The Duke of Defiance (The Untouchables #5) by Darcy Burke-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

The Duke of Defiance (The Untouchables #5) by Darcy Burke-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

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THE DUKE OF DEFIANCE
The Untouchables #5
by Darcy Burke
Genre:adult, historical, romance
Release Date: June 27,2017

The Duke of Defiance

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date June 27, 2017

Difficult and defiant as a child, Bran Crowther, Earl of Knighton left England as a young man to pursue independence and adventure. He never expected to inherit the title and when duty calls him home, he still finds Society’s codes constricting and others’ expectations oppressive. Nevertheless, he needs a wife to be a mother to his young daughter, preferably a woman of intelligence and warmth who is, above all, immune to his idiosyncrasies—and to falling in love.

Widow Joanna Shaw isn’t interested in a second marriage, not after the loveless, passionless union she endured. She’d much rather dote on her young niece and nephew since they will likely be the only children in her life…until she meets a precocious girl, in desperate need of a mother. But her father, the so-called Duke of Defiance, is as peculiar as he is handsome, and Jo won’t take another risk with her heart. Their rules, however, are made to be broken, even when the consequences could destroy them both.

REVIEW

5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

The Duke of Defiance by Darcy Burke is the 5th book of her “The Untouchables” Series. A historical romance set in England, this was an easy paced, loving and passionate read that left me satisfied from the start all the way to the end.

Bran Crowther is the “black sheep” of his family. Having left home with no real destination in mind, he finds his place in Barbados where he starts living the life he can be at ease in. He marries and has a beautiful daughter. But fate has never been kind to Bran and soon enough he is a single father to his little angel girl Evie, has to return to memories of a home and family that did nothing but berate him his whole life, AND to top it all off, he has now officially inherited the title of Earl which he never wanted. Resigned to a life of disappointment, he loathes the thought of attending any proper society functions and realizes he must find a mother for his Evie.

Joanne Shaw is a widow to a vile country vicar. Jo never had the chance to “come out” to society due to family scandal, so at a young age she found herself accepting a proposal from a man who is less than ideal. After being abused and widowed, Jo makes peace with the thought that she will never marry again (one crummy marriage was enough for her thank you very much) or have any children. Then she crosses Bran’s path.

Off we go on an adventure of two perfectly flawed (yet accepting of circumstance) characters finding their perfectly flawed HEA. Jo brings a sense of family to Bran and Evie, and Bran and Evie melt away Jo’s reservations of progressing forward to maybe some day be married and enjoy motherhood. Bran has some serious issues going on, and Joanne brings a calm to his life that he can’t help but love. Joanne has a broken spirit of sorts, and Bran slowly enables her to glue them back in place. Evie .. well Evie is just the glue that binds this whole story together.

I would definitely recommend reading the first four books as some characters return from the previous books in this series, BUT, you can absolutely read this book as a stand alone. The flow of story is fantastic, the characters felt believable and the loving was some good! LOL

Recommend this my to fellow historical romance lovers for those precious quiet summer moments.

Click HERE for Rachel’s review of book four-THE DUKE OF DESIRE

HAPPY READING! 🙂

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Rachel T

excerpt

 

She sank into a curtsey. “Good morning, my lord. My sister wishes to convey her deepest apologies, but her son is ill, so she asked me to come in her stead.”
Bran registered the tidy upsweep of her dark brown hair and the green-brown of her earnest eyes as well as the simplicity of her modest slate-gray gown. She was rather monochromatic, except for that hint of green in her eyes, and the tiny gold flecks that danced near the pupil. He recalled that she was widowed, which perhaps explained her somewhat dour appearance. Or maybe it was just that he was used to warmth and vibrancy and colors that defied possibility in England. Barbados seemed like an imaginary world now.

“I see. Do you have children of your own?” he asked.

Pale swaths of pink highlighted her cheeks. It was the barest bit of color, but he caught it. How could he not against the dull palette she provided?

Dull?

No, that wasn’t an apt description. Her attire was dull, her hair a bit too severe, but she possessed an attractive, feminine form. Indeed, her breasts were perhaps spectacular. And she was pretty, with long, dark lashes framing her eyes and rose-colored lips that were just a bit too full. Not too full, he amended.

“I do not,” she said, drawing his attention back to his question about whether she had children.

“Then how can you be qualified to help me with this endeavor?”

“My sister sent a list of characteristics and requirements you should seek.” She straightened her shoulders and looked him in the eye. “She also sent me with her express confidence.”

He liked her fortitude. “Well then, I suppose you will suffice. Come along.”

Her nostrils flared slightly, and her eyes widened just the tiniest bit, the gold flecks seeming to brighten. As he turned to lead her to his office, he considered that he might have just offended her again. He had called her abilities into question, but why wouldn’t he?

He strode toward the back corner of the house, where his office was located. It was a large chamber with a wall of bookshelves and windows that looked out to the garden. He moved behind the desk and indicated for her to take a chair on the opposite side.

She slowly sat, her gaze wary and her mouth tight.

He frowned. “My apologies if I insulted you.”

“If you’d rather I didn’t stay, you have only to say so.” There was a steely set to her shoulders and a clipped edge to her tone as she spoke. “Nora wanted to help you, but I’ll understand if you decide I won’t suffice.”

He dropped into his chair. She had cheek to go with her fortitude. He liked that too. He’d been prepared to deal with milksops and featherbrains when he’d returned to England—people like his mother and brothers. Not that they really were milksops or featherbrains, but they liked to put on as if they were, thinking it was somehow attractive. He supposed it wasn’t fair to assume an entire population shared the same characteristics as his family.

“I’m afraid I must also apologize for the other day. I meant no offense. Sometimes… I speak without realizing how my words might sound.”

One of her dark, slender brows arched. “Forgive me for saying so, but I’ve found that’s a trait shared by most men.”

 

 

About the Author

Darcy Burke

Darcy Burke is the USA Today Bestselling Author of hot, action-packed historical and sexy, emotional contemporary romance. A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids who seem to have inherited the writing gene, and three Bengal cats. Visit Darcy online at www.darcyburke.com and sign up for her newsletter, follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/darcyburke, or like her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/DarcyBurkeFans.

 

 

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Days of Desire (Pirate’s Prize #2) by Tina Donahue-Review & Guest Post

Days of Desire (Pirate’s Prize #2) by Tina Donahue-Review and Guest Post

Days of Desire

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date July 4, 2017

In a pirate’s lair, nothing is as it seems . . .

Shipwrecked! When Royce Hastings is found washed up on the shore of a verdant tropical island, he tells the natives he is a merchant headed for Mozambique. The truth, however, is far more mercenary. Noble by birth, the once favored Royce has lost his fortune and family; now he is a hired henchman on the trail of an elusive pirate. His “shipwreck” was a fake. He’ll stop at nothing to infiltrate the island and capture his prey. His mother and sisters’ lives depend on it.

The last thing Royce expects is to be captured himself. But the lovely young woman who tends to his wounds in the tropics quickly takes hold of his heart. Simone is the island’s healer, and her skilled ministrations not only awaken his soul but disturb his conscience. His path has been predetermined; his identity must remain concealed at all costs. Yet the passion he feels in Simone’s sultry, loving arms cannot be denied. With his loyalties torn, Royce must make an agonizing, unthinkable choice.

•••••••••••

REVIEW: 4 out of 5 for this reader folks!

Days of Desire by Tina Donahue is a loving, action packed, with a little suspense kind of historical romance which takes you out of proper dukes and ladies and gives you good ole fashion pirates. Love me some pirates! LOL The second book of her “Pirates Prize” series, it takes place on a stunning tropical island where you will meet some absolutely incredible islanders with our main characters. I didn’t read the first book so I cannot comment on whether this could be a stand alone, but I will be picking it up in the near future.

Royce Hastings is our lead guy, and he is some stuck between a rock and a hard place. He is a noble by birth, but daddy dearest has lost the family fortune and Royce is paying the price. His mother and sister are being held hostage by a real SOB and Royce is being tasked via blackmail to capture a notorious pirate living on an island with his wife. If he cannot deliver, he can kiss his own family goodbye. Royce then arranges his own “shipwreck” on this island so he can infiltrate, assume a different identity and get the job done. Except .. nothing is ever as easy as all that!

Simone is the island’s healer and the woman who helps bring Royce back to health. Simone is kind hearted and she really appeals to Royce. Before he knows it, Royce is head over heels in love and now standing at a crossroads. Not only has he fallen in love with Simone, but he has befriended Tristan (AKA notorious pirate) and Diane (his wife) and finds a comfortable place amongst the islanders. How could he possibly betray these people and deliver the worst kind of ugly to them. But he has to, his family will be much worse off is he doesn’t.

This book is a quick read, but full of story. There was a good flow to it, the characters well developed in the short amount of pages offered. I would of loved to be stranded on this island that Tina writes so lovingly about. She really made it endearing. My only complaint would be the length. I WANTED MORE! LOL I am all about the slow burning build and that is near impossible when a story is on the shorter side .. but again, there is much awesome on the pages that were written!

Definitely a summer beach read. If you are looking for a quick historical romance fix then you will find it here!

HAPPY READING! 🙂

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Rachel T.

Guest Post beige

It’s All In the Details…

Romance is about challenges: those faced by the heroine and hero in their bumpy journey through lust to friendship and finally love; creating likeable characters, along with daunting yet realistic villains; choosing a setting and time period that will appeal to most readers; and in the case of historical romance, making certain that details from way-back-when aren’t only accurate but interesting.

As an avid reader of historical romance, I know what I don’t like and that’s a history lesson. Pages and pages of details that bring the plot and love story to a screeching halt. I can only speak for myself, but I skim those parts until I get back to the meat of the story. And that presents another challenge – exactly how much detail should an author provide?

I’ve found that making the setting and time period an integral part of the story, another character, if you will, allows those long-ago times to come alive.

For instance, in Days of Desire, book two in my Pirate’s Prize series, the action takes place on a secluded island in the Indian Ocean near Madagascar. After researching the area, I knew such a lovely and wild place would be ideal for my romance. Who doesn’t want to fall in love with a brave, hot hero beneath a velvety black sky studded with stars and a tropical breeze ruffling his shoulder-length hair? With that settled, I had to determine how folks lived in such a primitive setting during the early seventeen hundreds and how they kept healthy.

To ensure the medicinal part was interesting, I made my heroine Simone a healer. She’s an island woman skilled with plants, potions, and poultices. One of the interesting things I learned is that periwinkle stops bleeding. When Royce, my hero, washes up on shore, shipwrecked and injured, Simone tends to his injuries. While weaving in historical detail about healing, I created a bond between Simone and Royce…the beginning of their romance.

Since Royce is on the island for less-than-honorable purposes, that created conflict for him in terms of whether he should desire Simone. More importantly, whether he can go through with betraying her and the others on the isle. To up the ante, I gave him little choice. However, at that point, I had to have him remain in contact with the merchant who sent him on this mission. As Mozambique (where the merchant resides) and the island are separated by the Mozambique Channel and several hundred miles, I faced a dilemma. In a contemporary romance, I’d simply have Royce use his smartphone. Obviously, that wouldn’t work here, but carrier pigeons would.

While researching them, I discovered that carrier pigeons were used in Baghdad as early as 1150 and that they can fly between 600 to 700 miles per day and journeys of 1000 miles are routine. Wow. That worked perfectly for my plot. I also learned that carrier pigeons can do round-trip flights, which dovetailed with what I had in mind.

As I wrote Days of Desire, I appreciated the hardships people faced in 1717 and how they overcame obstacles with intelligence and sheer will. Life wasn’t easy then, but it wasn’t as primitive as I had believed. Research taught me that Islamic medicine was well-advanced long before modern times and that pigeons can be as effective for communicating as sending a text (albeit slower).

Penning a romance is never easy. Historical details make it more challenging, but well worth it in the end.

~~~Tina~~~

About The Author beige

Tina DonahueFollow: Goodreads / Blog / Twitter / The Reading Cafe /

I’m an award-winning, Amazon and international bestselling novelist in erotic, historical, paranormal, and contemporary romance for traditional publishers and indie. Booklist, Publishers Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised my work. Three of my erotic romances (Freeing the Beast, Come and Get Your Love, and Wicked Takeover) are Readers’ Choice Award winners. Three more (Adored, Lush Velvet Nights, and Deep, Dark, Delicious) were finalists in the EPIC competition. Readers’ Choice Award (Freeing the Beast, Come and Get Your Love, and Wicked Takeover). The French review site, Blue Moon reviews, chose Sensual Stranger as their Book of the Year (erotic category). The Golden Nib Award at Miz Love Loves Books was created specifically for Lush Velvet Nights, and two of my titles (The Yearning and Deep, Dark, Delicious) received an Award of Merit in the RWA Holt Medallion competition. Take Me Away and Adored both won second place in the NEC RWA contest (different years). I’m featured in the Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. Before writing full-time, I was the editor of an award–winning Midwestern newspaper and worked in Story Direction for a Hollywood production company.

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Killing June (Saved by Sin #1) by May B. Bridges-Review and Guest Post

Killing June (Saved by Sin #1) by May B. Bridges-Review and Guest Post

Killing June

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date July 4, 2017

SEDUCED BY PAIN
At night I’m June, dominating with the whip, even as I crave the hot, searing blow of the cane, myself. I loathe this side of who I am, but I can’t deny it or escape it. And as my clients cry out for me, begging for mercy, I can’t help but want June dead.

By day, I’m Alex Ryan, the good, successful Southern woman everyone thinks I am. I’ve compartmentalized my life to make it bearable, and to get what I want most: revenge. I can have a future with June dead, as soon as I confront the man that terrorized my past.

SAVED BY SIN
Cade Brannon is the local gun for hire, part of the seedy underworld of Dallas, but he may also be my savior. I want his help and he wants me. But Cade refuses to play by my rules and is forcing his way into every one of those compartments that I want to lock away. Now the parts of my life I’ve fought so hard to keep separate are bleeding together and it’s tearing me apart.

I just want to go back to being Alex Ryan. But at what cost am I willing to kill June?

••••••••••••••

REVIEW

5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

Dark, deep, roller coaster emotion riding, naughty, angst filling … just a few words to describe this book. I LOVED IT! 🙂 This is the kind of book that sits with you long after you finish the last sentence. Gave me shivers. I will say, if you are not a fan of the dark romance, BDSM genre then skip this read. It could also be triggers for some who have personal issues with this kind of story. If you are okay with it all, then by all means jump in, full on, you will be taken for one amazing ride!

Killing June by May B. Bridges is the first book of her “Saved By Sin” series. How appropriate is “Saved By Sin”! Brilliant really. As I mentioned above, it’s a dark romance with BDSM elements, hot and very steamy, descriptive with a good dash of suspense. Not for a light afternoon over tea kind of read, but for a glass of red wine and a dark chocolate eclair. DECADENT!

Alexandria “Alex” is also known as “June” by a few chosen people. By day, she is Alex. A well put together lady who seems to have it all together. By night she is June, a highly complex, dark, tortured soul who indulges in BDSM lifestyle that she is NOT happy with. Events in her life have placed her on this unwanted path that she detests so much, but secretly craves. These events have been responsible for her being deceived and manipulated and now she wants answers and revenge.

Cade is the perfect man for Alex AND June. He is what June craves but what Alex needs. He is a healthy balance. He is dominant, self assured, caring, protective and loving but can bark and bite when the circumstance arises. Once he discovers Alex/Junes secrets, he is all in to heal and win this woman who fulfills all he needs in his own life. Alex/June want to fight him off however, but Cade is having none of it.

These two are very much a give and take couple, and May got the balance absolutely spot on. I loved the twists and turns, the suspense of the story and I found my heart racing a time or two when I really had no clue where we were going. BDSM can be a very tough genre to write as in truth, BDSM is not just physical. There is such an overwhelming emotional side to a BDSM relationship and convincing the reader that a couple will make it can be a hard task to accomplish. May you accomplished this perfectly. I am an emotional reader, and you pulled my heart strings as I flipped through the pages. I feel like a blabbering fool going on about it and not getting my words right here, but that is proof that you did your job as an awesome author in this genre. THANK YOU!

I never give storyline away on my reviews, you will have to take the ride alone. Just know you are in for an intense story, some incredible steamy scenes, a couple you can’t help but love, and a suspense where by the end you’ll be thinking “Oh freaking YES!”

So looking forward to more from this author! LOVED!

HAPPY READING! 🙂

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Rachel T.

Guest Post

Some Like it Hot! Navigating Romance.

I remember the first time I read a sex scene in a book. Wow, I was seriously unprepared. Being used to YA fantasy and a softer kind of romance, I wasn’t expecting it, at all. I was sure the scene would fade to black any moment. There I was, sitting at my daughter’s gymnastics practice, hordes of other parents around, and all of a sudden, I’m reading about penetration and hard coc… ‘Oh Jesus, did she just stay that?’ I snapped the book shut, face turning red, certain every other parent in the room somehow knew I was reading a dirty book in the presence of their precious children. The book was quickly shoved in my bag, not to make a reappearance at gymnastics. It was a surprise, to say the least. And though I enjoyed my first erotic romance read thoroughly, I’d have appreciated knowing what I was in for when I chose that as my casual daytime reader.

Romance, erotic romance, erotica, it can get confusing. So how is one to know what they’re in for when they pick up a romance book? And is the book you’re picking up a romance at all? Let’s see if we can’t sort it out.

Romance is a broad genre. That’s probably why it has so many sub-genres. If you’re searching Amazon for a romance book, you’ll have over 25 categories to browse. If Barnes and Noble is more your style, you can search over 40 romance categories. That’s a whole lot of books! And seeing that some of those categories are as opposite as night and day, romance runs the gamut of topics, themes, and plot lines.

So if there are so many sub-genres, so many ways to write these books, what makes them all romance? To be a romance, a book needs two things: A central love story, and an emotionally-satisfying and optimistic ending—Also known as a happily ever after or happy for now. No, I didn’t come up with those from my own writerly genius. I stole them from Romance Writers of America. Pretty basic, right? Once you have a story with a conflict and climax that focuses on developing a romantic relationship, and a happy ending, pretty much anything goes. It’s all of the other elements and subplots that define your sub-genre.

The jump from romance to erotic romance is an easy one. It’s romance because we have our two central elements in place. It’s erotic because we’ve taken the sex from PG 13 to NC-17. The sex almost never fades to black, and authors tend to be less coy in their descriptions of the body.

Erotic romance is almost as wide of a descriptions as romance itself. These novels can be anything from cowboy romance, historical, supernatural, contemporary, to suspense. Erotic romance spans the full range of romance sub-genres, with spiritual romance possibly being the only exception. Many book sellers don’t even list erotic romance as a romance sub-genre at all. That very well could be because there are erotic novels in every sub-genre romance.

If you like your romance with a lot of heat, I’m sure you can find one that lights your fire. If you’re an easy blusher, you might want to think that through before bring these books with you to the kid’s practices. Public or private, erotic romance are some of my favorite reads

You might think erotica is simply the next progression. Isn’t it just erotic romance on another level? Or even simply another word for erotic romance? Actually, no. The two have some big differences and aren’t technically interchangeable. In fact, an erotica story may not even be a romance at all. It doesn’t have to deal with love or relationships, and might not have a happy ending. To put it plainly, these are stories about sex. They focus on the act of sex, and not always as a byproduct of a romantic relationship.

When I was younger porn came in movies, not clips. I know, that makes me ancient. The point is, these movies always had a plot line. A group of girls would be home, bored, and hungry. They’d start talking about all of the sex acts they hadn’t tried while waiting for the pizza they ordered. The pizza guy would show up, one thing would lead to another, and suddenly you have an orgy. The plot line was never important. It was the catalyst to get these people in a room together so sex could be the focus. Without sex you really had no story. Erotica can be similar in many ways. If you pull out the sex acts, you usually don’t have enough content left for a book.

In theory, you could write an erotica about almost anything. As I’m writing this, I’m watching my boyfriend play the new Friday the 13th video game. It’s gruesome and not my thing at all, but we could turn it into an erotic novel. If Jason had graphic, hot sex with the camp counselors before killing them, and we focused the story more on his sex drive and a bit less on the hacking and slashing, we’d have an erotic horror novel. Not one I’d be reading, but a novel that fit the bill, nonetheless.

Erotica novels can be fun and exciting reads. Many of my favorite erotica writers find a way to inject a bit of humor. And what is better than a book with hot sex and a good laugh? But know that when you are searching for an erotica title, all bets are off and you could end up with anything from something resembling a romance, to bored girls and a pizza guy, to Jason in a hockey mask getting busy before hacking off some heads. Anything is possible as long as sex is the star.

It’s possible that the misconception that erotica and erotica romance are one in the same comes from book sellers. As we mentioned above, a lot of them don’t list erotic romance as a genre. That leaves authors and publishers with a few options to let readers know that their book is erotic in nature. An obvious one is to list it under erotica. So before you jump up and down, yelling that you’ve found some of your favorite erotic romances listed as erotica, yep, I know.

Truth is, if it’s a book you love, a book that sweeps you away from reality for a few hours, then it doesn’t matter how a seller labels it. Trying to sort through it all is only to help you find the book of your dreams a little bit faster. For all of their differences and similarities, the greatest thing romance, erotic romance, and erotica have in common is how diverse they are. With books from one end of the spectrum to the other, whether you want something sweet and light, a love story that’s dark and steamy, or a book about a good roll in the sheets, one of these three genres are sure to have what you need.

Happy reading!

May B. Bridges

@MaybBridges

http://www.maybbooks.com

About the author

May Bridges

I write dark, gritty contemporary romance.  I am a Southerner in the Northwest by way of Colorado. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter for updates, bookish and writing thoughts, and general life shenanigans.

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The Highland Commander (Lords of the Highlands #2) by Amy Jarecki-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

THE HIGHLAND COMMANDER (Lord of the Highlands #2) by Amy Jarecki-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

The Highland Commander Banner

THE HIGHLAND COMMANDER
(Lords of the Highlands #2)
by Amy Jarecki
Release Date: June 27 ,2017
Genre: adult, historical, Highland,romance

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The Highland Commander

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Barnes & Noble / Kobo/ Chapters Indigo /Books-A-Million/IndieBound /Google Play

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date June 27,2017

She cannot resist the man behind the mask…
As the illegitimate daughter of a Scottish earl, Lady Magdalen Keith is not one to partake in lavish balls or other frivolities. Yet at her father’s urging, she agrees to dance with the battle-weary officers at this year’s holiday masquerade. It’s practically her civic duty! But when one such officer-whose dashing good looks cannot be disguised by a mere mask-sweeps her off her feet and into his arms, the innocent lass can’t help herself. Her lips are his for the taking.But will he betray his country for a kiss?
Navy lieutenant Aiden Murray has spent too many months at sea to be immune to the charms of this lovely beauty. Even after he returns to his ship, she lives in his dreams. But when he discovers Maddie’s true identity-and learns that her father is accused of treason-will the brawny Scot risk his life to follow his heart?

Lords of the Highlands series: The Highland DukeThe Highland CommanderThe Highland Guardian

•••••••••••

REVIEW:

4.5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

OH Amy I do love how you write an yummy Highland Romance! 🙂

The Highland Commander by Amy Jarecki is the second book of her “Lords of The Highlands” series. A historical romance that takes a fictional couple and weaves it into a very real part of history. I LOVE LOVE LOVE when an author knows their history and can make a story come alive by allowing the reader the “What If” aspect. My senses were alive with vivid descriptions of scenery and culture. A good ole highlander romance always puts a smile on my face and this book certainly did just that!

Lady Magdalen (Maddie) is introduced to us at a ball. We learn she is a bastard, but has taken her life in hand and decided to work in hospital aiding women who have been abused. Maddie is innocent, but realistic about her station in life. It would seem her step mother really has no wish to have her in the family so she is raised alongside a ladies maid. When her father is charged with treason, her step-mama sure finds use for her really quick .. go save daddy dearest! Off Maddie goes, not expecting all she comes to find.

Aiden is introduced to us at the same ball we meet Maddie. They share a moment but know their paths will never cross again. Aiden is the second son of an Earl and is serving in the Navy. Once time had past, Aiden can never really get this lady out of his mind and before we know it, their paths cross again. Then their lives become entwined and we are off to one heck of a story!

Ok, I have to swoon for a second here! Aiden! OH SWEET AIDEN. The man is a virgin, sweet without feeling like you are dunked in a tub of honey, heroic and the total opposite of a rake. How fricken refreshing. I love my rakes .. I love me a bad boy, but then Aiden comes and I am the girl blow away at this character who isn’t a pansy ass but all MAN! My heart ached for this man, as much as it ached for Maddie.

The one liners and jokes these two share had me laughing out loud. I loved how they figured “love” and “loving” out together. I loved that their relationship wasn’t clear cut, but they both really deserved to be with the other. Honestly when it comes to highlander historical romance, you tend to read big burly men with either the innocent lass or the spitfire .. and this felt a whole lot different to me! These two have quite a few obstacles to overcome for their HEA, but it’s a joy to go through it with them!

Sorry I don’t give away storyline (that is for your pleasure), but I do tell you that if you have any amount of history buff inside you, you will seriously appreciate Amy Jarecki’s writing. She is well researched. If I have to give a negative amongst all this praise, it was slow to start. Once it got going I was completely invested.

Absolutely could be a stand alone, but snag the first book too, it’s also very good!

HAPPY READING! 🙂

Reviewed by Rachel

Copy provided by Publisher

the Highland Commander Teaser

 

excerpt

 

As in the Highland custom, Aiden wore the plaid belted at his waist, the length pulled from the lower right opening of his doublet, around his back and pinned at his left shoulder with a silver brooch bearing the Atholl arms. The valet had put forth a good effort ensuring there was neither wrinkle nor hair out of place.
He regarded himself in the looking glass above the mantle in the drawing room, sliding one foot forward as he would do for a portrait. Not liking the image, he puffed out his chest and moved a hand to his lapel.
God’s bones, take me to sea where I can cast aside these frills.
Tuning his back to the looking glass, Aiden resorted to pacing and pulling out his pocket watch. The coach would arrive in five minutes, and Maddie hadn’t yet made an appearance.
At least a light glowed from beneath her door indicating she was within. It cast a hazy glow in the otherwise dark passageway. After pacing around the chamber half-dozen times, he again eyed his timepiece. Another minute had passed. Perhaps he should knock on the door—perhaps Maddie’s mantle clock had stopped and she was unaware of the time. Just as he started off, her door opened. A burst of light flooded the passageway, and with the tap of dainty footsteps, an angel emerged.
Aiden knew she’d purchased a new gown, but he hadn’t expected this. His mouth went dry and he suddenly needed to take in two stuttered breaths to steady the thumping of his heart.
Christ, men aren’t supposed to experience such heart hammering. Especially men bred for the sea. Damnation.
She smiled, and his goddamned knees wobbled. He should have taken a healthy tot whilst he was pacing in the drawing room.
Her golden gown rustled as she walked forward, with a matching fan in her hand. She moved the fan to her waist…just below her breasts. Creamy skin Aiden knew to be softer than spun silk swelled above a dangerously plunging neckline. His mouth went completely dry. If Maddie’s serving maid had been anywhere but behind her lady, Aiden would have taken the lassie into his arms, pushed through his bedchamber door and damned the recital.
“I hope I haven’t made us late.” Maddie batted her eyelashes as if she had no idea of the effect she had on his aching cods. “Miss Agnes spent ever so long curling my hair.”
Aiden’s tongue slipped over his bottom lip. “Your curls are exquisite. You are exquisite, m’lady.”
Agnes cleared her throat, coming up behind with a cloak over her arm. “You’d best say so, m’lord. It took the greater part of the afternoon to make those ringlets.”
Nay, there’d be no slipping into the bedchamber for a hasty sampling of those pearl-tipped bosoms.
Aiden glanced to his pocket watch—they still had a few minutes—and now that he knew Maddie was ready, there’d be no harm in making the coach wait for a minute or two. “Fine job, Miss Agnes,” he said with more sobriety than he felt. “I think you deserve a healthy tot of fine spirit for taking such fine care of her ladyship.”
“Have we time?” asked Maddie.
Aiden led them into the drawing room and gestured to the settee. “A stolen moment will not set us behind overmuch.”
Agnes gave a firm shake of her head. “You needn’t make a fuss for the likes of me.”
“It is no fuss. You take good care of your lady, and for that I want to thank you.” Aiden poured three tots of sherry and offered each of the ladies a glass. “Shall we drink to Miss Agnes?”
Blinking, the woman drew a hand over her mouth, dipping her head and smiling broadly. “Heavens.”
“Aye, we should.” Maddie patted her chambermaid’s knee and raised her glass. “To the woman who has seen me through one and twenty years of happiness. I have no idea what would have become of me if you hadn’t been by my side. Sometimes I’ve felt as if you’re the only person in all of Christendom who cares.”
Aiden’s gut twisted. He cared a great deal, but it was inconceivable that Maddie had been made to feel like an outcast from such a young age. He drank thoughtfully, watching the two women as they sipped. Even their mannerisms had become similar. “Miss Agnes, how long have you been serving Lady Magdalen?”
The woman’s eyes glistened with pride. “Since the day she was born. The moment I held her in my arms I knew my purpose.”
Aiden glanced to Maddie and knitted his brows. “Did your mother pass in childbirth?”
Shaking her head, the lass bit her bottom lip. “Nay. My mother knew I would have a better life if she gave me to my father. Only…” Maddie looked away, and took another sip.
“What?”
“The one caveat was that she could never set eyes on me again.”
Grumbling under her breath, Agnes guzzled the remainder of her sherry. “We shan’t discuss the countess any longer. It sets both of our hackles to standing on end.”
“Agreed.” Aiden set his glass on the mantel and offered Maddie his hand. “Shall we be off, m’lady? We do not want to miss the opening. I hear it will be most spectacular.”
Maddie tapped the chambermaid’s shoulder before they strolled toward the door. “I want you to take some time for yourself this night. Do something that will make you happy. You have nothing to worry about, my pet. I’ll be in Lord Aiden’s capable hands.”


 

About The Author Black and White

Amy JareckiAmy Jarecki is a descendant of an ancient Lowland clan and adores Scotland. Though she now resides in southwest Utah, she received her MBA from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. Winning multiple writing awards, she found her niche in the genre of Scottish historical romance. Amy writes steamy edge-of-your-seat action adventures with rugged men and fascinating women who weave their paths through the brutal eras of centuries past.

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The Misfortune of Lady Lucianna by Christina McKnight-Review, Book tour & Giveaway

The Misfortune of Lady Lucianna by Christina McKnight-Review, Book Tour & Giveaway

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THE MISFORTUNE OF LADY LUCIANA
The Undaunted Debutantes #2
by Christina McKnight
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Genre: adult, historical, romance

The Misfortune of Lady Luciana

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Quick-witted hellion Lucianna Constantine has no doubt who was responsible for the death of her dear friend. And she will stop at nothing to expose his transgressions—and those of every despicable man in London. Lucianna has witnessed the cruelty of London’s beau monde her entire life…starting with her own father. So she is more than willing to singlehandedly take down every vile man that crosses her path.

Roderick Crofton, the Duke of Montrose, had his entire family fortune stolen when his father trusted the wrong men. After a scandalous article surfaces in the London Daily Gazette, written by the notorious Mayfair Confidential columnist, Roderick finds himself financially destitute, without a betrothed, and lacking the means to find the lords responsible for duping his sire. With little option left, Roderick has only one choice: find another wealthy heiress to wed. His quest brings him to Lady Lucianna Constantine, and soon, he can’t deny that he wants her for more than just her dowry.

However, Luci has secrets that could change everything. And when Roderick uncovers what those confidences entail, it could mean misfortune for all involved.

•••••••••••

REVIEW:

4.5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

The Misfortune of Lady Lucianna by Christina McKnight is the second book of her “The Undaunted Debutantes” series. If you recall. I had reviewed the first book just a couple of weeks ago. I would recommend you absolutely read the first book before you dive into this one as they are both related and revolve around the same crime.

Picking right up where the first book left us, Lady Lucianna is one of the four girls who had formed a lifelong friendship. When one of the girls is found dead on her wedding night the other three girls go into detective mode to make sure justice is served. Lucianna is the spitfire of the group and I was really looking forward to reading her story. She believes what she believes and no one can make her change her mind. While attempting to solve this mystery, Lucianna is also a contributor to a scandalous column that calls out rakes and rogues and unmasks their intentions and usually spoiling their plans to get away with anything. Lucianna has a hunger for exposing rakes due to a deep grudge of her upbringing and her rogue father. She is most definitely the kind to attack first ask questions later. This time however, she may have gone too far,

Roderick Crofton is a Duke and is also the latest victim of Lucianna scandal column. Any other time he could of been called out for being a rogue, but this time he was not at fault. This scandal had now cost his family their fortune and any chance he had to wrong the rights are taken when the funds are dried up. Now he must find a well betrothed wife so he can settle his score.

Both Roderick and Lucianna cross paths, and form a friendship of sorts (a strange way of happening, but so be it). Lucianna father is set to marry her off to the very man who may have killed her friend, and Roderick knows Luci comes with a plump dowry .. well how perfect of a picture could this paint? Not so perfect when you consider the secrets that are held back. These secrets could very well be the undoing of their soon beloved relationship. So much more to this book, but I’m not ruining anything for you!

Another quick read from Christina McKnight. I read this in a afternoon and I do wish it was a little longer. I just found the story a little rushed as I did in the first book, which took away from some believability and character development. I enjoy getting to know the characters and being romanced through the forming of a relationship. This just moved a little too fast .. BUT .. she did write such a fantastic story with the same laughter, fierce female lead, side of mystery and romance that it made up for most of the negative.

Again, make sure you read the first book, it sets up this crime that this series is set around, and there is nothing like revisiting a couple or anticipating upcoming storylines. If you are looking for a wonderful shorter historical romance series to read on a lazy summer afternoon, I strongly recommend this one!

HAPPY READING! 🙂

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Rachel T.

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about the author

Christina McKnightChristina McKnight is a book lover turned writer. From a young age, her mother encouraged her to tell her own stories. She’s been writing ever since.

Christina enjoys a quiet life in Northern California with her family, her wine, and lots of coffee. Oh, and her books…don’t forget her books! Most days she can be found writing, reading, or traveling the great state of California.

You can visit her online at the following places: Website Facebook | Twitter Goodreads | Amazon

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Adrift (Kill Devil Hills #4 ) by Sarah Darlington-Series Review and Book Tour

Adrift (Kill Devil Hills #4) by Sarah Darlington -Series Review and Book Tour

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ADRIFT
Kill Devil Hills #4
by Sarah Darlington
Release Date:May 30, 2017
Genre: New Adult, romance

Adrift

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date May 30, 2017

Ben Turner is back! After unsuccessfully faking his own death, he’s back home in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. With no plans for college or the future, and hated by the town that once loved him, Ben feels like he’s drowning. Until he meets the girl next door, a runaway like him, and she changes everything.

**NEW ADULT ROMANCE**
Recommended for 18+. ADRIFT can be read as a standalone, but is recommended to be read fourth in Sarah Darlington’s KILL DEVIL HILLS Series.

•••••••••

REVIEW:
So what happens to life after “death?” For Ben upon coming back from the “dead” to his family in Kill Devil Hills, it was sheer hell. A jail sentence, probation, and just feeling lost and alone. The boy who had it all to taking a nasty fall from grace. Then we have tough as nails but still the ability to love hard, Juniper. Tough childhood and abusive engagement, you do admire Juniper’s strength and courage.

It was great finally getting to know Ben. We only hear of Ben in the previous books but we never get the chance to see him fleshed out a bit until this book. That being said, there an air of mystery about Ben. I remembered in Pulled Under, Sydney says there was an air of sadness to Ben when she was taking college courses with him. It’s hard to imagine the boy who had it all (popularity, football, smarts and having the hot girlfriend) to have an air of sadness about him. You do find out what shook up Ben that made him join the coast guard and leave Kill Devil Hills. While Kill Devil Hills is a small cozy town and everyone knows each other, it was nice to have a new character in the book. It was an extra bonus that Juniper was very likeable. Despite her terrible past, she wasn’t overly negative that it was annoying and you do take your hat off to her honesty and her ability to persevere. Even better was since she is new to the town, she did not have pre-conceived notions about Ben when she got with him, so that was a good thing for Ben.

The relationship was cute, wholesome and pretty innocent. The relationship was a tad slow to grow but given their pasts with relationships, it was understandable. It did slightly frustrate me when Ben would emotionally pull away when Juniper needed him. Their love scenes was very tame yet still enjoyable to read. I enjoyed that Ben learned to let go of ego in the bedroom and actually be a giver (yes let’s be adults, think about it).

All in all, I really enjoyed this book and series altogether. What I do appreciate is that like Georgina, Ben grew up past ego and thinking about himself to also look at the big picture of things. The ending is very heartwarming and leave you with a smile on your face and an awesome feeling of peace for the family you grow to love. I highly recommend the series. You get play on fantasies, deep lessons learned, honesty we often keep unsaid, racy love scenes, dry enjoyable humor and best of all romance. Read this series you won’t regret it.

Copy supplied for review

 

excerpt

There was so much pain in his voice, it made me want to squeeze my arms around him tighter and hold on forever. He found his mistakes unforgivable, but they didn’t really matter to me. It wasn’t like I was going to stop being his friend because of them. He was home now, he was trying to make it right. He showed remorse for his actions. That was the thing about Quinton, he never showed remorse. Not once for hurting me. Ben cared so much. It was an amazing quality to find in a man and my heart suddenly ached in longing. Breathing became difficult and a giant lump lodged itself in my throat. I realized how much I cared for this man, how much I wished I’d met him before Quinton, how much I wished he could be the father of my baby.
It was a scary, terrifying thought.
One that left me breathless.
One I only let myself think about for a fleeting second before I shoved it from my mind. Because a wish like that was unrealistic and pointless and something that would never come true.
So why waste even a single moment thinking it?
“We all make stupid mistakes sometimes. That’s part of being human,” I said, in some attempt to comfort him. I wasn’t just talking about his mistakes either. The words I’m not Lilly Davenport were on the tip of my tongue. It suddenly felt like the right moment to tell him the truth about me. Except, he let his grip of my legs go.
My body slipped down his back and my toes hit sand.
“The buzz I had going is wearing off,” he said as he took a step away from me. In the moonlight, I could see his face well enough to see that it had hardened. He’d dropped his guard with me for a moment, but his walls were back up now and seemingly more fortified than ever. “And I’m not really supposed to leave the house after eight. So…”
I understood. He wanted to say goodbye now.
I didn’t though. I wanted more from him. Which was completely wrong of me. I realized how sweet Ben was. And attractive. Suddenly exactly my kind of attractive. And how completely off limits he was.
Wow, life sure had a way of kicking you in the gut when you were down. On top of being pregnant, broke, scared, and alone—I now had feelings for a guy I couldn’t have.
Thank you, irony.
“Goodnight, Ben,” I muttered. I moved swiftly, standing on my tip-toes, leaning in to give him a quick kiss on the cheek before pulling away. I left him, jogging up the beach in the direction of the Davenport’s house. I didn’t look back as I went inside.

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Kill Devil Hills 1-4

Kill Devil HillsKill Devil Hills
Kill Devil Hills #1
by Sarah Darlington
Release Date: August 5, 2014
Genre: new adult, romance

FREE ebook: Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk /

He’s twenty-four. She’s eighteen.

His life is exactly the way he’s always wanted it to be…stable.
She’s quite possibly the very definition of unstable.

Noah saved her.
Georgina never wanted to be saved.

Growing up, Noah Clark was passed from one relative to the next until he finally ended up living with his abusive, alcoholic uncle in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. Thanks in part to the unwavering love and support of his best friend, Ellie Turner, Noah survived those years, escaped his uncle, and grew into the man he is today. Now he runs his own business and lives a pretty normal, no-nonsense life—one where he maintains a high level of control.

Georgina is Ellie’s younger sister. Four months ago, Noah saved Georgie’s life, but he thought that was where his involvement with his friend’s sister would end. Now Georgie has returned home from the recovery facility her parents sent her away to and Noah, still haunted by the night that connects them, can’t stop himself from continuously trying to protect this girl he barely knows. But is he willing to give up all of the control he’s worked so hard to build in his life and risk everything for her? Even more importantly, would she do the same for him?

••••••••••••

REVIEW: Enjoyable read this book was. Lovely play on fantasy, excellent character development and a few deep lessons along the way. We have Noah in his drunken state with his dumb luck saves Georgina from her suicide attempt. Granted this was a cruddy predicament, but who knew this scene would set the stage for an unexpected romance to blossom?

As the saying goes, “Age ain’t nothing but a number.” In this book we are looking at a 6 year age gap. Despite the age gap, their relationship is so cute and it works. You can’t help but smile and giggle at their obvious chemistry. One thing I really appreciated about the relationship is Noah’s patience with Georgina, taking it slow with her. Knowing he has not only 6 years on Georgina but also more experience, he never let her do things she wasn’t comfortable with. I admit I felt like the romance was a tad rushed but at the same time it wasn’t. Reading more into the book it definitely indicated that it was an attraction that grew over time.

I admit that with some of the negative elements and events of the book it would hurt the atmosphere of the book but it didn’t. Considering Georgina almost killed herself in the beginning of the book, she could’ve sunk into a negative pity party but she didn’t. Mentally, Georgina grew up and matured. She grew out of being an egotistical teenager to seeing the big picture of things in life. Despite Noah’s crappy childhood, he could’ve grown to be a bad mess of an adult but didn’t. He turned out great with having his own business with his best friend Ellie. The fun bonus is watching Noah let his walls down to let people in. It is great to see people with traumatic pasts or events grow from in it positive ways.

You learn lessons about trauma and suicide, enjoy cute yet sexy love scenes, awesome character development along with awesome supporting characters and you guessed it a happily ever after in the modern sense.

Reviewed by Xtina

_____________

Changing TidesCHANGING TIDES
Kill Devil Hills #2
by Sarah Darlington
Genre: new adult, romance
Release Date: March 16, 2015

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ELLIE
For years Ellie Turner’s had a crush on the ruggedly handsome, beast of a man, television actor, Nate West. This isn’t your average ‘fan-girl crush’ either, it’s borderline obsessive, and totally inconvenient since, other than this one exception, Ellie’s always been strictly into girls. But it doesn’t matter…because Nate doesn’t exist in real life. In real life Ellie has her own issues to worry about, including the death of her brother, the recent suicide attempt of her sister, and then there’s always her annoying roommate Rhett to contend with.

NATE
Nate West isn’t looking to start a new relationship. He’s still heartbroken over the last girl who ripped out his insides, still learning how to manage his new-found fame, and, frankly, not even sure what time-zone he’s in. His life is so full of stress, the last thing he wants is more of it.

So when Nate and Ellie meet on an airplane, nothing life changing should have come from it. But “sometimes in life–very rarely, I might add–you meet someone and you know instantly they’re going to mean something special to you.”

**NEW ADULT ROMANCE**
Recommended for 18+. F/M scenes only. Changing Tides can be read as a standalone, but is recommended to be read second in Sarah Darlington’s KILL DEVIL HILLS Series.

•••••••••••••

REVIEW: Everyone knows the famous saying, “Opposites attract.” In many cases it most certainly does apply. It most certainly did in this book and it worked really well. A regular small town girl meets man crush celebrity and sparks fly. And even though they come from very opposites worlds, they have much in common that brings them together.

Their blossoming relationship and heartwarming chemistry was a treat in itself. For some reason Sarah Darlington has a knack for making relationships feel rushed but not. The relationship between Nathaniel and Ellie felt rushed like it grew in a span of a few weeks but Nathaniel was a perfect gentlemen to Ellie in spite of that. Despite Ellie being a lesbian and never ever been intimate with a man before, she was able to trust Nathaniel. I admit I was skeptical if their love scenes were going to be good or even if there was going to be an awkward one where Ellie chickens out and ran but no. Their love scenes did not disappoint. Full of passion and emotion. Sex and physical love aside, Ellie and Nathaniel were beyond cute together. When they were having a conversation about Nathaniel’s show or when they were goofing off at Disneyland buying hats showed me how emotionally connected they were.

The relationship aside, I really enjoyed Ellie and Nathaniel’s individual characters. Ellie is really easy to like. She’s easygoing and laid back but she’s also a good big sister bear who is fiercely protective of her family and friends. Nathaniel was also very likeable as well. Despite being a celebrity to a popular television show, Nathaniel was very down to earth and caring of other people. I really enjoyed Nathaniel’s humble attitude that he didn’t expect special treatment being a celebrity.

Overall this book was really fun. Fun is the best word to describe the book. The atmosphere of the book was laid back with a nicely set pace. Without giving anything away, the plot takes a huge turn but it doesn’t take away from the romance blossoming between Ellie and Nathaniel. This is one of the books where if you are looking for a good time, I highly suggest this book.

Reviewed by Xtina

______________

Pulled UnderPULLED UNDER
Kill Devil Hills #3
by Sarah Darlington
Genre: new adult, romance
Release Date: September 1, 2015

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man-child. noun.
-a grown man who is very immature, therefore considered a man-child

manwhore. noun.
  -a promiscuous man who has no regard for his sexual partners or the emotional value of his relationships

Rhett Morgan couldn’t have been more wrong for me. The guy drank beer in the shower, for crying out loud. He had no prospects for the future, had slept with half the women in our beach town of Kill Devil Hills, and had no desire to change his manwhore ways.

And when Ben Turner, the guy I had loved from afar for the past four years, died and I couldn’t get over his death, I desperately needed a distraction. A distraction like Rhett. So I used him for a one-night stand. Because, after all, that’s the only thing a guy like Rhett is good for…right?

••••••••••••••

REVIEW: Again another tale of collision of opposites but no less enjoyable of a read. In this book, we get the innocent academic nerd and bartender “manwhore” getting together. I felt like this book was on the more emotionally intense side. This book was so emotion packed it was hard for the book not to affect you and tug at the heartstrings. You feel for Rhett wanting to get through to Sydney but feeling like he can’t compete with Sydney’s infatuation with Ben. Or Sydney’s internal struggle with her infatuation with Ben and her growing feelings for Rhett.

Sarah Darlington did a great job building up this romantic tension between Rhett and Sydney in the previous books. So when Sydney finally makes up her mind and chooses Rhett on the rooftop, it was such a giant swoon-some scene and also a giant relief to read.

What surprised me was there was more to Rhett than just being the rugged bartender “manwhore.” He had actual dreams to be a baseball player but sadly fell short. Being raised by a single mother with low income, he helped her out of the trailer he was raised in into an actual house. Even though he has the town reputation for sleeping around and having one night stands, he is very capable of love. Another shocker, Rhett is a man that can cook. Rhett turned out to be my favorite leading guy of the whole series.

I enjoyed Rhett and Sydney as a couple. While I enjoyed their love scenes which was both hardcore and tender at the same time, I really enjoyed when they connected on an emotional level. I really enjoyed their date where they really got to know each other more.
Closing thoughts, I love this book and it was my favorite book of the series. One word to describe this book is emotional. It was tangible feeling the emotions of Rhett and Sydney. Being opposites, Rhett and Sydney totally work and you will be finding yourself cheering for them to make it as a couple. Looking forward to the next book.

Reviewed by Xtina

Copies supplied for review

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About The Author Black and White

Sarah DarlingtonSarah Darlington, a New Adult and contemporary romance author, lives in Virginia with her husband and two children. Best known for her Kill Devil Hills Series, she’s also a former flight attendant, with a degree in school counseling, who harbors a huge passion for traveling. She’s especially set on visiting all 50 states.
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Not So Sweet Maria (Sisters By Marriage #1) by Jessica Spencer-a review

NOT SO SWEET MARIA (Sisters by Marriage #1) by Jessica Spencer-a review

Not So Sweet Maria

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LOVE UNDER MISTAKEN IDENTITY.

The ton calls her Sweet Maria and, even in her fourth Season, eligibles continue to offer her marriage. They do not know Lady Maria despises the hypocritical ways of Polite Society and is trying to sail away to America!

Though the granddaughter of a duke, Lady Maria is a Child of Scandal because her mother was an American commoner. She blames the duke and the duchess for her parents’ death. Had they not disowned them, they would not have died of a virulent fever in America, leaving her an orphan at the age of five.

She has not forgotten the coldness she had met with as a child, and how there were those who examined her features for tainted blood, and disparaged her mother to her face.

She agrees to an arranged match to ward off her persistent suitors, treating the engagement as a sham one to be ended at her convenience.

Then, most unexpectedly, she finds love with a commoner. Only he isn’t a commoner but the Earl of Daventon.

Gareth, Earl of Daventon is no stranger to Scandal. Rumour has it that his father had banished his mother for adulterous behavior. He remembers his mother as a sweet, gentle woman and knows the late earl yearned until his last breath to have her back.

Love is a quagmire and I shall not be caught in it, he decides. But love finds him. The object of his ardour is a mysterious young woman who dresses like a shop girl and behaves like a lady.

Lord Daventon remedies the situation by accepting an arranged match, his betrothed being Lady Maria whom he hasn’t met.

All of which leads to a delightful tangle of affairs.

NOTE: NOT SO SWEET MARIA is a clean, Regency romance.

••••••••••••

REVIEW: Not so Sweet Maria is a romance story set in 1793, not twenty years after the American Revolutionary War.

It begins when Mary (aka Maria) learns her father and mother have died of a virulent illness on their plantation in America. Her father has relatives that he hasn’t spoken much about in England. We learn he was actually the son of the Duke of Severn. He was almost disowned for marrying an American woman, below his station. She and her maid were quarantined for a short time, then were shipped to England and the Duchess of Severn, her grandmother. The Duchess decided to change her name from Mary to Maria.

The girl, Maria, is raised well by her seemingly cold natured grandmother. However, she becomes a shining example of what a good daughter and woman should be, revered by the famous, or should I say infamous, English haute ton (society). She’s sweet, but not coy. She has constant crowds of suitors for her hand, each seemingly infatuated with her kindness and beauty.

We first learn of Gareth, Earl of Daventon at one of the many parties of the social season. He too, is a child of scandal. His father, while not divorcing his mother, forced her to live apart from he and their children. This gave Gareth the reason he claimed for not marrying and shunning finding someone to love. As a child he assumed from snatches of conversation that his mother was unfaithful. However, he was persuaded to marry for the sake of his sister, so she could take her rightful place in the haute ton.

This romantic tale is cleverly written with enough backstory on the characters to let the reader understand how and why they act the way they do. It explains Maria’s seeming sweet manner and secret business, which she cleverly hides, as a means to buy back her families plantation and return to America as soon as she reaches twenty-one (I believe most women of that period were married much earlier…not sure twenty-one signified independence back then, but not really a large concern.).

That’s pretty much the set-up. I don’t do large spoilers. Good stories should be read and experienced first- hand for full effect. However, I found the why and how they fell in love, met, and the rest very interestingly written. This clever author keeps them just apart enough to let misunderstood identities work the full game, while spinning a tale of two perfect for each other people to create a web of forgiveness and intrigue.

It’s not an overly long story but one worth the time to read. Once edited (I read an unedited arc), it will be an interesting and fast paced one. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this tale and look forward to more from the very clever author.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Georgianna S.

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Echo in the Wind (The Donet Trilogy #2) by Regan Walker-Review and Excerpt

Echo in the Wind (The Donet Trilogy #2) by Regan Walker-Review and Excerpt

Echo in the Wind

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date May 23, 2017

England and France 1784

Cast out by his noble father for marrying the woman he loved, Jean Donet took to the sea, becoming a smuggler, delivering French brandy and tea to the south coast of England. When his young wife died, he nearly lost his sanity. In time, he became a pirate and then a privateer, vowing to never again risk his heart.

As Donet’s wealth grew, so grew his fame as a daring ship’s captain, the terror of the English Channel in the American War. When his father and older brother die in a carriage accident in France, Jean becomes the comte de Saintonge, a title he never wanted.

Lady Joanna West cares little for London Society, which considers her its darling. Marriage in the ton is either dull or disastrous. She wants no part of it. To help the poor in Sussex, she joins in their smuggling. Now she is the master of the beach, risking her reputation and her life. One night off the coast of Bognor, Joanna encounters the menacing captain of a smuggling ship, never realizing he is the mysterious comte de Saintonge.

Can Donet resist the English vixen who entices him as no other woman? Will Lady Joanna risk all for an uncertain chance at love in the arms of the dashing Jean Donet?

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REVIEW:  Regan Walker has once again written a tale that pulls you in from the very beginning. As the story begins, we immediately discover that Lady Joanna West is more than just a Lady of the ton. She is a strong and independent woman whose heart aches for the poor, and proves she will do just about anything to see to their well-being.

Lady Joanna and her brother, Richard, the Earl of Torrington, are hosting a party for the new English Prime Minister in their home, when Jean Donet makes his entrance. Joanna is immediately intrigued, as their paths have crossed before, although unbeknownst to him. Rumors of Donet’s past pique her interest even more. Richard has been trying to convince Joanna to travel to London with the family for her little sister’s first season, but she truly had no interest, until Jean Donet asked “Will you be coming to London, Lady Joanna:’. Little did she know that her simple answer of “why, yes”would have a profound effect on her future.

Echo in the Wind is another wonderfully written tale by Regan Walker. Joanna is such a great character. Her big heart, as well as her independent streak, draws you in immediately. However, it is Jean Donet, whom we met in To Tame the Wind, that will grab your heart and not let go. Having lost his first wife years before, he never thought, or even dreamed, that he’d be inclined to love again. His back story is heartbreaking, but it is his strong sense of honor and self that will endear him to all who read. Even though he was cast out by an overbearing father in his youth, he steps up to do what is right by his remaining family after his father and brother are killed in what seemed to be an accident. With tensions rising in France, unforeseen danger lurks in his home country as he tries to unravel not only what happened to his father and brother, but his growing feelings for Lady Joanna. “Like an echo in the wind, love had come to him a second time and he was more than grateful it had”.

Once again, no one, in my humble opinion, writes this genre like Regan Walker. You are always pulled into her tales immediately. You can feel the bumps as the carriage passes over the cobblestone streets and smell the salty sea air as the ship sails to each destination. Walker’s world building is second to none as you are swept from one beautiful and intriguing location to another. And, as always, if you’re a fan of this genre, you will never go wrong with reading any of Ms. Walker’s stories. I always think that once I finish one of her books that it’s my favorite…..until I read the next. Well done, Regan Walker! Very, very, very well done!

Reading order and previous review
To Tame The Wind
Echo in the Wind
A Fierce Wind (2018)

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Vickie M

excerpt


Bognor, West Sussex, England, April 1784

Except for the small waves rushing to shore, hissing as they raced over the shingles, Bognor’s coast was eerily bereft of sound. Lady Joanna West hated the disquiet she always experienced before a smuggling run. Tonight, the blood throbbed in her veins with the anxious pounding of her heart, for this time, she would be dealing with a total stranger.
Would he be fair, this new partner in free trade? Or might he be a feared revenue agent in disguise, ready to cinch a hangman’s noose around her slender neck?
The answer lay just offshore, silhouetted against a cobalt blue sky streaked with gold from the setting sun: a black-sided ship, her sails lifted like a lady gathering up her skirts, poised to flee, waited for a signal.
Crouched behind a rock with her younger brother, Joanna hesitated, studying the ship. Eight gun ports marched across the side of the brig, making her wonder at the battles the captain anticipated that he should carry sixteen guns.
She and her men were unarmed. They would be helpless should he decide to cheat them, his barrels full of water instead of brandy, his tea no more than dried weeds.
It had been tried before.
“You are certain Zack speaks for this captain?” she asked Freddie whose dark auburn curls beneath his slouched hat made his boyish face appear younger than his seventeen years. But to one who knew him well, the set of his jaw hinted at the man he would one day become.
“I’ll fetch him,” Freddie said in a hushed tone, “and you can ask him yourself.” He disappeared into the shadows where her men waited beneath the trees.
Zack appeared, squatting beside her, a giant of a man with a scar on the left side of his face from the war. Like the mastiffs that guarded the grounds of her family’s estate, he was big and ugly, fierce with enemies, but gentle with those he was charged to protect.
“Young Frederick here says ye want to know about this ship, m’lady.” At her nod, Zack gazed toward the brig. “He used to come here regular with nary a con nor a cheat. He’s been gone awhile now. I heard he might have worked up some other business—royal business.” He rolled his massive shoulders in a shrug. “In my experience, a tiger don’t change his stripes. He’s a Frog, aye, but I trust the Frenchie’s one of us, a free trader still.”
She took in a deep breath of the salted air blowing onshore and let it out. “Good.” Zack’s assurance had been some comfort but not enough to end her concerns. What royal business? For tonight, she need not know. “Give the signal,” she directed her brother, “but I intend to see for myself if the cargo is what we ordered.”
Without seeking the position, Joanna had become the smugglers’ master of the beach, responsible for getting the cargo ashore and away to inland routes and London markets with no revenue man the wiser. She took seriously her role to assure the villagers got what they paid for. Their survival depended upon it.

Copyright © 2017 Regan Walker


 

About the author

Regan WalkerRegan Walker is an award-winning, Amazon #1 bestselling author of Regency, Georgian and Medieval romances. A lawyer turned full-time writer, she has six times been featured on USA TODAY’s HEA blog and nominated six times for the prestigious RONE award (her novel, The Red Wolf’s Prize won Best Historical Novel for 2015 in the Medieval category). Her novel The Refuge: An Inspirational Novel of Scotland won the Gold Medal in the Illumination Awards in 2017. And her novel To Tame the Wind won the International Book Award for Romance Fiction in 2017.

Years of serving clients in private practice and several stints in high levels of government have given Regan a love of international travel and a feel for the demands of the “Crown”. Hence her romance novels often involve a demanding sovereign who taps his subjects for special assignments. Each of her novels features real history and real historical figures. And, of course, adventure and love.

Twitter: @RegansReview (https://twitter.com/RegansReview)
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