The Earl’s Irresistible Challenge – Lara Temple

Welcome back everyone, I hope you enjoyed my review of a towns struggle while two lost loves found each other again. This week’s book is one of those classic regency romances that just draws you in with its female empowerment.

Writing Style

The overall writing style for this one felt really cohesive and like the author had planned out each phase of the book before actually writing it as a whole. The rushing to get the couple together and happy that sometimes occurs didn’t happen. You could see moments throughout the book where both characters could feel and accept that their relationship was changing.

Although the author didn’t describe the surroundings much, they did focus on the characters emotional and physical responses to each other. I felt like I could truly see Lord Sinclair intimidating Miss Silverdale when they first met. Whenever they were having a moment, I could imagine what their expressions looked like, right down to how they held their body in that moment.

First Impressions

To begin with I was confused as to how this could be a romance given Lord Sinclair was doing everything he could to avoid being around Miss Silverdale. Also, Miss Silverdale was adamant that he was arrogant, among other not so nice descriptions, so it didn’t seem like someone so self sufficient and forward thinking could possibly want to be with someone like that.

That soon changed when I realised that this was because they had yet to spend enough time together to really start to click. I will admit I was reading this initially when I was REALLY stressed and reading it in like 2-5-minute intervals. So, I probably should have realised this sooner. But you know, when you get caught up in other things you don’t necessarily notice things properly or think straight.

Final Thoughts

I’m glad the author didn’t rush the romantic connection. And I was surprised at when and how Lord Sinclair decided to propose to Miss Silverdale. But that was a good thing. How many of these regency romances do you read when you know the exact moment the realisation of a proposal is coming?

So, the fact I didn’t know made me re-think a few other things I thought were going to happen. And yet again I was still surprised! I love it when a book can have that predictable feel but then throw a curve ball at you when you’re least expecting it. Given the genre this book is in that’s kinda hard to do! So kudos to the author for still managing to surprise me! I hope you do this with all your books!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, tomorrow, that’s right! Tomorrow I will be reviewing An Unconventional Affair Book 2 by Mollie Blake.

If you liked her first book be sure to tune in tomorrow for my review of her second book! But FIRST! Continue reading for info on today’s author.

Author Bio

Lara Temple writes strong, sexy regency romances
about complex individuals who give no quarter but do so with plenty of passion.
After moving around the world for her career as a financial analyst and
business consultant she returned to her childhood love of making up stories,
and was surprised to discover that other people don’t mind reading them.

She lives with her husband and two children who are very good about her taking over the kitchen table for her writing (so she can look out over the garden and dream while Oscar the dog keeps her feet warm by sitting on them as she works).

The Earl’s Irresistible Challenge (out December 2018) is the first in her Sinful Sinclair series. In May 2019 Unlaced by the Highland Duke, part of a four book series with three other Harlequin Mills & Boon authors will be released.

The Makings of a Lady – Catherine Tinley

Welcome back to another round of book tour week! I’ve yet again managed to snag a spot in the blog tour on the day the book is released. YAY!!! I’m finding this experience super exciting and I don’t feel like such a geek knowing that there are other’s out there who are as into books as I am. So thank you to all my readers who make me feel included!

Alrighty, so the first thing I noticed about this book was that it’s publisher is Harlequin and Mills and Boon. Now this might seem trivial but over the last 12 months I’ve read a bunch of books that have been published through them (is it weird that I remember that?) and I’ve enjoyed every one of them. So I immediately got excited about what was in store for me with this one. And I wasn’t let down!

Now this one is the third book in the series but it’s one of those series where the books can be read as standalone books or in order. In my case I haven’t read the other two books so I read this one as a standalone. But I think I want to go back and read the other two as well!

So we start off with Olivia who is pretty nervous because she’s hoping her crush loves her and is going to propose to her. Except he doesn’t. He asked to walk with her because he’s leaving her for Australia with no words of love or devotion. Which obviously breaks Olivia’s 18 yr old heart. And like most people after they experience their first real heartbreak, she closes herself off from men not wanting to be hurt again. Which I completely understand. Once you’ve been hurt it’s really hard to open yourself up knowing that you might get hurt like that again.

Fast forward 4 years and she’s suddenly faced with Jem again, after 4 years of no contact. On the same day as he’s set to arrive though she also meets another gentleman who immediately catches her eye. And even manages a sneaky kiss! And cue the manly jostling of Olivia’s attention, made all the more awkward because Olivia doesn’t know Jem is interested in her because he doesn’t know if she’s interested in him, because she doesn’t know he’s interested in her. And OMG please stop the merry go round! Personally I’ve never experienced this. I’m a very straight forward person and if I like someone I’ll make sure they know it. So to read this cringe worthy over analysis and self destructive behaviour really had me wanting to smack their heads together going “you both like each other! Now talk it out!”

Obviously I couldn’t do that, so I had to settle with obsessively reading this book to finish it within 4 days to know who Olivia ends up with. They both seem to have moments where they are sure of their feelings for one another, but then they over analyse and let silly comments from others make them doubt the other’s feelings. And of course George constantly mooning over Olivia doesn’t help matter’s much. It’s obvious he’s vying for Olivia’s hand in marriage and she doesn’t seem to be pushing him away. So will she give up on ever understanding Jem and settle for George who she obviously doesn’t love?

Or will she use the same courage she had when she escaped captivity to tell Jem how she feels and see where things go from there? Well as it turns out it’s Jem who finally grows a pair and does something. Only to leave her again with no explanation of how he’s feeling. Which then put’s Olivia onto the backfoot again when someone mentions he’s going to marry one of her friends. By this point I was ready to scream at Olivia for lacking some self-confidence and assurance.

Anyway, after another couple of unfortunately encounters for Olivia she FINALLY get’s to hear Jem tell her that he loves her. And of course he stuffs up his proposal so she refuses him, which is good because it prompts him to propose in a much more romantic way that she then readily accepts.

My only criticism with this book is that I really would have liked an epilogue. Just to tidy up those loose ends, let us see Olivia and Jem some time later say on their wedding day or something to really solidify that happily ever after. The excitement, the hanging onto the edge of your seat and staying up late so you can know what happens next is great. But I feel like I really needed that extra little bit of closure. Especially since this is the final book in the trilogy.

Otherwise, yet another Harlequin book has not let me down! As I knew I would, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I’m sure anyone who’s a fan of exciting, regency romance novels will love this one.

Thank you for reading. Next week I will be reviewing “Chasing Ghosts” by Madalyn Morgan as part of a book tour. I did warn you that there’d be a few! Lol, but don’t worry I have some of my TBR booking coming up in a few weeks. I look forward to seeing you next week, but don’t forget to scroll down to read about the author and some extra goodies!

Author Bio

Catherine Tinley writes heartwarming Regency love stories for Harlequin Mills & Boon. She has loved reading and writing since childhood, and has a particular fondness for love, romance, and happy endings. After a career encompassing speech & language therapy, NHS management, maternity campaigning and being President of a charity, she now works in Sure Start. She lives in Ireland with her husband, children, cat, and dog.

Mastering the Marchioness – Em Brown

Welcome back all, So while reading this one I was enjoying a nice relaxing time in New Zealand. I’m so much of a reader that it took strangers prompting me to join them for a drink for me to snap out of it to stop reading!

After reading the blurb about this one I thought it was going to be about a couple that’s been married for years and are bored with each other. Hence why they separately go to this sex club place, the “Cavern of Pleasures”. Now I’m all for doing what feels right for you and your partner. But at the same time, you need to give it a good fair go before resorting to these methods I think.

The first surprise for me with this book is that this couple is newly married. Like REALLY newly married! And at that they are young, don’t have heirs and have known each other since childhood. Literally they only just got married and moved to London and yet they still haven’t consummated their marriage.

The thing that I found amusing about this book was that Harrietta didn’t know it was her husband Vale she was visiting, whereas he knew it was her. He’s trying to make sure that she trusts him, while at the same time doing something that is guaranteed to make her not trust him. Being as un-trusting as I am I don’t understand how this could ever work out in Vale’s favour. Surely when Harrietta finds out that Vale is her mysterious “my lord” she won’t be happy and will make his life misery?

So reading how Harrietta tries to remain independent while also having to rely on her husband really rings true for me. Like yes, I could survive and be fine without my partner. But do I want to? Will I enjoy the quality of life I enjoy now without him? No, I probably wouldn’t. Purely because two incomes working towards the same thing makes everything so much cheaper!

So Harrietta tries to do her independent woman act and ends up failing. Only to have Vale try to rescue her. Only he’s too late and she rescues herself. Kind of… (I’ll let you read it to find out what I mean by that) And yada yada yada. Typical regency romance story they figure things out and that’s the end of the story.

But what intrigues me about this is that it’s a series. And this is only the first book. Does the series change it’s character focus each book? Or does it continue to develop the characters in this book further? I look forward to reading the series. But that will have to wait.

Next week I will be reviewing “An Unconventional Affair” by Mollie Blake. I look forward to seeing you next week.

The Viscount’s Mistress – Claire DuLac

This novel is a bit different to other historical romance novels set in Regency times as it doesn’t follow quite the same storyline. Your typical historical romance novel set in Regency times follows along the lines of:

a) Girl is on the shelf and no longer/ never did care about getting married but some guy inadvertently crosses her path and breaks down the walls she’s built around herself and they get married and live happily every after OR

b) Guy needs to marry and heiress with or without love, girl is stubborn about staying single because men control their lives etc etc, guy eventually wins her over and they get married and live happily ever after

This story however is about Violette helping Lawrence win a wealthy bride in order to pay back his fathers debts in order to keep his land and titles. Violette is definitely not wealthy. Although she should have inherited money and possibly lands, due to a mistake that occurred during the French Revolution she’s not considered to be a bastard. Which in English society is not a good thing to be. What I never understood about people is their need to rip down those around them in order to make themselves look better.

In this case, how is ostracising Violette doing any good? Not only was she not conceived when her parents mistake occurred, how could she change her birth after the fact? That kind of judgemental attitude has always irked me even if it was just to do with other people regular social/ sex lives. Why should anyone other than the individuals it concerns know or worry about those details?

Anyway, Lawrence works with Violette to make himself seem like a desirable husband to Mariah (Violette’s wealthy cousin) so that he can fix up his fathers debt and ensure his inheritance is safe. Violette does everything she can to coach Lawrence through flirting with Mariah, organising a ball in her honor and even keeping her previous beau away from her to ensure Mariah’s attention is solely on Lawrence. Throughout this whole time Violette is getting abused by her aunt (mothers brothers wife who is Mariah’s mother from her first marriage) for ruining Mariah’s chances of a successful marriage with Lawrence.

And poor Violette can’t even tell her aunt that she’s HELPING Lawrence win Mariah’s hand in marriage. Because if she tells her that, then she has to explain WHY Lawrence needs to marry Mariah which will probably mean her aunt will try and stop the marriage. And Violette is so loyal to Lawrence she even takes a beating from her aunt that leaves her battered and bruised, to a degree that if that happened in this day and age the aunt would be up for assault and battery charges; she still doesn’t reveal that secret to her aunt.

Funnily enough, towards the end of the book we discover a secret of Mariah’s which explains that niggling feeling I had. The whole way through the book I couldn’t understand why she’d entertain Lawrence’s suit. That is until we learnt that one little tidbit. And then it all fell into place.

And at the same time made EVERYTHING fall into place. Which resulted in Lawrence and Violette finally getting together. Among other things. And I gota say, those “other things” made me happy. I found myself cheering on Lawrence finally throwing his father to the wolves (well, Debters Prison). I am a big believer in supporting those close to you through difficult times, but not protecting them from their consequences. If you don’t experience the consequences how can you truly learn from the mistake or experience? And in Lawrence’s fathers case, he’s never had to face the consequences and therefore never learns.

So it was great to see someone finally stand up to a bully and make them face the music. And to then have a few other nice things fall into place for Lawrence and Violette really gave the story the “cherry on top” feeling. I enjoyed this book quite a bit, especially because it didn’t follow the typical storylines. That doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy the typical stories. It just means sometimes I like to mix it up a bit and don’t want to be able to guess the outcome every time.

As always, I hope you enjoyed this review and look forward to reading my review on “The Things We Learn When We’re Dead” by Charlie Laidlow. I’ve read some cool thing’s about this book so I’m looking forward to reading this one!

Winning the Duke – Jenn Langston

Welcome back everyone, I hope you’ve been enjoying my posts and continue to enjoy them.

I really enjoyed reading this book, right from the get go I felt that it spoke to me in a way that some of the other books haven’t. Grace is the main point of view for this story however it does also switch to Braiden’s point of view.

We start of with Grace in London where she’s desperately trying to get her mother’s attention regarding who she is to marry. Her mother doesn’t seem to care who she marries, whether it’s a beggar or a prince, and all Grace want’s is her mother’s approval. Grace’s trusty friend suggests that Grace uses the holiday time at her sisters to relax from the husband hunting and just enjoy herself.

Braiden on the other hand wants to wallow in self pity and continue to drink himself into oblivion. The only reason he decides to go with his cousin, Thomas, to his families regular Christmas gathering is to try and marry Thomas off so that he doesn’t have to go through that again. And we learn it’s because he married a harpy the first time around who ruined him for any other future marriage prospects.

Turns out they are both going to the same party! However, when Grace arrives it turns out her sister has invited a number of new gentlemen to help Grace choose a husband. Which Grace is NOT happy about! Braiden arrives later that same day and discovers that the extra men have been invited to marry Grace off and decides that Thomas should be in the running. When talking to Grace about how she feels about this situation he plants the idea of the perfect gentleman in her head, intending for it to describe Thomas. As luck would have it, and a number of unfortunate run in’s with some of the other gentlemen, Grace decides that only Braiden will do for her. Now she just needs to convince him of this. I feel like this was me a few years ago so I really felt for Grace and how she knew what she wanted and just wanted to skip to the part where she had it.

We spend quite some time on convincing Braiden that his previous wife was wrong and that it’s ok to love Grace before he finally relinquishes enough to marry her. Once they do marry he refuses to sleep with her even though he knows she wants children. Braiden ends up taking Grace to her sister’s to spend time with her since she’d just given birth to a second child and attempts to avoid sleeping with her. He finally gives in and sleeps in the same bed as Grace, however he makes sure nothing other than sleep happens. And this feels like even though he’s given in to marrying Grace he’s not 100% committed. And I’m sure a lot of girls feel like this in their relationships until they reach the tipping point and their guy finally realises that they are all in and can commit.

Next thing we know Braiden takes Grace back to his estate hoping that she will be distracted while there. While there we get the feeling that Braiden’s elderly (and mentally ailing) mother doesn’t like Grace very much. After a while Grace gives up on Braiden ever coming around and leaves for London on foot. Which results in her breaking her ankle and Braiden finds her laying on the ground and rushes her to his hunting lodge. Turns out this was all that was needed for Braiden to finally give in and sleep with Grace! And this was Braiden’s tipping point, when he can’t stand to see Grace in pain, can’t stand to loose her to anyone else and realises he needs to embrace his fears and take a leap of faith into this relationship with Grace.

Fast forward a while and Grace gets kidnapped while Braiden is in one of his “I hate Grace” moods and so doesn’t notice that she’s been kidnapped. Luckily he comes to his senses and realises she’s been kidnapped and figured out by who in just enough time to save her. And he ensures the kidnapper pays for also being responsible for killing his first wife. I don’t understand why Grace would let Braiden off the hook so easily, however I don’t forgive as easily as she does. And that’s one of the things that makes her who she is and one of the many reasons why Braiden loves her. From this excursion Braiden learns a lot about his family, who those close to him really are and what he really needs to be able to move forward and be happy.

I finished this book mostly happy with everything, and there was nothing that really bugged me which I found really nice for a change. And the cool thing is it turns out this is the second book in a series. So I will DEFINITELY be coming back to this series once I get through a few more books in my TBR pile.

The next book I will review is “Awakenings” by C.E. Sundstrom, an author I came across at the Clunes Booktown Festival. I can’t wait to read this and find out what this is about since the author’s description had me coming back hours later to buy the book because I just HAD to know what happened in this book. I look forward to seeing you next week.

Conduct Unbecoming of a Gentleman – Wareeze Woodson

Welcome back everyone, I hope you’ve been enjoying my posts so far and I’d love to hear what you think so please comment!

Now this post will be a little bit different to my other posts since I didn’t fall in love with this book like I did the others I’ve reviewed.

I like the idea of this book. A young mother that’s been mistreated by her dead husband and his sister tries to protect her young son who’s inherited his father’s title but has a guardian who’s only interested in protecting his ward and his wards interest. And because it’s a romance novel the mother and guardian have to fall in love and live happily ever after.

Now on paper that sounds like a great story, however the way it’s written disappointed me a little. The guardian Adron comes across the mother Laurel and her son Jamie as she’s on her way to visit her aunt. However her carriage overturns and Adron offers his help except he ends up taking Jamie and leaving Lauren in the wrecked carriage. Essentially abducting Jamie without explanation to Laurel.

What I don’t like about this though is that Laurel ends up being smitten over the fact that Adron shows interest in Jamie and ends up sleeping with him no matter how awful he is towards her. In this day and age, with domestic violence being a big issue and trying to prevent it from happening in future generations I found myself disappointed that this book felt like it condonned that kind of behavior.

In my job I hear people who are experiencing domestic violence and what they go through trying to get out of this situation and need help. To then read a book that essentially says it’s ok for people to treat others like dirt, like lesser beings and that the one that’s not treated well will just fall in love with them and end up devoting their life and happiness to them.

Although this wasn’t the main story of this book it was the main message I took out of it. I don’t know if that’s because I hear about how domestic violence affects others on an almost daily basis and I work with people who are creating new ways to help us support our customers who are affected by this. But I don’t feel like we should be allowing this message that it’s ok to treat people in a degrading way to be out there. Because I can see some people reading this book and seeing nothing wrong with this treatment.

I will acknowledge the fact that Wareeze raised the issue that Adron’s treatment of Laurel was despicable and that it’s inescusable no matter what point of view you take. However I feel there was more they could do to ensure this message got across. I know in the time that this book was set (regency times) that this kind of behavior was probably common place. However that doesn’t mean we should be writing about this issue as if it’s ok. I feel that in this case there was more Wareeze could do to help us change the perception of domestic violence to help prevent it in the future.

I know we live in the day and age where I’m sure there are going to be social justice warriors wanting to jump at every little thing and maybe some will criticise Wareeze while others will criticise me for thinking this about this book. But with an issue like domestic violence I think we need to err on the side of caution and support those experiencing this or know someone who is.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence lease use the links below to get the support you or them need, I have provided links for Australia, England and the US. If you live outside these areas please contact your local support groups for assistance. Please note that I’m not affiliated with any of these organisations and I found these from Google. If you feel there are other support systems available for those affected please comment links below.

Australia: https://www.whiteribbon.org.au/find-help/domestic-violence-hotlines/

England: http://www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk

US: http://www.thehotline.org

Now I’d like to end this review on a positive note which is that Wareeze was able to write in such a way that I was captivated throughout the book. If you feel that you could overlook the domestic violence stuff the mystery of who killed Jamie’s father and is still threatening Laurel will be a thrilling read!

From the first little bit of the next book I’ve read it’s looking up, so I look forward to seeing you again for my review of “Winning the Duke” by Jenn Langston.

Finally, I’m hoping to hear from you about how you find my blog. Whether you like the types of books I read or not I really want to hear what you think about my blog. So please comment so I know what you think of my blog. If you like my blog please share with your family and friends.

Bleddyn Hall – Amanda L.V. Shalaby

Bleddyn Hall is the first book in quite some time that I’ve read a historical romance novel. And pretty much all of these books have followed the same these. Girl is reluctant to get married because it puts her in a man’s control and her family have always allowed her freedoms most woman in that age (most of these books I read are regency romance ones) were allowed. However they meet/ reconnect with someone that loves them for themselves and they go through their courtship only to meet an obstacle (usually some silly rumour or misunderstanding) to then work things out and get married and live happily ever after.

Bleddyn Hall definitely doesn’t follow this theme! Yes, it has a girl who doesn’t want to marry for money or social standing. BUT Isabel is a very typical regency age woman. She strictly believes in polite society, social norms and is against anything that might be looked upon as “improper”. The only thing that makes her different to most regency age woman is that she wants to marry for love and is willing to marry down or to a poor man to ensure that she is loved.

Yet somehow the most handsome and eligible bachelor of the season falls almost immediately in love with her. How dos this happen? I can count the number of times I met the hottest, nicest guy of the night and had him fall instantly in love with me. Precisely 0 times. It just doesn’t happen! And what really frustrates me about most romance novels is when this happens without any real life drama.

The good thing Amanda has done here is that while writing from Isabel’s perspective and the occasional change to Tresham’s perspective is that neither want to fall instantly in love. Their internal dialogue (done from a third person perspective which I found weird and tricky to wrap my head around for the first quarter of the book) shows us that they admit there is an immediate attraction and lust between them. But neither of them want to jump into anything. Instead they get to know each other by talking, flirting and teasing one another. Which is something many people don’t do in this day and age, and it’s something that my partner and I get criticised for.

Over a series of weeks (because everything marriage wise seems to only need a month or so to decide upon in that age) Tresham proposes to Isabel and she accepts. As their families are celebrating the news, Tresham receives word that his father has suddenly passed away. As such he heads home the next day while his mother and twin younger sisters work on convincing Isabel to join them when they leave in a few days.

Now, I’m used to the usual sort of regency romance books was sitting there looking at the fact that I was only about a quarter of the way through the book thinking “what the hell could happen to throw a spanner in the works that is going to take 3/4 of the book to get over?” Because normally you don’t reach this stage until about 3/4 of the way through the book!

Boy was I in for a surprise! Turns out that there was a murder mystery underway at Bleddyn Hall and Tresham was the main target for. As Isabel was being ignored by her previously loving fiance I was left wondering why she would put up with it and why she wouldn’t just go back to her aunt and uncle in London. Surely if Tresham really loved Isabel he wouldn’t be so mean to her, even if he is distraught after the death of his father?!

I was proved wrong after Isabel and Tresham’s younger brother Clement started investigating what was happening themselves in secret after they discovered that a long forgotten brother Ewan was the cause of both murders. And surprisingly in the end it turns out Ewan is actually Tresham’s twin brother and had locked him away and was masquerading as him. Which explains why Tresham had been acting so odd compared to everything we knew about him up until his fathers death.

After a bit of planning, Isabel and Clement manage to get the key to Tresham’s cell and work to break him out. But not after two sinister encounters with Ewan where they needed to pretend like they didn’t know it was actually Ewan, and not Tresham. The first encounter with Ewan was Isabel taking breakfast in a sun room where Ewan unexpectedly joined her. Unfortunately, although Ewan starts of well imitating a gentleman he inevitably reverts to his nefarious ways and attempts to rape Isabel. Luckily Isabel is able to fight him off long enough for Clement and a couple of servants to come rushing in and ensure her safety in that moment.

After that encounter, Clement stays with Isabel and they rush to Clement’s father’s study to get the key to Tresham’s cell and then on to free him. Except as is normal at this point of the book, Ewan has a spy following them and quickly learns that they are in there and so anticipates something is happening. Luckily Clement knows of a secret tunnel from the study down to near the stables and helps Isabel fit through the passage.

This is where I found myself starting to really get into the book. I admit, up until this point I was only mildly interested in the story, however as soon as Isabel started to really solve mysteries my interest was piqued and I found myself drawn in. I started resenting needing to follow through with my plans and drive myself to the airport because I just wanted to know if they managed to save Tresham!

Good news is that they are successful. What I found quite amusing and found myself feeling smug about, as that while Isabel and Clement were freeing Tresham and Ewan was chasing after them. One of Ewan’s creditors finally catches up to him and kills him! Therefore making Isabel’s and Clement’s rescue of Tresham so much easier.

Then I was given a bit of a heart attach when Tresham calls Isabel to his study to discuss their engagement. The way he was talking I thought for sure he was going to end the engagement and mean that Isabel stayed, figured out what was happening and suffered his crazy brother for nothing! Luckily Tresham is just so proper he was trying to be understanding of what Isabel has gone through and give her the option to leave if she wanted.
Luckily she didn’t want that and they got married a few months later to then chaperone the twin sisters the following season to be reunited with their chosen men.

Now there are a number of other twists, cool facts and family secrets I haven’t mentioned. So if you like romantic murder mysteries there is still plenty of things for you to work out as you read the book.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this review so please comment below!

And the next book out of the rank is “The Seven Steps to Closure” by Donna Joy Usher.

Cookies Collected!

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. To find out more check out my Privacy Policy. By continuing you accept these terms.