SOMEONE TO WED by Mary Balogh

November 17, 2017

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A Westcott Novel, Book 3

Due to an illegal marriage, Alexander Westcott finds himself the new Earl of Riverdale. This was not something he coveted, especially when he finds that the previous Earl has let the estate go into disrepair. Alexander didn’t inherit money in addition to his title, so as the gentry is wont to do, he must marry money.

Wren Heyden is a neighbor of the new Earl. She has been a recluse for most of her life. Born with a large strawberry birthmark covering half of her face, she was scorned and abused by her parents until a kindly aunt took her in. She married well, and they adopted Wren, giving her a comfortable life, albeit a lonely one of her own choosing. When her aunt and uncle die, she inherits everything.

The young heiress only wants for one thing; a husband. She invites a few of her unmarried male neighbors to visit, hoping to find a husband in one of them and is quite taken with the Earl. But as much as he needs to marry for money, he isn’t going to rush into anything. They agree to start a courtship, and Wren finds herself in way over her head. He has social obligations, a large family, and wants her to participate in his life. She is very much afraid, but takes small steps to that end, and finds herself falling for Alexander.

Alexander is not looking for great passion, just companionship, and affection. But the relationship deepens, much to both of their surprise. But Wren has to learn to get past  her abusive childhood, and with Alexander’s help, she does.

This is an interesting, lovely romance from Balogh. The sex is more sensual than explicit, but the romance rings true. Another wonderful entry into the Westcott series.

11/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

SOMEONE TO WED by Mary Balogh. Berkley (November 7, 2017). ISBN 978-0399586064.  400p.

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BLISS by Lynsay Sands

November 10, 2017

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Lady Helen Tiernay has had it with her neighbor, the awful Lord Holden. She has had to bail out some of his tenants, seen others removed from their homes and even disfigured. Thoroughly disgusted, she turns to writing letters of complaint to the King.

Lord Holden has been off fighting wars for the King. But his estate man has also been complaining to the King about the “tyrant of Tiernay.” When Holden arrives home, the King’s emissary pays him a visit. By royal decree, he is to marry Lady Helen, thus ending all the complaint letters and giving the King one less thing to worry about.

Lady Helen is appalled, and Lord Holden incensed – he has no idea who she is and has no desire to marry. But marry they will.

Lady Helen decides to keep from consummating the marriage, thus clearing the path to annulment. She tries various ways to kill Lord Holden’s ardor, from chewing garlic to serving him sour ale and moldy food. But the King’s emissary is not having it and forces them to consummate the marriage.

Eventually, Lady Helen realizes that she is falling in love with the man she thought an ogre, and he has no idea what has been happening on his estate while he’s been off fighting wars. He does know that he has also fallen in love with Lady Helen and is determined to get to the bottom of whatever is bothering her.

This is a very funny book with some great sex scenes, and even some of those often start off sensuously but end up hilarious. Set in England during 1173, I think this is the earliest historical romance I’ve ever read, and that aspect was very interesting. This is a really fun read, and I can definitely see why Lynsay Sands is so popular. I’ll be looking for more from this author.

11/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

BLISS by Lynsay Sands. Avon (July 25, 2017).  ISBN 978-0062019615. 384p.

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NO OTHER DUKE WILL DO by Grace Burrowes

November 8, 2017

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Windham Brides, Book 3

The Duke of Haverford, Julian St. David, has inherited the largest private library in all of England, 30,000 volumes and more. But he’s also inherited the debts his father and grandfather have accrued in building the collection, and he just hates all the books because of it. His younger sister needs to find a husband and doesn’t have much of a dowry, to say the least, so she decides to throw a house party. A party that lasts for weeks, culminating in a ball.

Julian is shocked at the expense but knows he needs to do it for his sister. He has no desire to marry and really the only way he could would be to marry some title seeking heiress, and that just isn’t his style. He is honorable and proud. On the other hand, his neighbor, a businessman named Sherbourne, is not quite so honorable. He has invited himself to the party and as he holds most of the Duke’s debt, he is not turned away.

When the Duke meets Elizabeth Windham, he knows she is out of reach but he can’t help but fall in love with her. She loves books and would like nothing more than to see lending libraries throughout Wales. They are a match, but circumstances are not favorable to a marriage. A dalliance, on the other hand, seems entirely possible.

This was a bibliophile’s romance to be sure, and should appeal to any book lover’s heart. It certainly did to mine, making this an excellent addition to this series.

11/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

NO OTHER DUKE WILL DO by Grace Burrowes.  Forever (November 7, 2017). ISBN: 978-1455570010. 368p.

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A DARING ARRANGEMENT by Joanna Shupe

November 5, 2017

daring arrangementThe Four Hundred Series, Book 1

 

Lady Honora Parker, Nora to her friends and family, has been banished to America from England by her father, the Earl. Nora was caught kissing her boyfriend, an undesirable, penniless artist. But Nora believes herself in love, so she hatches a plan to get herself sent back home. She finds the most notorious bachelor in New York City, Julius Hatcher, and convinces him to pretend to be her fiance for several weeks.

Julius is extremely wealthy and good looking, but is known for his playboy ways. He has his own reasons for agreeing to Nora’s scheme. His father was cheated out of the family money by some high society men, and committed suicide. Julius wants to find those men and ruin them, but needs the entree into society that the earl’s daughter can provide.

Determined to make the gossip sheets, Nora proposes one outrageous scheme after another, but Julius is protecting her reputation, despite herself. He’ll be thrown out of society fast if her reputation takes a tumble, so they are at odds. And fall in love, fighting it the whole way; she because she thinks she’s in love with the artist, and he because he is a resolute bachelor.

This is a cute premise for a romance, and there is a lot of action and fun throughout, not to mention some heat in these pages. I thoroughly enjoyed this and read it in one night. I’m looking forward to the next book, A Scandalous Deal, but will have to wait until April, 2018!

11/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

A DARING ARRANGEMENT by Joanna Shupe. Avon (October 31, 2017).  ISBN 978-0062678898. 384p.

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WILDE IN LOVE by Eloisa James

November 2, 2017

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The Wildes of Lindow Castle, Book 1

Lord Alaric Wilde is the second son of the Duke of Lindow, his older brother will inherit the title. Alaric has been wandering the world and writing travel books about his adventures. Much to his surprise, when he returns home for a visit, his ship is met at the docks by a horde of screaming fans – all women. His books are all bestsellers and a play has been written about his adventures. The books may be realistic, but the play is outrageous. No one seems to care about that and it doesn’t seem to stop the celebrity he is forced to endure.

Then he meets Willa Ffynche. Alaric has never thought of marrying, but something about Willa really gets under his skin – maybe because she hasn’t read his books. She is a very private person and has no desire to share the spotlight with the adventurer.

This new series is set in the Georgian period so that’s a little different and I enjoyed it. There are some I liked the humor and the overall sweetness of the romance, but there are also some steamy sex scenes. An excellent start to a terrific new series.

11/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

WILDE IN LOVE by Eloisa James.  Avon (October 31, 2017). ISBN: 978-0062697288. 320p.

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THE BRIDE WHO GOT LUCKY by Janna MacGregor

October 30, 2017

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The Cavensham Heiresses, Book 2

Nicholas St. Mauer is the son of a Duke who has forsaken him. As a student, he covered the gambling debt of a friend and his father never forgave him. Nick is determined to make it on his own, and another friend helps him on his way. Soon he is almost wealthier than his father and that is his goal.

Lady Emma Cavensham is convinced that spinsterhood awaits her. Her best friend Lena made a very poor match, her husband beat her and eventually killed her and the baby she was carrying. Because he was a Lord and well-connected, there were no repercussions to his despicable act, but Emma is determined to see justice meted out.

On an impulse, Lady Emma kisses Nick and he is besotted. But he doesn’t want to get married until his holdings surpass that of his father. Eventually, they become friends, as the headstrong Emma tries to pursue justice for her friend, imperiling her own life and her family’s good name. Nick rescues her more than once, and ultimately they realize they were meant for each other.

With thanks to Eloisa James for recommending this author, a new favorite for sure. This is a terrific read and I’m looking forward to more in this series.

10/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE BRIDE WHO GOT LUCKY by Janna MacGregor. St. Martin’s Paperbacks (October 31, 2017). ISBN 978-1250116147.  368p.

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WILL’S TRUE WISH by Grace Burrowes

October 19, 2017

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True Gentlemen, Book 3

Lady Susannah Haddonfield is quite happy with her life and has no desire to marry. Her younger sister does, however, and the only man who seems to be interested carries around a small dog. He is convinced that Susannah doesn’t like dogs and she is afraid he won’t offer for her sister because of her.

Will Dorning is the second in line for the Earl, the spare, if you will. He has several younger siblings and has taken it upon himself to try and keep them in line. He is a dog trainer of some renowned, and an old family friend of the Haddonfields, so Lady Susannah asks him to help her become, if not a dog lover, at least someone who looks like a dog lover.

Meanwhile, there has been a rash of dognappings in the area of mostly very large dogs, the kinds that are used for bear baiting. Yes, that is exactly what it sounds like, and I’m happy to say not much more in the way of details is given. Will’s brothers want him to find the dogs and collect the rewards, but he doesn’t think it is the right thing to do. While Lady Susannah h

While Lady Susannah and Will are spending time together, they fall in love, but he doesn’t feel he has the prospects to marry her. If he collects the reward monies, he might so she encourages him in that direction. But politics play into it, as well as other machinations, making their happily ever after seem like a long shot.

This is another fun entry into this series, and will especially appeal to dog lovers.

10/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

WILL’S TRUE WISH by Grace Burrowes.  Sourcebooks Casablanca (February 2, 2016). ISBN: 978-1492621089. 384p.

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THE PRAGUE SONATA by Bradford Morrow

October 13, 2017

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A beautifully written book set against the background of the international world of music, both classic and general. Otylie Bautosova is a young girl that we meet in 1918 as she is saying goodbye to her father, a Czech soldier who is returning to the front at the very end of World War I. His parting words to Otylie are that music is everything and even the horrors of war revolve around it. He gives her a music manuscript that is clearly old and which her father tells her to guard and keep safe because it will ensure her future. Her father is then killed, becoming one of the last casualties of the war.

Years later, Otylie marries but the second world war intervenes. Her husband joins the partisans fighting the Nazi invaders but is unfortunately killed. With enough tragedy for several lifetimes, the capstone is the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Stalin and the Russians. Otylie manages to escape to England and works for the Czech government in exile while there. She later moves to the United States and her fate ties in with the second half of the book and the activities of an American pianist named Meta Taverner.

Meta lives in New York with the ability to become a great pianist. Unfortunately, she suffers an injury to one arm which takes away her ability to perform as required in playing great classical music. She is advised by a friend that there is a valuable undiscovered sonata in Prague. Meta makes the decision to try and locate the piece and return it to its rightful owners.

The search for the sonata is described beautifully by the author, whose expertise in the world of music makes this book a truly wonderful read. The reader is introduced to a world not often touched upon by most authors and introduces creativity given to some people that cause happiness in our world. This is truly a haunting book that will stay with the reader for a long time to come.

10/17 Paul Lane

THE PRAGUE SONATA by Bradford Morrow. Atlantic Monthly Press (October 3, 2017).  ISBN 978-0802127150. 528p.

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JUST LIKE HEAVEN by Julia Quinn

October 7, 2017

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Smythe-Smith Quartet Series, Book 1

If you are in the mood for a sweet romance, this is your book. That said, there are a couple of pages of gristly medical procedure descriptions that I read with one eye…

Lady Honoria grew up with a large family, including her only brother Daniel. His best friend, Marcus, was an only child and spent much of his childhood with Honoria’s family, and she thinks of him like a brother.

Daniel has run into some trouble and has fled the country, asking Marcus to keep an eye on Honoria’s suitors as she is now in the marriage market. He scares off several unsuitable suitors, leaving her to face her third season still unwed. She hatches a plot where she digs a little hole in the yard, plants her foot in it and feigns injury – except no one comes to her aid except a laughing Marcus who was out walking the property line. Unfortunately, in “rescuing” Honoria, he actually falls into the hole and wrenches his ankle. Of course it starts raining, and it takes a couple of hours before help comes to get him home.

Honoria feels terrible since it is entirely her fault that he got hurt. And when his valet accidentally cuts his leg while cutting off the boot from the sprained ankle, an infection sets in which the doctor doesn’t notice. Marcus’s housekeeper sends a note to Honoria, telling her that he is deathly ill and she and her mother go to stay with him, helping to nurse him.

Marcus is not used to anyone taking care of him like Honoria does, and they fall in love. There is a sweet love scene towards the end, and they reach their happily ever after.

Quinn writes such good stories, always filled with humor and emotion. This is another excellent read.

10/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

JUST LIKE HEAVEN by Julia Quinn. Avon; First Edition edition (May 31, 2011).  ISBN 978-0061491900. 384p.

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THE BAD LUCK BRIDE by Janna MacGregor

September 24, 2017

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The Cavensham Heiresses, Book 1

I heard about this debut novel on Twitter from Eloisa James, one of my favorite authors. So I bought the ebook and thanked her – it’s a terrific read.

Lady Claire is cursed. She’s been engaged four times, and hasn’t made it to the altar yet. The gossip about her is widespread and damning.

Lord Alexander Hallworth, the Marquess of Pembrooke, has a sworn enemy in Lord Paul, Lady Claire’s latest fiancé. When he sends her a note, breaking off their engagement, Pembrooke is there to break her fall from grace. He offers for her hand, and feels that he has finally gotten his revenge. Of course Claire knows nothing about any of this – yet. But she will, and it will get ugly.

This was a fun read with interesting characters and an unusual plot line. The next book in the series is The Bride Who Got Lucky, and comes out Oct. 31. I’ve already read it (I couldn’t wait!) and it’s terrific. I will be posting a review around the publication date.

9/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE BAD LUCK BRIDE by Janna MacGregor. St. Martin’s Paperbacks (May 2, 2017). ISBN 978-1250116123.  351p.

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