Lana, Geri & Jenn swoon over THE DUCHESS DEAL by @TessaDare ‏

THE DUCHESS DEAL
Review: Girl Meets Duke #1
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Tessa Dare
Release Date: August 22, 2017

When girl meets Duke, their marriage breaks all the rules…

Since his return from war, the Duke of Ashbury’s to-do list has been short and anything but sweet: brooding, glowering, menacing London ne’er-do-wells by night. Now there’s a new item on the list. He needs an heir—which means he needs a wife. When Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter turned seamstress, appears in his library wearing a wedding gown, he decides on the spot that she’ll do.

His terms are simple:
– They will be husband and wife by night only.
– No lights, no kissing.
– No questions about his battle scars.
– Last, and most importantly… Once she’s pregnant with his heir, they need never share a bed again.

But Emma is no pushover. She has a few rules of her own:
– They will have dinner together every evening.
– With conversation.
– And unlimited teasing.
– Last, and most importantly… Once she’s seen the man beneath the scars, he can’t stop her from falling in love…

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LANA’S REVIEW

Emma Gladstone had learned a few hard lessons by the age of two-and-twenty. Charming princes weren’t always what they seemed. Shining armor went out of fashion with the Crusades. And if fairy godmothers existed, hers was running several years late. Most of the time, a girl needed to rescue herself.

Is it possible for my swoons to have swoons? Because I’m pretty sure they all mated together in a swooning frenzy and had swoon babies. I mean all of the swoons! ALL OF THEM!!!! This book was everything. EVERYTHING. It was romance perfection. I think my goosebumps had swoons, for goodness sake. No really. I’m not exaggerating even a little. This book was a little peace of romantic heaven. It was everything I love about a great romance; great banter, humor, sizzling steam, and two main characters that you can’t but help and fall head over heals for.

Emma Gladstone

Complexion: cream. Lips: rose petals. Lashes: sable. Backbone: steel.

I. Loved. Her. Here’s a woman that didn’t live an easy life. Not even close. And yet she never loses her fire, her sparkle, her incredibly gentle heart. When she faces down a broody duke in order to receive payment for a dress she made for his ex fiancé, the last thing she expects is a proposition of her own. The man is impossibly stubborn, grumpy, with a penchant to blasphemy in the most creative of fashions, and perhaps slightly deranged…

Are you—” There seemed no way to say it but to say it. “Your Grace, are you trying to get me into your bed?”
“Yes. Nightly. I said as much, not a minute ago. Are you listening at all?”
“Listening, yes,” she muttered to herself. “Comprehending, no.”
“I’ll have my solicitor draw up the papers.” He returned to his place behind the desk. “We can do it on Monday.”
“Your Grace, I don’t—”
“Tuesday, then.”
“Your Grace, I cannot—”
“Well, I’m afraid my schedule is quite booked for the rest of the week.” He flipped through the pages of an agenda. “Brooding, drinking, indoor badminton tournament…”

The Duke of Ashbury has returned from the war, a scarred, shell of a man he once was. A monster he no longer recognizes in the mirror. But a duke needs an heir, and to get an heir, he needs a wife, and to get a wife, well…he needs a miracle. When the beautiful Emma comes charging into his house, he believes she holds the answers to everything he desires. But what he doesn’t expect is for the witty beauty to tilt his world on its axis.

she tucked a stray wisp of dark hair behind her ear. Then she licked her fingertip and turned the page. His knees buckled. In his mind, he scrambled to piece that half second into a lasting memory. The crook of her slender finger. The red pout of her lips. That fleeting, erotic glimpse of pink. She did it again. Ash gripped the doorjamb so hard, his knuckles lost sensation.
He wanted her to read the whole cursed book while he watched. He wanted the book to have a thousand pages.

The chemistry between these two was instant and fiery. I couldn’t get enough of it. Their banter, their daily push and pull of Emma attempting to break through his walls and Ash retreating further behind them. I loved it so hard. I loved Emma’s backbone and take charge attitude. She was no wilting wallflower but there was also this endearing softness to her. It wasn’t long before everything about her began to tear down the walls that Ash has built around himself and questions everything he once thought. I loved watching that wall of his break down slowly. I loved the way that Emma slowly but surely healed his heart even though she couldn’t heal his scars. I love that he was the most perfectly imperfect hero. There was something so completely endearing about the man. GAH.

You are wet, and you are cold. You don’t like being cold. Therefore, I despise you being cold. I would go about murdering raindrops and setting fire to the clouds, but that would take slightly more than an hour. Perhaps even two. So we’re here, and you will cease complaining about it.”

This book is why I read romance. I can’t believe this is my first Tessa Dare book and I plan on rectifying this immediately. I loved every chapter, every page, every word. If you’re a fan of swoony and steamy historical romance with incredibly vivid and multi-layered characters, this is simply not to be missed!


GERI’S REVIEW

This was one of swooooooooooniest book I’ve read this year. The only other books that can compare in terms of the swoon factor was the Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas and The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean. All three are historicals and all three worked like a charm.

War had taught him two things. First, life was fleeting. Second, duty wasn’t.

The hero, the Duke of Ashbury became a recluse and withdrew from society due to the injuries he sustained in the war. His face and his body was so scarred that people turned away from him, and even started calling himself a monster because of the way he looks. Because he a duke, one of his duties was to provide an heir. Something that he was adamant of doing or else his whole estate would be inherited by a cousin who is an irresponsible bloke. He didn’t want the people depending on him to have the misfortune of getting a spendthrift for a lord so he had the motivation to really find a wife and have an heir.

Emma Gladstone is the seamstress tasked to create the wedding gown for the Duke of Ashbury’s mistress until the wedding was called off. Unfortunately, she wasn’t paid. Desperate to get money to pay for her rent, Emma went to the Duke to ask for payment.

I have an unfortunate habit of looking for the best in people, and it makes me blind to their flaws.”

This is where their story begins, and man, what a story it is. What started off as a marriage of convenience turned into one of the most romantic and life-affirming stories I’ve read this year. Their meet-cute was one of the most hilarious I’ve read in a long time. t’s full of lighthearted and funny moments, and the romance is just, ah-mah-zing. I was swooning from beginning to end. Tessa Dare is known for her clever, witty banter and this book is brimming with it.

If you say so, my treasure.”
“I daresay I do, you little baggage.”

Emma is fantastic heroine. Her backstory was really sad and it made her into a person she is. I love how she’s not cowed at all by Ashbury’s appearance and temper. In fact, she revels in it. I enjoyed how she was able to coax her scarred husband out of his shell and made him a better person.

At first, I thought the Duke of Ashbury was going to be just this brooding temperamental one-dimensional character at first. I mean, I love me some grumpy, brooding hero but Ash is so much more than that. His sarcasm, his wit and deadpan humor added so much to what could have been a dreary and bitter character. He does have a chip on his shoulder, something that his character had to deal with throughout the book. But this hero was seriously funny.

And you claim to be feeling this way. Floatish. Singsong-ish. About me.”
She sighed. “Yes.”
“That’s absurd.”
“I know, but I can’t seem to stop it.”

There were some subplots in this book that might feel unnecessary but I thought that they were perfect because they add so much not only to the characters, especially the Duke, but also to the place where the story is set. And these subplots did a great job at setting up future storylines in the series, which is always a win for me.

The Duchess Deal is a book that you read in one sitting. Once you open it, good luck to your chores or doing anything else because all you’d want to do is read straight through. I had a biggest smile on my face reading this book. It’s romantic and full of characters that you can embrace and root for. So well done!

If you leave, I will follow. Do you hear me? I will follow and find you and cart you home.”


JENN’S REVIEW

I begged for this ARC. Literally. And I’m not even sorry. Was I surprised by how much I loved this book? Absolutely not. I will always love Tessa Dare….always. I always giggle in her books. I always swoon in her books. There is almost always a hate-to-love relationship, which is perfection for me. The Quirk! The Dry Humor! The Witty Dialogue! ALWAYS!

 always GIF

SWOONS!

All the swoons!

Did I say swoons? Oh yeah, I did!

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“You are wet, and you are cold. You don’t like being cold. Therefore, I despise you being cold. I would go about murdering raindrops and setting fire to the clouds, but that would take slightly more than an hour. Perhaps even two. So we’re here, and you will cease complaining about it.”

à la Mode St. » fashionEmma. Complexion: cream. Lips: rose petals. Lashes: sable. Backbone: steel. A seamstress, not only in deed, but also in heart. This is what she loves to do. In seeking out payment for a discarded fiance’s dress, Emma goes to the formerly intended groom for payment of the dress she made, which happens to be Ashbury. He needs a wife, so he proposes a marriage of convenience. These two are so different that at first, she doesn’t even believe him. Even after getting married, these two find it very difficult to get along (Ugh. I love it.).

Ashbury. What a brooding, scarred, perfect character. He is VERY scarred from a war injury. And jaded. And ill-tempered. And I love him. What can I say? He’s an asshole, and this dirty girl loves her assholes. He needs a wife to make an heir….and that’s pretty much it. He doesn’t believe anyone will truly desire him because of his disfigurement. I love scarred heroes so much. They are always assholes. yes yeah nod cowboy clint eastwood GIFThis book definitely had a slow burn. Ash promises to visit her bedroom every night (in the dark so she cannot see his scars) in order to conceive as quickly as possible. Of course, things take an unexpected turn into awkwardness and it doesn’t go as planned. Both Emma and Ash have their own insecurities (but still being awesome and not whiny bitches), so they vow to themselves and each other to not get attached and to take precautions so that emotions don’t get involved in their marriage. (Psh! Please. Who are they kidding? Am I right?)

 yes yes gif yes gifs GIFà la Mode St. » fashion

As he stood in the doorway watching, she tucked a stray wisp of dark hair behind her ear. Then she licked her fingertip and turned the page.

His knees buckled. In his mind, he scrambled to piece that half second into a lasting memory. The crook of her slender finger. The red pout of her lips. That fleeting, erotic glimpse of pink.

She did it again.

Ash gripped the doorjamb so hard, his knuckles lost sensation.

He wanted her to read the whole cursed book while he watched.

He wanted the book to have a thousand pages.

à la Mode St. » fashionWhat I love the most about Tessa Dare’s books?

EVERYTHING.


 

Review: The Scandal Of It All by Sophie Jordan

THE SCANDAL OF IT ALL
Series: The Rogue Files #2
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Sophie Jordan
Release Date: July 25, 2017

It takes two to make a scandal…

What kind of woman ventures into London’s most notorious pleasure club? An outsider like Graciela, the Duchess of Autenberry, snubbed time and time again by society because of her Spanish roots. Ela longs to take a lover for a single, wild night, and within the walls of Sodom there are gentlemen to suit every forbidden taste. If only she were not so drawn to the smoldering Lord Strickland…a dangerous man who sees beyond her mask, and could ruin her reputation with a mere whisper.

Lord Strickland never permitted himself to fantasize about the sultry, off-limits lady, but then he never expected to find Ela in a place so wicked, looking for what he’s more than too happy to give. She may not be to the ton’s taste, but she suits him perfectly. First, however, he must convince her to trust in this dangerous desire—and in the promise of forever unleashed by one wild, scandalous night.

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Somehow, in a short time she had become his sole desire. He wanted her with an intensity that would not go away until it found its release.

This was my first book by this author and I’m an instant fan! The Scandal Of It All was wickedly delicious and sinfully swoony. Not having read the first book in this series (quit side eyeing me, OCD police), I wasn’t sure how smoothly I’d be able to jump into the story. Turns out, I had no problem at all. The heroine of this book is the step mother of the Duke of Autenberry, who had a very big secondary character role in the previous book. And while you can definitely see the happenings of the previous book carried over into this one, the author gives plenty of background that a new reader wouldn’t be even remotely lost.

Graciela, the Duchess of Autenberry, is a widow that’s tired of having no passion in her life. Her daughter is almost of marrying age. Her step daughter and step son are fully grown. After a loveless marriage with a cold and calloused man that took every opportunity to put her down, she’s not a woman of confidence. Her coloring and Spanish blood ensure that she always gets looked down at by the ladies of London’s ton. Yearning for the touch of a passionate lover, she caves to her best friend’s nagging and goes to a club known for it’s darker pleasures. Only the man she meets the attention of is not one she expected.

She felt as though she were facing a stranger, contrary to the nonsense she was spouting. A man who was stripping her of her clothes with his eyes to see all that lay beneath.

Lord Strickland is her step son’s best friend and several years her junior. But that never stopped him from fantasizing about the beautiful Graciela. Now that he knows that she’s interested in the same darker desires, he’ll stop at nothing to have her.

I fell hard and fast for Collin. This is a man that knows what he wants and goes after it with a single minded intent, damn the consequences. His grandmother is on his back to pick a finance but the one woman he craves is the one that he can’t have.

What begins is a back and forth laden with enough sexual tension to really set things on fire. It was utterly delicious. As much as I wanted to be frustrated with Ela at her adamant refusal of Collin, I can understand why she was the way she was. This is a woman beaten down by what society expects of her and what her husband engrained in her to believe. It took a while for her to clear the fog. I loved the way that Collin goes after her and the passion brimming between them.

There was a little bit of drama at the end that seemed just a bit over the top, but it also served to tie everything together nicely. The epilogue even managed to make me tear up. And while I wished for a bit more closer with Ela and her step son, it looks like we’ll be getting that side of things in his book next and I already can’t wait!

Jenn’s Review: The Duke Meets His Match by Tina Gabrielle

THE DUKE MEETS HIS MATCH
Series: The Infamous Somertons #3
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Tina Gabrielle
Release Date: July 10, 2017

The daughter of an infamous art forger, Chloe Somerton grew up poor. Desperate to aid her sisters, she’d picked a pocket…or two. Now circumstances have changed, and Chloe has a chance to marry a young, wealthy lord. Only his mentor—a dark, dangerous duke—stands in her way.

The duke knows about her past, and she’ll do anything to keep him from telling.

The moment Michael Keswick, the Duke of Cameron, sees Chloe Somerton, he recognizes her as a fraud. The stunning beauty with sapphire eyes and golden hair now appears to be a proper lady, but he knows better. What begins as a battle of wills soon escalates into a fierce attraction.

In Chloe, Michael finds peace from the memories of war, but he refuses to marry…and she won’t settle for anything less.

 

AMAZON

It isn’t often that I read historical romance author that I have never read before….and enjoy it! I am pretty picky when it comes to HR authors, typically sticking to my favorites. But I know I need to branch out, and I’m glad that I did!
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He had the power to ruin everything.

à la Mode St. » fashionsuzanne4u: “His princess ”Chloe has a past that no one knows about, except the Duke of Cameron. She is determined to put her past behind her and marry a title because she knows what it is like to go without money or food, and she is determined to never live like that again. The Duke is in her way of getting what she wants. Chloe is a strong-willed character with a hint of innocence, but she does not go quietly. I loved how determined she was through the whole book to go after what she wants.

Michael made a promise to a friend to protest his son, and that is exactly what he is determined to do. When he discovers that Chloe has set her sights on the young man he is protecting, he makes it clear that it will never happen. Michael is immediately attracted to Chloe, but he believes her to be a thief who is just trying to use the man he vowed to protect. His suspicions of Chloe’s character drives him to seek out the truth, but he doesn’t expect to be seduced.

The beginning of this book was wonderful! I loved how much they hated each other, and I wish that the animosity between them kept going. The sparks fly between these two!
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”You may be a duke, but you are not a gentleman.”
“There’s no room for chivalry in war.”
“And this is war?”
“Only if you don’t obey.”
Blue sparks flashed in her eyes. “So be it, Your Grace.”

à la Mode St. » fashionIt was only when the story became sweet that it began to falter for me. But I still wanted to keep reading about these fantastic characters to see what happened in the end. This was my first book by Tina Gabrielle, and I am definitely intrigued.

Geri’s Review+Excerpt: The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean

THE DAY OF THE DUCHESS
Series: Scandal & Scoundrel #3
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Sarah MacLean
Release Date: June 27, 2017

The one woman he will never forget…

Malcolm Bevingstoke, Duke of Haven, has lived the last three years in self-imposed solitude, paying the price for a mistake he can never reverse and a love he lost forever. The dukedom does not wait, however, and Haven requires an heir, which means he must find himself a wife by summer’s end. There is only one problem—he already has one.

The one man she will never forgive…

After years in exile, Seraphina, Duchess of Haven, returns to London with a single goal—to reclaim the life she left and find happiness, unencumbered by the man who broke her heart. Haven offers her a deal; Sera can have her freedom, just as soon as she finds her replacement…which requires her to spend the summer in close quarters with the husband she does not want, but somehow cannot resist.

A love that neither can deny…

The duke has a single summer to woo his wife and convince her that, despite their broken past, he can give her forever, making every day…

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Chapter 1
DESERTED DUKE DISAVOWED!
August 19, 1836
House of Lords, ParliamentShe’d left him two years, seven months ago, exactly.
Malcolm Marcus Bevingstoke, Duke of Haven looked to the tiny wooden calendar wheels inlaid into the blotter on his desk in his private office above the House of Lords.
August the nineteenth, 1836. The last day of the parliamentary session, filled with pomp and idle. And lingering memory. He spun the wheel with the six embossed upon it. Five. Four. He took a deep breath.
Get out. He heard his own words, cold and angry with betrayal, echoing with quiet menace. Don’t ever return.
He touched the wheel again. August became July. May. March.
January the nineteenth, 1834. The day she left.
His fingers moved without thought, finding comfort in the familiar click of the wheels.
April the seventeenth, 1833.
The way I feel about you . . . Her words now—soft and full of temptation. I’ve never felt anything like this.
He hadn’t, either. As though light and breath and hope had flooded the room, filling all the dark spaces. Filling his lungs and heart. And all because of her.
Until he’d discovered the truth. The truth, which had mattered so much until it hadn’t mattered at all.
Where had she gone?
The clock in the corner of the room ticked and tocked, counting the seconds until Haven was due in his seat in the hallowed main chamber of the House of Lords, where men of higher purpose and passion had sat before him for generations. His fingers played the little calendar like a virtuoso, as though they’d done this dance a hundred times before. A thousand.
And they had.
March the first, 1833. The day they met.
So, they let simply anyone become a duke, do they? No deference. Teasing and charm and pure, unadulterated beauty.
If you think dukes are bad, imagine what they accept from duchesses?
That smile. As though she’d never met another man. As though she’d never wanted to. He’d been hers the moment he’d seen that smile. Before that. Imagine, indeed.
And then it had fallen apart. He’d lost everything, and then lost her. Or perhaps it had been the reverse. Or perhaps it was all the same.
Would there ever be a time when he stopped thinking of her? Ever a date that did not remind him of her? Of the time that had stretched like an eternity since she’d left?
Where had she gone?
The clock struck eleven, heavy chimes sounding in the room, echoed by a dozen others sounding down the long, oaken corridor beyond, summoning men of longstanding name to the duty that had been theirs before they drew breath.
Haven spun the calendar wheels with force, leaving them as they lay. November the thirty-seventh, 3842. A fine date—one on which he had absolutely no chance of thinking of her.

Tell me, Seraphina. If there were no one—no sisters or god or goddess to protect, no American, no aristocracy to watch and judge? What would you do if I pursued you?”

The Day of the Duchess is one of those books that makes me go, “This is the reason why I read romance!” Does it have a healthy dose of angst? Yes, it does. It also has one of the best grovels I’ve read in a while. The satisfying ending was worth every single heartache I, and the characters, went through. And every emotional moment in this book was earned.

Seraphina, Duchess of Haven, is back from exile with a single mission: get a divorce from her estranged husband, Malcolm Bevingstoke. The Duke however won’t let her go without a fight. He has regretted his actions in the past and is willing to do anything to win his wife back. But he has to contend with a lot of obstacles before he can even begin to fix what he broke years ago. So he concocted a crazy plan. Ask Sera to accompany him on his estate to help him choose her replacement and then she’ll get her divorce.

It’s a crazy plan from a man who’s desperate to win back his wife and atone for his sins in the past. What he didn’t know is Seraphina is desperate, too. But for different reasons. And it’s something that I totally could relate to. It’s something that we take for granted now but was totally not an option for women back then. And this is important to the story and to Sera’s character arc and it made me understand her motivation and sympathize with her.

I have dreamed of you here. Look up. Look at us. Look at how beautiful you are. Watch how I worship you.”

The tension between them was unmistakable. These are two people who clearly still love each other desperately but are so desperately broken that they can’t see beyond their own pain. Sarah MacLean did a phenomenal job at writing both of these characters at their darkest moments. They both made mistakes. Malcolm’s transgression would have been a deal breaker for me if not for the fact that the author was able to convince me that he truly regretted his actions. And some of his actions were not immediately known to Sera. She didn’t know what he’s done to make it up to her after she left.

And that’s one of the beauty of this book. I went through it knowing that these two are still desperately in love and that they deserved each other. I want them to work out their issues because them not being together would be a tragedy. But man, did they have to work for it.

But she remembered every note, every word, as though it were a prayer. And perhaps it was. Perhaps she could exorcise the past with it.

I mentioned above how much the satisfying ending was so earned. And this is the reason why. Both characters had to find a common ground first before they could even move on.

I don’t blame Sera for not trusting Malcolm at his word. What she went through was heart-wrenching. At the same time, as much as I hated what Malcolm did, it was impossible not to be moved by how genuinely sorry he was for the past. And he suffered as well. I loved, LOVED how their relationship evolved.

I shall have to be happy with finding you in the stars, at night.”

Apart from Sera and Malcolm, the Day of the Duchess are full of interesting characters. Of course, Sera’s sisters, the Soiled S’s are by the far the most interesting ones. But there were characters here who really stood out as well. Caleb and the ladies that were supposed to vie for the title of the next Duchess of Haven were charming and wonderful. I’m so looking forward to reading Caleb’s book. I won’t tell you his potential partner. You’d have to read this book to find out. But man, that’s going to be another angsty one for sure.

Overall, I LOVED this book. The romance was just top-notch. And the grovel…*swoon* It took me quite a bit of time to recover after I finished it because it was that good. Well done, Ms. MacLean. Well done!

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Jennifer’s Review: Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas

DEVIL IN SPRING
Series: The Ravenels #3
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Release Date: February 21, 2017

An eccentric wallflower…

Most debutantes dream of finding a husband. Lady Pandora Ravenel has different plans. The ambitious young beauty would much rather stay at home and plot out her new board game business than take part in the London Season. But one night at a glittering society ball, she’s ensnared in a scandal with a wickedly handsome stranger.

A cynical rake…

After years of evading marital traps with ease, Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent, has finally been caught-by a rebellious girl who couldn’t be less suitable. In fact, she wants nothing to do with him. But Gabriel finds the high-spirited Pandora irresistible. He’ll do whatever it takes to possess her, even if their marriage of convenience turns out to be the devil’s own bargain.

A perilous plot…

After succumbing to Gabriel’s skilled and sensuous persuasion, Pandora agrees to become his bride. But soon she discovers that her entrepreneurial endeavors have accidentally involved her in a dangerous conspiracy-and only her husband can keep her safe. As Gabriel protects her from their unknown adversaries, they realize their devil’s bargain may just turn out to be a match made in heaven…

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Devil in Winter is my second favorite book of all time….after Jane Eyre. I didn’t want to get my hopes up about this one because of this fact. But it was everything I dreamed…..and MORE!!

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Wouldn’t it be dull if ever-after was always happy, with no difficulties or problems to solve? Ever-after is far more interesting than that.

à la Mode St. » fashionLisa Kleypas, I don’t know how you do it. But thank you …..and I love you….and I want to lock you up in my basement….I mean, my heart. Don’t worry, only my absolute favorite authors get a special place in my basement….I mean, my heart.

Pandora…..is a hot mess!! And yet a breath of fresh air. What an amazingly written character. She is the definition of feminism, and I love that Lisa wrote her like she did because she is so relevant!!! This whole book is relevant to this day, especially with the entire women’s movement. I honestly wonder if today’s current events helped Lisa to write this book.

Pandora has zero interest in getting married, and she isn’t just being coy. She has ambitions and desires to work. She has dreams that cannot be fulfilled if she gets married. She wants to own her own business and her own money and her own life. I loved how tough she was and how she fought and fought for her rights to be a married woman and keep her independence and…..dignity.
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“Not every girl who attends a ball wants to be Cinderella.”

à la Mode St. » fashionGabriel…..Holy Lord. He is the perfect mix of both Sebastian and Evie. I loved that he wasn’t an asshole like his father because it just wasn’t in his character. He and Pandora get caught in an awkward, compromising position that isn’t even that compromising, but Gabriel is an honorable man and does the right thing by Pandora. On the other hand, Pandora wants nothing to do with Gabriel and his marriage offer. She is very adamant about turning him down….multiple times. Lol! But after spending a week together and getting to know each other, she eventually changes her mind. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of this book. To me, Pandora made this book extra special, but Gabriel pulled out all the swoons.
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”Every night for the rest of my life, I’ll dream of the afternoon in the holloway, when I was waylaid by a dark-haired beauty who devastated me with the heat of a thousand troubled stars, and left my soul in cinders. Even when I’m an old man, and my brain has fallen to wrack and ruin, I’ll remember the sweet fire of your lips under mine, and I’ll say to myself, ‘Now, that was a kiss.’”

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And can we just take a moment and talk about how much I loved that Lisa put Sebastian and Evie in so much of this book???!!! All of my heart for this couple.

Everything about this book and these characters just MADE SENSE. The ending surprised me but I can tell Lisa is gearing up for either the next book or a whole spin-off series! (Yes, please!)

Geri’s Review: Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas

DEVIL IN SPRING
Series: The Ravenels #3
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Release Date: February 21, 2017

An eccentric wallflower…

Most debutantes dream of finding a husband. Lady Pandora Ravenel has different plans. The ambitious young beauty would much rather stay at home and plot out her new board game business than take part in the London Season. But one night at a glittering society ball, she’s ensnared in a scandal with a wickedly handsome stranger.

A cynical rake…

After years of evading marital traps with ease, Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent, has finally been caught-by a rebellious girl who couldn’t be less suitable. In fact, she wants nothing to do with him. But Gabriel finds the high-spirited Pandora irresistible. He’ll do whatever it takes to possess her, even if their marriage of convenience turns out to be the devil’s own bargain.

A perilous plot…

After succumbing to Gabriel’s skilled and sensuous persuasion, Pandora agrees to become his bride. But soon she discovers that her entrepreneurial endeavors have accidentally involved her in a dangerous conspiracy-and only her husband can keep her safe. As Gabriel protects her from their unknown adversaries, they realize their devil’s bargain may just turn out to be a match made in heaven…

AMAZON | iBOOKS | B&N | KOBO

The night we met, I felt you like an electric shock. Something about you calls to the devil in me.”

This book is everything a historical romance should be. From its unforgettable characters to its sparkling and witty dialogue, Devil in Spring not only met but exceeded my very high expectations. I loved this book and these characters so much.

Lisa Kleypas has a way of capturing emotions without wasting many words. Her characters are vibrant and so full of life. She easy for readers to not only understand and sympathize with these characters but full on fall in love with them.

Dangerous creatures, wallflowers. Approach them with the utmost caution. They sit quietly in corners, appearing abandoned and forlorn, when in truth they’re sirens who lure men to their downfall. You won’t even notice the moment she steals the heart right out of your body—and then it’s hers for good. A wallflower never gives your heart back.”

Pandora might be my favorite Kleypas heroine to date. I still love Evie but Pandora overcame so much more. Her journey was such a joy to read. Actually, there’s a level of joy permeating this book that I was smiling all the way through it. Sure. There were some tense and emotionally fraught moments as well but there was never any doubt about the payoff, which is the HEA.

I have much love for Sebastian (Devil in Winter) and Derek Craven (Dreaming of You) and Hardy Cates (Blue-Eyed Devil) but Gabriel…*heart eyes* He’s Sebastian St. Vincent’s son but he is also Evie’s. Which means, he’s the best of both worlds and it shows. Not to say that he doesn’t have flaws. He’s still very much a product of his generation and lives a privileged life. But he’s also kind and loyal and just so attuned to Pandora’s needs which makes him more appealing. As far as being a romantic hero, he’s perfect.

You guys! The way he treats Pandora and the way he went about courting her heart will seriously melt your heart. It’s one of the best parts of the book and Lisa Kleypas spent a lot of time building their relationship. It’s so good and so romantic.

There were so many scenes and dialogue in this book that I really want to share all of them but I won’t because it would be so much better to experience them yourselves. Trust me you will be laughing and sniffling at all the heartfelt dialogue in this book.

I haven’t even talked about how Seb is with Gabriel (OMG! So cute and lovely!) or Seb with Evie (*swoons*) or Gabriel with Evie (*heart eyes*)! Their relationship with each other is #goals. And Gabriel and Pandora is OTP! Full stop.

She was so endearing, so indomitable, that Gabriel was wrenched with a feeling he’d never known before, as if all the extremes of joy and despair had been compressed into some new emotion that threatened to crack the walls of his heart.”

As for cameos from the Wallflower gang…yes! We do get Evie and Seb as well as Westcliff. I wish we could’ve seen more of the other couples but I really can’t complain. There’s also a great set-up for the next book in the series, which I am now dying to read.

This book made me so happy. It truly did. And it also makes me want to re-read The Wallflowers series again.

There was magic in the world, and it was woven throughout each ordinary day, the same force that pulled the tides and drove the rhythm of a human heart. Inspired”

Jennifer’s Review: The Duke by @Kerrigan_Byrne

THE DUKE
Series: Victorian Rebels #4
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Kerrigan Byrne
Release Date: February 7, 2017

He is noble, notorious, and takes no prisoners…

They say that now His Grace, Collin Talmage, Duke of Trenwyth has only one hand, he might finally be a mere mortal, but no one seems willing to test the theory. Rich as Midas, big as a Viking, beautiful as Adonis, and lethal as a feral wolf, he is the English Empire’s golden son. But now he’s lost everything. Most of his family died in a terrible accident, his protégé and closest friend betrayed him on the battlefield, and his left hand was cut off while he was a prisoner of war. The only thing that’s kept him going until now is the memory of a night spent in the arms of a mysterious raven-haired woman almost a year ago…

Imogen Pritchard is a nurse by day, but a fallen woman—and a spy—by night. Seduced on the job years ago by a Duke who mourned for the loss of his family, Imogen has never shaken the memory of the man’s despair—or the fathomless depths of pleasure he brought to her. But as the threat of betrayals, blackmail, and secrets abound, Imogen and Collin are thrown back together in a dizzying swirl of dangerous games and earthshattering desire. But can their love overcome the everything that threatens to tear them apart?

AMAZON | iBOOKS

SOLD! I am sold on Kerrigan Byrne for life and will be reading all of her books. This was my first book by Kerrigan Byrne, and I was greatly impressed. She is such an amazing and creative story-teller. Her stories are definitely more plot-based, which I appreciate. This story has so many layers to it. She just kept peeling back all of the intricacies to the characters. Kerrigan took my heart and wove it in and out of the pages of this story.

The beginning is so hot. She did not mess around in breaking out the sexy times (woo!). But then the story takes a quick turn, and the story leads both Cole and Imogen through separate tragedies.
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The beast was no duke. He was no man raised with genteel civility, with a care for the expense of things or the consequences of his actions. This beast was no longer dormant within him, but prowling beneath the surface of his skin, wanting to mark his territory.

And he’d found a delectable morsel just now, one he was in danger of acquiring a taste for.

à la Mode St. » fashion
My Cole & Imogen:

 : Cole is a soldier, a spy, a duke….an animal. He is many things in this book. He travels through war and pain and torture, barely making it out alive. Imogen is his savior, in more ways than one, but he doesn’t even know it. He is trapped in the darkness, and she is light. He cannot escape and is constantly fighting against himself.

Imogen has been through her own version of hell. She has fought her own war, but she is a beacon of hope and is determined to help others that were in a situation like her own. I loved how strong she was. Even when I didn’t expect it, she would stand up to Cole. The feminism in this book! Gah!
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”It would take nothing to destroy you.” He tightened his fingers ever so slightly, and the telltale jump of her pulse belied her unwavering audacity.

“Better men than you have tried,” she remonstrated, her eyes blazing green with a maelstrom of her own primitive emotions. “Yet here I stand.”

à la Mode St. » fashion
THE FEELS!!!! Lawdy, the feels. I’m usually not a fan of angst, but this book was all kinds of delicious. Most of this book is sad, but I loved it (again, not my usual opinion). I felt so much in this book. The tragedies that both Cole and Imogen have to go through in order to finally be together. They are in each other’s lives, but Cole is searching and he doesn’t even know he’s searching for Imogen! Gah! And Imogen has to PINE for him! Oh, the pining! Curse you, Kerrigan for tugging at my heart, so!
If you are fan of Julia Quinn, you will love Kerrigan Byrne! They are very similar in the story-telling, character development, and the feels.

I have to say, I am sad that I did not read the previous 3 books in this series before this one. The characters from the first 3 books in this series were in this book enough that I was a little lost and wanted to know more about them! I would recommend reading this series in order (which I usually don’t say).


READ THE SERIES IN ORDER

THE HIGHWAYMAN | THE HUNTER | THE HIGHLANDER | THE DUKE

Jennifer’s Review: The Danger Of Desire by @SabrinaJeffries

The Danger of Desire
Series: Sinful Suitors #3
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Sabrina Jeffries
Release Date: November 22, 2016

The third book in the sexy Sinful Suitors Regency romance series, this heart-pounding story shows why New York Timesbestselling author Sabrina Jeffries is one of the most beloved historical romance writers today.

To root out the card cheat responsible for her brother’s death, Miss Delia Trevor spends her evenings dancing her way through high society balls, and her late nights disguised as a young man gambling her way through London’s gaming hells. Then one night, handsome Warren Corry, the Marquess of Knightford, a notorious member of St. George’s Club, recognizes her. When he threatens to reveal her secret, she’s determined to keep him from ruining her plans, even if it means playing a cat-and-mouse game with the enigmatic rakehell.

Warren knows the danger of her game, and he refuses to watch her lose everything while gaining justice for her late brother. But when she starts to delve beneath his carefully crafted façade, can he keep her at arm’s length while still protecting her? Or will their hot desires explode into a love that transcends the secrets of their pasts?

AMAZON | iBOOKS

Sabrina Jeffries is a one-click historical romance author for me. I have read almost all of her books, and this book did not disappoint. It was fast-paced and with a smoking-hot rake and a badass heroine.
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”You just want to revel in watching a holy father stand on the spot where we indulged in a bit of-“
“Ecstasy?” he said with a smug smile.
“Wickedness, more like. You love to surround yourself with it.”
“I do indeed. Let this be your warning, my dear. You can remove the man from the wickedness, but you can’t remove the wickedness from the man.”

à la Mode St. » fashionDelia’s family has lost everything after her brother dies, and she is determined to do everything she can to get the money back that he lost before he died. This includes playing her hand at cards, seeing that she has a particular niche for it.

My Warren & Delia:
 : Warren is a rake (of course!). What good is a historical romance without a rake? And Warren does not disappoint. He wants nothing to do with Delia, but his cousin is pushing him to look after Delia. He soon discovers how intriguing Delia can be. She is intelligent and mysterious. There is something about her and he is determined to figure her out. After following her, he soon discovers her mysterious outings are at a gambling club trying to find the man that ruined her brother. And I absolutely loved all of this! The banter between these two is priceless!
à la Mode St. » fashion

”I’m terrified that I’ll disappoint you or hurt you or ruin things, but it doesn’t change the fact that I love you. Helplessly. Hopelessly.”

à la Mode St. » fashionDelia is not your typical innocent female, and I loved her for it. She is witty and determined. Warren is drawn to her and after getting caught in a compromising position, he is willing to give up his rake-ish ways to be with Delia. At the same time, he wants to keep his heart out of the picture. He has a weakness that he is afraid to reveal to his new wife, and my heart broke for him. Warren and Delia’s relationship is unconventional from the beginning and I loved their unique journey.


THE SINFUL SUITORS SERIES

THE ART OF SINNING | THE STUDY OF SEDUCTION | THE DANGER OF DESIRE

Jennifer’s Review: When A Scot Ties The Knot by Tessa Dare

when-a-scot-ties-the-knot-reviewWHEN A SCOT TIES THE KNOT
Series: Castles Ever After #3
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Tessa Dare
Release Date: August 25, 2015add-to-goodreads-button-2

whenascottiestheknot

On the cusp of her first London season, Miss Madeline Gracechurch was shyly pretty and talented with a drawing pencil, but hopelessly awkward with gentlemen. She was certain to be a dismal failure on the London marriage mart. So Maddie did what generations of shy, awkward young ladies have done: she invented a sweetheart.

A Scottish sweetheart. One who was handsome and honorable and devoted to her, but conveniently never around. Maddie poured her heart into writing the imaginary Captain MacKenzie letter after letter … and by pretending to be devastated when he was (not really) killed in battle, she managed to avoid the pressures of London society entirely.

Until years later, when this kilted Highland lover of her imaginings shows up in the flesh. The real Captain Logan MacKenzie arrives on her doorstep—handsome as anything, but not entirely honorable. He’s wounded, jaded, in possession of her letters… and ready to make good on every promise Maddie never expected to keep.

Buy-Links10AMAZON | iBOOKSReview-DGR4 stars

I will always read Tessa Dare.

Give me a Scot in a kilt….any day, any time….yes, please! What woman doesn’t want a Scot in a kilt endlessly pursuing her, especially one that reads???!!!
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His brow was lightly furrowed in concentration, and those spectacles were perched on the strong bridge of his nose. Once muscled arm was flexed and propped behind his head. And in the other hand, he held…

Devil take him. Heaven help her.

A book.

à la Mode St. » fashionI absolutely adored the beginning of this book. It starts out with Maddie’s letters, written to her made-up fiancé. She invents a fiancé because she is shy and awkward and doesn’t have much chance of actually landing a real fiancé. She has social anxiety and panic attacks, but of course during this time, they did not know about social anxiety, so she calls it extreme shyness. Maddie is perfectly fine with being a spinster, living with her aunt, and drawing animals.

My Logan & Maddie:

 :
Logan is leading his men home, but there is not much home for them to come home to. So he takes his men with him to claim his fiancé and the land that comes with her. Logan’s first priority is his men, so when Maddie does not want to marry him, he blackmails her with her love letters. Logan pursues Maddie to no end. At first it is because of the land and because he is looking out for his men, but it eventually Maddie becomes his family and he vows to never let her go.

This book is Quirky and Fluffy (Hehehe) and SEXY, and I adored it!
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“There’s more than one way to share pleasure.”

She was quiet for a long moment. “How many ways?”

He rolled onto his side to face her, skimming a single finger from her breastbone to her belly. “Here’s an idea. I’ll demonstrate them, and you keep count.”

à la Mode St. » fashion21002852-_sx540_I loved all of the characters in this story. I love that Tessa’s writing can be silly at times because they are never too silly. They are giggly and adorable, and yet I find myself getting drawn into the silly story because she always breaks out the feels when you least expect them. All of Tessa’s heroines are always intelligent and strong, including Maddie. I will always read Tessa Dare.


CASTLES EVER AFTER SERIES

ROMANCING THE DUKE | SAY YES TO THE MARQUESS |
WHEN A SCOT TIES THE KNOT

Jennifer’s Review: Do You Want To Start a Scandal by @TessaDare

do-you-want-to-start-a-scandal-reviewDO YOU WANT TO START A SCANDAL
Series: Spindle Cove #5
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Tessa Dare
Release Date: September 27, 2016add-to-goodreads-button-2

do-you-want-to-start-a-scandal

On the night of the Parkhurst ball, someone had a scandalous tryst in the library. Was it Lord Canby, with the maid, on the divan? Or Miss Fairchild, with a rake, against the wall? Perhaps the butler did it.

All Charlotte Highwood knows is this: it wasn’t her. But rumors to the contrary are buzzing. Unless she can discover the lovers’ true identity, she’ll be forced to marry Piers Brandon, Lord Granville—the coldest, most arrogantly handsome gentleman she’s ever had the misfortune to embrace. When it comes to emotion, the man hasn’t got a clue.

But as they set about finding the mystery lovers, Piers reveals a few secrets of his own. The oh-so-proper marquess can pick locks, land punches, tease with sly wit . . . and melt a woman’s knees with a single kiss. The only thing he guards more fiercely than Charlotte’s safety is the truth about his dark past.

Their passion is intense. The danger is real. Soon Charlotte’s feeling torn. Will she risk all to prove her innocence? Or surrender it to a man who’s sworn to never love?

Buy LinksAMAZON | iBOOKS | B&NReview-DGR5 stars

5 “Oliveview” Stars!!!!
This book is a combination of James Bond and the game of Clue, and I enjoyed every second of it. It’s witty. It’s sexy. It’s everything “Tessa Dare.” When I think of Tessa Dare, this is the perfect amount of all that she is, wrapped up in one book. Can you tell that I love her?

à la Mode St. » fashion

She unsettled him; he anchored her. Together, they could be more than they were apart.

à la Mode St. » fashionThis book is…..ONE…..GIANT……SWOON. And if you don’t like this book, then you can suck my aubergine (see below for definition of “aubergine” or you can just read this book!).

Ps. Just kidding. If you don’t like this book, that’s fine. Everyone can have their own opinion….please don’t hate me for saying suck my aubergine.

The Aubergine…aka Eggplant!!! Tessa, you put an eggplant in this book! Hilarious!!!!!!

Ok, let’s actually talk about the book.

Granville. Piers Granville…. is a spy for the Crown. He is on a mission as a guest of the house, but when Charlotte corners him to “save him” from herself, and they are caught in a misunderstood compromising situation, they have no other choice but to pursue marriage. Piers pursues Charlotte relentlessly, but I love that Charlotte doesn’t give in at first. She is determined to prove that they are too different, and she is also determined to keep her independence. I love that Charlotte knows exactly who she is and what she wants.
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“Those walls, as you called them…They’re part of me now, and they are iron strong.” He lifted a hand to her face, skimming his thumb over her lower lip. “Even if I wished to, I wouldn’t know how to dismantle them.”

“I know,” she said quietly. “I know.” She wreathed her arms around his neck. “That’s why you need me. I’m going to burn them to the ground.”

à la Mode St. » fashionMy Piers:

”There is nothing untoward in Lord Granville’s mind. He has the most toward mind I’ve ever encountered.”

Men's Fashion Post on Instagram: “You can't ever go wrong with a classic style suit. Happy Friday ya'll Follow @MensFashion for more inspo!”:
My Charlotte:

No matter how she tried, Charlotte Highwood was unable to be anyone other than herself.

 :
Charlotte is…….absolutely hilarious. And so endearing. She is described as “innocent, not ignorant,” and that is perfect because she isn’t worldly like Piers, but she has a natural inclination of reading people and solving mysteries. She pursues this mystery and finds hints here and there throughout the book. I’m usually not a big fan of mystery novels, but there was less mystery and more romance, so it was perfect for me.
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”If I let myself come anywhere near you” – he caught her wrists and lifted them, pinning her arms to the wall – “I’d have your skirts tossed up to your ears and my cock buried inside you before the rest of them looked up from their tea.”

à la Mode St. » fashionTessa Dare is easily in my top 5 favorite historical romance authors. Whenever I read Tessa Dare, I just know there will be swooning, and giggling and sexy times. She has the whole package when it comes to historical romance. Her books and stories are always so much fun! I have loved every Tessa Dare book that I have read so far (I’ve read 4 of her books). I got an ARC of this book…..but I’m going to be buying the paperback to have on my shelf FOREVER!!!

This is the 5th book in the series. It is a standalone, so you don’t have to read the first 4 to read this one. I only read one other book in this series before I read this one.


THE SPINDLE COVE SERIES

A NIGHT TO SURRENDER (bk 1)
ONCE UPON A WINTER’S DARE (bk 1.5)
A WEEK TO BE WICKED (bk 2) ~ Jennifer’s Review
A LADY BY MIDNIGHT (bk 3)
BEAUTY AND THE BLACKSMITH (bk 3.5)
ANY DUCHESS WILL DO (bk 4)
LORD DASHWOOD MISSED OUT  (bk 4.5)
DO YOU WANT TO START A SCANDAL (bk 5)

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