Thursday

Holy Guacamole!!! Upcoming Historical Romance and Historical Fiction!!!

Authors with an asterisk*, I'm picking up! For more Upcoming Releases that aren't historical see HEY DELIA!! October 15, 2018 to November 14, 2018. By the way, it is not my fault if a publisher changes the release dates - just so you know, they do not consult me.
**New this month I have decided to read a book by an author who is either new to me or has fallen off of my list.

Historical Romance 
Anna Bennett
First Earl I See Tonight
A Debutante Diaries series
October 30
Anna Bradley**
More or Less a Temptress
The Somerset Sisters series
November 13
Carol Arens
A Texas Christmas Reunion
October 16 - Paperback, November 1 - ebook
Colette Cameron
Only a Duke Would Dare
Seductive Scoundrels series
October 17
Elle Daniels
Once Upon a Duke
Ever After series
October 30
Grace Burrowes*
My One and Only Duke
Dukes in Disgrace series
November 6
Grace Burrowes*
Jennifer Ashley
Christi Caldwell
Louisa Cornell
Eva Devon
Janna MacGregor
Jess Michaels
Tis the Season - ebook
October 23
Jillian Hunter*
Duke of a Thousand Desires - ebook
Boscastle series
October 2
Joanne Wadsworth
The Prince's Bride
Regency Brides series
October 26
Julia London*
Seduced by a Scot
Highland Grooms series
October 30
Laura Martin
The Viscount's Runaway Wife
October 16 - Paperback, November 1 - ebook
Marie Tremayne
The Viscount Can Wait
Reluctant Brides series
October 23
Maya Rodale
Duchess by Design
Gilded Age Girls Club series
October 23
Mary Wine
Between a Highlander and a Hard Place
Highland Weddings series
October 30
Sarah Mallory
Beauty and the Brooding Lord
Saved from Disgrace series
October 16 - Paperback, November 1 - ebook
Tanya Anne Crosby*
Darcy Burke
Amy Jarecki
Julie Johnstone
Julianne MacLean
Lauren Royal
A Night to Remember
November 13
Terri Brisbin
A Healer for the Highlander
Highland Feuding series
Oct 16, 2018
Tessa Dare*
Sarah Maclean
Sophia Jordan
Joanna Shupe
How the Dukes Stole Christmas
October 15
Vanessa Kelly
The Highlander Who Protected Me
Clan Kendrick series
October 30
Vanessa Riley
The Butterfly Bride
Advertisement for Love series
October 22
Valerie Bowman
Kiss Me at Christmas
Playful Brides series
October 30
Wilma Counts
It Only Takes a Kiss
October 16

Historical Fiction
Barbara Kingsolver
Unsheltered
November 1
B.A. Shapiro
the Collector’s Apprentice
October 16
Edward Carey
Little
October 23

Julian Stockwin
A Sea of Gold
Thomas Kydd series
November 1
Louisa Hall
Trinity
October 16
Margaret George
Emperor Nero: The Splendor Before the Dark
November 6
Therese Anne Fowler
A Well Behaved Woman
October 16
William Westbrook
The Black Ring
Nicholas Fallon series
November 1
V.A. Shannon
When Winter Comes
October 30

Wednesday

How to Tempt a Rogue without Even Trying by Ava Stone

September 27, 3018

Twitches do not a romance make.
http://www.avastoneauthor.com/

I picked up How to Tempt a Rogue without Even Trying by Ava Stone because I thought the title was amusing. Not being familiar with Ava Stone’s writing and always on the lookout for a new author, I thought I’d give it a try. After I finished the book I was left with a vague sense of dissatisfaction and I wasn’t quite sure why. So, I had to do some pondering – some examination of my reaction. While I was pondering I did some checking of her website. She seems to have been publishing books since 2011 and by my count she has released 25 novels and 12 novellas. That is not counting all the contribution to anthologies she’s done. That’s a lot of writing, pondering, editing, and developing in seven years. I also found reference to “new adult” books as part of her repertoire. While I don’t have a problem with teen/young adults/new adults for teens, for myself, I like a little more mature, seasoned narrative. But I was determined to finish this book.

How to Tempt… was pleasant enough, and there were even parts of it which reminded me a little of the old Signet Regency books. The big difference between this story and a Signet was most Signet characters were fully developed. How to Tempt… had the feel of a short story. Then there were the Twitch Teases.

Now, I am not really sure where I was, or what book I was reading when I first encountered the manly “twitch” of a hero’s willy-wanka-doodle, but the term “twitch” seems to be used quite a lot lately in Romanceland. Usually it’s an indicator that there will be more hubba-bubba action later in the story. I guess that will show me not to expect something based on a lifetime of reading romance. There was no hippidy-hopping in this story. In fact, there was hardly any kissing. I found this odd considering our hero had two Mr. Toad-willy-dink twitch episodes. And yes, I counted them. Oh no, no, no, I did not keep track of them while I was reading. The twitching did not throw me out of the story, but at the end of the story I remembered them. Why would one remember two Mr. Toad-willy-dink twitch moments? Well, I’ll tell you. After I finished reading the book it dawned on me that they just didn’t fit into the narrative. I had to ask myself – why were they there? They didn’t blend with the rest of the story. They were glaring in their presence in the storyline and they definitely didn’t make the book anymore sensual.

More pondering. I’m an old-school romance reader, I’ve read traditional Regency stories which didn’t even have one kiss, let alone a twitch. But, what a whole lot of those old Regency books had was a strong sensual atmosphere built between its main characters.  Shall I name some old authors from Signet? Mary Balogh, Patricia Rice, Anne Stuart, Eileen Jackson, Edith Layton, Barbara Metzger, Joan Wolf, Sheila Walsh…I could go on and on. Some of those authors are sadly no longer with us, but some of them have gone on to bigger things. All of them have one thing in common – they could write fully-developed characters with oodles of sexual tension and nary a single twitch in sight. And, it’s the twitches in this story which finally solved the mystery of what my issue with this book was.

I analyzed my reaction to How to Tempt…, and then it dawned on me.  I felt as if I had just read a high-school literature project. It was as if someone had been told to take all the elements of a romance and put them together. A formula. And, you know, I dislike intensely that romance books are often accused of being all formula. All books have a formula, a beginning, an ending, a puzzle being solved, a vampire sucking – all formula. However, this story didn’t seem to have any substance behind the formula. I don’t know, maybe it was written for younger readers – maybe they would appreciate it more than I did. All I know is when I opened it up I was expecting one thing and I got something else. Sort of like opening a package of M and M’s and getting Good and Plenty instead. It’s a shock to the system. And now I ponder some more.

More pondering. When I was growing up my reading habits were never limited to my age group. I always read books beyond the ones specific to my age. I found books created for my age group to be boring. I even remember reading Peyton Place when I was eleven, and that was definitely not my age group. Did it warp my outlook on life? Don’t think so. Did I understand everything in the book? Nah, but I asked my mother. Did my mother yank the book out of my hands? Nope. She never once discouraged me from reading beyond my comprehension or my age group. And finally, I just quit reading books which were age appropriate and I have never looked back. I’m not sure why I’m saying this, except I don’t always understand the reason behind age appropriate genres, especially for adults. Wait a minute! Maybe it’s not the age appropriateness which bothers me, maybe it’s the stories and characters which are not fully developed which is the problem. I guess, bottom line, even if the books is for teens/young adults/new adults, they should have fully developed narratives. So, I’m done digressing.

For me, this book was middling. It wasn’t fully developed, the characters lacked chemistry, and it had an incomplete, rushed feel about it. And the Romanceland standard twitching Mr. Toad winkee-dink-doodle didn’t add anything to the story. The completeness I have come to expect in my romance books was not there.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Two Twitches

Friday

The Governess Game by Tessa Dare

September 21, 2018

At Last...
At last a good book has come along
My lonely days are over and life is like a song, la la
la la la la


http://tessadare.com/

Finally, a book I can gush about! I'm happy enough to burst into song. This may be one of my favorite book I’ve read this year. It may also be my favorite Tessa Dare book. The Governess Game is the second book in Tessa Dare’s Wages of Sins series. While it is true I was not impressed with the first book in this series, The Duchess Deal, I was enchanted by The Governess Game. It also prevented me from sleeping until I had finished and then I didn’t want it to end. Tessa Dare has stepped up her game. Why did I love this book so much? Well, my little Petunia's I'll tell you. The characters - the unforgettable characters. 

Before I begin, I am not getting paid for this review nor am I a friend of Tessa Dare’s – this review is a sincere love gush. Anachronisms. Yes, there were anachronisms throughout the book. However, in this case, I was so wrapped up in the story I ignored the anachronisms. Where to begin? Let’s begin with the wonderful characters – Alexandra Mountbatten and Chase Reynaud. Chase needs a governess. He really needs a governess. He has the guardianship of his two young nieces, Rosamund and Daisy. These children are also wonderful characters. They are also troubled children. They have been passed from one relative to another and now their Uncle Chase wants to ship them off to school. They have come to believe that no one wants them, and I have to say, I don’t think anyone does. These children have turned into agitators, devious-almost-bad-seeds and have driven off governesses, one after another. Chase, who is a rake, is desperate. Being the standard Romanceland rake, he just does not have time for these young girls – they scare him. Oh, I don’t mean they scare him like in Boo! No, they scare him because he is starting to care for them and being a rake, he doesn’t have time in his agenda for caring. He only has time for wine, women and song – not necessarily in that order and you may want to cross song off the list. So, Chase is desperate. Enter Alexandra.

You may or may not remember Alexandra from the previous book, The Duchess Deal. She’s the one who sets clocks with her handy dandy chronometer. She’s arrives at Chase’s place to fix his clocks. He’s busy making a manly-man room with a bed and mirror on the ceiling. When Alex shows up Chase mistakes her for the new governess. Even when she tells him the truth he is so desperate he offers her the job. She at first turns him down, leaves, loses her chronometer, returns and accepts the job. She immediately runs into trouble with the two girls. Thus begins the roller-coaster of character interaction. Alex is above all, an independent, strong, woman. We know that by her actions not by someone telling us.

I had a smile on my face throughout most of the book, why I even chuckled out loud a few times. Chase and Alexandra have great dialog written for them. They banter, they circle each other - it is all so charming. Alex is wonderfully practical, she is also very smart and soon the girls are responding to her. The chemistry between all of them was well written - Alex and the girls, Alex and Chase, Chase and the girls – all fully developed and at times even intricate.

As I said earlier, there were numerous 21st century references, but I didn’t find them irritating. In fact, I chuckled at a number of them – see, that is what happens when you are absorbed into the story.

I highly recommend this book. Let me repeat myself - I do believe it is one of the best ones I’ve read this year – and it’s been a looonnngg year. The chemistry between Alex, Chase, Rosamund, and Daisy was incredible. The dialog, humor and banter was great. It was awesome watching this couple overcome their insecurities and fall I love. Read this book.

Time/Place: Regency England - I think
Sensuality: Hot


And now for the real song lyrics:
"At last my love has come along
My lonely days are over and life is like a song, oh yeah
At last the skies above are blue
My heart was wrapped up clover the night I looked at you
I found a dream that I could speak to
A dream that I can call my own
I found a thrill to press my cheek to
A thrill I've never known, oh yeah
You smiled, you smiled oh and then the spell was cast
And here we are in Heaven
For you are mine at last"

Songwriters: Harry Warren / Mack Gordon - 1941

Wednesday

An Earl Like You by Caroline Linden

September 12, 2018
Close, but no cigar

http://www.carolinelinden.com/
When an author takes a theme, which may not be prove very popular and attempts to turn it
into a good romance, I always keep my fingers crossed. Of course, an author can always take the easy way out and write about something safe. In An Earl Like You, Caroline Linden has undertaken a set-up which changes the hero into someone not quite so heroic, something not safe. I must give Ms. Linden some kudos for the attempt, even though I don’t think she quite succeeded. This was just me - I became very irritated with the hero. But I think the problem lies not with the hero but the heroine. Let’s take a look at my reaction to this book, because in the end it is all about me.

Let’s start with Hugh Deveraux, Earl of Hastings. Hugh idolized his father. His father was a wonderful man. His father also loved his wife and family. He would do anything to make them happy, that included spending copious amounts of money building things, buying things, being just as careless with money as he could possibly be. So, when he dies he leaves behind a mountain of debts and as far as we know there is no way to repay them. Here was the first of many hurdles for me, the reader, to climb over. Ms. Linden put so many road blocks in our hero’s way, and the only solution, of course, was through marriage. I’ve always questioned the amount of money a heroine would have to bring into the marriage to reclaim some of the huge estates which litter the English countryside and not go broke herself. But, that is just a passing thought, the real issue I had with Hugh was when he found out the condition his father had left his family in he didn’t tell his family. That was a big short-coming for me. These were the people who were directly affected by his decision to keep the debts secret – his mother and sisters. Then there was his "hero plan" on another way to get out of debt. He would go to a gambling hall and gamble. What a great solution to money problems! I thought these were gi-normous character flaw in a hero and it made him appear weak. But for me there was something else which made him seem weak – the heroine.

Eliza Cross. Eliza was a nice person – really, really nice. And, even though she was pretty much aware of her gigantic worth to aristocratic males which populated England, she wanted some one who loved her for more than just her money. She wanted someone who loved her. She seems to have an inner radar built in which could spot a money-grubber from far, far away. But it isn't working when it come to Hugh. Here’s the thing, Ms. Linden has written Eliza’s character as very naïve when it comes to our handsome hero Hugh. For some reason, she just cannot see his deception. And, his courtship is a deception. A big deception. Her father is coercing Hugh into courting, marrying and impregnating Eliza.

The deception. This is not the first time in a romance book the hero has deceived the heroine. Some of those books work and some of those books don’t work. This one almost worked. Ms. Linden did a wonderful job of letting us into Hugh’s mind as he struggled with his deception, but for me I could find no sympathy for him. The problem for me was Eliza’s character was toooooo nice, toooooo naïve, tooooo accepting, toooo good. Her sweet character was not a good balance for Hugh’s underhanded courting. The sweeter Eliza became, the weaker Hugh became. Eliza’s goodness only made Hugh’s indecisiveness all the more obvious. When we look at our heroes, whether they are Alpha or Beta, even when we are presented with their flaws and weaknesses, we like to find some nobility in their character. I could find none in Hugh and that was mainly because the balance between Eliza’s goodness and Hugh’s deception was off.  Eliza needed to be just a little bit more aggressive, she needed to be someone Hugh could bounce off of. I wish she had caught on to him sooner and had realized all by herself what he was up to.

Bottom-line. I was looking forward to Ms. Linden’s book. I congratulate her on her attempt at a hard plot-line to do in Romanceland, but for me it didn’t work. Eliza and Hugh did not balance each other out; they did not cast positive reflections off of each other. So I cannot fully recommend this book. How's that for wishy-washy?

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Warm/hot

Thursday

Upcoming Historical Romance and Historical Fiction!!

Authors with an asterisk*, I'm picking up! For more Upcoming Releases that aren't historical see HEY DELIA!! September 15, 2018 to October 14, 2018. By the way, it is not my fault if a publisher changes the release dates - just so you know, they do not consult me.

Historical Romance
Amy Jarecki
http://www.amyjarecki.com
The Duke's Fallen Angel
Prequel to Devilish Dukes
October 9

Annabelle Anders
http://www.annabelleanders.com
Hell's Belle
Devilish Debutants series
September 17

Ava Stone
http://www.avastoneauthor.com
How to Tempt a Rogue Without Really Trying
Regency Hearts series
September 18

Bianca Blythe
http://biancablythe.com/
Dukes Prefer Bluestockings
Wedding Trouble series
September 25

Bliss Bennet
http://www.blissbennet.com/
A Sinner without a Saint
Pennington series
September 16

Catherine Tinley
http://www.catherinetinley.com
The Makings of a Lady
Chadcombe Marriages series

paperback - September 18, ebook -  October 1

Cynthia Wright
http://cynthiawrightauthor.com/
Abducted at the Altar
Brides of Skye series
September 21

Emma Locke
http://www.emmalocke.com
The Wooing of a Wayward Rogue
September 18

Erica Ridley
http://www.ericaridley.com
Once Upon a Duke
12 Dukes of Christmas series
October 9

Heather McCollum
http://www.heathermccollum.com
A Rose in the Highlands
Highland Roses School series
September 24

Jenni Fletcher
http://jennifletcher.com
The Warrior's Bride Prize
paperback - September 18, ebook -  October 1

Jo Goodman
http://www.jogoodman.com/
A Touch of Flame
Cowboys of Colorado series
September 19

Joanna Shupe
http://www.joannashupe.com/
A Notorious Vow
Four Hundred series
September 25
Julia Justiss*
http://www.juliajustiss.com/
A Most Unsuitable Match
Sisters of Scandal series
paperback - September 18, ebook -  October 1
Kelly Bowen*
http://www.kellybowen.net
Last Night with the Earl
The Devils of Dover series
September 25
Lenora Bell
http://www.lenorabell.com/
For The Duke’s Eyes Only
School for Dukes series
September 18
Lynne Connolly
http://lynneconnolly.com/
Lisbon
Richard and Rose series
September 18
Marguerite Kaye
http://www.margueritekaye.com
His Rags-To-Riches Contessa
Matches Made in Scandal series
paperback - September 18, ebook -  October 1

Mary Jo Putney
http://www.maryjoputney.com/
Once a Scoundrel
Rogues Redeemed series
September 26
Megan Frampton
http://www.meganframpton.com
The Lady is Daring
Duke's Daughter series
September 15

Shana Galen*
http://www.shanagalen.com
Theresa Romain
http://theresaromain.com
Mrs. Brodie's Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies
September 18
Sophia James
http://sophiajames.co
A Proposition For The Comte
Gentlemen of Honour series
paperback - September 18, ebook -  October 1

Vanessa Kelly
http://www.vanessakellyauthor.com
A Hero's Guide to Love
September 25

Victoria Alexander*
http://www.victoriaalexander.com/
The Dance Before Christmas
The Lady's Travelers Society
October 1
Historical Fiction

Alan Tichmarsh
http://www.alantitchmarsh.com
The Scarlet Nightingale
September 20

Bernard Cornwell
http://www.bernardcornwell.net/
War of the Wolf
Last Kingdom series
October 2

Hazel Gaynor
http://hazelgaynor.com/
The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter
October 9

Juliet Blackwell
http://www.julietblackwell.net/
The Lost Carousel of Provence
September 18

Kristina Olsson
https://www.fantasticfiction.com/o/kristina-olsson/
Shell
October 9

Wilbur Smith
http://www.wilbursmithbooks.com/
Courtney's War
Courtney series
September 18

William Boyd
http://www.williamboyd.co.uk/
Love is Blind
September 20