ARC · book review · NetGalley · St. Martin's Paperbacks · St. Martin's Press

The Good, the Bad, and the Duke (The Cavensham Heiresses: Book 4) by Janna MacGregor

The Good, the Bad, and the Duke (The Cavensham Heiresses #4)

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Date of publication: November 27th, 2018

Genre: Historical Romance

Series: The Cavensham Heiresses

The Bad Luck Bride—Book 1

The Bride Who Got Lucky—Book 2

The Luck of the Bride—Book 3 (review here)

The Good, the Bad, and the Duke—Book 4

Rogue Most Wanted—Book 5 (expected date of publication: June 25th, 2019

Where you can find The Good, the Bad, and the Duke: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

A lady with a noble mission. A duke looking for redemption. A forbidden love that cannot be denied… 

Lady Daphne Hallworth is ready to celebrate the holidays with her family. But when they accidentally leave her home alone, Daphne uses the time to work on her dream—opening a home for unwed mothers. But her quest isn’t problem-free: She’s in a battle to win the property for the home against her brother’s best friend-turned-enemy, Paul Barstowe, Duke of Southart. And that’s not all: someone has stolen her personal diary, which holds secrets that could devastate her family. Daphne has always harbored private feelings for the man her family scorns…though perhaps striking a bargain with the handsome Duke will solve both their problems?

Paul, long considered good for nothing, aims to open a hospital to honor his brother and restore his reputation. So when a conflict over the land brings him straight into Daphne’s life, they make a deal: He will help her find her diary if Daphne can change her family’s opinion of him. But before he can win her family’s affection, he has to win hers first. Maybe love was the answer to their family feud all along?


My review:

Paul is a rogue who is trying to right all the wrongs that he has caused. Mainly the friendships that he threw away. But it wasn’t going to be easy. Those ex-friends detest him. Redemption comes in the form of Lady Daphne Hallworth. Daphne has had her journal stolen. A journal that has her very private thoughts and dreams in it. Paul would move heaven and earth to keep the wrong sort of people from getting a hold of that journal. Will that happen? Will he get the journal back? Will he be able to mend the relationships with his friends? And more importantly, will he be able to keep the happiness that he found with Daphne? Or will he be forced to let that go?

I hated Paul’s father. What he did to Paul when he was alive was awful. He was beaten for any little slight as a child. One beating was so bad that he couldn’t sit down without a pillow for a week. Once Paul’s brother saw what was going on, he stopped it. But he couldn’t stop the emotional abuse. The way that Paul acted in the first couple of books was a direct result of how his father treated him. Even after death, he was still torturing Paul. Those notes (actually the titles of them) were heartbreaking to read. There was an explanation towards the end of the book about why Paul’s father treated him the way he did. It was a weak explanation but it did bring some light about why Paul was abused.

I got shivers reading Paul and Daphne’s scenes together. Even before they kissed, you could tell that they wanted each other. But once they kissed, it was like a fire was set. Those scenes set this book on fire. What I liked is that the author kept the sexual attraction and tension going after they had sex. Every sex scene was on fire. There were a few times I had to put down my Kindle and go “Oh my!!

What I also liked about this book was that Daphne was the only one for Paul. He could see her across the room and no one else existed. Everything he did after a certain point in the book was for her. I loved it. I loved seeing that it went both ways. I loved seeing them interact like they were the only people in a room. It was romantic.

I did like the storylines in the book. The author did a wonderful job of bringing them together. There were no forgotten plotlines. After the plotlines merged, the flow was flawless. It didn’t get choppy.

I will warn everyone that you will need a Kleenex or two while reading. There are a few scenes where I was moved to tears. The main scene, after Paul reads his father’s final letter, made me a sobbing mess. The other is the scene where he read his brother’s letter. Again, sobbing mess over here.

What I also liked about this book was that the villain in the other books was made into a hero. The author chose to give an explanation to his actions towards Emma and Claire. He was given a chance to redeem himself. I loved it!!

The end of the book made me happy. And the epilogue, I was ecstatic. Out of all the books I have read this year, this one has touched me the most. Paul deserved his HEA with Daphne. With everything he went through, that man deserved every bit of happiness that he could get.


I gave The Good, the Bad, and the Duke a 4-star rating. I enjoyed reading this book. The plotlines were wonderfully written. I came to care for the characters and got emotionally invested in backstories. You will cry during this book, so read with a box, or two, of Kleenex. Any quibble that I had with the book was minor and had no effect on my rating.

I would give The Good, the Bad, and the Duke an Adult rating. There is explicit sex. There is mild violence. There is no language. There are triggers. They are child abuse. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread The Good, the Bad, and the Duke. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.


I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperbacks, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The Good, the Bad, and the Duke.

All opinions stated in this review of The Good, the Bad, and the Duke are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**


Have you read The Good, the Bad, and the Duke?

Love it? 

Hate it?

Meh about it?

Let me know!!!

ARC · book review · Loveswept · NetGalley · Random House Publishing Group · Self published · St. Martin's Paperbacks · St. Martin's Press · Wednesday Books

Weekly Wrap-Up: November 18th through November 24th 2018

Books I’ve Read (clicking on the picture will bring you to Goodreads page):

White Stag (Permafrost, #1)

Foam On The Crest Of Waves

The Duke I Once Knew (Unlikely Duchesses, #1)

Perfectly Inappropriate

The Good, the Bad, and the Duke (The Cavensham Heiresses #4)

Books with reviews pending (clicking on pictures will bring you to the Amazon page):

Perfectly Inappropriate—review coming November 27th, 2018

Perfectly Inappropriate

The Good, the Bad, and the Duke—review coming November 27th, 2018

The Good, the Bad, and the Duke (The Cavensham Heiresses #4)

Rend—review coming November 27th, 2018

Rend (Riven, #2)

Books with published reviews (clicking on pictures will bring you to the Amazon page):

NetGalley Haul(clicking on the picture will bring you to the Goodreads page):

Email Haul (clicking on the picture will bring you to the Goodreads page):

Zero Front Medium Resolution.jpg

Weekly Posts:

Weekly Wrap-Up

Freebie Sunday

Music Monday

WWW Wednesday

Throwback Thursday

Foodie Friday

Non ARC

Throwback Thursday: November 22nd, 2018

Image result for throwback thursday meme books

This week’s Throwback Thursday is a historical romance

Shadows and Lace (Brides Of Legend #1)

Click on picture for Amazon link


With one roll of the dice, Rowena’s drunken father gambled her away into the service of a dark and forbidding knight accused of murder. The Dark Lord of Caerleon used Rowena to slay the ghosts of his past, but he would be ensnared in his own trap–slave to a desire he could never hope to quench.


Have you read Shadows and Lace?

Love it? 

Hate it?

Meh about it?

Let me know!!!

ARC · book review · Del Ray · Loveswept · NetGalley · Random House Publishing Group · Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine · Self published · St. Martin's Paperbacks · St. Martin's Press · Wednesday Books

WWW Wednesday: November 21st, 2018

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Wars. So here what I have read/are reading/will be reading.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


What’s going on with me this past week:

Personal:

I am in prep mode for Thanksgiving. BK and I have prepped most of the food for tomorrow (except the turkey breast and ham). We are having carrots and turnips, stuffing and mashed potatoes. Dessert is pumpkin and Dutch apple pie. Besides Thanksgiving, I am celebrating two birthdays. Mr. Z turned 11 yesterday and Miss B is turning 13 on Saturday.

Miss R had her Thanksgiving Feast last Friday at her preschool. She loved it. She goes to a private, church-based preschool and they have it catered (which is included in with the tuition. Also included, art museum lessons, a storyteller, and something called stretch and grow). So, the kids got turkey, gravy, stuffing, green beans and cranberry sauce (or the yucky stuff as she calls it). She loved it. The teachers had the kids make special shirts for Thanksgiving. The 3’s class dressed up as Pilgrims and I am going to assume that Miss R’s class (the 4’s) were the Native Americans.

I also got a new phone as an early Christmas present. I got an LG Stylo 4 plus a very cool case. I was not expecting it. I had a Moto 6 before that and didn’t like it. It kept rebooting on me. All the freaking time. I was a huge LG fan before my last phone and I don’t think I won’t ever get another brand again…lol. Also (and yes, I am nerding out here for a minute), I got a new World of Warcraft calendar for 2019. What excited me the most about this calendar is that it shows the scenes from the events leading up to the World Tree burning. Everything from Jaina’s journey to Arthas turning Sylvanas to the Tree burning. I won’t lie. I squeed like a fangirl when I got it. BK just shook his head when he saw heard me.

Reading:

I am in a good place readingwise. I have caught up with all of my reviews that were past due (there were quite a few). My next project is to whittle down my books on NetGalley. And I am going to try to read some of my books on my TBR list. I have been slowly adding books from my Amazon TBR to Goodreads.


What I am currently reading:

The Duke I Once Knew (Unlikely Duchesses, #1)

click on the picture for Amazon link

First love is always the sweetest. 

For years, Abigail Linton devoted herself to caring for her aging parents and the children of her siblings. Now, eager to make her own life, she takes a position as a governess on the neighboring estate. It shouldn’t matter that her absentee employer is Maxwell Bryce, the Duke of Rothwell, the infamous rake who once broke her youthful heart. Surely he’s forgotten her, for he hasn’t set foot on his estate for fifteen years. At least, that is, until he arrives unexpectedly.

Max is incensed to meet his sister’s new governess. But why does Abby appear just as displeased to see him when it was she who’d rejected him all those years ago? Why is he so drawn to the independent spinster she has become? And why is there a sparkle in her beautiful blue eyes that suggests they might have a second chance at love?

I am not liking this book. I am about halfway through it and I keep eye-rolling and/or shaking my head. I am hoping that it gets better. Or at least a couple of characters leave (and not the main ones). The expected publication date for this book is December 31st, 2018. My review should be on or after that date.


What I recently finished reading:

Perfectly Inappropriate

click on the picture for Amazon link

A woman scorned and a politician with a wild side connect online—and explore their hottest fantasies in the flesh.

Olivia Watts knows that her problems are painfully average. She got engaged, and her fiancé cheated. She gave up on her dream job—street photographer—and settled on a more practical one: graphic designer. She scrimped and saved to buy a home, only to realize how empty it was. So when Olivia hears about an exclusive dating app that matches subs with highly trained doms, she does something she never thought she’d do in a million years: She signs up. The last thing she expects to find is a man whose sizzling touch reawakens the woman she used to be. . . .

Noah Grant has no time for relationships. His sole purpose is to win reelection. That’s why he pays a premium to the discreet app that satisfies all his dark desires. But after sweet, innocent Olivia is vetted and arrives for their week together in his penthouse, it’s blatantly clear that she’s running from her demons. Noah’s more than willing to be her escape—until their emotions get tangled up in their games. Now, to become worthy of Olivia’s heart, Noah will have to prove that he’s more than a fantasy.

I wasn’t expecting to like this book as much as I did. There are BDSM and erotica in this book but the author was able to weave a story in with that element. It ended up being a very sweet story about finding one’s self again. Perfectly Inappropriate’s expected publication date is November 27th, 2018. Be on the lookout for my review on or after that date.


What books I think I’ll read next? (click on the pictures for Amazon links)

Foam On The Crest Of Waves

Can facing the past transform the present?

In a small fishing town on the Mendocino coast, the tides of time have washed over rumors and suspicions, yet the members of a maimed family still struggle to cope with their memories. 

A broken woman, refusing to let go of her vanished husband.
Her widowed brother, clinging to the shatters of the life he loved.
His delusional daughter, planning to turn mermaid on her fifteenth birthday. 

But when a young man realizes he made a mistake, secrets start emerging from the deep. Will they bring further grief, or possibly redemption?

I read the blurb and I knew I had to review this book. Plus, look at the cover. It is beautiful. Hoping that this book is as good as I have built it up to be in my mind.

White Stag (Permafrost, #1)

The first book in a brutally stunning series where a young girl finds herself becoming more monster than human and must uncover dangerous truths about who she is and the place that has become her home.

As the last child in a family of daughters, seventeen-year-old Janneke was raised to be the male heir. While her sisters were becoming wives and mothers, she was taught to hunt, track, and fight. On the day her village was burned to the ground, Janneke—as the only survivor—was taken captive by the malicious Lydian and eventually sent to work for his nephew Soren.

Janneke’s survival in the court of merciless monsters has come at the cost of her connection to the human world. And when the Goblin King’s death ignites an ancient hunt for the next king, Soren senses an opportunity for her to finally fully accept the ways of the brutal Permafrost. But every action he takes to bring her deeper into his world only shows him that a little humanity isn’t bad—especially when it comes to those you care about.

Through every battle they survive, Janneke’s loyalty to Soren deepens. After dangerous truths are revealed, Janneke must choose between holding on or letting go of her last connections to a world she no longer belongs to. She must make the right choice to save the only thing keeping both worlds from crumbling.

This book sounds like it is fantastic. I have read a couple of books about the Goblin King but they were romances. Those books also didn’t deal with the citizens of the Goblin King’s world. I am super excited to read this book and be on the blog tour!!

An Anonymous Girl

The next novel of psychological suspense and obsession from the authors of the blockbuster bestseller The Wife Between Us

Seeking women ages 18–32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed. 

When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave. But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking…and what she’s hiding. As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.

From the authors of the blockbuster bestseller, The Wife Between Us comes an electrifying new novel about doubt, passion, and just how much you can trust someone.

I was beyond thrilled when I got accepted to review this book. I had read The Wife Between Us and loved it. So, I am hoping that An Anonymous Girl is as good as that book!!

Sisters of the Fire (Blood and Gold, #2)

An action-packed, compelling historical fantasy, from the pen of an award-winning author

The battle-scarred warrior princess Bluebell, the heir to her father’s throne, is rumoured to be unkillable. So when she learns of a sword wrought specifically to slay her by the fearsome raven king, Hakon, she sets out on a journey to find it before it finds her. The sword is rumoured to be in the possession of one of her four younger sisters. But which one? Scattered as they are across the kingdoms, she sets out on a journey to find them.

Her four sisters all have their own paths to tread, the gifted magician Ash is on a journey to find a dragon that could determine her destiny. The beautiful, unhappy Rose has left her undermagician Aunt and is speeding to the aid of her daughter, Rowan, who has been lost to her. Ivy, sold into marriage for the sake of an alliance, is now set to become the ruling Duchess of Seacaster with the imminent death of her much older and sick husband, and the power-hungry Willow is raising her infant child as a potential trimartyr king and training to be a warrior for the fanatical religious order Maava.

From the wild rocky coastline to granite-topped tors, from bustling harbours to echoing ghost towns, from halls of kings to ancient primal woodlands, this story follows five sisters upon whose actions kingdoms will rise and fall.

Another book that I had been waiting for. I had read the first book and enjoyed it. I am hoping that this book is as good as the first one.


So that’s it. Be on the lookout for the reviews of all these books in the near future.

Have you read any of these books?

Let me know what you thought of them!!

Avon · book review

Throwback Thursday: November 8th, 2018

Image result for throwback thursday meme books

This week’s Throwback Thursday is a historical romance

Some Like It Wild (Kincaid Highland, #2)

Click on picture for Amazon link


It was to be her greatest masquerade . . .

Pamela Darby needs a man—preferably a Highland brute with more brawn than brains. Determined to save her sister from selling her virtue, the resourceful beauty requires a strapping specimen to pose as a duke’s long-lost heir. Pamela plans to collect the generous reward, then send him on his way. Lucky for the brazen beauty, the seductive, silver-eyed highwayman who just held up their carriage could be her man . . .

Connor Kincaid has given up on his dream of restoring his clan’s honor. And now this plucky Englishwoman is asking him to take part in a risky charade that could land them both on the gallows. Never a man to resist a challenge or the allure of a beautiful woman, Connor strikes the devil’s bargain that could seal both their fates. The highwayman and the hellion journey to London as both enemies and allies—a woman who has everything to gain and a man who has nothing to lose . . . but his heart.


Have you read Twilight’s Dawn?

Love it? 

Hate it?

Meh about it?

Let me know!!!

ARC · NetGalley · St. Martin's Paperbacks · St. Martin's Press

Blog Tour + Excerpt: First Earl I See Tonight (Debutante Diaries: Book 1) by Anna Bennett

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperback

Date of publication: October 30th, 2018

Genre: Historical Romance

Series: Debutante Diaries

First Earl I See Tonight—Book 1

The Duke is But a Dream—Book 2 (expected publication date: July 30th, 2019)

Where you can find First Earl I See Tonight:  Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

An heiress with a daring proposal. An earl who’s determined to resist her. And a love that just might be written in the stars… 

Recently jilted by his fiancée, David Gray, Earl of Ravenport is not in the market for a wife. Even if Gray didn’t have his hands full renovating his crumbling country house, it would take more than a bold marriage proposal from a headstrong young beauty to thaw his frozen heart. Gray is confident that spending a week at his ramshackle estate will change her mind about marriage, but every passionate moment he spends with her tempts him to change his…

A talented artist, Miss Fiona Hartley desperately needs her dowry money to pay off a blackmailer set on ruining her sister. The handsome earl seems a sensible choice for a husband…if only she can convince him that romance will play no part. But marrying in name only may prove difficult for Fiona. Gray can’t help but be dazzled by her genuine warmth. Yet as their feelings deepen, Fiona’s deadline looms. Will her secrets destroy them, or is true love their final destiny?


Excerpt:

“Lord Ravenport,” Lady Callahan intoned, closing
her fan with an expert flick of the wrist. “Please, allow
me to present my daughter Miss Sophie Kendall and her
friends Miss Fiona Hartley and Miss Lily Hartley.”
Gray exchanged the expected pleasantries, then turned
to Fiona. A halo of loose curls crowned her head, and she
worried her plump bottom lip. Her pink gown exposed the
long column of her neck and the curve of her shoulders;
he could almost see her pulse beating wildly at the base
of her throat.
His instincts screamed for him to run right out of the
ballroom, and yet his boots remained rooted to the floor.
Worse, before he knew what he was doing he’d asked her
to dance.
“It would be my pleasure,” she stammered, taking his
arm.
As he led her to the dance floor he questioned his own
good judgment—and not for the first time that day. He’d
saw Miss Hartley trip and tumble into the orchestra
at the Millbrook ball. He’d been dancing with Helena at
the time but had paused to help her up.
So much had changed since then.
He had no idea if Miss Hartley’s dance partner had been
to blame for the incident or whether she was prone to

16 A N NA BEN NE T T
falling, but just to be safe he tightened his hand on her
waist. And they began moving to the music.
The first measure had barely played before she asked,
“You received my letter?”
“I did,” he said noncommittally, twirling her beneath
his raised arm.
When she faced him again, she looked him directly in
the eye. “What do you think of my . . . offer?” she asked,
her voice cracking on the final word.
He tamped down an unexpected pang of sympathy. “I
think that we hardly know each other.”
“True, but that is easily rectified, is it not?” There it
was—an unmistakable hint of desperation. And a sense of
urgency that even her letter hadn’t conveyed.
“It is,” he conceded. “However, I suspect that the more
we know each other, the less we’ll like each other.” Cynical
but true in his experience. His parents certainly hadn’t
grown fonder of each other. Neither had he and Helena.
She winced and looked away before regaining her
composure. “Perhaps. But we needn’t like each other.”
Gray chuckled at that. “I never thought I’d meet some­
one more jaded than I.”
“So, you’ll consider my offer?” she pressed.
“I will not,” he said firmly. Under different circum­
stances, her fortune may have tempted him. But she was
clearly intent on using him for her own purpose—and he
suspected that she’d set her sights on him for reasons be­
yond his title. After all, there were half a dozen peers in
attendance now who’d leap at the chance to marry a
young and unconventionally beautiful heiress.
But he was not one of them.
“It seems rather closed­minded of you to dismiss me
summarily,” she shot back, displaying a boldness that was
borderline rude—and refreshing.

F IR ST EA R L I SEE TON IGH T 17
“If I said I’d consider your offer, I’d only be giving you
false hope. Delaying the inevitable.”
“The inevitable rejection, you mean,” she clarified.
“Yes.” He was still reeling from the sting of Helena’s
rebuff and wouldn’t wish anyone that sort of pain and
humiliation.
“Please,” she begged. “I realize that it’s highly unusual
for a woman to propose marriage—”
“It’s unheard of.”
“Surely you must be curious—as to why I did it.” She
looked up at him, her shining blue eyes challenging him
to deny the truth of her words.
Gray shrugged. “You have your reasons for making the
offer; I have my reasons for declining it.”
“Give me the opportunity to explain,” she pleaded. “Just
a quarter of an hour to make my case. If, after that, you
remain unconvinced, I promise I shan’t mention it again.”
He must be out of his damned mind to consider engag­
ing in further discussion with Miss Hartley. The very last
thing he needed was another conniving, self­serving fe­
male attempting to interfere with his life. He had opened
his mouth to tell her so when someone bumped into his
back—hard.
Gray’s torso collided with Miss Hartley’s chest, and she
stumbled two steps before he wrapped an arm around her
slender waist, catching her just before she landed on the
parquet floor. She gasped and clung to his jacket, her ex­
pression an odd mix of relief and mortification.
“Oh dear,” she breathed.
Their faces were so close he could see unexpected dark
blue flecks in her irises and the individual freckles dotting
her nose. “Forgive me,” he said.
“For what?”
For what indeed? Steering her into the collision? Grip­

16 A N NA BEN NE T T
ping her waist too tightly? Or for staring at the swells of
her breasts and having decidedly wicked thoughts while
he should have shielded her from further embar­
rassment? Ignoring her question, he asked, “Are you all
right?”
“I am.” Her cheeks turned a charming shade of pink.
She blew out a breath and shot him a shaky smile. “When
it comes to dance floor mishaps, I confess I’ve survived
much worse.”
Gray looked over his shoulder to see how the other
couple fared, surprised to find Helena and her dance part­
ner smiling apologetically.
And the truth struck him. For the last ten minutes, while
he’d been dancing with Miss Hartley, he’d been completely,
blissfully unaware of Helena and what she was doing. Even
more remarkable, he’d forgotten that she was in the room.
“Meet me in Hyde Park tomorrow,” he said to Miss
Hartley, mentally cursing his own weakness. “I will listen
to what you have to say, but don’t expect anything to
change my mind.”
The corners of her mouth curled in a triumphant smile.
“Thank you. All I ask is that you allow me the chance to
explain the advantages of the arrangement—for us both.”
“Forgive me if I remain skeptical,” he drawled. “I’ll
meet you near the footbridge. Three o’clock?”
“You won’t regret this,” she said earnestly, but the prick­
ling sensation between his shoulder blades suggested
he would. In spite of her naïveté and candor—or maybe
because of those things—Miss Hartley could prove far
more dangerous to him than Helena had ever been.


About the Author:

ABOUT THE BOOK:

An heiress with a daring proposal. An earl who’s determined to resist her. And a love that just might be written
in the stars, in First Earl I See Tonight by Anna Bennett.
Recently jilted by his fiancée, David Gray, Earl of Ravenport is not in the market for a wife. Even if Gray didn’t have
his hands full renovating his crumbling country house, it would take more than a bold marriage proposal from a
headstrong young beauty to thaw his frozen heart. Gray is confident that spending a week at his ramshackle estate
will change her mind about marriage, but every passionate moment he spends with her tempts him to change his…
A talented artist, Miss Fiona Hartley desperately needs her dowry money to pay off a blackmailer set on ruining
her sister. The handsome earl seems a sensible choice for a husband…if only she can convince him that romance
will play no part. But marrying in name only may prove difficult for Fiona. Gray can’t help but be dazzled by her
genuine warmth. Yet as their feelings deepen, Fiona’s deadline looms. Will her secrets destroy them, or is true love
their final destiny?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Anna Bennett started swiping romances from her mom’s bookshelf as a teenager and decided that
books with balls, dukes, and gowns were the best. So, when she had the chance to spend a semester in
London she packed her bags—and promptly fell in love with the city, its history, and its pubs. She
dreamed of writing romance but somehow ended up a software analyst instead.
Fortunately, a few years and a few careers later, Anna found her way back to writing the stories she
loves and won the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart®. She lives in Maryland with her
husband and three children, who try valiantly not to roll their eyes when she quotes Jane Austen.
Anna’s books include of the Wayward Wallflowers series and the Debutante Diaries series.

BUY THE BOOK:
https://heroesandheartbreakers.com/historical/first-earl-i-see-tonight/

SOCIAL LINKS:
Anna’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/_AnnaBennett
Anna’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnaBennettAuthor/
Anna’s Website: http://annabennettauthor.com/
SMP Romance Twitter: https://twitter.com/heroesnhearts & https://twitter.com/SMPRomance
SMP Romance Website: https://heroesandheartbreakers.com/


My Review:

I am not going to go into my entire spiel about how much I love historical romances. Because you all have heard it before and I don’t want to bore you. I will say that I was becoming bored with historical romances. As well written as some might be, they all seemed to follow 1 of 2 formats. You have the plucky heroine who gets in over her head and the alpha male hero rescues her. Or, the hero is tortured over something that happened in his past and the heroine heals him. While First Earl I See Tonight does have a tortured hero, that is the only part of the plot that was predictable.

First Earl I See Tonight is about Fiona Hartley. Fiona had received a note from a blackmailer demanding money by a certain date. If he/she didn’t receive that money, an article would be published in a prominent newspaper about her younger sister, Lily. The blackmailer claimed to have evidence that Lily was the illegitimate daughter of a well-known madame. If that came out,  Lily would be shunned by the ton and her chances for a good marriage would be over. Desperate to avoid that, Fiona writes a note to the Earl of Ravenport, asking him to marry her and outlining why they would have a good union. Gray, having been dumped by his fiancée, is amused and shocked by the note. Determined to scare her off, he invites her to his crumbling country manor house, The Fortress. Instead of scaring her off, it charms Fiona. Gray realizes that there is so much more to Fiona than what he thought. But he cannot love. A traumatic event when he was a child had forced him to seal that part of him off. Can he open up and let Fiona into his heart? And will Fiona find out who the blackmailer is? Can she trust Gray enough to let him know what-is going on? Will she have to let true love go to protect her sister’s reputation? Read the book.

I loved the cover of First Earl I See Tonight. It encompassed everything that was going on in the book, except the blackmail. The model looked exactly as I thought Fiona would look. I loved that The Fortress was in the background. And the diary was there, along with Fiona’s deceased mother’s necklace. Loved it!!!!

I loved Fiona. For a girl of her time, she was very forward. I mean, she wrote to Gray, asking him to marry her. That is unheard of for her era. Girls did not do that. And it was so freaking refreshing and new!! I had menioned above that I was getting bored with reading historical romances. This book pulled me back from the edge of not reading them. I loved her argument for making her case and her reaction to Gray asking if she was with child. I laughed out loud at that. Fiona was not graceful either. I mean, she met Gray by falling into the orchestra playing at a party. She was also loyal to her family. She would do anything to keep Lily’s parentage out of the papers and save her from becoming shunned. Her only fault was that she should have told Gray sooner than she did about the blackmailer.

I liked Gray. I will admit, I did laugh when I read his response to Fiona’s request. I would have noped the heck out of there. Burned the note and not looked back. But, he was intrigued by it. Which is why he visited her at her home and questioned her the way he did. Which was hilarious because of Fiona’s responses. I liked his plan to scare her into not wanting to marry him by inviting her to The Fortress. That blew up in his face, big time. It was her way of seeing the beauty in everything that sent him down that slippery slope to love. Because he kept his emotions shuttered, I wasn’t sure about his feelings for Fiona until they had sex. What cemented it for me was when he read that sweet but awful poem at the ball. While it was bad, it was so sweet. I cried when he told Fiona about his family and why he felt he couldn’t love. I wasn’t expecting what he told her. I was sobbing because, man, he was only 11. Which is my son’s age. He was a baby. Being exposed to that broke my heart for him.

I have had issues in romances where there is zero romance. That there is no build-up to the sexual relationship. Whelp had no issues with that here!! Gray and Fiona had a friendship that evolved into a relationship before they fell in love. Loved it. It made the sex scenes so much more juicer to read knowing that.

Let’s talk about sexual tension. OMG, it was insane. All Gray had to do was look at Fiona and bam, it was there. I did like that the author did attempt to hold them off from having sex. She had them do everything but sex. But, it was meant to be and it was fantastic. They were like bunnies. In a cottage, In a lake, In a closet (I sound like Dr. Seuss…lol). I did wonder how people didn’t know what was going on.

I was surprised at who the blackmailer was. It was a twist that I didn’t see coming. But, what I also didn’t see coming was that person threatening Gray. Which set off a series of events that made me both mad and sad. What also made me mad were the reasons why this person decided to blackmail Fiona. Man, talk about petty. I did like that Gray ended up getting the last word in, though. “My hero” did go through my head.

The end of the book was fantastic. All the storylines were ended in a way that satisfied me as a reader. I cannot wait to read book 2.

What I liked about First Earl I See Tonight:

  1. Fiona
  2. Gray
  3. The storyline

What I disliked about First Earl I See Tonight:

  1. Fiona not telling Gray about the blackmailer
  2. Why the blackmailer chose Fiona
  3. What happened to Gray when he was a child

I gave First Earl I See Tonight a 4-star rating. This was a well written, humorous book was an engaging storyline. I connected with the characters. I did not like who the blackmailer ended up being and that person’s reason for choosing Fiona.

I would give First Earl I See Tonight an Adult rating. There is explicit sex. There is mild violence. There is no language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread First Earl I See Tonight. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperbacks and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review First Earl I See Tonight.

All opinions stated in this review of First Earl I See Tonight are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

ARC · book review · NetGalley · St. Martin's Paperbacks · St. Martin's Press

Blog Tour: Kiss Me at Christmas (Playful Brides: Book 10) by Valerie Bowman

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Date of publication: October 30th, 2018

Genre: Historical Romance

Series: Playful Brides

The Unexpected Duchess–book 1

The Accidental Countess–book 2

The Unlikely Lady–book 3

The Irresistible Rogue–book 4

The Unforgettable Hero–book 4.5

The Untamed Earl–book 5

The Legendary Lord–book 6

Never Trust a Pirate–book 7

The Right Kind of Rogue–book 8

A Duke Like No Other–book 9 (review here)

Kiss Me at Christmas–book 10

No Other Duke But You–book 11 (expected publication date: April 30th, 2019)

Where you can find Kiss Me at Christmas: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

A spirited lady facing spinsterhood. A common man with a noble mission. And a surprise that just might be waiting for them under the mistletoe. . .

Bow Street Runner Daffin Oakleaf abhors Christmas. Carol singing and holiday cheer only remind him of a dark time. When a close friend calls on him for help, Daffin is happy to capitalize on the distraction. But when he learns the lovely Lady Regina is the one in danger, he’s to become bodyguard to the captivating woman…

Regina has one mission: to find a night of passion in the arms of a gentleman. Considered firmly on the shelf, Regina has given up on marriage—but that doesn’t mean she wants to be denied the pleasure married ladies experience. Daffin has long captured her attention…and when a threat calls him to her side, the sparks between them ignite. But how can a hired bodyguard find his way into Regina’s noble heart?


My review:

Regina is determined to lose her virginity. At 30, she is considered on the shelf and has limited options for marriage. She wants to experience one night of passion. One night where she can experience what married women experience. She decides that Daffin Oakleaf would be more than able to fulfill her fantasy. Set back by his refusal, Regina soon finds herself back in his orbit when she becomes the target of an assassin. Can Daffin protect Regina from whoever is trying to kill her? Will he agree to be her lover for one night?

I am going to start this review off with the cover. Look at it. It shows Daffin and Regina’s chemistry off. What I also liked was the male model looked exactly how I thought Daffin would look. It is rarely I can say “Hey, look at this awesome cover. The models look like how I imagined.” So, yeah, the cover was a huge hit with me.

I was excited when I saw that Daffin was getting his own story. He caught my eye in A Duke Like No Other. I wanted to know his backstory and man, was it a sad one. I couldn’t even begin to imagine living through what he did and at such a young age. I liked how he fought his growing feelings for Regina. I loved him. He was everything that a romance novel hero should be.

I loved Regina. She was a woman who knew what she wanted. She put herself on the shelf because she couldn’t find a man who she couldn’t live without. But, she was going to marry the Earl of Dryden if she couldn’t find someone by the end of Christmas. Her reaction to Daffin’s explanation about why he hated Christmas was telling. She was unconventional. She was one of the more real romance characters I have read in a while.

The chemistry/sexual attraction that Regina and Daffin had been insane. I had noticed it when they were introduced in A Duke Like No Other. The author did a great job of carrying it over into this book. The fact that he could get turned on by her scent was awesome. As with her when she was in his presence.

That chemistry they had led to some hot sex scenes. Talk about fanning myself after a few of those scenes. Holy moly. I liked that the author wasn’t afraid to have Regina know what she liked. Such as Daffin’s handcuffs.

I was a little disappointed with the plotline about who was trying to kill Regina. Let me rephrase that. I was disappointed by the ending of it. It was left hanging. We know who it was and the reason (which was silly). But no resolution. I am hoping that it gets resolved in book 11 (yes, 11!!!)

The end of Kiss Me at Christmas was exactly what I hoped it would be. I was so mad at Regina’s great-uncle. I was whispering (because I was in bed) not so nice words when he did what he did. But, Regina set that straight when she found out. Oh boy, did she. The author did a great job of wrapping up all the secondary plotlines. The main plotline, not so much (see above). There was some foreshadowing about who the next book will be about.


I gave Kiss Me at Christmas a 4-star rating. This was a fun, sweet and sexy read. The plotlines were intriguing. The characters were well fleshed out and I loved them. I did not like how the main plotline ended but I am hopeful that it gets resolved in the next book. This is a great book!!

I would give Kiss Me at Christmas an Adult rating. There is explicit sex. There is violence. There is mild language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book. I would also warn that some of the sex scenes do include light bondage (handcuffs).

I would reread Kiss Me at Christmas. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.


I would like to thank St. Martin’s Paperbacks, St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Kiss Me at Christmas.

All opinions stated in this review of Kiss Me at Christmas are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**


Have you read Kiss Me at Christmas?

Love it? 

Hate it?

Meh about it?

Let me know!!!