Take a Historical Quiz with Grace Burrowes, Katie MacAlister, and Shana Galen!

HistoricalQuiz
Quiz: Which Historical Romance Heroine Are You?
#1 What word best describes you?
a) effervescent
b) nonconfrontational (mostly)
c) stealthy
#2 My favorite hobby is …
a) comparative study of the male form
b) looking after my darling baron
c) target practice
#3 What is the perfect late night snack?
a) bread, cheese, meats, lemon tarts … whatever can be liberated from the kitchen
b) the baron’s kisses
c) ratafia, shaken not stirred
#4 My ideal man must have …
a) a sublime derriere
b) an aptitude for growing hardy, contrary flowers
c) brains
#5 What accessory do you never leave home without?
a) my corset (large bosoms are such a trial)
b) my composure
c) my pistol
***
TheTruthAboutLeo
If you choose mostly As … then you are as sparkling and resourceful as Her Serene Royal Highness Dagmar from The Truth About Leo by Katie MacAlister. Dagmar may have been raised in a strictly formal manner, but she’s never let that stop her from pursuing anything that catches her interest. She’s a bit quirky, marches to her own drummer, and has a fine, fine appreciation of the manly form.
TheTraitor
If you choose mostly Bs … then you are clearly the stuff a baroness is made of, much like Millicent, from The Traitor by Grace Burrowes. Milly is sweet, fierce, determined, and brave but slow to trust. Sebastian, Baron St. Clair, is ALSO sweet, fierce, determined and brave, and relentless when it comes to protecting those he cares for. Alas for both Sebastian and Milly, an enemy stalks them who is not sweet. By the time Milly is done with Sebastian’s enemies, they are not very brave either. So if you chose mostly B’s, the bad guys better steer mighty clear of you!
LoveAndLetSpy
If you choose mostly Cs … then you are equipped to be a master spy like Jane Bonde from Love and Let Spy by Shana Galen. Jane is smart, cunning, and loyal, but she has her weaknesses too. Her latest weakness goes by the name Dominic Griffyn. Planning a wedding and defeating a villain intent upon the destruction of England is tricky, but if you’re the sort who multitasks easily, then you too have Jane’s unique skills and panache.
GIVEAWAY – CLICK ON RAFFLECOPTER LOGO!

arc

‘The Pirate Takes a Bride’ by Shana Galen

sg tptabSTORY: Ashley Brittany is living a nightmare. She’s been mistakenly married to the one man she despises. Months ago, Lord Nicholas took her virtue then scorned her. Now, Ashley will do anything to have her revenge…anything but expose her ugly secret.

Nick Martingale has a secret, too: he’s Captain Robin Hood, a pirate with a fearsome reputation. But when Nick learns his archenemy, the Barbary pirate Yussef, attacked innocents Nick has sworn to protect, he can think of nothing but vengeance.

Only one person stands in his way.

His wife

REVIEW: Ashley Brittany is a feisty young woman who has known passion with Lord Nicholas (Nick) Martingale, the second son of the late Marquess of Blackthorne.  While enjoying her encounter with him, she has always promised herself that she wanted to be free to have fun doing things without being encumbered with a husband and family.  As a matter of fact, she and her three best friends made a pact years ago to form the Spinster’s Club and vowed never to fall in love to marry.  But after her shared passion with Nick, she is beginning to change her mind until she finds him in the arms of another woman.

When she accompanies a friend to Gretna Green to be married, Nick shows up to try and stop her friend from marrying.  After a convoluted wedding ceremony performed by a very drunk priest, it turns out that he had married Ashley and Nick!  Ashley is furious and does not want to be married!  While arguing about this state of affairs, a group of “pirates” shows up claiming to be the crew of “The Robin Hood” looking for their ship’s Captain, Nick Martingale – or Captain Robin Hood! They sail to the Caribbean on the ship heading for their island home, Isla de las Riquezas, as they have received word that it has been attacked by none other than the evil Pirate Yussef.  Aargg!!

The adventures aboard the ship and the island are well-written and Shana Galen has obviously done her research as her descriptions of the ship and life on the island are terrific.  Come read this terrific novel and see if Ashley and Nick are able to resolve their differences.  Be ready for some great laughs as well.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author

Shana Galen and Five Fun Facts from …

Sapphires Are an Earl’s Best Friend

???????????????????????????????????????1. I didn’t come up with the titles for any of the books in the Jewels of the Ton series. After When You Give a Duke a Diamond was titled I knew the other books would have gems in the titles too, but I didn’t know which gem until I’d already written all of If You Give a Rake a Ruby and most of Sapphires Are an Earl’s Best Friend. I had to go back and include the gem in the title in the story.

2. I named the hero’s friend Flynn because Flynn Rider from Tangled is my favorite Disney Tangled Rlynn Riderhero. But then I liked him so much I had to write a story for him too. It will be out in January and is titled The Viscount of Vice.

3. When Lily turns up at the end of If You Give a Rake a Ruby as a spy, I was as surprised as anyone else. I didn’t know she was a spy, and it wasn’t what I was planning for her book. Fortunately, my editor gives me a lot of leeway when I write synopses, since my books are generally nothing like the synopses I turn in.

Multi-Colored-Sapphires[1]4. I had to research sapphires when I was writing this book. I found out that sapphires come in more than just blue. They can be purple and pink and other colors too. I have some pictures of various colored sapphires on my Pinterest board for Sapphires Are an Earl’s Best Friend.

girl sidesaddle5. Lily rides a horse several times in the novel, and I had to research riding habits to make sure she was dressed appropriately. I always find it so amazing that women did everything men did on horseback, but they did it sitting sideways!

Who’s your favorite “supporting actor” in a book, movie or TV show? Does s/he deserve a story of his/her own?

Giveaway: print copies of When You Give a Duke a Diamond

&

 If You Give a Rake a Ruby. (U.S./Canada only)

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‘Sapphires Are an Earl’s Best Friend’

Careful, gentlemen—there’s more to this courtesan than meets the eye

What better disguise for a secret agent than that of a courtesan? Lily Dawson, dubbed the Countess of Charm, is a spy working for the Crown to uncover a traitor.

Andrew Booth-Payne, Earl of Darlington, wants to hate Lily for taking up with his father, but something about Lily intrigues him. When he discovers there is more to her flirtation than greed, he knows he must help her uncover a traitor. Even if that traitor is his own father…

*Connie’s review here.

*Excerpt here.

Buy Links: Amazon / B&N / iTunes

Shana GalenAuthor Bio: Shana Galen is the bestselling author of fast-paced adventurous Regency historicals, including the RT Reviewers’ Choice The Making of a Gentleman. Booklist says, “Galen expertly entwines espionage-flavored intrigue with sizzling passion,” and RT Bookreviews calls her “a grand mistress of the action/adventure subgenre.” She taught English at the middle and high school level off and on for eleven years. Most of those years were spent working in Houston’s inner city. Now she writes full time. She’s happily married and has a daughter who is most definitely a romance heroine in the making.

Social Media: Website

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‘Sapphires are an Earl’s Best Friend’ by Shana Galen

sg saaebfSTORY: She Wants Him… She Wants Him Not…

Lily Dawson, dubbed the Countess of Charm by the Prince Regent himself, plays the role of the courtesan flawlessly while her real purpose is spying in the service of the Crown. Her mission now is to seduce a duke to test his true loyalties. She’ll do it, even though the man she really wants is Andrew Booth-Payne, Earl of Darlington—the duke’s son.

Andrew is furious when he finds himself rivaling his father for Lily’s attention. When he uncovers Lily’s mission, Andrew is faced with impossible choices. It seems he is destined to betray either his family, his country, or the longings of his own heart…

REVIEW: Lily Dawson, is known as the Countess of Charm.  She passes herself off as a courtesan when she is truly a spy for the government.  At present, she has been tasked with trying to cozy up to the Duke of Ravenscroft to find if he truly is or isn’t loyal to his country.  The Duke is known to be a hard drinking, old lecher.  He is suspected of being in possession of some rubies that he is using to pay for assassins to kill government spies.  Lily is staying at his home looking for chances to search the place to see if the suspicions are true.  Lily is finding things difficult for she is constantly being thrown together with Andrew Booth-Payne, the Earl of Darlington and son of the Duke of Ravenscroft.  Her growing attraction to him is throwing her off her game.  Knowing that his father is also lusting after Lily makes for some great confrontations and a good story.

This is the third book of Shana Galen’s Jewels of the Ton series and stories of each of its three members.  The first book is “If You Give a Rake a Ruby” which features Fallon, the Marchioness of Mystery.  The second book is “When You Give a Duke a Diamond” which features Juliette, the Duchess of Dalliance.  And now, we have the third book, “Sapphires are an Earl’s Best Friend” which features, Lily, the Countess of Charm.  There you have the three books of the series and I do hope that readers will get a copy of all three of them so you have the whole series and know the entire story.

I loved the book and as always with Shana Galen’s novels, she has once again proven herself to be the master of the romance spy novel.  No one writes them as well.

*Connie for b2b

*Book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

My Historical Christmas recommends [part 3]

BBWAM KB‘Bound by Wish and Mistletoe’ by Kat Bastion

BOOK BLURB: The holiday novella, Book 1.5, following the award-winning debut of Forged in Dreams and Magick in the Highland Legends Series:

Desperate to honor a life-long promise, Susanna MacEalan escapes her abusive clan with the fierce determination of never falling under the power of a man. Ever.

Aggravated by shallow-hearted pursuing lasses, Robert Brodie, commander of his clan’s elite guard, has foresworn scheming women. Forever.

When magick transforms Brodie Castle into a Christmas wonderland, the two despondent souls find solace in a most unexpected place . . . each other’s arms.

Amid a whirlwind of escalating events, Susanna’s traumatic past threatens Robert’s ability to protect the one woman meant for him. In a harrowing moment, as her fears and demons coalesce, will hope, faith, and love be enough to save them?

REVIEW: This is a short novella that follows on the heels of a full story ‘Forged in Dreams and Magick’ [which I read but haven’t had the time to review it yet; will do it soon, but my one word to describe it would be ‘excellent’] and it can stand alone, but if you’re a thirteenth century highland lover, both books are a must. We met Robert, hero of this novella, in the first book and I really hoped he’d get his story.

Robert Brodie is very handsome and formidable warrior which causes many maidens to throw themselves at him, and they’ve become obnoxious and tiresome to him.

Susanna’s father was about to betrothed her to a man she despises, so she decides to run as far s her legs can carry her.

And that’s when she runs into Brodie and his men. They were in the forest on a mission to find a fir-tree and bring it to Lady Isobel [she’s the time traveling heroin from the earlier book] for gracing the Hall at the keep.

Brodie is determined to save this damsel from her father and from her own fears, so he decides to take her back to the castle with him.

This short novella is fast paced, well plotted, filled with wonderful descriptions of 13th century Yule tide celebration and great characters all around.

Brodie and Susanna are very likeable from the start and if you like your Medieval romance sprinkled with a bit of magic, you must give this one a go.

I’m looking forward to book two in ‘Highland Legends’ series which is ‘Born of Mist and Legend’ coming in 2014.

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????????????????????????????????????????‘The Duke’s Match Girl’ by Lila DiPasqua 

BOOK BLURB: As childhood friends, Leopold d’Ermart and Suzanne Matchet were inseparable. One unforgettable Christmas Eve, their relationship changed from the best of friends…to lovers. But the heir of the Duke of Mont-Marly isn’t supposed to fall in love with the daughter of his family’s physician. Or vice versa.

Is this a second chance at first love?

Years later, Suzanne is dreading her first Christmas without her father. The heartbreak Leo caused when he left seven years ago is a distant memory. And she prefers to keep it that way. The last thing Suzanne expects is for tall, dark, and sinfully seductive Leo d’Ermart to show up at her door and announce he wants her back in his life. And in his bed. Worse, the now celebrated libertine is even more devastating to a woman’s senses than ever before…

Or are they playing with fire?

The only woman Leo, Duke of Mont-Marly, has ever yearned for is the adorably unconventional, intelligent beauty who got away. He discovers Suzanne creating and selling matchsticks, elixirs for the ill…and is still so damned alluring. Leo is determined to show her the depth of his desire, win back Suzanne’s heart. And give her a Christmas beyond her wildest imagination…

REVIEW: I read some of Hans Christian Andersen stories, but I never read the one that this novella was based on, ‘The Little Match Girl’ so I really can’t compare the two, but I can tell you that even though this is one of Lila DiPasqua’s Fiery Tales series it can be read as standalone.

Leo, a French Duc and Suzanne, a daughter of his family’s physician, grew up together developing a deep friendship, and when they were 18 and 20, they became lovers.

Soon after, on Christmas, Leo does something that breaks her heart, but not her spirit.

Seven years after that Christmas, Leo means to repair the damage and comes up with a plan to win his one and only love.

Even though this is a short novella, it lacked nothing that a full novel can offer. Characters of Leo and Suzanna were strong and well-rounded, entertaining and very interesting.

This story is for everyone, especially for those of us that believe in second chances, plus need I tell you that if it has Lila DiPasqua name on it, it will always be sensual and very steamy.

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AKFM CM‘A Kiss in Midwinter’ by Courtney Milan 

BOOK BLURB: Miss Lydia Charingford is always cheerful, and never more so than at Christmas time. But no matter how hard she smiles, she can’t forget the youthful mistake that could have ruined her reputation. Even though the worst of her indiscretion was kept secret, one other person knows the truth of those dark days: the sarcastic Doctor Jonas Grantham. She wants nothing to do with him…or the butterflies that take flight in her stomach every time he looks her way.

Jonas Grantham has a secret, too: He’s been in love with Lydia for more than a year. This winter, he’s determined to conquer her dislike and win her for his own. It all starts with a wager and a kiss…

A Kiss for Midwinter is a novella (38,000 words) in the Brothers Sinister series. It follows The Duchess War. Each book stands on its own, but those who prefer to read in order might want to read that book first.

REVIEW: I actually listened to this story from Audible, and you can too now, because right now this is a FREE Kindle with Whispersync for only $1.99.

This is one of those stories that you either love or you don’t, and I fall in the group of the former.

Ms. Milan never fails to populate her tales with many complex characters and this short story had an abundance of them, from our hero and heroine to their parents and friends.

We met both of these characters in the earlier books, so it was natural to bring them together, but the way this author does it is interesting and it will have you frustrated, sad and in the end you’ll rejoice in their unique relationship.

Without reviling too much, I have to tell you that this is a romance that deals with some issues that make you appreciate your parents just a bit more.

If you haven’t read the first book in the Brothers Sinister’s series, don’t fret, because this little gem totally stands on its own.

Just loved it.

FREE DOWNLOAD RIGHT NOW [don't know for how long, so download it today!]

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CATD SD‘Caroline and the Duke’ by Sabrina Darby

BOOK BLURB: A Widow Determined to be Merry

At the urging of her best friend, Caroline, Lady Ballister, seeks a lover with no emotional attachments. After all, experience has taught her that love is a fickle, pointless thing.

A Duke Determined to Marry

Sutbridge has wanted Caroline for ten years and, now that she is once again free, is determined to make her his wife. But will he settle for her body, or wage a war for the most important treasure of all: her heart?

REVIEW: This one was one of the shortest I’ve read this Christmas, but also one of the sweetest too and frankly, I was pleasantly surprised and relieved that being so short, neither the pace, plot or characters were sacrificed.

Caroline and John were likable and their story which has a long history between the two, enjoyable.

They’ve known each other fir some time, nd while Kohn lost a chance to declare himself ten years ago, now that she’s a widow, he aims to correct that and make her his wife. She on the other hand has had enough of a bad marriage and is actively looking for a lover, not a husband, and he is the one on top of her list. Another story of second chances and a good one too.

This is an author I’ve never read before, and if she can write a short story that is satisfying in plot and pace as well as characterization, I think I’ll read her again.

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AGSC AC SG VK KN‘A Grosvenor Square Christmas’ by Anna Campbell, Shana Galen, Vanessa Kelly), Kate Noble 

BOOK BLURB: Four breathtakingly romantic tales of a Regency Christmas from four bestselling romance authors.

Down through the years, enchantment touches a tall gray house in Grosvenor Square. The legend of Lady Winterson’s Christmas ball promises true love and happiness to one lucky couple. Who will feel the magic this winter?

1803 – The Seduction of a Duchess by Shana Galen

Rowena Harcourt, the Duchess of Valère, never forgot the handsome footman who helped her escape the French Revolution. For fourteen years, Gabriel Lamarque has loved Rowena—now at Lady Winterson’s Christmas ball, has fate finally delivered a chance to win her hand?

1818 – One Kiss for Christmas by Vanessa Kelly

Nigel Dash is London’s most reliable gentleman, a reputation he never minded until he fell in love with beautiful Amelia Easton. Unfortunately, Amelia sees Nigel as a dependable friend, not a dashing suitor. At Lady Winterson’s famous Christmas ball, Nigel vows to change Amelia’s mind—by sweeping her off her feet.

1825 – His Christmas Cinderella by Anna Campbell

At the season’s most glittering ball, a girl who has never dared to dream of forever after discovers a Christmas miracle.

1830 – The Last First Kiss by Kate Noble

Susannah Westforth has always loved Sebastian Beckett – but he’s only ever seen her as a friend. When Sebastian takes his Grand Tour, Susannah transforms herself into a woman he’ll notice. Now Sebastian is back, just in time for Lady Winterson’s Christmas ball – but the last thing he expects to see is his little Susie, all grown up…

You’re invited to join the whirling dance at Lady Winterson’s sparkling Christmas ball, where miracles happen and true love shines forever. How can you resist?

REVIEW: This collection of four tales from my three [never read Kate Noble before this short story!] favorite authors was delightful and now that it’s FREE I hope you take the advantage and grab it while you can.

All four tales have a common thread, which is a site, and that’s Lady Winterson Christmas party and as secondary characters, Lady Lucy Frost, Countess of Winterson and her butler Philbert were such a delight to watch.

1803 – The Seduction of a Duchess by Shana Galen

Out of all the stories, this one touched on a personal level because of the older woman/younger man romance.

I love it when authors leave the comfy zone of the ‘usual fare’ and do something a bit risqué.

This story I actually wanted really badly, and if I remember correctly, I even suggested to the author. Throughout the series of ‘Sons of the Revolution’ I always thought that the mother of these men deserved to find love once more.

I loved everything about this one, from the hero who was much younger but had the courage to go after the woman he admired for years, to once again visiting with the Sons and their lady loves.

1818 – One Kiss for Christmas by Vanessa Kelly

Another author I love and no wonder as she weaves a short story that is sweet and believable.

I liked Amelia, who was the Countess of Winterson’s niece, and Nigel, a genuinely nice guy who thinks it’s time to break out of that ‘reliable and dependable’ mold to win his lady.

This would be a perfect story to sample Vanessa Kelly and discover her writing style.

1825 – His Christmas Cinderella by Anna Campbell

If you loved Cinderella story as a child, you’re going to love this story.

Campion and Lachlan were entertaining throughout the story and it was great following their dialogue.

I thought this story very romantic, and my heart went out to Campion, a poor relation living with an aunt by marriage.

Lachlan was a great hero who we root for from the start of their affair as he rescues this damsel.

1830 – The Last First Kiss by Kate Noble

What a great way to get acquainted with an author!

Don’t ask me how this happened, but I never read Kate Noble book, and that needs to change.

This is a story of two childhood friends that are destined to fall in love with each other, although it will take Sebastian a bit longer to grasp that concept.

It takes Susannah a few years but she finally captures the attention of this man she always loved.

Another tale well told with fast pace and great characters.

All in all, a very satisfying collection of fun, sweet, intriguing, entertaining and humorous stories that will introduce you to authors you may have not discovered yet.

FREE DOWNLOAD NOW!

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MBM JMacL‘Married by Midnight’ by Julianne MacLean

BOOK BLURB: An Unattainable Rogue…

For seven years, Lord Garrett Sinclair– the ruggedly handsome illegitimate son of the Duke of Pembroke–has been traveling abroad with no intention of ever returning home to Pembroke Palace… until his father commands that he must marry by Christmas in order to thwart a family curse or lose his inheritance forever. Haunted by a tragic accident that has hardened his soul, Garrett entrusts his brothers to seek out a bride who will agree to a marriage in name only. Her reward? A sizable share of his inheritance–payable immediately after the wedding night….

A Beautiful Temptress…

Lady Anne Douglas has been ruined by scandal and disowned by her father. Facing a life of poverty and spinsterhood, she leaps at the generous terms of the marriage contract to ensure her independence. But the charade of a two-week engagement proves more of a challenge than either anticipated when they cannot resist the intoxicating lure of the marriage bed. Anne knows they will part ways after the wedding. Will she dare risk her heart for two weeks of pleasure in the arms of an irresistible rogue? Or will her surrender become her undoing after a most unexpected turn of events mere hours before the wedding?

REVIEWHere’s another author I never got a chance to read, Julianne MacLean.

This is a tale that’s part of a Pembroke Palace series and although I haven’t read any of the other books, I found the story standing on its own very well.

Here we have an old Duke, hero’s father, who believes that if his sons are not married by Christmas, their family is destined to be cursed. In order to foil this curse, he takes it upon himself to insure it never comes to that.

It’s Garrett’s turn to fulfill his father’s will by finally taking a plunge into matrimony.

In enters Anne who with no marriage prospects and dreadful living conditions, is willing to plunge herself into this union.

This is a Victorian period story with a surprisingly strong and complex female character of Anne, who I liked a lot.

I recommend it on that basis alone, but there’s a lot more: it’s well written, interesting and entertaining; great plot and wonderful chemistry between everyone that is in it.

Now I just need to stock up on the earlier books in this series!

*Melanie for b2b

*Books provided by the publisher through NetGalley & purchased by me.