Category Archives: Historical Romance

Review: The Scandal Before Christmas by Elizabeth Essex

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About the book:

’Tis the season for a new holiday novella from acclaimed author Elizabeth Essex! The Scandal Before Christmas is romance so good it’s scandalous…

Lieutenant Ian Worth needs a wife by Christmas, and he can’t afford to be choosy. He has to find her, woo her, and wed her before he goes back to sea—all within a matter of days.  

Anne Lesley is a shy spinster with no prospects, and nothing and no one to recommend her but her own self. She accepts the lieutenant’s hasty offer only for the comfort and security it will bring. But when a midwinter storm snows her and Ian in, they both find they got much more than they bargained for—laughter, light, and a Christmas filled with honest to goodness true love…

Ian needs a wife, but he doesn’t want one. Anne doesn’t want a husband, but marrying a man who will be at sea for a good part of the year – leaving her alone – seems about as good as it can get for a plain girl with nothing to recommend her. I loved how these two meet and think one thing about each other and then quickly change their opinion. Ian didn’t expect to be attracted to the plain Anne, but he quickly sees her as beautiful. Anne overcomes her shyness and learns to assert her true self. I loved these two as a couple. Their romance is both sexy and sweet.

the book girl gives THE SCANDAL BEFORE CHRISTMAS a 4/5

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Review: Sins of a Wicked Princess by Anna Randoll

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About the book:

In the scorching finale of Anna Randol’s wickedly tempting Trio series, the Wraith takes on a mission— and a princess— he’ll never forget . . .

Ian Maddox, aka the Wraith, is happy to leave his life as a spy— as soon as he discovers who’s been trying to kill his friends. All clues lead him to the bedroom of an exiled princess. Yet Princess Juliana isn’t the simpering royal he expects, and this irresistible beauty agrees to give him the information he seeks . . . for a price.

Princess Juliana has never cowered—not even as she fled her burning castle in the midst of a rebellion—so she won’t tremble before the darkly charismatic man who appears in her bedchamber and holds a knife to her throat. Instead, she bargains with the infamous spy to help her retrieve sensitive documents and restore her kingdom. But Juliana quickly finds that Ian is no humble servant, and she never imagines that lessons in thievery will lead to schooling in seduction.

I’ve loved this series from the beginning and have especially loved Ian. The way he protected Madeline and Colin in the previous books and made sure that they were never exposed to the very worst of what the Trio had to do made him a real hero in my eyes. I wanted him to get his happily ever after, but the heroine of his story would have to be really special. Luckily he found Princess Juliana. I loved her almost instantly. She’s been kicked out of her country, after her parents were murdered, and now has to find a way to gain back her place as ruler while dealing with both the French and Spanish. She’s strong enough to take on Ian and his moody behavior. I love them together – they make each other better. Ian gives Juliana the confidence she needs to step-up and do what needs to be done for her country and Juliana makes Ian realize that he’s more than what he’s done in the past. SINS OF A WICKED PRINCESS is the perfect ending to the Trio series.

the book girl gives SINS OF A WICKED PRINCESS a 5/5

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Review: The Wicked Wallflower by Maya Rodale

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About the book:

Lady Emma Avery has accidentally announced her engagement—to the most eligible man in England. As soon as it’s discovered that Emma has never actually met the infamously attractive Duke of Ashbrooke, she’ll no longer be a wallflower; she’ll be a laughingstock. And then Ashbrooke does something Emma never expected. He plays along with her charade.

A temporary betrothal to the irreproachable Lady Avery could be just the thing to repair Ashbrooke’s tattered reputation. Seducing her is simply a bonus. And then Emma does what he never expected: she refuses his advances. It’s unprecedented. Inconceivable. Quite damnably alluring.

London’s Least Likely to Misbehave has aroused the curiosity—among other things—of London’s most notorious rogue. Now nothing will suffice but to uncover Emma’s wanton side and prove there’s nothing so satisfying as two perfect strangers . . . being perfectly scandalous together.

I loved this book! Emma and Ashbrook are wonderful together. I loved how their accidental betrothal comes about and they each plan to use it to their advantage. Emma is such a fun character. She doesn’t simper or fall to “the Ashbrooke effect” (even though she kind of wants too) and Ashbrooke can’t help but be drawn to the one woman who doesn’t seem to want him. I loved their bantering and all the motions they go through for their faux engagement. There is a wonderful ease to their relationship…until they realize that the feelings they have been pretending to have just may be true. I really liked that the hero is the one who is turned upside down the most and has the more emotional story line. Emma falls just as hard, but Blake seems to be on more of a roller-coaster. I can’t wait to read the contemporary series that mirrors this historical (THE BAD BOY BILLIONAIRE’S WICKED ARRANGEMENT) and the next historical in this series (WALLFLOWER GONE WILD).

the book girl gives THE WICKED WALLFLOWER a 5/5

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Review: Once A Rake by Eileen Dreyer

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About the book:

All he wants is her help . . .

Colonel Ian Ferguson may be a rake, but he’s no traitor. Accused of trying to kill the Duke of Wellington, the disgraced Scotsman is now a fugitive-from the law, the army, and the cunning assassin who hunts him. Wounded and miles from his allies, Ian finds himself at the mercy of an impoverished country wife. The spirited woman is achingly beautiful . . . and hiding some dangerous secrets of her own.

All she needs is his heart . . .

She was a child nobody wanted. Now for Lady Sarah Clarke, holding on to her vanished husband’s crumbling estate is her final chance to earn respectability. She knows that hiding the devastatingly handsome Ferguson will jeopardize her home. Common sense demands that she turn him in. But a single, delirious kiss shatters her resolve . . . and awakens a passion that neither of them can escape.

Ian Ferguson is a fantastic hero, but what made this book so wonderful was Sarah. She has had a less than wonderful life (born on the wrong side of the blanket, married to a man she didn’t love), but she still pushes forward and tries to find contentment. When faced with Ian she isn’t sure what to do with him, but she does know that she can’t turn him in to the authorities. I loved how strong she is and how willing she is to do what’s needed to get Ian to the right people. Ian is just as strong. He knows that he has to get away from Sarah’s home so that she can be safe, but as his feelings for her start to change he struggles between leaving Sarah’s to save the Duke of Wellington or staying with her to protect her from her cousin-in-law. I love the connection between Sarah and Ian. There are some serious sparks despite his injury and the threat of discovery. I really enjoyed the tension between Ian and Sarah, but also the tension in the plot. Ian has to clear his name, but there are many different forces trying to stop him. The story moves quickly and there isn’t a boring moment. There are appearances by characters from past books and a great set-up for the upcoming book. I cannot wait for the next book in the series – I have to find out what happens to Ian’s sisters.

the book girl gives ONCE A RAKE a 4/5

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Review: Once She Was Tempted by Anne Burton

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About the book:

A PORTRAIT OF A LADY

. . . or is it? The risqué painting owned by Benjamin Elliot, the earl of Foxburn, features a stunning beauty with sapphire eyes, golden hair, and creamy skin. Ben recognizes this particular English rose the instant he meets her-though she’s wearing considerably more clothing. In person, the demure debutante is even more irresistible . . .

In desperate need of money for her sick mother, Daphne Honeycote had posed for two scandalous portraits. Now she must hide her secret to save the Honeycote family name. Ben’s possession of one painting makes him an insufferable thorn in her side-and yet he may be her best chance at finding the canvas’s companion. As she becomes drawn to the dark-tempered earl, can Daphne risk laying bare the secrets of her heart?

I’ve been on a historical romance reading binge lately and it seems that a lot of them have featured injured heroes. ONCE SHE WAS TEMPTED has an injured hero and he is delicious. Ben, the earl of Foxburn, was shot in the leg during the war and suffered a great injury in his leg. The pain makes him grumpy, but Daphne Honeycote brings out something in him that he didn’t thing he would ever feel again…hope. Daphne has lived in a small apartment in St. Giles and now she resides in a beautiful home thanks to her sisters advantageous marriage. She wouldn’t do anything to put her family’s reputation in danger, now, but once upon a time she had been winning to do anything to keep their heads above water. Daphne is drawn to Ben and asks him to help her find the other painting. Ben can’t say no to Daphne and knows that helping her will also give him more time alone with her. I really love this couple. They don’t seem like they should work at first glance. Daphne is kind, sweet, and a little naive. Ben is grumpy and cynical. I think that they really balance each other out. I love how Daphne takes care of Ben and works to make him feel better. She finds ways to ease the pain of his injury and makes sure that he is taking care of himself even when he doesn’t want her help. Ben also takes care of Daphne, although he struggles at times with not being able to physically protect her the way he thinks he should. Their romance is slow to build – they become friends first. I really enjoyed the secondary characters in the story and can’t wait for Rose and Olivia’s happily ever after.

the book girl gives ONCE SHE WAS TEMPTED a 4/5

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Review: The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn

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About the book:

He thinks she’s an annoying know-it-all

Hugh Prentice has never had patience for dramatic females, and if Lady Sarah Pleinsworth has ever been acquainted with the words shy or retiring, she’s long since tossed them out the window. Besides, even if Hugh did grow to enjoy her company, it wouldn’t matter. A reckless duel has left this brilliant mathematician with a ruined leg, and now, unable to run, ride, or even waltz, he could never court a woman like Sarah, much less dream of marrying her.

She thinks he’s just plain mad

Sarah has never forgiven Hugh for the duel he fought three years earlier, the one that forced her cousin into exile, nearly destroying her family. But even if she could find a way to forgive him, it wouldn’t matter. She doesn’t care that his leg is less than perfect, it’s his personality she can’t abide. But when the pair is forced to spend a week in close company, they discover that first impressions are not always reliable. And when one kiss leads to two, three, and four, the mathematician may lose count, and the lady may, for the first time, find herself speechless.

I loved this book! Hugh and Sarah are both so deliciously mean to each other in the beginning. Sarah takes out her frustration of missing her first season (and the fourteen(!) matches that were made that year) because of the duel fought between Hugh and Sarah’s cousin, Daniel. Hugh just thinks Sarah is overly dramatic and obnoxious. They snap and pick at each other every time they are in the same room with each other. When Sarah’s cousin Honoria asks her to sit by Hugh and to “babysit” him during her wedding Sarah can’t say no (even though she wants to). I love the tension between Hugh and Sarah. Their barbs between each other quickly turn into something more. While on their way to happily ever after trouble comes in the form of Hugh’s father and his vendetta against Sarah’s cousin, both Sarah and Hugh realize they are something more what others believe them to be. Sarah won’t let Hugh be defined by his injury and through her dealings with Hugh and his father Sarah comes into her own. THE SUM OF ALL KISSES has humor, romance, and of course a Smythe-Smith musical. The book is a perfect addition to the series.

the book girl gives THE SUM OF ALL KISSES a 5/5

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Review: Duke of Midnight by Elizabeth Hoyt

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About the book:

WHEN A MASKED MAN . . .

Twenty years ago Maximus Batten witnessed the brutal murders of his parents. Now the autocratic Duke of Wakefield, he spends his days ruling Parliament. But by night, disguised as the Ghost of St. Giles, he prowls the grim alleys of St. Giles, ever on the hunt for the murderer. One night he finds a fiery woman who meets him toe-to-toe-and won’t back down . . .

MEETS HIS MATCH . . .

Artemis Greaves toils as a lady’s companion, but hiding beneath the plain brown serge of her dress is the heart of a huntress. When the Ghost of St. Giles rescues her from footpads, she recognizes a kindred spirit-and is intrigued. She’s even more intrigued when she realizes who exactly the notorious Ghost is by day . . .

DESIRE IGNITES A DANGEROUS PASSION

Artemis makes a bold move: she demands that Maximus use his influence to free her imprisoned brother-or she will expose him as the Ghost. But blackmailing a powerful duke isn’t without risks. Now that she has the tiger by the tail, can she withstand his ire-or the temptation of his embrace?

As a huge fan of this series I was a little skeptical about another book featuring another Ghost of St. Giles. I was worried that it would be too much like the previous two books in the series, but it isn’t. There are a lot of differences between the Duke of Wakefield’s Ghost and those before him. His reasons for being the Ghost are his own and dive him in everything he does. Artemis is a very strong character too. She’s been thrust into the role of companion for her flighty cousin even though it isn’t what she planned for her life to be. Yet, she doesn’t feel bad about where she has ended up, she just lives her live in a way that makes her the most content. These two set sparks off each other from their first meeting, but Maximus is determined to marry Artemis’s cousin Penelope and Artemis knows that she isn’t the “right” bride for a duke. I love how even though they think they aren’t meant to be together they still gravitate toward each other over and over. Artemis is the only person who will talk to Maximus like a man instead of as a duke. There is action, mystery, and romance as Maximus and Artemis work their way toward happily ever after. If you are a fan of the series this is a can’t miss addition. If you haven’t read any of the previous books, this story can stand alone.

the book girl gives DUKE OF MIDNIGHT a 5/5

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Review: Summer is for Lovers by Jennifer McQuiston

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About the book:

His heart is unavailable. Luckily, her interest lies in the rest of him . . .

Though she was just a girl when they first met, Caroline Tolbertson’s infatuation with David Cameron remains undimmed. Now fate has brought the handsome Scotsman back to Brighton for what promises to be an unforgettable summer. Soon, Caroline will have to choose a husband, but for now she is free to indulge her curiosity in things of a passionate nature.

That is, if David will agree to teach her.

Past mistakes have convinced David he’ll make a terrible husband, though he’ll gladly help the unconventional Caroline find a suitor. Unfortunately, she has something more scandalous in mind. As the contenders for her hand begin to line up, her future seems assured . . . provided David can do the honorable thing and let them have her.

When a spirited young woman is determined to break Society’s rules, all a gentleman can do is lend a hand . . . or more.

It took me awhile to get into this story. Caroline is so unlike any other historical heroine and I just couldn’t form a connection to her in the beginning. She is so unsure about herself and doesn’t believe in her worth, that it was hard to believe that David really found her to be as interesting as he did. However, as the story goes on and she begins to see that things aren’t what she thought they were she really grows into her own and becomes the woman who David saw all along. That was when she becomes interesting to me and when the story really began to take off. David was a slow starter for me too, but it was  for a different reason. I liked him from the beginning, but I felt that his back story was revealed too slowly. I wanted to know more about him and the details just weren’t there till the end. I wanted to know what had happened to make him act the way he did when he first met Caroline when she was a child and why he tried so had to hold himself away from someone he obviously had intense feelings for. Even with the slow start and build up, I loved the end of this book. I loved the happily ever after and how each character was finally their true selves.

the book girl gives SUMMER IS FOR LOVERS a 3/5

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Review: Never Desire a Duke by Lily Dalton

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About the book:

A Marriage Beyond Hope

Lady Sophia has long been estranged from her husband, Vane Barwick, the Duke of Claxton, whose rumored list of amorous conquests includes almost every beautiful woman of the ton. Yet a shocking encounter with him in a crowded ballroom-and a single touch-are all it takes to reawaken her furious passion for him. But how can she trust the man who crushed her dreams and took away the one thing she wanted most?

A Love Beyond Reason

Claxton has never forgiven himself for the youthful mistake that ruined his marriage to Sophia. Now, after nearly a year abroad, the reformed rogue vows to win back the only woman he’s ever truly loved. He’ll do whatever it takes to prove he can be the honorable husband she deserves-and the passionate lover she desires. As the snowdrifts deepen outside their ancestral home, can they rekindle the flame that burned so bright and find a new path to forever?

NEVER DESIRE A DUKE by Lily Dalton is an emotional, romantic and wonderful historical romance about Christmas miracles and working toward a happily after ever after a tumultuous past. Sophia and Claxton were once very happy together, but after losing their unborn child they drifted apart and Sophia doesn’t believe that their marriage can be saved. However, there is one thing that she wants from him before they go their separate ways…a child. Claxton regrets leaving Sophia alone after the death of their baby and wants to be with her more than anything, but his past has caught up with him and he doesn’t truly believe that he is worthy of her. I loved these two together when they are fighting with each other and when they are getting along. There is a lot for Sophia and Claxton to work through before they can get back together and several things happen to get in their way. I loved the emotion in the story – there is so much love between Sophie and Claxton, but they just can’t seem to get passed the hurt. There is a perfect set-up for more books featuring secondary characters and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

the book girl gives NEVER DESIRE A DUKE a 4/5

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Review: Geek Girls Don’t Date Dukes by Gina Lamm

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About the book:

The Royal Treatment

All Leah wanted was a little gallantry. But in this day and age, chivalry was most definitely dead. If only there were a way to travel back in time and snag her very own duke…

Avery Russell was polishing some boots when a woman fell through the bedchamber mirror into his arms. All he could make out from her breathless babbling was some nonsense about “my one true love, Your Grace.” Clearly the chit was mad if she couldn’t tell a valet from a duke!

As much as Avery wanted to give in and give her a good tumble, he knew it wouldn’t be proper. No, he’d take as long as necessary to convince Leah that sometimes a duke just won’t do.

GEEK GIRLS DON’T DATE DUKES is a funny, romantic, emotional story. Leah just wants a man who will treat her right and it wouldn’t hurt if he looked like Colin Firth in Pride & Prejudice. Knowing that her best friend had fallen through a magic mirror and found her soul mate in the past, Leah decides to do the same. The story does take a lot of suspension of reality. The whole “my friend traveled through a mirror and so will I” thing is a little silly, but it fits Leah’s impulsive character. Avery is a wonderful character and different from the usual hero in a historical romance (even a time traveling one). Avery is the valet to the Duke that Leah believes she is meant to be and Avery wants to help her achieve her goal in any way he can. I love his protective instinct toward the crazy woman who falls out of the mirror. He immediately takes her under his protection and watches over her to make sure that she is treated well. When something from his past threatens her he does whatever necessary to keep her safe even if it means risking his own safety. Leah is so sure that she will fall in love with the duke on the other side of the mirror that she ignores her feelings for Avery until it is almost too late. I love Leah’s fish-out-of-water feelings toward being a servant in the past, Avery’s feelings for the girl from the future, and their time traveling happily ever after.

the book girl gives GEEK GIRLS DON’T DATE DUKES a 4/5

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