Thursday, January 30, 2014

THROWBACK THURSDAY-HISTORICAL ROMANCE EDITION (11)

Happy Thursday, everyone! This is a new feature hosted by Buried Under Romance and Love Saves the World.

What is Throwback Thursday: Historical Romance Edition?
Traditionally, Throwback Thursday celebrates nostalgia, asking participants to post a personal photo or an image from their past -- usually from 5 to 10 years ago. There are a lot of book blogs that also do a book-related Throwback Thursday.  Since Tin and Mary C. are unapologetic lovers of historical romances, they've decided to focus on this beloved genre.

Here are the rules:
1. It must be posted on a Thursday.
2. It must be a historical romance novel published before October 2008.


THIS WEEK I AM FEATURING...

Slightly Dangerous (Bedwyn Saga, #6)

SLIGHTLY DANGEROUS
(Bedwyn Saga #6)
by Mary Balogh

Originally Published: January 2004

All of London is abuzz over the imminent arrival of Wulfric Bedwyn, the reclusive, cold-as-ice Duke of Bewcastle, at the most glittering social event of the season. Some whisper of a tragic love affair. Others say he is so aloof and passionless that not even the greatest beauty could capture his attention. But on this dazzling afternoon, one woman did catch the duke's eye, and she was the only female in the room who wasn't even trying. Christine Derrick is intrigued by the handsome duke, all the more so when he invites her to become his mistress.

What red-blooded woman wouldn't enjoy a tumble in the bedsheets with a consummate lover, with no strings and no questions asked. An infuriating lady with very definite views on men, morals, and marriage, Christine confounds Wulfric at every turn. Yet even as the lone wolf of the Bedwyn clan vows to seduce her any way he can, something strange and wonderful is happening. Now, for a man who thought he'd never lose his heart, nothing less than love will do.

With her trademark wit, riveting storytelling, and sizzling sexual sparks, Mary Balogh once again brings together two polar opposites: an irresistible, high-and-mighty aristocrat and the impulsive, pleasure-loving woman who shows him what true passion is all about. A man and a woman so wrong for each other, it can result only in the perfect match.


*******************
This is heavily influenced by my second favorite Austen book, Pride and Prejudice. In the final installment in her popular Bedwyn family saga, Mary Balogh gives her stoic, ever-proper Wulfric, Duke of Bewcastle, a wonderful love story. Throughout the series, readers have seen signs of Wulf's love for his family, but it is always in random glimpses. Slightly Dangerous shows Wulf meeting and falling head over heels for a woman (Christine) that he considers to be the exact opposite of what he needs in a wife. There is nothing better than watching a straight-laced gentleman become completely flustered when he falls in love.  While it is the conclusion of a series, I definitely think this book can be read as a stand-alone.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Worlds I'd Never Want To Live In


Hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish.

~Top Ten Worlds I'd Never Want To Live In~

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)
1. Panem -- The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
I think it is a bit obvious, but I definitely wouldn't want to live in a place where something like the Hunger Games takes place though the fashion in the Capitol is kinda cool.

Across the Universe (Across the Universe, #1)
2. Godspeed -- Across the Universe trilogy by Beth Revis
As much as I am fascinated by space, I have no desire to live on a spaceship that is traveling to an unknown planet
[My Review of Across the Universe]

The Iron King (The Iron Fey, #1)
3. The Nevernever -- Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa
I love the way that Kagawa describes this land of Fae, but it just seems to dangerous for my taste.
[My Review of The Iron King]

Pleasure Unbound (Demonica, #1)
4. Sheoul -- Demonica/Lords of Deliverance series by Larissa Ione
Basically, a version of hell full of demons (humanoid and not).  A no-brainer for me.
[My Review of Immortal Rider]

Darkfever (Fever, #1)
5. Dublin -- Fever/Fever World series by Karen Marie Moning
The descriptions of the fae that inhabit this city (before and after the wall between the worlds crashed) are too terrifying for me to sleep comfortably.

Kiss of Steel (London Steampunk, #1)
6. London -- London Steampunk series by Bec McMaster
While this is a fascinating alternate version of the city, I would have some issues living in a world where aristocratic vampires select blood slaves and fight against cyborgs.
[My Review of Kiss of Steel]

Across a Star-Swept Sea (For Darkness Shows the Stars, #2)
7. Galatea -- Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund
Way too similar to Revolutionary France for me plus the concept of Reduction just makes me sad.
[My Review of Across a Star-Swept Sea]

Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days #1)
8. Post-Apocalyptic California -- Angelfall by Susan Ee
I definitely don't want to live in a world full of killer angels.
[My Review of Angelfall]

Unholy Ghosts (Downside Ghosts, #1)
9. Downside -- Downside Ghosts series by Stacia Kane
A church-controlled world full of ghosts, psychotic drug dealers, and tons of violence?  No thanks!

[My Review of Unholy Ghosts]

Divergent (Divergent, #1)
10. Chicago -- Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth
Another obvious answer, but I have no desire to live in a place that will define me by one personality trait.
[My Review of Divergent]

Monday, January 27, 2014

NOVELLA REVIEW: "Among the Nameless Stars"


Among the Nameless Stars (For Darkness Shows the Stars, #0.5)
Among the Nameless Stars by Diana Peterfreund
(For Darkness Shows the Stars #0.5)

Goodreads -- Amazon 
Author Website

For Ages 13+ (language)
Young Adult -- Science Fiction/Dystopian
Harper Collins -- June 4, 2012
Ebook, 60 pages
Purchased from Amazon (FREE!!)

THEMES
Novella, Retelling

SUMMARY
Four years before the events of FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS, the servant Kai left the North Estate, the only home he’d ever known, and Elliot North, the only girl he ever loved, in search of a better life. But the journey was not an easy one.

FIRST LINE
"The first week was the hardest."

MY THOUGHTS
Prequel novellas are not usually my cup of tea, but I enjoyed For Darkness Shows the Stars enough that I wanted to know what really happened to Kai after he left the North estate.  Among the Nameless Stars is a creative and action-packed mini-story that will provide either a great introduction to Peterfreund's world or give existing fans an insight into Kai's story.

This series takes place in a dystopian future where humanity was desecrated by mental disorder known as Reduction.  Peterfreund doesn't go too far into this disease in Among the Nameless Stars, but teases readers enough that they understand this is a dark time.  I think it just the perfect amount of world building for a prequel since it definitely would have wet my appetite if I hadn't already read For Darkness Shows the Stars.

Kai is a former servant who has escaped from an estate and is trying to build a life for himself.  His character is a little difficult to get an impression on in For Darkness Shows the Stars, but he emerged as a well-developed and engaging personality from the beginning of this novella.  Readers get to understand why he left the only home he had ever known and just how much he misses his great love, Elliot.  His unsent letters to Elliot were easily my favorite parts of the whole story!

I don't want to say too much more in order to avoid spoiling both Among the Nameless Stars and For Darkness Shows the Stars, but I highly recommend this entire series!  The world building is creative, the characters are likable, and the romance of Kai/Elliot is just so sweet.

4 STARS

BOOKS IN THE SERIES
0.5. Among the Nameless Stars
1. For Darkness Shows the Stars
1.5. First Star to Fall
2. Among the Star-Swept Sea

CHALLENGES READ FOR
http://paranormalbookreviews-kelly.blogspot.com/2013/11/2014-reading-challenge-seriously-series.html
 

Friday, January 24, 2014

FOLLOW FRIDAY (99)

Alison Can Read Feature & Follow
Feature & Follow Friday is a blog hop that expands your blog following by a joint effort between bloggers. Feature & Follow Friday is now hosted by TWO hosts, Rachel of Parajunkee and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs!

Q:  WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO READING IN 2014?

Way too many to count, but here are the first five to pop into my head:

1. Up From the Grave by Jeaniene Frost -- Conclusion to the epic Night Huntress series.

2. Cress by Marissa Meyer -- More sci-fi fairy tales!

3. Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead -- Continuation of Sydney and Adrian's adventures.

4. The King by J.R. Ward -- Return to Wrath/Beth's storyline.

5. Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout -- Conclusion to the Lux series.


*******

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I have created different ways for you to follow my blog: Bloglovin', LinkyFollowers, , Twitter, Goodreads, or email.  Comment, follow me, and I'll return the favor!!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

THROWBACK THURSDAY-HISTORICAL ROMANCE EDITION (10)

Happy Thursday, everyone! This is a new feature hosted by Buried Under Romance and Love Saves the World.

What is Throwback Thursday: Historical Romance Edition?
Traditionally, Throwback Thursday celebrates nostalgia, asking participants to post a personal photo or an image from their past -- usually from 5 to 10 years ago. There are a lot of book blogs that also do a book-related Throwback Thursday.  Since Tin and Mary C. are unapologetic lovers of historical romances, they've decided to focus on this beloved genre.

Here are the rules:
1. It must be posted on a Thursday.
2. It must be a historical romance novel published before October 2008.


THIS WEEK I AM FEATURING...

Morning Glory Morning Glory

MORNING GLORY
by LaVyrle Spencer

Originally Published in 1989

LOVE IN A STRANGER'S EYES...

ELLY
In town, they called her "Crazy Widow Dinsmore." But Elly was no stranger to their ridicule--she had been an outsider all her life, growing up in a boarded-up old house under the strict eye of her eccentric grandparents. Now she was all alone, with two little boys to raise, and a third child on the way.

WILL
He drifted into Whitney, Georgia, one lazy afternoon in the summer of 1941, hoping to put his lonely past behind him. He yearned for the tenderness he had never known, the home he'd never had. All he needed was for someone to give him a chance.

Then he saw her classified ad: WANTED--A husband. When he stepped across Elly Dinsmore's cluttered yard, Will Parker knew he had come home at last ...


*******************
This is an Americana historical (early 1940s Georgia) that makes the reader feel every type of emotion possible. While reading, and re-reading this, I've laughed, cried, and practically hugged the book in pure joy. The story of a recently released convict and a plain, pregnant widow sounds like it could go straight into cheesy, but it never does. The situations that Will and Ellie find themselves in at the beginning are heartbreaking which makes the slow development of their feelings for each other that much more enjoyable. My personal favorite parts are the letters that Will and Ellie write to each other while Will is fighting in World War II.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

NOVELLA REVIEW: "The Last Wicked Scoundrel" by Lorraine Heath


The Last Wicked Scoundrel (Scoundrels of St. James, #5)
The Last Wicked Scoundrel by Lorraine Heath
(Scoundrels of St. James #5)

Goodreads -- Amazon
Author Website

For Ages 18+ (language, sex)
Historical Romance
Avon Impulse -- January 7, 2014
Ebook, 100 pages
Purchased from Amazon

THEMES
Novella, Class Differences, Tormented Heroine  

SUMMARY
William Graves is the last of Feagan's scoundrels. A onetime grave robber turned royal physician, he has devoted his life to saving others—because he knows there is no way to save himself. Especially not around a lady like Winnie. Though undeserving of her touch, he cannot resist. His passion cannot be tamed…even in the face of certain danger.

Winnie, the Duchess of Avendale, never knew peace until her brutal husband died. With William she's discovered burning desire—and the healing power of love. But now, confronted by the past she thought she'd left behind, Winnie must face her fears…or risk losing the one man who can fulfill all her dreams.

FIRST LINE
"Winifred Buckland, the Duchess of Avendale, had never been more terrified in her life."

MY THOUGHTS
Heath's Scoundrels of St. James series was a wonderful collection of historical romances that were heavily inspired by Oliver Twist.  Readers got to see a group of street orphans escape their poverty-stricken lives, be educated, and find love over the course of the series.  William Graves (as the summary above says) is the last one to find "true love".  He is a character that I always enjoyed reading about and I was depressed when it seemed like we would never get his story.  So I was really excited when Heath decided to do a novella showing his happily ever after.

William has moved up the social ranks by becoming an accomplished physician who is one of a multitude of men who work for Queen Victoria.  But, he has never forgotten his early days helping his father rob graves and living on the streets.  I loved getting to know more about him in this book.  He showed real strength of character by moving past his less than ideal childhood and devoting his life to helping others.  Physicians in this time are always fascinating to me because of the mixture of knowledge and mystery that they deal with on a regular basis.

Winnie was a character that is definitely not the norm in today's historicals.  She is introverted and slightly damaged from the years of abuse she suffered during her marriage.  But, Winnie shows a quiet strength by recovering and striving to live her life to the fullest.  She is a very devoted mother and I loved every scene where she interacted with her son.  I also liked that, while she was hesitant about her physical attraction to William, she was not afraid to admit her feelings even if they were not going to be widely accepted by society.

One of the issues I usually have with romance novellas is that the romance happens so fast and is rarely well-developed.  Thankfully, Heath avoids this problem by making sure readers knew that William and Winnie had known each other for years.  William helped save Winnie's life after a particularly brutal beating by her husband and even helped get rid of him forever.  They interacted on a somewhat regular basis and it was obvious that they had feelings for each.  They just needed a little push in the right direction.  I thought this own plot was very sweet and charming.

The only main problem I had with this book was the suspense element.  It was intriguing that Winnie's husband might possibly be back from the dead and I really felt for her in those terrifying moments.  But, I thought it ended too quickly and was pretty anti-climatic.  I think the story would have been better served without this particular plot and just focused on the love story due to the page length.

Despite that one issue, I enjoyed this novella and am looking forward to seeing what Heath does with the next generation in her new series, Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James.  If you haven't tried these books, I definitely recommend them since they blend social issues, romance, and mystery seamlessly and give you characters that you will remember long after you are done.


4 STARS

STEAM LEVEL
Flush -- Detailed descriptions of lovemaking though nothing overly graphic.
FAVORITE QUOTES
"He had been consumed with healing, not realizing that a part of him needed healing as well.  He didn't need to save the world to atone for the sins of his youth.  He merely needed to save a a portion of it.  He'd only needed to save her."

BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. In Bed with the Devil
2. Between the Devil and Desire
3. Surrender to the Devil
4. Midnight Pleasures with a Scoundrel
5. The Last Wicked Scoundrel

CHALLENGES READ FOR
 
 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

TOP TEN TUESDAY: My Reading Wishlist


Hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish.

~Top Ten Things On My Reading Wishlist~

HISTORICAL SETTINGS

1. Imperial Japan
I know very little about this era, but I would love to learn more about it through either YA historical fiction or historical romance.  I have really been enjoying Jeannie Lin's romances that take place in Tang Dynasty China and it has been fascinating to read about something I know nothing about.

2. Victorian-era Australia
I read a lot of UK-set romances and they usually only mention Australia's position as a penal colony.  I just know there is more to it and I would love read about it.

3. Tsarist Russia
A tumulutous time, but one that seems like the perfect setting for a historical romance or a YA historical fiction novel.  What would be most fascinating is whether the author chooses to focus on the aristocracy or the peasants.

4. Renaissance Italy
A time period full of fashion, academia, and political intrigue that I think would make an amazing setting for historical romance.  I have a soft spot for Venice (in particular), but I would love to read about any of the city states from the point of view of people who live there, not visitors.

PARANORMAL CREATURES

5. Sirens
I just love the mythology behind their existence and would love to see an author build a paranormal world around them.  It would be equally interesting if there were even male sirens...

6. Banshees
I know that Rachel Vincent focused on them in her Soul Screamers series, but I want more.  I would especially love to see an adult paranormal romance look at them.

7. Moirae
The Fates have always been interesting and I want to know their origin story.  Plus it would be fun to see them have to adjust to falling in love or interacting with the human world.

FAIRY TALE RETELLINGS

8. The Six Swans
The tale of six brothers who are cursed by their stepmother and their sister has to rescue them?  Sounds like a winner to me!  I would especially love to see someone like Diana Peterfreund do a sci-fi version of it.

9. Snow Queen
I have a feeling this will be coming after the success of Frozen and I couldn't be more excited.  I especially love the way that Disney handled the sisterly relationship which I think could be interesting in YA fiction.

10. Allerleirauh
My all-time favorite fairy tale when I was little that tells the story of a girl who tries to prevent her future marriage by requesting impossible gifts.  The original has her trying to avoid a marriage with her own father (understandably), but I didn't read that version until I was a teenager.  There is a lot of fashion and the heroine in disguise which I think would be fun to read about.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

REVIEW: "Across a Star-Swept Sea" by Diana Peterfreund

Across a Star-Swept Sea (For Darkness Shows the Stars, #2)
Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund
For Ages 13+ (violence, language)
Young Adult -- Science Fiction/Dystopian
Balzer & Bray -- October 2013
Hardcover, 464 pages
Purchased from Amazon

THEMES
Retelling, Unique Setting, Kick-Ass Heroine

SUMMARY
Centuries after wars nearly destroyed civilization, the two islands of New Pacifica stand alone, a terraformed paradise where even the Reduction—the devastating brain disorder that sparked the wars—is a distant memory. Yet on the isle of Galatea, an uprising against the ruling aristocrats has turned deadly. The revolutionaries’ weapon is a drug that damages their enemies’ brains, and the only hope is rescue by a mysterious spy known as the Wild Poppy.

On the neighboring island of Albion, no one suspects that the Wild Poppy is actually famously frivolous aristocrat Persis Blake. The teenager uses her shallow, socialite trappings to hide her true purpose: her gossipy flutternotes are encrypted plans, her pampered sea mink is genetically engineered for spying, and her well-publicized new romance with handsome Galatean medic Justen Helo… is her most dangerous mission ever.

Though Persis is falling for Justen, she can’t risk showing him her true self, especially once she learns he’s hiding far more than simply his disenchantment with his country’s revolution and his undeniable attraction to the silly socialite he’s pretending to love. His darkest secret could plunge both islands into a new dark age, and Persis realizes that when it comes to Justen Helo, she’s not only risking her heart, she’s risking the world she’s sworn to protect.


FIRST LINE
"If the Wild Poppy dared return to Galatea, Citizen Cutler was ready."

MY THOUGHTS
After finishing Across a Star-Swept Sea, I think the first words out of my mouth were "Wow."  That is such a small word for the feelings that I got while reading this book.  So, please, bear with me as I try to express how fantastic I thought this story was in as coherent a way as possible.

This book is a wonderful retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy with a science fiction/dystopian setting.  The Earth has changed dramatically by the time this story begins.  Years of genetic experiments resulted in a heartbreaking brain disorder known as the Reduction which affected the mental capacity and maturity of the victims.  This later caused wars to break out throughout the planet which destroyed almost all the civilizations.  Two island societies emerged from the chaos (Galatea and Albion) and Reduction was eventually cured.  But, things get complicated when the aristocracy of Galatea is overthrown and their enemies have access to drugs that seem to replicate that long-forgotten disease.  The savior of these people is the mysterious Wild Poppy.

The heroine of this book is Lady Persis Blake, an Albion aristocrat who uses her carefully constructed reputation for obsessing over fashion and parties to hide the fact that she is the Wild Poppy.  Along with her friends, she uses a variety of disguises in order to sneak into Galatea, find prisoners, and sneak them across the sea into Albion.  I absolutely loved Persis!  She is one of the most admirable young adult heroines I've read in a long time.  She is intelligent, resourceful, and sensitive to the plights of others.  I liked the fact that she was not perfect in her philosophies regarding the aristocracy, but was willing to admit when she was wrong.  I also thought it was interesting, and spot-on, for Peterfreund to cast a teenaged girl as the Wild Poppy because that is a type of person who is often overlooked which is the entire point of the original story.

Persis's mission is altered when she meets Galatean Justen Helo, grandson of the woman who invented the Reduction cure.  While Persis was pretty much the center of the story, I thought Justen was another great character who more than stood his own against her.  He is considered a hero by his country (aristocrat and revolutionaries alike) for his family ties, but his political stances are not black and white.  Justen is a brilliant scientist who is uncomfortable with the way that the revolution has evolved and travels to Albion to figure out a way to stop it.  Like Persis, there is much more to Justen than what is first shown to readers and it was fascinating to watch his secrets be revealed and his actions be explained.

Persis and Justen's relationship (like in The Scarlet Pimpernel) starts off as a ruse.  They are asked to act out a very public romance in order to keep Justen's true purpose hidden from Galatea and to distract the rest of the Albion people.  Because both are skilled manipulators (especially Persis), this love story is very believable to others.  I loved the banter between Justen and Persis especially when they try to figure out the other's secrets.  Their evolution from unwilling partners to friends to something more was slow-burning, but never boring to me.  Nothing feels rushed or out of place in the development of this relationship.

Because of the nature of the story, Peterfreund provided readers with a large, colorful cast of characters to interact with Persis and Justen.  I can't describe all of them in order to avoid spoilers, but my particular favorites were Justen's sister, Remy, and Persis's best friend, Isla.  Everyone in the book had a purpose in the overall plot whether they were an enemy, a friend, or an innocent bystander which always signals a great story for me.

This book is considered a companion novel to For Darkness Shows the Stars.  Both take place in the dystopian setting where the world was changed by the Reduction.  FDStS takes place in a part of the planet where the Reduction still exists and civilization has become very reminiscent of Regency-era England.  This works well since Peterfreund did a retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion in that setting.  While I did read (and adored!) the first book, I definitely don't think it needs to be read to enjoy this one.  Some of the characters from FDStS do pop up in Across a Star-Swept Sea, but Peterfreund does a great job of explaining who they are without requiring previous knowledge.

In conclusion, I just fell in love with Peterfreund's universe and her skill at retelling classics.  She keeps the important information, but shows off her creativity especially with the character of Persis and the world of New Pacifica.  I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves a creative, well-developed story even if you aren't a big fan of science fiction.


5 STARS

STEAM LEVEL
Blush -- Kisses with no/minor touching.

FAVORITE QUOTE
No one is innocent in the tide of history. Everyone has kings and slaves in his past. Everyone has saints and sinners. We are not to blame for the actions of our ancestors. We can only try to be the best we can, no matter what our heritage, to strive for a better future for all.


BOOKS IN THE SERIES
0.5. Among the Nameless Stars
1. For Darkness Shows the Stars
1.5. The First Star to Fall
2. Across a Star-Swept Sea

Saturday, January 18, 2014

STACKING THE SHELVES (23)

STSmall_thumb[2][2]
A great feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews where bloggers get to feature the new books they received over the past week.


~BOUGHT~
Among the Nameless Stars (For Darkness Shows the Stars, #0.5) The First Star to Fall (For Darkness Shows the Stars, #1.5) The Mane Event (Pride, #1)
Among the Nameless Stars by Diana Peterfreund (YA science fiction)
A freebie novella that is the prequel to For Darkness Shows the Stars which is one of my favorite books.

The First Star to Fall by Diana Peterfreund (YA science fiction)
A freebie novella that is the prequel to Across a Star-Swept Sea which I loved and am reviewing tomorrow.

The Mane Event by Shelly Laurenston (paranormal romance)
I enjoy Laurenston's dragon series (under the name G.A. Aiken) so I had to grab this shifter romance while it was on sale.

~RECEIVED FOR REVIEW~
When the Rogue Returns (The Duke's Men, #2) Dirty Deeds (Dirty Deeds, #1)
 When the Rogue Returns by Sabrina Jeffries (historical romance)
Love Jeffries's historicals and am super excited to get an e-ARC through Edelweiss.

Dirty Deeds by S.E. Jakes (male/male contemporary)
A spin-off of the Hell or High Water series featuring an undercover agent and the man tasked with ferreting him out.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

THROWBACK THURSDAY-HISTORICAL ROMANCE EDITION (9)

Happy Thursday, everyone! This is a new feature hosted by Buried Under Romance and Love Saves the World.

What is Throwback Thursday: Historical Romance Edition?
Traditionally, Throwback Thursday celebrates nostalgia, asking participants to post a personal photo or an image from their past -- usually from 5 to 10 years ago. There are a lot of book blogs that also do a book-related Throwback Thursday.  Since Tin and Mary C. are unapologetic lovers of historical romances, they've decided to focus on this beloved genre.

Here are the rules:
1. It must be posted on a Thursday.
2. It must be a historical romance novel published before October 2008.


THIS WEEK I AM FEATURING...

England's Perfect Hero (Lessons in Love, #3) 
ENGLAND'S PERFECT HERO
(Lessons in Love #3)
by Suzanne Enoch

Published: February 24, 2004

Lucinda Barrett's best friends ended up married to the men to whom they delivered their "lessons in love." So Lucinda decides to choose someone who definitely needs lessons, but someone who will not complicate her life. And that person is definitely not Robert Carroway.

Robert is nothing if not complicated, and though he is the brother of a viscount, he rarely goes about society, and finds the weather and hat fashions ludicrous subjects for discussion. Robert is attracted to Lucinda's unpretentious ways, her serenity and her kindness. When she chooses someone for her love lessons, Robert offers to help her deliver her lessons, but sets out to convince the woman he has fallen for to take a chance on love...and on him. 


**************
This is the conclusion of Enoch's Lessons in Love trilogy, but it can definitely be read as a stand-alone.  I enjoyed the other two though they did not compare to this one.  This is a wonderfully written romance that does go into some dark places.  Robert suffers from what we would identify now as PTSD and I thought Enoch did a good job depicting such a disorder in this time period.  The blurb doesn't mention much about Robert's experience which is a shame since that drives the entire book for me.  Both characters are fully developed and feel like someone that you could meet walking down the street.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

TOP TEN TUESDAY: 2014 Debuts I'm Most Excited For


Hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish.

~2014 Debuts I'm Most Excited For~


Must Love Dukes (Tricks of the Ton, #1)1. Must Love Dukes by Elizabeth Michels 
(historical romance)
[FEBRUARY 4TH]

Straight-laced, self-proclaimed spinster Lily Phillips is forced to become a liar, seductress and thief to retrieve her family’s lost property. Her secret is safe until her brothers order her from a quiet life to an arranged marriage in London—a move that threatens to reveal her past when she encounters the man with whom her crime spree began.

Devon Grey, Duke of Thornwood, known to all of London as the Mad Duke, is an explorer chained to a city he hates by the title he never wanted. After he’s coerced by his friend into an evening out, Devon makes his greatest discovery yet. There, in a London ballroom stands the prim miss he’s been in search of for a year. After all, how could he forget the night Lily stole from him and vanished while he slept?

Determined to have his revenge, Devon blackmails Lily into participating in various escapades to torment her would-be suitors and scandalize London society. At the risk of having her secret revealed, Lily bends to Devon’s will. Forced to participate in such terrible activities as setting hunting dogs upon a skirt chaser’s crotch in the middle of a ballroom, or knocking a pompous equestrian from his much revered high horse; she eventually begins to enjoy the stunts. Lily remembers why she let her guard down with Devon a year ago. In turn, Devon watches this mysterious Lily begin to bloom into the woman of his desires.

When Lily’s brothers force an unwanted betrothal upon her, will Devon choose to burn his dreams of scientific exploration and truly forgive her before it’s too late? 


The Shadow Prince (Into the Dark, #1)2. The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain 
(YA fantasy)
[MARCH 11TH]

Haden Lord, the disgraced prince of the Underrealm, has been sent to the mortal world to entice a girl into returning with him to the land of the dead. Posing as a student at Olympus Hills High—a haven for children of the rich and famous—Haden must single out the one girl rumored to be able to restore immortality to his race.

Daphne Raines has dreams much bigger than her tiny southern Utah town, so when her rock star dad suddenly reappears, offering her full tuition to Olympus Hills High’s prestigious music program, she sees an opportunity to catch the break she needs to make it as a singer. But upon moving into her estranged father’s mansion in California, and attending her glamorous new school, Daphne soon realizes she isn’t the only student in Olympus who doesn’t quite belong.

Haden and Daphne—destined for each other—know nothing of the true stakes their fated courtship entails. As war between the gods brews, the teenagers’ lives collide. But Daphne won’t be wooed easily and when it seems their prophesied link could happen, Haden realizes something he never intended—he’s fallen in love. Now to save themselves, Haden and Daphne must rewrite their destinies. But as their destinies change, so do the fates of both their worlds.

Alienated (Alienated, #1)3. Alienated by Melissa Landers 
(YA science fiction)
[FEBRUARY 4TH]

Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them. Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.  But when Cara's classmates get swept up by anti-L'eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn't safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara's locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she's fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.


A Mad, Wicked Folly4. A Mad Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller 
(YA historical)
[JANUARY 23RD]
 
Welcome to the world of the fabulously wealthy in London, 1909, where dresses and houses are overwhelmingly opulent, social class means everything, and women are taught to be nothing more than wives and mothers. Into this world comes seventeen-year-old Victoria Darling, who wants only to be an artist—a nearly impossible dream for a girl.

After Vicky poses nude for her illicit art class, she is expelled from her French finishing school. Shamed and scandalized, her parents try to marry her off to the wealthy Edmund Carrick-Humphrey. But Vicky has other things on her mind: her clandestine application to the Royal College of Art; her participation in the suffragette movement; and her growing attraction to a working-class boy who may be her muse—or may be the love of her life. As the world of debutante balls, corsets, and high society obligations closes in around her, Vicky must figure out: just how much is she willing to sacrifice to pursue her dreams?



Cruel Beauty
5. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge 
(YA paranormal)
[JANUARY 28TH]

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.  With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.  As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

 

First to Burn (Immortal Vikings, #1)6. First to Burn by Anna Richland 
(paranormal romance)
[JANUARY 27TH]

A soldier with secrets...Immortal Viking Wulf Wardsen once battled alongside Beowulf, and now serves in Afghanistan. He's trusted the mortal men on his elite special operations team to protect his secret, until an explosion lands Wulf in a place more dangerous to him than a battlefield: a medevac helicopter.

A doctor with questions...Army captain Theresa Chiesa follows the rules and expects the same from others, even special forces hotshots like Sergeant Wardsen. She's determined to discover the secret behind his supernaturally fast healing, and she won't allow his sexy smile to distract her.

An enemy with nothing to lose...Even as Theresa's investigation threatens to expose him, Wulf is stirred by her passion. Dreaming of love and a normal life, he wants nothing more than to build a future with her. But the lost Viking relic needed to reverse his immortality is being hunted by another—an ancient enemy who won't hesitate to hurt Theresa to strike back at Wulf.
 


Nil
7. Nil by Lynne Matson 
(YA dystopian)
[MARCH 4TH]

On the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have one year. Exactly 365 days--to escape, or you die.  Seventeen-year-old Charley doesn’t know the rules. She doesn’t even know where she is. The last thing she remembers is blacking out, and when she wakes up, she’s lying naked in an empty rock field.

Lost and alone, Charley finds no sign of other people until she meets Thad, the gorgeous leader of a clan of teenage refugees. Soon Charley learns that leaving the island is harder than she thought . . . and so is falling in love. With Thad’s time running out, Charley realizes that to save their future, Charley must first save him. And on an island rife with dangers, their greatest threat is time.



Cold Iron (Cold Iron, #1) 
8. Cold Iron by D.L. McDermott (paranormal romance)
[FEBRUARY 10TH]

The Fae, the Good Neighbors, the Fair Folk, the Aes SĂ­dhe, creatures of preternatural beauty and seduction. Archaeologist Beth Carter doesn’t believe in them. She’s always credited her extraordinary ability to identify ancient Celtic sites to hard work and intuition—until she discovers a tomb filled with ancient treasure but missing a body. Her ex-husband, the scholar who stifled her career to advance his own, is unconcerned. Corpses don’t fetch much on the antiquities market. Gold does. Beth knows from past experience that if she isn’t vigilant, Frank will make off with the hoard.

So when a man—tall, broad shouldered, and impossibly handsome—turns up in her bedroom claiming to be the tomb’s inhabitant, one of mythic god-kings of old Ireland, Beth believes it is a ploy cooked up by her ex-husband to scare her away from the excavation.

But Conn is all too real. Ancient, alien, irresistible, the Fae are the stuff of dreams and nightmares, their attentions so addictive their abandoned human lovers wither and die. And this one has fixed his supernatural desire on Beth.
 



A Duke's Wicked Kiss 
9. A Duke's Wicked Kiss by Kathleen Bittner Roth 
(historical romance)
[AUGUST 26TH]

Miss Suri Thurston, illegitimate daughter of a duke and high-caste Indian royal, travels to India to confront a malevolent grandmother, and encounters a man who, ten years prior, left an indelible imprint on her soul.

As covert head of the Queen’s Foreign Service, the Duke of Ravenswood’s duty is to prevent a mutiny, but when Suri appears in a Delhi ballroom on a mission that wreaks havoc, he is forced to intervene, only to find his heart forever bound to hers.

While their love can rise above the scandal of marriage, will deceit and treachery tear their world apart?
 



The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1)

10. Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
(YA fantasy)
[JULY 8TH]

On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon—from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic—to prevent her from wearing the crown.

Despite her royal blood, Kelsea feels like nothing so much as an insecure girl, a child called upon to lead a people and a kingdom about which she knows almost nothing. But what she discovers in the capital will change everything, confronting her with horrors she never imagined. An act of singular daring will throw Kelsea’s kingdom into tumult, unleashing the vengeance of the tyrannical ruler of neighboring Mortmesne: the Red Queen, a sorceress possessed of the darkest magic. Now Kelsea will begin to discover whom among the servants, aristocracy, and her own guard she can trust.

But the quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun—a wondrous journey of self-discovery and a trial by fire that will make her a legend…if she can survive.