His Highland Love (His Highland Heart #2 ) by Willa Blair-a review

His Highland Love (His Highland Heart #2) by Willa Blair-a review

His Highland Love

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date July 11, 2017

A Love Denied
Kenneth Brodie offered for young Mary Catherine Rose but her father declined, then a year later accepted an offer from another clan. Furious at hearing Cat would be married soon to someone else, Kenneth fled to France and drowned his disappointment in wine, women and war.

A Love Lost
Two years after her father demanded they wait until Cat was older, she doesn’t understand why Kenneth hasn’t returned for her. Broken-hearted, Cat spurns yet another betrothal her father arranges and runs away to her cousin in St. Andrews, vowing never to marry.

A Love Worth Fighting For
By the time Kenneth returns home, trouble is brewing in Scotland. Sent to St. Andrews as hostage for his clan to the Regent, Kenneth resents being exiled—until he encounters his lost love, Cat Rose. When war breaks out, they must escape. And even though he betrayed her with more than one mademoiselle, he’s the only man Cat trusts to get her home to the Highlands. Can she forgive his past and renew the love they once shared?


REVIEW: His Highland Love is a historical romance, and is book two in her His Highland Heart Series The opening scene is in St. Andrews and the year is 1411.

Kenneth Brodie is our male lead. He had run away to France some years ago, heartbroken by the refusal of James Rose to let him marry his youngest daughter. The two were in love and he had offered for her hand in marriage, only to be told she was too young to marry. However, her father soon betrothed her to another clan leader. This news caused Kenneth to snap and thinking his love was married to another, he ran to France to fight in wars. He learned much and became a fierce warrior as well as wiser about life.

When Kenneth returned to Scotland, his friend and Laird Iain Brodie was angry he’d run away and punished him by sending him as the clan’s token hostage as demanded by the Duke of Albany. He was sent to Stirling, but later was moved to St. Andrews and his clan did not know where he was or when he’d be returned.

The lead female in this book is Cat or Catherine Rose, daughter of James Rose their clan laird. Her mother passed away while she was a child and she was raised by her father and her sisters. After her heart was broken by his refusal of her love for Kenneth, she was betrothed to three others…each failing for one reason or another. She always thought Kenneth would find a way to take her from here, but found he’d left for France. She’d had enough of this and still dreaming of Kenneth, she ran away. Her sisters helped her get safely away, keeping her from an unwanted marriage. She ran to St. Andrews to some family friends and left her father a note telling him why she left, but not where she was going.

That’s the basic gist of the beginning. Author Willa Blair is an award winning author and does a really good telling of the stories. Readers are also granted a small look at Highland confrontations and wars, the politics that was rampant in those times. Many Lairds married their daughters and even sons off for alliances, some worked…some did not.

If you love romantic highland stories of warriors and danger, love and honor, you’ll find this story intriguing as well as enjoyable. The characters and their motives are complicated with obligations warring with emotions. We’re treated to some secondary characters that are equally interesting and will be featured in future novels. I thought it was an interesting look at how daughters were beginning to find a way around the arranged marriage thing and beginning to follow their hearts. The sisters trying to help each other by manipulating their stubborn father was also interesting. Not that the practice of arranging marriages would end anytime soon.

Reading Order and Previous Reviews

His Highland Heart
His Highland Love

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Georgianna S


Knight on the Texas Plains by Linda Broday – Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

Knight on the Texas Plains by Linda Broday – Review, Guest Post & Giveaway



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Duel McClain was no knight in shining armor — he was a drifter who prided himself on having no responsibilities. But a poker game thrust him into the role of father to an abandoned baby, and then a condemned woman stumbled up to his campfire. The fugitive beauty aimed to keep him at shotgun’s length, but obvious maternal instincts belied her fierce demeanor. And she and the baby were clearly made for each other. Worse, the innocent infant and the alleged murderess opened Duel’s heart, made him long for the love of a real family. And the only way to have that would be to slay the demons of the past.



Knight on the Texas Plains by Linda Broday is the first book in her new Texas Heroes series. When I decided to read this Western historical romance that takes place in 1880 Texas, I was not sure what to expect, since I do not read a lot of this genre.  Upon completing the book, I am so glad I did. I loved Knight on the Texas Plains.

Duel McClain, our hero, is a loner who is privately grieving over the loss of his wife to childbirth years before. During a card game, Duel wins a little baby girl, and despite his original refusal to accept the child, he will change his mind.  Duel doesn’t want the child to be tossed around by the nasty man who was keeping the child, and the little girl (Marley Rose)was quickly clinging to him: he then  makes the decision to head home to his family ranch, where hasn’t been since he left home. 

Jessie Foulty, our heroine, is on the run, and comes across Duel and Marley sitting by a campfire for the night.  Jessie is scared, and badly bruised. Duel can see that she was beaten up, and tries to help her.  Jessie trusts no man, but when she watches Duel with little Marley, she begins to relax and in her desperation, she will accept Duel’s offer to come his ranch with him and take care of Marley.  Eventually Jessie, who feels she is unworthy will tell Duel the truth:  she killed her husband, and even if she was defending herself, Jessie knows if they find her, they will have her killed.  Duel, who slowly begins to care for Jessie, knows she suffered very badly, and when he sees the branding on her shoulder (like a cattle branding), he knows she is truly the innocent one.

What follows is a unique and wonderful story of two people broken, for different reasons, will find love for each other and a child, who has brought them together.  I loved when they got to the family ranch, and Duel’s family was great.  Marley was such a precious child, so cute and bubbly, and we too could not help but adore her.  I enjoyed when an injured stray dog becomes Marley’s friend (Boobie), and will become another addition to the family.  To protect Jessie, Duel convinces her to marry him, as they bring up Marley together.  Most important was watching both Duel and Jessie find their way past the loss of his wife, and her discovering how Duel was sweet, gentle, and loving, not like other men who tortured her.  This was a very emotional story line, which was also suspenseful, especially when Jessie is discovered and brought back to the town where she killed her husband.  But when the family stands by her and the truth of what she endured during her marriage is revealed to all to see, there is hope.

I can’t say enough how much I enjoyed this heart wrenching story, and the wonderful characters Linda Broday has created.  I strongly suggest you read Knight on the Texas Plains.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher


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What Were the Unique Challenges of a Romance on the American Frontier?

To survive on the frontier took a lot of hard work, but I think many things took a big toll on romance and marriage. Distance was a huge hurdle to overcome when they were courting. Even if the couple lived on ranches next to each other, they rarely got to do things together because the ranches back then were pretty large. Travel was so slow that it took hours to get anyplace and it wasn’t seemly for a young woman to stay over at her prospective groom’s house.

They lived for social occasions. The dances, church socials, harvests, other events were much anticipated. Life for those who lived too far to attend these functions was extremely solitary and boring. Humans are social creatures. We simply need that interaction—and to meet members of the opposite sex.

The lack of women presented the biggest problem to men. There just weren’t that many until after the Civil War when women in the East outnumbered the men and turned to the booming mail order bride business. They were willing to marry a man sight unseen so they could ease the loneliness and have a family.

Once a couple married, they faced many hardships—the weather, the crops, the prospect of losing their land and home. They worked from sunup to sundown and barely had any time to sit and just talk. The never-ending work took the romance from a lot of people.

I think wives had it harder though. They faced childbirth without a doctor or even a midwife. The mountain of work was unbelievable. Cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, milking cows, churning butter, and a million other things. They had no time for romance.

Also, loneliness stole a woman’s spirit. With her husband out working all day, she had no one to talk to and the incessant wind only made everything worse.

I hope readers will try KNIGHT ON THE TEXAS PLAINS. Duel McClain marries Jessie Foltry in order to hide her from the lawmen who are looking to arrest her for murder. Jessie’s been through a horrible ordeal and it take a while to see Duel as anything other than a protector. The bridge between them is a poor little babe Duel wins in a poker game. Together they become a patchwork family.


LInda Broday

At a young age, Linda Broday discovered a love for storytelling, history, and anything pertaining to the Old West. Cowboys fascinate her. There’s something about Stetsons, boots, and tall rugged cowboys that get her fired up. A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Linda has won many awards, including the prestigious National Readers’ Choice Award and the Texas Gold Award. She resides in the Texas Panhandle and is inspired every day.


Find Linda Online:

Website: / Facebook: / Twitter: / Goodreads:




Linda Broday’s Publisher is offering a paper copy of Knight on the Texas Plains ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

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An Earl by Any Other Name by Lauren Smith – Review & Giveaway

An Earl by Any Other Name  by Lauren Smith – Review & Giveaway


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An Earl by Any Other NameAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM

An earl in the streets, a rogue in the sheets . . .

Leopold Graham, Lord Hampton, was never a man to let propriety stand in the way of his pursuit of pleasure. Hedonism is his only desire in life—until his father’s death saddles him with debts that threaten to bankrupt the entire family. Now the only thing that stands between him and utter ruin is marriage to a proper, and preferably wealthy, young lady.

Ivy Leighton is no sweet English rose. Perhaps it’s her gypsy roots, but she would rather make a spectacle of her independent spirit than sit quietly on the sidelines. If that means that the only place she’ll ever have in society is firmly on the shelf, then so be it. But when Ivy runs into the handsome, rakish Leo who’s looking for a respectable, well-bred wife, she can’t stop thinking about the troubles they can get into. Now she just has to convince him that a life with her is really what he needs.




5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

WOOT!  Another grand slam by another of my fave historical romance authors Lauren Smith.  I always put her books down feeling very fulfilled and wanting more .. this awesome book was no exception.

An Earl By Any Other Name is the first book in Lauren Smith’s “Sins and Scandals” series and it’s a quick novella that gives you a taste of more to come.  If you like two fiery characters meeting their match and also enjoy a steamy ride to get there, then kick your pumps off and get ready to enjoy.

Leopold Graham is a rogue who loves his lifestyle.  When his daddy dearest does a big faux pas like dying in his mistresses bed and pretty much leaving the family finances in one hot mess, Leo is about to do the one thing he never wanted … marry a proper lady who has money to save his family circumstance.

Ivy Leighton appears to be a proper lady to some extent .. nah not really.  She’s AWESOME!  Independent, smart assed, and not afraid to lay it out regardless of the cost to her reputation, she is my ideal historical romance heroine.  She really has no interest in marriage until … hmm .. maybe Leo?  She is very drawn to him and they seem to have a memorable connection in their youth.

These two are so well matched, two perfects making a whole.  They are so pigheaded at times and I loved that everyone but them knew it was going to happen. The humour and banter, one liners and smexy scenes keep these pages fiery and flipping .. but here is what I love the most about Lauren’s ability as an author.  Despite the small amount of pages, you get the full build of of character and story without feeling like you are missing anything.

A short review for a a short book, but full of “gush” for the story.  I am eagerly anticipating her next release in this series, I suspect it’s going to be fabulous!  Keep it coming Lauren!


Reviewed by Rachel

Copy supplied for review


About the Author pink

Lauren_Smith_2014Born and raised in Tulsa, I spent the first twenty-two years of my life in Oklahoma, bridging the worlds between urban girl and cowgirl. After high school I attended Oklahoma State University where I earned Bachelor of Art degrees in history and political science. Drawn to paintings in museums and obsessed with antiques, I satisfied my fascination with history by writing and exploring exotic, ancient lands.

Over the years, my studies have opened doors throughout the world. From spending two summers at Cambridge to attending classes at such divergent places as Ireland and Chengdu, China, I have discovered fascinating opportunities for enrichment wherever I go. After completing college, I moved to Michigan to attend law school at the University of Detroit-Mercy and University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada.  Armed with two Juris Doctorate degrees from both countries, I returned to Tulsa and became an intellectual property attorney.

Since third grade when my English teacher proposed that all students should craft a story for a young writers’ conference, I have been hooked on writing. My first self-illustrated manuscript described the mysterious disappearance of rare brown bats that were being captured by scientists bent on using them as carriers for an incurable disease. The immense sense of joy in sharing that story with others, and discussing plots and characters, made it clear to me that writing was my true passion.

Learn more about Lauren at the following links:
Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

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Lauren is graciously offering a $25.00 Gift Card (Amazon or B&N) and a signed paper copy of a book of your choice from Lauren’s backlist  to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe

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Too Scot to Handle (Windham Brides #2) by Grace Burrowes-Review, Interview & Giveaway

Too Scot to Handle (Windham Brides #2) by Grace Burrowes-Review, Interview, Excerpt & Giveaway

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Windham Brides #2
by Grace Burrowes
Genre: adult, historical, romance
Release Date:July 25, 2017

Too Scot to Handle

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date July 25, 2017

As a captain in the army, Colin MacHugh led men, fixed what was broken, and fought hard. Now that he’s a titled gentleman, he’s still fighting—this time to keep his bachelorhood safe from all the marriage-minded debutantes. Then he meets the intriguing Miss Anwen Windham, whose demure nature masks a bonfire waiting to roar to life. When she asks for his help to raise money for the local orphanage, he’s happy to oblige.

Anwen is amazed at how quickly Lord Colin takes in hand a pack of rambunctious orphan boys. Amazed at how he actually listens to her ideas. Amazed at the thrill she gets from the rumble of his Scottish burr and the heat of his touch. But not everyone enjoys the success of an upstart. And Colin has enemies who will stop at nothing to ruin him and anybody he holds dear.


REVIEW: 5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

EEEEEE .. Grace Burrowes fellow readers. Enjoying one of her novels is like returning to a comfy home you didn’t realize you missed until you returned to it. I just love her writing style.

Too Scot to Handle by Grace Burrowes is the second book of her “Windham Brides” series. This is an extension of her “Windham” series, and while it’s always nice to understand the backstory and be reunited with older characters, you do not need to read that series first as this can stand all on its own quite well … BUT … Grace really writes a fantastic novel so if you love the historical romance, do yourself a favour and check out her other series as well.

Anwen Windham (seriously love this name) is a redheaded, typically quiet, polite, sweet natured and extremely protected by her loved ones due to a childhood illness, proper lady. BUT … when it comes the orphaned boys she cares for, she is fiery, protective, intelligent and a fighter who will do what she needs to do to keep her orphans safe and sound.

Colin MacHugh is the brother to a Duke, an army Captain who has experienced battle and leadership, handsome, smart, a little out of his league when it comes to being a member of the proper ton, and so not interested in anything to do with marriage. He also is fiery when it comes to something he believes should be fought hard for.

Anwen and Colin become in-laws due to their siblings marriage, so they are some what familiar with the other. When Anwen requests assistance in finding funds for her orphans, Colin agrees, only to find that these boys are truely remarkable and worth fighting for. The boys also need the the firm commanding nature that Colin brings, with the admiration that his position holds. He treats them the way they should be treated and Anwen cannot help but admire this.

This is a friends to lovers kind of read. Neither of our main characters were looking for love, but love seems to have found them. I love this kind of book. It starts with a little indifference, to admiration and ultimately ending in realization. These two are well matched, and seeing them fall madly in love with the other for all the right reasons totally made me smile while reading. Of course there is douchebag to add some conflict to the story, and this is the kind of douchebag that I love to hate. It was charming to experience Anwen and Colin come together for the greater good. Grace always writes her love scenes honest, passionate, sometimes awkward (which I love) and very satisfying.

Another fantastic book by one of my fave historical romance authors and I am eagerly awaiting the next one. A fantastic summer read on a lazy afternoon! 🙂


Click HERE for Rachel’s review of book 1-THE TROUBLE WITH DUKES

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Rachel T

Too Scot To Handle Teaser



He’d taken care that this kiss be private, and thus unhurried.
Anwen liked the unhurried part exceedingly. Lord Colin held her not as if she were frail and fragile, but as if she were too precious to let go. His arms were secure about her, and he’d tucked in close enough that she could revel in his contours—broad chest, flat belly, and hard, hard thighs, such as an accomplished equestrian would have.
Soft lips, though. Gentle, entreating, teasing…
Anwen teased him back, getting a taste of peppermint for her boldness, and then a taste of him.
“Great day in the morning,” he whispered, right at her ear. “I won’t be able to sit my horse if you do that again with your tongue.”
She did it again, and again, until the kiss involved his leg insinuated among the folds and froths of her riding habit, her fingers toying with the hair at his nape, and her heart, beating faster than it had at the conclusion of their race.
“Ye must cease, wee Anwen,” Lord Colin said, resting his cheek against her temple. “We must cease, or I’ll have to cast myself into yonder water for the sake of my sanity.”
“I’m a good swimmer,” Anwen said. “I’d fish you out.” She contemplated dragging a sopping Lord Colin from the Serpentine, his clothes plastered to his body….
“Such a sigh,” he said, kissing her cheek. “If ye’d slap me, I’d take it as a mercy.”
“I’d rather kiss you again.” And again and again and again. Anwen’s enthusiasm for that undertaking roared through her like a wild fire, bringing light, heat, and energy to every corner of her being.
“You are a bonfire in disguise,” he said, smoothing a hand over her hair. “An ambush of a woman, and you have all of polite society thinking you’re the quiet one.” He peered down at her, his hair sticking up on one side. “Am I the only man who knows better, Anwen?”
She smoothed his hair down, delighting in its texture. Red hair had a mind of its own, and by the dawn’s light, his hair was very red.
“No, you are not the only one who knows better,” she said, which had him looking off across the water, his gaze determined.
“I’m no’ the dallyin’ kind,” he said, taking Anwen’s hand and kissing it. “I was a soldier, and I’m fond of the ladies, but this is… you mustn’t toy with me.”
Everlasting celestial trumpets. “You think I could toy with you?”
“When you smile like that, you could break hearts, Miss Anwen Windham. A man wouldn’t see it coming, but then you’d swan off in a cloud of grace and dignity, and too late, he’d realize what he’d missed. He wouldn’t want to admit how foolish he’d been, but in his heart, he’d know: I should ne’er have let her get away. I should have done anything to stay by her side.”
I am a bonfire in disguise. “You are not the only one who knows my secret. I know better now too, Colin.” She went up on her toes and kissed him. “It’s our secret.”



TRC:  Hi Grace and welcome back to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the release of TOO SCOT TO HANDLE, the second installment in your Windham Brides series. For anyone new to Grace Burrowes, please tell us something about yourself?

Follow Grace: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

Grace BurrowesGrace: I keep at least two dozen stuffed animals in my law office at all times. I’m a child welfare attorney, so the inventory tends to need replenishing. Shopping for stuffed animals is FUN.

TRC: Would you please tell us something about TOO SCOT TO HANDLE and the Windham Bride Series?

Grace: The Windham Brides have been lurking in my imagination for years, as I wrote the stories for their eight cousins, from the ducal branch of the family. These four ladies are all aristocracy, of course, but they end up with four very different happily-ever-afters. TOO SCOTT TO HANDLE features the youngest sister, Anwen Windham, and her swain, Captain Lord Colin MacHugh. Colin has never taken much of anything seriously, and Anwen has never been taken seriously, but with Colin, she’s changing the game. She also gives Colin a purpose for which he’ll put everything on the line—his life, his reputation, and even his heart.

TRC: What are your thoughts on historical accuracy when writing a fictional historical romance novel? Do you believe the readers want historical accuracy in the story line?

Too Scot to HandleGrace: My thoughts on this topic are hard to condense into a few sentences, but basically, the litmus of test of what goes into the story should be whether a fact, quote, or snippet of description pulls the readers into the tale or kicks them out of the tale. My obligation to the reader is to entertain, first and foremost. The difficult aspect of historical romance is that what pulls one reader into the story is likely to bore another reader witless. Worse, you can be entirely accurate about your history (Yes, there are circumstances when a duke will be addressed as “Duke,”), but if you contradict established lore, you will not only throw readers out of the story, but antagonize them with your accuracy. It’s a tricky balance, and I’ve yet to meet an author who could get it right for all of the readers all of the time.

TRC: Do you listen to music while writing? If so, does the style of music influence the story line direction? Characters?

Grace: Yes, I do listen to music, and in fact have a degree in music history, BUT I don’t listen to music when I’m writing. Instead, I use the music (maybe Handel’s “Messiah” for a Christmas story, for example) as background when I’m driving, folding laundry, walking on the tread desk. I can’t listen to music and write at the same time, but I think hearing what Regency characters would have heard helps with the world building and generally boosts me more deeply into the characters and story.

TRC: What do you believe is the biggest misconception people have about authors?

Grace: That we mostly write only when we feel like it.

TRC: Thank you, Grace, for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on all of your success.

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The Importance of Being Scandalous by Kimberly Bell – a Review

The Importance of Being Scandalous by Kimberly Bell – a Review


The Importance of Being ScandalousAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository

A horse race in trousers on Rotten Row. Visiting a gaming hall in a dress that would make her mother faint. Sneaking an invitation to a masquerade ball attended by only the wickedest, most debauched members of society…

None of these things are scaring off bookish but strong-willed Amelia Bishop’s stuffy, egotistical fiancé.

The only thing left is to entice childhood friend Nicholas Wakefield into a truly engagement-ending scandal. The Wakefields are the height of propriety, and Nicholas’s parents have made it clear a wife from the neighboring Bishop family would be unacceptable…

But Nicholas would give up his family and his fortune if Amelia would ever see him as more than just a childhood friend. He’ll go along with her scheme, even if it means ruining them both, because he’s got a plan that will change her mind about him being merely the boy next door. 


I quite enjoyed The Importance of Being Scandalous by Kimberly Bell.  Ms. Bell set the stage for the adventures of Amelia and Nicholas from the very beginning and these two characters just ran away with the story.  Amelia and Nicholas were also well matched with the secondary characters of Amelia’s sister Julia and Nicholas’ friend Jasper.  These two characters were a hoot to have around, and there was never a dull moment when they were in scenes with the other characters.  Let’s just say everyone needs a Julia and Jasper in their lives.  I really enjoyed how they supported the main couple, but at the same time provided backstory and furthering of the plot line for Amelia and Nicholas.  The Importance of Being Scandalous was fast paced, cheeky and fun.  I couldn’t help but LoL many times at Amelia and her sister as they plotted ways to get Amelia out of her engagement to that horrid excuse for a man Embry.  Him I did not like from the first scene he was in.  He’s just one of those males that I find sketchy and give me the creeps.  Personally I couldn’t wait for him to either call off the engagement, or mysteriously disappear suddenly. 

The romance between Amelia and Nicholas is sweet and seductive, yet set up nicely with no rush or preamble.  She lets the characters explore these underlying feelings they’ve always had for each other, and come to the realization that they’ve been in love from their first meeting as teenagers.  When Amelia finally realizes she’s been in love with Nicholas since forever it’s like she’s been kicked in the head from her horse.  I was waiting anxiously for this revelation to dawn on her and if it wasn’t for her sister Julia, who knows if she ever would’ve come to this conclusion on her own.  Well maybe by the time she was in her senior years, lol!!  Nicholas and Amelia are  well suited and this allowed for the romance to blossom, the chemistry and anticipation to build to a boiling point for when the two finally do submit to temptation.  Even then, that dolt Embry won’t call off the engagement. He’ll go to any lengths to keep Amelia, even plotting with Amelia’s mother to ferret her away to another country where he can marry her at sea and force her to be his.  The ensuing scenes with Amelia, Julia, Nicholas, Jasper and his twin sister are fast paced and comical as they race against time to get away from Embry so Amelia and Nicholas can escape to Scotland to be secretly married. 

As I said earlier, The Importance of Being Scandalous is fast paced, cheeky and fun.  It’s full of LoL moments between the sisters, as well as best friends Nicholas and Jasper.  The characters are lively, well developed and carry the story with ease, keeping the reader entertained from beginning to end.  If historical romance, with a good dose of scandalous behaviour is your cup of tea, then look no further then Kimberly Bell’s The Importance of Being Scandalous. 

Until next time, happy reading everyone!

Reviewed by Marcie

Copy provided by Publisher



Her Wicked Longing by Lauren Smith – a Review

Her Wicked Longing by Lauren Smith – a Review


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Fans of Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton Series and Johanna Lindsey’s Malory series will delight in this swoonworthy adventurous romance series with roguish heroes and feisty, intelligent heroines! 

Her Wicked Longing contains two new short teaser stories starring Audrey Sheridan and her maid Gillian Beaumont! 

What trouble can a young lady with a talent for mischief and her maid get into in just one day? 

His Wicked Maid- 

Always prim and proper, lady’s maid Gillian Beaumont has never acted with wild abandon the way her young headstrong mistress does. But deep down she dreams of a life filled with love and a husband who will give her his whole heart even though she knows it’s impossible. With a list of chores from her mistress, Gillian is given the chance to live the life of a gentle lady, and she clings to it, knowing that soon it will be over. While wearing a dress meant for her lady, she catches the eye of a handsome earl and is swept away from her duties by his rakish good looks and charm. Heated looks in public and passionate kisses in a dark corner of a bookshop create a perfect day for Gillian to cling to when she returns to her real life… 

Her Wicked Lessons- 

Determined to learn the art of the spy trade, Miss Audrey Sheridan, finds a way to escape a dull afternoon tea by running off to the residence of an infamous French Courtesan. Hoping to improve her French for a future mission to the continent, she never expects to be caught by the one man who haunts her dreams: Jonathan St. Laurent, the former servant-turned-brother of a duke. With one penetrating look from those bewitching green eyes of his, Audrey knows she’s in trouble. Unable and unwilling to confess her real reason for visiting a French courtesan, Audrey decides to convinces Jonathan she’s there to learn the art of seduction. But she never expects the devilish rogue to take her lessons seriously… 

*Note: These are short stories of under 10,000 words that will prepare readers for Gillian’s happily ever after in The Earl of Pembroke and Audrey’s happily ever after in His Wicked Secret. 



5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

Her Wicked Longing by Lauren Smith is a quick read consisting of two novellas. Lauren writes a stellar historical romance in full length and I have to say she is amazing at packing in so much teasing story in so few pages.  I was left eager for more and anticipating her future releases.

The first novella “His Wicked Maid” is a taste of Lauren’s new series being released next year and it centered around Miss Audrey’s ladies maid Gillian Beaumont.  Gillian is afforded an opportunity to masquerade as a gentle lady for a day, and in that short time she catches the eye of James Fordyce. who happens to be an Earl.  These two have an instant spark and Lauren left us with just enough to make sure we came back for the real deal.  In typical style of her lovely writing, we have humour, promise of a little naughty, adventure and the making of a great story.

The second novella is “His Wicked Lessons” and this is a taste of her full novel “His Wicked Secret” (released later this year) which will be the next full novel in her “League of Rogues” series.  Here we see the beginnings of Jonathan St-Laurent and Audrey Sheridan relationship.  Audrey is a smart cookie and finds herself in a compromising position when she tries to take the bull by the horns and insert herself into some spy training.  Deciding to do the best she can with the situation handed to her, she is still taken aback when the one man she has been drawn to catches her in a place no proper lady belongs.  Again we are left with a taste of what these two will face in their full length novel and I am excited to see where we are taken.

If you are a Lauren Smith fan, then you will love this read.  I love that she released a teaser to keep our interest peaked and as usual she always gives just enough.  She is an incredible historical romance author and if you haven’t checked out her writing before I strongly recommend you do.  Her “League of Rogues” series is a great place to start but if you try this read first, I promise she gives you her style in true Lauren fashion, so this would be a great way to see if her style is your style .. which I am sure it will be! 🙂


Reviewed by Rachel

Copy supplied for review






The Duke Meets His Match by Tina Gabrielle – a Review

The Duke Meets His Match by Tina Gabrielle – a Review


The Duke Meets His MatchAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository

The daughter of an infamous art forger, Chloe Somerton grew up poor. Desperate to aid her sisters, she’d picked a pocket…or two. Now circumstances have changed, and Chloe has a chance to marry a young, wealthy lord. Only his mentor—a dark, dangerous duke—stands in her way. The duke knows about her past, and she’ll do anything to keep him from telling.

The moment Michael Keswick, the Duke of Cameron, sees Chloe Somerton, he recognizes her as a fraud. The stunning beauty with sapphire eyes and golden hair now appears to be a proper lady, but he knows better. What begins as a battle of wills soon escalates into a fierce attraction. In Chloe, Michael finds peace from the memories of war, but he refuses to marry…and she won’t settle for anything less.



The Duke Meets His Match begins with Chloe attending a party with her sister, who is bound and determined to play matchmaker for Chloe.  Of course, Chloe had rather make her own match, but appreciates her sister’s interest….most of the time.  As Chloe sets her eyes on a handsome young Earl named Henry, she can’t help but notice Michael Keswick, the Duke of Cameron, who just happens to be Henry’s guardian.  Michael and Henry’s father were in the war together, and only Michael made it home.  Henry’s father took a bullet meant for Michael, which has caused Michael a great deal of guilt.  Once home, he has made it his mission to teach the young Henry about managing his estate and his affairs. 

Once Michael sees Chloe, he immediately recognizes her and knows that there is a shady past that Henry knows nothing about.  He attempts to warn Chloe away from Henry, and call her bluff (if you will).  What he does not expect is Chloe’s reaction.  As their mutual attraction grows, the Duke knows that he has indeed, met his match….

The Duke Meets His Match is a wonderfully written story that has relatable characters.  I love the Somertons, and Chloe is by far my favorite.  Don’t get me wrong, I like the other two books and their heroines, but I LOVED Chloe.  Determined to distance herself from her torturous past, she stands up for herself in a way that will endear herself to everyone who reads her story.  Michael was a bit of a surprise for me.  Yes, he started out as an antagonist whom I couldn’t see myself liking (at all!), only to turn out to be a multi-layered character that I fell in love with.  His reasons for saying he would never marry are actually valid ones, but Chloe being Chloe, makes him see reason.  She also makes him see that asking for help does not make you weak.  The Duke Meets His Match is ultimately a story about pushing past preconceived notions to truly see a person for whom they really are.  If you’re a fan of this genre, you will never go wrong with any of the Somertons’ stories, but this one will make you a true fan of the author.  Well done, Tina Gabrielle!  Very, very well done!

Reviewed by Vickie

Copy provided by Publisher


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

Duke of Defiance Banner

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

The Duke of Defiance

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / Chapters Indigo /itunes KOBO

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.


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


Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Rachel T



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?


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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