Review for The Chateau On The Lake by Charlotte Betts

The Chateau On The Lake by Charlotte Betts

TITLE: The Chateau On The Lake
AUTHOR: Charlotte Betts
PUBLICATION DATE: November 5, 2014
PAGES: 400 pages
FORMAT: Paperback
SOURCE: Publisher
RATING: 4 bows

In 1792, Madeleine Moreau has a great life as a school teacher for her parents Academy For Young Ladies in London. Then tragedy strikes and Madeleine is left completely alone in this world. Determined to find her father’s family, she travels in France, where her father is from. But France is in turmoil and Madeleine soon finds herself taking refuge at Chateau Mirabelle with Comte Etienne d’Aubery. And as the French Revolution gathers momentum, Madeleine discovers that she must become the master of her fate if she ever wants to capture the happiness she dreams of gaining!

It was hard not to sympathize with Madeleine after her parents die. She is left all alone in this world and even her home is being taken away. The more I got to see through her eyes, the more I admired her. She was determined to find her father’s family, despite the bad blood that was evident in her father’s refusal to discuss them. I also really enjoyed her no-nonsense attitude when it came to Sophie and her affair. She is sympathetic, but wants her to see the reality of the situation. Overall, she was a character I enjoyed quite a bit more than I was expecting.

I was wary of the Comte d’Aubery from the first moment we were introduced to him, but he won me over after they traveled into France and he goes out of his way to protect the girls. He could have just let them go on their merry way without a care, but he makes sure they are safe while still being honest about the situation. Before the book was even halfway over, I was an anxious as Maddy to have Etienne confess the feelings we were almost certain he had for her.

I can’t get in depth about any of the other characters without spoilers, but I will say that something always felt a little off to me about the “bad” guy, even before the big twist was revealed.

I’ll admit that I was not overjoyed when this arrived on my doorstep. I love historical romance novels, but this looks (and is) more historical than romance. Historical tends to end badly and we all know how I feel about bad endings. But I endeavor to try to read everything that gets sent to me and so I started it, aiming to read a chapter or two a day. At first, that was all I’d read, sometimes only a single chapter because it was slow to start. The romance is definitely on the light side and even then, it was a very (very) slow boil. It was an interesting tale, but not one that grabbed my full attention immediately. About halfway through, things start to get really interesting and the last 100 or so pages were those amazing ones where you just can’t tear yourself away. You have to know what is going to happen and if Madeleine is even going to make it out alive, much less receive the happily ever after we all want for her.

I really have to thank Clara Diaz at Piatkus because I don’t think I ever would have ever picked this novel up on my own and I really enjoyed reading it. Even though I don’t usually venture into history that goes beyond the pretty ballgowns and the proper way to address a duke (because that is knowledge I will absolutely need in the here and now), I found myself rather fascinated with the historical aspect presented here. French during the revolution is not a place I’d ever want to really be, but through Madeleine’s eyes, I got to explore the beautiful and horrifying reality of that time. It’s also written in a readable way. The few historicals I have tried before this were always written in a stuffy manner that felt like the author was trying to beat me over the head with their abundance of knowledge rather than tell the story and that is blessedly absent here.

What do I want you to take away from this review? Maybe that sometimes stepping out of your reading comfort zone cane lead to good things. Also, that you should give this book a try if you are at all interested in a romance that burns slow but ends in a satisfying manner or have an interest in reading a realistic feeling account of the French Revolution!

****Thank you to Piatkus for providing me with a physical in exchange for an honest review****

4 bows
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Review for Of Monsters & Madness by Jessica Verday

Of Monsters & Madness by Jessica Verday

TITLE: Of Monsters & Madness
AUTHOR: Jessica Verday
PUBLICATION DATE: September 9, 2014
PAGES: 288 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via Edelweiss / Freebie shelf at Malaprops
RATING: 3 bows

Annabel Lee has just been summoned to Philadelphia by her father. Her mother sadly perished before they could make the trip and now Annabel feels all alone. She hopes that she’ll make a connection with her father but he turns out to be cold and almost cruel. Then she meets Allan, her father’s assistant, and he is so very sweet she can’t help but like him. But it’s clear that something strange is going on in her father’s lab. She is desperate to find out the secret but also scared of her father’s reaction to her snooping. And there is Edgar to consider, always lurking about. Can she uncover the secret and stay out of trouble or is she doomed to be caught and punished?

Annabel was a character I sympathized with, but also found a little annoying. Her fascination with medicine was great because that’s not something we see a bunch in YA. It makes sense, seeing as her mother was a doctor’s assistant and she assisted her mother. What wasn’t so great is how she lets her father bully her around. He looks down upon her interest in medicine as a bad thing even though he is the crazy scientist. That makes sense because this is a written in Poe’s lifetime and woman didn’t get involved in medicine then. What bothered me was how she lets it make her feel. I get that, in the beginning, all she wants is to please her father and that means giving up things that make him angry. By the middle, however, she should realize that he’s crazy and mean and his opinion shouldn’t matter.

Allan and Edgar, well I’m not entirely sure of either of them. Edgar is obviously a creeper….
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and I just hated him. I think you are supposed to. He seems to be the main bad guy, but I was never entirely sure. It almost felt like things would flip and you’d suddenly see Edgar in a new light as the good guy. That never happens, so I don’t know how to feel about him. Allan was sweet and cute, but I wasn’t ever really sure. He keeps writing poetry, which was expected because he is modeled as Edgar Allan Poe, but it always gave off a stalkerish vibe. His whole relationship with Annabel felt a little insta-lovey. He saves her from drowning, so that’s a connection, but the whole thing just felt off.

I’ve avoided this review for a while. It’s a hard one for me to write because I have genuinely loved all the other stuff I’ve read by Jessica Verday. The Hollow trilogy is amazing and that short story she wrote for the Entrhalled anthology was one of the funniest things I’ve ever read. I was overjoyed when I was approved for this eARC. I get to read Verday’s newest novel?
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It’s about Edgar Allen Poe and Annabel Lee?
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Happiness is an understatement. But I didn’t love it. It’s not horrible, but it’s not up that Verday awesomeness level that I’m used to. The plot is a slow, the mystery is predictable, and the romance was just mehish. It felt like it was missing something. Add to that the fact that it ends in a cliffhanger fashion, but there is no announcement of any type of sequel and you can see why I’m making a frownie face. That’s how this story ends? You gave me absolutely no closure! What was the thought process for ending it there? Mmmm….I’ve built everything up to the boiling point, what should I do next? Ooooo…I know! Stop right here and make them wonder for all eternity what happens next!
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I think I might have enjoyed this a little more if I hadn’t had such high expectations for it. I was expecting awesome and I got mediocre and that was such a letdown. Jessica, if you ever read this, I’m sorry. I wanted to love it, I really did, but I don’t. For everyone out there interested in this, just beware that the ending doesn’t resolve much. I don’t know about you, but that really bugs me. It’s probably my love for Jessica that keeps me from rage rating it a 1 star because I’ve given one star rating for much less. It’s an interesting story, but it’s slow and it doesn’t give you that happily ever after I’m always searching for.

****Thank you to Egmont USA for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

3 bows
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Review for How To Lose A Duke In Ten Days (An American Heiress In London #2) by Laura Lee Guhrke

How To Lose A Duke In Ten Days by Laura Lee Guhrke

TITLE: How To Lose A Duke In Ten Days
SERIES: An American Heiress In London #2
AUTHOR: Laura Lee Guhrke
PUBLICATION DATE: April 29, 2014
PAGES: 384 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via Edelweiss
RATING: 5 bows

Edie’s marriage to the Duke of Margrave five years ago was far from a love match. Sure, the two put on a good show before the ceremony, but soon after Stuart (his grace) ran back to the wild’s of Africa leaving Edie with all the duties and responsibilities that should have been his, just as she wanted it. Now, he’s returned. Injured in Africa, he is now determined to make his wife fall as much in love with him as he has been with her. She’s beyond resistant to the idea and soon a wager is made. He has ten days to make her fall for him (proven by a kiss, naturally) or he gives her the legal separation she so desires.

Edie is that strong woman we all hope to be. Completely content on her own and perfectly capable of running an estate and shouldering all the responsibility of dukedom with easy. Her fear of getting too close to Stuart was so heartbreakingly understandable that you couldn’t help routing for Stuart to succeed in pulling down her walls and winning her over. She deserves the love and adoration she so adamantly denies herself. She has good reason, believe me, but her life would be so much better with Stuart’s love.

Stuart is the picture of the swoon-worthy male I always look for in historical romance. Chivalrous and sweet and hell bent on seeking revenge of the man who hurt Edie. He was immediately captivated by Edie, with her straight forward nature and her desire for a specific type of marriage and after the ceremony he could feel himself falling for her, the very last thing she wanted, so he left for Africa a bit earlier than planned. He left because staying with her when he couldn’t have her was torture of the highest order. Now, with his mangled leg, he has no choice but to come home and he’s welcome can only be described as frigid. Edie actually runs from him and leaves him at a train station when she bumps into him accidentally. But she’s just as alluring running away as she was that night when she followed him into that garden and he just has to find a way to win her heart.

Watching these two make progress was completely thrilling. Throw in Edie’s impetuous little sister, who also won my heart, and I’m sold. This is what I want from every historical romance. It has the action, the suspense, the tension, and, obviously, the romance. But these two are so incredible perfect for each other that it makes you wonder why it took so long for them to figure it out. It’s exactly what I was hoping it would be and I couldn’t be more satisfied. Any historical romance novel fan will love this!

****Thank you to Avon for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

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Review for When The Marquess Met His Match (An American Heiress In London #1) by Laura Lee Guhrke

When The Marquess Met His Match by Laura Lee Guhrke

TITLE: When The Marquess Met His Match
SERIES: An American Heiress In London #1
AUTHOR: Laura Lee Guhrke
PUBLICATION DATE: October 29, 2013
PAGES: 384 pages
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 4 bows

Lady Belinda Featherstone is a happy widow. Though her marriage was a painful experience (she loved him, but he was only in it for her money), her husbands death pushed her into the world of matchmaking, something she is quite talented at. Now, she is a respectable member of British society, assisting young American heiresses in making smart matches. So it was nothing out of the ordinary when Nicholas Stirling, Marquess of Trubridge, winds up on her doorstep asking for her assistance. The problem? Well, Trubridge is only marrying because his father has cut him off and he needs money. To Belinda’s eye, he is a fortune hunting scoundrel and she has no intention of making it easy to trap some poor naive heiress into matrimony just so he can replenish his coffers. With the decree that she is not only refusing to help him, but will actively attempt to ruin his prospects, the gauntlet has been thrown. Will Nicholas find a wealthy heiress to marry? Or will Belinda stand in his way?

Belinda is my favorite kind of historical romance heroine, sassy and mouthy, but still able to conform to societies expectations when in public. She’s managed to create quite a reputation as a matchmaker, the good kind of reputation. She’s built her personal fortune by helping American heiresses find matches with titled peers and she is an excellent judge of character. However that ability to accurately judge most people with a cursory glance means she trusts her opinion and doesn’t really realize that she can be wrong at times. She immediately sees Nicholas as a scoundrel who is exactly like her late husband and refuses to even consider that she is wrong….until it’s inescapable.

Nicholas was a character I could identify with a little too well. He’s broke and he has to do something to keep himself afloat because he can’t subsist on air and sunshine. He has to marry well because the only other option is an occupation. The fact that titled men don’t have normal jobs doesn’t bother him as much as the fact that he has no such training for any jobs. Who would hire him at a wage that he could keeping living in the style he is accustomed to for what meager skills he has? A feeling I understand all too well….but ANYWAY, marrying is the only resort. He intends to be as honest about it as possible with the chit lucky (or unlucky) enough to be his bride, going into the marriage all his cards on the table. Why Belinda is so eager to put him in the shoes of her deceased husband, he has no idea. Sure, he has the reputation of a rake, one he quite enjoyed building, but he has no intention of tricking some poor infatuated girl into matrimony. And it doesn’t help that he compares every society airhead to Belinda and they all come up short. But marrying Belinda is out of the question….isn’t it?

The banter and wit between these two had me grinning like a maniac for the entire novel. It’s got all the good parts of a romance with a lower level of angst than most of the recently published book. I loved everyone bit of it. I love Belinda’s stubborn nature and Nicholas’s determination to win her respect and how well they fit together. It has just the right amount of fluff to keep me happy. Oh, who am I kidding, I’d be happy with nothing but fluff.

This is exactly what you would expect from Laura Lee Guhrke, a love story with wit and charm and the fated happily ever after. What more do you need?

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Review for When The Rogue Returns (The Duke’s Men #2) by Sabrina Jeffries

When The Rogue Returns by Sabrina Jeffires

TITLE: When The Rogue Returns
SERIES: The Duke’s Men #1
AUTHOR: Sabrina Jeffries
PUBLICATION DATE: January 28, 2014
PUBLISHER: Pocket Books
PAGES: 416 pages
SOURCE: Edelweiss
RATING: 5 bows

Isabella Cale has set up a nice life for herself in Scotland, with an imitation jewelry making business creating a profit and a daughter whom she adores. Everything is going rather smoothly until her husband shows back up. Ten years after he abandoned her, she wants nothing to do with him. After all, he helped her family steal royal jewels and then vanished with his share of the spoils. But when she sets eyes on him, he seems furious with her for setting him up and deserting him, which she most certainly did not do. Is there more to this story than the main two are aware of? Can they find their way back to each other?

Isa is the hardworking type of heroine that we don’t see overly much in historical romances. Working women were shunned in that time period, so it’s completely understandable that they were dependent on their husbands or fathers or various other relatives for their livelihood. After she was abandoned by her husband, she refused to continue living with her controlling sister and brother-in-law, not with the happiness of her future child hanging in the balance and she convinces a fellow imitation jewelry maker to become her partner in the business he was moving to Scotland. She has worked and toiled to build their business and is now considered a respectable woman. She has even caught the eye of a Baron, though she knows nothing but friendship will even come from it. She was strong and determined to protect her child, regardless of any consequences.

Victor, her husband, is the upstanding citizen that was left holding the bag after Isa’s sister and brother-in-law made off with the jewels. Since there was never any concrete proof, he could not be hanged for the crime, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t interrogate and torture the poor fellow. He harbors such bitter rage over the theft and Isa’s abandonment that it never even occurs to him that maybe she was just as much of a pawn as he was. He’s not the most swoon-worthy HR hero I’ve read, but I definitely could sympathize with his situation.

This is my very favorite type of historical romance novel. Lies and misunderstandings separating our beloved couple and then smackdown confrontation and love when the two figure out they were mislead or duped. I love the dancing around each other trying not to reveal too much of their current situation while fighting the ever-present desire for each other. I love (love love) reading the confrontation where both parties learn of the deception and go all lovey-dovey because they realize they both are still in love. I love that whole bit.

Sabrina Jeffries has never been my favorite writer of this genre, but she is quickly gaining my respect. This novel in particular was intriguing and addictive, even if the love scenes were a bit mediocre. I found it impossible to put this book down, anxious to find out if Isa’s sister (and brother-in-law) were going to find her and what would happen when they did. Also how Victor would take the news that he had a child he was unaware of. Sooo much drama, but the best kind of drama. The kind that keeps you coming back for more instead of rolling your eyes in exasperation.

I know I keep saying this, but I really must make reading these more of a priority. I know I love YA (and NA), but there is just something more magical about this particular genre. I don’t know if it’s the writer’s talent or the setting or just the storyline itself, but reading these are my biggest comfort read. It’s like slipping into an old pair of jeans that magically still fit perfectly even though you are not the same as you were when you were them in the past. You can find everything you’ll ever need in a historical romance here and I highly recommend it to all my historical romance readers!

****Thank you to Pocket Books for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

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Blog Tour for The Double Life Of Incorporate Things (Magic Most Foul #3) by Leanna Renee Hieber (with review & giveaway)

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The Double Life Of Incorporate Things by Leanna Renee Hieber

TITLE: The Double Life Of Incorporate Things
SERIES: Magic Most Foul #3
AUTHOR: Leanna Renee Hieber
PUBLICATION DATE: November 28, 2013
PUBLISHER: Deus Ex Victoriana
PAGES: 250 pages
SOURCE: Blog Tour
RATING: 4 bows
BUY LINKS: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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“Just when we think our nightmares are over, the Society has invented a new horror. Around every corner a shadow, behind every whisper a demon. If we don’t end what the devils began, we will die haunted…”

The Magic Most Foul saga takes a deadly turn as The Master’s Society unveils its next ungodly avenue of paranormal experimentation. First, souls were split from bodies. Then the dead were reanimated. Now, a mind-altering chemical has been unleashed in Manhattan. Demonic trauma and terror escalates for the dashing Lord Denbury and brave, feisty Miss Natalie Stewart. Together with their stalwart friends and unlikely heroes, they take the fight directly to the Denbury estate, where a collective evil has awakened. But are Natalie and Jonathon prepared for all the sacrifices that shall be asked of them? With their very lives and the sanctity of their mortal souls at stake, these lovers are past the point of no return…


I set the paper down slowly enough to see the thin edges shake as the full, personal impact of the newspaper article hit me.

“Natalie, what is it?” Jonathon asked, staring at me with those eviscerating blue eyes of his. I opened my mouth but no sound came out. Damn my unpredictable, inconstant voice.

For the past many months now, I’d been pummeled by one strange event after another, pulled into the center of a paranormal whirlpool. At least in this case, we had an inkling, some sense of the next onslaught. Still, a foreshadow was hardly a comfort. We couldn’t have guessed the scope.

Now it wasn’t just myself or Jonathon Whitby, Lord Denbury in danger, with the occasional collateral victim. Now it was a crowd. I knew the Association. I adored them. They weren’t hooligans or criminals, they were gentle souls, artistic and individual. Overdramatic, yes, but a threat? Hardly. This maligning was the work of The Master’s Society, turning lambs into lions in ungodly experiments, leaving them for fodder in sensational, indelicate journalism. It could only get worse. Exponentially worse.

“It’s begun,” I finally managed to reply quietly, sliding the paper across the lacquered console table behind the sofa toward Jonathon’s reach. “Another phase. They’ve gone after the Association. And the papers will vilify those poor dears, every last one of them. Jonathon, the demons won’t give up…”


Leanna Renee Hieber

Author, actress and playwright Leanna Renee Hieber grew up in rural Ohio inventing ghost stories. She graduated with a BFA in Theatre and a focus in the Victorian Era from Miami University. She began her theatrical career with the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company and began adapting works of 19th Century literature for the stage. Her one-act plays have been published, awarded and produced around the country. Her fiction career began with Dark Nest, which won the 2009 Prism Award for best novella.

Her debut novel, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, landed on Barnes & Noble’s bestseller lists, was named a favourite of 2009 by 14 book blogs, won two 2010 Prism Awards (Best Fantasy, Best First Book), the 2010 Orange County Book Buyer’s Best Award (Young Adult category) and is in development as a musical theatre production with Broadway talent on board. The Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess, prequel in the Strangely Beautiful series, won the 2012 Prism Award (Best Fantasy). This currently out of print series will be reissued by 2014.

DARKER STILL: A Novel of Magic Most Foul, first in the Magic Most Foul saga of Gothic Victorian romantic thrillers (Sourcebooks), hit the Kid’s/YA Indie Next List as a recommended title by the American Booksellers Association. The book has been praised by Seventeen and Pixie Magazines, Shelf Awareness, The Chicago Tribune and more, selected as a “highly recommended” title by Scholastic. The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart continues the Magic Most Foul series and has been praised by Booklist, RT Bookreviews and more. She is serializing the finale, The Double Life of Incorporate Things on her blog in true Gothic Victorian fashion.

Leanna’s short fiction has been featured in anthologies such as Willful Impropriety: Tales of Society and Scandal, “Too Fond” featured on and Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells: An Anthology of Gaslamp Fantasy (March 2013, Tor). Her new Gaslamp Fantasy series with Tor/Macmillan, THE ETERNA FILES, launches 2014. Her books have been translated into many languages and have been selected for multiple book club editions.

Represented by Nicholas Roman Lewis, Leanna is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Romance Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. She is a proud co-founder of the original Lady Jane’s Salon Reading Series in New York. Leanna was named the 2010 RWA NYC Chapter Author of the Year.

A member of Actors Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA, Leanna works often in film and television on shows like Boardwalk Empire. When not writing or on set, she’s telling ghost stories, frequenting Goth clubs, corset shopping, channeling Narcissa Malfoy, wandering graveyards and adventuring in full Victorian regalia. She resides in New York City with her husband and their beloved rescued lab rabbit.

Contact Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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In this final installment of the Magic Most Foul series, we see Natalie and Jonathan battle their foes one last time. The couple is determined to end the society responsible for the dangers drug labeled “The Cure” which claims to cure the ailment of Melancholy and working on resurrection of long dead spirits. Not to mention the raising of murderous demons. But in order to shut them down, Jonathan must once again play the role of the demon that once wore his face, which makes everything indefinitely harder because he hates the role and Natalie can see he plays it a bit too well. Is there still a bit of the demon left in him? Will good defeat evil, or will evil prevail?

Natalie has lost a bit of her confidence in this novel. Though her and Lord Denbury are still completely in love, there is friction in the relationship that causes Natalie much stress. Is it possible she could lose the man she fought so hard to free? They work it out in the end, but they struggle for a while. Natalie has to really take others into account when making decisions here, more so than before. She is quickly realizing that her every decision affects everyone around her. She’s still haunted by nightmares, but those nightmares feed her clues that will *hopefully* help her band of misfits bring down the society. What really made me continue to sympathize with was her constant concern over Maggie. Even though Maggie made some bad decisions, Natalie has a great need to make things right between them.

Then there is Lord Denbury, who is just as charming as ever, if a bit more controlling. He’s trying to state his independence, which is admirable, but it constantly requires him to leave Natalie out, which doesn’t please anyone involved, reader included. Jonathan doing what he thinks is right is swoon-worthy, but the overbearing need to protect Natalie that was absent before rears it’s ugly head here. He gets over it by the end, but it’s more than a little irritating.

Nathaniel Veil, my other favorite character, gets a bit more facetime here. Can I just say I love him? Here is a man that follows his own path and doesn’t care what anyone has to say about it. He’s so compassionate about helping those who are similarly afflicted with melancholy. I loved watching him try to protect his group of friends.

This novel is the perfect ending to the trilogy, except the one character death. The writing and story-telling is just as beautiful as it has been in previous novels. Trying to puzzle out what the society was up to and their master-plan had be on the edge of my seat. I can’t wait to get my hands on the spin-off series that’s up next!

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Palace Of Spies (Palace Of Spies #1) by Sarah Zettel

Palace Of Spies by Sarah Zettel

TITLE: Palace Of Spies
SERIES: Palace Of Spies #1
AUTHOR: Sarah Zettel
PUBLICATION DATE: November 5, 2013
PUBLISHER: Harcourt Children’s Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
PAGES: 368 pages
SOURCE: NetGalley
RATING: 5 bows

Peggy Fitzroy’s led a normal life. That is, until her uncle kicked her out for refusing to marry the dastardly scoundrel he chose for her. Forced into the streets, Peggy is desperate for a way to support herself in a time where women were not allow to have an occupation. Under duress, she allows herself to be convinced to impersonate Lady Francesca, a lady-in-waiting in King George I’s court. Lady Fran died, supposedly of a fever, and now they need someone to take her place. Though Peggy is sure she doesn’t understand their motives, she knows that this will keep her fed, clothed, and sheltered until she can find other reputable employment. But she soon realizes that there is more going on in court than meets the eye and if she doesn’t figure out what it is soon, she may follow in Fran’s footsteps to an untimely demise.

Peggy is a very entertaining character. She’s clever enough to give Hermione Granger a run for her money, but balanced out with a healthy dose of fear at the appropriate moments and a penchant for hysteria if things get too out of hand. She’s stubborn enough to want to stay around and figure out what game is afoot instead of running off with the jewels she has collected, which she could easily live off of the rest of her life. Then there is her cousin, Olivia. If I loved Peggy, then I adore Olivia. Smart and sassy, with a flair for drama, this girl had me begging for a sequel from her perspective. In the first chapter, when her and Peggy where play-acting to an imagined drama, I was rolling with laughter. My one lament of this novel is we don’t get nearly enough of her, or the leading man.

Speaking of the leading man, Matthew Reade is also a hilarious character. From his first meeting with Peggy, to the end of the last battle, he screamed swoon-worhty male. Funny and hot, with a passion and talent for the arts, I was instantly in love. He has an ultra-sweet side and genuinely cares for Peggy, regardless of the façade.
He fits right into the role of leading man with perfection. The fact that he isn’t royalty or even a sir, simply a lowly apothecary’s son with the desire to pursue a career in the arts.

Given my love for historical romance novels, is it really any wonder that I loved this? Though it is very different, the setting and the writing style is the same and it had me swooning anew for this genre. I’ve read a handful of historical YA’s before, but nothing compares to this. It has the added bonus of no love triangles and no cliffhanger, so I have not a single thing to complain about. This has it all, intrigue, mystery, humor, with a romance light enough to not overtake the plot. It was everything I was looking for and more. If you like historical YA’s or just want to give something a little different a try, definitely check this one out.

****Thank you to Harcourt Children’s Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group, for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****

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Review for The Deepest Night (The Sweetest Dark #2) by Shana Abe

The Deepest Night by Shana Abe

TITLE: The Deepest Night
SERIES: The Sweetest Dark #2
AUTHOR: Shana Abe
PUBLICATION DATE: August 13, 2013
PUBLISHER: Bantam Books, an imprint of Random House Publishing Group
PAGES: 320 pages
SOURCE: NetGalley
RATING: 4 stars

Eleanore Jones has always been different and she finally knows why. It is because she is a dragon. Seriously people, it is because she can transform into a dragon. While she is still devastated by Jesse’s untimely death, she tries to carry on with her life at Iverson’s, the boarding school she attends. Then she learns that Lord Armand’s older brother, who was thought to be killed in war, is actually a prisoner of war and she is destined to save him. Though she is not sure she is up for the task, she wants to help Mandy in any way she can, so they start creating a plan to rescue brother dearest, though things never go as planned.

Lora/Eleanore is exactly as I remember her. Strong and clever, with the ability to know when to back down and when to fight. She has been through so much and yet she is still striving to continue and to better herself. She’s still a bit too stubborn and refuses Mandy’s help most of the time, but an all together enjoyable character that you cannot help but to root for.

I fell a bit more in love with Mandy in this one. In the first one, I liked him, but I was 100% team Jesse. In this one, you see how much he is trying to help her and what he is willing to sacrifice to keep her safe and happy. Unfortunately, that is part of why this gets 4 stars instead of 5. Even though Jesse is dead, he is still a big part of this story because he is now a star who guides Mandy, which means, the love triangle aspect is still very much in play. For the entire story, Lora fights her attraction to Mandy because she loves Jesse and then we get a handful of shots from Jesse’s perspective, watching from above which just makes it worse. It would be one thing to kill Jesse and let Lora get over it and be with Mandy. I wouldn’t completely agree with that option, but it would be better than ending book 2 with no more resolution on the triangle front than we had at the end of book 1. What’s worse is that now I don’t even know who I want her to be with more! I can’t pick a team. X_X

The writing is just as eloquent and beautiful as before. Abe has this amazing ability to write on a higher level but not make it come off as pretentious or condescending. I don’t know about you, but I have read one too many historical fictions where it feels like the writer is just using those big words and old time phrases to say “Hahahahahaha I’m smarter than you!” and this doesn’t come off that way at all. The storyline kept me guessing and on the edge of my seat wondering if these two crazy kids would pull it off and how they would accomplish it without getting caught.

I really enjoyed this and I cannot wait to get my hands on book 3, which isn’t listed on Goodreads yet, but the authors website says she is writing. Please hurry and finish it? This doesn’t end with a cliffhanger, just a sense that the story isn’t quite finished yet.

****Thank you to Bantam Books, an imprint of Random House Publishing Group for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****

Review for What the Duke Desires (The Duke’s Men #1) by Sabrina Jeffries

What The Duke Desires by Sabrina Jeffries

TITLE: What The Duke Desires
SERIES: The Duke’s Men #1
AUTHOR: Sabrina Jeffries
PUBLISHER: Pocket Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster
PAGES: 416 pages
SOURCE: Edelweiss
RATING: 4 stars

Maximillian Cale, Duke of Lyons, long ago laid to rest the notion of finding his older brother, who was kidnapped many years ago. His father’s private investigator claims Peter died in a fire many years after his kidnapping and Max has no reason to doubt it, until Tristan Bonnaud writes him a letter claiming to know a man with a striking resemblance to him and undeniable proof of a familiar connection. Tristan, however, is nowhere to be found, eventually leading him to Tristan’s sister’s doorstep. Lisette, like Tristan, is the illegitimate daughter of a french actress and an English Earl. She is headstrong and stubborn and refuses to tell him where to find Tristan, agreeing only to accompany him to France where Tristan lives. The more time the two spend together searching for her wayward brother, the hotter the attraction boils…but can a duke really marrying a bastard?

I really give this novel 4.5 stars, but Goodreads don’t allow half-star ratings. From start to finish, this novel is a wild ride that kept me at the edge of my seat wondering what had happened to Tristan and if he really had found Peter. Watch Max parading around as a mere Mister after being so used to his Dukely title opening all available doors was priceless. Having money helps some, but there are many things that just can’t be accomplished without that title. Lisette was everything a normal historical romance heroine isn’t. I don’t read about female bastards often and definitely not ones who wish to become a spy! Headstrong and fiercely loyal, she’s definitely someone I’d want on my side.

The writing was great, as Sabrina Jeffries always is. I need to really make a mental note to read more of her novels when I get the chance because I’ve yet to read one I didn’t like and seeing as I am abhorrently picky lately, that is really saying something.

****Thank you to Pocket Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

Review for The Wrong Girl (Freak House #1) by C.J. Archer

The Wrong Girl by C J Archer

TITLE: The Wrong Girl
SERIES: Freak House #1
AUTHOR: C J Archer
PUBLISHER: Independent
PAGES: 218 pages
SOURCE: NetGalley
RATING: 4 stars

Hannah Smith has been locked in the attic for almost her entire life. She is the companion to the daughter of Lord Wade and as such, is confined to live the life that Lady Violet does. You see these two both have unusual afflictions. Hannah is narcoleptic and Lady Violet is a Firestarter, which is why she is locked in the attic. Though she dreams of freedom from this gilded prison, she is well aware of how lucky she is. As the orphan of servants, her life on the streets could have been much worse and she is currently offered every privilege that Violet receives, from the clothing to the education. But when she dreamed of her freedom, she never imagined it would arrive via a kidnapping. Suddenly she is thrust into like at Frakingham House with a science mad cripple, a mute, a seemingly normal girl, and a Firestarter. There is only one problem (well beyond the fact that she has been kidnapped), they think she is Violet. They claim they mean her no harm but what will they do when they realize they grabbed the wrong girl?

This sentence is going to seem like a repeat but I can’t help that its how I’ve felt about almost everything I’ve read lately. This novel was interesting and intriguing, if a little predictable. I don’t know if it was truly predictable or if I’ve just developed some type of clairvoyant powers lately, but I have been able to accurately predict how not only my last few books have ended, but also the last few films would go and the last few tv episodes. Is it me or has everything become a mite too predictable lately? I’m dying for something to knock me completely off my feet. Anyway, beyond the predictability, this short novel was wholly enjoyable. Hannah’s loyalty to Violet had me loving her instantly, but her naivety about what was really going on had me wanting to shake her. Seriously? You really didn’t see any of this coming? Not even the part about you?

I really thought you were smarter than that.

Jack was an unexpected surprise. I loved the duality of his character and how he seemed torn between his old life and his new one much of the time. He’s is definitely my favorite character here, even if he does get a little annoying in how he treats Hannah in the beginning. Then there is Sylvia, who I think is the biggest mystery of all because she is not portrayed as one. It’s obvious from the beginning that Jack is hiding something, but Sylvia seems utterly normal and yet not at the same time. It’s seems like she doesn’t belong at Freak House, beyond being August’s (the owners) niece, and yet here she is. I think there is more to her than we see in this novel and I can’t wait to learn more.

I think my only real problem with this is that by the end you have more questions than answers. Who were Jack’s parents? Who were Hannah’s parents? Why did the Earl keep Hannah locked in the attic? Is Violet really the Earl’s daughter? How much does she know? Why are Hannah and Jack different? Who the fuck is this psychotic Tate guy and why is he so obsessed with Hannah but not Jack? How did August know Hannah as a child? The questions go on and on and I need the next book as soon as possible to answer them!

****Thank you to C J Archer for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****