Tag Archives: Historical romance

Smutty Saturdays

Oh how I love Saturdays, especially when they’re filled with smut. ūüôā

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This delicious sampling of smut is from Courtney Milan’s “Suffragette Scandal.”

“You keep acting as if I will break.” She smiled up at him. ¬†“Here’s a secret.”

He dropped his head to hers. 

“I plan to do just that,” she whispered. ¬†“To break into pieces, and I insist on having your help getting there.”

It was too much for him. ¬†He took hold of her hips and slid all the way in, seating himself deep inside her. ¬†She made a noise deep in her throat, and he was lost…”

There, now isn’t your day so much better already? ¬†Check out Courtney Milan’s “Suffragette Scandal” and all of the books in the Brothers Sinister Series – they are all excellent reads! ūüôā

Happy Saturday and happy reading! ūüôā

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Review “Suffragette Scandal”

imageEbook Review: “The Suffragette Scandal,” By Courtney Milan

Frederica Marshall (Free) is a bold, young woman who¬†runs her own newspaper and fights for women’s right to vote.

Edward Clark is back in England to protect a childhood friend from his brother’s plot to destroy a woman who spurned his advances – a woman, unlike any Edward has ever met.

Edward offers himself as Free’s personal scoundrel (why can’t I have my own scoundrel?) and quickly partners with her to outsmart his brother’s evil plans to ruin Free’s business and worse. ¬†But Edward isn’t exactly who he claims to be…and if he reveals his true identity to Free, will she stay?

Ah yes, the last book in the Brothers Sinister Series (so named because each book has a left-handed hero or heroine Рyay, left-handed people).  As always, Courtney Milan did an excellent job of creating a strong heroine (outspoken, bold, and smart), an interesting and brooding hero (oh, we love the brooding), and an excellent story line in a historical romance setting.  5 out of 5 stars, though I am a little sad to be finished with such a fun series.

By the way – for all of you writers out there, Courtney Milan has a really great blog/website, where she talks about many things, including self-publishing versus traditional publishing options. ¬†Check it out. ¬†ūüôā

Smutty Saturdays

Smutty Saturdays

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That’s right, that’s a picture of steamin honor of the written steam that fills the pages of romance novels. ¬†ūüôā ¬†heeheehee

This week’s smut is from one of my favorite books, the second book in the Wallflower’s Series: “It happened one Autumn,” by Lisa Kleypas. ¬†By the way, this book and the entire series is great – strong and interesting heroines in the historical romance genre. ¬†I loved it and strongly recommend it!

Her mouth wandered unsteadily over the masculine scrape of his cheek, the edge of his jaw, and back to the softness of his lips. ¬†When the kiss ended, she turned her face to the side and gasped, “what do you want?”

“Don’t ask that.” ¬†His lips moved to her ear, and his tongue stroked into the tiny hollow behind the fragile lobe. ¬†“The answer…” ¬†Hearing the way her breath hastened, he lingered at her ear, tracing the fine edge with his tongue, nibbling at the folds within. ¬†“The answer is dangerous,” he finally managed to say.

Dangerous?! ¬†Dangerous, you say? ¬†Well, that just makes me more curious… ¬†ūüôā

 

Happy Saturday, y’all. ¬†And happy reading too! ¬†ūüôā

Review “Countess Conspiracy”

Ebook Review: “The Countess Conspiracy (The Brothers Sinister Book 3),” By: Courtney Milan

imageSebastian Malheur is known throughout England as a brilliant scientific mind. ¬†Some revere his work, while others think him to be a reprobate. ¬†What they don’t know, is that he is taking credit for another scientist’s work. ¬†Why would he live a lie for so many years? ¬†Well, because he’s in love with a very complicated woman.

Violet is many things – a widow, the Countess of Cambury, friend of infamous rake/scientist (Sebastian), gardener, and – the brilliant scientist behind the beginnings of genetics.

For years, Violet depended on Sebastian to publish her life’s work. ¬†But the years of lies weigh heavily on Sebastian. ¬†He shocks her to the core when he announces that he will no longer live this fraud, and more unfathomable to her, he confesses that he loves her.

This book has more conflict than in the typical novel of the historical romance genre (will they/won’t they get together). ¬†It also deals with the complicated subjects of self-esteem and self-worth. ¬†In a world where women are not expected to be more than pretty decorations in a room or baby makers, Violet has convinced herself that she is a freak of nature and unworthy of love. ¬†But it will take more than Sebastian’s attempts to change Violet’s mind, true acceptance can only come from within.

This book is an excellent addition to the Brothers Sinister series that is already ripe with strong heroines and excellent story lines. ¬†5 stars for an excellent heroine and the mate for her mind as well as her heart. ¬†ūüôā

Review “Suddenly You”

Ebook Review: ¬†“Suddenly You,” ¬†By Lisa Kleypas

imageIn “Suddenly You,” we follow the story of Amanda, a so-called spinster (she’s really only 30 years old) and novelist. ¬†Amanda’s parents died a few years ago, during the time when Amanda would have been looking for a husband (this is a regency romance, after all). ¬†After her parents die, she boldly sells their house, publishes novels, and goes to live in London – and succeeds! ¬†Yay for successful female characters!

Despite all of the success and fame from being a novelist, she is lonely. ¬†Enter Jack Devlin, a successful publisher who enjoys “stealing” authors from their current publishers and releasing scandalous books (that of course, sell). ¬†He pursues Amanda for her literary talent and her body. ¬†Excellent, who doesn’t want to be appreciated for both their brain and body?

Ah, a romance between a novelist and publisher – an interesting off-take of the boss/employee sub-genre (sexy and power over your income? double score! :p)

I’ve read several of Lisa Kleypas’ books, most notably her Wallflower Series, and enjoy this author very much. ¬†“Suddenly You” was written before that series. ¬†As a result, it was interesting for me to compare this work with her Wallflower Series: 1) both bodies of work showcase strong and interesting female characters that buck the traditions of their time (which I love). ¬†2) Both bodies of work have good plots and were enjoyable stories.

Lisa Kleypas is definitely an author I admire and in this book (as it is an earlier work of hers), I was able to get a glimpse of a writer taking shape. ¬† Many of us struggle in pace and the number of obstacles/events that our characters must overcome. ¬†The one critique that I have for this story is that there are a lot of things happening at the end of the book. ¬†Don’t misunderstand – this was a well written and entertaining story. ¬†However, I felt that some of the action could have been spread out a bit more (maybe occur earlier in the story or maybe the novel should have been a little longer). ¬†But I think that this is a natural problem for many “young” novelists (including myself). ¬†And, the fact that Lisa Kleypas is a successful writer who creates enjoyable stories should give us all hope that our gifts will continue to blossom throughout the course of our writing career.

4 out of 5 stars for this excellent writer and her ability to write strong female characters who do amazing things. ūüôā

Review “The Heiress Effect”

Ebook Review: “The Heiress Effect (The Brothers Sinister),” By: Courtney Milan

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Oh, how I love the Brothers Sinister series. ¬†These books follow the stories of a Robert (the Duke of Clermont), Oliver (the Duke’s half-brother), and Sebastian (their cousin). ¬†The three were called the Brothers Sinister in school because they are all left-handed and were mischievous.

Side note: I can’t help but love this premise, as I am also left-handed and mischievous. ūüôā

The “Heiress Effect” is the second book in the series and is about Oliver, who had a fairly humble up-bringing. ¬†Because he is not of “noble” birth, Oliver has had to fight people who think less of him (since he’s not rich or titled) through school and continues to fight for his political ambitions. ¬†Oliver is seeking to win a Parliament vote of an old (and evil) school mate, the Marquess of Bradenton, when he meets Miss Jane Fairfax.

Jane Fairfax does her best to discourage men from proposing to her – not an easy task, considering she is an heiress. ¬†She plays up her so-called weaknesses (talking too loud, saying things that show she is smart/witty, laughing too loud, wearing too bright-colored clothing) and purposely annoys men so that they won’t be interested in her. ¬†But, she has an excellent reason for doing so. ¬†If she stays unmarried until her sister becomes of age, Jane can legally take her sister away from the guardian that keeps her sister under lock and key, due to her seizures. ¬†Worse still, the guardian allows quack doctors to run “tests,” including burning and electric shock therapy.

Jane’s antics to stop male attention draw the ire of Bradenton. ¬†This evil man tells Oliver that if he puts Jane in her place in front of everyone, he will vote as Oliver wishes him to on an upcoming bill. ¬†But this isn’t just any bill – this bill will allow regular folk to be able to vote in England. ¬†Not only is it important for everyone in England, it holds the key to Oliver’s political aspirations. ¬†Will Oliver betray Jane? ¬†The closer he gets to her, the more he struggles over the right and wrong, as well as his feelings for this colorful woman who¬†does not fit into his definition of “ideal.”

I love Jane’s character. ¬†She has a strong sense of self (something that many women in romance novels or in the real world don’t have) and refuses to change. ¬†She’s loud, vibrant, and lovely ¬†– and she is proud of it.

Five out of five stars!

I love this series so much! ¬†This book is so excellent that it makes me want to go back to read the prequel to the series (“The Governess Affair”), the first in the series (“The Duchess War”), and the mini-novella (“A Kiss For Midwinter“)…perhaps I will. ¬†ūüôā

Review: “When he was wicked”

Ebook Review: ¬†“When He Was Wicked,” By: Julia Quinn

image¬†Ah, it’s taken a little while to get here, but we’ve come to one of my favorite subgenre/themes/what ever you want to call it – the longing, tortured soul. ¬†Call it whatever you want, judge all you want, but now and then, everyone likes to see it. ¬†I’m not sure what that says about me as a reader/writer, but there you have it: I love the¬†longing and I won’t apologize for it. ¬†:p

Anyway, in “When He Was Wicked,” Michael (our rake/hero) falls deeply in love with Francesca upon laying eyes on her. ¬†Unfortunately for him, this happens to be on the day of her wedding…to his sweet cousin, John. ¬†Francesca and John are very much in love, and despite his secret love for her, Michael becomes good friends with Francesca. ¬†He even entertains the young couple with filtered versions of his exploits when Francesca asks him to, “tell her something wicked,” since he is quite the naughty fellow with the ladies.

Sadly, John dies only a few years into his marriage to Francesca. ¬†Michael is devastated to lose the cousin that was more like a brother to him and is laden with guilt when John’s title/land/money fall to him. ¬†The guilt of wanting Francesca and sadness over John’s death cause Michael to flee to India, where he stays for several years. ¬†Francesca is wrecked by losing a husband she loved, having a miscarriage over the stress, and not being able to lean on her friend (Michael) for the support she needs.

The story picks up again when Michael returns to England to fulfill¬†his duties as the new Earl of Kilmartin, the first of which is to enter polite society and find a wife. ¬†At the same time, Francesca (who has lived in mourning since John’s death) has decided that she wants a baby…which means that she’ll have to start husband hunting.

Francesca and Michael rekindle their friendship and unlike before, Francesca begins to feel attracted to him.  But the specter of John and their separate fears of hurting his memory keep the two apart.  Until the force that pulls them together cannot be stopped.

I really enjoyed this story for a few reasons: 1) well, we’ve already established that I enjoy “longing” in stories. ¬†2) The characters actually have a good reason to be weary of being together – the feeling that they would be somehow dishonoring someone they both loved. ¬†And unlike other books, that sometimes gloss over giant issues like this one, this book does not. ¬†3) The hero decides that the only way to get our heroine to marry him is to seduce her – throughly. ¬†Excellent. ¬†And all you men thought that we wanted you to give us a diamond and to go down on one knee. <Giggle>¬† Tsk, Tsk.

I was, however, slightly annoyed with one romantic novel trope used in this novel – the hero/heroine (I won’t say which) doesn’t realize that they are in love until they think the other is near death. ¬†Erg. ¬†Luckily, this didn’t happen to the very end and was pretty short in duration.

I give this book 4 our of 5 stars for steaminess (our hero was a rake, after all)¬†and heart twisting longings. One star deducted for, “oh, I didn’t realize I loved you until I thought you were going to die” trope.

Review – Again the Magic

Ebook Review: ¬†“Again the Magic,” By Lisa Klepas

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A prequel to the Wallflower series! ¬† Oh, what wonders I discover while trolling for ebooks from the library before a business trip. ūüôā

We previously met Marcus, Earl of Westcliff, in the Wallflower series. But in this lovely novel, we learn of the fate of his two older sisters – Aline and Livia.

Aline and a stable boy/servant, McKenna, share a deep and special bond of friendship at a young age. ¬†This friendship blossoms into a powerful love. ¬†However, after being discovered, they must part ways and Aline is forced to drive her lover away, in order to protect him from her vindictive, evil father. ¬† (Gasp! A love story of two people from different social spheres, striving against the world for their love?! What more could the regency subgenre ask for?) 12 years later, McKenna returns to Aline’s family estate to exact revenge on the woman who wronged him, and of course, fails miserably as he is powerless in his love for her.

McKenna also brings with him a business partner, Gideon Shaw, who is the one person that is able to reach Aline and Marcus’ sister, Olivia, and draw her back into the real world (she’s suffered from a terrible twist of fate).

Again the Magic,” is sweet and equally heart wrenching, the kind of romance novel that so easily manipulates you into smiling mischievously one minute and threatening to make you cry (on a delayed airplane, for me) the next. As a result, I give this book 5 out of 5 stars, an excellent read for a business trip or curled up at home on the couch. ūüôā

Review: “The Devil in Winter” (Wallflowers Book #3)

Ebook Review: ¬†“The Devil in Winter,” By Lisa Kleypas

image¬†As it is December and officially cold as hell outside my door, I thought it would be the perfect time to read the third book in the Wallflower series – “The Devil in Winter,” so named for its devilish hero.

Yay! Bring on the bad boy lit!

In this excellent read, we follow the story of Evie Рthe terribly shy wallflower with a stutter and a family that tortures her.  Evie is desperate to escape the clutches of evil relatives and to tend to her father in his sickbed (she lives with extended family and not with her father).

Unfortunately, during this time period, there are not many options open to someone like Evie to escape from domineering and abusive relations, who just might kill her once she inherits her father’s fortune. ¬†If she runs away to stay with one of her married friends, her male relatives can come and force her to return. ¬†Her only real option is to marry a man with enough power to protect her, and also one who will let her live without trying to dominate her – not an easy task for a lady back in the day. ¬†She turns to a man who is desperate to marry (for money), rakish Sebastian St. Vincent. ¬†In his last desperate attempt to solve financial issues, he kidnapped the heroine of our last Wallflower book, Lillian, to try to marry her and gain her fortune. ¬†Viscount St. Vincent, bruised and battered by Lillian’s now-husband, accepts Evie’s proposal to elope quickly.

St. Vincent is my favorite kind of romance novel bad guy – a sharp-tongued, sneaky, snarky rake who (we all know) is secretly a decent man and falls in love with our lovely heroine.

In the Wallflower series, Kleypas created heroines that are smart and bold individuals that buck the old romance standards, with Evie being no exception. Usually in historical romances, our heroine would consummate her marriage with the hero and fall in love with him very fast. ¬†Then, she would resign herself to the fate of loving a man, who doesn’t (yet) love her, but decide to make the best of it by having sex with him all the time. ¬†(Eventually, the hero admits his love and then they gain their happily ever after).

However, in “The Devil in Winter,” Evie tells St. Vincent that she will only have sex with him once – to make sure that her evil relatives cannot have the marriage annulled and make her go back home. ¬†After that, they’ll have a sham marriage. ¬†St. Vincent (again, a rake) agrees and says he doesn’t usually sleep with women more than once anyway. ¬†Oh the plans of mice and men…

Of course their interlude together is amazing, life changing even. ¬†But the next time our hero tries to seduce Evie, she tells him no and reminds him of their agreement. ¬†He, of course, is annoyed. ¬†I can almost imagine him turning to the reader at this point, flabbergasted by the situation. ¬†He would point at the heroine and mutter to me, “can you believe her? ¬†Does she know what kind of book she’s in? ¬†This isn’t how it’s supposed to go!” ¬†Heehee. ¬†Evie tells Sebastian that she’ll let him return to her bed if he can prove he can be monogamous by being celibate for 3 months.

<Cackling with glee>¬† Oh, I love this book. ¬†ūüôā ¬†For an excellent heroine, a delicious (as well as redeeming) hero, and a great plot – I give 5 out of 5 stars.

Review: “It Happened One Autumn”

Ebook review: “It Happened One Autumn,” by Lisa Kleypas

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Ah yes, the historical/regency romantic sub-genre. ¬†I don’t usually read historical romances because the plight of ridiculously beautiful and rich heroines searching the ton for a marriageable viscount can be tiresome. ¬†It was the romance genre that I started with years ago (sneaking books from my mom’s stash in our basement) and the genre that almost turned me off of romance novels completely – if a doe-eyed, empty-headed heroine stomps her foot “prettily” one more time, I’m going to scream.

That said, I do periodically read them. ¬†Why? ¬†I’m a glutton for punishment? ¬†Well, yes. ¬†But also, there are a lot of historical romances available and sometimes, there are books/series that are actually entertaining. ¬†This book is one of the best historical romances that I’ve read in a long time.

It happened one autumn” is the second book in the Wallflower series. ¬†The Wallflowers are a group of girls, that are having trouble finding suitors – one is beautiful and poor, two are loud sisters from America (yay!), and the last is painfully shy. ¬†The girls decide that there is strength in numbers and they band together to find husbands.

It happened one autumn,” follows the older American sister, Lillian Bowman, and our conservative Englishman, Lord Marcus Westcliff. ¬†This book is perhaps my favorite in the series (although I do love “The Devil in Winter” so much it may warrant its own review). ¬†Not only is Lillian boisterous, vivacious, smart, sporty, and fun, she also can curse like a sailor. ¬†ūüôā ¬†Marcus is slightly pompous and a stickler for rules, but is drawn to free-spirited Lillian against his will (oh, how we love it when they try to fight their feelings). ¬†They try to fight their attraction to each other behind a hedge, in the orangery, in a private garden, in the library….and of course, they fail.

My favorite part of this book is actually Lillian’s refusal to marry Marcus. ¬†Ever the strong woman not seen in many novels, she refuses to be bullied into marriage by the hero and also has to deal with some serious in-law issues (hey, who doesn’t?).

I give this book (as well as book #3 and book #4) five out of five stars for refreshing heroines who are bold, lively, and fun, as well as the interesting men they end up with.