Blog Tour: Breathless by Celeste Bradley

Breathless

5 Stars

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

Date of publication: June 12th, 2018

Genre: Romance, Historical romance

Where you can find Breathless: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

A sensuous, delightful romantic women’s fiction novel from New York Times bestselling authors Celeste Bradley and Susan Donovan!

She was “the Swan.” London’s premiere courtesan. Men want to be with her. Women loathe her success and yet admire her beauty, her riches, her independence. But when the jealous wife of her lover moves to have the Swan banished from her home on the high seas, she winds up crashed against Spain’s rocky coast with no shoes, no clothes-and no name. Taken in by a tortured, sensuous man known as The Artist, the Swan comes to know the woman she wants to be—her artist’s siren.

When Art Professor Brenna Anderson is in danger of losing her post at Harvard, the rule-following, prim professor is at a loss of how to salvage the shreds of her life. But when a new painting in the mysterious Siren collection is discovered in a dusty old house in France, Brenna does the unthinkable—hops on a plane to uncover the identity of the beautiful, enigmatic woman who is the subject of the paintings.

There’s just one hitch—the frustrating, irritating, bold and beautiful art hunter, Fitch Wilder, is also looking for the Siren. He’s been a thorn in Brenna’s professional side for years, but when their individual quests lead them to team up despite being enemies, a whole new sumptuous world of art and culture opens up for the two of them. And with it, they enter a realm of passion and love…

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It’s All About the Duke (The Rakes of St. James: Book 3) by Amelia Gray

It's All About the Duke (The Rakes of St. James, #3)

3.5 Stars

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

Date of publication: May 29th, 2018

Genre: Historical Romance

Series: The Rakes of St. James

Last Night with the Duke – Book 1

To the Duke, with Love – Book 2

It’s All About the Duke – Book 3

Where you can find It’s All About the Duke: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Nearing thirty, the Duke of Rathburne is finally ready to make amends for the wager that caused him and his best friends such scandal―but taking on a ward who needs a husband is a feat he’s not sure he can manage. The last he saw of Miss Marlena Fast, she was a spirited little ruffian, not the sort of bride most bachelors on the marriage mart sought. But one glance at the lovely lady she has become is enough to convince him otherwise…

Orphaned young and shuffled from family to family, Marlena counts on her fierce independence and quick wits to keep herself content. Being the responsibility of a notoriously wicked Duke who upended so many lives is an unexpected challenge when she realizes he arouses her decidedly feminine desires. Marlena must be careful. She has her own scandalous secret to protect. If he finds out, will it shatter her chances of a happily-ever-after with the notorious rake?

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The Duke Who Ravished Me (Rebellious Brides: Book 4) by Diana Quincy

The Duke Who Ravished Me (Rebellious Brides, #4)

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept, Loveswept

Date of publication: April 17th, 2018

Genre: Historical Romance

Series: Rebellious Brides

Spy Fall – Book 1

A License to Wed – Book 2 (review here)

From London with Love – Book 3 (review here)

The Duke Who Ravished Me – Book 4

Where you can find The Duke Who Ravished Me: Amazon | Barnes, and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

An impulsive kiss between a libertine duke and a mysterious governess sparks a blaze of desire—and intrigue—in this breathtaking Regency romance from the award-winning author of Spy Fall.

Adam Fairfax, the Duke of Sunderford, happily enjoys a different woman (or two) every night—or he did, until his wards landed on his doorstep. Ever since Sunny took in the seven-year-old twin girls and their prim and proper governess, Isabel Finch, his love life has been a shambles. But, as time goes by, Sunny catches himself getting lost in Isabel’s haughty blue eyes, or following the curves beneath her unbecoming dress. An unexpected kiss ignites a passion that shocks him into realizing how thin the line between love and hate can be.

If Isabel’s hidden past were revealed, she could lose everything. Oddly enough, only when “Sinful Sunny” is near does she feel safe—or safe enough to speak up in defense of the girls. The duke’s decadent lifestyle is a disgrace, and clearly he considers Isabel a nuisance. Still, she can’t help admiring his sculpted cheekbones, strong-cut jaw, and tousled chestnut hair. When their lips meet, it’s almost as if he could kiss the secrets right out of her. Worse, she’s tempted to let him. . . .

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Blog Tour: A Duke Like No Other (Playful Brides: Book 9) by Valerie Bowman

A Duke Like No Other (Playful Brides, #9)

4 Stars

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

Date of publication: May 1st, 2018

Genre: Historical romance, romance

Series: Playful Brides

The Unexpected Duchess – Book 1

The Accidental Countess – Book 2

The Unlikely Lady – Book 3

The Irresistible Rouge – 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

Kiss Me at Christmas – Book 10 (expected publication date: October 30th, 2018)

Where you can find A Duke Like No Other: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

General Mark Grimaldi is devoted to his service for the Crown, risking his life and giving up everything for his career. The political promotion he’s always wanted is now within his reach, but he needs to convince his estranged wife to return to England and play the role of happy bride in order for him to get the position.

Nicole Huntington Grimaldi has spent the past ten years in France, not having seen her husband since she left England. But now he’s on her doorstep, asking her to return with him, and Nicole sees the opportunity to get something out of this deal. So she agrees, on one condition: she wants a baby.

A Duke Like No Other is a Regency spy caper with Valerie Bowman at her best as husband and wife match wits and may just fall in love in the process.

My review:

I love a good second chance romance. There is nothing like seeing two people separated by circumstances reuniting. So when I was approached to review A Duke Like No Other and I read the blurb, I accepted.

I enjoyed reading this book. I am a huge fan of Regency Era romances. Something about that period calls to me. I like that the women can be smart but get the man. I also like that the men were willing to do anything to prove that they loved their women. I loved that allure of the ton and the endless balls/functions that the Lords and Ladies attended. I loved the titles (I mean, hello Duke!!!) and the description of life back then. While I know it wasn’t at all easy, I enjoyed reading about that upper-class. My guilty pleasure.

I haven’t read any of the other books in this series. But if they are anything like A Duke Like No Other, I will be happy with them. I liked that while this book is in a series, you can read it as a stand-alone. I have a couple of pet peeves when I read books out-of-order from the series. I can’t stand it when I get a book that is like 254th in a series and it is taken over by the previous characters antics. Or when the author relies too much on the plotlines from the other books and leaves me going “What the heck is going on“. Fortunately for this book, none of what I mentioned happened. While the previous characters are mentioned and featured, they do not take over the plot.

I did like the main characters but I wish that the author came clean with why they broke up sooner. Instead, she let it leak, slowly, throughout the book. Seeing that I read these books on my Kindle, I can’t skip to the end. So reading the flashbacks drove me nuts. I was done with that part of the plot before it began.

I thought that Mark and Nicole needed a lesson in communication. While I agreed with why Mark being so upset with Nicole, it didn’t deserve a break-up. I also think that Nicole might have overreacted a bit when she moved to France. All they needed to do was talk and Mark would have gotten the entire story from Nicole instead of reading it in a letter from her mother.

I thought Mark had a huge chip on his shoulder. HUGE. It was his unwillingness to bend when it came to his mother’s family that left a bad taste in his mouth. He refused to acknowledge anyone. He was going to decline something that he shouldn’t have because of that chip. It wasn’t until the letters that he started to bend. But I did think it was going to be too late to make amends with his uncle and cousins.

I liked Nicole but like I mentioned above, I thought that it was silly that she ran to France to lick her wounds. I also thought that her condition to Mark’s request was a little odd. It wasn’t commonplace at that time for a woman, married or not, to raise a child on her own. And in France of all places. I also found her choice of profession a bit odd and at ends for the era. Not saying that it could have happened but it was very unlikely.

The chemistry and heat between Nicole and Mark were there. Oh, boy was it there. And the sex was hot. It was kind of dirty too. I liked that. I liked that Nicole knew what she wanted and she wasn’t afraid to let Mark know. I liked that Mark didn’t forget what turned Nicole on after 10 years. Like I said, the chemistry and heat between them were hot. I was surprised that my Kindle didn’t fog up.

I liked the mystery angle that was introduced halfway through the book. It made the plot more interesting and added some extra depth to the plot. I do have to laugh at Mark being jealous of Oakleaf. I giggled at that.

The end of the book was perfect. I was very surprised at who the murderer ended up being. It was the last person I thought it was. The author did a great job at casting red herrings all over the place to distract the reader. Of course, the part where Mark and Nicole get back together was the clincher of the book. I had tears in my eyes while reading it. And the epilogue. I couldn’t get over it!!

What I liked about A Duke Like No Other:

A) Regency England

B) Mark and Nicole’s romance

C) Second chance romance

What I disliked about A Duke Like No Other:

A) Took too long to disclose why Mark and Nicole broke up

B) Zero communication between Mark and Nicole

C) Mark’s huge chip on his shoulder

I would give A Duke Like No Other an Adult rating. There is explicit sex. There is mild violence. There is not any language. I would suggest that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

There are no trigger warnings for A Duke Like No Other.

I would recommend this book to family and friends. I would also reread this book.

Author Bio:

VALERIE BOWMAN grew up in Illinois with six sisters (she’s number seven) and a huge supply of historical romance novels. After a cold and snowy stint earning a degree in English with a minor in history at Smith College, she moved to Florida the first chance she got. Valerie now lives in Jacksonville with her family including her mini-schnauzer, Huckleberry. When she’s not writing, she keeps busy reading, traveling, or vacillating between watching crazy reality TV and PBS. She is the author of the Secret Brides and Playful Brides series.

 

Summary:

First comes love, then comes marriage. Unless it’s the other way around. . .

General Mark Grimaldi has sacrificed everything for his military career, working his way through the ranks without the benefit of a nobleman’s title. Now, his years of dedication are about to pay off—with an offer for a prestigious promotion to Home Secretary. There’s only one condition: Mark must be married. Aside from the small matter of not actually wanting to be wed, Mark faces another troubling problem: he already has a wife.

Nicole Huntington Grimaldi has spent ten contented years in France without her husband—and without regret. When Mark asks her to return to London and play the part of his beloved wife, she sees her chance. But neither of them is prepared for news that will throw Mark’s future into chaos…nor the undeniable desire they’ve rekindled. Maybe happily-ever-after can happen the second time around in A Duke Like No Other, the next Regency romance from Valerie Bowman.


Valerie Bowman’s Playful Brides novels are:

“Wholly satisfying.”—USA Today

“Smart and sensual…readers will be captivated.”—RT Book Reviews

“Smoldering.” —Booklist

Buy Links:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Books – A- Million

Indie Bound

Powells

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

 

I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperback, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review A Duke Like No Other.

All opinions stated in this review of A Duke Like No Other are mine.

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

The Perfect Duchess (The Macalisters: Book 2) by Erica Taylor

The Perfect Duchess (The Macalisters, #2)

3 Stars

Publisher: Amberjack Publishing

Date of publication: April 17th, 2018

Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance

Series: The Macalisters

A Suitable Affair – Book 1

The Perfect Duchess – Book 2

Where you can find The Perfect Duchess: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Andrew Macalister, oft regarded as the Stone Duke of Bradstone, hates his annual birthday ball tradition. He dislikes facing those around him who only see him for his title, and has given up on a chance to live a normal life. That is, until he spots Lady Clara Masson across the ballroom. Clara’s twin sister is the woman who infamously jilted Andrew at the altar five years ago, but little does Clara know, Andrew had been smitten with her since childhood, and he finds her presence a ray of sunshine in a dreary dukedom. 

When Clara’s life is threatened by her evil brother, Johnathan, Andrew must do the only thing he can think of to save her: propose marriage. Between Clara’s trust issues and Andrew’s battle with societal norms, two find romance under dangerous circumstances.

My Review:

I’m going to admit, I read the reviews for The Perfect Duchess before I decided to review the book. With the majority of the reviews being favorable, I decided to take my chances with it. While I am glad that I read it, I was left feeling a little overwhelmed by everything that went on in the book. I felt that some of the action should have been cut. The storyline with Clara’s abusive brother was more than enough to carry the book. Anything else cluttered the plotline and dragged it down.

The Perfect Duchess was set in my favorite era, Regency England. Like I have stated in other reviews, I love this era. Something about it calls to me. I enjoy reading about the exploits of the ton. I love it when the bluestocking gets the Duke, Earl, or Count. I love reading about the different activities that the upper class did. I find reading about the Season fascinating. If you can’t tell, I have a passion for this era.

I liked that the author made Clara the underdog in the book. Her reputation was in tatters because of horrendous (for that time) rumors. She also carried the scandal of her sister jilting Andrew at the altar. So she was persona non grata in the ton, even though she was the daughter of an Earl. I thought that she handled the abuse thrown at her with grace. I know that I wouldn’t have been as gracious as her if I heard what people were saying about me.

I couldn’t get a handle on Andrew for a good part of the book. The author chose to make him unreadable. I don’t have a problem with that but she made him so unreadable that when he did certain things, it took me by surprise. I also didn’t get how him becoming a Duke had an effect on anything until Clara and Andrew had a talk about her brother. Then the lightbulb went over my head. I don’t know how I didn’t put two and two together.

I actually felt bad for Clara’s brother, Jonathan. I know, feeling bad for the bad guy. He didn’t ask to feel the way he felt and it was bad timing that things happened the way they did. I couldn’t imagine being gay during that time. But, my feeling bad for him only lasted through that part of the book. He did some awful things to Clara and her sister for money. Any pity I had for him was washed away when it was revealed exactly what he put her twin through.

Clara did drive me up a wall. I could understand her trust issues. But there was a time in the book where I was eye-rolling and going “Seriously“. I did like her but still. She should have trusted Andrew. She knew that he wouldn’t do anything to hurt her.

I loved the excerpts at the beginning of each chapter of the gossip rag. I laughed at how the full names of everyone talked about were not used. But you knew who they were. I did feel bad for Clara. It was like she was living her life under a microscope and this column was picking her apart.

I didn’t get the storylines of Clara’s sister, her secret and the inheritance being introduced so late in the story. While it showed why Jonathan was doing what he was doing, I felt that it dragged the book down. Made it murky and confusing. I had to reread those parts to get them straight in my head. That is not something I like doing.

The sex between Clara and Andrew was hot but I felt that it was also a bit forced. I would have been fine with them not having sex and letting their chemistry continue to the end of the book. I do feel that them having sex did let some of the oomph out of their relationship.

The end of The Perfect Duchess was your typical historical romance ending. An HEA (which I liked). I am wondering which sibling the author will write about next!!

What I liked about The Perfect Duchess:

A) The excerpts for the gossip magazine

B) Set in Regency England

C) Clara’s underdog status

What I disliked about The Perfect Duchess:

A) Plotlines introduced in the last half of the book.

B) Mark was too unreadable

C) Sex killed the chemistry

I would give The Perfect Duchess an Adult rating. There is explicit sex. There is violence. There is not any language. I wouldn’t let anyone under the age of 21 read this book.

There are trigger warnings in The Perfect Duchess. They are: abuse (emotional and physical) and bullying

I am on the fence if I would reread The Perfect Duchess. I am also on the fence if I would recommend this book to family and friends. If I did recommend, I would give a heads up about the trigger warning.

I would like to thank Amberjack Publishing and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The Perfect Duchess.

All opinions in this review of The Perfect Duchess are mine.

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

A Devil in Scotland (No Ordinary Hero: Book 3) by Suzanne Enoch

A Devil in Scotland (No Ordinary Hero, #3)

2.5 Stars (rounded up to 3 for Goodreads, NetGalley)

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

Date of publication: January 30th, 2018

Genre: Romance, Historical Romance

Series: No Ordinary Hero

Hero in the Highlands – Book 1

My One true Highlander – Book 2

A Devil in Scotland – Book 3

Where you can find A Devil in Scotland: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book Synopsis (from Goodreads):

The dawning of desire…

1806, Scotland: Wild, reckless Callum MacCreath is in no hurry to become someone’s husband. But when his responsible, steady older brother Ian announces his engagement to their childhood friend Rebecca, Callum makes a startling discovery: he wants the lovely young lass for himself. But it’s too late, and when Ian banishes him for his duplicity, he’s only too happy to leave Scotland forever…

…is delicious and dangerous.

1816: Marrying Ian was the practical, logical thing for Becca to do. But once Callum sailed away to America, she missed his rakish charm and lust for life. Now, ten years later, Becca is a widow when a much-changed Callum returns to his Scottish homeland. Will he remember their spirited, fiery connection, or does he blame her for his brother’s unexpected death? This time neither of them can deny their scorching attraction, but will their hearts be burned in the blazing heat of scandal?

Trigger Warning: None

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Sadie’s Highlander by Maeve Greyson

Sadie's Highlander: A Highland Protector Novel (Highland Protectors)

Title: Sadie’s Highlander

Author: Maeve Greyson

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept

Date of Publication: September 12th, 2017

Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance

Number of pages: Unknown

Series: Highland Protector

Sadie’s Highlander – Book 1

POV: 3rd person

Where you can find Sadie’s Highlander: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

The Highland Protector series brings to life four mouth-watering Celtic brothers in twenty-first-century North Carolina—where the lasses are anything but tamed.
 
Highland warrior Alec MacDara and his brothers traveled forward in time to protect the sacred Heartsone. Their cover? Owners and operators of a theme park called Highland Life and Legends. As the chairman, Alec has been fending off requests to film at the breathtaking property. It’s only because of the charming correspondence from an enterprising production assistant that he agrees to a meeting at all. That’s when Alec meets a woman whose lush curves make him forget, for the first time, all about tenth-century Scotland.
 
A lowly assistant for her sister’s motion picture company, wannabe screenwriter Sadie Williams is shocked when Alec agrees to let them film at the park upon one condition: that she report to him daily. Sadie’s sister always told her that their parents only adopted her because they felt sorry for the ugly little stray. But Alec looks at Sadie like she’s the most tempting creature in the world. And with his gleaming, musclebound body stripped down to nothing but a hip-hugging kilt and boots, Alec clearly knows a little something about temptation.

My review:

Let’s take a minute to drool over the cover of this book. It totally fits with the book. My mental image of Alec is definitely personified by the male model (the braid in his hair is a plus). The female model used for Sadie is dead on with my mental image of her. The cover shows the love Alec has for Sadie and vice versa. Kudos to whoever designed it because they obviously read the book and got a cover that matches the book. Not very often that it happens

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