The Bride Who Got Lucky- Janna McGregor


This is the second book that I have read by Janna McGregor. Her debut novel and first book in this series impressed me with her use of language and depth of emotion in the characters. This time, she brings those strengths to this book and adds a captivating plot with a mystery and revenge. Oh, and feminists! Read on.


The Story-

Emma is desperate to prove that her best friend’s death was not an accident and to make sure the man responsible pays for his sins, but she might get in a bit over her head on this quest for revenge. Nick has something to prove to himself and to society, but whenever he is around Emma, his guard is down and he just wants to protect her. When she sets off on a mysterious scheme, he is compelled to do what he can to keep her safe.


My Thoughts-

What a heroine! Emma knows her own mind and what she wants, and will stop at nothing to get it. She is a feminist; she actually reminded me of some Courtney Milan heroines with her intelligence, self-worth, and passion. Sometimes she gets a little stubborn, but isn’t that how real people are? I love how Nick is so completely smitten by her that it changes him and makes him a better man in her presence. My only critique is that I would have liked to see the bad guy get his due in a more drastic, on-screen, fulfilling way, But, I like paranormal where the bad guy usually gets decapitated or something, so maybe that’s just my bloodlust talking. The heat level of this book is very nice for historical; there is one scene in particular that is so sensual and surprising… Don’t be fooled by the blushing bride on the cover. (wink) The character development and the development of the relationship is what I believe McGregor is best at, and she does it so well here. This is not one of those books where you wonder if they are right for one another or if they are only physically attracted to each other. The romance is built like a well-constructed tower to the point where you know they are the perfect fit, and no one else would do.


The Bottom Line-

I am so excited that this new historical writer has answered a wonderful debut with an even more enjoyable follow-up. I will be reading Janna McGregor for years to come, and if you like historical romance, you should too. 5 stars

The Right Kind of Rogue- Valerie Bowman

right kind of rogue

Earlier this year, I discovered Valerie Bowman through her last release “Never Love a Pirate”. I was thrilled to find such a breezy, funny author who has a different tone from most Regency authors today. Not surprisingly, I was pretty excited to read this new entry in the Playful Brides series.

The Story-
Meg has friends in high places, but she doesn’t have much to recommend her: her parents, though part of society, have mountains of debt; she is entering her third season as a wallflower; and, she doesn’t even have nice dresses. When her best friend and a duchess friend decide to sponsor her and give her a makeover to make this “her season”, they don’t know that she only has one guy in mind. Hart never paid much attention to his sister’s mousy best friend until she showed up to a recent ball looking like a princess.

My Thoughts-
While I really enjoyed Meg’s character and the makeover bits with the duchess, I never felt like Hart’s depth of feelings for her was enough. He is constantly thinking about how attractive she is and how he is physically attracted to her, but the emotional/personality side? Not so much. Bowman’s humor is back here in full force, especially with a hilarious silver closet incident. The conflict is a bit meh with a misunderstanding that could simply be talked out dominating the latter part of the book. That being said, I read it in one evening, which speaks to pacing and plot development. I also enjoyed the little Romeo and Juliet nods.

The Bottom Line-
If you are a fan of fun and easy Regency romance, you must read Valerie Bowman. This book is a little breath of fresh air, and I will continue to look forward to each release, despite my small niggles with this book. 4 stars

Third Son’s A Charm- Shana Galen


I’m sure you have experienced it: you are staring at pages that seem to never turn, rereading paragraphs, switching between books in hopes that something will click. It’s a reading slump, and it is where I was before I picked up this book. I have read Shana Galen before and enjoy her writing, so I figured I’d give this book a go. That evening, I got over halfway through the book, and I finished it quickly the next day. Slump defeated, and a wonderful book to recommend!

The Story:
Ewan is the muscle of a gambling hall, but his prestigious past as part of an elite task force in the Napoleonic Wars and the fact that he is the third son of an earl sets him apart from most men in his position. When he is offered the job of bodyguard for the daughter of a duke, he is not interested until he learns that he might have the chance to thwart the plans of his slimy cousin, Francis. Lorrie just wants to elope with Francis, but with her new bodyguard, it may prove impossible.

My Thoughts:
OMG. I LOVED this book. The hero is stoic, tortured, strong, just swoon…. I really loved him. Lorrie is delightful and entertaining without being annoying. She begins a bit immature, but grows up and listens to reason. There are no conflicts based on misunderstandings; the story flows so naturally and quickly. The antagonist is not some moustache-twirling man that shows up toward the end of the book, but is carefully built, and his decisions and actions are completely believable. I guess what I am saying is that this book is masterfully crafted. Pacing, character, setting, conflict: it all just works exactly right. Ok, yes, I am an English teacher in my day job, but I can assure you I was not thinking of these things as I was reading. It’s just that when it was over and I enjoyed it so much, I started trying to pick apart exactly what it was I thought did it for me, and it turned out to be everything. By the way, the sex scenes are also hot, perfectly-placed, and not rushed. Ok, rave almost over.

The Bottom Line:
I read a lot (A LOT) of Regency and historical romance, and this is my favorite one that I have read in at least 6 months. I plan on buying a hard copy to have; I enjoyed it that much. And while everything worked perfectly for me, I still cannot pinpoint why. Perhaps it is Ewan’s vulnerability; maybe it is that I see myself in Lorrie; maybe it’s that I loved the secondary love story that proves that second chances can pay off. Once in awhile, you come across a book that just clicks with you and makes you happy. This was that book for me. 5 HUGE stars!

The Scandalous Flirt- Olivia Drake

scandalous flirt

This is my first book by Olivia Drake and is the fourth in “Cinderella Sisterhood” series which is focused on fairy-tales. You don’t need to be familiar with the previous books to enjoy this one, and I found it a fast and fun read!

The Story-
Rory was cast out of society years ago when she was caught in the middle of a tryst with a man that she didn’t know was married. She’s been living quietly and happily with her aunt in the country. When a fairy godmother-type meddler remembers her and decides to gift her with some suspicious slippers, she is thrown back into the society which turned their back on her. Lucas remembers Rory. In fact, he had a hard time forgetting her all these years. But when that vivacious woman who captured his heart all that time ago shows up on his doorstep, everything will change.

My Thoughts-
I liked Rory and the plot, but I found the hero and the build of the romance to be slightly lacking. I didn’t entirely believe his feelings for her, and the romance just kinda happens in the midst of this mystery they are unraveling. I didn’t feel that wonderful “ooh, they have so much chemistry, how is this gonna unfold?” feeling that I do with really captivating romance. That being said, I enjoyed the mystery sub-plot. I found the reveals to be fun and suiting.

The Bottom Line-
I would read another book by Olivia Drake and would just hope for a more intriguing couple. I liked the heroine quite a bit, and obviously, Drake has a talent for weaving a tale. The fairy-tale retelling part of it is just enough to not hit you over the head with it and still be a fun “aha”. 4 stars

Twice As Wicked- Elizabeth Bright


“Twice as Wicked” is the debut novel by historical romance writer, Elizabeth Bright. I have to tell you, I am always a bit apprehensive about reading debut novels but this cover drew me in, and I HAD to read it. Imagine my happy surprise when the book turned out to be better than the cover! This is an excellent and satisfying historical with a great plot and complex characters.

The Story-
Alice Bursnell is mourning the death of her twin sister who died in childbirth. The only clue she has to the father of the child who left her poor sister alone in her shame is a picture in a locket. Her goal is now revenge. She knows who she is after, and she will make him pay. Nathaniel is intrigued by Alice, but begins to suspect her motives when he keeps encountering threats on his life in her presence.

My Thoughts-
I loved this story. The way the mystery is developed and solved is masterful, and I feel like Bright still has some surprises for us in her pocket that will be revealed in the rest of the series. The characters are intricate with complete backstories that inform their motivations. I never once felt like the characters were doing something stupid or random just for the sake of furthering the plot, which is refreshing. Alice, in particular, is wonderfully feisty and intelligent. I completely sympathized with her and her journey. The secondary characters, especially the Duke and Eliza, give a depth to the world (and make me hope for their story).
The Bottom Line-
Elizabeth Bright is a talented new author, and fans of historical romance will love this book. She has a great handle on this time period, and her plotting is original and well-done. “Twice as Wicked” is currently on sale for .99, and that is a total bargain. I recommend it at full price. I will read the future books in this series, and I look for great things to come for Ms. Bright. 5 stars!

When the Scoundrel Sins- Anna Harrington

when the scoundrel

This is my first Anna Harrington! (steadily making my way around to all the Regency Historical authors) I enjoyed Harrington’s different voice and really sympathized with the heroine. Let’s get into it!

The Story-
Annabelle comes from humble beginnings, but has been raised by and lived with an upper-class family since she was a child. Her one chance at a good marriage is ruined by Quinton, a friend who decided to kiss her at exactly the wrong moment. Now it’s years later, and she finds out that she will actually inherit the only home she’s ever known if she can only marry by her next birthday. When Quinton is called in to help weed out would-be gold diggers, the issue is complicated.

My Thoughts-
This is one of those books that, even though I knew who had to end up together by the end, I had no idea how they would actually get there. The obstacles seemed pretty insurmountable. I felt so bad for Annabelle, and the hero, Quinton, took way too long to realize what needed to happen. That being said, the hot moments were seriously hot. Quinton is the perfect callous rogue that is hiding the good guy under a playboy exterior. The characters were well-developed, and that includes some secondary characters as well. They really brought the heart to the story.

The Bottom Line-
I think any historical romance fan would enjoy this, even though the story did take a little while to wrap up. Harrington’s voice and characters bring a different spin to the typical Regency, and I will definitely be reading more books by her very soon. 4 stars!


How to Marry a Marquess- Stacy Reid


This is the third book in Reid’s “Wedded By Scandal” series which focuses on a variety of couples caught in some sort of scandalous behavior. I really enjoyed the second book in this series, and this one was also entertaining.

The Story-
Evie and Richard have been friends for a long time. He’s helped her keep unwanted suitors away since she was 16. But, now that it is time for her to actually marry, Richard is torn between helping her with lessons in seduction and finding a wife for himself and his illegitimate daughter.

My Thoughts-
I enjoy Reid’s style which focuses more on character development and really hashing out why the two belong together. Although the plot is strong, it is the characters here who really shine. Evie is perfectly easy to imagine from the moment we meet her vomiting all over Richard’s shoes and burping to warn off would-be suitors, but still beautiful and innocent. (Not joking. She is a lot of fun.) Richard is an equally well-drawn character, and it is great to see how Reid winds a path around their journey to each other.

The Bottom Line-
These books always have a different, refreshing feel to me that is welcome in a normally predictable genre. The only thing that kept this from 5 stars for me was that the conflict keeping the hero and heroine apart didn’t seem to need as much time to resolve as it took. But, I will definitely be around for the next one in the series and recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical romance. 4 stars

The Deepest Well- Juliette Cross


Re-releasing today for .99! This book is a prequel to the upcoming Dominion series from Juliette Cross which also takes place in the same world she introduced in the Vessel series (starts with Forged in Fire). You can read this as a stand-alone or read the Vessel series first. The benefit of starting with the Vessel series is that you know the outcome, so seeing how the characters get to the outcome you already know is lots of fun. That being said, you will be able to follow completely if you are new to this world of angels and demons.

The Story-
Lady Katherine is going through the motions of her life. When she meets a handsome stranger on the same night that she realizes what a sham her marriage is, her life changes forever.

My Thoughts-
Y’all, this goes dark. It is not fun and flirty. The characters go through hell before they can find their HEA, but that makes it even more satisfying when they do. This is such a beautiful journey, and Cross will rip your heart out along the way. I love everything about this book. I can almost guarantee that it won’t be what you expect: it is so much more. Cross’s prose is beautiful with wonderful imagery and lovingly-crafted characters that you immediately connect with.

The Bottom Line-
This book is paranormal historical, perfect for fans of Karen Marie Moning, Bec Mc Master or high-concept dark romance. An RT top pick, this is an excellent book that didn’t have the release it deserved because of Samhain Publishing’s collapse. This is such a great opportunity for new readers to discover an amazing author and two fabulous series. 5 stars

Buy it Now! Amazon

The Importance of Being Scandalous – Kimberly Bell

​I have previously read Kimberly Bell and was pleasantly surprised by her shockingly forward heroine in “A Dangerous Damsel”. Well, Bell has surpassed herself in this new historical in every way, and I am giddy with excitement to see this author burst onto the scene with such a strong offering. 

The Story-
Nicholas is home from sowing his wild oats, trying to forget about the “unsuitable” girl next door to whom he has written daily letters for most of his life. Sigh. And now she is engaged. Add to his troubles a declining father, his own “misplaced” ambition, and an unclear path for his life. Amelia’s life has mostly been dictated by her sister’s unfortunate birth defect due to society’s backward notions. When a legit suitor proposes marriage, it appears to be her best option until her best friend comes back into her life. And the “legit suitor” shows his true colors. Now she has to see exactly what kind of scandal it will take to be free of the engagement.

My Thoughts-
Just like my first Bell book, I LOVED the females. These sisters’ interactions remind me of me and my sister, and I loved their wit and sarcasm. Nicholas and Jasper are excellent foils for the girls (JASPER! Swoon). Somehow, Bell has created truly fresh characters in a familiar setting with these four. Even the secondary characters are wonderful: Jasper’s sister, Amelia’s father, the list goes on. The plot caught me from the beginning, and at a certain point, I was not putting the book down until I was done. Just couldn’t stop reading.   The “how to lose a guy” trope felt fresh as it was approached in a completely new way, and the sexy scenes are both hot as fire and sweet and sigh-worthy.

The Bottom Line-
This is an excellent historical that is going to win many fans for Ms. Bell. I can’t wait to read book two and wish that there were more in the series. 5 stars!

The Wicked Heir- Elizabeth Michels


The Spare Heirs… I just love this concept. This was my first book in the series, but now I want to go back and read them all. It’s such a great idea to focus on those second sons who won’t inherit, but have no jobs or “meaning” in life. Although, I can’t imagine a much better spare heir than Fallon St. James, and I fear the others will pale in comparison.

The Story-
Isabelle is a romantic. She keeps a diary, loves to read romance, and reminded me of the heroine from Northanger Abbey. Since she daydreams her fantasies, of course her ideal man is tall and blonde with worldly interests and charisma. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to realize she is alive, but when his best friend, Fallon St. James, notices her light stalking (like all teenage girls do), they become unlikely friends. There’s a mystery, friends-to-lovers, and other fun stuff that I don’t want to spoil.

My Thoughts-
I could see how someone could become annoyed with the heroine, but I felt such a kinship with her that I forgave her naivete. As for the hero, he was one of my absolute faves of recent reads. The plot is wonderfully captivating, and the characters are well-developed. My mystery feels more high stakes than most in Regency romances with a truly evil bad guy.

The Bottom Line-
If you read Regency, this series is a must, and I suspect that this is one of the best heroes in this series. A very fast read that will have you smiling and sighing. I can’t wait to read about another “Spare Heir” (hopefully Lord Brice). 5 stars