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Tag Archives: genre: historical romance

25120151The Rogue Not Taken (Scandal & Scoundrel #1)
by Sarah MacLean
Date: December 29, 2015
Publisher: Avon
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Lady Sophie’s Society Splash

When Sophie, the least interesting of the Talbot sisters, lands her philandering brother-in-law backside-first in a goldfish pond in front of all society, she becomes the target of very public aristocratic scorn. Her only choice is to flee London, vowing to start a new life far from the aristocracy. Unfortunately, the carriage in which she stows away isn’t saving her from ruin . . . it’s filled with it.

Rogue’s Reign of Ravishment!

Kingscote, “King,” the Marquess of Eversley, has never met a woman he couldn’t charm, resulting in a reputation far worse than the truth, a general sense that he’s more pretty face than proper gentleman, and an irate summons home to the Scottish border. When King discovers stowaway Sophie, however, the journey becomes anything but boring.

War? Or More?

He thinks she’s trying to trick him into marriage. She wouldn’t have him if he were the last man on earth. But carriages bring close quarters, dark secrets, and unbearable temptation, making opposites altogether too attractive . . .

– Goodreads


On the way to Boston this year, for ALAMW, I finished a handful of books and started and finished one. This would be the one that I inhaled this book so quickly. MacLean reminded with with The Rogue Not Taken why I fell in love with historical romance novels. I denied this genre for so long and MacLean was one of the first I fell in love with and this reminded me why.

The Rogue Not Taken is the story of Sophie who is trying to ignore and run away from her real life and King is her knight in shining armor — who doesn’t want to be one. King had some hardships in life and he’s fine with the way life is. His mother is gone. His father is an asshole. King is fine with the way things are.

“You brought Lady Sophie to anger me. So I gave you what you wished. Because it is easier to be the man you wish me to be than the man I wish to attempt to be.” — 94%

The problem is once their paths crossed they can’t stop crossing. He can’t saving her and she can’t stop being a damsel in distress. What I loved though was MacLean wrote a story where Sophie didn’t want to be in distress. Sophie was pretty independant for her time and did what she could. That being said, she fell in love with King. She didn’t want to. King was not the man she imagined for herself, but he was perfect for her.

“And she knew, this place, this man — he would always be home.” –78%

As much as Sophie didn’t want to be the damsel, King didn’t want to do any saving. He was enjoying his bachelor life and didn’t want a Sophie. What he didn’t know, of course, is that he needed a Sophie. What MacLean did was create an adorable story that I cannot wait to read again and see them in the rest of the Scandal & Scoundrel series.

23432292All the Ways to Ruin a Rogue (The Debutante Files #2) by Sophie Jordan
Release Date: July 28, 2015
Publisher: Avon
Source: Audio from Library!
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

There was once a lady who loathed a lord…

Lady Aurelia hasn’t always hated Max, Viscount Camden, her brother’s best friend. In fact, as a besotted girl, she thrived under his kind attention – sure that he was the most noble and handsome man in the land. Until her young heart discovered what manner of rogue he really was. Now, though she enjoys nothing more than getting on his last nerve, she can’t deny Max drives her to distraction—even if she tries to pretend otherwise.

…and a lord who was confounded by a lady.

Max cannot recall a time when Aurelia did not vex him. If she was not his friend’s sister, he would stay far away from the infuriating vixen. Unfortunately, they are always thrown together. At parties and family gatherings…she is always there. Infuriating him, tossing punch in his face, driving him mad…until one night, she goes too far and he retaliates in the only way he can: with a kiss that changes everything. – Goodreads


I’ve read my fair share of Sophie Jordan novels in the past year and while I haven’t found them to be spectacular, I have found them to be okay. While I wouldn’t search her work out, if I was searching for an audiobook and she was available I wouldn’t say no. That is how I ended up with All the Ways to Ruin a Rogue. What that doesn’t tell you is how delightful I found this novel. My favorite of hers that I have read so far!

All the Ways to Ruin a Rogue is an adorable historical novel about Aurelia and Max who have known each other from childhood. Although this makes it seem like a classic romance novel it’s more than that. Aurelia and Max spend a good portion of their lives actually hating each other with snark and banter to remind the reader of this. At times it’s painful, but at times it is hilarious leaving you wanting more.

The banter and snark throughout Aurelia and Max was real and hot. While others have viewed it as cruel and unnecessary I laugh because I have a lot of friendships like that. We’re not being mean, we’re just being us! These are not two perfect characters. They are not perfect by a long shot, but they’re in love and they made mistakes so it of course took them awhile to get there. It was just what I needed to read in that moment.

23398702The Lure of the Moonflower (Pink Carnation #12) by Lauren Willig
Release Date: August 4. 2015
Publisher: NAL
Source: Audio from library
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

In the final Pink Carnation novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla, Napoleon has occupied Lisbon, and Jane Wooliston, aka the Pink Carnation, teams up with a rogue agent to protect the escaped Queen of Portugal.

Portugal, December 1807. Jack Reid, the British agent known as the Moonflower (formerly the French agent known as the Moonflower), has been stationed in Portugal and is awaiting his new contact. He does not expect to be paired with a woman—especially not the legendary Pink Carnation.

All of Portugal believes that the royal family departed for Brazil just before the French troops marched into Lisbon. Only the English government knows that mad seventy-three-year-old Queen Maria was spirited away by a group of loyalists determined to rally a resistance. But as the French garrison scours the countryside, it’s only a matter of time before she’s found and taken.

It’s up to Jane to find her first and ensure her safety. But she has no knowledge of Portugal or the language. Though she is loath to admit it, she needs the Moonflower. Operating alone has taught her to respect her own limitations. But she knows better than to show weakness around the Moonflower—an agent with a reputation for brilliance, a tendency toward insubordination, and a history of going rogue.. – Goodreads


The Lure of the Moonflower is everything I wanted from the last book in a series, any series. But the last book in the Pink Carnation was bittersweet for me. I’ve read this series since the beginning and I’m in denial about the fact that it was ending. That being said Willig shined throughout this last book. Her writing has grown leaps and bounds since the first book and that is highlighted throughout The Lure of the Moonflower.

While it wasn’t an easy read, the characters of the past, Jack and Jane and the characters of the present, Colin and Eloise flowed together effortlessly for a satisfying conclusion. This was also the book that many was waiting for. We’ve known about Jane since the beginning and finally she was getting her own book! Jack and Jane have a lot of walls up and don’t want to work with each other. Slowly while working together, they of course fall for each other; however, I want to make it clear, not once did it feel forced. The romance always felt real as well as the mystery. While historical novels don’t always work for me (I’ve just fallen in love with them in the past year) this series has always worked for me.

Because it’s always worked for me I really am sad to see it go. I’m going to miss these characters. I’ve grown used to Jane and Eloise and Colin. While the later two ending could be said that it’s a little too meta, it worked for me extremely well and felt in character. I cannot wait to see what Willig does next, even if it is not with these characters.

23587120When a Scot Ties the Knot (Castles Ever After #3) by Tessa Dare
Release Date: August 25, 2015
Publisher: Avon
Source: Edelweiss
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star (4.5)
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

On the cusp of her first London season, Miss Madeline Gracechurch was shyly pretty and talented with a drawing pencil, but hopelessly awkward with gentlemen. She was certain to be a dismal failure on the London marriage mart. So Maddie did what generations of shy, awkward young ladies have done: she invented a sweetheart.

A Scottish sweetheart. One who was handsome and honorable and devoted to her, but conveniently never around. Maddie poured her heart into writing the imaginary Captain MacKenzie letter after letter … and by pretending to be devastated when he was (not really) killed in battle, she managed to avoid the pressures of London society entirely.

Until years later, when this kilted Highland lover of her imaginings shows up in the flesh. The real Captain Logan MacKenzie arrives on her doorstep—handsome as anything, but not entirely honorable. He’s wounded, jaded, in possession of her letters… and ready to make good on every promise Maddie never expected to keep. – Goodreads


Previous books of Tessa Dare prove that historical romance with humor can exist. For so long I denied myself historical romance books because so many were dry and put me to sleep. But Dare continues to give me hope that I can find my area in this genre. When a Scot Ties the Knot is the story of Madeline and Logan, two people who should have never met unless fate intervened. No really, it’s all fate, it has to be. Because here’s the thing, Madeline is awkward and feels more comfortable with her family and drawings then being presented at the local balls. To stop this from happening, she invented a sweetheart: Captain MacKenzie. What Madeline doesn’t expect is Captain MacKenzie to be a real person. She was writing these letters assuming no one would ever get them, but to know that not only someone got them, but that they also read them? She wants to die.

She loved to draw anything. Well, almost anything. She hated drawing attention to herself. —2%, eARC

On the other side of this equation is Logan, the Captain MacKenzie. A man who knows that he doesn’t deserve love since his parents abandoned him and he was used for others gains since then. The fact that someone even wrote to him caused him pain and anguish in the service, but he doesn’t care now. What he cares about is the fact he now has land for his formed family. And as someone who loves formed families, those you make for yourself, I loved that Dare included this into the story. It is so important to find and chose your only family.

She now had a confidant. A Conspirator. Someone who knew everything. All her secrets. He didn’t love her for them, but he hadn’t run screaming from her, either. –19%, eARC

To gain this land of course the two of them must not only marry, but also consummate the relationship and I adored that Maddie did not make it easy for him. There was so much banter, and learning about each other that my heart constantly soared for these two characters. Both of whom just wanted to be loved, but also wanted to stay themselves, who they viewed as unloveable. (They viewed themselves as unloveable. Not the other one. Even if they couldn’t admit it. They very, very much loved the other one.)

She flinched at his words. He knew at once he’d hurt her. And it didn’t feel nearly as satisfying as he’d hoped it would. It made him feel rather small, actually. Like a boy caught winging rocks at songbirds. —45%, eARC

What was also enjoyable about When a Scot Ties the Knot is the fact that, while the relationship wasn’t easy, it was believable. Through the cast of secondary characters, as the reader I felt like I was in the highland with those characters. Between Logan’s clan and Maddie’s aunt, you could feel the love that these characters had throughout the novel. Although denial ran strong throughout those two characters, it made sense for the story.

Grant is my favorite person. Do you know why? He made me feel beautiful on my wedding day. No matter how many times we’re introduced, he’s always impressed. He makes me laugh. —74%, eARC

I cannot wait to continue reading Tessa Dare’s backlist as I continue to love the way she writes stories.

21877190Four Nights With the Duke (Desperate Duchesses #8) by Eloisa James
Release Date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Avon
Source: Audio from library.
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star (3.5)
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Eloisa James returns with another fabulous romance in her New York Times bestselling Desperate Duchesses series!

As a young girl, Emilia Gwendolyn Carrington told the annoying future Duke of Pindar that she would marry any man in the world before him—so years later she is horrified to realize that she has nowhere else to turn.

Evander Septimus Brody has his own reasons for agreeing to Mia’s audacious proposal, but there’s one thing he won’t give his inconvenient wife: himself.

Instead, he offers Mia a devil’s bargain . . . he will spend four nights a year with her. Four nights, and nothing more. And those only when she begs for them.

Which Mia will never do.

Now Vander faces the most crucial challenge of his life: he must seduce his own wife in order to win her heart—and no matter what it takes, this is the one battle he can’t afford to lose.– Goodreads


Elosia Jame’s does it again with Four Nights with the Duke. As someone who was in the evil book rut, I was suprised that Four Nights with the Duke helped to bring me out of my funk. I adored this book. I adored that the main two characters and how, in typical romance novel fashion they shouldn’t have worked. But they did. They did beautifully.

Knowing each other from childhood, her father “dated” his mother for twenty plus years which caused for some awkward tension between Emilia and Evander, or Vander as his friends called him. This also wasn’t made easier when Emilia wrote him a love poem at the age of 15. Yes. It’s as awkward as you’d expect it to be. What Emilia never expected was Vander to show all of his friends, or to overhear this painful moment. From that moment on Emilia stated she would marry anyone in the world before him.

What she didn’t expect, was to save her nephew, she would have to marry him. Or that Vander would fall in love with Charlie. Charlie needed to be saved because he has a bad leg, and during this time period, he’s looked down upon by society. Vander refuses to look down on him. He hates that Emilia babies Charlie, but he refuses to look down on him.

Vander also refuses to fall in love with Emilia, this is purely a business relationship. But slowly they do start to fall in love with each other and form this friendship, and even, omg act like husband and wife. Emilia spends a lot of the novel trying to figure out why anyone would love her. As the not typical figure of the time, Emilia refuses to take off most of her clothes when they make love because she doesn’t want to be looked at.

These two, even when in denial, know each other better than they ever thought to. Emilia knows how to hurt Vander and Vander knows how to hurt Emilia. Some of the people I’ve hurt the most in the world, are those I love because I know at the end of the day they will still love me. I get it.

Four Nights with the Duke is an amazing historical romance novel full of love, friendship and family.

20605274Say Yes to the Marquess (Castles Ever After #2) by Tessa Dare
Release Date: December 30, 2014
Publisher: Avon
Source: Audio from library!
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Your presence is requested at romantic Twill Castle for the wedding of Miss Clio Whitmore and… and…?

After eight years of waiting for Piers Brandon, the wandering Marquess of Granville, to set a wedding date, Clio Whitmore has had enough. She’s inherited a castle, scraped together some pride, and made plans to break her engagement.

Not if Rafe Brandon can help it. A ruthless prizefighter and notorious rake, Rafe is determined that Clio will marry his brother—even if he has to plan the dratted wedding himself.

So how does a hardened fighter cure a reluctant bride’s cold feet?

*He starts with flowers. Ladies can’t have too many flowers. Or harps. Or cakes.
*He lets her know she’ll make a beautiful, desirable bride—and tries not to picture her as his.
*He doesn’t kiss her.
*If he kisses her, he definitely doesn’t kiss her again.
*When all else fails, he puts her in a stunning gown and vows not to be nearby when the gown comes off.
*And no matter what, he doesn’t fall in disastrous, hopeless love with the one woman he can never call his own.. – Goodreads


Poor Clio, she was proposed to one day eight years ago and has heard nothing from him since then. Clio had enough and is going after Piers to break off their engagement. The only thing is that his brother, Rafe, stands in her way and oh do sparks fly between Clio and Rafe. Of course, they are both in denial about it. Clio made it clear that she does not want to be connected to his brother, and Rafe is determined to make the two marry within the month.

To accomplish this, he decides to start wooing her, but in the name of his brother, because the marriage what happens. What neither of them expects of course is to start falling for each other. While they are blatantly honest with each other, the two do not expect to work and bounce ideas off of each other. Rafe loathes that Clio is his brothers. He wants her, but he’s always wanted what his brother has had, Clio is no different.

But it’s more than that! Rafe actually falls in love with Clio and not only does he fall in love with her, but he also starts to woo her. To the point, while listening to this book, I was sighing out loud. I think part of them always knew they cared for the other person, but Piers was constantly in the way. Although he wasn’t in the picture for eight years, Rafe is still aware of the proper boxes that everyone belong in. What Dare does well is write a strong, yet slow burn. It was so so good between Clio and Rafe that it got to the point I wanted to push them together and yell “KISS!”

What I also enjoyed was that Clio and Rafe are two excellent standalone characters. They don’t need each other to survive, but they are so much better with each other. While Clio wants to run her own brewery, what she enjoys is that Rafe doesn’t laugh at her when he finds out. Her family does, they believe that she’s lying to them, but Rafe doesn’t think it’s funny. He sees how much Clio can stand on her own and be her own person. What neither of them wants to believe however is how good they would be together.

One of the things I adore about Dare’s writing is that she isn’t afraid to write humor, snarky humor with realistic banter. It makes me want more of the characters and this period.

13061255A Lady by Midnight (Spindle Cove #3) by Tessa Dare
Release Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Avon
Source: Audio via Library!
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star (3.5)
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

A temporary engagement, a lifetime in the making . . .

After years of fending for herself, Kate Taylor found friendship and acceptance in Spindle Cove—but she never stopped yearning for love. The very last place she’d look for it is in the arms of Corporal Thorne. The militia commander is as stone cold as he is brutally handsome. But when mysterious strangers come searching for Kate, Thorne steps forward as her fiancé. He claims to have only Kate’s safety in mind. So why is there smoldering passion in his kiss?

Long ago, Samuel Thorne devoted his life to guarding Kate’s happiness. He wants what’s best for her, and he knows it’s not marriage to a man like him. To outlast their temporary engagement, he must keep his hands off her tempting body and lock her warm smiles out of his withered heart. It’s the toughest battle of this hardened warrior’s life . . . and the first he seems destined to lose. – Goodreads


Kate and Samuel Thorne have never gotten along. They just haven’t and Kate has accepted this fate. Kate has a birth mark, and was left at an orphanage around the age of five. While she has not enjoyed her fate, she has accepted it and has made the best of life that she could. What Kate has never been aware of is the fact is that Thorne? Thorne adores Kate. What she sees as aloof, he views as protecting his heart, because all he wants is her to be happy and she can’t be happy with him.

Then, Thorne shocks her and everyone actually by announcing that Kate and Thorne are in a betrothal. When a family comes forward to essentially claim Kate, something she has wanted from birth, she is in shock and Thorne is confused. Because Thorne wants to protect her, he says they are engaged because he just wants to hold her close. While the fake-fiance is a tale as old as time story prompt, Dare makes it work and oh how I adored it. It also didn’t hurt that Thorne gives Kate a puppy, Badger, and oh Badger, the cutest little puppy ever.

I saw a lot of similarities between Badger, the puppy, and Kate. They’re both not traditionally attractive, they’re rough around the edges, and both have Thorne wrapped around their finger, even if they aren’t aware of it. The problem with the faux-engagement is the fact that Thorne doesn’t believe that he’s able to be loved, and Kate also doesn’t believe that Thorne would ever, ever love her. Amazingly there is communication in A Lady by Midnight which was a refreshing change of pace for a historical romance novel.

What both of them quickly find out is the their counterpart is not the person they thought they are. Kate isn’t this soft, precious character and Thorne isn’t the hardass that Kate was convinced he was. It’s also painful because both of these characters did not have perfect childhoods, and they both believe that they are not worthy of love. They both push and pull at each other and actually strive to make each other a better person, even if the other is in denial about it.  Thorne always wants to do the honorable thing when it comes to Kate, or has he calls her, Katie. What he doesn’t expect is the honorable thing to hurt him along with Kate. He just wants to protect her!

While moment of A Lady by Midnight were painful and hurt my heart, I found it a very enjoyable historical romance and not just because of the super cute puppy.