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All posts for the month October, 2015

Falling Into Bed with a Duke book review

Published October 28, 2015 by francesothomas

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Falling Into Bed with a Duke by Lorraine Heath has a couple of plot devices that could have lapsed into kinky in the hands of a lesser writer. Minerva, the heroine, visits a private club concealed by a mask for the express purpose of losing her virginity while Ashe, the hero, frequents the same place because it gives him the opportunity to take photos of ladies’ legs. Have I unwittingly stumbled into the wrong century?

This book is the first of Heath’s new series, Hellions of Havisham. Ashe and two other boys were left in the care of the Marquess of Marsden after a tragedy touched their young lives. They grow up in Havisham Hall as pseudo-brothers along with Havisham’s own son. As men, they have earned the title of hellions since they do what they wish without censure from society. They are given a pass on their misbehavior out of sympathy for what occurred in their past. Besides, they are all so very handsome.

Minerva, on the other hand, doesn’t get any sympathy from society. She is well on her way to spinsterhood. Men are interested only in her very hefty dowry and can’t seem to see beyond her straightforward ways and plain face to the vibrant woman beneath. She’s washed her hands of the idea of marriage but wants to find out just once what it’s like to be desired.

This unlikely pair in the unlikely setting click immediately, of course. I’m looking forward to Books Two, Three, and Four.

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LORRAINE HEATH credit Kayla Marie Photography

About LORRAINE HEATH

Lorraine Heath always dreamed of being a writer. After graduating from the University of Texas, she wrote training manuals, press releases, articles, and computer code, but something was always missing. When she read a romance novel, she not only became hooked on the genre, but quickly realized what her writing lacked: rebels, scoundrels, and rogues. She’s been writing about them ever since. Her work has been recognized with numerous industry awards, including RWA’s prestigious RITA. Her novels have appeared on the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists.

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Cover Reveals for Christina Dodd’s Governess Re-releases

Published October 26, 2015 by francesothomas

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“I have a confession. In a former life, I was a poor but proud Victorian governess. That’s the only obvious explanation for my obsession with governess stories.

I’ve read and re-read Jane Eyre and always fiercely wanted to be like Jane — proud, independent, clever and the winner of a noble (and rich) man’s heart.

I’ve seen “The Sound of Music” innumerable times and each time I’m swept up in the magnificent scenery, the thrilling music and the story of the poor but feisty governess who captures the noble (and rich) man’s heart.

For me, there’s something eternally enticing about the tale of a woman who endures personal hardship, tames unruly children, and at the same time finds, to her surprise, that she is irresistible to the master of the house. These women are seldom beautiful, not necessarily well-born, and actively resist love’s allure. Yet love in the shape of a tall, dark and autocratic gentleman finds them, captures them, and by the end of the story they are wed to that nobleman and enjoying all the advantages of wealth, privilege and the best sex in the world.

The Governess Brides series begins when Distinguished Academy of Governesses opens its doors to train young women for respectable occupations:

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Unfortunately, in RULES OF SURRENDER, Miss Charlotte Dalrumple discovers her first position is to teach Lord Wynter Ruskin, sadly uncivilized by his travels abroad, to take his proper place in society. Hint: it doesn’t go well.

 

 

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In RULES OF ENGAGEMENT, because of his unrepentantly disreputable ways, the Earl of Kerrich is in trouble with the queen. His solution: hire a governess and obtain an orphan to raise. That will make him appear respectable. Trouble: the kid is charming, he’s falling in love with the unattractive governess … but other than that, what could go wrong? … Oh, so much.

 

 

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In RULES OF ATTRACTION, Miss Hannah Setterington travels far into the lonely English countryside to take a new position and hears rumors that the master killed his beautiful young wife. Could any situation be worse? Yes, it could, for she knows the rumors are not true … because she is his runaway wife.

With eleven full-length books and one novella, the Governess Brides is my longest-running and most-popular historical series (six of the titles are on the Goodreads List of Best Governess Romances.) So when Avon Books announced they would repackage the books to introduce them to a new audience, and showed me the concepts, those compelling heroes with their direct gazes drew me at once into the stories.  I promptly sat down with the Rules books to reacquaint myself with the characters and stories and — guess what? I ended up reading them from beginning to end and living, laughing and falling in love along with my governess heroines. I’ve always said I write the books I want to read. I hope you read and enjoy the Governess Brides, too!”

 

New York Times bestselling author Christina Dodd builds worlds filled with suspense, romance and adventure and creates the most distinctive characters in fiction today. Her fifty+ novels — suspense, paranormals, and historicals — have been translated into twenty-five languages, won Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart and RITA Awards and been called the year’s best by Booklist. Dodd herself has been a clue in the Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle — her mother was totally impressed. With more than twenty-five million of her books in print and eBook, her legions of fans always know that when they pick up a Christina Dodd book, they’ve found, “an absolute thrill ride of a book!”

 

Enter Christina’s worlds at ChristinaDodd.com and join her free mailing list for book news and sales.

Only a Kiss book review

Published October 21, 2015 by francesothomas

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I haven’t read any books by Mary Balogh lately, and I don’t really know why that is. I have always liked her work. I’m glad I happened on her latest Only a Kiss and will not be so remiss in the future.

Percy is the poster boy for dissolute man about town, too rich and far too handsome for his own good. He is so bored he decides to hie himself off to Cornwall to see for the first time the estate he inherited two years back.

He finds the house is not in the disrepair he assumed although it is rather overrun by every stray cat and dog in the neighborhood. He also finds Imogen, the widow of the man who should have become the earl, had he survived the Napoleonic Wars. His internal monologues are both charming and very revealing.

Has Balogh been watching Poldark redux as I have? Mayhaps, since the plot also includes smuggling which seems to be a cottage industry in Cornwall. But I digress.

Imogen is a member of the otherwise male Survivors’ Club. Eventually, we and Percy find out why. And it’s not at all what one would assume.

The supporting cast is filled with well-drawn characters—townspeople, lots of family, and finally the other “Survivors.”

I’ll be waiting eagerly for the final book of this series, Only Beloved, due out in May 2016.

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Willow Brook Road book review

Published October 14, 2015 by francesothomas

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Willow Brook Road is the latest book in Sherryl Woods’ Chesapeake Shores series. Technically, it is a stand-alone; however, so many characters make an appearance that having some knowledge of prior books helps keep it all straight. Fortunately, I have read (and enjoyed) a couple of the earlier novels.

As I’ve written before, I love stories set in small towns. The everybody-knows-everybody’s–business dynamic is particularly pronounced in this one since most of the town belongs to one family.

Carrie is the granddaughter of the town patriarch. She’s been jetting around Europe as the assistant/girlfriend of a fashion designer. When that relationship falls apart, she returns home at loose ends. What will she do with her life now besides babysit all the small children in her extended family?

While she’s trying to decide, a stranger in town crosses her path. Sam has been given custody of his late sister’s son.  His carefree bachelor existence is over.

It’s not much of a stretch to see that these two will get together. A side plot involving another family member keeps the plot from being too saccharine.

According to Woods’ web site, Chesapeake Shores is being made into a Hallmark Channel movie. Should be a winner.

The Indispensable Wife book release tour

Published October 14, 2015 by francesothomas

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New Uses for Old Boyfriends book review

Published October 7, 2015 by francesothomas

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I cannot resist a book written by an author with a sense of humor. New Uses for Old Boyfriends by Beth Kendrick fills my requirement beautifully.

I am also a devotee of home shopping networks, so I was amused that this book’s heroine Lila  has lost her job selling merchandise late at night that nobody really needs. She’s been dumped not only by the network but also by her husband.

When she comes home to Black Dog Bay, Delaware, she finds her mother’s life and finances are also in a shambles. The mother-daughter interactions as they join forces are delightful. Their solution is to start a resale shop for couture clothes. Unlike me, Kendrick is too young to remember such things as Rudi Gernreich’s infamous monokini, so she must have done an enormous amount of research. The descriptions of the clothing, like the clothing itself, are to die for.

Lila’s romantic plan is to hook up with her high school boyfriend. But first she needs to find a seamstress worthy to repair the vintage dresses. Who could guess that an ex-Marine possesses those skills. Oh, and he went to high school with Lila too.  She can’t quite place him, but he remembers her well. Very well.

I loved the town and the cast of characters. This book is part of a series. I’ll be looking for the others.

Have you ever tried to re-kindle a romance?

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The King’s Man book review

Published October 2, 2015 by francesothomas

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Alison Stuart did an enormous amount of research for The King’s Man, part two of her trilogy Guardians of the Crown. Intrigue is everywhere as men plot to overthrow Oliver Cromwell and return King Charles to the throne of England.

Unless you were very rich, Mid-17th Century London was not a pleasant place to live. Filth and danger abounded. Stuart paints a grim picture of day-to-day life. And things can always get worse. When her leading characters, Thamsine and Kit, are locked up in the Tower, you can feel the despair as the walls close in and the door slams shut.

Had he been born a couple centuries later, Kit would be wearing a leather jacket and tattoos. His manipulating and betraying friends are not pretty qualities. Yet he has reasons for what he does.

Thamsine has run away from a life of relative ease to escape a really nasty guardian/prospective groom. When we meet her, she has never so much as peeled a carrot. But by the end of the book, she has grown into a confident, decisive woman. Even after being subjected to so much evil, she manages to retain her compassion.

If you are a Masterpiece Theater kind of person, you will be riveted by the complicated plot. Stuart throws one obstacle after another in front of the lovers that they must have the strength to overcome to reach their happily ever after.

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