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I don’t think Julia Quinn will ever surpass her Bridgerton series but I am enjoying this spin off series about the members of the infamous Smythe-Smith Quartet. I have added this to my bookshelves.

(Smythe-Smith Quartet, #4)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

Sir Richard Kenworthy has less than a month to find a bride. He knows he can’t be too picky, but when he sees Iris Smythe-Smith hiding behind her cello at her family’s infamous musicale, he thinks he might have struck gold. She’s the type of girl you don’t notice until the second—or third—look, but there’s something about her, something simmering under the surface, and he knows she’s the one.

Iris Smythe–Smith is used to being underestimated. With her pale hair and quiet, sly wit she tends to blend into the background, and she likes it that way. So when Richard Kenworthy demands an introduction, she is suspicious. He flirts, he charms, he gives every impression of a man falling in love, but she can’t quite believe it’s all true. When his proposal of marriage turns into a compromising position that forces the issue, she can’t help thinking that he’s hiding something . . . even as her heart tells her to say yes.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

Violetta Rand,  best known for her exciting Viking Blind series, has now ventured into the world of hot contemporary romance with her Devil’s Den series.

(Devil’s Den, #1)

Genre: Contemporary New Adult

Cover Blurb:

Welcome to the Devil’s Den, a Texas strip club where the air is heavy with desire—and sometimes dreams come true.

Ever since her mother kicked her out, twenty-year-old Robyn Gonzalez has been working the poles at the Devil’s Den, saving up to finish college and travel the world. With only her wits and her gorgeous body to rely on, Robyn has learned to be independent—fiercely independent. She’s never been tempted to let a man distract her from her dreams . . . until she meets the dead-sexy Garrick Dempsey.

The club’s new head of security, Garrick had walked away from a career as a mechanical engineer to return to his roots in Corpus Christi. He hadn’t planned on getting to know someone like Robyn, with her sinfully sweet combination of vulnerability and strength, at the Devil’s Den. She acts tough, but only because she’s been hurt. Soon Garrick knows he will do anything to win Robyn’s trust. And if that means surrendering to the red-hot chemistry between them, all the better.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

I  am a great fan of Laura Lee Guhrke’s books. They are set during the late 19th or early 20th century, a time of far-reaching social and economic changes when the role of women in society is evolving and the balance of power is moving away from the landed aristocracy to the nouveau riche industrialists.

(An American Heiress in London, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

She’s an American heiress. He’s a devilish earl. When these two collide, the sparks ignite a shocking scandal in USA Today bestselling author Laura Lee Guhrke’s unforgettable Victorian-era romance.

Linnet Holland wants nothing to do with fortune hunters. No, she’s determined to marry a man who loves her. But just as she’s about to accept the perfect marriage proposal from the man she wants, the rakish Earl of Featherstone interrupts and ruins everything, including her reputation, with his smoldering kiss.

Jack Featherstone knows all about Linnet’s “intended”, and he’s determined she won’t fall prey to that villain as other women have in the past. But when his attempt to save Linnet ruins her instead, he knows he has to make things right. So he sets out to win this golden beauty . . . and prove to her that being ruined by him was the best thing that could have happened to her

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Her feet wanted to run, and her arms wanted to wrap themselves around the man next to her, and her voice wanted to laugh, and deep inside …
    Deep inside …
    She was giddy. Giddy with love.

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(Smythe-Smith Quartet, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Official Blurb 

He thinks she’s an annoying know-it-all…

Hugh Prentice has never had patience for dramatic females, and if Lady Sarah Pleinsworth has ever been acquainted with the words shy or retiring, she’s long since tossed them out the window. Besides, a reckless duel has left this brilliant mathematician with a ruined leg, and now he could never court a woman like Sarah, much less dream of marrying her.

She thinks he’s just plain mad…

Sarah has never forgiven Hugh for the duel he fought that nearly destroyed her family. But even if she could find a way to forgive him, it wouldn’t matter. She doesn’t care that his leg is less than perfect, it’s his personality she can’t abide. But forced to spend a week in close company they discover that first impressions are not always reliable. And when one kiss leads to two, three, and four, the mathematician may lose count, and the lady may, for the first time, find herself speechless …

New York Times bestselling author Julia Quinn’s enchanting third novel in the Smythe-Smith quartet is guaranteed to make you laugh out loud and tug at your heartstrings in equal measures.

★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★

**4.5 Captivating Stars**

THE SUM OF ALL KISSES, the third book in the Smythe-Smith Quartet series, was just what I needed after the darkness and intensity of my last book. I know that Julia Quinn will captivate me with the romance, charm and humour of her stories.

Hugh is definitely the most tormented of the heroes in this series. Even though he did everything in his power to make things right after the reckless, drunken duel, he is still filled with overwhelming guilt. His friend Daniel might have forgiven him but it seems he can’t forgive himself. He seems a lonely figure… constantly in pain from his lameness and believing it makes him less of a man. I think that’s why he stole a piece of my heart and the fact that he is an unconventional hero…with his amazing memory and mathematical genius.

Both he and Sarah have preconceived ideas about each other. Hugh can’t stand Sarah’s tendency to overdramatize …

Sarah Pleinsworth was one of those dramatic females given to hyperbole and grand announcements.

and Sarah hates Hugh for causing her family so much pain and hurt…

“They are my family,” she said in a choked voice, “and you have hurt them beyond repair. For that, I can never forgive you.”

So watching their feelings gradually change and evolve as they learn more about each other was so heart-warming. There are many delightful scenes but I absolutely love this one…for me it is gloriously romantic!

It was the strangest, most awkward waltz imaginable. Instead of a clasped pair of hands, elegantly arched before them, they both put their weight on the cane. Not too heavily; they didn’t need that much support, not while they had each other. He hummed in three-quarter time, and he led with light pressure on her back, moving the cane whenever it was time to turn.
He had not danced in nearly four years. He had not felt music flow through his body, nor savored the warmth of a woman’s hand in his. But tonight … It was magical, almost spiritual, and he knew that there was no way he could ever thank her for this moment, for restoring a piece of his soul.

Another memorable scene, but for very different reasons, is where Sarah massages Hugh’s leg and he’s having all sorts of randy thoughts! I’ll leave you to read that one!!

Ms Quinn always imbues her stories with a strong sense of family and the scenes between Sarah and her younger sisters are a sheer delight. I love Hugh’s reaction to their conversations…

Hugh could only stare. There appeared to be sixteen different conversations going on at once. With only three participants.

The youngest sister, Frances steals every scene she’s in…she’s so adorable.

The least said about Hugh’s father the better, other than to say, when he is described as a rat bastard, it is definitely no exaggeration!

My only criticism is that the drama towards the end of the book, involving Hugh’s father, seems excessive but it certainly didn’t spoil my overall enjoyment of the book.

THE SUM OF ALL KISSES is a charming romance with endearing characters, sparkling dialogue and delightful touches of humour.

REVIEW RATING: 4.5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

Read November 2013

The Smythe-Smith series to date (click on cover for more information):

Just Like Heaven (Smythe-Smith Quartet #1) A Night Like This (Smythe-Smith Quartet #2) The Sum of All Kisses (Smythe-Smith Quartet, #3)

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I’ve added two of my auto-buy books for October.

THE SUM OF ALL KISSES BY JULIA QUINN

Source: Bought from Amazon Kindle

(Smythe-Smith Quartet #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Official Blurb 

Hugh Prentice has never had patience for dramatic females, and if Lady Sarah Pleinsworth has ever been acquainted with the words shy or retiring, she’s long since tossed them out the window. Besides, a reckless duel has left this brilliant mathematician with a ruined leg, and now he could never court a woman like Sarah, much less dream of marrying her.

Sarah has never forgiven Hugh for the duel he fought that nearly destroyed her family. But even if she could find a way to forgive him, it wouldn’t matter. She doesn’t care that his leg is less than perfect, it’s his personality she can’t abide. But forced to spend a week in close company they discover that first impressions are not always reliable. And when one kiss leads to two, three, and four, the mathematician may lose count, and the lady may, for the first time, find herself speechless …

New York Times bestselling author Julia Quinn’s enchanting third novel in the Smythe-Smith quartet is guaranteed to make you laugh out loud and tug at your heartstrings in equal measures.

★✩★✩★✩★

WHEN THE MARQUESS MET HIS MATCH BY LAURA LEE GUHRKE

Source: Bought from Amazon Kindle

(An American Heiress in London #1)

Genre: Historical Romance

Official Blurb 

What happens when a carefree, disreputable, stone-broke bachelor is forced to find a wife in a hurry? He hires a matchmaker, of course. What happens when the matchmaker doesn’t want to help him? Well, that’s when the fun begins…

Nicholas Stirling, Marquess of Trubridge, loves his life just as it is: dissolute, scandalous, and deuced good fun. His father, the Duke of Landsdowne is not amused, and when he cuts off Nicholas’ trust fund, the fun-loving marquess is forced to find an alternate source of income—in other words, he has to marry an heiress.

Every new-money American heiress knows Lady Belinda Featherstone is the key to social acceptance. Once a new-money nobody herself, Belinda discovered first-hand how heartbreaking the game of love and matrimony could be after a reprobate British earl married her for her money. Now a respectable widow, Belinda has become England’s most successful matchmaker, guiding young American heiresses through the hazards of the London season and helping them to find husbands worthy of them. To her mind, the Marquess of Trubridge is nothing but a fortune-hunting scoundrel and she has no intention of allowing him to charm his way into any American girl’s heart, including her own.

★✩★✩★✩★

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THE SUM OF ALL KISSES BY JULIA QUINN

(Smythe-Smith Quartet #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Official Blurb 

Hugh Prentice has never had patience for dramatic females, and if Lady Sarah Pleinsworth has ever been acquainted with the words shy or retiring, she’s long since tossed them out the window. Besides, a reckless duel has left this brilliant mathematician with a ruined leg, and now he could never court a woman like Sarah, much less dream of marrying her.

Sarah has never forgiven Hugh for the duel he fought that nearly destroyed her family. But even if she could find a way to forgive him, it wouldn’t matter. She doesn’t care that his leg is less than perfect, it’s his personality she can’t abide. But forced to spend a week in close company they discover that first impressions are not always reliable. And when one kiss leads to two, three, and four, the mathematician may lose count, and the lady may, for the first time, find herself speechless …

New York Times bestselling author Julia Quinn’s enchanting third novel in the Smythe-Smith quartet is guaranteed to make you laugh out loud and tug at your heartstrings in equal measures.

(Date of publication – Kindle: 29 October 2013) 

★✩★✩★✩★

WHEN THE MARQUESS MET HIS MATCH BY LAURA LEE GUHRKE

(An American Heiress in London #1)

Genre: Historical Romance 

Official Blurb 

What happens when a carefree, disreputable, stone-broke bachelor is forced to find a wife in a hurry? He hires a matchmaker, of course. What happens when the matchmaker doesn’t want to help him? Well, that’s when the fun begins…

Nicholas Stirling, Marquess of Trubridge, loves his life just as it is: dissolute, scandalous, and deuced good fun. His father, the Duke of Landsdowne is not amused, and when he cuts off Nicholas’ trust fund, the fun-loving marquess is forced to find an alternate source of income—in other words, he has to marry an heiress.

Every new-money American heiress knows Lady Belinda Featherstone is the key to social acceptance. Once a new-money nobody herself, Belinda discovered first-hand how heartbreaking the game of love and matrimony could be after a reprobate British earl married her for her money. Now a respectable widow, Belinda has become England’s most successful matchmaker, guiding young American heiresses through the hazards of the London season and helping them to find husbands worthy of them. To her mind, the Marquess of Trubridge is nothing but a fortune-hunting scoundrel and she has no intention of allowing him to charm his way into any American girl’s heart, including her own.

(Date of publication – Kindle: 29 October 2013) 

★✩★✩★✩★

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(Smythe-Smith Quartet #2)

Genre: Historical Romance

Official Blurb 

Anne Wynter’s job as governess to three highborn young ladies can be a challenge – in a single week she finds herself hiding in a closet full of tubas, playing an evil queen in a play and tending to the wounds of the oh-so-dashing Earl of Winstead. After years of dodging unwanted advances, he’s the first man who has truly tempted her, and it’s getting harder and harder to remind herself that a governess has no business flirting with a nobleman.

Daniel made a terrible mistake in his youth and Smythe-Smith might be in mortal danger, but that’s not going to stop the young earl from falling in love. And when he spies a mysterious woman at his family’s annual musicale, he vows to pursue her. But Daniel has an enemy, one who has vowed to see him dead. And when Anne is thrown into peril, he will stop at nothing to ensure their happy ending…

★✩★✩★✩★✩★

A NIGHT LIKE THIS is the second book in the Smythe-Smith Quartet series and, although I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the first book JUST LIKE HEAVEN, it still combines all the elements that make Julia Quinn an absolute favourite of mine. I always know that I’m going to be drawn into her captivating world full of wonderful, loveable, quirky characters.

I completely fell for Daniel’s charm and wicked sense of humour. He’s someone who has learned from his past mistakes and takes his responsibilities seriously. I couldn’t help but adore a man who genuinely loves his family and obviously adores his Pleinsworth cousins.

It was good to be home. Even with the cacophony.
Especially with the cacophony. Nothing said “home” to a Smythe-Smith male like badly played music.

I love how the moment Daniel sets eyes on Anne, he is totally besotted and willing to do anything to be near her, even play the protagonist in his cousin Harriet’s impromptu play! What follows is a laugh-out-loud scene which showcases Ms Quinn’s sparkling, witty dialogue:

“Ah, yes,” Daniel said. “Yes, of course. Sadly, I do know a bit about facial disfigurement at present.”
“At least you won’t need any makeup,” Elizabeth said.
Daniel was thanking God for small favors, but then Harriet said, “Well, except for the wart.”

Warning! Do not mention the …

Anne is a delightful heroine. Charming, intelligent and kind, she’s understanding but firm with her charges. She never takes anything for granted but appreciates the stability, position and self-respect she has working as a governess for the Pleinsworths. As the secrets she keeps so closely guarded are finally revealed, the story takes on a more dramatic tone than usually found in Ms Quinn’s books. When her past finally catches up with her, she’s no wimpy miss but refuses to submit without a fight.

If Anne was going to be saved, she would have to do it herself.
“It is time to be your own heroine,” she whispered.

I enjoyed watching the relationship between Daniel and Anne unfold; hearing their thoughts and feeling their emotions:

the initial attraction… 

Time stopped. It simply stopped. It was the most maudlin and clichéd way of describing it, but those few seconds when her face was lifted toward his … they stretched and pulled, melting into eternity.

♥♥

Anne’s lips parted. His skin was warm, and now hers was hot where he touched her. Something strange and vaguely familiar bubbled within her, and with a prickle of shock she realized it was excitement.

the yearning… 

“I want the kiss,” he said huskily, “and then I want more. I want things you cannot even know about.”
They stood in silence, eyes locked.
“But most of all,” he whispered, “I want to kiss you.”
And then, in a voice so soft it was barely more than breath, she said, “I want it, too.”

the final surrender… 

“Oh, Daniel …”
His lips found her ear again, and his voice was hot and husky on her skin. “Before the night is through, I’m going to make you scream.”
She had just enough sense left to say, “No. You can’t.”
He lifted her against him, with just enough roughness that her feet left the ground and she had no choice but to wrap her legs around his. “I assure you, I can.”

There is always a strong sense of family which I love about Ms Quinn’s books. The friendly bickering between the Pleinsworth sisters, Harriet, Elizabeth and Frances always made me smile.

I was intrigued by Daniel’s friend, Hugh Prentice and I was hoping he would have his own book. So I’m a happy bunny because Ms Quinn’s next book, THE SUM OF ALL KISSES (29 October 2013) features Hugh as the hero and Sarah, the eldest of Pleinsworth sisters, as the heroine. I am definitely looking forward to the next performance by the Smythe-Smith Quartet.

The villain of the piece is suitably menacing, if just a little bit over the top, but I liked the dramatic climax in which Daniel proves to be the perfect “knight in shining armour” and Anne proves that women aren’t just decorative.

I don’t think Ms Quinn has ever surpassed her brilliant Bridgerton series but A NIGHT LIKE THIS is a delightful story full of romance, charm and humour.

REVIEW RATING: 4.5/5 Stars

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

Read June 2013

The Smythe-Smith Quartet series (click on book cover for more details)

Just Like Heaven (Smythe-Smith Quartet #1) A Night Like This (Smythe-Smith Quartet #2) The Sum of All Kisses (Smythe-Smith Quartet, #3)

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(Spindle Cove #4)

Official Blurb

What’s a duke to do, when the girl who’s perfectly wrong becomes the woman he can’t live without?

Griffin York, the Duke of Halford, has no desire to wed this season—or any season—but his diabolical mother abducts him to “Spinster Cove” and insists he select a bride from the ladies in residence. Griff decides to teach her a lesson that will end the marriage debate forever. He chooses the serving girl.

Overworked and struggling, Pauline Simms doesn’t dream about dukes. All she wants is to hang up her barmaid apron and open a bookshop. That dream becomes a possibility when an arrogant, sinfully attractive duke offers her a small fortune for a week’s employment. Her duties are simple: submit to his mother’s “duchess training”… and fail miserably.

But in London, Pauline isn’t a miserable failure. She’s a brave, quick-witted, beguiling failure—a woman who ignites Griff’s desire and soothes the darkness in his soul. Keeping Pauline by his side won’t be easy. Even if Society could accept a serving girl duchess—can a roguish duke convince a serving girl to trust him with her heart?

★✩★✩★✩★

This is the next book in Tessa Dare’s highly successful Spindle Cove series and I love the ‘Pygmalion’ inspired premise.

(expected date of publication 28 May 2013)

(Fairy Tales #5)

Official Blurb

Once upon a time… 

A duke fell in love 

Gowan Stoughton of Craigievar, Duke of Kinross, values order and self-control above all else. So when he meets a lady as serene as she is beautiful, he promptly asks for her hand in marriage.

With a lady 

Edie—whose passionate temperament is the opposite of serene—had such a high fever at her own debut ball that she didn’t notice anyone, not even the notoriously elusive Duke of Kinross. When her father accepts his offer… she panics.

And when their marriage night isn’t all it could be, she pretends.

In a tower. 

But Edie’s inability to hide her feelings makes pretending impossible, and when their marriage implodes, she retreats to a tower—locking Gowan out.

Now Gowan faces his greatest challenge. Neither commands nor reason work with his spirited young bride. How can he convince her to give him the keys to the tower…

When she already has the keys to his heart?

★✩★✩★✩★

I have a bit of catching up to do with this series because I’ve only read the first two books. 

(expected date of publication 28 May 2013)

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