Friday

Hokey Smoke Bullwinkle! Upcoming Historical Romance Releases!!!!

Authors with an asterisk*, I'm picking up! For more Upcoming Releases that aren't historical see HEY DELIA!! October 15, 2017 to November, 2017. By the way, it is not my fault if a publisher changes the release dates - just so you know, they do not consult me.
Amanda McCabe
The Wallflower's Mistletoe Wedding
October 17

Anna Bradley
Twelfth Night with the Earl
The Sutherland Sisters
November 14

Carla Kelly
Christine Merrill
Janice Preston
Regency Christmas Wishes
October 17

Diane Gaston
A Pregnant Courtesan for the Rake
The Society of Wicked Gentlemen series
November 1

Elizabeth Hoyt*
Duke of Desire
Maiden Lane
October 17

Eloisa James*
Wilde in Love
The Wildes of Lindow Castle series
October 31

Grace Burrowes
No Other Duke will Do
Windham Brides series
November 7

Janna MacGregor
The Bride who Got Lucky
Cavensham Heiresses series
October 31

Joanna Shupe*
A Daring Arrangement
The Four Hundred series
October 31

Karen Ranney
The Texan Duke
Duke Trilogy series
October 31

Lara Temple
Lord Hunter’s Cinderella Heiress
Wild Lords and Innocent Ladies series
October 17

Lillian Marek
Lord Edward’s Mysterious Treasure
Victorian Adventures series
November 7

Linda Broday
To Marry a Texas Outlaw
Men of Legend series
November 7

Lisa Kleypas
Lorraine Heath
Megan Frampton
Vivienne Lorret
A Christmas to Remember
October 17

Lynna Banning
The Hired Man
October 17

Madeline Martin
Highland Ruse
Mercenary Maidens series
November 14

Mary Balogh
Someone to Wed
A Westcott Novel series
November 7

Nicole Locke
Her Christmas Knight
Lovers and Legends series
October 17

Olivia Drake
The Scandalous Flirt
Cinderella Sisterhood series
October 31

Paula Quinn
The Scot’s Bride
Highland Heirs series
October 31

Sara Portman
The Offer
Brides of Beadwell
October 24

Shana Galen
Third Son’s a Charm
The Survivors series
November 7

Sharon Cullen
Bound to a Spy
All the Queen's Spies series
October 24

Valerie Bowman
The Right Kind of Rogue
Playful Brides series
October 31

Vanessa Kelly
The Highlander’s Princess Bride
Improper Princesses series
October 31

Wilma Counts
My Fair Lord
Once Upon a Bride series
October 17

A Rogue's Downfall by Mary Balogh

September 22, 2107  
Winky-dink Alert
 
http://www.marybalogh.com/
Thank goodness Mary Balogh’s old books are being released again; in this case a bunch of her novellas have been electrified. But this isn’t just a release of a bunch of old books. What Ms. Balogh’s is doing is grouping her novellas together by their themes. The first group of novellas A Rogue’s Downfall is all about our favorite kind of character – the rake. Yes, my little Petunia’s those hot, manly-men who pepper our pages - rakes!

The three short stories in this anthology are: The Anniversary - 1994, The Wrong Door - 1993, and Precious Rogue - 1995. These were quick reads and I enjoyed all three of them, although I did like one better than the other two.

The anthology opens with The Anniversary. This is a story of the Countess of Reardon and her husband, Hugh. The story is all about misunderstandings. Tons of them. Our couple have been separated for a year, they both love each other – however they never actually told each other of that love. Before their quick marriage, they had been drooling over each other from a distance, until one evening, at a ball, under the influence of alcohol, they caved into their passion. A few months later - surprise! His seed has taken root and now they are forced to marry. Hugh is with his wife for the birth of the child, but then they separate. She remains in the country and he returns to London where we are led to believe he resumes his life of dissipation. Well, a year passes and Hugh returns to the country and his wife. As one might imagine this is a pretty angst filled story, maybe not quite made for the short story format. He feels guilty, he calls what they had together rape, although I’m really not sure that's what I’d call it. I would call it two intoxicated people having sex. While I'm not a believer in "the alcohol made me do it," I also don't think there was any force used in their encounter. At least that's my take on it. I know Ms. Balogh has used rape in a few of her early books, but I don't think this one falls into that category. However, whatever one calls it, there is plenty of guilt to go around, plus all the misunderstanding and jump to conclusion moments. Most of the story is about Hugh trying to woo his wife and overcome their misinterpretations of what is really going on. This was an interesting story, the characters were a little hard to like and it would have been better in a longer format.  B-

Next is my favorite story in the bunch, The Wrong Door. Well, it seems as if our intrepid rake, Alistair, is on his way to a rendezvous with a luscious widow when he makes a wrong turn. Oops! He ends up in the room of Caroline Astor, a sweet young thing who also happens to be the host’s daughter. Well, of course they must marry – maybe. Caroline has been in luv with Alistair forever and isn’t really keen on a marriage which is lopsided. There would be nothing worse for her than to be the only one in a relationship who is in love. Through some of Ms. Balogh’s maneuvering Alistair and Caroline enter into a wager on who will fall in love first. Even though you may not believe it, this story was fun and I smiled almost all the way through it. All of this happens over a weekend, but it seemed as if they were together longer. And, Alistair did some wonderful about face movements in this story.  A

The last story in this anthology, Precious Rogue is about Joshua Buchanan. There is no way around this, Joshua is a real rake. He’s not a pretend rake, but a real one – in fact during the party he is attending, he goes to bed with at least three women and is working on a fourth by the end of the story. And, he’s doing all of that while courting another woman. He has no conscious, he doesn’t’ care one thing about the woman he’s courting and he intends to embarrass her and her mother before he leaves. I was a little concerned for his health. He was so realistically written that I just knew his winky-dink was either diseased or ready to fall off. The heroine of this story is Patricia Mangan, but she isn’t the woman Joshua is courting. In fact, she’s none of the women he’s interested in, she is the cousin to the woman he’s courting. She is little more than a drudge to her family. They treat her horribly. She spends her free time in a tree enjoying the peace it gives her. It is during a tryst with another woman under that tree that Joshua fist encounters Patricia.  Joshua and Patricia slowly become friends, which eventually turns into love. Spoiler warning: for all of you fidelity purists, Joshua does not stop his sex-capades once he meets Patricia. He continues on being himself. Patricia on the other hand knows exactly what he’s doing. I thought it was refreshing to have a man continue his dalliances even after he encounters the heroine. It isn’t until he realizes he has grown to love her that he stops. The one thing that made the grade of this story a little lower was the revenge silliness at the end of the story – I didn’t like the path the revenge traveled down.  A-

I do recommend this anthology.
Time/Place: Regency England

Sensuality: Warm



Thursday

Pfffft!

September 14, 2017
Here's my update - three books. Two of the books I will be putting back in my TBR pile - not the third.

I must be getting old. I have discovered that I must not be a big fan of fan-fiction books,
which is what I understand My Fair Baron by Licie Laine is. I read a glowing review on this book and maybe because I was in a weakened mood and really really wanted something to read, I bought it.


I tried. I really tried. I'm always ready to give humongous praise to debut authors, but this story was just not my cup of tea.

It is 1900 England and we have a heroine who is also a novelist. She has just been informed that her brother is dead and in order for her to inherit the estate she must marry. Ok, I can live with that - although it's a stretch. Well, it seems her bestest friend Izzy, who is a Lady, is also a business woman. Not only is she a business woman, she is an underage business woman, an underage unmarried business woman who lives in 1900 England. Not only is she an underage unmarried business woman in 1900 England, she owns a brothel. I can live with that - but it's realllly a stretch. So, she owns a brothel, but she's a good brothel owner, she lets her peeps keep "most" of their money. Seems as if the brothel is a good money maker. Well it seems that Izzy has the perfect match for her friend, our heroine Claire. William. He works for Izzy. He cleans the stables, fixes things and entertains the ladies. He is also a Baron who isn't in society anymore - for some reason.

So, Izzy gets Claire and William together. They are going to pull the wool over society’s eyes and pretend they are a love match so Claire can get her estate. Now, why nobody thought peope wouldn't recognize William is beyond me. Not only is he a male prostitute who caters to the elite, he also at one time was part of society. I was confused, but I could live with it - almost. Izzy has a lot of plans and schemes and I think they are supposed to be funny - but I did not laugh.

I kept on, I tried until...You see there is this horrible gossip-mean-girl and she is gossiping about William when everyone is galloping in the park. In order to divert the gossip Izzy does something to Claire's horse, makes it gallop out of control - becauuussse... William will be forced to rescue Claire and gossip will be diverted. I rubbed my sinuses and put the book aside.

This was just not my type of book. It had the feel of being incomplete and sad to say I could not finish this story, there was just too much stretching of beliefs.

Time/Place: 1900 England
Sensuality: Wouldn't know

The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare

September 7, 2017

"Am I blue
Am I blue
Ain't these tears, in these eyes, telling you"


http://tessadare.com/

I seem to be going through some rough times with my authors and their new books. I have opened a number of them only to find I am not able to finish them. There is just nothing which keeps me turning the pages. So, when I opened up Tessa Dare's latest, The Duchess Deal, I was hopeful. I like Ms. Dare. She usually writes pretty interesting books with light touches throughout. As with Julia Quinn, I know what I'm getting with a Tessa Dare story, but this time it just didn't strike the right chord with me. So, now I'm blue because I'm running out of new books to read.

As I've said a gazillion times, I like to read books with humor and I think that The Duchess Deal was supposed to be funny - but I had a hard time working up any laughs. All the funny moments and the characters in the book were just a little off.

First of all, there is the Duke of Ashbury, aka Ash, and he's blue too. But not because he read this book - no, he's the star of the book. Ash is horribly scarred so he is sulking throughout most of the book. He's mean, nasty, and filled with self-loathing and he is bound and determined to make everyone around him feel blue too. His fiancée took a look at him and ran from the room, breaking the engagement. Her run from his horrible scar also destroyed a ton of his self-esteem - boo-hoo. You've heard of mean drunks; well, Ash is a mean scarred hero, which is why it's hard to work up any sympathy for him. It's also hard to find any humor in the situation and his pity-party lasted way longer than it should.

Then we have Emma. Emma was the best character in the book. Emma accepted changes which most women would not. Emma grabs the bull by the horns, so to speak. She's a seamstress, a mighty fine one, and she's just spent hours and hours on a wedding dress and now the wedding's off. She has not been paid for that dress. She has knocked on the bride’s door - no success. So she barges into the groom’s house and demands payment. Well, what she gets isn't exactly what she thought might happen. You see, Ash is that groom/ex-groom and he has come to the conclusion that any woman will do for a bride. All he's interested in is an heir and now here's this strange woman in a really ugly dress, even though it is crafted well. He offers her a deal: be his wife, have his child, then disappear into the country with said child. Emma weighs her options. She can starve or she can marry a mean-scarred-stranger. She picks the stranger and food.

Even though Emma seems to be a timid person, she starts changing things right away - very subtly. She decides that she may be bedding a stranger but she's also going to make some kind of a life for herself. Now here's some of the problems I had with this story. I never understood how she could so easily fall in love with Ash. I like my angst-filled heroes to have some kind of redeeming quality. There has to be some kind of glimmer of a reason for a heroine to fall in love with him. I just could not see it. He made it hard for anyone to feel sorry for him. He was constantly belittling her and everyone around her. He didn't want her to touch him, didn't want to hear her, didn't want anything to do with her and still she kept coming back for more. I also didn't understand why he needed an heir if all he was going to do was plant his heir in the countryside along with Emma. He had no plans to get to know his child - so why did he need one? He hated the world so much I didn't understand why he should care what happened to his estate once he kicked the bucket. It didn't make any sense.

And, then there were the secondary characters, whom I'm assuming are going to have books of their own. They were just silly and their differences were all outside things - one fixed clocks, one was a scientist-baker, and one saved animals. Hopefully their books will have some character-building.

I don't know. I was just very disappointed in this book. Everything was soooo over the top. The goofy friends, the weird cat, the boo-hoo-I-have-a-scar hero, and the I'm-going-to-save-everyone heroine. I felt the most sympathy for the heroine, but then I didn't understand why she would fall in love with a mean sourpuss. There are other ways to beat someone up besides using a fist, and Ash degraded Emma with his words.

I didn't find the book funny and I was very disappointed in this work. That doesn't mean I will not never read Tessa Dare again, it just means that this book wasn't one of my favorites by her.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Mechanical

Monday

Beauty Like the Night by Joanna Bourne

August 28, 2017

Anti - ci - patiiiioooon

http://www.joannabourne.com/

Sometimes anticipation is a problem. I had been waiting for Joanna Bourne’s Spymaster series to continue. I knew she was writing one which would eventually be named Beauty Like the Night and I was very excited. I consider Ms. Bourne one of the better romance writers around, and her Spymaster series is brilliant. Sadly for me, this book did not live up to my high expectations, excitement, and anticipation. While it was a pleasant, well-written story, I was expecting more.

This story centers on Severine de Cabrillac – the little girl who was adopted by Doyle and Maggie in The Forbidden Rose. Loved that book!

For those of you who didn’t get it, even after reading the name of the series, this series is loaded with spies. Severine is a spy and the man who sneaks into her bedroom is also an undercover guy – sort of. Severine’s midnight intruder is Raoul Deverney. There is a reason Raoul has crept into Severine’s bedroom; he is looking for his daughter, a daughter, by the way, he has never seen. His daughter, Pilar, was a witness to her mother’s murder. So not only do we have spy stuff, we have a child to find and a murder to solve.

Spoilers ahead. Now one might think it is Raoul who does the solving of mysteries, but one would be wrong. No, it is Severine who is the solver of mysteries. She’s an omniscient detective. She has all the brain power of Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, and Miss Marple. She is able to see things by studying dust motes. I had a problem with her smartness. She could tell whether someone had a limp by studying their footsteps but she couldn’t see her stable boy was actually a girl disguised as a boy. The missing Pilar. What kind of super detective is that?

I don’t know. Maybe I have Ms. Bourne on too high of a pedestal because I kept expecting something to happen. Every page I turned, I kept waiting for the shine to come through. If it had been another author, this book would have been fine. The prose was great, it was Ms. Bourne’s standard voice but for me the main could didn’t connect.

I didn’t feel any kind of chemistry between Severine and Raoul and I became irritated by the return of numerous characters from previous books. There also seemed to be an awfully lot going on and I thought the story had too many plots pulling the story in different directions. Those directions were eventually pulled together, but getting there was rather frenetic.

So I’m bummed. I was really looking forward to this story, lurking on the author’s website for updates. But I didn’t feel any chemistry between Severine and Raoul. There were too many scattered things going on, and as a smart detective, Severine failed.

While I’m recommending this book because it’s a part of a series, it isn’t one of Joanna Bourne’s best, and for me it didn’t work.


Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Warm/Hot
 

Friday

Holy Canoli!!!!! Upcoming Historical Romance Releases!! September 15 to Octobwer 14, 2017!!

And, I hear Holiday bells ringing!!

Authors with an asterisk*, I'm picking up! For more Upcoming Releases that aren't historical see HEY DELIA!!  September 15, 2017 to October 14, 2017. By the way, it is not my fault if a publisher changes the release dates - just so you know, they do not consult me.
Alyson McLayne
Highland Promise
The Sons of Gregor MacLeod  series
October 3

Ann Lethbridge
An Innocent Maid for the Duke
The Society of Wicked Gentlemen series
September 19 - paper, October 1 - electronic

Anna Bradley
Lady Charlotte’s First Love
Sutherland Sisters series
October 3
Lauri Robinson
Lynna Banning
Carol Arens
Western Christmas Brides: Baby for Christmas/Miss Christina's Christmas Wish/A Kiss from the Cowboy 

September 19 - paperback, October 1 - electronic

Georgie Lee
Courting Danger with Mr. Dyer
September 19 - paper, October 1 - electronic

Hannah Howell
The Scotsman who Saved Me
Seven Brides/Seven Scotsmen series
September 26

Harper St. George
The Viking Warrior’s Bride
Viking Warriors
September 19 - paper, October 1 - electronic

Janice Preston
Scandal and Miss Markham
The Beauchamp Betrothals series
September 19 - paper, October 1 - electronic

K.J. Charles  
An Unsuitable Heir
Sins of the Cities series
October 3

Karen Hawkins
Caught by the Scot
Made to Marry series
September 19

Katherine Ashe*
The Duke
Devil's Duke series
September 26

Kerrigan Byrne
The Scot Beds His Wife
Victorian Rebels series
October 3

Lisa Kleypas*
Lorraine Heath
Megan Frampton  

Vivienne Lorret
A Christmas to Remember
September 16

Leigh Greenwood
Rosanne Bittner
Linda Broday
Margaret Brownley
Anna Schmidt
Amy Sandas
Christmas in a Cowboy’s Arms
October 3

Mary Jo Putney
Once a Rebel
Rogues Redeemed series
September 27

Mimi Matthews
The Lost Letter
September 19

Sara Portman*
The Reunion
Brides of Beadwell series
September 26

Virginia Heath
His Mistletoe Wager
spinoff - Her Enemy at the Altar
September 19 - paper, October 1 - electronic