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I have some catching up to do with this series as I still have THE HEIRESS EFFECT and THE COUNTESS CONSPIRACY to read.

(Brothers Sinister, #4)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb

An idealistic suffragette…

Miss Frederica “Free” Marshall has put her heart and soul into her newspaper, known for its outspoken support of women’s rights. Naturally, her enemies are intent on destroying her business and silencing her for good. Free refuses to be at the end of her rope…but she needs more rope, and she needs it now.

…a jaded scoundrel…

Edward Clark’s aristocratic family abandoned him to die in a war-torn land, so he survived the only way he could: by becoming a rogue and a first-class forger. When the same family that left him for dead vows to ruin Miss Marshall, he offers his help. So what if he has to lie to her? She’s only a pawn to use in his revenge.

…and a scandal seven years in the making.

But the irrepressible Miss Marshall soon enchants Edward. By the time he realizes that his cynical heart is hers, it’s too late. The only way to thwart her enemies is to reveal his scandalous past…and once the woman he loves realizes how much he’s lied to her, he’ll lose her forever.

(Title changed from The Mistress Rebellion, pre-publication)

 

Buy Links:

ebook:
amazon | amazon uk | nook | iBooks | kobo | google play | all romance |smashwords

 

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(Brothers Sinister #1.5)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb

Miss Lydia Charingford is always cheerful, and never more so than at Christmas time. But no matter how hard she smiles, she can’t forget the youthful mistake that could have ruined her reputation. Even though the worst of her indiscretion was kept secret, one other person knows the truth of those dark days: the sarcastic Doctor Jonas Grantham. She wants nothing to do with him…or the butterflies that take flight in her stomach every time he looks her way.

Jonas Grantham has a secret, too: He’s been in love with Lydia for more than a year. This winter, he’s determined to conquer her dislike and win her for his own. It all starts with a wager and a kiss…

A Kiss for Midwinter is a novella (38,000 words) in the Brothers Sinister series. It follows The Duchess War. Each book stands on its own, but those who prefer to read in order might want to read that book first.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

**5 Captivating Stars**

As with all Courtney Milan’s books, I loved this delightful novella!

Doctor Jonas Grantham knows his faults. He is outspoken with a dreadful sense of humour and a propensity to always look on the gloomy side of life. This is, however, what makes him such a good doctor…where others might see a touch of indigestion, he would consider poisoning and heart attacks. It is time he took a wife and only one woman will do…Lydia Charingford, but there is a rather big obstacle to overcome. She hates him!

Despite everything that happened to her at the tender age of fifteen, Lydia Charingford survived and has managed to build a life for herself. She is vibrant and always looking on the bright side.  She has put the past behind her or so she believes until Doctor Jonas Grantham reappears in her life.

The scene is set for a bumpy journey for these two. At times, it doesn’t seem possible that Jonas and Lydia can ever have a future together. Poor Jonas says all the wrong things and Lydia bristles. I love how Ms Milan subtly moves their relationship forward and makes their happy ending so believable.

“I think, Doctor Grantham, that I’ve been unfair to you.”
 He shut his eyes. It wasn’t love, but by God, he’d take it. It was hope, one little ray of hope, that there was a chance for him. That she might know the worst of him and want him anyway.

It was the kind of kiss a man might give a princess whose enchantment had been shattered years in the past, a woman who was struggling to understand a world without ensorcellment. His fingers against her cheek acknowledged her deepest hurts, and that made his kiss the subtlest kind of magic.

Her voice faltered. “How do I let him know that I want nobody but him?”
“Show up in the middle of the night with a French letter,” he advised, setting a finger under her chin, “and he’ll likely get the message.”

The scenes between Jonas and his father were so moving, particularly the one where Jonas has to persuade his father to come and stay with him. This was so touching and heart-breaking that I was blinking back the tears. I love Lydia’s family for the way in which they stood by her.

Ms Milan also provides a fascinating insight into Victorian medicine and the tentative advancements being made.

Once again, Ms Milan lives up to all expectations with this captivating love story.

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read January 2014


The Brothers Sinister series to date (click on cover for more details):

The Governess Affair (Brothers Sinister, #0.5) The Duchess War (Brothers Sinister, #1) The Heiress Effect (Brothers Sinister, #2) The Countess Conspiracy (Brothers Sinister, #3) The Mistress Rebellion (Brothers Sinister, #4)– 1 May 2014

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(Brothers Sinister #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb

Sometimes love is an accident.

This time, it’s a strategy.

Miss Minerva Lane is a quiet, bespectacled wallflower, and she wants to keep it that way. After all, the last time she was the center of attention, it ended badly–so badly that she changed her name to escape her scandalous past. Wallflowers may not be the prettiest of blooms, but at least they don’t get trampled. So when a handsome duke comes to town, the last thing she wants is his attention.

But that is precisely what she gets.

Because Robert Blaisdell, the Duke of Clermont, is not fooled. When Minnie figures out what he’s up to, he realizes there is more to than her spectacles and her quiet ways. And he’s determined to lay her every secret bare before she can discover his. But this time, one shy miss may prove to be more than his match…

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

**5 Sublime Stellar Stars**

The minute I pick up a Courtney Milan book, I know that I’m going to become totally absorbed in the world she has created. Her stories are original and thought-provoking, her characters are compelling, her research is meticulous and her writing is superb.

Robert grew up watching his father abuse his privileged position without ever having to answer for his crimes no matter who got hurt. This instilled in Robert a determination to be nothing like his father. He champions those who have no voice of their own and is passionate about making right everything his father destroyed.

My heart ached for the young Robert growing up starved of love by a cruel, unfeeling father and a mother who simply abandoned him. Even his dreams that he could one day be a part of his half-brother, Oliver’s loving family are cruelly shattered. But despite everything, he is still a romantic at heart but has convinced himself that he would never be loved.

Minerva Lane is an intelligent, brilliant woman forced to assume a false name and fade into the background. She is terrified that her scandalous past may one day resurface and destroy her drab but safe existence. Memories of her father’s betrayal and the terrible aftermath have left her emotionally and physically scarred. Plain and without a dowry, her options are limited.

The romance between Robert and Minerva plays out so beautifully. Ms Milan makes you feel all their fears, hopes, despair and joy.  The scene where Robert is forced to betray Minnie, knowing that he would lose her, was so heartrending. Only Ms Milan could write such a brilliant wedding night scene. It was realistic, sensual and funny. The scene with the primer in the Epilogue just tugs at the heartstrings.

I love the camaraderie between Robert, Oliver and Sebastian and the scenes between Robert and Oliver are so poignant. I love Sebastian’s humour especially in the train scene…so funny. Then there is Lydia, Minnie’s friend, who has plenty of secrets of her own.  I wanted to hate Robert’s mother but, in the end, I could only feel compassion for her.

The historical social and political aspects of the story are interesting and I love the way they are woven into and form an integral of the story.

I can’t end this review without mentioning Ms Milan’s superb writing. Here are some of my favourite excerpts:

There were times when it felt like words were mere threads, completely inadequate to contain the enormity of her thoughts. The landscape in her head rearranged with tectonic vigor, coming together with a certainty that was larger than her ability to explain.

“Look at yourself sometime the way you are now, all fire and anger, ready to do battle with me.”

“I have looked high.” Her voice was an urgent whisper. “And I have fallen farther than you can imagine. So don’t you lecture me. All I want is to pretend that this is enough—that I can be satisfied by the scraps that remain to me.”

She stared at the pieces and realized that she wasn’t at the beginning of this game, but near the end. Now there were entire swathes of the board that were unreachable, pieces that had been stolen away, moves she could never make.

His Grace explained his choice of bride as follows: “Why would I take a conventional wife, when I could have an extraordinary one?”

This is such a beautifully crafted and emotionally satisfying love story and only confirms why Courtney Milan is one of the foremost authors of Historical Romance. Highly recommended!

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STELLAR STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read December 2013

The Brothers Sinister series to date (click on cover for more details):

The Governess Affair (Brothers Sinister, #0.5) The Duchess War (Brothers Sinister, #1) A Kiss For Midwinter (Brothers Sinister, #1.5) The Heiress Effect (Brothers Sinister, #2)The Countess Conspiracy (Brothers Sinister, #3) The Mistress Rebellion (Brothers Sinister, #4)– 1 May 2014

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WICKED LITTLE SECRETS BY SUSANNA IVES

Source: Received from the author in return for an honest review

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Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb

It’s Not Easy Being Good…

Vivacious Vivienne Taylor has finally won her family’s approval by getting engaged to the wealthy and upright John Vandergrift. But when threatened by a vicious blackmail scheme, it is to her childhood friend that Vivienne turns; the deliciously wicked Viscount Dashiell.

When Being Wicked is so Much More Exciting…

Lord Dashiell promised himself long ago that his friendship with Vivienne would be the one relationship with a woman that he wouldn’t ruin. He agrees to help her just to keep the little hothead safe, but soon finds that Vivienne has grown up to be very, very dangerous to all of Dash’s best intentions.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

WICKED DESIGNS BY LAUREN SMITH

Source: Received from the author in return for an honest review

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(League of Rogues #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb

The League of Rogues takes what they want—but have they taken on too much?

For too long Miss Emily Parr has been subject to the whims of her indebted uncle and the lecherous advances of his repulsive business partner. Her plan to be done with dominating men forever is simple—find herself a kind husband who will leave her to her books.

It seems an easy enough plan, until she is unexpectedly abducted by an incorrigible duke who hides a wounded spirit behind flashing green eyes.

Godric St. Laurent, Duke of Essex, spends countless nights at the club with his four best friends, and relishes the rakish reputation society has branded him with. He has no plans to marry anytime soon—if ever. But when he kidnaps an embezzler’s niece, the difficult debutante’s blend of sweetness and sharp tongue make him desperate for the one thing he swears he never wanted: love.

Yet as they surrender to passion, danger lurks in Godric’s shadowed past, waiting for him to drop his guard—and rob him of the woman he can’t live without.

Product Warnings:
This novel includes a lady who refuses to stay kidnapped, a devilish duke with a dark past, and an assortment of charming rogues who have no idea what they’ve gotten themselves into.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

CYNDERS & ASHE BY ELIZABETH BOYLE

Source: Bought from Amazon Kindle

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Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb

Note: This is a short story (less than 10,000 words) and not a novella. Ella Cynders is a hired companion with a romantic bent. So when she switches places with her charge–who is determined to find true love and elope–it is Ella who falls head over heals in love with the very eligible Viscount Ashe. In one masked night, the viscount and Ella find passion and romance, and then tragically are whisked apart before the midnight unmasking. Now five years later, Ella has once again found a way to steal inside the coveted ball, but can she rekindle the magic they found together before her deception is unmasked? This short story was originally published in The Mammoth Book of Regency Romance and in print is 33 pages long.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

THE COUNTESS CONSPIRACY BY COURTNEY MILAN

Source: Bought from Amazon Kindle

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(Brothers Sinister #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb

Sebastian Malheur is the most dangerous sort of rake: an educated one. When he’s not scandalizing ladies in the bedchamber, he’s outraging proper society with his scientific theories. He’s desired, reviled, acclaimed, and despised—and he laughs through it all.

Violet Waterfield, the widowed Countess of Cambury, on the other hand, is entirely respectable, and she’d like to stay that way. But Violet has a secret that is beyond ruinous, one that ties her irrevocably to England’s most infamous scoundrel: Sebastian’s theories aren’t his. They’re hers.

So when Sebastian threatens to dissolve their years-long conspiracy, she’ll do anything to save their partnership…even if it means opening her vulnerable heart to the rake who could destroy it for good.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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THE COUNTESS CONSPIRACY BY COURTNEY MILAN

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(Brothers Sinister #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Official Blurb

Sebastian Malheur is the most dangerous sort of rake: an educated one. When he’s not scandalizing ladies in the bedchamber, he’s outraging proper society with his scientific theories. He’s desired, reviled, acclaimed, and despised—and he laughs through it all.

Violet Waterfield, the widowed Countess of Cambury, on the other hand, is entirely respectable, and she’d like to stay that way. But Violet has a secret that is beyond ruinous, one that ties her irrevocably to England’s most infamous scoundrel: Sebastian’s theories aren’t his. They’re hers.

So when Sebastian threatens to dissolve their years-long conspiracy, she’ll do anything to save their partnership…even if it means opening her vulnerable heart to the rake who could destroy it for good.

(Expected date of publication – Kindle: 17 December 2013)

★✩★✩★✩★


THE GREATEST LOVER EVER BY CHRISTINA BROOKE

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(Ministry of Marriage #5)(The Westruthers #2)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Official Blurb

Passion to last a lifetime…

The Sweetest Scandal

Beautiful, exuberant, and stubborn Georgiana Black has more spirit than sense—which she learns when an ultimatum to the Earl of Beckenham ends their engagement. Six years later, Georgie is less concerned with impending spinsterhood than with making sure her young sister doesn’t make the same mistakes she did. But soon Georgie stumbles into a scandalous encounter with none other than her former fiancé. Beckenham is still breathtakingly desirable.

The Truest Temptation

Beckenham’s brief engagement to Georgie taught him one thing: when it comes to a wife, he wants a woman who will do her duty and cause no trouble. When the fiery Georgie falls unexpectedly into his arms, Beckenham remembers just how lushly delectable she is. Suddenly, the idea of actually marrying Georgie is irresistible. In a battle of wills, can passion conquer pride?

(Date of publication – Kindle : 31 December 2013)

★✩★✩★✩★

 

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(Brothers Sinister #0.5)

Genre: Victorian Historical Romance

Official Blurb 

She will not give up…

Three months ago, governess Serena Barton was let go from her position. Unable to find new work, she’s demanding compensation from the man who got her sacked: a petty, selfish, swinish duke. But it’s not the duke she fears. It’s his merciless man of business—the man known as the Wolf of Clermont. The formidable former pugilist has a black reputation for handling all the duke’s dirty business, and when the duke turns her case over to him, she doesn’t stand a chance. But she can’t stop trying—not with her entire future at stake.

He cannot give in…

Hugo Marshall is a man of ruthless ambition—a characteristic that has served him well, elevating the coal miner’s son to the right hand man of a duke. When his employer orders him to get rid of the pestering governess by fair means or foul, it’s just another day at the office. Unfortunately, fair means don’t work on Serena, and as he comes to know her, he discovers that he can’t bear to use foul ones. But everything he has worked for depends upon seeing her gone. He’ll have to choose between the life that he needs, and the woman he is coming to love…

★✩★✩★✩★✩★

I admit that I am totally in awe of Courtney Milan’s books. Whether she is writing full length novels or novellas, her stories are original, her characters are unique and her writing is emotive, evocative and sensual. 

THE GOVERNESS AFFAIR, the prequel to the Brothers Sinister series, is a tender, romantic and passionate love story.

Hugo is such a wonderful hero. On the surface he is all ruthlessness and ambition but I saw the chinks in his armour when he treats Serena with such kindness. I love the scene where he takes her some towels, hot tea, sandwiches and an umbrella. It reveals the honourable man lurking just beneath that tough surface and Serena brings out the best in him.

I adore Serena… the way she refuses to be a passive victim and her determination to seek justice for what happened to her. She also has to cope with her agoraphobic sister, Freddy, and the often fraught relationship between them adds another interesting layer to the story.

The romance…the battle of wills, the witty banter, the flirtatious messages, the innovative, tender, sexy ‘pins’ scene, the heart-warming ending… is charming, believable and beautifully realised.

I cheered when Hugo finally told the Duke of Clermont some home truths and successfully turned the tables on him.

I would have preferred the Epilogue to have focused on Serena and Hugo and their HEA but the glimpse of the future heroes of the Brothers Sinister series certainly made me want to read their stories.

THE GOVERNESS AFFAIR has once again confirmed why Courtney Milan is on my auto-buy list. A definite keeper!

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 stars

SENSUALITY RATING : HOT

Read July/August 2013

Brothers Sinister series to date (click on cover for more details):

The Governess Affair (Brothers Sinister, #0.5) The Duchess War (Brothers Sinister, #1) A Kiss For Midwinter (Brothers Sinister, #1.5) The Heiress Effect (Brothers Sinister, #2) The Countess Conspiracy (Brothers Sinister, #3)– Dec. 2013
The Mistress Rebellion (Brothers Sinister, #4)– 2014

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This is the latest book in Courtney Milan’s Brothers Sinister series. 

(Brothers Sinister #2)

Genre: Historical Romance

Official Blurb 

Miss Jane Fairfield can’t do anything right. When she’s in company, she always says the wrong thing—and rather too much of it. No matter how costly they are, her gowns fall on the unfortunate side of fashion. Even her immense dowry can’t save her from being an object of derision.

And that’s precisely what she wants. She’ll do anything, even risk humiliation, if it means she can stay unmarried and keep her sister safe.

Mr. Oliver Marshall has to do everything right. He’s the bastard son of a duke, raised in humble circumstances—and he intends to give voice and power to the common people. If he makes one false step, he’ll never get the chance to accomplish anything. He doesn’t need to come to the rescue of the wrong woman. He certainly doesn’t need to fall in love with her. But there’s something about the lovely, courageous Jane that he can’t resist…even though it could mean the ruin of them both.

Published 15 July 2013

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