Category Archives: Regency

A Treacherous Curse (Veronica Speedwell, #3) by Deanna Rabourn

A Treacherous Curse (Veronica Speedwell, #3)A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: A Treacherous Curse
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Series: Veronica Speedwell, #3
Pages: 352
Publisher: Berkley
Date: January 16, 2018

Summary:

Members of an Egyptian expedition fall victim to an ancient mummy’s curse in a thrilling Veronica Speedwell novel from the New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Julia Grey mysteries.

London, 1888. As colorful and unfettered as the butterflies she collects, Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell can’t resist the allure of an exotic mystery—particularly one involving her enigmatic colleague, Stoker. His former expedition partner has vanished from an archaeological dig with a priceless diadem unearthed from the newly discovered tomb of an Egyptian princess. This disappearance is just the latest in a string of unfortunate events that have plagued the controversial expedition, and rumors abound that the curse of the vengeful princess has been unleashed as the shadowy figure of Anubis himself stalks the streets of London.

But the perils of an ancient curse are not the only challenges Veronica must face as sordid details and malevolent enemies emerge from Stoker’s past. Caught in a tangle of conspiracies and threats—and thrust into the public eye by an enterprising new foe—Veronica must separate facts from fantasy to unravel a web of duplicity that threatens to cost Stoker everything. . . .

Review:

I have yet to read a Deanna Raybourn book that I did not like. I might not like particular plot points, but I liked, okay loved, all the books. I have to say though, the Veronica Speedwell books are my favorite.

Veronica is a woman after my own heart. I just wished I had her strength of character. She does as she believes is right, regardless of what others might think. I don’t know how realistic this is for the Regency time period or any time period, but I love her anyway.

She doesn’t have much use for most men and even Stoker is subject to her managing ways. Most of all, she is funny. A lot of the humor is found within her thoughts rather than what she actually says or does, but it is quoteworthy nonetheless.

He proceeded to lecture me for the next quarter of an hour, about what I cannot say, for I turned my attention to the contents of the packing crate. I had long since discovered upon my travels that men are largely the same no matter where one encounters them. And if one is prepared to let them discourse on their pet topics of conversation, one can generally get on with things quite handily without any interference.

As for managing Stoker, she knows him, and herself, well.

I pressed my lips together, holding back the question that rose to them. Whatever had caused him to react so strongly, he had no wish to share it and I had no wish to pry.

(I have pledged myself to honesty in these pages, gentle reader, so I will admit that in point of fact I had a rather ferocious wish to pry, but I had learnt through painful experience that Stoker responded far better to the oblique approach than to more direct methods . . .)

And just a general touch of humor:

I turned to the post, sorting the various envelopes into pigeonholes. BILLS TO PAY. BILLS TO PRETEND I HAVE NOT RECEIVED. LETTERS TO ANSWER. LETTERS TO IGNORE. LETTERS FROM TEDIOUS PEOPLE.

Been there, done that. Haven’t you?

I just realized that I haven’t said a word about the plot. The entire thing turns around a archaeological find in Egypt. There is a missing team member, a missing (or was it stolen) diadem belonging to an Egyptian princess. And to just stir things up, a woman from Stoker’s past. Just how does Stoker feel about her after all these years?

If I have any criticism of this book, it is the use of words that I have never heard before. Just as an example: eclose, froideur, exsolutus, and vulneraverunt. The silver lining is that my vocabulary is definitely increasing. Thank goodness for my Kindle. It was able to define most of these for me.

Having said all that, my initial thought when I reached the last chapter was “when is the next book coming out?” As I said earlier, I love the Veronica Speedwell books and I cannot wait to find out what happens next.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Quote-tastic Monday: The Summer Bride by Anne Gracie

This is the fourth book in the Chance Sisters series and as far as I know, it is the last.  However, there is definitely room for at least one more book.

Anyway, I have to say that Flynn is my favorite hero from the series.  I loved them all, but he is such a scamp, he outshines them.  Oddly enough my quote does not involve him and Daisy, but Flynn and Lady Beatrice.  Lady Beatrice is an elderly woman who has taken in and claimed the Chance sisters.  She has the most personality of all of the characters in my opinion.  Anyway, she forced Flynn to attend a dancing lesson with the sisters because she knows he does not come from a privileged background and assumes he needs all the help he can get.  She is proven wrong (something that rarely happens) at a ball the very next night.

“Why did you not tell me you knew how to dance?”

Flynn smiled.  “I never tell a lady what she doesn’t wish to hear.”

She snorted again.  “That little habit — if it’s true — is going to get you into a lot of trouble then.”  Her beady old eyes twinkled up at him.  “I look forward to it.”

“So do I, ma’am, so do I.”

Didn’t I tell you he was a scamp?Summer Bride

quote-tastic final with green border

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Down the Rabbit Hole anthology

Down the Rabbit Hole (includes In Death, #41.5)Down the Rabbit Hole by J.D. Robb
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: Down the Rabbit Hole anthology
Author: J. D. Robb, Mary Blayney, Elaine Fox, Mary Kay McComas, R. C. Ryan
Series: contains In Death, #41.5
Pages: 432
Publisher: Jove
Date: September 29, 2015

Summary:

You’re late for a very important date…

Enter a wonderland of mesmerizing tales. It’s a place that’s neither here nor there, where things are never quite as they seem. Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s whimsical masterpiece, ranging from the impossible to the mad to the curiouser, these stories will have you absolutely off your head.

Don’t be afraid to follow them…

DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE

Contains

Wonderment in Death by J. D. Robb
Alice and the Earl in Wonderland by Mary Blayney
iLove by Elaine Fox
A True Heart by Mary Kay McComas
Fallen by R. C. Ryan

Review:

I grabbed this book for one reason: Eve and Roarke. Wonderment in Death is a short story/novella that relies heavily on the Lewis Carroll Alice books as do all the stories in this anthology. Eve, of course, is not familiar with the books and has to rely on Roarke and Peabody to make the connection.

The story is typical Eve and Roarke. There is a horrific murder or series of murders. Nothing is quite what it seems and it’s hard to tell if the murderer is insane or evil. I don’t know why it makes a difference to me, but it does. For some reason, insane is not as frightening as evil.

Anyway, Robb is able to concentrate on the story without having to worry about any backstory because the series is so well established. There are over forty books after all. The plot progressed quickly, old friends showed up, and the bad guy was caught.

What more can you ask for?

The only story I felt dropped in the middle of was Alice and the Earl in Wonderland. There were many references to a previous story, but enough detail was given to make this one enjoyable. And yes, I’m tempted to find the original story and read it.

The other three stories worked perfectly as standalones. I enjoyed all of them and I am sure other readers who follow those authors will enjoy them as well.

If any of these authors are autobuys for you, this book is worth the price. However, I think you need to already follow Robb’s In Death series to really enjoy her contribution.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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The Truth About Leo (Noble, #4) by Katie MacAlister

The Truth About Leo (Noble, #4)The Truth About Leo by Katie MacAlister
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Can Dagmar flee Denmark

Dagmar Marie Sophie is a poverty-stricken Danish princess whose annoying royal cousin is about to have her stuffed away in a convent. When she finds a wounded man unconscious in her garden, she sees a way out of her desperate situation.

By Lying to Leo?

Leopold Ernst George Mortimer, seventh earl of March, and spy in the service of the king, finds himself on the wrong end of a saber and left for dead. He wakes up not remembering what happened…in the care of a beautiful woman who says she is his wife.

Back in London, Leo-with the help of his old friends the eccentric Britton family-sets out to unravel what he’s forgotten… Is Dagmar truly the wonderful, irrepressible woman who makes his heart sing, or is she a dangerous enigma bent on his destruction?

 

I have often said that Noble Intentions, the first book in this series, is one of the funniest books I have ever read. The Truth About Leo definitely gives it a run for its money.

Both characters, but especially Dagmar are wonderful. Her obsession with “carnal activities” is hysterical. Leo, of course, is more than happy to satisfy her interests.

I think my favorite parts were the introductions to each chapter. They were written by Dagmar’s late mother and were obviously after the fact instructions regarding her behavior.

You can read this book without reading the first three in the series. It takes place several years later. However, the entire series is so much fun, I recommend you read them all.

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Any Duchess Will Do (Spindle Cove, #4) by Tessa Dare

Any Duchess Will Do (Spindle Cove, #4)Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What’s a duke to do, when the girl who’s perfectly wrong becomes the woman he can’t live without?

Griffin York, the Duke of Halford, has no desire to wed this season—or any season—but his diabolical mother abducts him to “Spinster Cove” and insists he select a bride from the ladies in residence. Griff decides to teach her a lesson that will end the marriage debate forever. He chooses the serving girl.

Overworked and struggling, Pauline Simms doesn’t dream about dukes. All she wants is to hang up her barmaid apron and open a bookshop. That dream becomes a possibility when an arrogant, sinfully attractive duke offers her a small fortune for a week’s employment. Her duties are simple: submit to his mother’s “duchess training”… and fail miserably.

But in London, Pauline isn’t a miserable failure. She’s a brave, quick-witted, beguiling failure—a woman who ignites Griff’s desire and soothes the darkness in his soul. Keeping Pauline by his side won’t be easy. Even if Society could accept a serving girl duchess—can a roguish duke convince a serving girl to trust him with her heart?

Like the last book in this series, Any Duchess Will Do involves a couple from two different social classes. The book is a lot of fun and there is a subplot that really tears at your emotions, but I just can’t accept the relative easy way they get past the social barriers.

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Justin (Tales of the Shareem, #6) by Allyson James

Justin (Tales of the Shareem, #6)Justin by Allyson James

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have been a longtime fan of the Shareem books and I don’t know how this one slipped by me. I really need to re-read the series.

Like many of them, this book was funny and heartbreaking. I really enjoyed meeting many of the couples/triples from previous books.

The only thing I didn’t care for is when they switched dom/sub roles.  I’m not comfortable with the male as the sub.

I will definitely keep a closer watch on this series to make sure I don’t fall behind again.

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Spank Me, Mr. Darcy by Lissa Trevor and Jane Austen

spank meTitle: * Spank Me, Mr. Darcy
Author: Lissa Trevor and Jane Austen
Series: n/a
Genre: Historical Erotica
Publisher: Riverdale Avenue Books
Format: ebook
Date/Year: January 1, 2013
Reviewed by: ElaineReads

*This book was provided to me by the publisher for review.

Summary from the publisher:

Netherfield, infamous for its debauched parties of excess and luxury, has a new Master.

After finagling an invitation to the ball, Elizabeth Bennet is introduced to the powerful and prideful Mr. Darcy, while her sister Jane has captivated the new owner, Mr. Bingley. Having contented herself with the pleasurable caresses of her best friend, Charlotte Lucas, Elizabeth is intrigued with the sensuality she finds at Netherfield. But it isn’t until her sister Jane is taken ill and Elizabeth stays at Netherfield to nurse her back to health that she finds the dungeons of Netherfield and the man in the black mask who becomes her Master.

By the time she leaves Netherfield, Elizabeth will have become disenchanted with her childhood playmate and obsessed with Mr. Darcy, her Master, who has told her that she would be more marriageable as a Netherfield submissive than as a curious virgin. Elizabeth holds on to her affront at his callous regard for her until Charlotte marries Mr. Collins and Jane is discarded by Mr.Bingley. Unwilling to save herself for a man who’ll make a good match and determined not to suffer Jane’s heartbreak, when she meets Mr. Darcy again at Rosings Park, she decides to become his slave and offers him her virginity.

But when she finds out that her cruel Master has destroyed Jane’s chance at marriage with Mr. Bingley, she rejects Mr. Darcy – even as he reluctantly proposes marriage to her. It isn’t until he saves her sister Lydia’s reputation and brings Jane and Bingley together, that Elizabeth realizes that she loves him. If he still loves her, she would be most willing to take her punishment for rejecting him – and live happily ever after.

My Musings:

The title page credits both Jane Austen and Lissa Trevor as authors . . . and that is exactly right.

Entire passages from Austen’s Pride and Prejudice were included in this book. Some were modified, but others were used word for word. I was impressed by how well Trevor’s material kept the flavor of the language.

Any fan of Pride and Prejudice will recognize the opening sentence:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” (Pride & Prejudice)

Trevor’s twist on this opening clearly shows that her version of the book is going in an entirely different direction.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a dominant man in possession of a good set of cuffs, must be in want of a much younger, submissive wife.” (Spank Me, Mr. Darcy)

I have to admit, in my opinion, it’s a much more interesting direction and I am already a fan of the original.

What can I say about the plot and characters?

This version follows the general outline of the original plot and the characters, for the most part, keep the same personalities. Darcy is overbearing. He is a dom after all. Surprisingly, Mr. Bingley is also a dom. He is so easily led, I expected him to be a sub.

Elizabeth still has the most character of all of the women and Jane is still a namby-pamby twit. Jane does have an interesting sex life though.

My only issue with the book is it needs closer editing. There was one entire scene in which I never did figure out what was going on.

All in all, this was a fun read which immediately caused me to pull out some of my other BDSM books. That’s definitely what it put me in the mood to read.

Ratings:

Overall: 3
Sensuality level: 5

(originally published at Seductive Musings)

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A Winter Scandal (St. Dwynwen, #1) by Candace Camp

A Winter Scandal (St. Dwynwen, #1)A Winter Scandal by Candace Camp
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: A Winter Scandal*
Author: Candace Camp
Series: Legend of St. Dwynwen Series #1
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Pocket Books
Format: paperback, e-book
Date/Year: October 25, 2011
Reviewed by: ElaineReads

*This book was provided to reviewer by the publisher in exchange for an honest review,

Summary from the publisher:

When plain and proper Thea Bainbridge stumbles upon a baby in the manger of her church’s nativity, she is understandably shocked. Discovering a brooch bearing the insignia of Gabriel, Lord Morecombe, hidden among the child’s clothing, she is certain the dissolute rake is to blame. Incensed, Thea sets out to reproach the arrogant lord—only to find herself utterly swept away.

Gabriel is intrigued by the vivacity in Thea’s flashing gray eyes when she accuses him of fathering the orphan, even as he adamantly maintains his innocence. The brooch is one he remembers all too well, however, and Gabriel is determined to find the mother of the missing child. As the mystery around the baby deepens, Gabriel is continually thrown together with Thea—and finds himself growing more entranced every day.

Even with whispers of winter scandal swirling around them, they cannot deny the longing in their hearts. A longing which promises the best gift of all: a shelter from the storm . . . in each other’s arms.

My Musings:

Thea is the spinster sister of the local vicar. She is content with her life and knows that she will never have a family of her own. She is very conscious that her behavior must be above reproach because it will reflect on her brother. Her one secret is the kiss she received at a party when she was quite young.

Gabriel, Lord Morecombe, has recently purchased a manor house in the neighborhood and has invited some of his male friends to visit. The local people are scandalized by the “goings on” at the house and will not allow any of their daughters to work there. The gentlemen are however invited to the squires party because, after all, they are nobility and he has several daughters to marry off.

Needless to say, Thea is very disapproving and Gabriel hardly notices her. It is certainly not a case of love at first sight.

A few days later, Thea discovers an infant in the church and the only identifying item is a brooch with the Morecombe seal engraved on it. She storms to the manor house with the baby and confronts Gabriel with his misdeeds.

Gabriel certainly notices her now.

I am partial to any romance set in Regency England because it is one of my favorite genres. I have read dozens if not hundreds of Regency Romances and I am always looking for another author to add to my autobuy list. Candace Camp has definitely been added to that list.

Thea is the more well-developed character which is common in romances as most of them are written from the female’s point of few. We do get to see that Gabriel’s life is not just one party after another. He has had tragedies in his life that Thea has been spared.

My only “problem” with the book is that Thea seemed quick to risk her reputation for Gabriel and the baby after years of behavior beyond reproach. Of course, there wouldn’t have been much of a book otherwise.

I thought I had the bad guy figured out well before the end of the book. The author threw in a twist, however, that totally surprised me. It fit well within the story and I feel that I should have seen it coming.

The author did a wonderful job of showing how Thea’s and Gabriel’s feelings for each other develop. After all, sometimes it takes more than the first sight for love.

Ratings:

Overall: 4 stars
Sensuality level: 3

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The Wedding Affair by Leigh Michaels

Title:  The Wedding Affair*
Author: Leigh Michaels
Series:  N/A
Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Format: Paperback & ebooks
Date/Year:  September, 2011
Reviewed by: ElaineReads

*This book was provided to the reviewer by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Summary from the publisher:

The Duke of Somervale’s sister is getting married in the wedding of year — but the wedding guests are in the mood for affairs, not vows!The Duke needs the help of beautiful, stubborn Olivia Reyne to fight off the debutantes who have taken over his country estate. Olivia’s willing to help — at a price which will secure the future for her small daughter.

Penny Townsend sees the wedding as her last chance to salvage her arranged marriage and turn it into something more than a matter of convenience.

And vicar’s daughter Kate Blakely needs a job — and fast — before she gives in to the tempting presence of her first love!

My Musings:

Leigh Michaels is a new author to me although she has published over eighty books.  I don’t know how I have missed her all this time.  After reading The Wedding Affair, I will certainly be looking into her backlist.This book actually focuses on three separate romances.  I originally thought they would be treated as separate stories in an anthology.  However, there is a single storyline with the three relationships interwoven together.

The first couple introduced, and to me the primary one, are Lady Olivia Reyne and Simon, the Duke of Somervale.  Olivia is a widow with a young daughter.  Her husband left her pretty much penniless and her landlord is trying to coerce her into becoming his mistress.

The wedding in the title refers to Simon’s younger sister’s marriage.  Their mother has invited numerous eligible young ladies in hopes of finding a bride for Simon as well.  Simon makes an arrangement with Olivia to act as his potential bride in order to ward off the debutantes.  This arrangement also includes acting as his mistress.

Olivia’s friend and houseguest, Kate Blakely, is the daughter of the late village vicar.  The duchess asks her to help with chaperoning and entertaining the young ladies at the manor house.  To help distract the ladies, Simon has asked a number of his male friends to join the party.  One of these friends, Andrew Carlisle, just happens to be the young man who Kate fell in love with at seventeen.  Unfortunately, Andrew does not have a family income either and Kate knows she must support herself.

The final couple are Charles and Penelope, the Earl and Countess of Townsend.  Although they have been married for three months, the marriage has never been consummated.  Penelope’s father is a commoner who owns a series of breweries and ale houses.  He is very wealthy and arranged a marriage with the Earl in order to buy a title for his daughter and future grandchildren.  The Earl is determined to thwart his plans by never fathering any children.

Within the first chapter, this book had me hooked and I ended up reading it in just one day.  The sex scenes are not numerous, but they are very will handled.  While explicit, the scenes are very vanilla.  Each couple is true to each other and there are no indications of any infidelity.

All in all, this is an excellent book.  The author does a wonderful job of weaving the stories together while maintaining the separate romances.  I felt like I was reading three books in one.  It was an outstanding introduction to a wonderful author.

Ratings:

Overall: 4 stars
Sensuality level: 3

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Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts by Mitzi Szereto

Pride and Prejudice: Hidden LustsPride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts by Mitzi Szereto
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts*
Author: Mitzi Szereto
Series:N/A
Genre: Erotic Romance
Publisher: Cleis Press
Format: paperback & digital ebook
Date/Year: July 5, 2011
Reviewed by: ElaineReads

*This book was provided to the reviewer by the author for review

Summary from the publisher:

Imagine that Jane Austen had written the opening line of her satirical novel Pride and Prejudice this way: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a good romp and a good wife—although not necessarily from the same person or from the opposite sex.” In Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts, the entire cast of characters from Austen’s classic is here, caught with their breeches unbuttoned and their skirts raised high in this rewrite that goes all the way – and then some! Mr. Darcy has never been more devilish and the seemingly chaste Elizabeth never more turned on.

In this no-holds-barred account, men are not necessarily the only dominating sex. This time Mr. Bingley and his sister both have designs on Mr. Darcy’s manhood; Elizabeth’s bff Charlotte marries their family’s strange relation, discovering that her husband’s pious nature extends to worship of a different sort; and, in this telling, Lady Catherine de Bourgh takes the disciplining of those in the parish very seriously. As for the handsome Mr. Wickham, he’s wickeder than ever! And of course there’s plenty of good old-fashioned bodice ripping that shows no pride or prejudice and reveals hot hidden lusts in every scandalous page-turning chapter. This is the book Jane Austen would have written, if only she’d had the nerve!

My Musings:

The original Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is a favorite of mine, so I was a little nervous about reading this book. However, I was very impressed that the author was able to maintain the “flavor” of Austen’s writing even though the content was quite obviously added. There was no delineation between the original book and the new content. It flowed beautifully.

The sex scenes were inserted naturally and very well done. Some of the dialogue was comical, but it was meant to be so. For example, Lady Caroline’s attempts to seduce Mr. Darcy and his attempts to ignore her seduction were hysterical. Should I mention Lady Caroline’s fascination with “birching?”

Lydia’s interest in sex in all its forms was wonderfully described. If it would hold still long enough for her to rub against it, she would. That includes pieces of furniture, men’s thighs, or other more interesting parts of the anatomy. Is it any wonder she ends up with the villain of the book?

Do I find the general acceptance of all this raunchy behavior believable for the time period? No, but I enjoyed it immensely anyhow. I think we all expect our predecessors to be a little more circumspect than they actually were. After all, we think we’re the modern ones.

Ratings:

Overall: 5 stars
Sensuality level: 5

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