’s review of Between the Duke and the Deep Blue Sea (Royal Entourage #1) by Sophia Nash

Nash presents the first book in her clever new Royal Entourage series. A Regency-era version of the film “The Hangover,” the series follows a royal entourage after a night of unheralded extravagance–and very foggy memories. Original.

The Prince Regent whose presence gives this historical period its name, is a man who loves to party.  He is a man who is far more into “playing” than he is into ruling and were it not for the presence and continued life of his ailing father, he would be king outright.  Yet his inner circle knows his penchant for fine wine, beautiful women, and as much loud celebrating the public can tolerate.  Well, folks, this series begins the tales of those inveterate players–bachelors all–who made up the inner circle of Prinny and whose loud, boisterous, drunken playing has now managed to offend aristocrat and commoner alike.  Not only that, the hero of this novel has managed to lose his entire fortune after only possessing it and the title for a very short period of time.  In order to reclaim some semblance of his people’s loyalty, Prinny has decreed that ALL the dukes will marry–they will each choose a bride from a list the Prince will provide–and they will do it as soon as possible.

This initial offering in this series has some wonderful characters.  The main characters are a man who has no interest in marrying yet must do so as a result of the fallout from the bachelor party–an evenings festivities that caused such damage that the groom never made it to the church.  Now the Duke of Kress is sent to the lonely sea coast of Cornwall to repair his ancestral castle and take all the other partying dukes with him as well as the simpering misses who are hoping for a ducal title and that little band of gold (and the fortune to go with it).  Who would have imagined that Kress would come upon a woman who is hanging on to almost nothing half way down a sea cliff, staring at her possible death on the rocks below, and whose presence at his home would cause all the rather strange circumstances that develop because of her being there?  Yet that is the crux of this story and as in some of the finest historical novels, the dialogue and goings-on of the guests are the most entertaining aspect.

The heroine–the woman saved from certain death at the bottom of the cliff–wants to move on with her life.  She knows that her greedy husband has left her to die if not actually managing to arrange her fall in the first place.  She is attracted to the duke but understands that Prinny has commanded and so he must do.  She was certainly not on Prinny’s list of potential brides who were acceptable.  Yet as is most often the case, little if anything goes according to plan, and we all know that human emotions and sexual attraction top the list of unpredictable aspects of human living.  So it is here, and the circumstances that are constantly causing the duke and our heroine to face their feelings for one another are many and much resented by both.

I think you’ll like this novel;  you’ll find yourself chuckling often and sometimes laughing outright.  It is fun, entertaining reading and is the kind of historical romance that moves away from the ordinary sufficiently to capture even the jaded interest of those of us who read mountains of books.  The heroine is the kind of woman who is willing to live according to the dictates of society–to a point.  Yet she now knows that no man is going to be allowed to diminish her sense of herself as has her husband.  I guess facing one’s death as one hangs off a cliff can change the way a person is willing to live in the future.  The hero is also a man who finally faces up to the necessities of his rank, yet there is still that sense of wanting life on his own terms.  Thus, these two independent and strong-willed individuals has a tough time finding their way toward one another and when they do, they still have problems.

This novel is good reading from beginning to end.  I give it a rating of 4 out of 5.

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Tagged: , , , , , ,

Guest Review: Secrets of a Scandalous Bride by Sophia Nash

Posted December 8, 2010 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 1 Comment

Publisher: Avon, Harper Collins

Elizabeth Ashburton has never been married, and at this rate, she never will be. But pretending to be a bereaved young widow was the only way she could think to excape a horrid fate: marrying the man who murdered her father.

When Rowland Manning, the most notorious and powerful blackguard in all England, discovers strength and sensuality behind Elizabeth’s mysterious facade, he never the breathtaking siren will rescue him from disaster . . . with just one touch.

Elizabeth knows whe is playing a dangerous game, for her dreaded suitor will not give her up without a fight. Now she needs Rowland more than ever–to rescue her from a life of desperation, to drive her wild with desire, and to make her his scandalous bride.

Historical fiction is filled with scandalous characters, both brides and assorted aristocrats and commoners who are rogues, blackguards, rakehells, and such. But every once in awhile the reader encounters a blackhearted, self-centered, all-for-himself kind of character that one is fully prepared to dislike intensely. In those kinds of situations the narrative seems to prove that a reader is justified in thinking the worst of that person. Rowland Manning is one of those guys in spades. He is just a miserable, nasty, wise-cracking, irreverent, disrespectful person who has dragged himself up from the dregs of the rookeries of London. His human sensibilities have been scarred by abject poverty and the long buried griefs of watching his mother try to keep her family in food and shelter, only to end up as a whore. His sister faired little better. His half-brother was a total brigand–his half-brother Howard, that is. His aristocratic half-brother is another matter entirely. Rowland has made sufficent money as lover of wealthy women and as an expert in horses to now have his own stables.

Elizabeth Ashburton is as far removed from Rowland Manning as east is from west. She was raised by an aristocratic father who was a military officer during the Napoleonic War, residing in boarding schools for young ladies, but going to the Peninsula to take care of her father. She loved being with the military families, dancing and flirting with the unmarried officers, and being with her father. (In those days, all hostilities ceased at sundown, after which parties, state dinners, and such were held without worry of attack from the enemy. The war began the next day at sunrise.) She caught the eye of General Pymm who became obsessed with her, a match her father did not favor. He lost his life because of that refusal of his permission. Now the general is pursuing Elizabeth and he is also now a national hero, due to receive a dukedom from the Pince Regent, and Elizabeth has been fleeing from him for two years when our story begins.

This is a complicated tale that brings many characters into the drama. There are dukes and earls, military officers and commoners, all of whom are engaged in some form of intrigue to either keep Elizabeth safe from the general or to prove in come way that his perfidy has resulted in the death of Elizabeth’s father and her best friend’s husband. There are numerous times it looks like the general has her cornered. Her friends use amazing creativity to keep her free. Rowland is brought into the mess because his half-brother, the earl, is Elizabeth’s friend and she finds herself hiding out at his stables, taking over for a deplorable cook, and recognizing that she has encountered a man who is really hiding, too–from his background, from his feelings, from a future that holds little love and kindness.

I really enjoyed this book, especially as the author peeled away the layers of Rowland Manning and revealed a far different man than I encountered in the early pages. I found Elizabeth to be a woman of extraordinary courage, one who took whatever opportunity life offered to keep from becoming chattal to a wicked man who fed on his own pomposity. Her friends were exceptional people, knowing the limited options Elizabeth had but never missing a beat when it came to securing her safety and hopefully her future happiness.

This story is a marvelous love story, one that embraces loyalty and love, friendship and caring, goodness that is strong enough to overcome an evil that is rejoicing in its own wicked triumph. It is about the power of creativity over the deadly faith in the same-old-same-old. There is a joy in this story as the reader walks along side the characters as they find their own path and discover hope in places that are really surprising. It is one of those books that I know I will re-read in the future and will take the time to savor the dialogue and watch Rowland and Elizabeth grow in their love for one another. Their path to true love is not smooth by any means. But that makes an even better story.

As compelling romantic fiction, this book makes the grade. It is well-written, with characters that span the full range of English society. It’s storyline could have come right straight from the history books. Sophia Nash has already established herself as a writer of very good historical fiction. She doesn’t disappoint in this book either.

I give this novel a rating of 4.5 out of 5.

You can read more from Judith at Dr. J’s Book Place.

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Tagged: , , , , , ,