ONCE A RAKE, ALWAYS A ROGUE by Catherine Stein – Release Day Review & Giveaway

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Happy Release Day to Catherine Stein’s Once a Rake, Always a Rogue, the third book from her Potions and Passions series.

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He’s mended his ways.

Dr. Ernest Montford has left behind his rakish youth for a respectable life mixing medicinal potions and helping patients. So when his best friend’s sister is threatened with incarceration in an asylum, he rushes to help. But Lady Astrid Wembley isn’t keen to heed Monte’s medical advice. Worse, she’s part of his wild past: the mysterious girl he could never forget.

But the woman he can’t forget…

Astrid has fond memories of her long-ago passionate encounter on the beach. Unfortunately, the Monte who kissed her so thoroughly that day shows little resemblance to the stuffy, abstemious doctor with absurd health advice. Still, she has little choice but to put up with him until her sanity is proven and she can return to her life of scientific study.

Might be his undoing.

Dangerous potions and unethical experiments await Astrid if she fails, and only with Monte’s help can she expose the true horrors of the asylum and thwart the plans of the men controlling it. But the longer Astrid and Monte are together, the more their old passion sparks, and the more she longs to unleash the rogue that still lurks inside him.

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Buy links: 

Books2read      Amazon      Google Play      Kobo     Barnes and Noble     Indiebound

 

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A long silence passed between them before Lady Astrid sighed.

“Very well. I shall practice my social niceties. Lovely to see you, Dr. Montford. How are you this morning?”

Hungover and lustful.

“Very well, thank you.”

“What are those peculiar little cakes on your plate?”

Monte glanced down at the small round cakes. The cook had done a masterful job, making them perfect circles of a lovely dark-brown color. “Bran loaves. I eat them every morning. Your cook was kind enough to make a batch for me.”

“How curious. May I try one?”

“Certainly.” He sliced off a small bite and transferred it to her plate. “You would do well to eat them, yourself. They are most healthful.”

She chewed her bite slowly, and her nose wrinkled in distaste. “Ugh. It’s like eating paper.”

“The rich foods you’ve eaten of late have no doubt overstimulated your palate. I assure you, if you were to eat them every morning as I do, you would find them appetizing.”

“I doubt that.”

Monte sipped his tea. It was as strong as he’d hoped. “The bran loaves stimulate healthful digestion and do not overset the stomach. This allows both the body and mind to begin the day in a restive state. Unlike your cheese, which may well cause dyspepsia when ingested so early in the morning.”

Astrid’s brow furrowed, but her tone remained even, “I’m very fond of cheese.”

“I never eat cheese,” Monte explained. “Nor do I adulterate my tea with milk. It adds an unnecessary richness and dilutes the beneficial properties of the beverage.”

“How unpatriotic of you.”

Was she mocking him again?

“What do you eat, Dr. Montford? Other than your revolting little cakes, I mean.”

“Vegetables.”

She gave him a skeptical arch of her brow once more. “Vegetables.”

“Yes.”

There was a distinct lack of vegetables at the breakfast table this morning. Dinner had provided only a few withered specimens with most of the nutrition boiled out of them.

“Nothing else? You did eat some of the chicken last night, though you avoided the sauce.”

“Moderate portions of meat. Nuts and beans. But primarily vegetables.”

“No fruits?”

“Rarely.”

“That’s a pity. I love fruit. There’s nothing quite like biting into a perfectly ripe apple, don’t you think? It floods one’s mouth with that crisp, juicy taste. So sweet, with just the right tart bite.”

Monte swallowed a groan. Now he was fixated on her mouth again. He gulped his tea to prevent himself saying anything he would later regret.

Astrid hopped from her seat, forcing him to set down the cup and rise.

“It was interesting chatting with you in a civil manner, Dr. Montford,” she said. “I must go and prepare for our journey. Enjoy your tasteless breakfast.”

He nodded and watched her leave before resuming his seat and pouring himself another cup of tea. He wished it were a good, strong whisky.

“Cal, you bastard,” he muttered. “You haven’t just asked for a favor. You’ve asked me to do the impossible.”

 

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Catherine Stein

Award-winning author Catherine Stein believes that everyone deserves love and that Happily Ever After has the power to help, to heal, and to comfort. She writes sassy, sexy romance set during the Victorian and Edwardian eras and full of action, adventure, magic, and fantastic technologies.

Catherine lives in Michigan with her husband and three rambunctious girls. She loves steampunk and oxford commas, and can often be found dressed in clothing that was purchased at a Renaissance Festival, drinking copious amounts of tea.

Follow Catherine here: 

Facebook page        Facebook group        Twitter        Instagram        Pinterest               Bookbub        Goodreads        Amazon        Book + Main        Newsletter

 

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Catherine Stein’s books are auto-buys for me because they never fail to entertain and educate at the same time.  Her latest release Once a Rake, Always a Rogue brings an enhanced element of humor that, in addition to fascinating characters, fast-paced action, and expected competence porn, made reading it a delightful diversion. These days, when there’s still no antidote to the global medical crisis we’re facing, a potion comprised of those elements of great writing could be just what we need to get us through days and weeks of social distancing.

From their titillating first encounter, Astrid and Monte captivated my attention. Their witty and snappy banter incited hilarity which made me thankful I read it at home. Their expertise in their respective fields provided interesting information I didn’t expect to learn from a romance novel.  Both have likable, engaging personalities that make it easy to root for their happy ever after.

All that lightness doesn’t mean there is no depth to this book. On the contrary. Once a Rake, Always a Rogue touched on issues of female empowerment,  body positivity, interracial relationships, and patriarchy in a manner that is natural and integral to the story and not at all forced or preachy.

Funny, steamy, instructive, utterly enjoyable. Another five-star read.

5 stars

 

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FOR THE LOVE OF YOU by Claire Marti – Release Day Review

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FOR THE LOVE OF YOU 

by

Claire Marti

 

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For a French soccer icon, and a gifted artist, a fake engagement is the perfect solution for their current dilemmas. But when last summer’s fling slips from lust to love, their pretend relationship becomes too hot to handle.

Gabriel DuVernay is heir to one of the oldest wineries in France, but his passion is playing soccer, not tending vines. When he signs a multi-million dollar deal with the Los Angeles Galaxy, he’s able to postpone his unwelcome duties and help his younger sister convince their old-fashioned father she should be their family’s first female winemaker. Another bonus of moving to California is reuniting with the striking redhead who snuck out of his apartment after the hottest night of his life.

Last summer, artist Dylan McNeill’s life on her family’s Southern California horse-breeding ranch was thrown into chaos and she escaped to Paris. One electrifying night with a gorgeous playboy athlete helped her forget her problems. She’s never forgotten Gabriel, but aspiring artists trying to break into the elite art world don’t have time for romance. She’s determined to get discovered without trading on her family’s famous name.

When Gabriel suffers a career-shattering injury, he needs to buy some time to figure out how to remain in America and choose his own future. His influential mother can open important doors in the art world and help Dylan fulfill her dreams ––for a price. A fictitious engagement seems like the simple answer until living at Pacific Vista Ranch and pretending to be in love starts to feel real.

Can last year’s one night stand and this year’s fake engagement turn into true love forever?

Buy Links: 

Amazon:  amzn.to/3a95T7l
B&N: barnesandnoble.com/w/for-the-love-of-you-claire-marti
Kobo:  kobo.com/for-the-love-of-you-7
iBooks:  books.apple.com/id1494966200

 

REVIEW

Oh là là!  With a steamy one-night stand in Paris, a fake engagement in LA, two attractive and talented protagonists with respective family issues, For the Love of You offers an entertaining diversion from our current worries. In this third book of her Pacific Vista Ranch series, Claire Marti tells a sophisticated romantic fantasy-fulfillment story between American artist Dylan McNeill and  French soccer superstar Gabriel DuVernay.

There’s so much to like in this light contemporary novel. Both main characters have valid reasons for agreeing to the fake engagement and the benefit to both is equal. While there is a Hollywood gloss to the entire story, the emotions displayed by the characters felt real. Gabriel’s pain, both physically and psychologically with the end of his high-profile career, manifested strongly. Dylan’s guilt about lying to her family, especially to her twin, was incredibly apparent. Also obvious is their chemistry and the eventuality of their turning the fake into a true engagement.

Kudos to Ms. Marti for seamlessly incorporating updates about the couples from the other books in the series without taking away the focus from Dylan and Gabriel. Great job also of introducing several characters and giving each of them distinct personalities. I can honestly say that this book can be read as a stand-alone but it’ll make you want to read the first two as well. In my opinion, it’ll make you want to read all of Ms. Marti’s back list, if you haven’t done so already, and her future books too.

Content advisory: mild profanities, on-page injury, open-door sexual intimacy.

4 out of 5 stars

 

ABOUT CLAIRE

Headshotfullbody518smallClaire Marti started writing stories as soon as she was old enough to pick up pencil and paper. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a BA in English Literature, Claire was sidetracked by other careers, including practicing law, selling software for legal publishers, and managing a non-profit animal rescue for a Hollywood actress.

Finally, Claire followed her heart and now focuses on two of her true passions: writing romance and teaching yoga.

Social Media Links:

Website:  clairemarti.com
Facebook:  ClaireMartiAuthor
Twitter:  @clairepmarti
Instagramclairepmarti
Goodreads: Claire_Marti
Bookbub:  claire-marti
Amazon:  Claire-Marti

 

VISIONS OF LADY MARY by Rachel Ann Smith – Release Day Review

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VISIONS OF LADY MARY

by

Rachel Ann Smith

 

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01_volm_cover_11202019_halfsize_ebookIt’s hard to connect with the living when you’re able to communicate with the dead. 

Lady Mary Masterson had no objection to being betrothed to Gilbert Talbot until he ridiculed her. Now, years later, it appears her chance for an adventure on the Continent will be thwarted by the very man when he turns up, vowing to keep her safe. Insufferable!

If only it weren’t so difficult to ignore her fluttering heart—and the voices constantly touting the advantages of marrying the man who long ago called her a witch.

Battlefield promises are easy to make and hard to keep.

They were at war when Gilbert Talbot, the Earl of Waterford, promised to care for the strange but fascinating sister of his dying best friend. But his is a perilous life, and to ensure her safety, Gilbert has avoided Lady Mary, a woman whose mere presence makes every cell in his body come alive.

Now fate has brought them together in more danger than Gilbert ever imagined. He could well lose the woman he loves to the enemy—or to the arms of another man.

Buy it here:

Books2Read   –   Amazon   –   Barnes & Noble   –   Apple   –   Kobo

 

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Intrigue-filled and adventuresome with a touch of paranormal, this road-trip historical romance is an engaging read.

Mary and Gilbert have separate reasons for avoiding the other despite the fact that people in their lives–both dead and living–keep saying they’re meant for each other. Mary resented having been called a witch when she was but a teenager by someone she fancied herself in love with. Gilbert has far too many responsibilities to be distracted by the odd woman he promised to protect. When they were thrown together through the machinations of her aunt and his superiors, they finally fulfill their intertwined fate.

But first, they have to endure danger, suspicion, the temporary loss of Mary’s ghostly support system,  rivalries, and their lack of trust for one another. All Mary wants is for Gilbert to believe her, believe that she can contribute to his work for the Home Office. Gilbert, while desiring Mary with all his being, wants to feel that he has control over his destiny and not get roped into an arranged marriage like his parents’ unhappy one.

Exciting and action-packed, Visions of Lady Mary is a fast-paced romp of a romantic novel. Sometimes too fast and too much action that I barely felt a sense of place. France is one of my favorite places to have had the opportunity to visit and I want to revisit again and again it even if only in books.

You may be able to read this fourth book in the series as a stand-alone but I recommend reading the previous three to get better acquainted with the characters, many of whom are mentioned here.

4 out of 5 stars

 

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Rachel Smith

Rachel Ann Smith writes steamy historical romances with a twist. Her debut series, Agents of the Home Office, features female protagonists that defy convention.

When Rachel isn’t writing, she loves to read and spend time with her family. She is frequently found with her Kindle by the pool during the summer, the soccer field in the spring and fall, or curled up on the couch during the winter months.

She currently lives in Colorado with her extremely understanding husband and their two very supportive children.

Follow Rachel Ann here: 

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ONCE UPON A SUNSET by Tif Marcelo – Release Day Review and Giveaway

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ONCE UPON A SUNSET

by

Tif Marcelo

SYNOPSIS

OUASbookcoverDiana Gallagher-Cary is at a tipping point. As a Washington, DC, OB/GYN at a prestigious hospital, she uses her career to distract herself from her grief over her granny’s death and her breakup from her long-term boyfriend after her free-spirited mother moves in with her. But when she makes a medical decision that disparages the hospital, she is forced to go on a short sabbatical.

Never one to wallow, Diana decides to use the break to put order in her life, when her mother, Margo, stumbles upon a box of letters from her grandfather, Antonio Cruz, to her grandmother from the 1940s. The two women always believed that Antonio died in World War II, but the letters reveal otherwise. When they learn that he lived through the war, and that they have surviving relatives in the Philippines, Diana becomes determined to connect with the family that she never knew existed, though Margo refuses to face her history. But Diana pushes on, and heads on a once-in-a-lifetime trip that challenges her identity, family history, and her idea of romantic love that could change her life forever.

Buy links: 

Tif’s Website
Indiebound
Amazon
B&N
Kobo
Simon & Schuster

 

REVIEW

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This richly-layered and immensely touching tale of family, friendships, and love is another winner from Tif Marcelo. I’m honored to have been given the opportunity to read both an early draft and an advanced copy of the final version. Both solidified my respect and admiration for the author of such engaging reads as Once Upon a Sunset.

At the forefront is the complicated relationship between super-analytical Diana and her social media-savvy mother Margo. Both are still reeling from the death of Leora, the third female lead of the book whose secrets affected her descendants’ present and future in ways neither of them imagined. Their separate quests to find answers to  individual questions about identity and purpose eventually brought them closer to each other which is as satisfying an ending as any happily-ever-afters out there. That both also found romantic love in the process makes this an all-around enjoyable read.

Set in both the US and the Philippines, Once Upon a Sunset presents aspects of Filipino-American culture that only someone who belongs could articulate. There’s plenty of delicious food, a smattering of Filipino language, and a bit of intricate family setup. And then, there’s the matter-of-fact acknowledgment of the Filipino migrants’ contributions to many US historical causes, particularly to their service during World War II through the character of Antonio Cruz.  That’s something that is seldom celebrated in publishing to the point that it adds to the sense of erasure that the minority group to which both Tif and I belong to experiences. For this solid piece of representation, I give this book top marks.

PS: I read this novel in both eBook and paperback and I have to state my preference for and recommendation of the paper version. The formatting of the letters and text messages added an extra-special dimension that enhanced my enjoyment of the story.

5 stars

ABOUT TIF 

Tif Marcelo

Tif Marcelo is a veteran army nurse and holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Public Administration. She believes and writes about the strength of families, the endurance of friendship, heartfelt romances, and is inspired daily by her own military hero husband and four children. She is also the author of The Key to Happily Ever After and the Journey to the Heart series.

Follow her here:

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

 

 

GIVEAWAY

Gallery Books is generously sponsoring a paperback giveaway of Once Upon a Sunset to one of my followers. All you have to do to enter is follow Tif Marcelo on BookBub and tell me in the comments that you’ve done so. Bonus entry if you also follow me. I’ll draw the winner on Tuesday, March 10 at 12 noon Central Time.

 

Tif Heartwarming Fiction

 

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

TAKE TWO by Karysa Faire – Happy Release Day!

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TAKE TWO

by

Karysa Faire

 

SYNOPSIS

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Is their love real or fiction?

Rachel is a teacher and a single mom who’s picked up the pieces of her life after a horrible marriage. She’d thought her ex-husband was the man of her dreams. He wasn’t. She’s moved on and written a historical romance novel, Swashbuckler, that’s been picked up by Hollywood.

Rodger is an actor who doesn’t trust women. He’s made bad choices in his past that have come to haunt him in the present, especially the choice that came packaged with blond hair, large tits, and a marriage that was doomed from the start. Rodger thought they were in love—turns out his wife was a social-climber more interested in his status than his heart. He doubts there is a woman alive who can love him for who he is, and not for his fame or for the fantasy he presents to the world.

Both Rachel and Rodger have been burned by love, trusting a reality that turned out only to be fantasy. Will their fear succeed at keeping them apart? Or will they break through the barriers and allow themselves to love once again? After all, sometimes reality is much sweeter than fantasy.

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Buy here: Amazon

 

ABOUT KARYSA

Karysa FaireKarysa Faire is a fiction writer and high school science teacher. Her best days are when something unexpected and new happens – whether that be in the classroom or during vacations when she goes on extended road trips to haunted ghost towns. Karysa writes a variety of romance genres including contemporary, historical, erotica, horror, and paranormal. She’s also been known to write a mean lab report. Karysa lives in the San Francisco Bay Area along with millions of other people, including her wonderful family.

Website: https://www.karysafaire.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KarysaFaireAuthor/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/KarysaFaire
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/karysafaire/

FAKER by Sarah Smith – Happy Release Day!

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FAKER

by

Sarah Smith

 

SYNOPSIS

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Emmie Echavarre is a professional faker. She has to be to survive as one of the few female employees at Nuts & Bolts, a power tool company staffed predominantly by gruff, burly men. From nine to five, Monday through Friday, she’s tough as nails–the complete opposite of her easy-going real self.

One thing she doesn’t have to fake? Her disdain for coworker Tate Rasmussen. Tate has been hostile to her since the day they met. Emmie’s friendly greetings and repeated attempts to get to know him failed to garner anything more than scowls and terse one-word answers. Too bad she can’t stop staring at his Thor-like biceps …

When Emmie and Tate are forced to work together on a charity construction project, things get … heated. Emmie’s beginning to see that beneath Tate’s chiseled exterior lies a soft heart, but it will take more than a few kind words to erase the past and convince her that what they have is real.

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Buy Links:

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Books A Million
Hudson Booksellers     Indie Bound     Powell’s

 

ABOUT SARAH

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is a copywriter-turned-author who wants to make the world a lovelier place, one kissing story at a time. Her love of romance began when she was eight and she discovered her auntie’s stash of romance novels. She’s been hooked ever since. When she’s not writing, you can find her hiking, eating chocolate, and perfecting her lumpia recipe. She lives in Bend, Oregon, with her husband and adorable cat Salem. Faker is her debut novel.

Follow her here:

Website
Facebook Author Page
Twitter

EDEN’S VOICE by Catherine Stein – Release Day Review

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Happy Release Day to Catherine Stein’s Eden Voice, the first book of a new series she’s calling Sass and Steam.

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Football, mechanical dragons, industrial espionage, sexy romance. Welcome to fall in Ann Arbor.

Eden Randall has her life under control. Sure, people call her weird for having a mechanical dragon with her at all times, but she’s content. All she needs are her studies and her sports—and for the football team to have another undefeated season. What she doesn’t need are nosy men from out-of-town poking into her business.

Spending months in a tiny town shadowing the football team is the last thing Boston reporter Bruce Caldwell wants to do, but the tedious job could be his ticket to something bigger and better. When he meets a sports-mad spitfire on the sidelines, he realizes the town may hold stories far more interesting than he expected.

With dragons running loose in the laboratory and a ruthless New York industrialist threatening their budding friendship, Eden and Bruce find themselves players in a game far more dangerous than the one on the gridiron. Never ones to quit, they know the only way to emerge as The Victors is to become a team. This football season, winning might mean losing their hearts.

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Buy links: 

Books2read      Amazon      Google Play      Kobo     Barnes and Noble

 

ABOUT CATHERINE

Catherine Stein

Award-winning author Catherine Stein believes that everyone deserves love and that Happily Ever After has the power to help, to heal, and to comfort. She writes sassy, sexy romance set during the Victorian and Edwardian eras and full of action, adventure, magic, and fantastic technologies.

Catherine lives in Michigan with her husband and three rambunctious girls. She loves steampunk and oxford commas, and can often be found dressed in clothing that was purchased at a Renaissance Festival, drinking copious amounts of tea.

Follow Catherine here: 

Facebook page        Facebook group        Twitter        Instagram        Pinterest               Bookbub        Goodreads        Amazon        Book + Main        Newsletter

 

REVIEW

In a genre often accused of being formulaic, Catherine Stein and her latest work of genius Eden’s Voice stand out as refreshingly original.

First, there’s the setting: 1904 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Most historical romance novels I read are set in England during the Regency. If they’re American-based, they’re typically in New York during the Gilded Age or in wartime Texas. I’m astounded by the depth of research Catherine must have undertaken to make the time period come alive as she did in this book.

Next, there’s the football theme. The historical sports romance category has only one entry and this is it. The author’s love for the game shines bright. Competence porn at its best.

Oh wait, there’s another unique sub-category for this book–historical STEM romance. All the biomechanics were explained in an engaging manner, I felt smart after reading those passages.

And then we have the characters. How I love Eden and Bruce. They come across as real, compelling, and sympathetic people to me and that’s not just because they both have disabilities. It’s because their thoughts, feelings, decisions, and actions appear true to who they are.

Catherine Stein has become my favorite steampunk romance author from the moment I read How to Seduce a Spy. Eden’s Voice only cemented that status in my mind with its fantastic story, smooth flow, wonderful characters (even including the villains), steamy sexy times, and amazing originality.

5 stars

HOW TO LOVE A DUKE IN TEN DAYS by Kerrigan Byrne – Release Day Review & Giveaway

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HOW TO LOVE A DUKE IN TEN DAYS 

by 

Kerrigan Byrne

 

SYNOPSIS

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These men are dark, bold, and brave. And there is only one woman who can bring them to their knees…

Famed and brilliant, Lady Alexandra Lane has always known how to look out for herself. But nobody would ever expect that she has darkness in her past—one that she pays a blackmailer to keep buried. Now, with her family nearing bankruptcy, Alexandra strikes upon a solution: Get married to one of the empire’s most wealthy eligible bachelors. Even if he does have the reputation of a devil.

LOVE TAKES NO PRISONERS
Piers Gedrick Atherton, the Duke of Redmayne, is seeking revenge and the first step is securing a bride. Winning a lady’s hand is not so easy, however, for a man known as the Terror of Torcliff. Then, Alexandra enters his life like a bolt of lightning. When she proposes marriage, Piers knows that, like him, trouble haunts her footsteps. But her gentleness, sharp wit, independent nature, and incredible beauty awakens every fierce desire within him. He will do whatever it takes to keep her safe in his arms.

Buy-book link:
https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250243270

 

ABOUT KERRIGAN

Kerrigan Byrne

 

Whether she’s writing about Celtic Druids, Victorian bad boys, or brash Irish FBI Agents, USA Today bestseller Kerrigan Byrne uses her borderline-obsessive passion for history, her extensive Celtic ancestry, and her love of Shakespeare in every book. With her handsome husband and three lovely teenage girls, Kerrigan has fulfilled her dream of settling on the Pacific Coast. Her Victorian Rebels novels include The Highwayman and The Highlander.

 

 

 

 

REVIEW

I am such a huge fan of the Victorian Rebels series that when a new Kerrigan Byrne series-starter was announced for the anticipated August release instead of Inspector Morley’s story, I was slightly disappointed. That feeling didn’t last long because this new Devil You Know series promises the same intensity and vivid imagery that made me love Kerrigan’s books from the first moment I started reading them in 2015.

How to Love a Duke in Ten Days introduces five (?) of the compelling characters in this new series: Alexandra and Piers, Cecelia and Case, and Francesca. (I have a suspicion about who Francesca’s partner will be. I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t read the book yet, but I’m pretty sure it’s someone from her past.) A close friendship, hair color, and shared secrets bind the three female leads while familial ties connect two of their love interests. Kerrigan drew each character so distinctively, I can picture them in my head clearly.

She did the same with the book’s many locations and action sequences, so much so that it has the feel of a gothic screenplay. There’s plenty of violence — from the shocking Prologue to the dramatic denouement. There are also tender moments in between wherein Piers and Alexandra learn one another on their way to falling in love. Instant chemistry, mutual interest in exploration, and emotional connection make these two work as a couple. After suspicions, misunderstandings, secrets, and threats to their lives, their happy-ever-after is well-deserved.

Both are heavily scarred. Piers physically, from a skirmish with a jaguar, and emotionally, from a negligent mother and an unfaithful lover that colored his opinion of women. Alexandra’s sexual assault when she was a teenager and the tragic events afterwards forever changed her personality. Fear, shame, and guilt warred within her despite accomplishing so much from her archaeological pursuits. Their coming together is a miracle only a romance novel and a talented author who wrote it can achieve.

The use of male names for the female characters, an abundance of villains, and the over-elaborate language are some of the elements I didn’t fully appreciate, but aside from these, I really liked this book and I’m extremely excited for All Scot and Bothered –Cecelia and Ramsay’s story.

4 out of 5 stars

 

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press, I’m giving away a paperback copy of Kerrigan Byrne’s How to Love a Duke in Ten Days to one of my US readers. All you have to do for a chance to win is comment below. I will draw a random winner at 12 noon on Tuesday, September 3. Watch out for the announcement here and on my Facebook author page Maida Malby.

DESIRES OF LADY ELISE by Rachel Ann Smith – Release Day/Review

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DESIRES OF LADY ELISE 

by

Rachel Ann Smith

 

SYNOPSIS

Desires of Lady Elise book cover

One scandal. Two broken hearts. A decade apart.

Lady Elise knows all too well the risks of falling in love. Her heart was broken by a rake. Instead of hunting for a husband, she helps other ladies escape the nefarious plans of unscrupulous gentlemen.

After a scandal costs Lord Thornston Elise’s hand and heart, he has lived on the fringes of the beau monde. But when his best friend, the Duke of Fairmont, requests his assistance, Thornston is torn. Helping Fairmont means facing the woman who holds his heart and soul.

Succumbing to temptation, Thornston re-enters Society to find Elise still unwed. But as he seeks to reignite her desire for him and earn back her trust, he becomes entwined in one of her investigations. When events take a dangerous turn, he might lose the woman he loves before he can win her back.

Buy it here: Amazon

 

ABOUT RACHEL ANN

Rachel Smith

Rachel Ann Smith writes steamy historical romances with a twist. Her debut series, Agents of the Home Office, features female protagonists that defy convention.

When Rachel isn’t writing, she loves to read and spend time with her family. She is frequently found with her Kindle by the pool during the summer, the soccer field in the spring and fall, or curled up on the couch during the winter months.

She currently lives in Colorado with her extremely understanding husband and their two very supportive children.

Follow Rachel Ann here: 

WebsiteAmazonFacebookInstagramTwitter

 

REVIEW

Fast-paced and action-packed, Desires of Lady Elise is a delightful introduction to a new voice in Regency Romance. Rachel Ann’s debut novella is a quick, fun read that tells a complete second-chance story between Lady Elise and Harold, Lord Thornston. At the same time, it also has me intrigued by the upcoming series. If Lady Elise is the example of the brave, smart, and bold heroines of the Agents of the Home Office series, count on me to one-click every book. Especially if the heroes are as devoted and as besotted as Lord Thornston.

Rachel Ann’s writing is clean and fluid. Desires of Lady Elise shows a lot of potential in the kind of books she will be producing. For future books, I’d like to see more diversity in the main characters. Perhaps less protagonists from the nobility and more from the working class. Some international characters would also be welcome in order to differentiate her books from those by most authors in the historical romance sub-genre.

4 out of 5 stars

 

 

THE NEAREST EXIT MAY BE BEHIND YOU by Amulya Malladi – Release Day Review

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THE NEAREST EXIT MAY BE BEHIND YOU

By Amulya Malladi

 

SYNOPSIS

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THE NEAREST EXIT MAY BE BEHIND YOU is “Up in the Air” meets “9 to 5” for the Pantsuit Nation.

Asmi knows that CPH (Copenhagen, Denmark) is the best airport to shop for clothes, and ATH (Athens, Greece) the best for shoes. The best Zara store is in BCN (Barcelona, Spain). The best airport to buy whiskey at is ARN (Stockholm, Sweden). And LHR (London, Heathrow) and CDG (Charles de Gaulle, Paris) should be avoided for a layover. Airplanes, airports and hotel lobby bars make Asmi feel just as much at home as her apartment in Laguna Beach does.

A marketing director in a biotech company, Asmi rose through the corporate ranks and never really took the time to think about couple-hood. She has good friends, a terrific sister who lives close by, and a married on-again, off-again lover in Paris she sees while she travels around the world for work.

As Asmi reaches the big 4-0 and contemplates making some life choices; her boss announces he is retiring, and she is suddenly thrown into a corporate Hunger Games against her nemesis Scott Beauregard III to win a promotion.

Worried that her inability to commit to a real relationship with a man is a personality flaw and afraid that she’s unqualified for the job she desperately wants, Asmi must learn to lean in to have the career and life she wants and deserves, without worrying about what society expects from her.

For women who read and learnt from Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In and any woman on her own journey towards leaning in, this is a “lean in” story of a career woman who finds the will to lead.

Buy it here: Amazon

 

REVIEW

IMG_8398Once upon a time, I was Asmi – single, hyper-focused on her career, racking up air miles and hotel points, expert on ranking airlines and airports. I even had the same titles: Director and Vice-President. The main difference is that I earned my title at age 29, the only female and the youngest to hold it, alongside three male peers over a decade older than me. In some ways, I can relate with the main character and her career successes and woes, in many, not so much. Mine happened in the Philippines, a different culture, different environment than Asmi’s GTech here in the US. Still, I found myself riveted by Asmi’s story and enjoyed Ms. Malladi’s telling of it. I’m sure many readers will be able to relate to the situations described in this women’s fiction/career coaching hybrid of a novel.

I appreciate Asmi’s growth throughout the book, although I got frustrated with her many times on her decisions and internal doubts, but I’ve accepted those as part of her character development. What I really love about the book is the strong female support — from Asmi’s sister Ananya, her friend Cara, a sort of mentor in Isadora, and the associates who prefer her to her competition for the position: Scott. This doesn’t mean it was all male-bashing. There are plenty of rational male voices in the story to balance things out, including a stranger at the airport and the main love interest Levi. I also love the multicultural cast of characters. I would have preferred a Southeast Asian to hold the regional role in that part of the world, but I understand the choice of a South Asian from personal experience. In the two companies I worked for in Singapore, both of my former bosses were Indian men.

This is a great read for women in the corporate world who can benefit from the many uplifting messages like silencing your inner critic and believing in your worth and, especially, from the career coaching part of the book. I personally prefer the fiction part, but I have to admit that the excerpts enhanced the storytelling.

I’m giving this four stars because of the excellent quality of writing. I deducted a star because I thought the dropping of brand names and alcohol intake were excessive and the overbearing mother lacked redeeming qualities.

4 out of 5 stars

 

ABOUT AMULYA

Amulya MalladiAmulya Malladi is the bestselling author of seven novels, including The Copenhagen Affair and A House for Happy Mothers. She knows airports well because she works as a marketing and communication executive for a large global company. After fourteen years of mostly bad weather in Denmark, she moved to Southern California where she now lives in sunshine with her husband and two sons. The Nearest Exit May Be Behind You is her eighth novel.

facebook.com/authoramulya | amulyamalladi.com author@amulyamalladi.com | +1 949 502 1432

 

 

PRAISE FOR THE NEAREST EXIT MAY BE BEHIND YOU
And Then She Said Press | 2017
“Every woman will be able to relate to the trials and tribulations that Asmi endures in the workplace as she struggles to climb the corporate ladder in this smart, witty novel. A true gem of a book.”
Deanna Lynn Sletten, Author of Maggie’s Turn

PRAISE FOR THE COPENHAGEN AFFAIR
Lake Union Publishing | 2017
“A sharp comedy of manners and mental illness.”
New York Post

PRAISE FOR A HOUSE FOR HAPPY MOTHERS
Lake Union Publishing | 2016
“Malladi examines India’s surrogacy industry with honesty and grace. This thought-provoking novel will be a sure hit with book groups.”
Booklist, Starred Review

PRAISE FOR THE MANGO SEASON
Ballantine Books | 2003
“The Mango Season touches on a very human conflict with delicacy and humor…filled with the small details and sensual evocations of life in India without neglecting the claustrophobic aspect of that life.”
The Washington Times

PRAISE FOR A BREATH OF FRESH AIR
Ballantine Books | 2002
“[Amulya Malladi] draws us into the novel with her characters, who are refreshingly free of stereotype…no mean achievement for a first-time novelist.”
Los Angeles Times