class division

“The Wicked Duke” Gets the Girl

26166452The Wicked Duke by Madeline Hunter
Jove: May 31, 2016
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Free From Publisher

Beach Vacation
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With The Wicked Duke Madeline Hunter concludes her Wicked trilogy, solving the mystery of the previous Duke of Aylesbury’s mysterious death and giving the current duke his happily ever after.

Lancelot Hemingford, Duke of Aylesbury, is rusticating while the rumours that he was involved in the death of his older brother calm down. While in the country, Lance crosses paths with Marianne Radley, a young woman that has returned to the area as a dependent of her uncle. Soon after meeting, Marianne’s social climber of an uncle conspires with Lance to rid him of the murderous charges laid against him if he will marry Marianne. Lance agrees and marries Marianne, yet trouble is always on the horizon because Marianne is unaware of the deal Lance made with her uncle.
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Where the Magic’s At: “On the Edge”

6329547On the Edge by Ilona Andrews
Ace: September 29, 2009
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Source: Free From Library

I’d go there again!
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I’m a fairly recent addition to the Ilona Andrews bandwagon. I recently caught up on Andrews’ fabulous Kate Daniels series and was left with a void as I await the newest installment (coming September 2016). Luckily, Andrews has more books out in the wild that do not feature Kate Daniels and On the Edge is one such book.

On the Edge is the first in Andrews’ Edge quartet. In this world there are three worlds. First is the human world, the Broken, where magic doesn’t exist. Second, is the Weird, where magic is king and the world is ruled by the aristocratic bluebloods. In between these two worlds is the Edge. In the Edge magic is present, but its a kind of mixture of the Broken and the Weird. In the Edge, magic can cement your power, but the level of your power can come at a terrible price, a fact that Rose Drayton knows all too well. (more…)

“A Useful Woman” is an Amateur Sleuth

26067944A Useful Woman by Darcie Wilde
Berkley: May 3, 2016
Genre: Historical Mystery
Source: Free From Publisher

Rosalind Thorne is a woman that lives on the edges of the ton. She was once a debutante on the verge of making a match. That life was destroyed when Rosalind’s father abandoned her and her mother because of some shady business dealings. Due to her constrained circumstances Rosalind had to make herself useful, and in that, she maintains her position in society.

Normally, Rosalind helps woman organize parties or assists in a strategic retreat from prying eyes. The ladies of the ton depend on Rosalind to help them manage distressing situations. However, Rosalind has never once before had to manage the inconvenience appearance of a dead body. When the body of Jasper Aimesworth is found in the hallowed halls of Almack’s, Rosalind finds herself reluctantly drawn into a murder investigation. And this investigation uncovers some uncomfortable truths about her benefactress while forcing Rosalind to confront her past and acknowledge that she has changed in the years since she was a fresh-faced debutante. (more…)

On the Bandwagon with “The Winner’s Curse”

16069030The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Farrar Straus Girou: March 4, 2014
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Source: Free From Library

I’d go there again!
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So, I’ve finally jumped on The Winner’s Curse bandwagon, only committing to read the first book in the trilogy now that I have both the second and third on hand (cliffhangers, I’m no friend of yours). For the most part, I think Winner’s Curse lives up to the hype that it has received. The writing is gorgeous, and that alone will have me picking up the second book.

For those that have been living in a cave and haven’t heard of this trilogy, let me summarize. Kestrel is a general’s daughter, and it was her father that conquered the Herrani on behalf of his emperor. Now, ten years after the war, Kestrel is living in the city of the fallen and the Herrani serve the Valorian as slaves. When Kestrel purchases a young man at an auction, she sets off a chain of events that leads to revolution. (more…)

Romance in the Gilded Age: “Magnate”

26025622Magnate by Joanna Shupe
Zebra: April 26, 2016
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Free From Publisher

Beach Vacation
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Elizabeth Sloane is a well-bred socialite; however, as readers soon discover, there’s more to Elizabeth than fashion, gossip, and social calls. Elizabeth is looking for more out of life than her station offers. Instead, Elizabeth wants to open her own stock trading company, in part, due to the fact that her brother’s company appears to be in trouble, and also because she wants to put her brain to work. When her brother denies her wish to open shop, Elizabeth approaches Emmett Cavanaugh, a rich and powerful figure that rose from the slums of Five Points to Fifth Avenue. Little does Elizabeth know that Emmett is no friend of her brothers and decides to help her open her company for reasons of his own.

Initially, Elizabeth and Emmett conspire to create a business partnership; however, private dinners and conspiring family members soon transform this arrangement into a compromising situation. One hasty wedding later, Elizabeth and Emmett are unhappily wed. There is an attraction between them, but multiple misunderstanding on the part of both parties work against the couple. At least, until a snow storm rolls into town… (more…)

“Luck is No Lady”: Love in a Gambling Den

25827686Luck is No Lady by Amy Sandas
Sourcebooks Casablanca: April 5, 2016
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Free From Publisher

Beach vacation
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Luck is No Lady is a historical romance that I was looking forward to because, hey, gambling den!

Emma Chadwick is a woman in dire straights. She’s threatened by a moneylender that her father was in debt to when he died. Due to this financially stressed circumstances (it cost a lot to launch your sisters in society) Emma needs to find employment. Fast. 

A gently bred woman finding respectable employment is no easy thing in the Regency era. Hence, Emma’s eventual employment as a bookkeeper at a scandalous gambling hell. The owner of the club is Roderick Bentley, bastard son of an Earl, who hires Emma in order to discover how his previous bookkeeper was fleecing him out of his money. Emma is up to the mathematical challenge, but is less prepared for her attraction to the handsome owner of the club. (more…)

“To Lure a Proper Lady” into an Investigation

25852665.jpgTo Lure a Proper Lady by Ashlyn Macnamara
Loveswept: March 29, 2016
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Free From Publisher

Beach Vacation
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To Lure a Proper Lady is the first of a new series from historical romance author Ashlyn Macnamara. This book had me as soon as it was revealed that the hero would be a Bow Street Runner. Class conflict? Count me in!

Lady Elizabeth Wilde has sought out the assistance of the famed Bow Street Runners when she suspects that her father is being poisoned. Unfortunately, her first meeting of Dysart doesn’t exactly demonstrate his competence. Despite her first impression, Elizabeth agrees with Dysart’s plan to discover the poisoner. And Elizabeth learns that there’s much more going on below the surface of Dysart’s rough facade. (more…)

Space Adventure Goes Sideways in “Starflight”

21793182Starflight by Melissa Landers
Disney-Hyperion: February 2, 2016
Genre: Science Fiction
Source: Free from publisher

Beach Vacation
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Space adventure? Count me in!

When I heard about Melissa Lander’s Starflight I was pretty darn excited. I am a huge fan of anything set in space and if there isn’t an over abundance of science-y things, that makes things even better (for me, at least). Facts matter not! Starflight was a fun, space-set adventure, perfect for readers looking for something fast-paced and entertaining.

Solara Brooks is a young woman with a past. She’s branded as a criminal and because of that she can’t get a job. Desperate times call for desperate measures and Solara indentures herself to former classmate, Doran Spaulding, so that she can get passage aboard a ship. Doran had made Solara’s high school life…not pleasant and doesn’t do much better now that she’s working for him (and I do mean that she works, she’s doing his laundry, fetching his meals etc. I thought the whole servant thing would be more problematic than it was). Of course, the tide turns when Doran’s framed for a crime he didn’t commit and now has to rely on the very woman that he’d rather ignore. Space adventure gone sideways.
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Smart “Dukes Prefer Blondes”

23349989Dukes Prefer Blondes by Loretta Chase
Avon: December 29, 2015
Genre: Historical Romance
Review Source: Free from publisher.

I’d go there again!
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All I can say after finishing Dukes Prefer Blondes is: well, that wasn’t what I was expecting. And I mean that in the best possible way. I will admit that I judged this book on it’s cover and title, assuming that it would be delightfully frivolous. However, I was blown away by the writing, detailed historical facts, and by the author’s examination of what it means to be a woman of the upper class. This, my friends, is exactly what I love about the romance genre. For all that it gets a bad rap for giving folks unrealistic expectations or being viewed of lowbrow reading, there’s so much more behind the fluffy packaging and Dukes Prefer Blondes is a perfect example of this.

Lady Clara Fairfax has a problem; she needs to rescue a friend’s younger brother, Toby Coppy, from the clutches of a criminal gang, but being a lady there’s absolutely nothing in her power that she can do to help. That is, unless she recruits someone to do the job for her (with her help, of course). After bumping into Mr. Oliver “Raven” Radford, a barrister of no small reputation, Lady Clara decides he’s just the man to help her discover Toby. Radford, is less inclined to assist Lady Clara, but for some inexplicable reason he just can’t seem to resist… (more…)

“The Irresistible Rogue”: Serving Your Country, Through Marriage?

23848336The Irresistible Rogue by Valerie Bowman
St. Martin’s: November 3, 2015
Genre: Historical Romance
Review Source: Free copy from publisher.

Beach Vacation
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I loved Bowman’s previous romance, The Unlikely Lady – it was funny, romantic and a little ridiculous (in a good way). So, when I cracked open my eReader to start The Irresistible Rogue I had high hopes. While I certainly liked The Irresistible Rogue, I have to admit that it fell a bit flat in comparison to The Unlikely Lady (which simply sparkled). The Irresistible Rogue was still everything that I’ve come to expect from this author – witty, charming, fun – but I wasn’t quite convinced by the whole spy angle.

At the end of The Unlikely Lady readers learn that Lady Daphne Swift has been married in secret to a spy, Captain Rafe Cavendish. What motivated their marriage of convenience was the necessity of Rafe bringing Daphne along to the docks during a mission where her linguistic skills were an asset. Daphne, you see, speaks Russian, and the men Rafe is tracking only speak Russian. However, the only way Daphne’s elder brother would agree to Daphne’s participation was for Rafe to marry her (in name only) and protect her with his life. Now, a year later, Daphne is ready to move with her life and is on the verge of engaging herself to another man, at least, as soon as her husband grants her an annulment. Complicating matters further is Rafe’s refusal to grant the annulment because he once again needs to call on Daphne’s Russian language capabilities. And he, like Daphne, feels this inconvenient attraction, which makes it quite hard to contemplate an annulment to the very person you’re attracted to. (more…)