2018 Book #28 – The Bride Who Got Lucky by Janna MacGregor

510FgHQ2n0LTitle: The Bride Who Got Lucky
Author: Janna MacGregor
Date finished: 4/12/18
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: October 31, 2017
Pages in book: 364
Stand alone or series: #2 in the Cavensham Heiresses series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

He would do anything to protect her. Even marry her…

The son of a cold-hearted duke, Nicholas St. Mauer isn’t one to involve himself in society…or open his own heart to anyone. But driven by honor, the reclusive Earl of Somerton feels obliged to keep a watchful eye on Lady Emma Cavensham. She possesses a penchant for passions unbecoming a woman that finds Nick in constant peril of losing his well-structured solitude. She even dared kiss Nick once—an utterly unladylike, and delightful, lapse…

Emma can’t deny the appeal of the earl’s attention, and occasional affection, but she has no need for a man. There are worse fates than spinsterhood, as Emma knows too well. She still mourns the loss of her dear friend Lena, and is determined to prove Lena’s husband responsible for her death before he lures another innocent woman into a brutal marriage. But as Emma pursues her prey, a compromising moment upends all her plans. Now, with gossip swirling and her reputation in tatters, Nick may be the only man brave enough to join in Emma’s cause. . .and fight for her heart.

The Bride Who Got Lucky is a sweeping Regency romance from Janna MacGregor in her Cavensham Heiresses series.

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This is from my 2017 Backlog list, I read this for the 2018 Bookish Reading Challenge for the “a book you regret not reading last year” category, I especially regretted not reading it since I ended up signing up to review the next book in the series in May!

I always love it when I get to read a historical romance with a really strong and fierce female lead. In a day and age when women were not at all encouraged to think for themselves, Emma Cavensham rises above the rest with revolutionary ideas about women’s place in society. I especially loved that Emma’s character was so strong-willed and opinionated in this book, although she lost a tad of her luster as the novel went on. I also really was a fan of her wanting to be a career woman and her efforts to make a difference in the world. I also loved that Nicholas’s character encouraged Emma in many ways, although he wasn’t quite prepared to let her make her own decisions (partially because she was making bad ones). Nicholas and Emma ended up being a tad too stubborn when combined for my tastes, I started to grow weary in the end that we’d ever be able to reach a compromise. There were a lot of interesting family characters mentioned in the story and I’m looking forward to potential additional books in the series featuring them. I already am lined up to read the next book in the series, which will be out in May.

Link to author website

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2018 Book #25 – The Duke of Ruin by Darcy Burke

51qpbLOiCqL._SX302_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Duke of Ruin
Author: Darcy Burke
Date finished: 4/3/18
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: March 17, 2018
Pages in book: 304
Stand alone or series: The Untouchables series Book #8
Where I got the book from: Social Butterfly PR
NOTE: I received this book for free from Social Butterfly PR in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

With her betrothal to a duke in tatters and scandal imminent, Diana Kingman has two choices: live in certain ignominy or flee into obscurity. Diana wants solitude. She never wished to wed in the first place. However, her father will stop at nothing to betroth her to one of the finest titles in the realm…no matter how loathsome the bearer. Escape is Diana’s only option, and she’ll pay any price to achieve freedom. Universally blamed for the death of his wife and unborn child, Simon Hastings doesn’t dispute his guilt over an accident he cannot even remember. He hasn’t had a drink since, nor a moment’s peace. Determined to be a better man, Simon rescues a young woman in need—only to be accused of kidnapping. They must marry to save him from prison. But how can a man haunted by the love he lost and a woman afraid to get too close find happiness together?

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. Be sure to check out my BLOG TOUR post on this book as well!

I had been looking forward to reading this story since I read the last Untouchables book, The Duke of Ice, where we were introduced to Simon and Diana’s characters. I really liked Diana’s character, she had such a great strength of character and was a really fierce woman. I especially loved that Simon was able to help get her out from under her father’s thumb because – man that guy was a jerk! I also really liked that both Diana and Simon each helped the other to overcome something that was holding them back in life. They seemed to have a true partnership and I really found it to be quite a touching love story. This was a fairly quick read, and though I kind of saw the ending coming it was still a really good book and I would recommend it. I think this was my favorite in the series so far!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

The Duke of Ruin BLOG TOUR!!

DUKERUIN_BT_BANNER

The Duke of Ruin was released recently, and to celebrate I am participating in a Blog Tour for the book! If you haven’t already seen it, you can find my review of the book under Book Reviews on my site. See below for more information about the book, a short author bio, and an excerpt! This was a good read and I would recommend checking it out!

MEET THE AUTHOR

Darcy BurkeDarcy Burke is the USA Today Bestselling Author of sexy, emotional historical and contemporary romance. Darcy wrote her first book at age 11, a happily ever after about a swan addicted to magic and the female swan who loved him, with exceedingly poor illustrations. Join her reader club at http://www.darcyburke.com/readerclub. A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids who seem to have inherited the writing gene, two Bengal cats and a third cat named after a fruit.

ABOUT THE BOOK

With her betrothal to a duke in tatters and scandal imminent, Diana Kingman has two choices: live in certain ignominy or flee into obscurity. Diana wants solitude. She never wished to wed in the first place. However, her father will stop at nothing to betroth her to one of the finest titles in the realm…no matter how loathsome the bearer. Escape is Diana’s only option, and she’ll pay any price to achieve freedom.

Universally blamed for the death of his wife and unborn child, Simon Hastings doesn’t dispute his guilt over an accident he cannot even remember. He hasn’t had a drink since, nor a moment’s peace. Determined to be a better man, Simon rescues a young woman in need—only to be accused of kidnapping. They must marry to save him from prison. But how can a man haunted by the love he lost and a woman afraid to get too close find happiness together?

DB_DOR_AVAILABLE NOW

Read Today!

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EXCERPT

51qpbLOiCqL._SX302_BO1,204,203,200_He turned from the fire and contemplated the bed. It was neither big nor small and would support a blanket between them. However, there was no dressing screen to allow for privacy.

He wasn’t entirely sure how to broach the sensitive topic of disrobing, but since they would be spending several nights together, it had to be done. He looked back at her over his shoulder. “You aren’t planning on sleeping in your clothes again, are you?”

She turned in front of the fire but didn’t come toward him. “I’d rather not. But I’m afraid I’m in need of assistance. Unfortunately, my wardrobe depends upon a maid.”

“I’d be happy to provide help. Just remember I’ve no experience as a ladies’ maid.”

“Did you never undress your wife?” She looked away, angling herself back toward the fire. “Forget I asked that.”

He went back toward her and spoke softly. “Don’t.” She turned her head, her blue eyes dark and vivid in the firelight. “We are going to get to know each other much better than we ought, and I don’t want you to regret things you might say. I assumed you would be curious about my wife. Yes, I undressed her. Many times. If I close my eyes, I can still feel her skin.” But he didn’t close his eyes. He couldn’t. She—Miss Diana Kingman—held him captive with her gaze.

Miss Kingman exhaled. “You must promise not to look. Aside from what you must do to unlace my gown.

“I promise.” He kept his voice and his gaze steady. “We must trust each other on this journey. Implicitly. That’s why I won’t shy away from your questions.”

She nodded, then presented her back. “Will you leave while I undress? I’ll need ten minutes or so. I’ll be in bed when you return and will close my eyes while you disrobe.”

It was a good plan, particularly since he thought a walk outside in the cold might do him some good. A beautiful woman’s back presented to him for the purpose of assistance with disrobing was too reminiscent of a time gone by and yet wholly new. Miss Kingman wasn’t Miriam, nor did he want her to be.

Simon quickly unlaced her gown and helped lift it over her head. He laid it across one of the chairs set at a small table and returned to help her remove her petticoat and unlace her corset. When he finished, he dropped his hands to his sides.

“I can finish,” she said, without looking back. “Thank you.”

He left without a word, closing the door firmly behind him. He inhaled sharply, taking perhaps the deepest breath he had in the last ten minutes.

Thankfully he didn’t encounter anyone on his walk. He wasn’t in the mood to made idle chatter. His thoughts were bad enough—railing at him for being attracted to someone who wasn’t his wife.

But how could he expect to go through life as he had the past two years? A self-hating, forlorn monk. Oh, he put on a good face for everyone else, but no one knew how acutely his pain cut.

Tomorrow, they would be on their way to Northampton, and hopefully, things would go as smoothly as they had so far. But first he had to spend the night in her bed. Again. Only with less clothing.

Thinking it had been well more than ten minutes, he made his way back upstairs. The lantern next to the bed had been extinguished, leaving just the light from the fire to illuminate the room.

Simon looked toward the bed. Miss Kingman lay near the edge of one side—as close as she could get without falling off, he noted—her back to the center of the bed, where it looked as though she’d rolled one of the blankets and placed it between them. He hoped there were enough coverings on the bed to keep them warm. Last night, they’d worn more clothing to bed.

Hell. He wore a nightshirt to sleep in or, most often, nothing at all. Tonight, he should probably keep his smallclothes on.

Shrugging out of his jacket, he hung it on a hook in the wall. He sat down to remove his boots, working as quietly and quickly as possible. When he’d removed everything but his shirt and smallclothes, he went to his side of the bed and crawled between the icy covers. He shuddered involuntarily and felt her jerk.

“Sorry,” he murmured. “Cold bed.”

“Very,” she responded, her low, feminine voice rustling over him like a fine silk.

He considered making an offer to warm them both up—body heat would be most beneficial. But that was likely a bad idea. For so many reasons.

He turned to his side, away from her, but snuggled his back against the rolled-up blanket. That would help with the cold. And the warmer he got, the more easily he would fall asleep. And the sooner he fell asleep, the sooner he could put the proximity of Miss Kingman out of his mind.

Too bad none of that happened very quickly at all.

2018 Book #22 – It Happened in the Highlands by May McGoldrick

51omP6yEqrLTitle: It Happened in the Highlands
Author: May McGoldrick
Date finished: 3/22/18
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Swerve
Publication Date: March 27, 2018
Pages in book: 239
Stand alone or series: #2 in the Pennington family series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

It Happened in the Highlands is the next book in the new historical highland series, The Penningtons, from USA Today bestseller May McGoldrick…

Lady Josephine Pennington was jilted by her fiancé once rumors spread about her questionable origins. Her adoptive parents have always provided her with the love and protection she’s needed to feel secure, and over the last sixteen years she’s molded herself to meet the expectations of others. When she receives a package containing sketches where the subject is eerily familiar, Jo believes she might have found a clue to the identity of her birth mother.

When Captain Wynne Melfort ended his engagement to Jo Pennington sixteen years ago, he never imagined he would see her again. But after he uncovers information that could reveal the truth about Jo’s parentage, Wynne feels bound by duty to right an old wrong and inform her of his find. He didn’t expect for feelings long thought dead to resurface, for in his mind a love departed was gone forever.

As they strive to unravel the mystery of her birth, Jo must learn how to trust the man who’d once rejected her and Wynne must reconcile his head with his heart. But as secrets of the past begin to surface, evil forces will stop at nothing to keep Jo from uncovering the truth and reclaiming her legacy. Together, Jo and Wynne must fight the deadly menace lurking deep in the Highland mists.

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

Readers are first introduced to Jo’s character in the first book in the Pennington family series, which is centered around her brother Hugh. I was drawn to Jo’s story line after reading about her in the first book, since she had to overcome such adversity in her life I immediately wanted to hear about her happy ending. And I thought the author did a great job in this book of reconnecting her with the old love of her life. This trope is one that has been used time and again, and while usually it makes me sad because of the many years of happiness the characters missed out on, in this book it felt like the hero and heroine both needed those years apart to grow emotionally and be better for the relationship they can have now. I thought it was just really well done and I ended up liking the plot a good amount. Overall it was a sweet love story and exactly what you’d want from a historical romance, I would recommend it!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2018 Book #15 – A Devil in Scotland by Suzanne Enoch

51txp+4sRrLTitle: The Devil in Scotland
Author: Suzanne Enoch
Date finished: 2/13/18
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Pages in book: 320
Stand alone or series: #3 in the No Oridinary Hero series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

The dawning of desire
1806, Scotland. Wild, reckless Callum MacCreath is in no hurry to become someone’s husband. But when his responsible, steady older brother Ian announces his engagement to their childhood friend Rebecca, Callum makes a startling discovery: he wants the lovely young lass for himself. But it’s too late, and when Ian banishes him for his duplicity, Callum is only too happy to leave Scotland forever.

…is delicious and dangerous 
1816: Marrying Ian was the practical, logical thing for Becca to do. But once Callum sailed away to America, she missed his rakish charm and lust for life. Now Becca is a widow when a much-changed Callum returns to his Scottish homeland. Will he remember their spirited, fiery connection or does he blame her for his brother’s unexpected death? This time neither of them can deny their scorching attraction. But will their hearts be burned in the blazing heat of scandal?

My rating:  4.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

A second chance with first love

Rebecca loved Callum in her youth, but as Callum was a wild and reckless young man, Rebecca decided that for her future she would be better off married to Callum’s staid and steady brother Ian. Flash forward ten years though, Ian has died and Callum returns from America to figure out what the hell happened to his brother. Rebecca’s character is exactly what I look for in a heroine. Though she was a bit naive in the beginning, it is evident throughout the story that she is intelligent and has such amazing strength as a female character. Callum also is exactly what I look for in my heroes – while he was intent on protecting Rebecca he always treated her like a partner without being the usual overbearing male “I know best and we’re going to do it my way” alpha male. Callum and Rebecca were such a great pair in this novel and it was really wonderful to read. And I loved that the villain from the last three books, including this one, finally got what was coming to him. The plot was ok and was even exciting in parts but this one really was about the love story for me. It was very romantic and I thought the author did a great job of infusing the emotions into the writing.

Link to author website

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2018 Book #7 – Wallflower Most Wanted by Manda Collins

51mDRlMABVLTitle: Wallflower Most Wanted
Author: Manda Collins
Date finished: 1/17/18
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Pages in book: 320
Stand alone or series: #3 in the Studies in Scandal series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

THE PICTURE OF ROMANCE
A dedicated painter, Miss Sophia Hastings is far more concerned with finding the right slant of light than in finding Mr. Right. But when an overheard conversation hints at danger for another local artist, Sophia is determined to get involved. Even if it means accepting help from an impossibly good-looking vicar who insists on joining her investigation—and threatens to capture her heart…

Reverend Lord Benedick Lisle knows that Sophia is no damsel in distress. But he won’t allow her to venture into peril alone, either. . .especially since he finds Sophia’s curious, free-spirited nature so alluring. But protecting her from harm is becoming more difficult than the vicar could have expected as he and Sophia confront their fiery mutual passion. Who could have known that the art of love would prove so irresistible?

My rating:  3.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

A talented artist painted into a tale of true love

Sophia Hastings is another of the Beauchamp heiresses, a talented painter and artist. She finds herself paired up with the local vicar, Benedick Lisle, to solve a mystery. Unbeknownst to them both Sophia was actually charged with this task by Celeste Beauchamp herself, though they will find this out later in the story. Sophia and Benedick’s story line was very similar to those in the previous two novels, and while things did start to feel a tad repetitive, Sophia and Benedick had a story all their own. One of the things I love most about this series is that it features intelligent and strong women, and also women that form a deep and meaningful friendship with each other even though they’re all technically “competing for their own legal rights to this house. I think that it is so inspiring to read about such strong and talented ladies. That being said, the characters weren’t as fully formed as I think they could have been and also with the plot it felt almost like we dove right in without much preamble, which felt a bit jarring at first. I thought this was a sweet story though and a good romance novel, and a good addition to the series. I look forward to reading the rest of the ladies stories (hoping for one on Serena’s story too!).

Link to author website

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2018 Book #6 – The Rogue Is Back in Town by Anna Bennett

519cu+3NX8LTitle: The Rogue Is Back in Town
Author: Anna Bennett
Date finished: 1/16/18
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: January 2, 2018
Pages in book: 366
Stand alone or series: #3 in the Wayward Wallflowers series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Equal parts scoundrel and seducer, he’s returned to London determined to mend the rift with his older brother. All Sam must do is take possession of a tumbledown town house. A seemingly simple task, except the house is occupied—by an infuriating, whip-smart beauty who refuses to do his bidding.

Miss Juliette Lacey’s wallflower days are over. She has a plan to turn her eccentric family into the toast of the ton—but the devilishly handsome rake trying to oust them from their home thwarts her at every turn. How can one man be so vexing and make her simmer with desire?
As her attraction to Sam deepens, Julie’s problems grow—she may have, once upon a time, secretly shared a kiss with his honorable older brother. Suddenly, Julie’s caught between a rogue and a marquess, between passion and respectability. Torn between two brothers, what’s a girl to do?

My rating:  2.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

Can a confirmed rascal really turn himself around? 

Samuel Travis has historically been a self-confirmed rogue, but he is now determined to prove himself worthy and turn himself around and start accomplishing something. Juliette (Julie) Lacey is the youngest of three sisters (hence she is featured in the third book in the series) and is the most adventurous of her three sisters. Even though she’s the most daring though, I found it hard to believe that someone with her strong personality would even give thought to Nigel’s proposal (I won’t say what it was but it was shitty). I would’ve kicked him right in the nuts and told him to go F off. And the thing that disturbed me the most really was the lack of closure regarding what happened with the “villain” of the story. He’s a complete and total ass but he just kind of fades into the background in the end and nothing bad ever happens to him, which while it may be realistic is not really something that I end up enjoying in a book. I want to see a little karma take place, and really this guy should’ve been RUINED. Sam’s character was really good and I liked the character development there, plus this was a fairly easy read. And while the ending was kind of a let down for me personally I still thought it was a fairly good romance novel and would say its worth the read!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page