Win the September ’18 bookshelf of signed thrillers!

September 1, 2018

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Welcome to the September bookshelf of signed thrillers! Lots of terrific books to win this month from bestsellers to debuts. More books may be added throughout the month, so check back often.

To enter, go to the Win Books page.

Best of luck!

TRUST ME by Hank Phillippi Ryan:  An unlikely alliance between an accused killer who swears she is innocent and a grieving journalist trying to rebuild her shattered life leads to a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse.

VOX by Christina Dalcher: Marginalized in a near-future America where the government limits women to no more than 100 spoken words daily before outlawing women’s education and employment altogether, a former doctor resolves to be heard for the sake of her daughter.

A FORGOTTEN PLACE by Charles ToddWorking in an amputee clinic in Wales, Bess Crawford advocates on behalf of disabled former soldiers who endure life-risking conditions in coal mines while trying to discern the whereabouts of a missing Army captain.

ROBERT B. PARKER’S COLORBLIND by Reed Farrel Coleman: Returning after a stint in rehab, Jesse Stone finds himself investigating a series of racially motivated crimes at the same time he takes a mysterious young man named Cole Slayton as his protâegâe.

TEN AFTER CLOSING by Jessica Bayliss: Told from alternating perspectives, teenagers Scott and Winsome are thrown into circumstances that will test their limits when they’re taken hostage at gunpoint in a cafâe and must come up with an escape plan or they may not live to see morning.

UNDER A DARK SKY by Lori Rader-Day: A grieving widow tackles her phobias during a week-long stay at a dark-sky park, where a college reunion is marred by murder.

WALK A CROOKED LINE by Susan McBride:In the follow-up to the #1 Kindle bestseller Walk into Silence, a young girl takes her own life. But what—or who—drove her to it?

HUSK by Dave Zeltserman:  Charlie is a Husker on the prowl in New Hampshire when he falls in love with one of them: a girl named Jill. He leaves the cannibalistic Husk clan, but it’s more difficult and dangerous than Charlie foresees. He must find the secret to ending his terrible cravings, before it kills him and everything he has grown to love first.

POUGHKEEPSIE SHUFFLE by Dietrich KalteisTo win over the girl of his dreams, Jeff Nichols succumbs to the lure of easy (dirty) money in this crime caper set in the 80s.

RED WAR by Vince Flynn & Kyle Mills: When the terminally ill Russian president launches a massive campaign that threatens millions of lives, Mitch Rapp is dispatched by the CIA to prevent an all-consuming war.

You can win autographed copies of these books! If you are new to the site, each month I run a contest in conjunction with the International Thriller Writers organization. We put together a list of books from debut authors to bestsellers, so you can win some of your favorites and find some new favorites.

What makes this contest really special is that all of the books (except eBooks) are signed by the author! Books with multiple authors will be signed by at least one of the authors.

Penguin Random House books for giveaway were provided by the publisher. #PRHpartner

Don’t forget, if you subscribe to the newsletter or follow this blog, you get an extra entry into every contest you enter. Check out the Win Books page for more information on all these books and how to enter this month’s contest.

Thanks for reading, and good luck!


September 24, 2018

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A well done novel about a secret society within a secret society set in the bounds of Harvard University.

Spencer Collins, a young man from the inner city of Chicago, has been accepted into prestigious Harvard University. He expects to live the full life of a student attending university where he will endure grinding class work and study while playing basketball for the school. Much to his surprise and pleasure, he is tendered an invitation to join the very cream of the “final” clubs existing at Harvard. These clubs provide room and board to their members and the benefits of a fraternal type of organization. It is the “Delphic” that invites him to meet with their members as a prelude to gaining membership.

While working at his studies and becoming involved with the “gas” club as the Delphic is popularly known, Spencer also becomes aware of the “Ancient Nine.” This is a secret organization within the secret Delphic club and comprised of unknown members of that group.

Spencer and his friend Dalton Winthrop become entranced in attempting to learn the secrets behind the Ancient Nine and what they stand for and Smith brings us a logical progression towards this end. He also brings the reader a very realistic picture of men and women involved in academic life and learning with parties, drinking, sports and rooting for the college team. He also shows the entrance of love into Spencer’s life and his meeting with the girl that is to become his wife.

The novel tells the story set in the academic world that Harvard is. The University is one of the first colleges established in the United States and the alma mater of generations of successful graduates who not only have the education received, but the help of a powerful alumni group built up over centuries. The purpose of the Nine as presented by the author is a very original idea utilizing Harvard’s lengthy existence as a prop in the story. While Smith has written several other books involving technical topics, this is only his second novel and certainly should press him to do more with fiction.

9/18 Paul Lane

THE ANCIENT NINE by Ian Smith, M.D. St. Martin’s Press (September 18, 2018).  ISBN 978-1250182395. 432p.



THE NIGHT CROSSING by Robert Masello

September 23, 2018

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Masello’s forte is the writing of historical novels with a touch of the supernatural included; “The Night Crossing” is no exception. It is set in England during the late 1800s and early 1900s and features the author Bram (Abraham) Stoker.

Stoker contributed more than a few books to the world of literature but is most remembered for “Dracula,” a novel about an undead Vampire living in Transylvania but than migrating to London spreading his horrors there.

This story opens when Mina, an intrepid explorer who is seeking out old ruins working in the Carpathian mountains, discovers a beautiful golden box and brings it back with her to England completely unaware of it’s evil power. She meets Stoker who is working as the manager of a successful theater and attempting part time to establish himself as a major author. Mina and Bram meet while becoming involved in a deadly plot that the wealthy owners of a safe haven for the poor have going for them. It is discovered that what these people who are brother and sister are engaged in is using ancient Egyptian methods in forestalling the aging process while using people staying at their safe haven as objects to utilize in their methods.

The couple own a factory making matches, using the poor as low or no paid workers to do so. The methods involve taking their souls and incorporating them into their own while killing the donor. Stoker and Mina are approached by Lucinda, who is an employee of the factory and mother to one of the children used to harvest the soul. They begin their investigation and in determining what is going on Masello makes the insinuation that in thinking about the possible eternal life gained by the couple and the source of Mina’s find of the golden box Stoker conceives the basic idea of the “Dracula” novel.

One of the coincidences of the period the novel is set in in real life is that Bram Stoker died five days after the headlines of the sinking of the Titanic appeared. Masello takes advantage of this and places Stoker and Mina aboard the doomed Titanic in their pursuit of the non aging couple they have chased for many years. The ship’s fate is chronicled faithfully indicating a good deal of research and an interest in it’s fate by the author. The description and the inclusion of people that actually were present makes for a very well done final setting to an excellent novel and adds to the story rather than steering it in another direction.

The presence of Bram Stoker on the Titanic is literary license- he never set foot upon her.

9/18 Paul Lane

THE NIGHT CROSSING by Robert Masello. 47North (September 18, 2018).  ISBN 978-1503904118. 448p.




September 22, 2018

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Girl Meets Duke Series, Book 2

From the publisher:

He’s been a bad, bad rake—and it takes a governess to teach him a lesson

The accidental governess

After her livelihood slips through her fingers, Alexandra Mountbatten takes on an impossible post: transforming a pair of wild orphans into proper young ladies. However, the girls don’t need discipline. They need a loving home. Try telling that to their guardian, Chase Reynaud: duke’s heir in the streets and devil in the sheets. The ladies of London have tried—and failed—to make him settle down. Somehow, Alexandra must reach his heart . . . without risking her own.

The infamous rake

Like any self-respecting libertine, Chase lives by one rule: no attachments. When a stubborn little governess tries to reform him, he decides to give her an education—in pleasure. That should prove he can’t be tamed. But Alexandra is more than he bargained for: clever, perceptive, passionate. She refuses to see him as a lost cause. Soon the walls around Chase’s heart are crumbling . . . and he’s in danger of falling, hard.

I love Tessa Dare and this is a really good example of why. Her writing is crisp, the dialogue is fast and funny, the pages fly by and the characters come to life on the page. Dare takes things even further by making her heroine half-mestiza Filipino. Diversity is a wonderful thing and I am happy to see traditional authors expanding their horizons from the of-so-white world of Regency England. Many authors create strong female heroines that behave in ways that are completely out of character for the time period, so why not mix up the races, too. The point is not belabored by any means, but just is. And it works.

Another excellent addition to Dare’s body of work.

9/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE GOVERNESS GAME by Tessa Dare. Avon (August 28, 2018).  ISBN 978-0062672124. 384p.




COME BACK TO ME by Sharon Sala

September 21, 2018

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Blessings, Georgia, Book 6

Phoebe Ritter and Aidan Payne were high school sweethearts. A suspicious fire burns down Aidan’s father’s business and kills the baker next store, who happens to be Phoebe’s father. When her mother accuses Aidan’s father, George, of arson, the young couple are ripped apart.

Even though George is cleared of any wrongdoing, the suspect is never caught and the small town of Blessings is still suspicious of George. After his wife dies, he moves along with Aidan to New Orleans, leaving the small town and bad memories behind.

Almost twenty years later, Aidan’s grandfather passes away, leaving Aidan his estate. He owned several rental properties in Blessings plus his own large home, so Aidan goes back, preparing to stay for as long as it takes to sell the properties and settle the estate. He is determined to protect his heart, fearing that Phoebe, the only woman he ever loved, is undoubtedly married by now.

Aidan is shocked to learn that Phoebe is not married, and that she has a son, a senior in high school. The resemblance is uncanny, and he quickly realizes that he has a son. Determined to be a good father despite being so late to the process, Aidan quickly forgives Phoebe for not telling him. She is still in love with Aidan, and they find their way back to one another.

Blessings has a lot of secrets that slowly come out, turning their lives upside down. But Aidan and Phoebe get the happy ending they deserve. This is another sweet addition to this series that brings to mind Robyn Carr or Debbie Macomber with no real sex, just romance and small town charm. I’ve only read one other book in this series, the previous one, but I would like to go back and read the rest.

Blessings, Georgia Series:
You and Only You (Book 1)
I’ll Stand by You (Book 2)
Saving Jake (Book 3)
A Piece of My Heart (Book 4)
The Color of Love (Book 5)
Come Back to Me (Book 6)

9/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

COME BACK TO ME by Sharon Sala. St. Martin’s Paperbacks (August 28, 2018). ISBN 978-1250140029. 320p.



BIBLIOPHILE by Jane Mount9

September 20, 2018
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An Illustrated Miscellany 

I am a long time fan of Jane Mount’s art and often spend time drooling over her website, the Ideal Bookshelf. If you are not a complete book wonk like me, Mount offers paintings/prints similar to the cover of this book. She has hundreds of collections and books to choose from and you can create your own “ideal bookshelf”. This is my dream gift!

This book is a really fun read for any book lover. Fully illustrated, there are pages for almost every genre, like historical fiction and romance, but also super creative ones like “Book Club Darlings,” “Novels of the Millennium: Optimists Confusion,” “Books Made into Great TV,” and collections of titles with various covers, like Pride & Prejudice and 1984.

Also included are many illustrations of “Beloved Bookstores” and “Striking Libraries” from around the world. Mount offers her unique illustrations of the Strand (NYC), Librairie D&Q (Quebec), San Librario (Bogota) bookstores and the Library of Parliament (Ottowa), Seattle Central Library, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building of The New York Public Library (the one with the lions) and lots more.

There are fun quizzes, like “Fictional Planet Universe” where there are illustrations of 20 or so planets and you have to name the book or comic where the planet appears. She offers insight into how books are made (“The Physical Book,”) “Designers’ Picks” and “Writing Rooms.” There are “Writers Pets,” “Read Around the World” maps, “Every Day Food Inspiration” and many more.

I could go on for days and tell you about every page in this book, but it is so much better to see it for yourself. Amazon has some of the illustrations available:

Did I mention I love this book? With the holidays right around the corner (have you seen the Christmas decorations at Costco?!) this book would make a beautiful gift for the book lover in your life.

You’re welcome.

9/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

BIBLIOPHILE by Jane Mount. Chronicle Books; Illustrated edition (September 11, 2018). ISBN 978-1452167237. 224p.

BUTTON MAN by Andrew Gross

September 19, 2018

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Gross has changed his emphasis slightly for his last 3 books including this one, “Button Man.” The settings have been set in the past to make the novels more historical than present day. His ability as an author has not been changed in any way. He is a wordsmith and has a style and phraseology that make reading his books engrossing and his readers always searching for his latest novels.

I had recently read “One Man”, a masterful treatment of individuals incarcerated in concentration camps during World War II. I stated that this was Gross’s best novel. I have to revise my opinion to that “Button Man” now holds that place. But knowing his skills let’s see what the next book he authors holds for his readers.

In an afterward to the present book, the author indicates that the leading character is somewhat modeled after his grandfather. If so, he obviously has the advantage of remembering talks with the man as well as listening to a recording made describing his grandfather’s days as a manufacturer of women’s apparel. It brings the book’s setting into the period after World War I and the rise of businesses dedicated to these product lines.

Morris Rabishevsky and his siblings grew up in the lower east side of New York City. They were thrust on their own when their father passed away leaving them to start earning money to help support the family. Morris was 12 years old and began a career by managing to convince a garment cutter to take him on as an apprentice ahead of older, more experienced men. He quickly proves himself adept in learning the business and at 21 years of age opens up a his own operation along with his brother Sol, who had meanwhile been studying accounting.

The business became successful, Morris and Sol changed their last name to Raab,and grew during the early 1920s and 1930s. This was a period during which organized crime also grew in order to prey on those successful. Names like Lepke and Dutch Schultz arose to look for the means to bring the gains made by successful businesses into their own pockets. Unions were formed by gangsters for sole purposes of extortion of both the firm and the worker and certainly not to help employees with work problems.

While Morris and his family had to exist with the threats of the phony unions coupled with politicians and police officers on the take, Gross paints a picture of Thomas E. Dewey. Dewey in his career became a special prosecutor, becoming the Elliot Ness of New York in order to take down the criminals he went after. Not getting any witnesses to testify against the criminals due to fear of gang retribution, Dewey filed charges of monopoly in restraint of trade and other crimes not requiring witnesses to bring to court. In his lifetime he became governor of New York State and also ran for president unsuccessfully against Franklin Roosevelt and than Harry Truman.

Andrew Gross paints Dewey in a very favorable light giving him and his assistants credit for helping rid New York of much of it’s criminal element including an organized gang venture into murder for pay termed “Murder, Inc”. The businesses described in the book and the drive of their founders certainly can be equated with other organizations growing in a country that fostered the drive to make money. It is a favorable depiction of the capitalist system which makes pursuit of profit something desirable rather than a tawdry custom that detracts from the fairness that should exist between businessmen.

“Button Man” is not a book that is looking to expose what is undesirable but a picture of men and women building an industry through doing the best they can for themselves. Competition is desirable and helps to insure progress in areas that can use it to expand.

9/18 Paul Lane

BUTTON MAN by Andrew Gross. Minotaur Books (September 18, 2018).  ISBN 978-1250179982. 384p.




September 18, 2018

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School for Dukes, Book 2

Did you know if you pre-order a book from Amazon, they will have it at your door on publication day?

From the publisher:

If adventure has a name…it must be Lady India Rochester. The intrepid archaeologist possesses a sharp blade and an even sharper knack for uncovering history’s forgotten women. Unfortunately, she has one annoying weakness: the dangerously handsome Duke of Ravenwood. Former best friend. Current enemy. And the man who dared to break her heart.

Daniel Bonds, the Duke of Ravenwood, is a thrill-seeking antiquities hunter who only plays by one rule: Never fall in love. He’s in it for the fortune and glory. At least that’s what he wants the world to think. He’s sworn to hide his tangled web of secrets, especially from the one woman he cares about and will protect at any cost.

But when a priceless relic is stolen from the British Museum, the rivals must align forces. Racing to recover the stolen antiquity and avert an international disaster? All in a day’s work. Avoiding their buried feelings? More and more impossible. For love is about to become the greatest treasure of all.

This was more a tale of intrigue than romance, but neither premise was fulfilled. Lady Danger, a fabulous nickname, is undoubtedly one of the strongest yet least believable characters in a historical romance. I think I’ve just read too many of these to buy her story. She takes a lover because she wants to. She is an archaeologist traveling the world unaccompanied by any sort of chaperone, and her brother is a duke. She has a marriage contract with the Duke of Ravenwood that she has no desire to fulfill. Or does she?

The Duke is a spy, a rather unlikely one at that. His reputation of being an incorrigible rake is a fabulous disguise, but when it comes to his childhood friend Indy, all bets are off. If he can’t keep his distance from her, he is a goner and in this book, they are thrust together until they figure out how to get to their happy ending.

There is a pervasive feeling of suspense throughout this story, with multiple bad guys and danger lurking around every corner. Despite the feminist heavy handedness, which is certainly odd in this time period, I did enjoy this book but I would have liked it more had it been more believable.

Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

FOR THE DUKE’S EYES ONLY by Lenora Bell. Avon (September 18, 2018).  ISBN 978-0062692498. 384p.



DO OR DIE COWBOY by June Faver

September 17, 2018
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Dark Horse Cowboys, Book 1

Tyler Garrett is the middle son of the small town’s largest land owner and rancher. But he also has a gift; he can sing. While his mother was alive, she encouraged him to pursue a career in music, but his father was dead set against it, wanting Tyler to work the ranch with his brothers.

After his mom passes, Tyler decides to try out for a country music reality show. His father is furious and writes him out of his will but Tyler is determined. That is, until he helps a stranded motorist, Leah Benson, and her precocious young daughter. Tyler is immediately smitten and being the gentleman that he is, he tries to help them. That ends up with him taking them both to Leah’s grandmother’s small homestead, where she is struggling to make ends meet.

Leah is on the run from someone, and her fear is palpable, which brings out Tyler’s protective side. Her grandmother is being terrorized by the town’s bad boys, who happen to live next door and want her land cheap. Tyler sticks around the homestead for a while, fixing fences, helping with the upkeep of the farm and protecting the women. But he is on his way to Dallas and soon he must go. All sorts of problems immediately ensue, bringing Tyler back and getting his family involved.

I have really been enjoying the cowboy subgenre of romance. This is a charming story of love, redemption and justice. The characters are well developed and their stories are heartbreaking until everything is resolved and they reach their happily ever after. This fast, sweet read kept me turning pages until I reached the end. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

9/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

DO OR DIE COWBOY by June Faver. Sourcebooks Casablanca (August 28, 2018). ISBN: 978-1492667667. 352p.


DEEP RUN ROOTS by Vivian Howard

September 16, 2018

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Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South


Vivian Howard, star of PBS’s A CHEF’S LIFE, celebrates the flavors of North Carolina’s coastal plain in more than 200 recipes and stories.

This was a serendipitous find of a cookbook. First, it showed up on several lists of cookbooks to look for. Then it won the IACP Cookbook of the Year award. Then I was looking around PBS and stumbled on this show called “A Chef’s Life” and it took a few episodes before I realized that this show starred the author of this cookbook I kept hearing about. Kismet!

I selected it for my cookbook discussion group (there is such a thing and I’ve been facilitating this group for several years at my library,) ordered 15 copies and waited. We met yesterday to discuss and watch the “Broccoli” episode where Vivian begins her book/food truck tour. Yes, this chef went on tour with a food truck. How brilliant was that? Made me wonder why all chefs weren’t doing that.

The consensus of the group was that we loved reading the book – her stories are just wonderful. However, cooking from the book was an entirely different thing. A few people felt intimidated by it, and remember, this is a group of people who cook regularly from cookbooks, most for many years so that really surprised me. Most people felt the recipes were overly long and complicated and a few others didn’t care for the style of the food but loved reading the book. Southern cuisine is not for everyone, and this is a very specific, eastern Carolina style of food. One of the group is actually from eastern Carolina and has relatives still living in the area and she probably enjoyed this book the most. Vivian Howard is a hero there.

So about the book – the positives. There are stories, lots of stories, and they are wonderful. The book itself is beautiful, sturdy, heavy paper sewn into the binding so it lies flat pretty much at every page. Towards the end of the book (it is a big cookbook, over 500 pages) the sheer weight of the book tends to snap it closed. There are also instructions on how to can fruits and vegetables, which seems important to a cookbook like this.

There is a table of contents (which is odd, by any standards) and then a very detailed Recipe Guide which is in a completely different order and sectioned differently from the table of contents. At the end of the book is an index, which is a sorry thing that often refers back to the page of the Recipe Guide to find the actual page number of the recipe. Confusing? Yep. So for clarity’s sake, on the left side of this picture is the actual Table of Contents, with the chapters:

Looking at just the table of contents, one would think there were no chicken, beef or fish recipes, for instance, but there are. There is an explanation given as to the way the book is organized. Vivian says,

…the way I ordered the chapters and recipes is personal, driven more by story than anything else. But it’s a cookbook, after all, and I want you to cook from it, and that’s why I’ve included this more practical guide (that would be the Recipe Guide.)

On the right side of the picture is the beginning of the Recipe Guide. It is divided into sections that make a bit more sense, more like a traditional cookbook, with sections called Breakfast and Brunch; Sandwiches; Pickles, Preserves, and Relishes; Sweets etc. I do like that she included a box at the end of this guide with “Eastern North Carolina Traditions”, a list of recipes that are truly native to that area like Collard Kraut, Fresh Corn Roasted in Chicken Drippings, Squash and Onions, and so forth.

One of my members made the Squash and Onions and said she made the rookie mistake of not reading the recipe all the way through before beginning. By the time she realized that these vegetables would be cooking for hours, she was already into it. She said that to her, a Yankee born and bred, this dish epitomized everything that is wrong with Southern food, taking beautiful, fresh ingredients, like summer squash straight from the farm, and cooking it until it is an unrecognizable mush. She ended up taking the mush, adding in quinoa and finely chopped mushrooms and turned it into a most delicious veggie burger. The mushy squash acted as the glue in holding it all together.

Another member of the group, the one from eastern North Carolina, made the Stewed Collard Greens with Ham Hock. She said this recipe is very similar to the way she grew up making this dish and it was delicious.

We all noticed that citrus plays an important role in many recipes, and we all liked that. I loved the Citrus Sweet Potato Butter although I did leave out the sugar, and found it more than sweet enough. I will be making that again. When I have some time off from work, I am going to attempt the Sweet Potato Onion Bread, which is a four page long recipe that requires a lot of attention, this is no mix it, knead it and wait recipe. I also am planning on making the Stuffed Butternut Bottoms, where butternut squash “bowls” are roasted then stuffed with a mixture of sausage, leek, turnip greens (or kale) and cheese, then topped with bread crumbs and baked again. She doesn’t specify the type of sausage so I’m thinking maybe a spicy chicken sausage would be good here. It sounds really good and winter squash season is almost upon us.

I did not care for the Watermelon Tea – basically a mixture of tea and pureed, strained watermelon that I thought would be akin to a sweet tea without adding actual sugar, but I found it an odd combination of flavors. Another member of the group made the Peaches and Cream Cake, another four page recipe (including pictures) and loved it but said it really was overly complicated. I also made “Viv’s Addiction,” a spiced pecan that was delicious. The nuts are folded into a stiffly beaten egg white with lots of spice then baked. I love these things, but this was the most complicated spiced nut recipe I’ve ever made. Breaking apart what is essentially a sweet & spicy praline required a bit of attention but I think the end result was worth it.

I mostly enjoyed reading this cookbook more than cooking from it, if that makes sense. But if you are looking for unusual recipes, and you like Southern food, and you enjoy the challenge of long, complicated recipes, you may love this cookbook.

9/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

DEEP RUN ROOTS by Vivian Howard. Little, Brown and Company; y First edition edition (October 4, 2016). ISBN 978-0316381109. 576p.





September 15, 2018

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Hailed as a “rising star in the romance genre” by Booklist, RITA nominated and USA Today bestselling author Lenora Bell is one to watch!

∞ School For Dukes ∞
September 18, 2018

“Bell proves she is in fine literary fettle with the latest marvelously creative addition to her School of Dukes series by serving up another small-scale romantic masterpiece, whose beguiling combination of winsome writing, wicked wit, and steamy sensuality is simply too good to miss.”
Booklist *STARRED Review*

action-packed … Readers will applaud the intelligence and bravery of the duo and anticipate their union.
Publishers Weekly

“You’ll love Lenora Bell!”
New York Times bestselling author Eloisa James

If adventure has a name…it must be Lady India Rochester. The intrepid archaeologist possesses a sharp blade and an even sharper knack for uncovering history’s forgotten women. Unfortunately, she has one annoying weakness: the dangerously handsome Duke of Ravenwood. Former best friend. Current enemy. And the man who dared to break her heart.

Daniel Bonds, the Duke of Ravenwood, is a thrill-seeking antiquities hunter who only plays by one rule: Never fall in love. He’s in it for the fortune and glory. At least that’s what he wants the world to think. He’s sworn to hide his tangled web of secrets, especially from the one woman he cares about and will protect at any cost.

But when a priceless relic is stolen from the British Museum, the rivals must align forces. Racing to recover the stolen antiquity and avert an international disaster? All in a day’s work. Avoiding their buried feelings? More and more impossible. For love is about to become the greatest treasure of all.

Q&A with Lenora Bell

Daniel Bonds, the Duke of Ravenwood, known to his friends as Raven, was inspired by the one and only James Bond. Which characteristics of the famed spy did you incorporate in the book?

Raven is loosely inspired by James Bond, and in particular by Daniel Craig’s portrayal of Bond in the movie Skyfall. There’s a scene in the book that references the scene in Skyfall where 007’s shooting skills and physical condition are being tested. I wanted to show the scarred warrior returning from a failed mission in the field and needing to prove himself and rise from the ashes.

It’s been rumored that Idris Elba would play James Bond in a new series—if you could cast any actor as Raven, who would you cast and why?

I think Tom Hardy would make an excellent Duke of Ravenwood. Am I right? 

A lot of historical heroes are rogues (and we love them for it!), but Raven is unique—his rakish exterior hides a secret identity as a spy for the crown. What was it like for you to write a fake rogue?

Fake rogues are so delicious because they have all of the swagger and none of the hubris.  They are confident without being conceited, sexy without being jerks, and when they fall in love, they are all in.

If you could describe Raven in 4 words, what would they be?

Wounded. Warrior. Steadfast. Lover.

If given the opportunity to meet Raven and India, where would you take them to dinner and why?

Raven and India are all about Paris, so I would have to take them to some little bistro in the City of Love for the perfect French meal paired with excellent wines.


Lenora Bell is a third generation Alaskan and her hometown still has no traffic lights or fast food, but the public library is going strong. An English teacher with an MFA in Creative Writing, Lenora has traveled the globe using music to bring smiles to classrooms. She lives with her carpenter husband and two naughty tiger-striped kitties.