Monthly Archives: October 2015

Dragos Goes to Washington

Dragos Goes to Washington by Thea Harrison

24667299Description: Dragos Cuelebre, Lord of the Wyr, needs to throw a party without maiming anyone. That isn’t exactly as easy as it might sound.

After the destructive events of the last eighteen months, the Elder Races are heading to Washington D.C. to foster peace with humankind. Not known for his diplomacy skills, Dragos must rely on his mate Pia to help navigate a battlefield of words and polite smiles rather than claws. With Dragos’s mating instinct riding close to the surface, his temper is more volatile than ever and the threat of violence hovers in the air.

Then the human spouse of a prominent politician winds up murdered and Dragos and Pia must race against time to hunt down those behind it before they are held responsible for the crime.

For fans of DRAGON BOUND and LORD’S FALL, the latest novella in the Elder Races holds passion, peril, political intrigue, and revelations that will change Dragos and Pia’s lives forever.

Dragos Goes to Washington is the first part of a three-story series about Dragos, Pia, and their son Liam. Each story stands alone, but fans might want to read all three in order as they will be released: Dragos Goes to Washington, Pia Does Hollywood, and Liam Takes Manhattan.

Review: 

I love reuniting with Pia and Dragos. They are the power couple of the Elder Race series and this was a great look into their normal, everyday lives. Well, as normal and everyday as their lives can be. After the trauma of Pia’s novella and the shift from Dragos and Pia to Liam in the previous short story, it was nice to return to Pia and Dragos and the bond that ties them together. One of my biggest problems with the previous set of novellas was how fast Liam was aging. In this story however, the focus is off Liam and on to new problems that Dragos and Pia need to face as a couple. Excellent novella! It makes me want to reread the whole series again! And loved the brief appearance from Tricks and Tiago!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

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Filed under Paranormal Romance, Reviews, Romance Novels

Highland Heat

Highland Heat by Jennifer Haymore 

25057532Description: Perfect for readers of Maya Banks and Monica McCarty, Jennifer Haymore’s seductive new Highland Knights series begins with an electrifying tale of class warfare, fierce loyalties, and forbidden love.
 
With blood still drying on the front lines at Waterloo, Lady Grace Carrington helps an injured soldier to a British medical tent. Though she believes she’s pulled him to safety, in fact she has put them both in grave danger: Because when his brilliant blue eyes meet hers, the passionate Scottish sergeant kisses her in a way that leaves her breathless and trembling. As the obedient daughter of an earl, Grace shouldn’t be tempted by someone so far below her station. But as a red-blooded woman, she longs for so much more.

As far as Duncan Mackenzie is concerned, getting stabbed in the arm was the best thing that ever happened to him. When he wakes on the battlefield, the sight of Grace’s lovely face sets his soul aflame. As an enlisted man and a farmer’s son, however, pursuing his guardian angel means facing the wrath of London society, not to mention his own superiors in the British Army. Aye, but he’d risk all that and more just to keep her in his arms.

Review: I’ve been reading Jennifer Haymore’s books for a few years now. However, I did not know she released a new series. Honestly, I thought there were still books left in the Duchess of Trent series. It looks as though that series will intersect with this one. The premise of this book is an attraction of unequals. Grace is the daughter of a duke while Duncan is the son of Scottish farmer. They met on the battlefield at Waterloo. Grace has traveled there with her sister, whose story is told in the first book, and is tending to soldiers after the battle. There is an almost instant attraction between Grace and Duncan but both believe they will never see each other again. Fate intervenes when Duncan is chosen to join a secret group of soldiers whose job is to safeguard Britain from internal revolution. Since Grace’s brother-in-law is also chosen, Duncan and Grace are brought together and their relationship is given a chance to grow.

This book was an interesting look at class relations in Regency England. Grace is of a higher class than Duncan but they, for the most part, do not let that hinder their relationship. There is the usual angst on Duncan’s part that he doesn’t want Grace to give up the life she is familiar with for him. However, they soon realize that life apart is worse than the trials they would have face to be together. Overall, I definitely enjoyed this book and I need to go back and read the first in the series.

Rating: 4 out of 5. 

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Received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

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Filed under ARC, Historical Romance, Reviews, Romance Novels

The Wrath and the Dawn

The Wrath and the Dawn  by Renee Ahdieh 

18798983Description:

One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.

Review: I’m pretty sure I took this book out from the library and returned it unread at least three times before I actually read the book. And now that I read it, I can’t believe I ever did that. I’m not the biggest fan of YA books. I actually skipped over the genre and basically went from reading Little House on the Prairie to romance novels or so it seems. However, I have read a few YA books here and there. And this is one of the ones I’m glad I did. Although, I should have read this book after the second one was released. I like to read series featuring the same main couple once all the books are out so I don’t have to wait between books.

This book is a new twist on the tale of 1001 Arabian Nights. The main premise of the caliph having his brides killed the next morning and that Shazi convincing him to stave off her death by begling him with a story is there. However, soon Khalid delays Shazi’s execution for her personally instead of just her story. While the reader is treated to some of the tales from Arabian Nights, they serve to illustrate plot points and add to the story, rather than detract. The reader is quickly immersed in the lush Arabian palace and the intrigues that go along with it. As Shazi and Khalid start to fall in love, both internal and external forces try to tear them apart. While there is magic mixed into the plot, it is not an overarching interest in the story. I’ve read reviews that bemoan the purple prose of this novel. Honestly, I was a huge fan of the writing style. I cut my teeth on the purple prose of Bertrice Small, Virginia Henley, and Jean Plaidy novels so it didn’t bother me too much. At times, there was a bit too much angst, especially with Khalid but the circumstances of the novel justifies the angst. Excellent story and I’m in tenterhooks waiting for the next book!

Favorite Quotes: 

“My soul sees its equal in you.”

“You honestly expect me to breathe in a world without air?”

“Some things exist in our lives for but a brief moment. And we must let them go on to light another sky.”

“There is no one I would rather see the sunrise with than you.”

“This dangerous girl. This captivating beauty.
This destroyer of worlds and creator of wonder.”

“Get up, Shahrzad al-Khayzuran. You kneel before no one. Least of all me.”

“Shazi,

I prefer the color blue to any other. The scent of lilacs in your hair is a source of constant torment. I despise figs. Lastly, I will never forget, all the days of my life, the memories of last night—
For nothing, not the sun, not the rain, not even the brightest star in the darkest sky, could begin to compare to the wonder of you.

Khalid.”

“When she wound her fingers in his hair to draw her body against his, he stilled for breath, and she knew, as he knew, that they were lost. Lost forever. In this kiss. This kiss that would change everything.”

“Love is a force unto itself, sayyidi. For love, people consider the unthinkable…and often achieve the impossible. I would not sneer at its power.”

Rating: 5 out of 5! 

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NJ RWA Book-Signing

Hi Guys,

Saturday, October 17th was the NJ RWA book-signing! Together with one of my friends, who despite not reading romances gets dragged to these signings, I went and got books signed! What was great about this book-signing was there was time to chat with the authors. I had a chance to talk to Julia Quinn about her new Bridgerton book series!

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Sarah MacLean!

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Julia Quinn

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Romance Novel Fact of the Week

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According to RWA: 

All romances have a central love story and an emotionally satisfying ending. Beyond that, however, romance novels may have any tone or style, be set in any place or time, and have varying levels of sensuality—ranging from sweet to extremely hot.Romance fiction may be classified into various subgenres depending on setting and plot elements. These subgenres include:

  • Contemporary Romance: Romance novels that are set from 1950 to the present that focus primarily on the romantic relationship.

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Forever With You

Forever With You by Jennifer Armentrout 

24357334Description: In the irresistibly sexy series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout, two free spirits find their lives changed by a one-night stand…

Some things you just believe in, even if you’ve never experienced them. For Stephanie, that list includes love. It’s out there. Somewhere. Eventually. Meanwhile she’s got her job at the mixed martial arts training center and hot flings with gorgeous, temporary guys like Nick. Then a secret brings them closer, opening Steph’s eyes to a future she never knew she wanted—until tragedy rips it away.

Nick’s self-assured surface shields a past no one needs to know about. His mind-blowing connection with Steph changes all that. As fast as he’s knocking down the walls that have kept him commitment-free, she’s building them up again, determined to keep the hurt—and Nick—out. But he can’t walk away. Not when she’s the only one who’s ever made him wish for forever . . .

Review: This is a difficult review to write. I just reread the book description to determine how much information to talk about without giving away the plot. However, I realized this can’t be a spoiler-free post. The main plot point and what ties together the relationship between Stephanie and Nick is essentially a spoiler. So here’s the warning!  SPOILERS!

Anyone who has been reading my blog knows I love books that make me cry. I’m sure there’s serious psychological reasons behind why I need to experience my emotions through books but this is not the time or place for that. Some of my favorite books are ones that make me sob like a baby. I have favorite books that I reread, knowing that I need a box of tissues next to me. When I discover a new book that makes me cry, it can make me ignore less desirable plot points and characters which would usually cause a lower rating. However, I truly think this book deserve a high rating and not just because it made me cry.

I’m still quite new to the New Adult genre. For a while, I put off reading it because it was too real. I was in college and was intimately familiar with the stresses and trials that go along with it. Reading has always been my escape and I didn’t want to read about problems similar to mine. Then, I slowly started to discover New Adult writers that pulled me into the genre like J.Lynn (Jennifer Armentrout) Cora Carmack, Sophie Jordan, and Erin McCarthy. It helped that I had read some of the authors in other genres. Sophie Jordan writes historical romance and Erin McCarthy writes contemporary and paranormal series which I’ve read. So the genre has familiar authors but just younger characters. Jennifer Armentrout’s Wait For You series has moved out of the New Adult genre a bit. This book and the one previous featured couples who had graduated college. They were in the real world, dealing with real jobs and bills and the stresses that go along with it. What I had initially disliked about the genre, i.e. sharing the same experiences as the characters, is now what I like about it. In this case, I freaked out along with Stephanie, and tried to imagine what I would do in her situation.

Okay, now for the spoiler. My second favorite plot point in romance novels, aside from making me cry, is the pregnancy trope. Ding, ding, ding, that’s the plot spoiler. While the description does hint at it, it doesn’t come out a say that the result of Nick and Stephanie’s one-night stand. Well, I guess the only options are pregnancy or a STD and the hero and heroine in romance novels do not get sexually transmitted diseases. That would be an interesting change in the genre though.

“We need to talk about that night.” She said into the phone, dreading that she needed to make this call to her one-night stand. It was supposed to be just that, a one-night stand. Completely consequence free. Until she started to feel sick. A trip to the doctor had confirmed her worst suspicions.

“What’s wrong?” His heart started to pound. Oh god, this can’t be happening, he thought to himself. We used protection. “Are you… pregnant?”

“I have chlamydia.”

Sorry, totally got side-tracked. And I barely talked about the relationship between Nick and Stephanie. While Nick was used to being the adult one, having to care for someone else, the discovery that she was pregnant was a shock and a life change for Stephanie. Their relationship bloomed from that shared experience. They decided first that they were going to keep the baby and then how their relationship would work. While there were still petty fights, their relationship came out stronger. While I did understand Stephanie’s reasons for wondering if Nick was just with her for the baby, it did bother me that she didn’t ask him. In the end, however, their relationship became stronger because of the trials they had to face together.

I did really like that there wasn’t a stigma on Stephanie for the one-night stand. She was a character who enjoyed sex and had decided that she didn’t need to be in a relationship to have it. It’s an extremely healthy and positive attitude and I liked that Jennifer Armentrout addressed the stigma of it. While Stephanie did feel awkward around Avery and Tess, whose boyfriends Stephanie had previously slept with, they welcomed her into the group and did not pass judgement on her. There needs to be more novels in which the heroine is not shamed for wanting a healthy sex life.

Rating: 4 out of 5. 

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Filed under Contemporary Romance, Reviews, Romance Novels

Indecent Proposal

Indecent Proposal by Molly O’Keefe 

22322816Description: With his chiseled jaw and thick blond hair, Harrison Montgomery was born to lead. Four generations of Montgomery men have served the state of Georgia, and now he’s next in line. Harrison, though, is driven to right wrongs: namely to clean up the political mess left by his father’s greed and corruption. But Harrison must first win his congressional bid, and nothing can get in his way—not even an angel who served him whiskey and gave him a shoulder to lean on and a body to love for a night. Problem is, she’s pregnant. Scandal is brewing, and there is only one solution: marriage.

Damage control? Ryan Kaminski can’t believe that a cold, calculating political animal now inhabits the body of the emotionally vulnerable stranger who gave her the most unforgettable night of her life. Really, she doesn’t want anything from Harrison, except to be left alone to have her baby in peace. But Ryan is broke, jobless, and essentially blackmailed by Harrison’s desperate family to accept this crazy marriage deal. For two years, she will have to act the role of caring, supportive wife. But what is Ryan supposed to do when she realizes that, deep in her heart, she’s falling in love?

Review: I actually wasn’t going to review this book. I read it in a few hours over a weekend and while I enjoyed the book, not much stood out. And I had other books I needed to review from Netgalley and the like. Then, I was flipping through the channels on TV the other day and stopped on the movie, 8 Mile. I ended up watching the last 45 minutes or so of the movie. What does 8 Mile, a movie about a rapper in Detroit, have to do with a book about a politician from Georgia and a bartender he got pregnant in a one night stand? Well, while I was watching the movie, I remembered that something I had read recently referenced the final rap scene in the movie. It’s the one where Rabbit gets up and admits to all his flaws and background before his opponent can use them against him. The heroine in the book was suggesting that they issue a preemptive strike. However, for the life of me, I couldn’t remember what book made this reference. It bothered me for the rest of the movie and the whole night. Finally, the next day, I went on Goodreads and checked which book I read recently. Low and behold, it was Indecent Proposal!

While I did enjoy this book, none of the main characters stuck with me. This was more of a time-filler book because I love the theme of pregnancy and marriage of convenience in romance novels. However, I am glad I read this book because I found I like Molly O’Keefe’s reading and I will eventually read more books by her.

Rating: 3 out of 5. 

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Filed under Contemporary Romance, Reviews, Romance Novels

The Wrong Bride

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The Wrong Bride
Highland Weddings #1

By: Gayle Callen    

Releasing October 27, 2015

Avon

Blurb:

The first in a wonderfully engaging series set in the Scottish Highlands, USA Today bestselling author Gayle Callen creates an unforgettable story of mistaken identity and irresistible attraction.

Shaken from sleep during the night, bundled off to the Highlands by a burly Scot, Riona is at first terrified, then livid. Hugh McCallum insists they were promised to each other as children to ensure peace between their clans. The stubborn laird refuses to believe he’s kidnapped the wrong Catriona Duff. Instead, he embarks on a campaign of slow-burning seduction…

At first, Hugh cares only what their marriage can do for his people. Now he’s starting to crave Riona for her own sake. But her true identity jeopardizes his clan’s contract. And unless she chooses to risk all to be his bride, he’ll lose the only thing he prizes more than the lands he’s fought so hard to save-the passionate marriage they could have together.

 

Link to Follow Tour:  http://www.tastybooktours.com/2015/08/the-wrong-bride-highland-weddings-1-by.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24805344-the-wrong-bride

Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/147068-highland-weddings

 

Buy Links:  Amazon | B &N| iTunes | Kobo

GayleAuthor Info

After a detour through fitness instructing and computer programming, GAYLE CALLEN found the life she’d always dreamed of as a romance writer. This USA Today bestselling author has written more than twenty historical romances for Avon Books, and her novels have won the Holt Medallion, the Laurel Wreath Award, the Booksellers’ Best Award, and been translated into eleven different languages. The mother of three grown children, an avid crafter, singer, and outdoor enthusiast, Gayle lives in Central New York with her dog Uma and her husband, Jim the Romance Hero. She also writes contemporary romances as Emma Cane. Visit her website at http://www.gaylecallen.com.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Three Paperback Copies of THE WRONG BRIDE)

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Excerpt:

From Gayle: Riona and Hugh are on the road, and some of my favorite scenes in historical romances are when they’re forced to share a room, something so forbidden in their society—and so fun to read!

 

How was Riona supposed to bathe like this, right beneath his knowing gaze?

As if reading her mind, Hugh said, “I’ll keep my back turned, but do be quick about it, my lady. I’d like my bath to be middling warm.”

She was too dazed for words—and then she realized she could not unlace her gown alone. “I need to call a maidservant,” she said, heading for the door.

For a big man, he moved with speed. He reached the door before she could.

“None of that,” he said.

“But—”

He turned her about like she was a child’s doll and started unlacing. It seemed to take too long, and soon he began to grumble.

“Damned wet laces.”

She bit her lip, saying nothing, feeling every tug as if he stroked her skin. She’d never felt like this before, so aware of someone so close to her. No man ever had been. She knew she was not ugly, but her cousin Cat was vivacious and cast a long shadow that hid other women when she was about. And then there was Riona’s constant care of Bronwyn, nights when her cousin attended a soiree alone since Riona had to attend her sister.

But now … this Highlander thought he would marry her. He thought he had the right to put his hands on her, to undress her. Everything inside her wanted to rebel, but it was useless, and tears burned her eyes. The moment her laces loosened, she fled across the room, holding the bodice in place.

He watched her, hair loose about his shoulders, eyes as smoldering as the peat fire. Bare legs, big strong feet, and callused hands meant for war. He could do anything he wanted to do to her—would she really make things easy by disrobing in front of him?

For a long moment their gazes held, and something hot seemed to uncurl down in the pit of her belly. She couldn’t breathe deeply, couldn’t blink, and only when he turned away did she take a deep breath.

He went to the hearth and sank down in a chair, and without turning his head, said, “Aye, we’ll have a good marriage, my lady. I can already feel what’s between us.”

“Between us,” she echoed with disdain. “You are mistaken. There is hatred and anger inside me, nothing else.”

His head turned now, and she caught his profile, the heavy brows, the strong nose, the firm mouth.

“Your anger lights your eyes with a green fire that I find enthralling. I can mold that fire, my lady, see if I don’t.”

And he turned away again.

She wanted to scream at him, to deny everything he said, but he wanted that kind of emotion from her, and she wouldn’t give him the satisfaction. Keeping her gaze on his every move, she pulled off her gown and left it in a heap, followed by her petticoats and then her chemise. By now she was trembling, although the room was warm enough. Practically tripping in her haste, she stepped over the edge and sat in the tub, cursing that the water barely covered her breasts, no matter how deeply she sank.

She was naked in the same room with a man who was nearly so, a man who intended to force her into marriage. She grabbed a facecloth, lathered a poor amount of strange-smelling soap, and began to rub her skin. The feel of being warm and clean was glorious—if only she could revel in it. But she felt like a rabbit tiptoeing past a wolf, desperate to finish before she was noticed.

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Review: I loved this book! The chemistry between Hugh and Riona was steamy and sensual. This was the first book I’ve read by Gayle Callen but it certainly won’t be the last!

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Filed under ARC, Books Tours, Historical Romance, Reviews, Romance Novels

Forever Your Earl

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Forever Your Earl and Scandal Takes the Stage
The Wicked Quills of London # 1 & 2

By: Eva Leigh

Avon Romance

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Blurb:

FOREVER YOUR EARL: The Wicked Quills of London # 1

Publishing with Avon on September 29, 2015 

Eleanor Hawke loves a good scandal. And readers of her successful gossip rag live for the exploits of her favorite subject: Daniel Balfour, the notorious Earl of Ashford. So when the earl himself marches into her office one day and invites her to experience his illicit pursuits firsthand, Eleanor is stunned. Gambling hells, phaeton races, masquerades…What more could a scandal writer want than a secret look into the life of this devilishly handsome rake?

Daniel has secrets and if The Hawk’s Eye gets wind of them, a man’s life could be at stake. And what better way to distract a gossip than by feeding her the scandal she desperately craves? But Daniel never expected the sharp mind and biting wit of the beautiful writer, and their desire for each other threatens even his best laid plans.

But when Eleanor learns the truth of his deception, Daniel will do anything to prove a romance between a commoner and an earl could really last forever.

Link to Follow Tour:  http://www.tastybooktours.com/2015/08/forever-your-earl-and-scandal-takes.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23314827-forever-your-earl

Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/138344-the-wicked-quills-of-london

Buy Links:  Amazon | B &NiTunes | Kobo

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Forever-Your-Earl-Wicked-Quills/dp/0062358626/ref=tmm_mmp_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

B&N:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/forever-your-earl-eva-leigh/1120999080?ean=9780062358622

iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/forever-your-earl/id926404144?mt=11

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/forever-your-earl

Scandal_Takes_the_StageBlurb:

SCANDAL TAKES THE STAGE: The Wicked Quills of London #2
Publishing with Avon on October 27, 2015

Successful playwright Maggie Delamere has no interest in the flirtations of noblemen like Cameron, Viscount Marwood. She once paid dearly for a moment of weakness… and vows to rebuff the wildly persistent-and irritatingly handsome-scoundrel at every turn. But when pressure to deliver a new play hampers her creativity, an invitation to use his country estate as a writer’s retreat is too tempting to resist…

For years, Cam has admired Maggie’s brilliant work and he can’t pass up the opportunity to discover if the beautiful, mysterious playwright is as passionate and clever as the words that flow from her quill. He’s never offered a lady his bed without being in it, but if it means loosening Maggie’s pen-and her inhibitions-he’ll do exactly that.

But soon Cam’s plans for seduction become a fight for Maggie’s heart. He’s more than the scandalous, carefree rake society believes him to be… and she’s the only woman who has ever noticed.

Link to Follow Tour:  http://www.tastybooktours.com/2015/08/forever-your-earl-and-scandal-takes.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24805314-scandal-takes-the-stage
Goodreads Series Link:
https://www.goodreads.com/series/138344-the-wicked-quills-of-london

Buy Links:  Amazon | B &N| iTunes | Kobo

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Scandal-Takes-Stage-Wicked-Quills/dp/0062358642/ref=tmm_mmp_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

B&N:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/scandal-takes-the-stage-eva-leigh/1121148040?ean=9780062358646

iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/scandal-takes-the-stage/id963823411?mt=11

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/scandal-takes-the-stage

Author Info

Eva LeighEVA LEIGH is the pen name of a RITA® Award-nominated romance author who writes novels chock-full of smart women and sexy men. She enjoys baking, Tweeting about boots, and listening to music from the ‘80s. Eva and her husband live in Central California.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

Website:  http://evaleighauthor.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eva-Leigh/1095832423767341

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/EvaLeighAuthor

GoodReads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8886093.Eva_Leigh

 

 

Rafflecopter Giveaway (a Print copy of FOREVER YOUR EARL and a $25 GiftCard to eBook Retailer of choice)

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Forever Your Earl Excerpt:

But Lord Ashford up close was rather…appalling.  It didn’t seem right that a man so blessed by fortune and title should also be so attractive.

His dark brown hair was fashionably cut and artfully tousled, as if he’d recently risen from a lover’s bed.  Given his reputation, that was most likely possible.   He had a broad forehead, a coin-clean jawline, thick brows, and eyes that, even with yards between her and him, stunned her with their blue clarity.  Naturally, he had a mouth that looked very adept at kissing and…other things.

He moved with a long-limbed ease that betrayed his skill as a sportsman.  His ink blue coat fit the broad width of his shoulders, and his cream and gold-embroidered waistcoat defined the shape of his torso—his tailor on Jermyn Street produced excellent work.  Snug doeskin breeches were tucked into polished Hessians that came from Bond Street.

Truly, he was quite alarming.

Miss Hawke?” he asked sharply, coming to stand in front of her paper-cluttered desk.  “I wasn’t expecting a female.”

“Neither were my parents,” she answered, “but they learned to adapt.  How might I help you, my lord?”

Though she felt an obligation to ask the question, she braced herself for what was sure to be a scorching lecture.

He removed his hat and set it aside.  Then he held up an issue of The Hawk’s Eye and began to read.

“’Lord A—d, a figure well-known to our assiduous and genteel readers, was lately seen in the company of a certain Mrs. F—e, whose late husband made his considerable fortune through the manufacture and sale of a woman’s garment we blush to mention in these virtuous pages.’”  He tossed one of the issues to the ground. “Wrong.”

“You cannot deny—”

But he wasn’t done.  Holding up another issue of the paper, he read again.  “’It may or may not stun our honorable readers to learn that the notorious Lord A—d has not amended his ways following the duel over Lady L., from Y—shire, and has been espied with another married lady of questionable character, at the late night revels hosted by the equally rakish Mr. S—n.  Yet it was noted by our keen-eyed intelligence that this married lady was not the only female vying for the earl’s favors.’” This paper he also cast to the floor.  “Wrong.”

She herself had written those pieces, and while they weren’t matchless examples of English prose, she was still rather proud of them, as she was of all her labors.  To have her hard work thrown to the ground like so much garbage was rankling.

“I assure you, my lord,” she said bitingly, “The Hawk’s Eye strives for the greatest of accuracy.”  She had a network of sources which she used regularly to provide information.  Many members of the aristocracy were in dire need of funds, and they gladly turned on each other in order to maintain the pretense of effortless wealth.  Eleanor always paid her informants to keep them returning.

Whether or not they lied to her just to collect payment wasn’t her concern, but she always preferred it if she could validate their statements.  Sometimes that meant going out and conducting a few investigations.  But she was a very busy woman—writing articles, editing countless others, managing the paper’s finances—and didn’t always have the time.

She had to earn a living, after all.  And men like the earl didn’t.

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Review: I really enjoyed this book. I love historical romances with the heroines taking on nontraditional roles, such as newspaper writer. A very quick and sensual read! Totally recommend!

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The Bourbon Kings

The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward

23398906Description: The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood delivers the first novel in an enthralling new series set amid the shifting dynamics of a Southern family defined by wealth and privilege—and compromised by secrets, deceit, and scandal….

For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege—as well as a hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate, Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances plays by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs, the staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.

For Lizzie King, Easterly’s head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that she intended or wanted—and their bitter breakup only served to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he is bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked: not Tulane’s beautiful and ruthless wife; not his older brother, whose bitterness and bad blood know no bounds; and especially not the ironfisted Bradford patriarch, a man with few morals, fewer scruples, and many, many terrible secrets.

As family tensions—professional and intimately private—ignite, Easterly and all its inhabitants are thrown into the grips of an irrevocable transformation, and only the cunning will survive.

Review:I have mixed feelings about this book. I loved J.R. Ward’s earlier Black Dagger Brotherhood books but the more recent ones have been hit or miss with me. So I was hesitant to pick up this book. The plot was fast-place and the characters quickly drew you in. This book was very much like later Black Dagger Brotherhood books with the focus on multiple characters and plots, not just the main couple. I did like the trope- gardener, Lizzie, falls in love with son of the house, Lane. While they were a good couple, I did have a few issues with their relationship. I wasn’t a fan of the fact that the hero didn’t have a job. I also didn’t like that their relationship started again while he was still married to someone else. Despite my reservations about the book, I am excited to read the new one in the series. And I can easily see how this series would become a TV show.

Rating: 3 out of 5. 

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