Review: To Seduce an Earl (Seduction, Book 1) by Lori Brighton

to seduce an earlHero: When Alex Weston was young, he was blackmailed into working as a male prostitute in order to keep his family from London’s prisons. He has been thinking of escaping ever since, but the information that caught him then, is holding him captive today. With nothing much better to look forward, Alex decides to stay where he’s at until an intriguing costumer comes to his bed. Can he find the strength to break away from his world in order to keep her there?

Heroine: Grace Brisbane arrives at Lavender Hills quite by mistake. She’s tricked by her stepbrother and has no idea what she’s getting when Alex comes to the bedchamber. Clearly he is not an eccentric book collector. Horribly hurt by her stepbrother’s actions, Grace confronts him and learns the family’s finances are not good. Apparently her stepbrother wanted to help her catch the eye of the Earl of Rodrick, a man Grace has been infatuated with for a while. The Earl prefers experienced women over virgins. Can she gain enough experience to seduce an earl without complete ruination? One way to find out!

Review: I got tired of Alex’s never-ending pity party. The picture painted at Lavender Hills wasn’t ideal, but neither was it so foul that I felt Alex was truly trapped. (Is this a double standard? Yes, it is.) He was trapped mentally in his own apathy about his situation more than anything else. Sure, there are a couple of big brutes standing guard in the halls – it’s called a window. Alex won’t take that escape either because the blackmailing madam of the house would send said brutes to find him. For a man capable of wooing any virgin, he wasn’t as manly or ferocious in his sex appeal and I had hoped. Grace and Alex, when they are together, kept the story moving forward and kept my focus. It’s entertaining, quick, and good for passing time at the airport. I look forward to learning more about Gideon.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Buy: To Seduce an Earl (The Seduction Series)

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Get into Bed with Anne Gracie (Author Interview)

AnneGracie4_2Keira: How does a governess become a companion?

Anne Gracie: In my book The Autumn Bride Abby is sacked from her governess job when she smuggles in her sister and two friends for the night. They have nowhere else to stay — they’ve just escaped after being kidnapped and taken to a brothel. Things go from bad to worse, and in desperation Abby goes to break into an old mansion in search of something to steal. Instead she finds aristocratic Lady Beatrice Davenham in dire straits — bedridden and in the hands of lazy and neglectful servants.

So with the old lady’s cooperation she and her “sisters” pretend to be Lady Beatrice’s nieces, thus improving everyone’s situation.

Keira: Why was Lord Davenham in the orient?

Anne: When he was just eighteen Lady Beatrice’s nephew, Max, Lord Davenham had inherited a title and a mound of debts. For the last nine years, he’s been away in the Orient, making his fortune, and now he’s come home. He’s not impressed to find his home invaded by impostors. Especially when his aunt informs him that he’s got nothing to say about it — if she wants to have nieces, she’ll have nieces!

Keira: What is the most interesting Regency rule you’ve come across in your research?

Anne: I honestly can’t think of one — the thing is, people bent “rules” in those days just as much as they do now. The important thing was not to get caught.

Keira: A governess’s most loveable qualities are. . .

Anne: My heroine, Abby is the kind of person who takes care of other people. She’s a loyal friend and sister, and she’s also impetuous — she can’t ignore another person in trouble — and that’s what gets her into trouble. She’s a fighter, too — she stands up to Max from the very beginning.

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There was the sound of a scuffle, and she ran down the last few steps to the landing in time to see Featherby fall to the floor and a tall, dark-haired stranger push past him and enter the house. Before she could gather her wits, he’d crossed the hallway and was racing up the stairs toward her, taking them two at a time on long, powerful legs.

“Stop!” Abby braced herself, flinging her hands out to bar his way. “You can’t come up here.”

She fully expected him to shove her roughly aside, as he’d shoved Featherby, but amazingly, he stopped.

She had an impression of a hard, chiseled jaw, a bold nose, a firm, compressed mouth. And he was tall; even standing three steps below her, he was taller than she. Her heart was pounding. What sort of a man would shove his way into a lady’s house with so little ceremony? At this hour of the morning?

He was casually dressed in a loose dark blue coat, a white shirt, buff breeches and high black boots. His cravat was carelessly knotted around a strong, tanned throat.     Despite the almost civilized clothing, he looked like . . . like some kind of marauder. His jaw was unshaven, rough with dark bristles; his thick, dark hair was unfashionably long and caught back carelessly with a strip of leather. Gray eyes glittered in a tanned face.

A dark Viking—surely no Englishman would have skin that dark, burnished by years under a foreign sun.

“Who’s going to stop me?” He moved up one step.

She didn’t move. “I am.”

Keira: How do you define love?

Anne: I couldn’t — I just know it’s everywhere, all around us, and has many different forms and faces. In The Autumn Bride, for instance, there isn’t just love developing between the hero and heroine, there’s love between the sisters, and between the four girls and the old lady.  The old lady adores her autocratic nephew and even though she drives him to distraction, he adores her too. It’s everywhere — you just have to know how to look for it.

Buy: The Autumn Bride (A CHANCE SISTERS ROMANCE)

GIVEAWAY: 1 copy of The Autumn Bride is up for grabs! Enter by leaving a comment or asking Anne a question!

Review: A Bride for His Convenience by Edith Layton

I had several issues with this novel. First, there is no chemistry between Ian and Hannah. They are bland. The whole love story is flat. Frankly, I hardly cared whether they liked each other or not let alone loved each other. When they reach the realization and eventual declaration of their love to one another it is unsatisfying and unbelievable.

The book started off slow and never took off. It plods along at a rate that makes snails look daredevil speeding machines. Ian is a Marquis in need money to pay off debts. Hannah wants to please her father by gaining social standing and forget a shallow lover. They agree to marry, an arrangement that suits them both and promise never to bring up the bargain again. Except they do. Every scene. No joke. This creates a pattern that gets old fast.

He’s bitter because he was sold to the highest bidder. It really irks him and yanks on his pride. She’s tired of being seen as a title grabbing, social ladder climbing, merely passable bride. She tries so hard not to give him any reason to be ashamed of her and always sees herself as failing.

The back of the novel promises Hannah to socialize with the ton and another man who wants to win Hannah’s heart. It’s very misleading as neither of these ever really happen. Sure, eventually Hannah meets the members of the ton but it’s not pleasant and they snub her. The man is actually the shallow cad who dumped her for better looking goods at the beginning of the novel. He’s hardly a blip on the radar for how long you have to wait for him to show up and how short he stays.

Rating: 1 Star

Buy: A Bride for His Convenience

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Review: The Heiress by Jude Deveraux

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The Heiress by Jude Deveraux started off exceptionally well in my opinion but tapered off into mediocrity and stayed there after the jumpstart. It’s too bad that it did that as my initial impressions of the novel were four out of five stars. The editing felt choppy in the middle and was completely disconnected towards the end. There was a distinct lack of transitions between scenes and as I read I felt like I was missing the good parts, the parts that tied everything together.

It was hard to feel for the characters after the initial start as well. There was no chemistry between the two of them in the end and that’s what killed the book. I kept reading though hoping it would turn around and be the amazing story it started off as. No such luck.

Axia has forever been stigmatized by her fortune. When people first meet her, they dismiss her, but that soon changes when they hear about how she is the Maidenhall Heiress. Their entire demeanor would do a one eighty. Men previously uninterested would turn fawning gazes her way and declare their undying love and devotion. For once Axia would love to be wanted, needed, and desired for who she was rather than how much money she represents.

James, call him Jamie, Montgomery is a dirt-poor Elizabethan knight. He inherited his brother’s earldom after his death to a fever. Unfortunately for James, his brother had gambled away everything leaving the family with nothing and no way to support themselves. James had responsibilities to the tenets whose land had once been Montgomery before his brother’s debts, his withdrawn mother, blind twin sister, and tomboy younger sister. So when Maidenhall offered to pay him to escort his daughter Axia to her betrothed, James said yes.

But then his sisters found out and hatched a plan to use Jame’s beauty to save them from destitution. He would woo the Maidenhall Heiress while she was under his charge and convince her to marry him instead of the man she was betrothed too. However Axia outsmarts James and convinces her beautiful cousin to play the part of heiress to allow Axia freedom on the journey. The tale is a topsy-turvy ride through layers of deception, intrigue, and desperation.

Rating: 2 Stars

Highlander Contest Entry #1: The Highlander’s Heir

Today I have the pleasure of presenting the first of the Highlander Novel Cover Contest entries. Be sure to vote by leaving a comment on the entries that you enjoy! The winner is determined by the amount of vocal support they receive before the end of the month!

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Model: Alex, who is really Scottish.
Designer: Zarabeth

Romance Novel Title: The Highlander’s Heir

The Tale:

Patrick Kelley, the bastard grandson of the Laird Joseph Kelley knew only two things. He needed a wife and he needed an heir. The passing of Laird Joseph Kelley left Patrick with a dilapidated castle in Edinbourough, a stack of debts, and responsibilities he couldn’t ignore. The fields needed new tenants and tenants meant new homes built with money he didn’t have. Despite his severe loathing of London Society he would have to venture there to find and wed an heiress.

Emiline Pembroke was a plump cousin and companion of the beautiful Jessamine Pembroke, the only heir to the fortune of the Earl, Byron of Pembroke. The Earl’s estate in Wales was Emiline’s preferred setting for her quiet and uneventful life as a spinster at the age of 26. Her cousin’s coming-out ball would only be the 1st tiresome event of the next season in London, where she would dutifully sit and sip in the companions’ corner, unnoticed and unwanted.