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Posts Tagged ‘Christi Caldwell’

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

What do you get when you have four despairing mamas with four unwed daughters? A very matchmaker Christmas, of course! This delightful holiday anthology features 4 novellas written by 4 authors, all revolving around the same fun plot involving a Regency holiday house party and hijinks aplenty!

Her Christmas Rogue by Christi Caldwell

Lady Winifred Grisham has been in love with her brother’s best friend Lord Trent Ballantine more years than she can remember. The only problem is, Trent is a notorious rogue who doesn’t dally with the respectable. Except, Winnie doesn’t want a dalliance–she wants his heart.

To Make a Perfect Scandal by Danelle Harmon

Tristan St. Aubyn, the Earl of Weybourne, is a driven man. Haunted by the bad decisions he made in his youth, his life is all about work … working to restore his fortunes, working to rebuild the herd of unique racehorses that were his late father’s legacy, working to forget just how lonely he really is. Lord Weybourne isn’t looking for a wife … but when a saucy young lady dressed as a lad finds her way into his stable and charms the most irascible colt in the barn, Tristan can’t help but be intrigued …

To Win a Quiet Heart by Renee Bernard

Suffering from crippling shyness, Nicodemus Chesterfield, the Earl of Athmore, would rather battle an army of demons than put one toe inside the treacherous social waters of a holiday house party. But sometimes, a man just has to face his fears—and when Jane Pemberly is the surprisingly beautiful and fantastically charming prize at the opposite end of the gauntlet—it seems there is nothing a man won’t do to sidestep scandals and win her love.

To Tempt a Saint by Valerie Bowman

What happens when a saint is tempted by a sinner? Prudence Carmichael is the epitome of well, prudence. But when a rumored pirate—with whom she just might have had a secret scandalous interlude years ago, that she’s been beating herself up about ever since—appears at Lady Weston’s Christmastide house party and charms the innocent young lady again, can Prudence resist her first and greatest temptation?

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Each story in this anthology may be written by a different author but I like how all the stories share a continuity in the setting and the way in which many of the characters appear in more than one story, but the same events are seen from a very different perspective.


REVIEW OF HER CHRISTMAS ROGUE BY CHRISTI CALDWELL

This charming story features one of my favourite tropes – the older brother’s friend/little sister pairing.

Trent is constantly fighting his desire for Winnie, not only because of his friendship with her brother, James, but he also believes that she deserves someone better than a roguish second son. But Winnie is no shrinking violet but a spirited young woman who knows just who she wants and is determined to make Trent admit his love – and desire – for her.

I enjoyed the scene in the billiard room where, in order to get him to herself, Winnie persuades Trent to give her billiard lessons. Who would have thought a billiard lesson could be so sensual!

Her squirming brought her shapely buttocks flush against the vee of his thighs and Trent gulped.

Poor Trent is sure that with all the wicked thoughts he is having, there is only one destination for him – hell!

I love how protective and caring Trent is towards his blind sister and, at that moment, Winnie sees him as both honourable, kind and worthy of love.

I love how he braves one very angry brother to declare his love for Winnie before everyone.

Ms Caldwell brings her own brand of warmth and charm to this story.

REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

 

REVIEW OF A PERFECT SCANDAL BY DANELLE HARMON

This is a delightful story of a workaholic hero and a bold heroine who find they might share more than just a passion for horses.

I understood Tristan’s shame at having made such a terrible error of judgement and his desire to restore his father’s legacy. He hates Christmas because seeing the happiness of his sister’s family only underscores everything missing in his own life…someone to share his life with, someone who shared his passion for horses.

Lettie teeters between respectability and scandal. She is bold, confident and independent and it is these very qualities that draw Tristan to her as well as her passion for horses. They are obviously a perfect match but have hurdles to overcome in the form of Lettie’s interfering mother, her over-protective brother, Simon, and the imminent arrival of a certain Mr Homer Trout, her prospective husband if her mother has her way.

New-to-me author, Danelle Harmon charmed me with her engaging writing style and I was delighted to discover that I have more of her books on my Kindle.

REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

 

REVIEW OF TO WIN A QUIET HEART BY RENEE BERNARD

This story of a painfully shy hero and an accident prone, outspoken heroine has a slightly darker tone.

Although intelligent and well-read, Nick is virtually tongue-tied when it comes to social gatherings. Rarely venturing from his estate, he experiences the world through his beloved books, maps and the journals and sketches of explorers and adventurers. Ms Bernard captures so well Nick’s fears and anxieties when he is forced to confront a room of strangers.

Jane is pretty, confident and witty but her tendency to be accident prone has resulted in two disastrous seasons. It doesn’t help matters that she is intelligent and outspoken, qualities in a woman which are frowned on my Society.

When Nick meets Jane (under rather unusual circumstances), he immediately feels a kinship with her and is comfortable in her presence.

“Do you ever wish the floor would just open up and swallow you whole?” she whispered through the blades of her fingers.
“All the time,” he replied softly.
She spread her fingers slightly to peek at him miserably. “Really?”
He nodded.

Nick’s sister, Constance, is nothing more than vicious, bitter, manipulative bitch and I wanted to put my hands around her neck and squeeze. I love Nick for being willing to forfeit his happiness to save Jane’s reputation and protect her from his sister’s cruelty. Luckily, Jane is made of sterner stuff and I enjoyed seeing her foil Constance’s evil plans.

I love the letter that Nick writes to Jane…so romantic.

This is an emotional, poignant and heart-warming story from one of my favourite authors.

REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: SUBTLE

 

REVIEW OF TO TEMPT A SAINT BY VALERIE BOWMAN

This is a spicy story of a hero who would tempt a saint and a saintly heroine who refuses to be tempted.

Prudence’s internal thoughts, when she literally stumbles across Christopher in the conservatory, and her tendency to counteract Christopher with appropriate Biblical verses are amusing.

Christopher is hampered by rumours that he is an infamous pirate but help in resolving this problem comes from a rather surprising source.

It was fun watching the to-and-fro between Prudence and Christopher. Prudence is determined to avoid Christopher and pursue Lord Beesley, who does not inspire her to sin at all. Christopher sees a woman trying to deny her passionate nature. He understands her as no one else does.

Prudence might want to seem like an angel but he’d seen her passionate side. She was trapped behind Bible verses and rules.

Luckily Prudence comes to her senses, after unburdening herself to a rather surprisingly sympathetic mother, and what follows is one of my favourites scenes in the anthology.

“You’ll want to keep your eyes open, milady,” William warned. “It’s easier if you see where you’re going.”
“That may be a matter of opinion, “ Pru informed him. “I’m not sure I want to witness my own demise”.

This is a charming and fun story from Valerie Bowman.

REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING:  WARM

 

MY VERDICT: Overall, an entertaining anthology and the perfect accompaniment to the festive season.

Read December 2015

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I’m thrilled to welcome USA TODAY Bestselling author CHRISTI CALDWELL to Rakes and Rascals today for an exclusive interview.

It is an absolute pleasure to be here! Thank you so, so much for having me!

~~~~~~

R&R:
Could you tell us where you were born and what it was like growing up there?

Christi:
I grew up in West Haven, Connecticut. It was, and still is a very diverse shoreline city. Even though it was a large city, there was still a small town feel to West Haven where everyone seems to know everyone. My family was by no means affluent. My father worked two jobs, and my sister and I shared a bedroom in a small, three bedroom ranch style house.

One of the amazing things about where we lived, however, is that it didn’t really matter that we didn’t have money. We might not have had the material things other children had, but because of where we lived, we had such a joyous childhood. We spent so much of our time at the beach; in the winter and the summer. We would play in the sand and walk on the boardwalk, and attend the carnivals at the beach.


R&R
:
How would you describe yourself – temperamental or easy-going?

Christi:
I always break my life up into two parts; my world before my son Rory was born, and life after him.  As many probably know, my son Rory has Down syndrome. Before him, I never truly had an appreciation for what was important. Oh, if you’d asked me then, I would have thought I knew. But I didn’t. Our life, by nature of Rory’s disability moves along at a very slow pace. There is no rushing. It is just a more sedate life. Rory has taught me to not let those important seeming things weigh me down. Instead, it is about stopping, and smelling the tulips. (That is a nod to the “Welcome to Holland” poem. If you haven’t yet read the poem by Emily Perl-Kingsley, I recommend it. In her words, she explains what it is like being the parent of a child with special needs.)


R&R
:
When it comes to food do you like sweet or savoury or both?

Christi:
Oh, I have a wicked sweet tooth. There aren’t really meals I crave but I do crave candy. I love Gummy Bears, and Jolly Ranchers, and ‘fun’ gum, as my sister jokes. You know, not ‘grown-up’ minty gum, but rather Bazooka and Big League Chew.


R&R:
What is your most treasured possession?

Christi:
My most cherished gift? My children.

My most treasured possession? My computer. My laptop allows me so much joy and a much needed escape from the stress of life.


R&R:
If you were able to afford a second home anywhere in the world where would you choose and why?

Christi:
My husband and I discovered Bald Head Island when we were living in North Carolina. It is this secluded island tucked away on the North Carolina shore. The only way you can get there is by ferry and when you are there, there are no cars and only a handful of island shops and two small restaurants. You get around on a golf cart. It is just such a remote haven; a place where you can be away, and feel like you are actually much further away because of its remoteness. There is nothing commercial about it. It’s really just about being with your family…and we love it for that reason.


Bald Head Island


R&R:
Finally, what has been your most embarrassing moment?

Christi:
When I was in grad school, I was living away from home. I was an education major looking for a teaching position. I spent all my days as an intern and then all my nights at class and studying. The day I received my first interview, I was so proud, I forwarded the email to my dad. He wrote me and said; “I am so proud of my girl. You are a number one draft pick. They would be crazy to not want you.” My dad has always been one of my biggest fans.

Then came the day of my interview. Did you ever have an interview where everything felt right and you were so confident? Well, this was one of those. Following my interview with the principal, I was scheduled to deliver a demonstration lesson for a 6th grade classes. Just as I finished my interview (you know that interview I thought I nailed?) the principal slid a copy of an email over the table. It was highlighted. It was my proud dad’s email. I did not get that position.

~~~~~~

Thank you for taking time out to be here today and sharing these interesting facts about yourself, Christi.

I’m honored that you’ve had me here, and invited me to share! Thank *you*! 🙂

 

If you would like to find out more about Christi and her books, here are the links:

Website

Goodreads

Facebook

Twitter

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Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle

(The Heart of a Duke, #7)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

She’s longing to be loved:
Lady Cara Falcot has only served one purpose to her loathsome father—to increase his power through a marriage to the future Duke of Billingsley. As such, she’s built protective walls about her heart, and presents an icy facade to the world around her. Journeying home from her finishing school for the Christmas holidays, Cara’s carriage is stranded during a winter storm. She’s forced to tarry at a ramshackle inn, where she immediately antagonizes another patron—William.

He’s avoiding his duty in favor of one last adventure:
William Hargrove, the Marquess of Grafton has wanted only one thing in life—to avoid the future match his parents would have him make to a cold, duke’s daughter. He’s returning home from a blissful eight years of traveling the world to see to his responsibilities. But when a winter storm interrupts his trip and lands him at a falling-down inn, he’s forced to share company with a commanding Lady Cara who initially reminds him exactly of the woman he so desperately wants to avoid.

A Christmas snowstorm ushers in the spirit of the season:
At the holiday time, these two people who despise each other due to first perceptions are offered renewed beginnings and fresh starts. As this gruff stranger breaks down the walls she’s built about herself, Cara has to determine whether she can truly open her heart to trusting that any man is capable of good and that she herself is capable of love. And William has to set aside all previous thoughts he’s carried of the polished ladies like Cara, to be the man to show her that love.

*** Please note, this is an approximately 48,000 word novella.

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Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle

(The Survivors’ Club, #1)

Cover Blurb:

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

In Mary Balogh’s engaging and seductive new novel of drama and romance, a woman comfortable in her solitude allows temptation to free her heart, when a daring war hero shows her how truly extraordinary she is.

THE PROPOSAL

Gwendoline, Lady Muir, has seen her share of tragedy, especially since a freak accident took her husband much too soon. Content in a quiet life with friends and family, the young widow has no desire to marry again. But when Hugo, Lord Trentham, scoops her up in his arms after a fall, she feels a sensation that both shocks and emboldens her.

Hugo never intends to kiss Lady Muir, and frankly, he judges her to be a spoiled, frivolous–if beautiful–aristocrat. He is a gentleman in name only: a soldier whose bravery earned him a title; a merchant’s son who inherited his wealth. He is happiest when working the land, but duty and title now demand that he finds a wife. He doesn’t wish to court Lady Muir, nor have any role in the society games her kind thrives upon. Yet Hugo has never craved a woman more; Gwen’s guileless manner, infectious laugh, and lovely face have ruined him for any other woman. He wants her, but will she have him?

The hard, dour ex-military officer who so gently carried Gwen to safety is a man who needs a lesson in winning a woman’s heart. Despite her cautious nature, Gwen cannot ignore the attraction. As their two vastly different worlds come together, both will be challenged in unforeseen ways. But through courtship and seduction, Gwen soon finds that with each kiss, and with every caress, she cannot resist Hugo’s devotion, his desire, his love, and the promise of forever.

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Source: Complimentary copy received from the author in return for an honest review

(Accidental Heirs, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Late Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

When a scheming marquess’ daughter offers her one hundred pounds to publicly kiss a nobleman, a desperate Jessamin Wright agrees. She believes the money will save her failing bookstore and finally free her from her father’s debts. But when Jess bursts into an aristocratic party and shocks the entire ton, she never expects to enjoy the outrageous embrace she shares with a grim viscount.

Lucius Crawford, Viscount Grimsby, has never met, or kissed, anyone like the beautiful suffragette who unsettles him with a single touch. He has always strived for control and avoided passion at all costs. Lucius is determined to protect his title and restore the estate he’s unexpectedly inherited, but Jess’ appearance in his life poses a threat to his plans and his heart. After a country house party brings them together once more, neither can resist temptation, and both find that one scandalous kiss just isn’t enough.

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I have been waiting patiently for the 3rd book in Lauren Smith’s League of Rogues series so I jumped at the chance to review Cedric’s story. This book will be published on 19th January 2016.

Source: Complimentary copy received from the author in return for an honest review

(League of Rogues, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

He doesn’t need his eyes to uncover her true beauty.

Cedric, Viscount Sheridan, is cursed. Once the ton’s golden boy, the loss of his sight has left him a reclusive shell of man. His days of womanizing, horse racing and pistol shooting lost forever.

Offered the chance to recapture a small part of his old life, he can’t refuse—even if it means accepting the shocking proposal of the infamous ice maiden, Anne Chessley.

Still reeling from her father’s death, Anne’s deepest wish is to avoid the hordes of fortune hunters who will soon be beating down her door. Proposing marriage to Cedric is an act of desperation, his unexpected acceptance a strange and wonderful dream.

His only stipulation: she must respond passionately and wantonly in his bed. Her agreement barely crosses her lips before he begins a sensual assault on the icy walls bitter secrets have built around her heart.

Yet even as they catch a glimpse of true happiness, betrayal is poised to sweep them away on opposing tides of danger.

Warning: Contains an outwardly aloof heroine with a secretly tender heart, a once-notorious rake who isn’t quite as rusty at seduction as he feared, and a band of rogues who join together to make sure happily-ever-afters do come true.

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This sounds such a delightful collection of stories that I couldn’t resist the review request. It includes stories by three of my favourite authors which was an extra incentive. This book will be published on 10th November 2015.

Source: Complimentary copy received from the authors in return for an honest review

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

The tiny village of Hemshawe is the sort of place where nothing ever happens…until a handsome ex-soldier and his matchmaking sister let the imposing manor house at the edge of town. The friendly Londoners shake up the staid people of Hemshawe, and villagers see each other in a new and oh-so-appealing light.

Suddenly long-sparring enemies become lovers, a town festival heralds a new start for a fallen woman and a dandy, and a man who has given up on love gets a second chance with the woman he never forgot. And the matchmaker herself? She won’t rest until she finds her own happily-ever-after…

A Madness in Spring by Kate Noble

Adam Sturridge has made Belinda Leonard’s blood boil since childhood, and the feeling is mutual. But when a would-be matchmaker arrives in the village of Hemshawe, she’d determined to erase the thin line between love and hate. Now, Belinda and Adam are faced with falling for someone they’ve always considered an enemy — can they overcome old prejudices and discover how to rub each other the right way?

The Summer of Wine and Scandal by Shana Galen

When viscount’s son and dandy Peregrine Lochley is temporarily exiled from London to the country for his misdeeds, the last thing he expects is to encounter an intriguing woman. But Caroline Martin has a secret to hide, and it just might be too scandalous for even this debauched rogue.

Those Autumn Nights by Theresa Romain 

Ten years ago, wealthy Eliza Greenleaf broke lowly soldier Bertram Gage’s heart—but the last decade brought changes in fortune to them both. Now that he’s made his mark on the world, a twist of fate brings the Greenleaf family under his power. Will this war-hardened officer triumph over his former lover…or will Bertie and Eliza give love a second chance?

The Season for Loving by Vanessa Kelly

Miss Georgie Gage, matchmaker extraordinaire, is resigned to life as a spinster—almost. When notoriously aloof bachelor Fergus Haddon arrives from Scotland to spend Christmas with the Gage family, Georgie thinks she’s finally found her own perfect match—if, that is, she can get the handsome Highlander to agree!

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I LOVE Elizabeth Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series and so I was delighted to receive an ARC of the latest book which will be published on November 24th.

Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review

(Maiden Lane, #9)

Genre: Historical Romance (Georgian)

Cover Blurb:

SHE’S TAKING CHARGE

Prim, proper, and thrifty, Eve Dinwoody is all business when it comes to protecting her brother’s investment. But when she agrees to control the purse strings of London’s premier pleasure garden, Harte’s Folly, she finds herself butting heads with an infuriating scoundrel who can’t be controlled.

HE’S RUNNING THE SHOW

Bawdy and bold, Asa Makepeace doesn’t have time for a penny-pinching prude like Eve. As the garden’s larger-than-life owner, he’s already dealing with self-centered sopranos and temperamental tenors. He’s not about to let an aristocratic woman boss him around . . . no matter how enticing she is.

BUT LOVE CONQUERS ALL

In spite of her lack of theatrical experience—and her fiery clashes with Asa—Eve is determined to turn Harte’s Folly into a smashing success. But the harder she tries to manage the stubborn rake, the harder it is to ignore his seductive charm and raw magnetism. There’s no denying the smoldering fire between them—and trying to put it out would be the greatest folly of all.

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I’m a huge fan of Victoria Vane’s Historical Romances and was delighted to receive a copy of her latest novella.

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

(A De Wolfe Pack Kindle Worlds novella)

Genre: Historical Romance (Viking – 907 AD)

Cover Blurb:

She vowed to defy him to her dying breath… but passion blurs the line between love and hate…

The bluest blood and the hardest heart… at least when it comes to marriage… The daughter of a duke and granddaughter of a king, Adele of Vannes was bartered at birth in a marriage treaty for the sole purpose of producing a royal heir. When her philandering husband is slain by Norse marauders, Adele’s only desire is to retire to the peace and solitude of a cloister—until coerced to wed a savage Norseman. Adele knows that her beloved Brittany needs a strong hand to survive, but how can she ever reconcile her bitterness and hatred with the desire she feels for her avowed enemy?

She’s the jewel he seeks for his Breton crown…A Barbarian bent on building a dynasty, Valdrik Vargr, ‘the Norse Wolf,’ is renowned for both his bravery in battle and shrewdness in statecraft. Setting his sights on claiming the kingdom of Brittany, he knows that siring sons from royal blood would solidify his hold, but the woman he would claim as his queen refuses to have him. Will he fuel her hatred by taking her to his bed, or will the man who strikes terror in the hearts of men be reduced to wooing his bride?

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Anna Campbell is high on my list of all-time favourite authors and I was lucky enough to receive a copy of her Christmas novella.

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

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

There’s a pirate in the manor house!

What is vicar’s daughter Bess Farrar to do when the dashing new earl, the man gossip paints as a ruthless pirate, kisses her the day they meet? Why, kiss him right back, of course! Now Lord Channing vows to claim the lovely firebrand, despite interfering villagers, a snowstorm, scandal, and a rascally donkey. The gallant naval captain’s first landlocked Christmas promises mayhem – and a lifetime of breathtaking passion

Pursued by the pirate…

Bess Farrar might be an innocent village miss, but she knows enough about the world to doubt Lord Channing’s motives when he kisses her the very day they meet. After all, local gossip insists that before this dashing rake became an earl, he sailed the Seven Seas as a ruthless pirate.

Bewitched by the vicar’s daughter…

Until he unexpectedly inherits a title, staunchly honorable Scotsman Rory Beaton has devoted his adventurous life to the Royal Navy. But he sets his course for tempestuous new waters when he meets lovely, sparkling Bess Farrar. Now this daring mariner will do whatever it takes to convince the spirited lassie to launch herself into his arms and set sail into the sunset.

A Christmas marked by mayhem.

Wooing his vivacious lady, the new Earl of Channing finds himself embroiled with matchmaking villagers, an eccentric vicar, mistaken identities, a snowstorm, scandal, and a rascally donkey. Life at sea was never this exciting. The gallant naval captain’s first landlocked Christmas promises hijinks, danger, and passion – and a breathtaking chance to win the love of a lifetime.

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Christina McKnight is a new author whose books I discovered this year.

Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle

(A De Wolfe Pack Kindle Worlds novella)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

Lady Aloria has experienced firsthand what balls, betrothals, and the ensuing betrayals can do to a woman. To heal her heart, Aloria’s aim is to simply survive her final grand ball before her twenty-fourth birthday, and hope that her parents finally come to terms with her spinsterhood and allow her to retire to the country in peace.

Unfortunately, Marcus Adair, the Duke of Wolfeton, has other plans for her future. In town to secure a bride, he has set his sights on Aloria, and no other woman will do. But after a chance meeting in a darkened hallway, Marcus realizes he not only needs Aloria in his life; he desires her above all others.

Can Lady Aloria forget her scandalous past to build a future with the Duke of Wolfeton?

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This is a series I have been following by British author, Jane Lark.

Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle

(Marlowe Intrigues)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

How do you fight a calling that comes from your soul?

Lillian is in love with her charming protector. He brings her gifts and gives himself to her at night, but she knows nothing of his days; all she knows is that with Peter visiting her she is happier than she has ever been. The way he touches her and treats her is so different from other men.

Emily is excited, hopeful and expectant, waiting on the moment that everything seems to be leading towards. Lord Peter Brooke has courted her for a year; she is awaiting his proposal, certain it will come very soon, and everything he does indicates that it will.

Peter is torn; his soul is seeking one thing, but his mind wants another, and what about his heart? Where does his heart lie?

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I enjoy Shana Galen’s books and this one was free (for a limited period only).

Source: Free from Amazon Kindle

(Covent Garden Cubs, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

His heart may be the last thing she ever steals…

Marlowe is a pickpocket, a housebreaker-and a better actress than any professional on the stage. She runs with the Covent Garden Cubs, a gang of thieves living in the slums of London’s Seven Dials. It’s a fierce life, and Marlowe has a hard outer shell. But when she’s alone, she allows herself to think of a time before-a dimly remembered life when she was called Elizabeth.

Maxwell, Lord Dane, is intrigued when his brother, a hired investigator, ropes him into his investigation of the fiercely beautiful hellion. He teaches her to navigate the social morass of the ton, but Marlowe will not escape so easily. Instead, Dane is drawn into her dangerous world, where the student becomes the teacher and love is the greatest risk of all.

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I thought this anthology, including some of my favourite authors, would be a lovely addition to my Christmas reading.

Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

What do you get when you have four despairing mamas with four unwed daughters? A very matchmaker Christmas, of course! This delightful holiday anthology features 4 novellas written by 4 authors, all revolving around the same fun plot involving a Regency holiday house party and hijinks aplenty!

Her Christmas Rogue by Christi Caldwell

Lady Winifred Grisham has been in love with her brother’s best friend Lord Trent Ballantine more years than she can remember. The only problem is, Trent is a notorious rogue who doesn’t dally with the respectable. Except, Winnie doesn’t want a dalliance–she wants his heart.

To Make a Perfect Scandal by Danelle Harmon

Tristan St. Aubyn, the Earl of Weybourne, is a driven man. Haunted by the bad decisions he made in his youth, his life is all about work … working to restore his fortunes, working to rebuild the herd of unique racehorses that were his late father’s legacy, working to forget just how lonely he really is. Lord Weybourne isn’t looking for a wife … but when a saucy young lady dressed as a lad finds her way into his stable and charms the most irascible colt in the barn, Tristan can’t help but be intrigued …

To Win a Quiet Heart by Renee Bernard

Suffering from crippling shyness, Nicodemus Chesterfield, the Earl of Athmore, would rather battle an army of demons than put one toe inside the treacherous social waters of a holiday house party. But sometimes, a man just has to face his fears—and when Jane Pemberly is the surprisingly beautiful and fantastically charming prize at the opposite end of the gauntlet—it seems there is nothing a man won’t do to sidestep scandals and win her love.

To Tempt a Saint by Valerie Bowman

What happens when a saint is tempted by a sinner? Prudence Carmichael is the epitome of well, prudence. But when a rumored pirate—with whom she just might have had a secret scandalous interlude years ago, that she’s been beating herself up about ever since—appears at Lady Weston’s Christmastide house party and charms the innocent young lady again, can Prudence resist her first and greatest temptation?

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When I read this book was inspired by one of my all-time favourite movies, the 1940 romantic comedy “The Philadephia Story”, with Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and James Stewart, I knew I had to read it!

Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for a honest review.

(Playful Brides, #4)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

Lady Daphne Swift comes from a family with two brothers who have proudly served the Crown. She may be a female, but she’s willing to do whatever it takes to prove that she’s as useful to the war effort as her brothers. She even went so far as to secretly marry a spy. The fact that she just happened to have been pining for Captain Rafe Cavendish for years didn’t hurt matters. But after their first mission, when she realized their marriage had been strictly business, Daphne immediately wanted an annulment. The fiery Daphne has always been a multi-tasker and now she’s hell bent on two things: finding the men who killed her brother and securing her engagement to another man to forget about Rafe forever.

As a spy for the War Office, Captain Rafferty Cavendish has been on dozens of missions. But one mission haunts him, the mission that resulted in the death of Daphne Swift’s eldest brother, Donald. Rafe agreed to work with Daphne once and put her life in danger. Now he must find the men who killed Donald, avenge the family, and convince Daphne to give him one more chance. But Daphne’s enlisted her other older brother, Julian, to help her get a quick and quiet annulment so that she can marry a fop who only wants her for her title and money. Can Rafe convince Daphne to give him one more chance, on the mission and with her heart?

♥♥♥♥♥♥

So many of my friends have recommended this book and I’ve finally succumbed to buying it.

Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle


(The Merridew Sisters, #1))

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

She ran from a brute...

Fleeing violent tyranny, Prudence Merridew escapes with her beautiful younger sisters to London. One of them must marry—and fast. To act as her sisters’ chaperone, Prudence invents a secret engagement to a reclusive duke…But when the duke arrives unexpectedly in London, she needs his help to avert disaster.

...into the arms of a rake

Aristocratic Gideon, handsome, rakish and with a strong frivolous streak, casually hijacks Prudence’s game, awarding himself a stolen kiss or three along the way. Used to managing sisters and elderly men, Prudence is completely out of her depth with a charming, devious and utterly irresistible rake. And her plot goes terribly—if deliciously—awry…

♥♥♥♥♥♥

I’m way behind reading this series but, as this one was free on Amazon, I downloaded it.

Source: Free from Amazon Kindle


(Lonely Lords, #9)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

David, Viscount Fairly, has imperiled his honor…

Letty Banks is a reluctant courtesan, keeping a terrible secret that brought her, a vicar’s daughter, to a life of vice. While becoming madam of Viscount Fairly’s high-class brothel is an absolute financial necessity, Letty refuses to become David’s mistress-though their attraction becomes harder to resist the more she learns about the man…

Perhaps a fallen woman can redeem it.

David is smitten not only with Letty’s beauty, but also with her calm, her kindness, her quiet. David is determined to put respectability back in her grasp, even if that means uncovering the secrets Letty works so hard to keep hidden-secrets that could take her away from him forever…

Award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes’s extraordinary writing will immerse you in a Regency world unlike any you’ve experienced.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

I was lucky enough to meet up with Miranda Neville last week in London and I received a signed copy of this book complete with a personalised message.

Source: A gift from the author

(The Wild Quartet, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Late Georgian)

Cover Blurb:

The rules of society don’t apply to Caro and her coterie of bold men and daring women. But when passions flare, even the strongest will surrender to the law of love…

Thomas, Duke of Castleton, has every intention of wedding a prim and proper heiress. That is, until he sets eyes on the heiress’s cousin, easily the least proper woman he’s ever met. His devotion to family duty is no defense against the red-headed vixen whose greatest asset seems to be a talent for trouble…

Caroline Townsend has no patience for the oh-so-suitable (and boring) men of the ton. So when the handsome but stuffy duke arrives at her doorstep, she decides to put him to the test. But her scandalous exploits awaken a desire in Thomas he never knew he had. Suddenly Caro finds herself falling for this most proper duke…while Thomas discovers there’s a great deal of fun in a little bit of wickedness.

This is the first of a four book series centered around a group of badly behaved late-Georgian art collectors

♥♥♥♥♥♥

I love Christi Caldwell’s books and, even though I’m way behind in reading her prolific output, I still feel compelled to download each new book. How could I not buy this book when it has the following Acknowledgement?

Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle


(The Heart of a Duke, #6)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

Ruthless, wicked, and dark, the Marquess of Rutland rouses terror in the breast of ladies and nobleman alike. All Edmund wants in life is power. After he was publically humiliated by his one love Lady Margaret, he vowed vengeance, using Margaret’s niece, as his pawn. Except, he’s thwarted by another, more enticing target–Miss Phoebe Barrett.

Miss Phoebe Barrett knows precisely the shame she’s been born to. Because her father is a shocking letch she’s learned to form her own opinions on a person’s worth. After a chance meeting with the Marquess of Rutland, she is captivated by the mysterious man. He, too, is a victim of society’s scorn, but the more encounters she has with Edmund, the more she knows there is powerful depth and emotion to the jaded marquess.

The lady wreaks havoc on Edmund’s plans for revenge and he finds he wants Phoebe, at all costs. As she’s drawn into the darkness of his world, she risks being destroyed by his ruthlessness. And Phoebe, who desires love at all costs, has to determine if she can ever truly trust the heart of a scoundrel.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

This book comes highly recommended by my friend and Guest Reviewer, Wendy Loveridge, and it’s also a period in British history that fascinated me when I was younger.

Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle


Genre: Historical Romance (17th century – 1666)

Cover Blurb:

It is 1666 – the year when people who take prophecy seriously believe that the world is going to end.

For Chloe Herveaux – twenty years old, half-French and practical – marriage to wild, unpredictable Alex Deveril offers escape from a home she hates. For Alex, it is a refuge of a different kind. But while the marriage remains in name only and both, for reasons of their own, agree to seek an annulment, other forces are gathering.

England is once again at war with the Dutch and Prince Rupert, now commanding the Royal Navy, suspects that sabotage is at work within the fleet. Instructed to find the arch-traitor, Alex enters a dark labyrinth of intrigue – where no life is safe and nothing is what it seems.

Chloe, meanwhile, navigates the malice and scandal of Charles 11’s licentious Court and plots a course of her own aimed at financial independence. But as the surprising facets of Mr Deveril’s personality are gradually revealed to her, the long-awaited annulment becomes a double-edged sword.

Absorbed in his search for a traitor, Alex spares little thought for his bride – until a hot June night on the Falcon Stairs when he and Chloe stand united by tragedy.

As the flames of the Great Fire sweep over London, Alex and Chloe face their ultimate test. Their world is at risk … their choices may save it.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

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Christi Caldwell has fast become one of my favourite authors. Her books are always full of emotion and heart with characters that tug at your heartstrings.

Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle

(Dukes of Honor, #2)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

In need of a wife…

Christian Villiers, the Marquess of St. Cyr, despises the role he’s been cast into as fortune hunter but requires the funds to keep his marquisate solvent. Yet, the sins of his past cloud his future, preventing him from seeing beyond his fateful actions at the Battle of Toulouse. For he knows inevitably it will catch up with him, and everyone will remember his actions on the battlefield that cost so many so much—particularly his best friend.

In want of a husband…

Lady Prudence Tidemore’s life is plagued by familial scandals which makes her own marital prospects rather grim. Surely there is one gentleman of the ton who can look past her family and see just her and all she has to offer?

When Prudence runs into Christian on a London street, the charming, roguish gentleman immediately captures her attention. But then a chance meeting becomes a waltz, and now…

A Perfect Match…

All she must do is convince Christian to forget the cold requirements he has for his future marchioness. But the demons in his past prevent him from turning himself over to love. One thing is certain, Prudence wants the marquess and is determined to have him in her life, now and forever. It’s just a matter of convincing Christian he wants the same.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

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(Scandalous Seasons, #6)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

Responsible, practical Miss Hermione Rogers, has been crafting stories as the notorious Mr. Michael Michaelmas and selling them for a meager wage to support her siblings. The only real way to ensure her family’s ruinous debts are paid, however, is to marry. Tall, thin, and plain, she has no expectation of success. In London for her first Season she seizes the chance to write the tale of a brooding duke. In her research, she finds Sebastian Fitzhugh, the 5th Duke of Mallen, who unfortunately is perfectly affable, charming, and so nicely… configured… he takes her breath away. He lacks all the character traits she needs for her story, but alas, any duke will have to do.

Sebastian Fitzhugh, the 5th Duke of Mallen has been deceived so many times during the high-stakes game of courtship, he’s lost faith in society women. Yet, after a chance encounter with Hermione, he finds himself intrigued. Not a woman he’d normally consider beautiful, the young lady’s practical bent, her forthright nature and her tendency to turn up in the oddest places has his interests… roused. He’d like to trust her, he’d like to do a whole lot more with her too, but should he?

♥♥♥♥♥♥

I love Christi Caldwell’s books. She always enchants me with stories that are full of warmth, emotion, poignancy, laughter and romance and this, the final book in her Scandalous Seasons series, is no exception.

It is refreshing to have a heroine who is not perfect in every way. Hermione is plain, rail thin with slightly crooked teeth and is generally regarded as a bluestocking. After her mother dies, her father withdraws into himself, neglecting his family, and Hermione willingly takes on the role of both parent and protector to her siblings. I loved the selfless way she puts her siblings’ welfare before her own. Her father’s mismanagement of their finances has left them facing financial ruin and Hermione gallantly tries to keep the family afloat and retain her own independence with her payments from writing Gothic novels. However, she knows that the only solution to their situation is for her to travel to London and find a wealthy husband.

Although I am a huge fan of all those brooding, tormented heroes, I adored Sebastian. He is charming, clever and kind with a sense of humour as well. However, he does take his ducal duties seriously, having had the precepts of responsibility, commitment, and honour instilled into him from an early age by his father. He is fully aware of his duty to provide an heir but, deep down longs for a marriage based on love rather than duty. He longs to find a woman who sees him as a person and not simply a title.

It is obvious that Ms Caldwell has very much drawn on her own personal experiences in writing this book and it gives the story real emotional depth. I could relate to Hermione in so many ways. She has to cope with unforeseen, life-changing events and I’m sure many of us have had similar experiences; I know I have. Above all, this is a story of love, hope and family.

The romance is perfectly paced… a lovely blend of tenderness, passion, heartbreak and humour. Here are a few of my favourite moments:

Something about her commanded his notice, demanded his attention, if for no other reason than to understand the intense glint in her eyes and whatever the hell it was she marked down on that card.

~~~~~

She was Hermione, so very different than any other lady to come before her. Not mercenary or title-grasping, she was the first woman to see him and see… a man. Not the title. Or duke. Or gads of wealth. Simply Sebastian.

~~~~~

“Men don’t woolgather. I don’t woolgather.” Dukes certainly did not woolgather. They were contemplative, quite rational gentlemen who didn’t think overly long about unimpressed lithe young ladies with… Oh, for Christ’s sake. “I’ve business to see to,” he lied.

~~~~~

In a matter of days, a handful of meetings, three stolen kisses, and a Gothic novel, Sebastian had given his heart to a woman he barely knew.

~~~~~

“It is for you, Hermione. I told you I wanted all of you. I want the aggravating parts, the loyal parts; I want your smile and laugh. I want Mr. Michaelmas.”

~~~~~

The secondary characters are so well-drawn. I loved Adeline ( Addie), Hermione’s 11 year old sister, and the interactions between these two were delightful. Her brother Hugh’s attitude annoyed me at times but it was obvious that he was only being protective of Hermione. I loved seeing how strong the family bond was between the siblings. I clapped my hands with glee when the ruthless, scheming Aunt Agatha gets her marching orders. Sebastian’s sister Emmeline and her husband Drake (from Forever Betrothed, Never the Bride) are on hand to provide timely words of advice to our hero and heroine and I also loved the addendum to the Epilogue.

MY VERDICT: An enchanting finale to a truly delightful series. Highly recommended.

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

Read August 2015

Scandalous Seasons series (click on the covers for more details):
Forever Betrothed, Never the Bride (Scandalous Seasons, #1) by Christi Caldwell Never Courted, Suddenly Wed (Scandalous Seasons, #2) by Christi Caldwell Always Proper, Suddenly Scandalous (Scandalous Seasons, #3) by Christi Caldwell Always a Rogue, Forever Her Love (Scandalous Seasons, #4) by Christi Caldwell A Marquess for Christmas (Scandalous Seasons Book 5) by Christi Caldwell Once a Wallflower, At Last His Love (Scandalous Seasons, # 6) by Christi Caldwell

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