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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Blog Tour: Excerpt from The Lawrence Browne Affair by Cat Sebastian

Posted by Irish in Blog Tour, Contest1 Comment

 
Can they find forever in the wreckage of their lives? 

THE LAWRENCE BROWNE AFFAIR
Cat Sebastian
Releasing Feb 7th, 2017
Avon Impulse

 

An earl hiding from his future . . . 

 Lawrence Browne, the Earl of Radnor, is mad. At least, that’s what he and most of the village believes. A brilliant scientist, he hides himself away in his family’s crumbling estate, unwilling to venture into the outside world. When an annoyingly handsome man arrives at Penkellis, claiming to be Lawrence’s new secretary, his carefully planned world is turned upside down.

A swindler haunted by his past . . . 

Georgie Turner has made his life pretending to be anyone but himself. A swindler and con man, he can slip into an identity faster than he can change clothes. But when his long-dead conscience resurrects and a dangerous associate is out for blood, Georgie escapes to the wilds of Cornwall. Pretending to be a secretary should be easy, but he doesn’t expect that the only madness he finds is the one he has for the gorgeous earl.

Can they find forever in the wreckage of their lives? 

Challenging each other at every turn, the two men soon give into the desire that threatens to overwhelm them. But with one man convinced he is at the very brink of madness and the other hiding his real identity, only true love can make this an affair to remember. 

Cornwall, 1816

CHAPTER ONE

All this fuss about a couple of small explosions. As far as Lawrence cared, the explosions were entirely beside the point. He had finished experimenting with fuses weeks ago. More importantly, this was his house to burn to the ground if that’s what he wanted to do with it. Hell, if he blew the godforsaken place up, and himself right along with it, the only person who would even be surprised was the man sitting before him.

“Five servants quit,” Halliday said, tapping Lawrence’s desk in emphasis. Dust puffed up in tiny clouds around the vicar’s fingertips. “Five. And you were woefully understaffed even before then.”

Five fewer servants? So that was why the house had been so pleasantly quiet, why his work had been so blissfully undisturbed.

“There was no danger to the servants. You know I keep them away from my work.” That was something Lawrence insisted on even when he wasn’t exploding things. The very idea of chattering maids underfoot was enough to discompose his mind even further. “And I conducted most of the actual explosions out of doors.” Now was probably not the time to mention that he had blown the roof off the conservatory.

“All I’m suggesting is a sort of secretary.” Halliday was dangerously unaware of how close he was to witnessing an explosion of the metaphorical variety. “Somebody to keep records of what you’ve mixed together and whether it’s likely to”—he puffed his cheeks out and made a strange noise and an expansive gesture that Lawrence took to represent explosion—“ignite.”

The Reverend Arthur Halliday did not know what was good for him. If he did, he would have fled the room as soon as he saw Lawrence reach for the inkwell. Lawrence’s fingers closed around the object, preparing to hurl it at the wall behind the vicar’s head. Sod the man for even suggesting Lawrence didn’t know how to cause an explosion. He hadn’t invented Browne’s Improved Black Powder or even that bloody safety fuse through blind luck, for God’s sake.

“Besides,” Halliday went on, “you said you need an extra set of hands for this new device you’re working on.”

Oh, damn and blast. Lawrence knew he shouldn’t have told the vicar. But he had hoped Halliday might volunteer to help with the device himself, not badger Lawrence into hiring some stranger. The vicar was convenient enough, and when he wasn’t dead set on sticking his nose where it didn’t belong, he wasn’t entirely unpleasant company.

“I’ve had secretaries,” Lawrence said from between gritted teeth. “It ends badly.”

“Well, obviously, but that’s because you go out of your way to terrify them.” Halliday glanced pointedly at the inkwell Lawrence still held.

And there again was Halliday missing the point entirely. Lawrence didn’t need to go out of his way to frighten anyone. All he had to do was simply exist. Everyone with any sense kept a safe distance from the Mad Earl of Radnor, as surely as they stayed away from rabid dogs and coiled asps. And explosive devices, for that matter.

Except for the vicar, who came to Penkellis Castle three times a week. He likely also called on bedridden old ladies and visited the workhouse. Maybe his other charity cases were grateful, but the notion that he was the vicar’s good deed made Lawrence’s fingers curl grimly around the inkwell as he plotted its trajectory through the air.

“I’ll take care of the details,” Halliday was saying. “I’ll write the advertisement and handle the inquiries. A good secretary might even be able to manage the household a bit,” the vicar said with the air of a man warming to his topic, “get it into a fit condition for the child—”

“No.” Lawrence didn’t raise his voice, but he slammed his fist onto the desk, causing ink to splatter all over the blotter and the cuff of his already-inky shirt. A stack of papers slid from the desk onto the floor, leaving a single dustless patch of wood where they had been piled. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a spider scurry out from under the papers.

“True,” Halliday continued, undaunted. “A housekeeper would be more appropriate, but—”

“No.” Lawrence felt the already fraying edges of his composure unraveling fast. “Simon is not coming here.”

“You can’t keep him off forever, you know, now that he’s back in England. It’s his home, and he’ll own it one day.”

When Lawrence was safely dead and buried, Simon was welcome to come here and do what he pleased. “I don’t want him here.” Penkellis was no place for a child, madmen were not fit guardians, and nobody knew those facts better than Lawrence himself, who had been raised under precisely those conditions.

Halliday sighed. “Even so, Radnor, you have to do something about this.” He gestured around the room, which Lawrence thought looked much the same as ever. One hardly even noticed the scorch marks unless one knew where to look. “It can’t be safe to live in such a way.”

Safety was not a priority, but even Lawrence wasn’t mad enough to try to explain that to the vicar.

“Villagers won’t even walk past the garden wall anymore. And the stories they invent…” The vicar wrung his hands. “A secretary. Please. It would ease my mind to know you had someone up here with you.”

A keeper, then. Even worse.

But Lawrence did need another set of hands to work on the communication device. If Halliday wouldn’t help, then Lawrence had no other options. God knew Halliday had been right about the local people not wanting anything to do with him.

“Fine,” he conceded. “You write the advertisement and tell me when to expect the man.” He’d say what he needed to in order to end this tiresome conversation and send the vicar on his way.

It wasn’t as if this secretary would last more than a week or two anyway. Lawrence would see to that.

 

Cat Sebastian lives in a swampy part of the South with her husband, three kids, and two dogs. Before her kids were born, she practiced law and taught high school and college writing. When she isn’t reading or writing, she’s doing crossword puzzles, bird watching, and wondering where she put her coffee cup.

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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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Friday, April 29, 2016

Review: Last First Kiss by Lia Riley

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Last First Kiss by Lia RileyLast First Kiss by Lia Riley
Series: Brightwater,
Published by Avon on 23 June 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 352
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Brightwater, California

First Line(s): Dear readers, There were so many sweet by worried comments following my divorce announcement.

LAST FIRST KISS by Lia Riley is the first book in a new series that is set in the small town of Brightwater, California. This book involves Annie Carson who has returned home for the first time since high school graduation to heal from her divorce and to prepare the family farm for sale. While home she meets back up with Sawyer, who is her neighbor, her first love, and also her family’s enemy. The two families have been feuding since before most people can remember and so that doesn’t make things easy for this Romeo and Juliet couple. Especially since Sawyer is a big part of why Annie left home in the first place.

When Annie lived in Brightwater she was a bit of a wild child and often the source of town gossip but over the years she’s grown up, married, had a child, and started a popular mommy’s blog to chronicle her perfect life. Only her life isn’t perfect and she’s struggling to keep it all together. She most definitely doesn’t need the added complication of Sawyer coming back into her life and she struggles with him wanting to start fresh.

Last First Kiss Quote

I liked the chemistry between Sawyer and Annie and I adored how Sawyer interacted with Annie’s son. I often don’t like kids in books and LAST FIRST KISS wasn’t an exception to this but it could have been worse. I did think that LAST FIRST KISS was a bit more awkward than it should have been. The dialogue scenes were a bit cringe worthy at times and it didn’t feel like real people were talking.

In terms of steaminess, LAST FIRST KISS is a bit cool and vanilla and there was a crazy escalation to the HEA which ended up being overly cutesy for my tastes. I also thought that all the blog entries were a distraction and I could have done without them. I think by the end of the book I started to skip them all together. Overall, LAST FIRST KISS was just a meh read for me and while I’ll probably read the other books in the series I don’t think I’ll be rushing out to do so.

irishdarkblue

IR - Last First Kiss

 

Add Catching Cameron by Julie Brannagh to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Imaginary Lines by Allison Parr 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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(Stop 2) –  Romantic Historical Reviews -Rev/Exc
(Stop 3) – Brooke Blogs – P/Exc
(Stop 4) –  Books & Spoons – P/Exc
***
Feb 29th  – Born to Read Books – Rev/Exc
(Stop 2) – Margie’s Must Reads -Rev/P
March 1st  – Ticket to Anywhere – Rev/Exc
(Stop 2) – VampyRelady’s Fave – Promo
(Stop 3) –  Teatime and Books – Promo
(Stop 4) – A Sky Full of Stars Blog – Promo
March 2nd  Wicked Reads -Rev/Exc
(Stop 2) – Romorror Fan Girl – P/Rev
March 3rd – Crystal Blogs Books -Rev/P
(Stop 2) – Nicole’s Book Musings -P/Exc
(Stop 3) – Book Munchies – Rev/Exc
March 4th  – T&L Book Revie(Stows -Rev/P
(Stop 2) – Sofia Loves Books – P/Rev
(Stop 3) – Once Upon A Book – Rev/Exc
March 7th – Ramblings From This Chick -P/Exc
(Stop 2) – BJ’s Reviews – P/Exc
March 8th – Cocktails and Books – Rev/Exc
(Stop 2)  The Sassy Bookster – Rev/Exc
(Stop 3) – Confessions From Romaholics – P/Exc
 
March 9th – Ever After Book Reviews – P/Exc
(Stop 2) – Written Love Reviews – Rev/Exc
March 10th – WTF Are You Reading? -Rev/Exc
(Stop 2) – Jen’s Reading Obsession -Rev/Exc
(Stop 3) – Rambling Reads – P/Rev
March 11th  Romantic Reads and Such –Rev/Exc
(Stop 2) – Sassy Moms Say Read Romance  -Rev/Exc
(Stop 3) – Reader Girls -Rev/Exc

(Stop 4) – A Bluestocking’s Place – P/Exc

 
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three-half-stars
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Monday, February 8, 2016

Review: Make Me by Tessa Bailey

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Make Me by Tessa BaileyMake Me by Tessa Bailey
Series: Broke and Beautiful,
Also in this series: Chase Me
Published by Avon on 11 August 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Love & Romance, New Adult, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Also by this author: Chase Me

Place(s) Traveled To: New York, New York // Southampton, New York

First Line(s): Day one hundred and forty-two of being friend-zoned. Send rations.

MAKE ME is the third and final book in Tessa Bailey’s Broke and Beautiful series and one that I had my hesitations on after the disaster that was NEED ME (my review). But even with that slight hesitation I was still curious about Russell and Abby’s story. Fortunately, MAKE ME, was an entirely different book than NEED ME. There was no creep factor for one and Russell and Abby were just the cutest couple. Stubborn as all get out but adorable. Oh how these two made my heart ache! That is when I didn’t want to shake them for being so obtuse!

MAKE ME is definitely one of those books that would have had no real conflict if the characters just TALKED to one another. But even with that overused cliche in romance stories I still liked their story. MAKE ME does take the cake though in not have just one pointless break up…but TWO! Which while utterly frustrating at times still doesn’t lesson my enjoyment of the book. Of the three books in the series MAKE ME is definitely my favorite and contains one of my favorite declarations of love. Oh stars will Russell and Abby tug on your heart strings!

Make Me Quote

As with the previous books, MAKE ME, is filled with cameos of the other characters and its always nice to see where couples end up when their story ends. I really liked the friendship that Abby had with Honey and Roxy and how all their very different personalities just worked well together. But where MAKE ME shines is definitely in the chemistry between Russell and Abby. Russell has waited for Abby to see him and even though she pined for him too they seemed to keep missing the signals. That friends to lovers trope…oh…so cliche at times….but oh how it just makes me swoon every time.

MAKE ME is a quick read and will give you all the feels. The characters are stubborn and never listen when you yell at them what they need to do but they make you want to turn the pages to see how they get to their happily ever after. Its not a perfect story but its fun and a great way to escape when you need a nice brain candy read to distract you from life.

irishdarkblue

IR - Make Me

Add The Game Plan by Kristen Callihan to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Whisper to Me by Christina Lee to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

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, December 2, 2015

Review: Need Me by Tessa Bailey

Posted by Irish in 1 Star, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Need Me by Tessa BaileyNeed Me Series: Broke and Beautiful, Book 2
Also in this series: Chase Me, Make Me
Published by Avon on 21 April 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, Love & Romance, New Adult, Parents, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
one-star

Place(s) Traveled To: New York, New York // Bloomfield, Kentucky

First Line(s): When choosing the perfect panties for a seduction, one couldn’t be too selective.

***SPOILERS WITHIN READ AT YOUR OWN RISK***

Sometimes a book will work for you and other times you will be amazed that you finished a book at all. NEED ME by Tessa Bailey is one of those books that I was surprised that I finished. For me, it was terrible and cringe worthy and just filled with some many WTF moments. First off, you have the two main leads who are both the BFFs of the main characters in CHASE ME (my review) and we are supposed to suspend belief that this couple hasn’t met. Or really knows anything about the other despite fact that now that the first couple is a couple their lives and their friends lives are totally intertwined. There was set up in CHASE ME for all that comes in MAKE ME the final book so this just rang untrue.

Then there is just the personality. Ben is a young professor, only a couple of years older than Honey, but if you miss all those many references you would think that he is far far older. He acts so much older and he also acts like a total a$$hole when it comes to his students. With the exception of Honey who he calls his Lolita and lusts after. The whole Lolita thing was just creepy and that wasn’t the only creepy thing Ben did he was also overly possessive and his sexy talk was just creepy. I don’t have any other word for it. Ben creeped me out and I don’t get what Honey saw in him other than he was “hot.”

Need Me Quote

There is a forbidden aspect to NEED ME as Ben is Honey’s professor but they make it seem like the very world will end if anyone finds out about their attraction. Whereas if she just dropped the class or they waited until she was done with the course things would be easier. But no, Ben goes and writes a letter saying Honey is acting inappropriately making unwanted advances and while he doesn’t send it a colleague finds it and does. Then in the rapid succession she’s kicked out of college….mind you there is no hearing or investigation and a letter sent to her parents house that must have been overnighted because Ben has said colleague take over his classes on a Tuesday say so he can stalk follow Honey to her home town and the letter arrives the next day. Um….I’ve never seen a college administration move so fast.

Then there is the whole crazy boring baseball FIELD OF DREAMS things and just ugh. I seriously wanted to through this book across the room on multiple occasions. The language was so different from CHASE ME and it was just not a fun romance. There was no chemistry between Ben or Honey and events gave me whiplash as things moved from one extreme to another and the ending?? My stars it was just implausible and too tied up in a perfect red bow. There were no consequences for anything and everyone just skips off into the sunset. I really should have listened to a friend and just skipped this one. The only real positive thing that I can say for it is that it was a quick read but that’s about it.

 

irishdarkblue

 

Others who liked this book more than I did
(Click link to read their full review)

Fiction Fare – “So among the reason that you should read this… because there are many, but the best one in my opinion is that Tessa Bailey writes amazing chemistry. From the very beginning I was drawn to Honey & Ben… I mean who hasn’t had that forbidden teacher fantasy… (only me? Okay… LOL) What I loved about Ben here was that before he even knew who Honey was, and what she looked like, he was falling for her words.”

Bows & Bullets Reviews – “It is a very fast read. It has that addictive quality that makes you want to keep reading. You just have to know what happens next, even when the characters are rubbing you the wrong way.”

Will Read for Feels – “With this being a Tessa Bailey book, you can already expect the dirty talk in the steamy scenes, the swoon-worthy romance, and the well-deserved HEA. But this time around, Tessa brings the big guns in this book. She turned a sensitive concept into a winning story that got me completely sold! She’s definitely upped her game this time around.”

 

one-star
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Monday, November 9, 2015

Review: Chase Me by Tessa Bailey

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Chase Me by Tessa BaileyChase Me by Tessa Bailey
Series: Broke and Beautiful,
Also in this series: Make Me
Published by Avon on 17 March 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, New Adult
Pages: 272
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Make Me

Place(s) Travled To: New York, New York

First Line(s): Today’s weather forecast: imminent shitstorms across the tri-state area.

CHASE ME by Tessa Bailey is the first book in her new adult trilogy about three 20-somethings who share an apartment in New York City. This first book is told from the POV of Roxy and Louis who meet when Roxy is sent to his apartment as a singing telegram from one of his one night stands. Roxy is a struggling actress filled with sass and spunk and her witty banter intrigues the jaded Louis who becomes determined to find her again. There were things I liked about CHASE ME, I liked the chemistry between Roxy and Louis and I liked how this was a quick read. I enjoyed the budding friendship between Roxy and her roommates. But I disliked all the cliches that filled this book. CHASE ME is so very formulaic and while I do expect a romance to follow a certain formula I like when things aren’t so angsty and predictable.

I did like how Roxy would often call her own self out for acting crazy and irrational but even as she came to these conclusions she would’t stop her actions. And then there were some crazy random escalations that almost gave me whiplash. The pointless breakup so was pointless and then the ending was super rushed and felt incomplete. While this was a fast, brain candy read it wasn’t without flaws and a few eye rolls as I worked my way through the book. Some things just seemed forced and unrealistic even as I was hoping for these two characters to work through their issues and find their HEA.

Chase Me Quote

The side characters were ok but from early on in CHASE ME you can predict just how their stories will play out. There isn’t very much that is fresh or new within CHASE ME and I’m not entirely sure that this is a book that I’ll actively recommend to others. Its not a bad book but there really isn’t anything special about it either. The banter between the characters is fun and I enjoyed meeting Roxy’s roommates but if I didn’t read this book in a single sitting I’m not 100% certain that I would have picked it back up again. As I mentioned there are a lot of cliches in CHASE ME and there were times when it repeated itself.  But all the flaws aside there is always a time and a place for a brain candy read. Sometimes you just need that predictable fun story to lose yourself in for a few hours. While I didn’t love CHASE ME I didn’t hate it either nor do I regret the time I spent reading it.

irishdarkblue

IR - Chase Me

Add Make it Count by Megan Erickson to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Rush Me by Allison Parr to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

three-stars
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