Monthly Archives: May 2016

Beautiful Romance

Hi all! Sorry I missed last week’s post. I kinda got caught up in a couple of amazing books… and then regular life stuff came up. lol. But hey, that does mean I’ve got some wonderful stories to share with you the next coming weeks, starting with today’s post! *^_^* It’s pretty evident that I love fairytales and retellings, and I love Melanie Dickerson’s personal take on the familiar tales. Well, her newest novel, The Beautiful Pretender, just came out last Tuesday. Let’s just say I pretty much finished it in one day… lol. I really couldn’t put this book down! But before I start gushing about it, how ’bout a little info on the story itself?

After inheriting his title from his brother, the margrave has two weeks to find a noble bride. What will happen when he learns he has fallen for a lovely servant girl in disguise?

The Margrave 51qqwum9qhl-_sx328_bo1204203200_of Thornbeck has to find a bride, fast. He invites ten noble born ladies who meet the king’s approval to be his guests at Thornbeck Castle for two weeks, a time to test these ladies and reveal their true character.

Avelina has only two instructions: keep her true identity a secret and make sure the margrave doesn’t select her as his bride. Since the latter seems unlikely, she concentrates on not getting caught. No one must know she is merely a maidservant, sent by the Earl of Plimmwald to stand in for his daughter, Dorothea.

Despite Avelina’s best attempts at diverting attention from herself, the margrave has taken notice. And try as she might, she can’t deny her own growing feelings. But something else is afoot in the castle. Something sinister that could have far worse—far deadlier—consequences.

My thoughts? Well…

It was an amazing story! I’ve been an avid fan of this author since her first book, but this one certainly tops my list of favorites. These characters are so wonderful! The Margrave is a good ruler with a good heart, even with his temper, who understands his place is to marry, but who also wants a true lady for his wife, someone with as good a heart as him. So, what better way than to invite numerous eligible ladies and put them through tests to prove their character? And then there’s Avelina, a girl who’s spent her whole life serving others, especially the spoiled daughter of her lord. She is kind, works hard, and yearns for a true romantic relationship. To save her family, and the others under the Earl of Plimmwald, she must take his daughter’s place at the Margrave’s selection. While feeling out of place, she manages to attract his eye with her good heart and strong opinions. They’re relationship is so adorable to watch, as each is falling hard for the other, even while trying hard not to. But with deadly accidents, plots against the Margrave, and jealous ladies, can their growing relationship survive, especially with her secret of being a servant? It has a wonderful supporting cast, great scenery, suspenseful scenes so well written my heart was pounding, and a suspenseful sub-plot that showcases each characters strengths. This is probably my favorite of her stories, and I’m looking forward to the next in this series!

Okay, so I might have geaked out about this book, just a bit. lol. But seriously, if I’ve peaked your interest, you can pick up a copy for yourself for Kindle or NOOK, and of course paperback. And be sure to check out this wonderful author’s website, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
And come back next week for more awesome stories! 🙂

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Mystery and Love Abound in Regency Woods

Hey all! So, this week’s post is extra fun, because I got to review a book just released this week: Sarah E Ladd’s wonderful Dawn at Emberwilde. This is the second book in the Treasures of Surrey series (you can read my review of the first here), and no less amazing than the first. Before I get into it, though, here’s a little info about the story itself.

Isabel Creston nev51rotk38jbl-_sx326_bo1204203200_er dared to dream that love could be hers. Now, at the edge of a forest filled with dark secrets, she faces a fateful choice between love and duty.

For as long as she can remember, beautiful and free-spirited Isabel has strained against the rules and rigidity of the Fellsworth School in the rolling English countryside. No longer a student, Isabel set her sights on a steady role as a teacher at the school, a safe yet stifling establishment that would enable her to care for her younger sister Lizzie, who was left in her care after her father’s death.

The unexpected arrival of a stranger with news of unknown relatives turns Isabel’s small, predictable world upside down, sweeping her and her young charge into a labyrinth of intrigue and hidden motives.

At her new family’s invitation, Isabel and Lizzie relocate to Emberwilde, a sprawling estate adjacent to a vast, mysterious wood rife with rumors and ominous folklore—along with whispers of something far more sinister. Perhaps even more startling, two handsome men begin pursuing Isabel, forcing her to learn the delicate dance between attraction, the intricate rules of courtship, and the hopes of her heart.

At Emberwilde Isabel will discover that the key to unlocking the mystery of her past may also open the door to her future and security. But first she must find it—in the depths of Emberwilde Forest.

M thoughts?

Sarah E. Ladd has once again proven that she’s a true talent in the Regency genre. Isabel is an interesting character to read. She’s very much content in life, and has a good heart, but also has a strong personality. She tries hard to fit into her place, but never seems to be able to. Then you have her two love interests, Mr. Bradford and Colin Galloway, both of whom treat her like a true lady with their personal brand of charm. I thoroughly enjoyed the relations between the three characters, especially when Isabel’s aunt and uncle try to get involved. I enjoyed that there are almost three plots interwoven together in this novel: Isabel’s growth as a character, her romance with the gentlemen, and the mysteries surrounding the woods. Although, my favorite part about this book was that it surprised me. As an avid reader I rarely am surprised by stories’ plot twists, but this one certainly came with a few. The book was well written, the settings beautiful, and the suspense and romance so wonderful that I couldn’t put it down. While the second in the series, it’s easily read on its own, and one I would recommend to Regency fans.

In full disclosure, the author was gracious enough to provide me a copy of this book for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Interested in this wonderful story? You can get a copy for Kindle or NOOK, not to mention paperback. And do check out the author’s website, and be sure to follow her on Facebook and Twitter

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Double Dose of Regency Fun

Hi all! So, today I’m giving you another double dose. Although, technically it’s more of a triple dose as I’m throwing in a novella as well. This time I’m doing two completely different authors who both write Regency, but in their own unique way. For starters, there’s Julie Klassen, a long time favorite author of mine, who writes the more outskirts of the Regency era, and her recent novel The Painter’s Daughter. Then there’s Kristi Ann Hunter, a new author, who does a beautiful job written about the nuances of the ton in her debut novel A Noble Masquerade and companion novella, A Lady of Esteem. Each is unique, but each is well written and wonderful Regency tales. So, ready to get started?

Let’s begin with Julie Klassen’s The Painter’s Daughter.

Sophie Dupont assis51z0v91dbrl-_sx322_bo1204203200_ts her father in his studio, keeping her own artwork out of sight. In private, she paints the picturesque north Devon coast, popular with artists–including handsome Wesley Overtree, who seems more interested in Sophie than the landscape.

Captain Stephen Overtree is accustomed to taking on his brother Wesley’s responsibilities. Near the end of his leave, he is sent to find his brother and bring him home. Upon reaching Devonshire, however, Stephen is stunned to learn Wesley has sailed for Italy and left his host’s daughter in serious trouble.

Stephen feels duty-bound to act, and strangely protective of the young lady, who somehow seems familiar. Wanting to make some recompense for his own past failings as well as his brother’s, Stephen proposes to Mis
s Dupont. He does not offer love, but marriage “in name only” to save her from scandal. If he dies in battle, as he fears, she will at least be a respectable widow.

Desperate for a way to escape her predicament, Sophie finds herself torn between her first love and this brooding man she barely knows. Dare she wait for Wesley to return? Or should she elope with the captain and pray she doesn’t come to regret it?

My thoughts?

This lovely novel by the talented Julie Klassen just showcases her amazing talent as a Regency author. Unafraid to dive into heavier topics, she none-the-less delivers a heartwarming tale. Sophie is sweet, demure, and lives to be her father’s assistant, loving to paint, but just for herself or her father. She never expected to fall for Wesley, or for him to walk out of her life. When Stephen comes looking for his life-loving brother, he didn’t expect to find a compromised Sophie. Doing the honorable thing, he offers his hand, and Sophie accepts the ‘marriage-in-name-only’. These two are beautifully written, especially together; though neither sets out wishing for more, they form a bond that slowly becomes something more. But when Wesley arrives, he shatters the peace that both have found, and Sophie must wrestle with her feelings for her first love against those of the man who married her. I found this one of the most beautifully written love stories I’ve had the pleasure of  it enjoying. Add to that, there is a deeply moving message of redemption woven into the pages. Though not as suspense-filled as Julie Klassen’s other novels, it is still none-the-less a beautiful novel, with wonderfully written characters, and deep messages that touch the heart. 

You can learn more about this wonderful author through her website, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter. And you can get this wonderful book on Kindle and NOOK, and of course paperback.

And now for Kristi Ann Hunter’s wonderful tales, starting with her novella A Lady of Esteem.
51xafb6qlbl-_sx322_bo1204203200_

Miss Amelia Stalwood may live in London at her absent guardian’s townhouse, but she’s never actually met any nobility, and instead of aristocrats, her closest friends are servants. Quite by Julie happenstance, she’s introduced to the Hawthorne family and their close family friend, Anthony, the reformed Marquis of Raebourne . They welcome her into their world, but just as she’s beginning to gain some confidence and even suspect she may have caught Anthony’s eye, she’s blindsided by an unexpected twist in her situation accompanied by nasty rumors. Will she lose her reputation when the world that has only just accepted her turns its back on her, or will she rest in the support of the friends who’ve become like family and the man who’s shared his faith and captured her heart?

My thoughts:

What a wonderful debut novella to introduce us to Kristi Ann Hunter’s Hawthorne House series! Amelia is a sweet character, outside of normal society, but happy in her place. She never expected to be thrust into society, or to find such good friends in the Hawthorne family, and she especially didn’t expect to fall for their long-time friend, Anthony. Anthony, for his worth, is a true gentleman, and very kind, though even he is taken aback by Amelia’s kindness towards those considered below her. But, when scandal erupts, will she lose everything she has just gained, or will her faith see her through? Wonderfully written story, with lovable characters, along with some comical moments and witty banter, this is a great start to this series.

And now for the novel, A Noble Masquerade.

Lady Miranda Hawthorn51ppjsz22bel-_sx321_bo1204203200_e acts every inch the lady, but inside she longs to be bold and carefree. Approaching spinsterhood in the eyes of society, she pours her innermost feelings out not in a diary but in letters to her brother’s old school friend, the Duke of Marshington. Since she’s never actually met the man she has no intention of ever sending the letters and is mortified when her brother’s mysterious new valet, Marlow, mistakenly mails one of the letters to the unsuspecting duke.

Shockingly, this breach of etiquette results in a reply from the duke that soon leads to a lively correspondence. Insecurity about her previous lack of suitors soon becomes confusion as Miranda finds herself equally intrigued by Marlow, a man she has come to depend upon but whose behavior grows more suspicious by the day. As the secret goings-on at her family’s estate come to light, one thing is certain: Miranda’s heart is far from all that’s at risk for the Hawthornes and those they love.

What I think?

The debut novel for this author, and this series, is at times both fun and serious, that blend well with the romance. Miranda is a beautiful character, a strong woman with a free spirit who has learned, though still fights, to be a polished lady. For years she has written to her brother’s friend, the only person she felt could understand her nature, and pours all her frustrations with society into the letters. She never expected him to ever read them, or to write back. Then there’s Marlow, a kind man with strong convictions who doesn’t seem to fit his role of Valet. I loved the interactions between these characters, and the written letters between Miranda and the duke. There’s great banter, along with some sweet romances. And to top it all off is a great mystery filled with intrigue as a spy searches for traitors in Miranda’s own house. The characters are well written, with wonderful dialogue, and the setting is beautiful. The intrigue is suspenseful, with a good dose of adventure, and the romance is fun to read and heartwarming. All in all, it’s  wonderful Regency and one I recommend to fans of the genre.

You can find more about this wonderful debut author on her website, and of course follow on Facebook and TwitterA Lady of Esteem is free for both Kindle and NOOK, and A Noble Masquerade is also available for Kindle and NOOK, and also paperback.

I hope you enjoy these books as much as I did!

 

 

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