Audio Review: The Duke Next Door (Heiress Brides, Book 2) by Celeste Bradley

thedukenextdoorHeroine: One of three girl cousins, gorgeous Deirdre Cantor is in the running to inherit her grandfather’s fortune. In order to be the heiress though, she needs to wed a duke and she knows just the future-duke to wed! He’s a man she’s admired from afar. Originally, he was engaged to one of her cousins, but then was jilted for the younger brother prior to the wedding. This gives her the perfect opportunity to propose the match to him.

Hero: Calder Marbrook, the Marquis of Brookhaven and future Duke of Brookmoor, needs a wife… but mostly because he needs a permanent mother figure for his young woefully misbehaved daughter. (The child comes as a shock to the heroine after they wed… even though she saved news clippings on him for years.)

Review: This book did not work well for me as an audiobook. The narrator, Susan Ericksen, was fine, but the problems with the book are exasperated in audio format. The hero treats the heroine like a misbehaving child within seconds of reaching his country estate. If she doesn’t become the wife/governess he needs her to be for his daughter, he’ll not pay for dresses and won’t let her attend parties or go to London for the society… Apparently, he’s too distracted by his wife’s breasts to take his foot out of his mouth. How can this autocratic alpha bully not handle the nurses and governesses taking care of his child… or even his willful child? The secondary character romance and the setup for the next book’s romance were distracting, and for me, unwanted. Also, how can Diedre think that the best revenge on her husband is to actually do as he says and take his daughter in hand? That doesn’t make sense. Although, I did like the stepmother/stepdaughter relationship.


The Duke Next Door (Heiress Brides), Audible Audiobook

Review: How to Marry a Marquis (Agents of the Crown, Book 2) by Julia Quinn

how to marry a marquisHero: James Sidwell, the Marquis of Riverdale, and agent to the crown, is good at uncovering secrets and finding bad guys. When his aunt informs him of a blackmailer, he is quick to ride to her rescue for she is like a mother to him. At her behest he arrives in disguise as the new estate manager and immediately has suspicions about his aunt’s companion, Elizabeth Hotchkiss.

Heroine: Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of four, is trying with few successes to raise her siblings. The lack of money is a constant worry for her as she’s trying to figure out how to keep the family together and pay for her brother to go to school. In Lady Danbury’s library she finds a silly book about how to marry a marquis. Reading it, she and her sister decide she must practice on a live subject… and the new estate manager would be perfect!

Review: I love when characters become the butt of their own schemes. When James offers to help Elizabeth find herself a husband, little does he know he will want her for his very own. Lady Agatha Danbury is a crafty old woman who shouldn’t be underestimated. She will make you laugh. A couple of characters are introduced, who are probably from the first book in the series, and didn’t add much for me. Overall, an easy read with a fluffy center.


Buy: How to Marry a Marquis (Avon Romantic Treasure)

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Review: Secrets of an Accidental Duchess (A Donovan Novel) by Jennifer Haymore

Reviewed by Carla F.

Summary: When Maxwell Buchanan, the Marquis of Hasley, first sees Olivia Donovan across the ballroom, he is struck by her beauty and cannot stop staring at her. Unfortunately, this is noticed by the Marquis of Fenwicke, a man who has always been a competitor of Max’s. Fenwicke knows who Olivia is and has tried to get her into his bed. He doesn’t think that Max will have any success with her either, and he is willing to bet money on it. Max is disgusted by Fenwicke, but he accepts the bet.

Olivia grew up in the West Indies and has been treated with kid gloves by the rest of her family since she contracted malaria years ago. It is wonderful that the visiting Max treats her like he would any desirable woman.

Review: I have enjoyed some of Haymore’s other books (particularly A Hint of Wicked) so I decided to read this one even though it has a trope that I don’t care for: the stupid bet. It is sometimes difficult to keep reading when you know what is going to cause disaster down the line for a relationship. However, the fact that Max never takes the bet seriously makes it bearable.

The relationship between Max and Olivia was a wonderful read. You can see the hope building in Olivia that she doesn’t have to live the rest of her life in her sister’s home. She can experience love.

This is the second book in the Donovan Sisters series, but the reader should be able to enjoy it without reading books 1 and 1.5.

Recommended: For readers who like to see a damaged heroine gain control of her life and find love.

ARC provided by Grand Central Publishing via NetGalley.


Buy: Secrets of An Accidental Duchess (A Donovan Novel)

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Review: An Earl to Enchant by Amelia Grey

“A novel must be exceptionally good to live as long as the average cat.” – Lord Chesterfield.

This novel is exceptionally good. –Guest Reviewer: Susan S.

An Earl to Enchant is book three from Grey’s (The Rogues’ Dynasty Trilogy.) This third installment is a stand alone. Despite the fact, that you need not read the first two to enjoy this novel; I’m recommending you do. There are references to the Talbott pearls, Gibby’s previous scandals, mention of Henrietta’s initial meeting with Blake, and Susannah’s with Race. If you read the previous installments, you’ll recognize the characters I mention under cameo appearances.

Cameo Appearances: Blake, Henrietta, Susannah, Race, Constance, Gibby, and ha-ha, I almost forgot the poetry loving, Lord Snellingly. (It’s funny how everyone tries to avoid him.)

Although Race (the Marquis) is still my favorite roguish cousin, An Earl to Enchant is the steamiest novel of the three. Those sensual moments by the coast will have you fanning yourselves with extra vigor. Morgan will capture many a readers’ heart.

Miss Arianna Sweet (heroine) has just fled India with her maid Beabe. Her trip to England was an arduous one. But, well worth the plight, if she can bring recognition to her late father. She hopes his research will be recognized by the Royal Apothecary Scientific Academy for the Study of Herbs, Plants, and Spices.

The hero, Lucas Randolph Morgandale is the (Ninth Earl of Morgandale) and the late Lady Elder’s oldest grandson. This very handsome 30 year old rogue, with long dark hair, and blue eyes is quite breathtaking. Too bad he’s determined to remain unmarried. Sigh!

This novel takes off once Arianna appears at Morgan’s door. She’ll swoon, and not because of his good looks. There’s a case of mistaken identity, and someone’s determined to get their hands on one of her father’s formulas. Even kill for it!

Will Morgan remain an unmarried rogue, or will he succumb to Arianna’s innocent- yet exotic charms?

My favorite scene: It’s raining, they’re by the coast, and Morgan kisses the droplets of rain from Arianna’s lips. Repeat after me, H-O-T!

Recommendations: Read this book if you like: Regencies, romances, happily-ever-afters, sexy Earls in breeches and knee high boots, when Sandy and Danny are at the beach (beginning of Grease,) intrigue, romantic suspense, humor, and books which leave you smiling.


Buy: An Earl to Enchant

Romance, April 2010, Sourcebooks Casablanca, Mass Market Paperback, Print Pages 344. ISBN# 978-1-4022-1761-6.

Want More? Keep your eyes peeled. Three more men will be joining the Rogues’ Dynasty series: Viscount Brentwood and his twin brothers. To answer your question, yes they’re handsome devils. To answer your second question, to be determined. Release dates not yet available.

In the meantime, Never a Bride originally released in June 2001, will now be reprinted by a different publisher, Sourcebooks, Inc. in Sept. 2010. ISBN-13# 978-1-4022-3978-6.

Review: Frederica by Georgette Heyer


By: Sasha Muradali, guest reviewer

Frederica is a stylish and witty Regency novel by Georgette Heyer.

The novel centers around a young girl named Frederica who brings her younger sister and the rest of their siblings to London. She is determined to secure a fabulous marriage for her astoundingly beautiful, cherub-faced sister named Charis.

If you are looking for a Jane Austen fix, and are not interested in reading any ‘remakes’ or pseudo-Austen novels, you want to read Frederica.

But be warned, like Austen, Heyer enlists the use of old English to convey the feel of her stories. So prepare yourself with the mindset of Regency dialogue.

Enlisting the help of her cousin, the Marquis of Alverstoke, Frederica embarks on a journey quite distant from the one she initially imagined.

Refreshing, lovely, smart and straight forward, Frederica more than makes a lasting impression on the dashing Marquis.

Quote from chapter 1:

But Alverstoke’s besetting sin was a tendency to become rapidly bored. It had vanquished his sisters; for although neither of them could suppose, reviewing the numerous dazzling barques of frailty who had lived under his protection, that he was impervious to feminine charms, neither was so muttonheaded as to indulge optimism very far when he seemed to be developing a tendre for some diamond of birth, beauty, and fortune, thrust under his nose by one or other of his sisters. He was perfectly capable of making the lady the object of his gallantry for a few weeks, and then of veering off at a tangent, forgetting her very existence.

Agreeing to launch Charis and Frederica into London’s high society, Lord Alverstoke who is normally cautious of his family, finds himself entertained and entranced.

Some of the best scenes in the novel are the interactions between Lord Alverstoke and his two overbearing sisters: two overbearing, shallow women whose sole purpose in life is to manipulate others, especially him, in order to get what they want.

The novel is humorous, light-hearted and smut-free.

It’s really that type of novel, ideally read, on a rainy afternoon with a cup of tea and a scone on the side.

While, Frederica is not Pride and Prejudice, it is a nice, comfortable way to get your Austen-fix.

This book is highly recommended.

Now go watch Lost in Austen and smile.

[rating: 4.5]

Buy: Frederica

Find and buy more Georgette Heyer novels.

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