Yes! Holy Cannoli! Upcoming Historical Romance Releases!!!

Authors with an asterisk*, I'm picking up! For more Upcoming Releases that aren't historical see HEY DELIA!! April 15, 2017 to May 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.
Amanda Quick  
The Girl Who Knew Too Much
May 9
Anne Gracie
Marry in Haste
Marriage of Convenience series
May 2
Blythe Gifford
Rumors at Court
Royal Weddings series
April 18 - paperback

May 1 - ebook
Bronwyn Scott
Claiming His Defiant Miss
Wallflowers to Wives series

April 18 - paperback
May 1 - ebook
Celeste Bradley
Wedded Bliss
Wicked Worthington series
May 2
Elizabeth Boyle*
Six Impossible Things
Rhymes With Love series
April 25
Georgie Lee
The Secret Marriage Pact
Business of Marriage series

April 18 - paperback
May 1 - ebook
Jane Ashford
Nothing Like a Duke
Duke's Sons series
May 2
Janna MacGregor
The Bad Luck Bride,  debut
Cavensham Heiresses series
May 2
Julia London*   
Hard-Hearted Highlander
Highland Grooms series
April 25
Kimberly Bell
A Ballroom Temptation
Countess Scandals series
April 18 - ebook
Lara Temple   
The Duke's Unexpected Bride

April 18 - paperback
May 1 - ebook
Lenora Bell   
Blame it on the Duke
The Disgraceful Dukes series
April 18
Linda Broday
The Heart of a Texas Cowboy
Men of Legend series
May 2
Tatiana March
The Bride Lottery
Fairfax Brides series

April 18 - paperback
May 1 - ebook
Valerie Bowman  
Never Trust a Pirate
Playful Brides series
May 2
Virginia Heath  
A Warriner to Protect Her
Wild Warriners series

April 18 - paperback
May 1 - ebook


Convenient Proposal to the Lady by Julia Justiss

March 21, 2017
A man with a plan.
Convenient Proposal to the Lady by Julia Justiss is the third book in the Hadley's Hellion series. Having never read the other two in the series, I can safely say this is a standalone novel. Although some of the other characters show up for support, I didn't find them distracting. This story revolves around a marriage of convenience story, a favorite storyline of mine.

This story begins with our hero, Benedict Tawny (irritating surname) trying to save the reputation of Alyssa Lamborne. They have never met, but Benedict has a very strong sense of honor and cannot just sit on his thumbs and do nothing when there is a right to wrong, an orphan to save, and a lady in distress or about to be in distress. And, even though Alyssa doesn't know it, she is in need of rescuing. You see, her brother has stolen the affection of the mistress of our villain Lord Denby. Lord Denby, in a fit of spoiled-brat-male-ego-boo-hoo has devised a plan which encompasses ruining Lady Alyssa. Now, this portion of the plot confused me a little, because neither Alyssa's brother or father seem to care about anything related to Alyssa. So, I didn't buy into the Denby ruination plan, but hey, something was required to bring Benedict and Alyssa together.

Anyway, Benedict gets pulled into the plotting of Alyssa's downfall and feels that he must save her. Benedict is a great protector of women. He is the illegitimate son of an aristocrat and has always felt the stigma of that status. He has also watched his mother’s pain through the years, which is why he will do most anything to protect people who are powerless within the society they reside. Jumping on his trusty steed, Benedict is off to the country to warn Lady Alyssa of Denby's nefarious plot.

Amazing coincidences. Ok, here is the set-up. Benedict is riding along on his horse, through the country-side, looking for his damsel in distress. The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and the leaves are lazily fluttering in the breeze. What ho! Who’s that Benedict spots peacefully sketching on her Etch-a-Sketch? In the country side - the same path Benedict is on. Why, it's Alyssa, the woman Benedict is going to save from ruin. What a coincidence! Was this moment irritating? You betcha, but I rose above it. I accepted it. I moved on.

Benedict quickly introduces himself to Alyssa and explains to her why he is looking for her. In another moment of peculiar storytelling Alyssa believes him. She's never met this guy - oh sure, she's heard about him, but she doesn't know him. His whole story is a little suspect, but she believes him almost immediately. In fact, based on his warning, she devises a comeuppance for Denby and his cohorts. Now, supposedly Alyssa was a shy person, but her brilliant idea isn't something a shy person could carry out. It would require her to actually talk and flirt with men. Let's be real here. If there is anyone out there who is shy or ever been around someone who is shy they will know that most people are not enchanted by the scintillating conversation of a bashful person. I know what I'm talking about here. I've had more people walk away from me at parties than I care to admit. And, it's not because I smell. I am an introvert, always have been and I've seen those male eyes glaze over because my words don't work themselves down the brain-tube to my mouth. Nothing scares a man more than to be left standing all alone with a shy woman. You can see the sweat dripping down the back of their necks. So, for a "shy" person like Alyssa to turn into a femme fatale, flirt, charm, show her dimples and entice the villain was a real stretch for me to believe. However, I accepted it. I moved on.

Much to Alyssa's surprise, her silly plan works - it works too well. Denby is humiliated. But that isn't the end of the story. Denby must now have revenge on Alyssa. His revenge works a lot better than Alyssa's did and it isn't long before Alyssa and Benedict find themselves in a compromising position. They are forced to marry. Then more silliness appears on the scene because Alyssa decides that she cannot consummate the marriage because she will fall in love with Benedict if she does. And, she wants to be free, free, free, to pursue her art. He loves her, but doesn't know it and she doesn't want to burden him with falling in love. I did not move on from this love burden routine.

Even though I was less than thrilled with the chance meeting at the beginning of the book, I was intrigued with the characters. But then it degenerated into a story of two people who love each other, but won't tell the other one. She's too good for the illegitimate guy and he's so wonderful she just cannot let herself fall in love with him. Convenient Proposal to the Lady was an ok read, but it wasn't something that I will remember in years to come.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Warm


Sinful Scottish Laird by Julia London

March 10, 2017
What happened?

I must ask myself - was I in a bad mood when I read Sinful Scottish Laird? I examined myself. I wasn't in a bad mood, nothing was going on in my life; I wasn't mad at anyone, my feelings were not hurt, I was not depressed, feeling blue, filled with angst or boo-hooing. For whatever reason, I have once again found myself in the minority position of not liking a book everyone else seems to be crazy about. Let me be a little bit more explicit; this book was almost a DNF for me. I said almost. Here are some of the reason's it didn't become a DNF: Julia London is one of my auto-buy authors and I have great respect for her writing. I also like the relationship between our hero Cailean and our heroine’s son Ellis. I liked the first book in the series, Wild Wicked Scot, very much and was hoping, hoping, hoping as I turned each page in Sinful Scottish Laird that somehow, something would save it. By the time I reached page 122 (out of 248), I knew my wish was not to be. But, through dogged determination I slogged through the entire book.

Here are some of my issues with this book - where to begin? Where to begin? Let's start with Arran MacKenzie, the father of our hero and the hero of the previous book Wild Wicked Scot. This is an "all about me" moment. When my romance heroes age, they better age well. If they have aches, pains and can barely stand I have a problem. I have never been a big fan of watching my book heroes disintegrate. I don't like heroes who I have formed an attachment to moan, groan and start knocking on deaths doorway. They need to be spry, energetic and still have that twinkle in their eyes or eye (they may have been a pirate). If they are struggling physically, then we are crossing the line into a different sub-genre of a sub-genre of a genre. In order to do that, the writing better be superb or it won't work. Sure, sure, back in the good old days of the bodice rippers, a number of our heroes bit the dust and the heroines moved on to other men - lots of men. But I wasn't a fan of those books either. Of course Arran doesn't die in this one, but he was struggling so hard I had to make sure he was the hero of the last book. It was depressing.

But with all of that one of my biggest issue in this book was with Daisy Bristol, our heroine. Daisy - PpppBbbtt!! What an unlikeable frustrating woman. I'm not sure what the author was trying to do with her. While I'm a big fan of strong women in romance books, I'm really not a fan of heroines portrayed as sluttish teases. Yes, I know how most of us feel about romance widows who don't partake of any humpidy-doo or don't scratch that widowhood itch, ever! Daisy just didn't have any constancy when it came to her urges. It seemed to me that any old "pole" in the storm would have been good enough for her. Oh sure, Cailean was the main heart beater, flush creator, throb-maker, but she wasn't above rolling shoulders at other men. All of this while she was waiting for the man from her past who supposedly she loved. That would be Robert Spivey an English Navy officer. Remember we are in Scotland in the tumultuous 1700s. Incidentally, Daisy tries to seduce Robert - tongue in mouth, hands moving up thighs - so it's more than just an eyelash flutter.

Another of my concerns. It seems that Daisy's dead husband stipulated in his will that unless she married within three years of his death, she would lose their sons inheritance. What does that mean? I didn't get it. Does that mean the son would be walking the streets begging? Would this have even been legal? Her husband was a Viscount, so we are talking inherited stuff here. I don't know if any of this would have been legal having never studied English inheritance laws of the 18th century. Wouldn't there have been some kind of a guardian for the underage viscount? It's Ellis' money, not Daisy's so none of this stipulation thing made any sense. Plus the fortune hunting men who were sniffing around Daisy added to my confusion. It was not her money! This whole business was a huge distraction for me. I felt as if I was missing something; it just didn't make any sense.

The wonderful dynamics of Wild Wicked Scot were missing in this book. I kept waiting for something to happen, and that doesn't mean a villain needs to jump out of the pages. No I found myself waiting for some chemistry between Daisy and Cailean to appear in front of my eyes. Much to my chagrin, nothing ever happened. He was a cardboard character and she was just a tease.

Belinda. Not even the secondary character of Belinda could save this story. In fact, I was not able to understand whether she was supposed to be funny, mean or unhinged.

The only thing that saved this book from the wall was nine year old Ellis and his relationship with Cailean. Ellis was a well-developed character. He begins as a coddled, scared little child who hides behind his mother’s skirt and slowly changes into a laughing knee-scraping boy. This transformation is due to the tender guiding hand of Cailean. Their relationship was so special I even felt a tear forming when Ellis was forced to go to London with Daisy. I just wish the rest of the book had been as good.

Bottom line. I was disappointed in the second in the Highland Grooms series. I disliked the fickle, tease Daisy immensely. Cailean was a cardboard hero and I felt like a gerbil in one of those round exercise wheels - reading, reading, reading and never getting anywhere.

Time/Place: 1700s Scotland
Sensuality: no chemistry
Overall Book:


Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas

March 10, 2017
“How could I be this at ease with him?
Pour out my heart as I please with him?
He isn't you...He isn't you...”
  Burton Lane and Alan Jay Lerner
Remember wonderful Sebastian from Devil in Winter? Well, here's his son Gabriel, and he
isn't him. While this isn't as good as the wonderful Devil in Winter, it is a nice try. For me there were a number of things this story had going against it. First of all, it's a Lisa Kleypas and my expectations for Ms. Kleypas are always a tad bit higher than the ones I set for other authors. On top of that, this is about Gabriel, Sebastian's son, and he has a lot to live up to. I feel for him; it's not easy being the son of one of Romanceland top heroes. The magic Sebastian brought us in Devil in Winter is missing in this story. Then there is Pandora.

Pandora is our heroine, and in my opinion she steals the show. I don't think there will be a middle road with this character - either you're going to love her or she's going to get on all of your nerves. Let's see if I can find the words to describe her - peppy and irresistible. Yep, peppy. I think she would probably just roll right over most heroes and in Gabriel's case she does. She is an irresistible force and she was my favorite character in this book. Because she is sooooo adorable it's no wonder Gabriel loses his heart pretty quickly after being caught in a compromising position with her.

While I liked this book, I did have the feeling that Ms. Kleypas may have taken the easy way out and thrown in some danger instead of letting the characters drive the story. The story had the feel of being rushed. Was this from an editor chopping pages out or was Ms. Kleypas still in her contemporary mind-mode? Maybe there wasn't any race to the end. Maybe I just imagined it, but what could have been a great book missed the mark just a little. Pandora was a wonderful character, but Gabriel was almost a shadow, a cardboard personality. We don't really get to know Gabriel, we aren't given enough time inside his brain. What makes him tick? Why does he consider his sexual urges dark? He's Sebastian's son after all, didn't he ever talk to his father about quirky stuff? Anyway, for me his "dark side" didn't add anything to the storyline. Personally, I don't like to feel manipulated or titillated by adding little shades of gray or bondage-trust issues. Unless it's some kind of major issue with one of the characters in the story, I don't see the necessity of adding the tie-my-hands-behind-my-back scenes.  Maybe Gabriel’s supposed dark urges were added because he lacked the skin-tingling aura of most of Kleypas' heroes. For me he is the weak part of this story.

Pandora is vivid while Gabriel is flat; they do not balance each other out and that for me is what counts in a romance book. It's not that I didn't like this book; I did. But, it was not one of Lisa Kleypas' best efforts. It had a rushed feel to it or it didn't seem long enough or there wasn't enough character building (especially with Gabriel). It started off great. Pandora and Gabriel's meeting in the very beginning had me rubbing my hands together in glee. But somewhere along the way the momentum was lost.

I give Devil in Spring a weak recommendation.

Time/Place: 1876 England
Sensuality: Meh


P.S. Hey - art department! I'm growing weary of modern wedding dresses being used on the covers of historical books. Someone is taking the easy way out. I know you have access to the "real" fashions of the day.


Duke of my Heart, A Duke to Remember and Between the Devil and the Duke by Kelly Bowen

February 27, 2017
Huzzah! I'm impressed!

Recently I read a great review on In Between the Devil and the Duke by Kelly Bowen. I thought "ummm, I believe I've purchased some of her books in the past, but haven't read them. This sounds like one I should check out." So I did. It didn't take me long to realize I had a really interesting story on my hands. As luck would have it, this book was the third in a series of three (that would be a trilogy for those following along). That would also explain some of the dark looks being exchanged by the men in this story, which I had no idea why they were being exchanged. Some of those looks were downright murderous. After a few "should I buy the other two books" moments I decided the only way for me to find out what the glacial looks were about was to get the other two books in the series. Joy, oh joy, oh rapture! Turns out Kelly Bowen has written a fantastic series in Season for Scandal. What a breath of fresh air these three books turned out to be. I think I can place this series in amongst my other favorites. I haven't really decided which one of the books was my favorite. They are all filled with ultra-strong women and men who aren't afraid of those women being strong. I was enthralled with all three books.

Let's take a closer look. Warning: unlike me, I suggest you read these books in order. First is Duke of My Heart. In this book we are introduced to Chegarre and Associates. This
organization is a fixer-upper place. A place one would go to hide a body or find a missing heir; a place which doesn't leave any traces behind of anything. The person who runs this place is a Miss Ivory Moore (at least that's who we are told she is). But this book is full of mysteries and things that aren't what they seem and people who aren't who they are (or something like that).

The story opens with Maximus Harcourt, the Duke of Alderidge, returning home after years of absence, sailing the seas and ignoring his sister. Well, Max is in for a surprise. Instead of finding his young sister, he finds the Earl of Debarry naked, tied to his sister's bed - and by the way Debarry is dead. Instead of his sister being there, he also finds a couple of women investigating the scene, one of them being Miss Moore and the other being Elise deVries. Before he can even ask "Hey, who are you?" he is swept away by the machinations of Miss Moore. Now, because Max is an alpha male and Ivory is a take charge woman, heads immediately butt. There is an almost constant struggle between these two. But it's a fun struggle to watch.

In fact there is more than just the struggle between the two combatants. There is also a struggle inside both Max and Ivory. As they circle each other and step on each other’s toes, they are also forced to give in. They both learn to accept help from the other. They each let go of some of their controls and in the end form a delightful partnership.

Of course there were some wonderful secondary characters. Some show up in all three books and some don't. But all of the characters are well-rounded and well thought out. If I had any quibbles with this story it would have to be the modern feel of the language and thoughts throughout. But, hey I am a big fan of Julia Quinn and I like the book, so I learned to live with the anachronisms. The other little quibble was the ending seemed rather abrupt, I think I like to see a bucolic family scene in my last chapters.

On to the second book in the series: A Duke to Remember. Like the first book, the opening scene hooks one in right away. This one starts in Bedlam and our heroine is disguised as a male doctor. Elise deVries works for Chegarre and Associates. She is a tracker, she finds things. She is almost a super-hero, she's so perfect. Not only is Elise the best tracker in the whole world, but the best shooter, best actress, and best disguiser ever! She's almost toooo perfect and I might have found that a little irritating, except she has no control over her feelings for our hero so there was a balance.

Our hero is Noah Ellery and he happens to be a manly-man beta hero. He is also in hiding. He is also a duke. When he was a child he didn't talk, so at the age of 10 Noah's father committed him to Bedlam and told everyone that Noah was dead. There are only two people who know that Noah is alive: his sister and his mother. Well, his mother makes the mistake of saying Noah is alive to the wrong person. That person is our villain Francis Ellery. Francis is Noah's cousin and is deep in debt and he needs money now. Francis also wants to be a duke, so he has Noah's mother committed to Bedlam - because everyone knows Noah is dead and here is this looney woman saying he's alive. Remember, this is a time period when women were not really listened to. And, that leads us back to Bedlam and Elise pretending to be a doctor.

Elise has been hired by Noah's sister to find Noah. And, that's just what she does - pretty easily. Actually, this is a pretty simple story and everything is solved fairly easily. But it's still a powerful tale, because both Elise and Noah are pretty complex people. This is sort of a story of two people in love adjusting to each other and not struggling too hard to do so. There is no misunderstanding, no betrayal, not many secrets that remain secrets - there is just growing, and accepting. It's really a lovely love story.

My quibbles: Once again the ending was abrupt, the language modern. There was also a whole cast of village people who are left behind (bye - see ya - I'm a duke now) with no chapter to sum everything up. I guess they went to the Island of Abandoned Secondary Characters. Still this was a wonderful story and I highly recommend it.

Now for the third book in the series, In Between the Devil and the Duke. This is the one I read first and the one which caused me to read the other two. In this one we have Angelique Archer, who is not employed at Chegarre and Associates, but boy oh boy can she count. Our hero is Alexander Lavoie who is a partner in Chegarre and Associates and also the brother of Elise deVries.

It just so happens that Alex owns a gambling establishment. Guess who's counting cards - go ahead, guess. If you guessed Angelique you'd be right. She has visited his gambling den a number of nights, incognito, and she doesn't think anyone has noticed her. But, Alex has been covertly watching her every night she's been there. He hasn't done anything about it, because he suspects she's in desperate straits. When Angelique is accosted by an inebriated sore-loser, Alex steps in. There are immediate sparks between Angelique and Alex. You know, I noticed a pattern in all three of the books: when our pairs met there is never any question of anyone else. Their focus is on the other.

Because Ms. Bowen does not write misunderstandings in her books, Alex and Angelique join forces right away to find out who is blackmailing her. While I was reading this story, I was just as fascinated with the mystery part of it as I was with the romance. There is murder, blackmail, mayhem, and possible villains galore. I had my suspicions early on as to who the culprit was and I was partially correct, but Ms. Bowen threw in a little surprise - and I'm not going to tell you!

In closing, I have the same thing to say about this book as I did the others. It's a good thing I liked them, because if I hadn't the modern thought processes and slang would have really irritated me. And, Ms. Bowen - you really need to work on your epilogues. Having said that, I highly recommend the entire Season for Scandal series. That includes Duke of My Heart, A Duke to Remember, In Between the Devil and the Duke. They are a real treat.

For All Three:
Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Hot

Can I Hear a Holy Cannoli? Upcoming Historical Romances!!!

Authors with an asterisk*, I'm picking up! For more Upcoming Releases that aren't historical see HEY DELIA!! March 15, 2017 to April 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.

Alyssa Cole
An Extraordinary Union
Loyal League series
March 28
Anna Bennett
I Dared the Duke
Wayward Wallflowers series
April 4
Diane Gaston
Bound by Their Secret Passion
March 21 - paperback, April 1 - ebook
Ella Quinn
It Started with a Kiss
Worthingtons series
March 28
Greta Gilbert
The Spaniard’s Innocent Maiden
March 21 - paperback, April 1 - ebook
Juliet Landon
Captive of the Viking
March 21 - paperback, April 1 - ebook
Karen Ranney*
The English Duke
Duke series
March 29
Laura Lee Guhrke*
The Truth About Love and Dukes
Dear Lady Truelove series
March 28
Lauri Robinson
The Cowboy’s Orphan Bride
March 21 - paperback, April 1 - ebook
Liz Tyner
The Wallflower Duchess
March 21 - paperback, April 1 - ebook
Lisa Berne
You May Kiss the Bride
Penhallow Dynasty series
March 28
Marguerite Kaye
Claiming His Desert Princess
Hot Arabian Nights series
March 21 - paperback, April 1 - ebook
Suzanne Enoch*
My One True Highlander
No Ordinary Hero series
April 4


Schooling the Viscount by Maggie Robinson

February 15, 2017
"Your silvery beams will bring love dreams, we'll be cuddling soon,
By the silvery moon."
Edward Madden, Gus Edwards - 1909

Seeing as how I read mostly historicals, it's been awhile since I've read a Maggie Robinson book (2015 to be exact). Was the wait worth it? Sort of. While this book was decent, I had an overriding sense of agitation throughout the book. Try as I might I could not shake it. So, this agitation caused me not to enjoy this book as much as I wanted to. Let's examine this story.

Captain Lord Henry Challoner has returned from the Boar War with some issues. Physically, he was shot in the foot and lost hearing in one ear from being too close to a cannon. But he's suffering from some major psychological issues and has turned to alcohol, drugs, and women for the solution. Well, his controlling father has decided to put a stop to his son's actions and has him bundled off to a "rehabilitation center" for some "rest." That sentence is actually pretty gentle compared to what actually happens in the book. The place he is sent to is a small village in Cotswold called Puddling-on-the-Wold and while that may seem charming, it is anything but.

At some time during this village's past, it was decided by a "council" that they could make money catering to the "problems" of the wealthy. They take on one client at a time. The whole village transforms itself in order to fix the problem - whatever it may be. For instance, one of the village's previous clients was about to be married and had a weight problem. So the village closed anything to do with food, like the local bakery, and also restricted what the villagers could cook just in case the smell carried to the client. In Henry's case, alcohol vanished and nubile women were hidden away. He was also restricted as to where he could take his walks. It is during one of these walks when he decides to go a different way and stumbles across our heroine, Rachel.

Rachel is the local schoolteacher and she like everyone else in the village must abide by the rules. She seems to have had some problems with the "people who make the rules." And, now she is faced with the village's new client who isn't supposed to be anywhere near her. Another rule for which she will get in trouble. She doesn't want to break any more of the rules because she and her invalid father depend on the money the village rakes in. But she finds Henry to be irresistible from the beginning, so she knows she's in trouble.

There is a mix of humor and drama throughout the entire book. It should have been a pleasant read, but I had this nagging voice in my head all the way through. Our hero is 25 years old, and was a soldier for 6 years. He has his own financial independence, he is an adult. So, how come his father could just bundle him up and dump him in this village? I don't know the legal system of England in the late 1880s but I suspect for a father to do this to an adult male wouldn't be entirely lawful. Even if it was lawful, I would guess there would have to be some pretty fancy legal foot-work that would have had to be done by the father. So, this bothered me. But that wasn't the only thing. Even if I didn't question the legalities of this plotline set-up, I questioned why a 25-year-old alpha male would put up with being incarcerated in the village. This part of Henry's character weakened the story for me. While he may have whined about being there, he made no attempt to escape and I found it hard to accept that. There was a black cloud hanging over my head through the entire story - why wasn't Henry doing something about his situation?

There was also a "what the crap" moment. Let's set this up: Rachel is really quite attracted to Henry. She's allll tingly and her woman-parts are wet and throbbing all the time because of Henry. But, she knows she can't do anything about it because someone in the village might see them. So, what does she do to ease her suffering? Well, she goes outside, under the moonlight, in plain sight, and pleasures herself - loudly. Of course Henry stumbles across her doing this and his Timothy Toad becomes an erection set. Really! Outside! Under the bright moon! This was a very silly scene.

This is the first book in a series called Cotswold Confidential. I'm sorry to say that this story didn't work for me. I was toooo irritated with the way the hero was written to be able to relax and enjoy the story. He was an adult male, who was represented as being self-reliant, except he lets his father ship him off to this weird Twilight Zone village. I didn't get it.

Time/Place: England 1880s
Sensuality: Hot