Thursday, June 23, 2011

Historical Romance Releases for July 2011

There are so many releases in so many genres that I could spend a fortune just in the romance section of my neighbourhood Indigo bookstore. My favourite genre of late seems to be historical romance, preferably set in Scotland. That is why I am so looking forward to the release of Paula Quinn's TAMED BY A HIGHLANDER. I loved the others in the series and I can't wait to get back to those wonderful characters who fight for love and for their country. Is there a special tale that you are looking forward to?

THE ANGEL IN MY ARMS by Stefanie Sloane
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publish Date: July 2011

To Young Corinthian agent Marcus MacInnes, the Earl of Weston, his latest mission involving a smuggling ring with ties to Napoleon seems ridiculous at first, but becomes all too threatening as pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place. And the most troubling piece of all? Miss Sarah Tisdale, an unconventional beauty whose lust for life is rivaled only by her ability to drive Marcus to distraction. When her family comes under suspicion, Marcus must watch her very closely—even if her touch ignites the fiery desire burning beneath his cool façade. When it comes to suitors, Sarah’s lush curves and kissable lips aren’t enough to compensate for her willful nature. She’s tasted disappointment before, but flirting with the sinfully handsome Marcus is a pastime worth savoring—even when it leads to wicked pleasures. When Sarah’s life is in jeopardy, Marcus discovers that the passion between them can no longer be denied—and he’ll do anything to keep her in his arms.

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publish Date: July 2011

A stolen kiss from a stranger... As if from a dream, Lady Gabrielle walked from the mist and into Viscount Brentwood's arms. Within moments, he's embroiled in more scandal than he ever thought possible...

Can sink even a perfect gentleman...

Beautiful, clever, and courageous, Lady Gabrielle needs Brent's help to get out of a seriously bad situation. But the more she gets to know him, the worse she feels about ruining his life...

Enter the unforgettable world of Amelia Grey's sparkling Regency London, where a single encounter may have devastating consequences for a gentleman and a lady...

NOTORIOUS by Nicola Cornick

Publisher: Harlequin
Publish Date: July 2011

When the ton’s most notorious heartbreaker…

Dangerously seductive and sinfully beautiful, Susanna Burney is society’s most sought after matchbreaker. Paid by wealthy parents to part unsuitable couples, she’s never yet failed to accomplish her mission of diverting a groom-to-be. Until her final assignment brings her face-to-face with the man who’d once taught her an intimate lesson in heartache....

Meets London's most disreputable rake...

James Devlin has everything he's always wanted: a title, a rich fiancée and a place in society. But the woman who's just met his eyes across a crowded ballroom threatens it all. Not because she'd once claimed his heart, or that every sinuous swirl of her ball gown takes his breath away. But because the secrets she carries could cost him everything. To put the past to rest once and for all, Dev just might have to play Susanna at her own wicked game...


Publisher: Delacorte

Publish Date: July 2011

While Lady Angeline Dudley’s pedigree dictates that she must land a titled gentleman, the irrepressible beauty secretly longs for a simple, ordinary suitor. No wild rakes like the men of her family, just a kind heart and good nature. So when Edward Ailsbury, the new Earl of Heyward, rescues her with unmatched civility from the advances of a scoundrel, Angeline thinks that she has found her true love. Persuading the earl is another matter entirely.

Edward has his future neatly mapped out. He hopes to wed his steadfast companion, a woman who shares his values of loyalty, respect, and decorum. But arriving in London to take his seat in the House of Lords, he is derailed by Angeline, an exquisite bird of paradise seemingly devoted to sending his predictable life into chaos.

From the brilliant hues of her fashion to her hoydenish antics, Angeline is the last woman on earth for Edward. And yet a stolen kiss in the moonlight awakens something deep and primal within him. Naturally, being a gentleman, he does the right thing after compromising a lady: He offers marriage.

Angeline knows that Edward’s proposal is born of duty, not love. But denying something so provocative and passionate is easier said than done. Deep down, Angeline believes that Edward’s dedication to convention will melt behind closed doors, where sensuality and seduction play wicked games. For a proper wife by day can become a husband’s secret mistress by night, when delicious desire rules.

THE PERFECT KISS by Melody Thomas

Publisher: HarperCollins Publish Date: July 2011

It was the moment she had been dreaming of: a stolen kiss at a masquerade ball with the dashing Camden St. Giles. He may not have known who she was, but Christel would never forget . . .

Nine years have passed since that magical evening. Now Camden, the seventh earl of Carrick, is widowed with a young daughter, a man with a heart in need of healing. And Christel has just stolen onboard his ship bound for Scotland. Neither has forgotten the kiss that had set their hearts ablaze. The longer she remains with him, the hotter his desire burns. But as they grasp their second chance at love, will the secrets from his past threaten to destroy the one love true enough to free his tormented heart?


Publisher: Hachette Book Group

Publish Date: July 1, 2011

Desire knows no bounds...
Connor Grant left his first love in the Highlands, vowing to return after serving in the king's army. Seven years later, he is still fighting for the crown, and his victories are legendary-both in the battlefield and in the bedroom. Yet he's never forgotten his bonnie lass. And he certainly never expected to see her amidst the splendor of the British royal court: beautiful, breathtaking, and tempting him past the point of no return.
The night he left, Mairi MacGregor banished Connor from her life forever. Now her heart belongs only to Scotland. As part of a secret alliance, she journeys to London in search of information . . . only to find herself face to face with the one man she swore she'd never trust again. Though Mairi's body still craves Connor's touch, she can't forgive his betrayal. But a traitor lurks in their midst and to protect her beloved Highlands, Mairi must make a leap of faith and join forces with Connor-even if it means losing her heart to him again.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Book Review for "The Secret" by Julie Garwood

It feels so good to be back in the Highlands. I don't know what it is.....the stark beauty, the remote locations, the castles and keeps, the lairds and their warriors. All of the above, I believe. This time, the year is 1200 and I'm on Maitland land, with the MacLeans and the Dunbars close by, always ready to ignite a feud with the lifting of a sword. But what has me very excited is the devastatingly striking Laird of the Maitland clan, Iain, a rugged warrior whose muscular body and piercing gray eyes are enough to fell any lass, much less a 21st century, modern day woman such as myself. Well, if you won't take my word for it, listen to what our heroine, Judith, says upon laying her eyes on Iain for the first time.
"She didn't think she'd ever seen such a magnificent sight in all her life. The man fascinated her. He was certainly the biggest of the lot. His broad shoulders fairly blocked out the sun shining down behind him, and only the rays of light surrounded him, giving him an invincible, magical appearance. He was only a man, a ruggedly handsome man at that, and surely the most muscular warrior in the group. The plaid he wore had opened on the side of his left thigh. The bulge of sleek muscle there looked as hard as roped steel. Lord, she thought, she could be content to stare at the warlord for the rest of the day. His hair was a dark, rich brown in colour, with just a little hint of curl to it. His bare arms were as bronzed as his face. He had a striking profile. Oh yes, he was a fit one all right, but in truth it was the colour of his eyes that held her interest the longest. They were a beautiful, brilliant shade of gray."
Mmmmmm......oh, I'm just visualizing. (You know visualizing is a comprehension strategy used by good readers and I consider myself a very good reader!) The plot of this novel is a different one for me. Judith Hampton had promised her best childhood friend that she would be at her side for the birth of her child. Judith's journey from England to the vast Highlands of Scotland becomes an adventure, not only for herself, but also for her escort, Laird Iain, and his loyal warriors. An Englishwoman welcomed on Scottish land was unheard of at the time. But Judith is not your typical lass. She is fiercely loyal to her friend, independent, outspoken(my favourite trait!), and very beautiful. This is a mixture that even the strong-willed Iain cannot ignore. He is captivated by her, but of coarse, he denies any feeling he has for Judith other than a physical longing. Yet, he finds himself wanting to be her protector. And after one kiss, he cannot think of anything but this feisty Englishwoman. Little does he know that Judith is holding on to a secret that could shatter his world and that of his clan's.

I really enjoyed this tale. There are many layers to these characters that the author unfolds throughout the telling. The hero and heroine's attraction to one another is palpable and their playful bantering had me laughing out loud. I loved how Judith could show her vulnerabilities to Iain, but she always mustered the courage and strength to do what she believed was right, even in the face of fear. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the fight for women's rights was woven into the story, but was not preached to the reader at any point. This is a story where prejudices are overcome and love, loyalty and security are found. It is a story filled with inspiration and life-long lessons, such as the one Iain shares with Judith, and she with he at the end of the book.
"I was railing against all of the injustices in this world, and I specifically remember your suggestion to me. You said that if I didn't like something, I should work to change it. One whisper, added to a thousand others, becomes a roar of discontent."

If you don't like something, change it. And she does. And so should we all.

"The Secret" is book #3 in the 2011 Highlander Reading Challenge.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Book Review for "Where Dreams Begin" by Lisa Kleypas

Aren't we all secretly ( or maybe not secretly, as in my case) attracted to those bad boys? The ones your mother told you to stay away from, the ones who have that naughty glint in their eyes, the ones whose wickedness holds a certain charm, the ones who are just a bit rebellious and innately driven? Don't we believe, deep down, that maybe, just maybe, these bad boys could fall in love with us? Well, once again, I have fallen in love with a bad boy, and his name is Zachary Bronson.

Zachary always gets what he wants, and what he wants is Lady Holly Taylor. As Holly is leaving a ball, the first real outing she has attempted after having been in mourning for three years since the death of her beloved husband, she is swept up in a kiss by Zachary Bronson. Neither knows the identity of the other on the darkened conservatory, but each feels the passion and the allure of the kiss. It is at this point that Zachary decides he is going to make Lady Holly his. It is too, at this point, that something is ignited deep within this young, beautiful widow.

Zachary is a very wealthy, self-made man, something unheard of in the ton. Blue-blood is the only blood that matters, the only blood that makes you a true gentleman. Zachary is the first to admit that he is not a gentleman. It is this knowledge that he uses as a premise to lure Holly and her daughter onto his estate. Lessons. Lessons in manners, lessons in deportment, lessons in chivalry.....lessons in everything gentlemanly. Zachary is willing to pay Holly a huge sum of money, not only to turn him into a gentleman respected by the peerage, but also to give his beautiful sister, Lizzie, etiquette lessons as well so that she may make a productive match for herself. But once the prim and proper Lady Holly embarks on this mission, she is shocked to find herself falling for this brute of a man, a man, she discovers, who is more than the breadth of his shoulders and the fortune he amasses. But how could she fall for someone so different than her first love, George. George would never approve of her finding love with someone so beneath her status, someone so feral. But how can Holly resist Zachary when he is so vulnerable, yearning to be accepted and loved for who he truly is.

I truly enjoyed this book. I loved the hero....striking, big and brawny, devoted, intelligent, loyal and passionate. Something about a man fighting his way out of poverty using his physicality and his intelligence is very attractive! I loved how he was able to admit to himself that he was falling in love with a woman. And I loved that he told her so, even at the risk of being rejected for the "commoner" he was. I was happy to see that Zachary wouldn't change for anyone. He knew his flaws, but wasn't willing to change for anyone....he stayed true to his self. The sexual chemistry between the hero and heroine is hot. I loved how Zachary ignited a passion in Holly that was beneath the surface of her lady-like composure. But I did get tired of her holding on to the ghost of her first husband for so long throughout the tale. Having read so many of Lisa Kleypas' novels, my expectations were high and I was not disappointed. Kleypas has once again created characters that come to life on the page, characters that make you yell in frustration...characters that make you laugh uncontrollably.....characters that make you weep with sorrow....characters that make you cry out in anguish. Rose, Holly's four year old daughter, is one such character that touches the reader with her innocent charm and childish honesty. Tears slipped down my cheeks as she was saying goodbye to Zachary, a scene that reveals his inner anguish.
"Will I ever see you and Lizzie again?" Rose asked woefully. Zachary couldn't bring himself to lie to her. "Not very often, I'm afraid". "You'll miss me awfully," she said, heaving a sigh, and she began to fumble for something in the pocket of her pinafore. Something went wrong with Zachary's eyes, some odd blurring and stinging that he couldn't seem to blink away. "Every day princess." "Are you going to cry, Mr. Bronson?" the child asked in concern, coming to stand beside his knees, staring into his downturned face. He managed to smile at her. "Just a little on the inside," he said raspily. He felt her little hand on his cheek, and he held utterly still as she kissed him on the nose. "Good-bye, Mr. Bronson," she whispered, and she left with her button string trailing dolefully behind her.
This book is a hidden gem that I think romance addicts will adore. It brings with it a wonderful message that is applicable throughout the ages. Even if we lose a love, the world can bring us another. Love comes in different can be soft and romantic, tender and loyal, or passionately sensual and zealous. All are different, but the same.....the end result is happiness.
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