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Genre: Historical Romance

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Review: A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLeanA Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean
Series: Scandal & Scoundrel #2
Published by Avon on August 30th 2016
Genres: Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, Regency, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 392
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: The Season, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord, Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart, Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover, The Rogue Not Taken

Place(s) Traveled To: London, England (1834)

First Line(s): Miss Lillian Hargrove was the most beautiful woman in England.

 

I always get a little giddy when a new Sarah MacLean books is placed in my hands and I was super excited to get an early copy of her newest, A SCOT IN THE DARK. I really liked the first book in this new series, THE ROGUE WORTH TAKING (my review) and was looking forward to seeing more of King’s friend the Duke of Warnick. And while I liked this book I didn’t love it as much as the first in the series but any book that has Freddie (aka the Earl of Stanhope) in it will always hold a very special place in my heart. I enjoyed the chemistry between Warnick and Lily but, for me, there was just something missing from this one and looking back I can’t quite put my finger on what.

A SCOT IN THE DARK was a quick read but its also one that I found easy to put down. There was nothing about it that made me want to keep picking up. Though when I was reading it I was throughly engaged and even laughed out loud on several occasions. There is some good banter between the hero and heroine but they just paled in comparison to King and Sophie from the first book. Those two just set a really high bar and Warnick and Lily didn’t live up. But they did have some really fun scenes together and I loved the cameos from the Talbot sisters. I think perhaps, part of my disappointment with A SCOT IN THE DARK is because it wasn’t a Talbot sister book. I just got really attached to that crazy family and it was hard to say goodbye to them.

scot-in-the-dark-quote

My disappointment is all my own. I think that any devoted reader of Sarah MacLean will love A SCOT IN THE DARK. There is humor and adventure and potential for scandal around every corner. There is chemistry and heart ache and a book that has a lot but still remains true to the love story at its core. There is some fun banter between the main characters and some good side scenes when they are not sharing a page. I just wish that I was able to connect with the lead characters more which would have had me liking this book more than I did.

A SCOT IN THE DARK is a book that can be read as a standalone but why would you want to? It totally helps to read all of MacLean’s books in publication order because then you can enjoy the cameos all the more. I just love how those little cameos really help to flesh out a world and make it seem more real across the various series that MacLean writes. And MacLean can write, that is something that never changes from book to book. She is a gifted author and one that I think all lovers of romance should experience. I know that I, for one, am already looking forward to her next book even though April 2017 seems like its an eternity away!

 

irishdarkblue

ir-scot-in-the-dark

Add Lady Bridget’s Diary by Maya Rodale to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Duke of My Heart by Kelly Bowen to Goodreads.

three-stars
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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Review: Chasing Lady Amelia by Maya Rodale

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Chasing Lady Amelia by Maya RodaleChasing Lady Amelia by Maya Rodale
Series: Keeping Up with the Cavendishes, Book 2
Published by Avon on 28 June 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Girls & Women, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Lady Bridget's Diary

Place(s) Traveled To: London, England (1824)

First Line(s): It was in the illustrious and exclusive Almack’s assembly rooms that Lady Amelia Cavendish, previously of America and presently of England, officially confirmed that having one’s brother inherit a dukedom was not all it was cracked up to be, in part because she was not permitted to use phrases like cracked up.

CHASING LADY AMELIA is the second book in Maya Rodale’s Keeping up with the Cavendishes series. A lot of this book happens concurrently with the events in LADY BRIDGET’S DIARY (my review) so it was interesting to get a look at events from different points of view. I found CHASING LADY AMELIA to be a fun, quick read though probably wasn’t my best choice to pick up after reading a Bridgerton book. That family just outshines all others though I do like the bond between the Cavendishes and the humor that they find in their daily lives. They are a quirky lot and I think they’d get along well with the Bridgerton’s though I don’t think that the Ton would survive them both!

Amelia is a totally likable fish out of water character who just wants to find her own place in the world. She is a woman born ahead of her time and so finds herself feeling trapped by the rules of polite society and just wants to go out and explore the world. Which she decides to do for one day because if she’s going to get in trouble for sneaking out she might as well make the most of the situation. Along the way she meets, Alistair Finlay-Jones, who is heir to a title, a past that causes him much angst, and an uncle who thinks it’d be just the thing for the family fortune for him to marry one of those ghastly Americans. There is real chemistry between Alistair and Amelia and I loved the time that they spent together and their journey to a HEA.

Chasing Lady Amelia Quote

 

There were times when CHASING LADY AMELIA totally made my heart ache because of the misunderstandings and inner denials that both Amelia and Alistair go through. But there is no denying that they are each others yin and yang. These two really balance each other out and if anyone can keep adventure seeking Amelia on her toes it is Alistair. I also liked all the appearances of the other Cavendish’s but I wasn’t a fan of all the crazy POVs. There was a lot of head jumping going on and not just between our hero and heroine and that just got old for me real fast. I also found CHASING LADY AMELIA to be repetitive at times and I can understand it, to a point, but oy it got old.

Overall, CHASING LADY AMELIA is a fun addition to the series and I am looking forward to the next installment, LADY CLAIRE IS ALL THAT which is expected out in December of this year. If you are a fan of historical romances then you should probably check this series out. The stories are all loosely based on popular books/movies and its fun to see how Rodale adapts something modern into a historical setting. They are fun books and a good way to spend a summer afternoon or a cold winters day. 🙂

irishdarkblue

IR - Chasing Lady Amelia

 

Add Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
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Friday, July 22, 2016

Review: Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia QuinnBecause of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
Series: Rokesbys,
Published by Avon on 29 March 2016
Genres: Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Historical, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, Social Issues
Pages: 375
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Kent, England // London, England (1779)

First Line(s): It wasn’t that Billie Bridgerton was lacking in common sense.

I’ve always been a fan of Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series of books so I was excited to see that she was writing a prequel (of sorts) that goes back in time to visit Billie Bridgerton, who is the infamous Edmund’s quirky older sister. In BECAUSE OF MISS BRIDGERTON, Edmund is just a teenager, away at school but through Billie we see that the quirks of the Bridgerton clan are a long ingrained thing and as a reader I wouldn’t have it any other way. Billie’s hero is her long suffering neighbor, George Rokesby, who is heir to an Earldom and the older brother of Edward and Andrew (AKA Billie’s partners in crime.) BECAUSE OF MISS BRIDGERTON is a total opposites attract story and I loved every single moment of it.

I just loved the banter between not just George and Billie but with all of the characters. It was real and funny and just helped me to whiz through the pages. I loved how Andrew took great delight in baiting George and Billie because he realized (as did most others) just how perfect they’d be for each other long before they came to that conclusion. Andrew is definitely a character that I adored and I can not wait to read his story! The chemistry between George and Billie leaps off the page and I loved watching journey as they got to know each other and fell in love. It wasn’t an easy journey, because Bridgerton stubbornness and the pride of an English lord but for the reader it was a fun one.

Because of Miss Bridgerton Quote

 

I found that I flew through the pages of BECAUSE OF MISS BRIDGERTON and loved all the various layers of the story. There is more to this book than just boy meets girl which just adds to the realism of the story. My one big complaint would probably be that BECAUSE OF MISS BRIDGERTON had to end as I hated to say goodbye to these characters. If you look slow burn stories with fun banter and shenanigans then look no further than this book. This story pretty much has it all and totally made my heart ache!! Oh the feels that it will make you feel!!

I hated to put BECAUSE OF MISS BRIDGERTON down and the moment I finished I was torn between reading it again or in restarting the original Bridgerton series. While I didn’t do either I do still plan to re-read the original Bridgerton books and fall in love with this family anew. BECAUSE OF MISS BRIDGETON is classic Julia Quinn and its sure to delight both new readers and old. I’m eager to see just where Quinn takes these Rokesby brothers next and I hate that I have to wait a whole year for the next book!! At least I’ll have George and Billie and their numerous nieces and nephews to keep me company until then.

irishdarkblue

IR - Because of Miss Bridgerton

 

Add Tempt Me at Twilight by Lisa Kleypas to Goodreads.

Add Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

 

four-stars
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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Review: Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: Dark Triumph by Robin LaFeversDark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
Series: His Fair Assassin, Book 2
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on 02 April 2013
Genres: Action & Adventure, Assassins, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Historical, Historical Romance, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Politics & Intrigue, Road Trip, War & Military, Young Adult
Pages: 385
Format: Paperback
Source: Gift, Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Nantes, Brittany/France // Rennes, France // Morlaix, France //Tonquedec, France (1489)

First Line(s): I did not arrive at the convent of Saint Mortain some green stripling.

When GRAVE MERCY by Robin LaFevers (my review) came out back in 2012 I devoured it. While I was wary at first I totally fell under the spell of these Medieval assassin nuns. I then later received an ARC of DARK TRIUMPH and my first thought was to pick it up immediately and read it but it was far out from publication date and so I put it aside. And there it sat on a shelf until last year when a friend and I made a pact to do a co-read of it. DARK TRIUMPH picks up right around when GRAVE MERCY ends but switches POV from Ismae to Sybella. Sybella was an interesting character in GRAVE MERCY so I was looking forward to her story. However, I didn’t quite fall for DARK TRIUMPH as deeply as I did with GRAVE MERCY and I think that’s due in part to the POV change.

I just didn’t find Sybella to be as likable as Ismae nor was she as nuanced a character. Yes, Sybella was a strong heroine that overcame a pretty shitty upbringing but I just didn’t care about her the same way that I did Ismae. I also really didn’t buy the romance in this story. There was just so little development in that area that I just didn’t feel any chemistry when Sybella and Beast finally declared their love for each other. Though I really did like Beast, he was an bright and entertaining light throughout the story. I liked the camaraderie that he and Sybella shared but there just wasn’t enough of them together for them to form that much needed spark.

Dark Triumph Quote

But what bothered me the most about DARK TRIUMPH was how repetitive it was. I get that some recap is needed to refresh fans from what happened in GRAVE MERCY but Sybella just kept thinking the same thoughts over and over again. So much so that there was very little in the way of plot development in DARK TRIUMPH. This book was all hurry up and wait and there was very little action. It was very much a middle book in a series and was more filler and fluff than anything of substance. As such I found this one really easy to put down and stay down while I was reading.

When I did pick it up I was I found myself in the story but I had to force myself to pick it up each day. And I did that mostly so that I could finish around the same time as my friend. There were times where I was tempted to skip over parts and I feel that if I had done so then I wouldn’t have missed very much at all. Most of the action/plot that happens in DARK TRIUMPH comes at the end. The rest is just waiting around for something to happen. There were just so many missed opportunities in DARK TRIUMPH that just left this one lacking for me. As such, while I do plan to finish the series at some point, I don’t have the burning need to rush out and see how it all ends. What say you readers, does the HIS FAIR ASSASSIN trilogy end with a bang or a fizzle? Leave a comment or catch me on social media and let me know if I should prioritize MORTAL HEART or not.

irishdarkblue

IR - Grave Mercy

Add Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Scarlet by AC Gaughen to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Finnikin of the Rock to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Mini Review: Lord Dashwood Missed Out by Tessa Dare

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Mini Review: Lord Dashwood Missed Out by Tessa DareLord Dashwood Missed Out by Tessa Dare
Series: Spindle Cove,
Also in this series: A Week to be Wicked
Published by Avon on 08 December 2015
Genres: Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, Regency, Road Trip, Short Story / Novella
Pages: 144
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: A Week to be Wicked, Romancing the Duke, Say Yes to the Marquess, When a Scot Ties the Knot

Place(s) Traveled To: Hastings, England // Spindle Cove, England // Canterbury, England (19th Century)

First Line(s): By the age of three-and-twenty, Miss Elinora Browning had given up on wedding vows – instead, she made herself a promise.

LORD DASHWOOD MISSED OUT is a novella set in Tessa Dare’s Spindle Cover universe and was a quick, fun story that I enjoyed. As with most of Dare’s books the two leads had some amazing banter and good chemistry. I loved the story of Nora and Dashwood and their scenes often brought a smile to my face. When they weren’t making my heart ache with their backstory. What I didn’t like about LORD DASHWOOD MISSED OUT was how the POV would split and go into other characters from Dare’s Spindle Cove books. Those POVs were distracting and didn’t add anything to the story for me. What I wanted more of in this book was more time spent with Nora and Dash.

LORD DASHWOOD MISSED OUT is a sweet romance and the declaration at the end will just melt your heart. This is a short novella but it feels like a full story. It was fun revisiting Spindle Cove and seeing some of those characters and I hope that we get to see Nora and Dash in the upcoming book, DO YOU WANT TO START A SCANDAL.

 

irishdarkblue

Lord Dashwood Quote
three-stars
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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Blog Tour Review + Excerpt: Lady Bridget’s Diary by Maya Rodale

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Adult, Blog Tour, Contest, Review0 Comments

Blog Tour Review + Excerpt: Lady Bridget’s Diary by Maya Rodale

Blog Tour Review + Excerpt: Lady Bridget’s Diary by Maya RodaleLady Bridget's Diary by Maya Rodale
Series: Cavendish,
Published by Avon on 23 February 2016
Genres: Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, People & Places, Regency, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Also by this author: Chasing Lady Amelia

Place(s) Traveled To: London, England (1824)

First Line(s): All of London is talking about one thing and one thing only: the arrival of the seventh Duke of Durham.

LADY BRIDGET’S DIARY is my first book by Maya Rodale but I don’t think it will be my last. LADY BRIDGET’S DIARY isn’t a perfect book and at times it tries to hard to be the retelling that it is but at its core its a fun, family historical that is sure to entertain. Lady Bridget Cavendish is your classic fish out of water being a newly titled American thrust into British society. She and her sisters invite scandal wherever they go but with the formidable Dowager Duchess to guide them then maybe they won’t as big a scandal as say The Talbot Sisters. Lady Bridget, while unsure if she wants to stay in England does make an attempt to fit in after a disastourous debut outing where she runs into the insufferable Looord Darcy.

Lord Darcy and Lady Bridget are total opposites but as any reader knows that makes them the perfect yin and yang for each other. They struggle against their feelings even as they are drawn more and more to each other. They each try to deny their feelings but anyone who has ever read a romance knows they are perfect for other. Their journey starts off to a rough start and it took me a little bit to get into the groove of LADY BRIDGET’S DIARY but the end totally makes up for the beginning. I really enjoyed the Cavendish clan and can’t wait to get to know them better as their stories are told. They are a fun, close knit family and heaven help the uptight English Lord or Lady that falls under their spell.

Lady Bridget's Diary Quote

Where LADY BRIDGET’S DIARY suffered most for me was in how obvious a retelling of PRIDE & PREJUDICE that it was. It was almost painful at times with how hard it tried to follow that formula. The story worked best when it was allowed to flow and form organically and it suffered when Rodale tried to force it back into PRIDE & PREJUDICE format. Normally I don’t mind a retelling, especially one of PRIDE & PREJUDICE but this one was just painful at times. I also wasn’t a fan of the random POVs outside of Darcy and Bridget and the random diary entries. Lady Bridget’s diary entries could have been a fun addition but I just found the haphazard use of the passage to be a distraction more than anything else.

Overall though, LADY BRIDGET’S DIARY was a quick, fun read and once I got into its groove I had trouble putting it down. I read the bulk of this book in a day and even found myself giggling a time or two at some of the situations that Bridget and her family found themselves in. Lady Bridget is the sort of heroine that people can relate to. She’s fun and honest and I’m glad that she found her happily ever ever. The epilogue was a little too cutesy for my tastes but that could just be my general apathy towards epilogues in general. While the weather outside is still a but wintery, LADY BRIDGET’S DIARY would make a great beach read….or a great book to curl up with on a blustery winter day.

irishdarkblue

IR - Lady Bridget's Diary

Add My American Duchess by Eloisa James to Goodreads.

Add How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days by Laura Lee Guhrke. (Click here for my review.)

 

 

 

 

In the first hilarious entry in her brand new series, USA Today bestselling author Maya Rodale re-invents a love story we all know and cherish.

Lord Darcy is the epitome of perfect

Lord Darcy is the quintessential Englishman: wealthy, titled, impossibly proper and horrified that a pack of Americans have inherited one of England’s most respected dukedoms. But his manners, his infamous self-restraint and better judgment fly out the window when he finds himself with the maddening American girl next door.

Lady Bridget is the opposite of perfect

Lady Bridget Cavendish has grand-but thwarted-plans to become a Perfect Lady and take the haute ton by storm. In her diary, Bridget records her disastrous attempts to assimilate in London high society, her adoration of the handsome rogue next door, her loathing of the Dreadful Lord Darcy and some truly scandalous secrets that could ruin them all.

They cannot stand each other-and yet they cannot stay away


It was loathing at first sight for Lady Bridget and Lord Darcy. But their paths keep crossing…and somehow involve kissing. When Lady Bridget’s diary goes missing, both Darcy and Bridget must decide what matters most of all-a sterling reputation or a perfectly imperfect love.

 

Excerpt

Prologue

Oceans crossed: 1

Sisters who plagued me the entire journey: 2

Brothers who suddenly became a duke: 1

Fearsome duchesses: 1

Lady Bridget’s Diary

London, 1824

Durham Residence

The Ballroom

One would think that having one’s brother inherit a dukedom was a stroke of good fortune that would transform their lives from ho-hum to utterly fantastic. One would think that until one was on a reducing diet, stuffed into a tightly laced corset, and forced to practice walking backward.

“Once again, Lady Bridget,” the duchess said crisply.

She was Lady Bridget Cavendish now. Before she had just been Bridget Cavendish of Duncraven farm in Maryland. But then a letter had arrived one day, with the unexpected news that James was now a duke and they were all to leave everything behind and travel to England, immediately.

“Yes Lady Bridget, once more please,” Amelia said with a smirk.

“Do shut up, Amelia,” Bridget said, under her breath. Younger sisters were quite annoying, on any continent.

“It’s ‘Do shut up, Lady Amelia,’” Claire, the oldest sister, corrected. She found all the formality as ridiculous as the rest of their family, much to the despair of the duchess.

Somewhere about the massive house—probably in the stables, even though the duchess made it perfectly clear dukes were above mucking about in the stables—was her brother, James. Or, as he was now to be known, His Grace, the Duke of Durham. Dukes had many responsibilities, it seemed, but walking backward in a gown with an excessively long train was not one of them.

Before her, with sharp blue eyes and perfectly coiffed blond hair, was Josephine Marie Elizabeth Cavendish, Her Grace, the Duchess of Durham, widow of the previous duke, and aunt to the Cavendish siblings.

One did not call her Josie. Amelia had asked.

“Remind me why we are learning to do something as ridiculous as walk backward?” Claire asked. From a young age, she had spent her free hours devoted to the study of mathematics, otherwise known as Important Work. Bridget’s head ached just to think about it.

“It is for your presentation at court,” the duchess replied. “Which is necessary before your debut in society, which you must do in order to find a husband, which a lady must do, lest she become an impoverished spinster.”

“What if we do not wish for a husband?” Amelia asked.

“What a silly question,” the duchess replied. “Lady Bridget, once again.”

At the duchess’s request, Bridget sank into a curtsy. They had practiced this extensively on Tuesday afternoon. Then, with as much grace as she could muster, Bridget rose and began to elegantly glide backward. Or so she tried; feats of grace did not come easily to her (a point upon which their dancing instructor would absolutely agree). Nothing about being a True Lady did. Bridget had daydreamt through lessons on the order of precedence amongst members of the haute ton, how to properly pour a cup of tea, and all the other lessons on etiquette and deportment they endured morning, noon, and night.

“Now Lady Amelia, it is your turn.”

While the duchess’s attention was focused on her sisters, Bridget took advantage of her distraction to continue walking backward until she had crossed the length of the ballroom, then she continued through the large double doors and halfway down the corridor, at which point she turned, lifted her skirts, and proceeded to the kitchens. Reducing diet, deportment lessons, and True Lady-ness be damned.

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three-half-stars
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Monday, December 28, 2015

Review + Excerpt: The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Blog Tour, Contest, Excerpt, Review1 Comment

Review + Excerpt: The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean

Review + Excerpt: The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLeanThe Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean
Series: Scandal & Scoundrel,
Also in this series: A Scot in the Dark
Published by Avon on 29 Dec 2015
Genres: Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Historical, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, People & Places, Road Trip, Social Issues
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

Sophie’s Society Splash

When Sophie, the least interesting of the Talbot sisters, lands her philandering brother-in-law backside-first in a goldfish pond in front of all society, she becomes the target of very public aristocratic scorn. Her only choice is to flee London, vowing to start a new life far from the aristocracy. Unfortunately, the carriage in which she stows away isn’t saving her from ruin. . . it’s filled with it.

Rogue’s Reign of Ravishment!

Kingscote, “King,” the Marquess of Eversley, has never met a woman he couldn’t charm, resulting in a reputation far worse than the truth, a general sense that he’s more pretty face than proper gentleman, and an irate summons home to the Scottish border. When King discovers stowaway Sophie, however, the journey becomes anything but boring.

War? Or More?

He thinks she’s trying to trick him into marriage. She wouldn’t have him if he were the last man on earth. But carriages bring close quarters, dark secrets, and unbearable temptation, making opposites altogether too attractive . . .

Also by this author: The Season, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord, Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart, Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover, A Scot in the Dark

Place(s) Traveled To: London, England // Cumbria, England // Sprotbrough, England // Mossband, England // (1833)

First Line(s): If only the Countess of Liverpool hadn’t been such an admirer of aquatic creatures, perhaps things would have turned out differently.

Long time readers of my blog will know that I am a big fan of Sarah MacLean’s books. She tends to write strong, fiesty heroines and the rogues who fall for them. This is no different in THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN and fans of MacLean will find a lot to love in Sophie and King. There is so much to like about Sophie that its hard to put it into words and I just love what she brings out in King, who could be sullen fellow if left to his own devices. Sophie adds a little topsy-turvey into his life although this is not something she’d ever admit to as she is the most tame of her family who all thrive off their scandalous behavior in London. There is so much to like in THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN but the parts that I love best is the banter between Sophie and King. They are both quick witted and sharp and just really play well off each other. They truly are a perfect match even if they both refuse to see it much of the time.

Another aspect that I adore in THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN is that it is a road trip book. I love a good road trip story and its not one that you see very often in historicals, for obvious reasons, and I just love MacLean’s take on it. Sophie’s journey isn’t like most journey’s and I just love how she manages to fool those around her. Everyone but King that is. Which just makes you want to shake them a bit because as I reader you can clearly see how right they are for each other even as they are in denial. King sees Sophie for who she is and she does the same with him. This is something that neither has experienced as they are always judged by the stories that are told about them or their family.

Rogue Not Taken Quote

 

There were some things that I didn’t like as much in THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN such as the cryptic references to King’s past. I’m never a fan of cryptic references and I always just want to shake the character doing it to spit it out! King’s history is also nothing unique but it does explain a lot in shaping who he is. I also wasn’t a fan of the little headlines that began each chapter. I found them to be distracting and hard to ignore. I did try to skip them but always seemed to find myself reading them and then wishing I hadn’t. They just didn’t add anything to the story for me. THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN also includes an epilogue, which regular readers will know that I usually do not like, but in this case I found it a cute addition to the story. It was nice to get a glimpse of where Sophie and King ended up after their main story ended and I hope to see cameos of them in the next book, A SCOT IN THE DARK (Goodreads).

Overall though, I really enjoyed THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN and think that it will appeal to new and old fans of Sarah MacLean. Its a quick read filled with an entertaining cast of characters. The secondary characters are all fleshed out and they all add to the story even if they are just being discussed and they don’t appear in a scene. I liked the mentions of MacLean’s other books, however brief, as it just helps to flesh out this world that she has created in her stories. The banter of Sophie and King will make you laugh out loud and there are lots of heart achy moments that will really make you fall in love with these two. Oh, there are times when you want to shake Sophie and King for being stubborn but the best thing about a MacLean romance is that you know that eventually the hero and heroine will find their HEA and it will totally be worth the journey in getting there.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - The Rogue Not Taken

Add A Week to be Wicked by Tessa Dare to Goodreads. (Click here to see my review.)

Add The Bride by Julie Garwood to Goodreads.

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Excerpt


(Being shot on the Great North Road isn’t exactly a thing people expect to happen, and Lady Sophie Talbot finds herself in the rooms above The Warbling Wren pub, under the welcome care of a rather mad doctor and the watchful eye of the rather infuriating (and infuriatingly handsome) Kingscote, Marquess of Eversley. There are worse things, she supposes. Or are there? Not for King.)

“If you want a bath, you’ll have to accept my help,” he said.

She pursed her lips at that, her gaze settling longingly on the steaming bath. “You mustn’t look.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it.” It might have been the most obvious lie he’d ever told.

Somehow, she believed it, nodding and throwing back the coverlet to step out of the bed. She came to her feet, the top of her head at his chin, and he resisted the urge to help her across the room. “How do you feel?” he asked, hearing the gravel in his words. He cleared his throat.

“As though I’ve been shot, I’d imagine.”

He raised a brow. “Clever. There’s food when you’ve bathed.” The words summoned a low growl from her, and her hands flew to her stomach. Her cheeks turned red, and he smiled. “I take it you are hungry.”

“It seems so,” she said.

“Food after the bath. And then sleep.”

She met his gaze. “You’re very domineering.”

“It’s a particular talent.”

“What with you being called King.”

“Name is destiny.”

She moved past him to the high copper bathtub. He resumed his place against the wall, arms crossed, watching her carefully as she reached down, her long fingers trailing in the hot water as she sighed her anticipation. The sound was like gunfire in the room—pure, unadulterated pleasure. It was delicious.

King stiffened. He was not interested in the lady’s pleasure.

If only someone would tell his body that.

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 Sarah MacLean grew up in Rhode Island, obsessed with historical romance and bemoaning the fact that she was born far too late for her own season. Her love of all things historical helped to earn her degrees from Smith College and Harvard University before she finally set pen to paper and wrote her first book.

Sarah now lives in New York City with her husband, baby daughter, their dog, and a ridiculously large collection of romance novels. She loves to hear from readers. Please visit her at www.macleanspace.com
four-stars
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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Review: When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review1 Comment

Review: When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa DareWhen a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare
Series: Castles Ever After,
Also in this series: Romancing the Duke, Say Yes to the Marquess
Published by Avon on 25 August 2015
Genres: Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Historical, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: A Week to be Wicked, Romancing the Duke, Say Yes to the Marquess, Lord Dashwood Missed Out

Place(s) Traveled To: Invernesshire, Scotland (1817)

First Line(s): Dear Captain Logan MacKenzie, There is but one consolation in writing this absurd letter. And that is that you, my dear delusion, do not exist to read it.

The fake fiance/boyfriend isn’t a new trope in the romance world but what happens if that fake fiance you created, wrote letters to and then killed off suddenly showed up on your doorstep. This is the dilemma that Madeline Gracechurch faces at the start of Tessa Dare’s newest book WHEN A SCOT TIES THE KNOT. This is the third book in her Castles Ever After series but unlike most romances there is little to no connection between these books so they can be read independently or in any order. Of the books in this series, WHEN A SCOT TIES THE KNOT is my favorite. It was filled with so much humor that I often found myself laughing out loud. I just loved Maddie and her aunt and also her Captain.

In order to read WHEN A SCOT TIES THE KNOT you have to suspend belief just a bit when it comes to Maddie’s letters making it to some someone with the name of her invented fiance and that all the details she’d mention would be real. But once you get over that its so easy to get lost in the story. I adored Logan and loved his interactions with Maddie. I loved that he read her rambling letters and got attached to her before he’d even met her. Granted he did have other reasons for wanting to marry Maddie but once you understand his motivations its hard not to adore him. Plus the chemistry between Logan and Maddie practically sizzles off the page and they quickly became one of my favorite Tessa Dare couples (Minerva and Colin though are still tops.)

 

When a Scot Ties the Knot Quote

WHEN A SCOT TIES THE KNOT is a fast paced, full filled story that I found hard to put down. It had me laughing one moment and then making my heart ache in the next. There were times when Maddie and Logan frustrated me when they refused to communicate but over all I just loved them. Overall, though Maddie and Logan were so good together. I loved the trust that Logan showed in Maddie and the genuine love between them both. Maddie is smart and sassy and Logan appreciates and encourages it even as he gets all wigged out by her interest in the natural world. This just makes him all the more lovable because he is a big tough soldier and yet he’s afraid of bugs. It was entertaining to say the least.

If you enjoy a good historical romance then you really should consider picking up a Tessa Dare. Her books are always a good time and the pages just fly by as you get lost in the story. They are always filled with a little humor and contain smart women. Tessa Dare is one of my go to authors when I need a good pick me up to get lost in for a bit. When you pick up a Tessa Dare book you know you are in for a good time and that is definitely the case with WHEN A SCOT TIES THE KNOT.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - When a Scot Ties the Knot

 

Add One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

Add Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

four-stars
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Friday, May 15, 2015

Review: Four Nights with the Duke by Eloisa James

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Four Nights with the Duke by Eloisa JamesFour Nights with the Duke by Eloisa James
Series: Desperate Duchesses by the Numbers, Book 2
on 31 March 2015
Genres: Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Historical, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 384
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Unnamed, England (1797 & 1800)

First Line(s): At fifteen, Emilia Gwendolyn Carrington already had a pretty good idea of what hell was like.

When I picked up Four Nights with the Duke by Eloisa James I was in need of a happy, feel good, brain candy read to get lost in for a couple of hours. If you’ve ever read Eloisa James then you know that her stories really deliver when you are looking for a distraction from reality. From its opening scene to the very end I was lost in this world and it was perfect for what I was looking for at the time. Four Nights with the Duke sucked me in from the start and I didn’t stop reading until I reached the end a few hours later. While I didn’t always like Vander I did always love his interactions with Emilia’s nephew Charlie. Especially their first meeting. Those scenes totally made the book for me and let me forgive him during those times when he was being an ass.

Because, dear reader, Vander could be a stuck up ass at times. After all who wouldn’t want to stay married to a Duke? But Emilia isn’t your typical heroine. She was pretty self sufficient in a time when the majority of women couldn’t say that. She earned her own income but lacked the power in order to obtain custody of her nephew. I enjoyed Vander and Emilia’s love story and I believed their journey even when there were times when Four Nights with the Duke felt like it was a Gothic novel. This made for a bit  of a cheesy plot at times and if I had read this one at another time that may have annoyed be but I read this at the right time so I was mostly entertained.

Four Nights with the Duke Quote

Vander is a flawed by redeemable character. He makes assumptions at the start and is able to realize the error of his ways. Emilia is a bit prideful at times but I love her strength and sass. They are characters in a book but they feel like they could be real people. Their story is one that you can get lost in and was a delightful way to pass an afternoon. Four Nights with a Duke is a book that I will probably revisit from time to time to check in with these characters and I am curious about the other books in the series.

Four Nights with the Duke is the second in a series, and the eighth in a larger series by Eloisa James none of which I’d read prior to this book. Despite this I didn’t feel at all lost while reading this story and it did make me curious about the book that came before, Three Weeks with Lady X (Goodreads)Three Weeks stars Vanders BFF and his quest for love and I’m curious to see what sort of cameo that Vander might make in that story. Though at the same time it might be odd seeing Vander without Emilia as they have become a solid unit to me. Definitely a book that I would recommend, though its not a book for everyone.

irishdarkblue

IR - Four Nights with the Duke

Add Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days by Laura Lee Guhrke to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-half-stars
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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Review: Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa DareSay Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare
Series: Castles Ever After, Book 2
Also in this series: Romancing the Duke, When a Scot Ties the Knot
Published by Avon on 30 December 2014
Genres: Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: A Week to be Wicked, Romancing the Duke, When a Scot Ties the Knot, Lord Dashwood Missed Out

Place(s) Traveled To: Charingwood, England (19th Century)

First Line(s): “Oh, Miss Whitemore. Just look at this horrid place.”

Say Yes to the Marquess is the second installment in Tessa Dare’s Castles Ever After series and unlike most romance series there is little to no overlap with the previous book so can definitely be treated as a standalone book. Say Yes to the Marquess follows Clio a woman who had a prime engagement during her debut season and was the envy of all. But then her intended left the country and didn’t return for eight years and Clio is tired of being the good girl and waiting as society looks at her with pity. So when she inherits a castle she informs his brother, Rafe, that she’s breaking the engagement and moving on. Only her intended is on his way home and Rafe has every plan to get those two hitched…even if he has to plan the wedding himself.

What follows is an oft time hilarious story that I’ve come to expect from a Tessa Dare book. I love her strong characters and the wit and banter that fill the pages of her books. They are entertaining and make for a quick and enjoyable read. It also doesn’t hurt that Dare is a master at writing characters that have lots of chemistry with each other. And chemistry is what Clio and Rafe have in spades. If only they didn’t have so many obstacles in their way…mainly Rafe trying to marry her off to his brother Piers and Clio wanting to remain single until she finds someone who will love her unconditionally. The sparks between Clio and Rafe leap off the page and as a reader you cheer for them to get over the various hurdles of themselves and 19th century etiquette so that they can find their happily ever after.

Say Yes to the Marquess Quote

Another thing that I love about a Tessa Dare novel is her secondary characters which always add depth and realism to a story and that is certainly the case with Say Yes to the Marquess. There is Rafe’s friend and co-conspirator who just adds an extra element of fun to the story as this bruiser tries to play a gentile wedding planner. And there there are Clio’s sisters who you often just want to strangle. Well, one more so than the other as the other is sweet and really just wants to be left to her own devices and who I think is on the autism spectrum. Which was a really interesting aspect of her character since autism wasn’t a thing in 19th century England as it is now. People with autism were just odd or outcasts or would become hermits if they couldn’t adapt to societies ways.

Say Yes to the Marquess was a fast read and would be a great addition to your beach bag this summer. I read the book in a single sitting and it gave me all the feels as Clio and Rafe journeyed through their story. It was a book that I wish I’d read sooner but was so glad to have read when I did. Its a story that I know I’ll read again and I can not wait to see what Tessa Dare comes up with next!

irishdarkblue

IR - Say Yes to the Marquess

Add Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
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