Thursday, February 23

Review: My Wicked Little Lies by Victoria Alexander

Another week, another buddy review! Yay! Hopefully, we'll be able to keep it up :)

Today, my buddy reviewer is Hilcia from Impressions of a Reader.  I was planning to write a review of My Wicked Little Lies when I found out that Hils was reading it. Immediately, I begged her to join me in this review LOL. The more the merrier right? :) This buddy review is probably the fastest one we've put together LOL. I hope our feelings come across well and that you will all enjoy it!

My Wicked Little Lies by Victoria Alexander
published by Kensington in January 2012

Evelyn Hadley-Attwater has it all--a genteel Victorian life replete with loving husband, ball gowns and elegant parties. No one, including the man she married, suspects that she was once "Eve," a spy for England's most enigmatic intelligence agency. Summoned for one final assignment, the excitement of her former life and memories of her mysterious, flirtatious boss "Sir" prove too tempting...

Adrian Hadley-Attwater is a respectable, dignified gentleman. But even the most proper gentlemen have secrets of their own. Secrets from the rest of the world, from their families, from their wives. Secrets that have a price. Now, as a veil of secrecy frays, a tantalizing game of cat and mouse will test the bounds of unfailing love...
Genre: Historical romance
Series: Sinful Family Secrets series, Book #2

The Story: Evelyn Hadley lost her parents at a young age and spent her formative years in a boarding school. Afterwards, she went on a grand tour with a schoolmate. Once she returned to London, she was recruited to become a spy for England, which suited her well as she was at loose ends. She spent 5 years in service to her queen and her country before retiring to marry Adrian Hadley-Attwater, the new Earl of Waterston.

It has been two years now and Evelyn has enjoyed married life. Everything is perfect... until she receives a summon from her handler - Sir Maxwell Osgood. A file containing documents revealing the structure of the organization and true identities of many spies has been stolen. Because her record has been completely wiped off, Eve becomes the perfect candidate to retrieve this file. Eve is none too happy about the situation, but she has no choice... plus, she owns ‘Sir,’ her superior who looked out for her and whose true identity is revealed in the file. However, she’ll have to proceed very carefully as she has no intention to jeopardize her marriage... and it won’t be easy as Adrian is very clever and observant.

Nath: Oh, I’m so happy I read My Wicked Little Lies! Ms Alexander is my go-to author when it comes to historical romances, but her last two releases were so-so. Thus, I was so happy to hear she started a new series, albeit connected to the other two releases. Anyway, My Wicked Little Lies was a gem! What did you think of it Hils? :)

Hilcia: Nath, I found My Wicked Little Lies to be an amusing, witty historical romance with lovely central and secondary characters. The main protagonists are a happy married couple very much in love with each other. Yet, their life together is also full of those little secrets that eventually lead to misunderstandings, lack of trust, impulsive actions and hurt feelings.

Nath: That's a really lovely way to describe the book, Hils, and definitively spot on! One of the reason I was looking forward to this book was because it featured a married couple - a loving couple that is not newly-weds - as main characters. I thought it was a refreshing premise :) And it worked out really well.

Hilcia: I agree, it’s a great premise! I enjoyed this book, and I loved this couple. I loved the way they loved each other and were willing to do those crazy things to keep each other. Lying included. I thought that Adrian was quite dashing and in all his glory when he was all jealous... even if it was all done because he was insecure. LOL! And I loved that Evie was willing to forgive him even when she was hurt because he didn't trust her. And let’s not forget that she was lying to him too. What a pair!

Nath: I loved them too! They made the book for me. Adrian and Eve matched each other very well, not just physically, but also intellectually and it made for some very witty and fun banter. What stood out for me was their chemistry and dynamics :) And I also really liked how Eve and Adrian knew each other so well and how attuned they were. They notice those little distractions and knew something was up. It's a sign that they paid attention to each other :)

Hilcia: Nath, you said it very well – “they paid attention to each other,” that’s very important for a married couple. It is lovely that the two never really question the fact that they love each other and would never let each other go, even while they work out their "misunderstanding." On the other hand, this deep believe by both of them take away a lot of the tension from the story. As a matter of fact, although there's definitely love and passion, there is no real sexual tension in this story at all, at least not from Evie and Adrian.

Nath: I like it the way Ms Alexander wrote it though. Yes, there was no tension between Evie and Adrian, but it was nice to see a married couple being so solid. Yes, there was a misunderstanding, but it wouldn't drive them apart like it would so many other couples in other books. That's the difference. Also, I thought that the chemistry and the witty banter between Eve and Adrian made up for the lack of sexual tension :)

What did you think of the characters? I really liked Eve and Adrian :) Although I admit that as individuals, I didn’t get much of a sense. But the little I got showed likable and genuine characters. On the outlook, Eve and Adrian are the ultimate aristocrats LOL. Dashing, smart; him fulfilling his duties as an earl and a member of the Parliament, her, her duties as countess and worrying about what to wear, and attending to balls :) However, you usually think of aristocrats as haughty, but Eve and Adrian weren’t. As I mentioned, they were genuine and warm, loved their family... they were normal, everyday people and that’s what I appreciated most. I like tortured, dark characters and angst as much as any other reader... but sometimes, it’s nice to have something different. Plus, writing normal characters and still delivering a great book is something really hard to do :)

Hilcia: I really liked the witty banter between Eve and Adrian. :) And, I think you hit the nail on the head about the characters in this story, Ms. Alexander did a wonderful job of portraying characters that are essentially happy, but working out issues to reach a better understanding.

What did you think about all those lies of “omission,” though? The lies are the central conflict here and the ones that get the ball rolling. They bothered me in the beginning, particularly coming from Evie, later on those niggles went away and that has a lot to do with how Alexander deals with this issue.

But I’m going to begin with Adrian whose actions can be looked from the point of view of being "unforgivable." Yet, for me, his actions reflect those of a man who has always been in control, and because of the love and passion he feels for his wife and some niggling questions about Eve's real reasons for marrying him, acts in a rash and impulsive way when unexpected jealousy strikes. I think the point here is that even the most sensible of men can be irrational when he loves and thinks he might lose.

Nath: I actually didn’t mind the lies of “omission.” I think that everyone - between married spouses, friends, family - have some kind of secrets. Plus, in this case, Eve and Adrian had agreed that the past was the past... and these lies of “omission” in the beginning were related to the past. Also, Adrian wasn’t innocent either :)

While I agree with you that Adrian's actions were "unforgivable," I felt that his actions didn't stem from his lack of faith in Eve... but more doubts in himself. They love each other, he knows that... but even after two years of marriage, Adrian wonders if he was Eve's second choice... And that's what pushed him to act rashly. Also, he was very repentant and so to me, it lessened the severity of his actions. However, have Eve really been unfaithful to him... I think Adrian would have fought for her. Don't you think?

Hilcia: Oh yes, agreed! Adrian would never let Eve go. Eve is lovely and also very much in love. No one blames her for her reaction to Adrian's behavior, but she keeps secrets too. She lies. They are lies of "omission" and she's very good at rationalizing those away. So is Adrian. They both keep secrets and fail to be honest with each other, making them equality guilty in what becomes a mutual "game" of love. A serious one. They are equally at fault for what happens to them.

In the beginning, Eve is deliberately misleading with Adrian, and I believe not a little insensitive. I mean, who tells their man that he is reliable, steady, steadfast, and... well... dull, and expects him to take it as a compliment? And Adrian is just downright devious with Eve.

Nath: No one blames her reaction and really, that's the way she should react. What Adrian has done was really "serious" and he needed to realize that it had consequences :) 

The game between them was actually fun for the readers :) So witty LOL. And you're right, no husband would think that dull is a compliment. Plus, knowing her penchant for adventure, it only furthered Adrian's doubts.

You know Hils, we’ve only talked of Eve and Adrian so far! While the storyline My Wicked Little Lies was very focused on our H/H, there were a lot of other characters and I thought they contributed to make this book better :)

Hilcia: I think the secondary characters are wonderful! Right? I love Max and Celeste and how they work slowly but surely to reach an understanding. This secondary romance is the one that I think provides a slight sexual tension and passion to this romance while Evie and Adrian work out their issues. I think this secondary romance is rather well done, and it doesn’t take away from the central characters.

Max is more than devious! I really like him. And Beryl certainly adds a bit of oomph to certain scenes with her floozy-like behavior and her mindset. Oh, and the Hadley-Attwater family is great! I love the interaction between the siblings and the way they indulge their interfering and very insightful mother.

Nath: Yes, they were wonderful! And I liked their dynamics with our H/H. LOL, it was fun that Celeste didn't want her best friend disturbing her whole and therefore pushed for Eve and Adrian’s reconciliation. And Max was indeed devious! But it was necessary and actually very cleverly done! Had he gone directly to Adrian, I don't think it would have worked. And I think it was well-done by Ms Alexander to introduce this couple to spice things up :)

I also loved the Hadley-Attwater family. They were boisterous, had great bonds between each other and I liked how they were really open to each other and all the in-laws have really been well accepted :) Oh and the mother! She’s really a force to be reckoned and I liked her insight and advices to Eve.

But really, it’s Beryl who stole the show when it came to secondary characters :) Ohhh how I liked her!! She's the type of character that you really dislike and that is too often mean and condescending and all... But once again, Ms Alexander turns the table on the readers and actually makes us love her! :) She was so funny and I think a great friend for Evie :)

Hilcia: Yes, yes, and yes on Beryl’s characterization. Ms. Alexander turns it all around on us and it is so very well done! The whole premise for this story got my attention, and I like the fact the "secret agent" thread is well integrated with the romance -- as a matter of fact it is flawlessly integrated with the romance.

Nath: You know, I wasn't sure how I'd like the “secret agent” aspect of the book. There are just so many spies and agents in historicals nowadays... and upon reading the blurb, I was imagining something like a historical version of Mr.& Mrs. Smith. However, it wasn’t the case - yay! - and it actually really worked well in My Wicked Little Lies. Like you said, it was well integrated with the romance... Also, it wasn't the focus of the book and had nothing to do with the Crown. By the way, what did you think of the twist concerning “Sir” identity? I wished it wasn’t hinted in the blurb... because I think Ms Alexander handled the first part “Lies of Omission” really well and it would have really been a shock :)

Did you have any issues with the book, Hils?

Hilcia: Well, that whole “Sir” identity twist and the “lies of omission” thread are both very well done, they really are. Those could have been a no-no for a lot of readers, but I think Ms. Alexander covers her bases there quite well. I agree with you. However I did have a couple of problems along the way. That lack of sexual tension I mentioned above, plus there is a time when Evie and Adrian are separated for a short period of time, and frankly in my opinion the story suffers and the pace slows down during this section -- it’s around the middle of book. I put the book down and it took me a while to pick it up again when I hit this spot. Thankfully after that it all goes rather quickly and ends up satisfactorily.

Nath: I actually liked the short period they were apart, because they yearn for each other and I thought it was so cute :)

For me, I didn’t really have issues with the book. As I said, it have been more fun if the blurb had given away less... And I also think some parts of the story could have been tighter and more interesting like the intrigue/mystery. But that’s about it for me :)

Hilcia: Well Nath, overall I found the book to be fun, and a bit of a different romance with a married couple that although they think they know everything about each other, find out there's always something new to learn, even after a few years of marriage. It’s a lovely historical romance that left a smile on my face.

Nath: Definitively. It was refreshing, witty and lovely :) I loved Adrian and Eve, their chemistry and banter, as well as all the secondary characters :)

Hilcia: Okay Nath, getting down to the tough part, grades. LOL! I dithered back and forth between a B and a B+ (because it left that smile on my face). However, I thought about it and in the end this is really a B read for me. It is a solid romance with a few problems here and there, but definitely not enough to dim my overall enjoyment of the characters or the story. I recommend it. How about you?

Nath: LOL, I grade with my feelings, so My Wicked Little Lies definitively deserved a B+ in my opinion. Yes, there were some minor flaws, but in the end, I had fun reading and it left me smiling as well :) Really, what can you ask more from a book? :)

Wednesday, February 15

Review: Conor's Way by Laura Lee Guhrke

Welcome to our buddy review of Conor’s Way by Laura Lee Guhrke for the February’s entry of the TBR Challenge 2012! Joining me is Leslie ! It all started Leslie told me she was leaning towards Conor’s Way as her pick for this month’s challenge. See, the theme of this month is “Recommended Read” and if there’s any book that fit this bill, it’s Conor’s Way LOL. Kristie has been recommending this book for years and it comes up almost every time she sees a review for one of Ms Guhrke’s book... and when she meets Wendy! So when Leslie told me her choice, I thought of my own copy - a gift from Kristie! - languishing in my TBR pile and decided to give it a go as well :) Then this past week-end, I asked Leslie what she thought of the book and how she liked it... and it just seemed natural that if we discuss it, to turn the discussion into a buddy review :) VoilĂ , here’s the result! This review is for you, Kristie! And we hope everyone else will enjoy the review and pick it up!

Conor's Way by Laura Lee Guhrke
published by Harper Torch (Harpercollins Publisher) in April 1996
A courageous woman

In the aftermath of the Civil War, beautiful and stubborn Olivia Maitland was determined to save her family and their new-bankrupt Louisiana plantation no matter what - even if it meant taking in cynical ex-boxer Conor Branigan in exchange for help. It wasn't long before she discovered the secret pain hidden beneath his rugged ways. And his ache touched something in her, lighting a fire in her heart.

A hard-fighting man

Conor Branigan had seen his family and his hopes destroyed in Ireland and had sworn never to care for anyone again. But now he dared hope for a love greater than any he'd ever dreamt of, with Olivia and her three adopted children - and a future that he would fight to keep forever.
Genre: Historical romance, post Civil War
Series: None

The Story: Conor Branigan earns a living as a prizefighter. As such, he tours the circuit 5 months a year and roams the country the remaining months and that suits him just fine. Unfortunately, Conor gets beaten up and is left on the side of the road, injured, after he refused to fix a match and caused the local bookie to lose big.

Olivia Maitland is on her way to town, asking God for a man who could help with her farm and the upcoming harvest, when she stumbles across Conor. She takes him home and nurses him back to help. The cynical, jaded man with a vile tongue who's been to prison, is not exactly what she asked for... But as her three adopted daughters becomes attached to him, as Conor regains his strength and helps out around and as Olivia glimpses the real Conor and his motives, she is appeased. She also has other problems to deal with, namely someone who wants to buy her land for a new railroad and is tired of playing fair.

Nath: I finished Conor's Way for the TBR challenge!... and I enjoyed it! :) What about you Leslie?

Leslie: I really liked it. I do think I was in the perfect mood for a nice, slow romance. It took a long time to develop but for me it felt right for the characters. Good thing I wasn't craving lots of action. LOL

Nath: I think there was some action, but it didn’t come across because of the way it was written. Although Conor’s Way was definitively about the characters. I loved Conor!! :)

Leslie: Let's talk about Conor then! I think the title was perfect since Conor is really the center of the story with the other characters connecting to him. His back story was well written and explained so much about how he thought and acted. Even right up to the wedding he didn't think he could stay. The thought of having a wife and children and no chance of leaving really scared him. His belief that it was just another type of prison emphasized how important his freedom was to him. I think his history let him believe that any ties, whether they be people or places, would cause him to loose that freedom. He's the anti-hero hero that I love so much.

Nath: Conor was definitively what made the book for me :) I agree with you, his past was really well written and I liked the way it was shared with the readers. The flashbacks were short and concise, but poignant and powerful. They also occurred at the right moment in the narration and uncovered Conor, making us understand why he was the way he was. Personally, I can't blame him for his attitude and his desire of freedom. I think that he lost so much in his life, everything he cared about has hurt him in one way or another... But I think it wasn't really freedom that he craved. Deep down, he was afraid to care and have ties, afraid to lose and be hurt again... and also, the problem with having ties is that he couldn't run again, escape his torments.

"[...] Besides, most folks who think things are better someplace else are just running away from something, and they usually find that whatever they're running from is still with 'em when they get there."
When Olivia said those words, it really hit Conor, and yet, he seemed to still want to run. In any case, Conor was a great hero in my opinion. I'm not sure if he's really an anti-hero... but I liked that he wasn't overly tortured. I know readers like dark and tortured hero, but sometimes, it feels so forced. In the case of Conor, it really rang true.

Leslie: Agree that he wasn't portrayed as overly tortured. What he suffered was horrible, especially as a child and losing his family. He didn't like to dwell on it but it was always there in the background, driving him to keep moving.

Nath: Seriously, what he went through was so horrific, I don't think he could ever forget. However, I think that now, he can let go and focus on something else.

What did you think of Olivia? I really admired Olivia. She was a great woman and had a very big, good heart. She did a great job raising three young girls and running the farm. However, I can’t help but think something was missing. She just came across as too nice and selfless... I didn’t get a sense of who she really was. Also, someone who has gone through so much would be a bit more hardened I think, especially given her background. And really, I felt the drive, what made her push herself, was missing...

Leslie: I did like Olivia and how she tried to do the right thing even if it might get her criticized. Her relationships with the girls showed both her serious side and her playful side. I think her sense of purpose was to hold onto the farm and raise the girls. Those were to two main focuses of her life. Really the only focuses.

I did like how she interacted with Conor while he was recovering from his injuries. She was sassy and smart while still being kind to him. I liked seeing how her innocence regarding men and life outside her small town played against Conor's worldliness. He seemed so jaded. Olivia knew about running a farm but she didn't have any experience with the more social aspects of men and women. Olivia's character may seem less complex than Conor but I think that might have more to do with Conor having experienced more of the world.

Nath: Seriously, after the Civil War, times had changed and so many women were left without men... Those people criticizing Olivia were really just clinging to the old ways, not conscious of the changes. Everything Olivia did was indeed for her home and the girls and there was really nothing wrong. I think the reason she maintained her innocence is that even now, years after the Civil War and her running the farm, she's been isolated. It felt to me that she's innocent even when it comes to life in her small town.

Leslie: Yep. Her isolation from the town helped to not only keep her innocence but her positive outlook. She still had that deep seated fear that anyone she cared for would leave her but overall, she only socialized with people she liked and who liked her in return. The girls helped with that innocence as well. Even though they themselves had gone through a lot, they still enjoyed playing and including Olivia in that play. I really liked all three girls and thought they were well developed for children.

Nath: You think she had a fear of being left behind? I didn't see it.

Leslie: She had been left behind. If it hadn't been for the girls, Olivia would have been the only one left. Everyone else in her family either died or left and died while away. All her family, her best friend and even old Nate. I think those girls were her salvation in a way. Then Conor completed the family.

Nath: I got that she feared loneliness... but in this case, fear of loneliness and being left behind is the same. Even then, she wasn’t like her father nor did she cling to the girls or Conor.

You're right though about how the girls contributed to the innocence :) At the same time, that innocence wasn't always a boon. It was touching to see Olivia struggles with motherhood when she hasn't gone through so many experiences.

And I really like the girls - Becky, Carrie and Miranda - in Conor's Way. They were a big part of the storyline and very likable, but at the same time, they didn't steal the show. I think Ms Guhrke did an awesome job with the balance and keeping the readers engaged. However, I think that everything - the characters, the dynamics, the story and the setting - overshadowed the romance a little. I liked the friendship that built between Conor and Olivia, I understood Conor’s attraction for Olivia... but I felt passion was missing from their romance. That would be the weakness of this book in my opinion.

Leslie: For me, it was Olivia not taking the threats from Vernon more seriously as they began to escalate. She did get the guns out but to believe he wouldn't hurt her or the girls was putting them in danger. Maybe she took her belief in the goodness of people a little too far. Even after her friend warned her about the telegraphs and that he thought Vernon was getting more pressure for results, Olivia continued to think that simply saying “No”, she would keep her farm. That was a frustration for me.

Nath: Well I found that Olivia not taking the threats from Vernon more seriously was consistent with her character. There's the innocence and naivete, the Christian seeing the good in everything and the fact that she knew Vernon was sweet on her.

One thing that I really enjoyed about Conor's Way was the life Olivia and the girls were living. Yes, they had chores and the farm to take care of, but at the same time, it seemed to me their life was serene... The difference with today was so jarring where everyone is pressed by time. Or even with the regency historicals. You'd think Olivia would be overwhelmed, but she still had time to go on picnics, play with the girls and everything. Perhaps that’s why I felt like she was missing drive, but in the end, it worked for me :) Also, I think one of the reasons I put off reading Conor’s Way for so long is the story takes place post-Civil War, so I expected a misery, sadness and hardship... and while some of it was present, it was subtle instead of shoved in our face. As a result, I enjoyed the time period a lot more :)

Leslie: It was very serene. Perfect word to describe their life on the farm. Again, their isolation played a role in that. When it was just Olivia, Conor and the girls it was as if none of the bad of the world could touch them. I liked how Guhrke showed both sides of that life and how Olivia was so desperate to hang on to it. It was just the farm she refused to give up but the way of life it provided for her and the girls. The security that Conor seemed so quick to throw away. Loved how they both came around in their thinking of what was truly important in life.

Nath: I think you're right. It wasn't just the farm and the land she was holding on to or the memories, but the lifestyle. At the same time, I understood why Conor told her not to be too attached, that some things were not worth losing your life holding onto it. And really, I don't think Conor recognized that security.

So, final verdict, Leslie :) What is your grade?

Leslie: I'm giving Conor's Way an A. This story hit all my sweet spots. The hero was wonderful. The heroine was strong, smart and a match for the hero. The kids really worked well in the story line and had relationships that felt real with both hero and heroine. And I liked the setting of small, post Civil War southern town. Which surprised me because like you mentioned, I generally shy away from post Civil War stories set in the south because they tend to be too dark and depressing. But I didn’t find that the case with Conor’s Way.

Nath: Initially, I was going to give Conor’s Way a B because while I loved Conor, the girls and their dynamics, I didn’t find Olivia or the romance particularly gripping. However, the more I thought about the book and this review, I came to the conclusion that it deserved a B+. I need to merit Ms Guhrke for writing something different - even after 15 years, it feels original and refreshing - and for the balance of Conor’s Way, especially when it came to Conor’s characterization and the setting :)

Tuesday, February 14

Happy Valentine's Day and a Blogiversary!!

From Nath and I, we'd like to wish all our friends a Happy Valentine's Day!  May you receive lots of chocolate kisses.

Also, today is the 4th Blogiversary for Breezing Through!!  It's like a double rainbow of awesomeness.  haha

The road has been long and difficult and we've dropped the ball many times, but I'm really happy we've made it this far :) And we're determined to still be here next year! We'll be working hard to write and post buddy reviews and we hope that you'll join us in our endeavor :P

Last but not least, a big thank you to our blogger friends and readers for visiting Breezing Through! We hope you'll continue the journey with us :)

Thursday, February 9

Buddy Review: Don't Tell by Karen Rose

Zeek:  A couple weeks ago Ames, whom I’ve “known” for a couple of years now, noticed I was reading Don’t Tell by Karen Rose. When she asked if I would want to do a buddy review with this book, I leapt at the chance! See, I love talking about books with people who love the same genres I do, but alas, the opportunity to do so in the non-cyber world is almost non-existent. Having met Ames online over our mutual passion for reading, I knew it would be fun way of sharing the love, while doing a review without much effort. I was right- and I killed two birds with one stone. Nothing more satisfying in life. :D

Ames:  I love when things just fall into place like that. I had decided to read more Karen Rose this year and lo and behold, I notice Zeek reading the same thing. And how odd that we've never done a buddy review before in all the years of us being blog buddies?! I'm glad you enjoyed the experience. :P

Don't Tell by Karen Rose
Published by Warner Forever in 2006
Genre:  Romantic Suspense
It was a desperate plan. But Mary Grace Winters knew the only way to save herself and her child from her abusive cop husband was to stage their own death. Now all that remains of their former life is at the bottom of a lake. Armed with a new identity in a new town, she and her son have found refuge hundreds of miles away. As Caroline Stewart, she has almost forgotten the nightmare she left behind nine years ago. She is even taking a chance on love with Max Hunter, a man with wounds of his own. But her past is about to collide with the present when her husband uncovers her trail and threatens her hard-won peace. Step by step, he's closing in on her- and everything and everyone she loves.

Zeek: So what did you think??

ames: I’ve read Karen Rose before and Count to Ten is my favorite book ever. So I kind of compare every KR book to that one. I thought Don't Tell was really good! Especially for a debut novel. What about you? Have you read her before? What did you think?

Zeek: Yes Die For Me was the first one I read by her and I’ve only ever read Count To Ten as well- both were top notch, as well as better written novels technically. That said, Don’t Tell totally engaged my emotions- I think more so than the first two I read, although it has been a number of years since I’ve read them and I may be forgetting.

I have a love/hate relatioinship with suspense-thrillers. I love a book that makes me want to scream from tension and rise to the defense of the characters. But I could hardly sit still reading the Bad Guy’s inner thoughts- I wanted to beat the crap out of him so bad- And that’s why I hate them. I feel as helpless as the heroine.

Still it’s the mark of a good author to be able to engage the readers’ passions with such ease!

ames: Yes it is the mark of a good author. Right from the get go I was sucked into Caroline's story.

And I have said for years and years that I do not like romantic suspense as a genre. But I'll always make the exception for Karen Rose. Kind of like my feelings towards mystery, I can't handle the suspense sometimes! I know I was on the edge of my seat a few times when we were in the villain's POV and we realize how close he was to Caroline. I couldn't put the book down.

I also have to agree with something you said when we first started reading this book, that it was more romance-y. I agree and it's in a good way. It set up a nice tension between the romance and suspense. I found Don't Tell very balanced that way. And it wasn't corny romance either - something I've found with other romantic suspenses.

Zeek: Yeah- she had me immediately too. LOATHED the bad guy from the beginning. (I believe some of my comments were- "geeze this guy better die a bloody horrible death." "dickwad a-hole bully. DIE.” To be specific! Haha!)

I’ve gotten bored with most romantic suspense, serial killer/psycho plotlines because frankly, Linda Howard did it best with Dream Man way back in the day and ever since it’s been downhill. But I‘ve left Karen Rose as one of the exceptions to that rule. She does do it so well and if I hadn’t had such a busy couple weeks I would have read it in one sitting!

As far as the romance, I liked it very much. This one was definitely more romancey than her later ones, which, as you’ve said, is not a bad thing at all! But the romance felt very germane to the story, in that she kept Max, Caroline’s new love interest, feel damn real. He had flaws- and not in a broody, tortured kinda way which is so rampant right now. Rose didn’t gloss over those flaws- I love that. I love that Max was not perfect- he totally blew it still wallowing in his pity over not being a big basketball star- but he saw the error of his ways and made it right. Love. That.

He also was not the typical “alpha” hero- which I usually need in a romantic plot- but still had strength of will and an innate nobility that I can’t resist. I agree that the romance vs. stalker plot felt well balanced and dare I say necessary to show the heroine’s growth?

The only time I was a bit exasperated was unfortunately when Rose chose to give Caroline and Max’s their first time together. She juxtaposed it with the douchewad finally tracking her down and rummaging through her apartment. By then I wanted the confrontation to happen and the jump back to Caro and Max irritated me. Plus that feeling of aggression doesn’t work with enjoying a love scene…. however- I got over it fast because they were HOT together! :)

ames: I have a confession to make, I've never read Dream Man yet. I've read a few LH's but not her older novels, so I can't really compare. But if KR makes me read a genre I don't like, then she must be exceptional. LOL

I like how Max did have his flaws but so did Caroline. As much as Caroline was a survivor, Rose didn't make her a saint/martyr and she showed how Caroline's stubbornness (for example) grated on her friends nerves and even Max's. This was what made it real. I liked how she portrayed Max.

Actually, Rose did an excellent job with all the characters, wouldn't you say? Dana, Tom, even Evie (oooh I wanted to smack her!) and David. I liked seeing David here, I know he was a character that I enjoyed in Count to Ten as well.

I agree with that juxtaposition of the love scene. But oh so hot. I was also wondering how Rose was going to get around Caroline's son on that one. The makeout sessions on the couch could only go on so long before they got interrupted. haha

Zeek: All of the characters were fantastic and I kept going back to her booklist to see if (or when) she was going to write their stories. I was happy to see that she has done so already for most of them! For some reason I don’t remember David in the other books but let me tell ya, I surely wont forget him now and am anxious to get to his book, and Dana’s too! Evie? Yeah I wasn’t so much interested in getting to her story (I Can See You) until I read the blurb. MAN does that look good!

One thing I had a hard time with? Ben Jolly turning green after realizing he was wrong about the bad guy. That I don’t buy. A-hole like that would have rationalized it away imo, especially because he assisted him in covering up his deeds. But what is that compared to the rest of the book? Nothing really! :)

For a book to really hit big for me I need it to be character driven-and Don’t Tell certainly was- but I gotta tell ya, the plot in this one isn’t bad either. I could almost see the circle of danger winding tighter and tighter around Caroline. I was almost pulling my hair out watching the bad guy get closer and closer to finding Caroline.

ames: I have a thing for jealous heroes and I only remember David because Reed was jealous of him and Mia's friendship in Count to Ten. hehe And also that he falls for Dana. I love David's character, so I'm pleased to see that he gets a book as well.

I know what you mean about Ben Jolly. But I think KR did a good job of making him get some comeuppance by being so torn up about it. The jerk. The only person who didn't really get their just desserts imo was Monica Shaw, the uppity b*tch that Caroline didn't like. Yeah David pulled a good one on her, but her character kind of petered out.

Oh I mean to ask you, what made you pick up Don't Tell? For myself, when I recapped 2011 I realized I hadn't read anything by KR and I decided to remedy that in 2012 by reading all her books.

Zeek: Ohhh see I don’t remember that and I’m usually all over something like that because I like the heroes to get jealous too! ::guiltypleasure::

Monica Shaw did just sort of disappear now that you mention it- sure the way they handled it was ok, but, as a woman, I wouldn’t have minded her seeing Max choose Caro over her!

What made me pick it up? It was released free on kindle awhile back. :P

Wait- I didn’t really answer that right- I bought it because it was free, I picked it up because, well I’m not sure? Perhaps because I was in the mood for something other than paranormal romance which is my usual go to?

Was there anything you didn’t particularly like about the book?

ames: Ooh that's a good deal, getting it for free. Will you continue on with her books after this?

I didn't like that I couldn't put the book down! LOL

But really, I thought this book was so well done, if anything did bother me, I completely overlooked it. I was sucked into it right away. What about you?

Zeek: Most definitely I’ll continue on- I have Steven Thatcher’s book and also the ones after Count to Ten. I had already planned to go back and hit them all- when this came up as a Kindle freebie I was like, YES!!

Was there anything I didn’t like? Like you said, the things that might have bothered me a little were easily overlooked because- what I loved about the book- I loved!

Still, I have to go back to my love/hate thing with thrillers once again. I love it when an author makes me care about the characters so much I cant stand to see them hurt- but I hate the anxiety it makes me feel when they’re in danger! In fact I literally have to stop myself from skimming because I’m so anxious to get through it. (I rarely watch thriller movies anymore either because I end up fast forwarding til I know they are safe! Haha!) I was the same way with another recent read of mine- The Girl Who Played With Fire. I was biting my nails and pulling my hair out because I could hardly stand the violence coming down on the main character- but I couldn’t stop reading either because I so wanted to see her safe- and avenged! I felt the same way while reading this one.

ames: I agree. I did skim a few pages ahead just to see what was going to happen within a scene. Like when Caroline comes home from spending the night at Max's and she's wandering her apartment. I couldn't resist!! LOL

Zeek: Don’t Tell was about domestic violence as much as anything else- how did you feel about that aspect of the novel? (for the record, as disgusting, bile inducing and gut wrenching as it is to look at in fiction, I know it happens in real life-worse- didn’t want you to think I don’t realize that.)

ames: I thought KR handled it very well. It's the little things, like Dana and Caroline discussing the women that eventually return to their husbands. And Caroline knowing she had to not judge them. I also felt that Caroline's experience and the aftermath, even 7 years later, seemed realistic. It wasn't over the top or pushed under the rug. I think Max was a bit dense for not figuring it out on his own. Just that he knew someone hurt her in the past.

Zeek: Agreed. :D

ames: Was there anything else you wanted to add? A grade?

I really enjoyed this one and gave it an A rating - but only 4 stars on goodreads. But it's closer to 4.5 for me.

Zeek: Yep 4.5 for me- very good! I know what you mean about GR- Sometimes I put 4 for my 4.5 but this one is more on the 5 side of 4.5 for me! :)

Wednesday, February 1

New Releases - February 2012

It's hard to believe January is over already!! How did that happen? In any case, new month means new releases! Let's see what is coming out in February...

February 1

Firelight by Kristen Callihan
published by Grand Central Publishing
London, 1881
Once the flames are ignited...
Miranda Ellis is a woman tormented. Plagued since birth by a strange and powerful gift, she has spent her entire life struggling to control her exceptional abilities. Yet one innocent but irreversible mistake has left her family's fortune decimated and forced her to wed London's most nefarious nobleman.

They will burn for eternity...
Lord Benjamin Archer is no ordinary man. Doomed to hide his disfigured face behind masks, Archer knows it's selfish to take Miranda as his bride. Yet he can't help being drawn to the flame-haired beauty whose touch sparks a passion he hasn't felt in a lifetime. When Archer is accused of a series of gruesome murders, he gives in to the beastly nature he has fought so hard to hide from the world. But the curse that haunts him cannot be denied. Now, to save his soul, Miranda will enter a world of dark magic and darker intrigue. For only she can see the man hiding behind the mask.
Genre: Paranormal romance
Series: Darkest London, Book #1

Nath: I can't remember where I came across this book, but it caught my attention. I like the cover and the blurb sounds interesting. Also, there's magic :)

February 7

Alpha Instinct by Katie Reus
published by New American Library
Fear has a scent. So does desire...

Ana Cordona has been a strong leader for the lupine shifters who survived after all the males and most of the females in her pack were mysteriously poisoned. As tough as she is, with no Alpha male, the pack is vulnerable to the devious shifter Taggart, who wants to claim both their ranch and Ana as his own. When Connor Armstrong comes back into her life, promising protection, it’s almost enough to make Ana forget how he walked out on her before—and reluctantly accept his offer to mate.

The minute Connor sees Ana again, it reawakens a raw hunger. He must have her for his bondmate—his wolf cries out for it. But his human side knows he must proceed with caution because of their complicated past. If he is to truly have her body and soul, he must go beyond his burning desire and win back her heart. Whatever it takes, he is determined not to leave her side again.

But Taggart and his rival pack are not their only enemies. A human element in town is targeting shifters. Their plan not only threatens Ana and Connor’s future, but the lives of the entire pack...
Genre: Paranormal romance
Series: Moon Shifter, Book #1

Nath: I know this is not Ms Reus' debut novel,  but it's the first time I put two and two together, as in Katie Reus is a blogger and also a published author. I'm PNRed out, but I might give this a try :)

Sweet Enemy by Heather Snow
published by New American Library
With a gaggle of husband-hunters vying for his attention, Geoffrey Wentworth, Earl of Stratford, finds Miss Liliana Claremont a notable exception. She has no desire to marry the son of the man she believes killed her father. Determined to find evidence of the crime, Liliana rouses the Earl's suspicions, as well as her own undeniable attraction to him.
Genre: Historical romance
Series: Veiled Seduction, Book #1

Ames: I read a different blurb for this book that said the heroine was a scientist.  I am all about heroines who don't fit the historical mold and that's why I'm interested in this one.

Nath: I like that the heroine is not hunting for a husband... although not sure what I think of her trying to find prove her father's killer guilt. Maybe I'll wait till Ames read it :)

Not Wicked Enough by Carolyn Jewel
published by Berkley
When Lily Wellstone heads to the Bitterward Estate to comfort her widowed friend Eugenia, she certainly does not have romance in mind. In fact, the playful but level-headed Lily is amused to no end when, en route, a Gypsy gifts her with a beautiful medallion, claiming it will ensnare the romantic desires of a stranger.

But fate has other plans in the form of Eugenia’s ruggedly handsome brother, the Duke of Mountjoy. One day at Bitterward and Lily can’t deny the sizzling attraction between her and the roguish duke. Nothing can come of it, of course. She’s not looking for entanglements and he’s practically engaged. But whether it’s her outgoing nature and the duke’s outlandish ways sparking off one another; or the mysterious gypsy medallion working “magic,”—hearts are stirring in the most unexpected and wicked ways...
Genre: Historical romance
Series: Seducing the Scoundrels, Book #1

Ames: I really enjoy Carolyn's writing and have been looking forward to a new book by her for a while.  I really like the sound of this one and I know I'll be buying it asap.

Nath: I have yet to read one of Ms Jewel's historical romance... something I'll have to remedy to. Not sure it'll be this one though. However, I have to say, another striking cover :) It does remind me a bit of Ms Lofty's Flawless.

Feburary 16

The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen
published by Speak
Pretty in Pink meets Anna and the French Kiss in this charming romantic comedy

Ella is nearly invisible at the Willing School, and that's just fine by her. She's got her friends - the fabulous Frankie and their sweet cohort Sadie. She's got her art - and her idol, the unappreciated 19th-century painter Edward Willing. Still, it's hard being a nobody and having a crush on the biggest somebody in the school: Alex Bainbridge. Especially when he is your French tutor, and lessons have started becoming, well, certainly more interesting than French ever has been before. But can the invisible girl actually end up with a happily ever after with the golden boy, when no one even knows they're dating? And is Ella going to dare to be that girl?
Genre Young Adult
Series: -

Ames: This one looks super cute and I like that cover.

February 21

Celebrity in Death by J.D. Robb
published by Putnam
Lieutenant Eve Dallas is no party girl, but she’s managing to have a reasonably good time at the celebrity-packed bash celebrating The Icove Agenda, a film based on one of her famous cases. It’s a little spooky seeing the actress playing her, who looks almost like her long-lost twin. Not as unsettling, though, as seeing the actress who plays Peabody—drowned in the lap pool on the roof of the director’s luxury building.

Talented but rude, and widely disliked, K. T. Harris had made an embarrassing scene during dinner. Now she’s at the center of a crime scene—and Eve is more than ready to get out of her high heels and strap on her holster, to step into the role she was born to play: cop.
Genre: Romantic Suspense, Mystery, Futuristic
Series: In Death series, Book #34

Nath: Another In Death book!! Yay! Reviews have been favorable for Celebrity in Death, so I'm really looking forward to it :)

February 28

Nice Girls Don't Bite their Neighbors by Molly Harper
published by Simon & Schuster
Just as Jane Jameson’s unlife seems to be stabilizing, fate sinks its fangs firmly into her butt. Despite her near-phobia of all things marital, her no-frills nighttime nuptials to her sexy boyfriend Gabriel are coming along smoothly. But the road to wedded bliss gets bumpy when a teenage acquaintance is fatally wounded in front of Jane’s shop and she turns him to save his life. The Council pronounces Jane responsible for the newborn vamp until he can control his thirst.

Jane’s kitchen at River Oaks barely holds enough Faux Type O to satiate the cute teen’s appetite and maintain Gabriel’s jealous streak at a slow simmer. As if keeping her hyperactive childe from sucking the blood out of the entire neighborhood isn’t enough to deal with, the persnickety ghost of Jane’s newly deceased Grandma Ruthie has declared a war on the fanged residents of River Oaks. Suddenly, choosing monogrammed cocktail napkins and a cake that she can’t eat seems downright relaxing in comparison.

Tensions inside the house are growing…and outside, a sinister force is aiming a stake straight for the center of Gabriel’s heart. Most brides just have to worry about choosing the right dress, but Jane fears that at this rate, she’ll never make it down the aisle for the wedding all nice girls dream of...
Genre: Paranormal romance
Series: Jane Jameson series, Book #4

Nath: Yay! I'm really happy there's more books in this series :) I really like Jane and her entourage, they're so much fun! I do hope the romance between Jane and Gabriel will be stronger in this one though... and LOL, looks like they'll have a kid in the end.

Angel's Flight by Nalini Singh
published by Berkley
In Angel’s Wolf a vampire becomes fascinated with the seductive angel who rules Louisiana. But all is not what it appears to be in her court.

In Angels’ Judgment a hunter must track one of her own gone bad, while surviving the deadly tests placed in her way by the archangels themselves. Unexpected backup comes from a stranger who might just be the most lethal threat of all...


In Angels' Pawn a vampire hunter faces off against two rival factions and the angel manipulating them both, and a vampire whose help is not entirely selfless...


In Angels’ Dance an angel trapped in the mountain stronghold of the Refuge finds herself under siege by a warrior angel from a martial court.
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: The Guild Hunter series, Books #0.5, #1.5, #4.5 and #4.75

Ames: I have been wanting to re-read this series for a while now (since the last book came out) and I think this book is just the thing to bring all those short stories together.

Nath: Okay, the cover of this book is really gorgeous! I'm kind of happy that publishers are now doing compilations, it's really a good idea. Although in this case, I don't know. It seems to me it hasn't been such a long time since the anthology Angels of Darkness which contained Angel's Wolf was published. Ah well... will probably get this one because after all, it's Ms Singh :)

Redwood Bend by Robyn Carr
published by Harlequin (Mira)

Katie Malone and her twin boys’ trip along the beautiful mountain roads to Virgin River is stopped short by a tire as flat as her failed romance. To make matters worse, the rain has set in, the boys are hungry and Katie doesn’t have the first clue about putting on a spare. As she stands at the side of the road pondering her next move, she hears a distinct rumble. The sight of the sexy, leather-clad bikers who pull up beside her puts her imagination into overdrive.

Dylan Childress and his buddies are on the motorcycle trip of a lifetime. But the site of a woman in distress stops them in their tracks. And while the guys are checking out her car, she and Dylan are checking out one another.

In one brief moment, the world tilts on its axis and any previous plans Katie and Dylan might have had for their futures are left at the side of the road.

Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Virgin River series, Book #18

Nath: Another Virgin River book. Actually, I've already read this one for Netgalley, but I'll be supporting Ms Carr by buying a copy :)

I Want Candy by Susan Donovan
published by St. Martin's Press
Candace Carmichael was just getting used to the lavish life when everything went sour. Now the down-on-her-luck real estate agent is back in Bigler, North Carolina, jobless and illegally rooming with her her mother in a swank retirement community. All this makes her wonder why she ever considered her BFF Cheri’s invitation to move back home. Life in this small mountain town may not be as glamorous as the one she had in Tampa, but she knows a girl can’t be too choosy in this market. Besides, everyone’s happy to welcome Candy back—especially one handsome widower named Turner...

Turner has grown up to be one fine-looking piece of man candy—and looks even tastier in his sheriff’s uniform. Maybe that’s why she couldn’t resist kissing him when he pulled her over for a traffic violation. Even if a relationship was part of Candy’s business plan, Turner would be off limits—he still wears his wedding ring, four years after his wife died. If falling in love too fast is a crime, Candy is soon guilty as charged and ready to be fingerprinted. But is she ready to lock away her dreams and hand Turner the keys to her heart?
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Sequel to Cheri on Top

Nath: Cheri on Top was a fun read and I'm hoping I Want Candy will be too :)

Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas
published by St. Martin's Press
Lucy Marinn is a glass artist living in mystical, beautiful, Friday Harbor, Washington. She is stunned and blindsided by the most bitter kind of betrayal: her fiancĂ© Kevin has left her.His new lover is Lucy’s own sister. Lucy's bitterness over being dumped is multiplied by the fact that she has constantly made the wrong choices in her romantic life. Facing the severe disapproval of Lucy's parents, Kevin asks his friend Sam Nolan, a local vineyard owner on San Juan Island, to "romance" Lucy and hopefully loosen her up and get her over her anger. Complications ensue when Sam and Lucy begin to fall in love, Kevin has second thoughts, and Lucy discovers that the new relationship in her life began under false pretenses. Questions about love, loyalty, old patterns, mistakes, and new beginnings are explored as Lucy learns that some things in life—even after being broken—can be made into something new and beautiful.
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Friday Harbor series, Book #2

Ames: I haven't read Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor yet but this is Lisa, so of course I'm going to want to read this one.

Nath: Woohooo, Ms Kleypas' hiatus is finally over!! I hope she has other historical romances planned! As for Rainshadow Road, I'll be waiting for the reviews. I just want to be sure it's really romance :)  the reviews and the pricing.

The Husband Hunt by Lynsay Sands
published by Avon
Let the hunt begin…

Lisa Madison wants a husband, and she has just the candidate in mind: Robert Langley. Trouble is, the infuriating man insists on seeing her as the impish girl she once was—even as every other gentleman in London has taken notice of her womanly…charms. When her beauty lands her in danger, it’s Robert who comes to the rescue…only to announce his affections are not of the romantic variety!

Robert saw enough sorrow in his parents’ union to know he wants nothing to do with marriage, which is exactly what he’ll be trapped into if he acts on his desire for the irksome siren. And then Lisa does what Robert least expects: gives up on him! As feigned indifference gives way, blistering passion burns at last. But just before the pair can give in to hard-won bliss, an enemy with unfinished business lurks threatening to destroy them both.
Genre: Historical romance
Series: The Madison Sisters, Book #3

Nath: I've read the first two books, The Countess and The Heiress, in this trilogy. I'm looking forward to see how Lisa and Robert's story will unfold :)

The Tattooed Duke by Maya Rodale
published by Avon
Breaking news, scandal fans:

You thought you knew the dangerous Duke of Wycliff, London’s globe-trotting adventure addict. Here’s what you don’t know: he’s penniless. Sebastian Digby’s dukely lifestyle is over forever unless he finds a rich bride. But thanks to The London Weekly, everyone knows better than to tangle with this lothario. Besides (as one writer can testify), it seems that Sebastian has been unable to keep his hands of his own lowly housemaid...

And that’s a problem. A big one.

Because that housemaid just happens to be me. Eliza Fielding. The same undercover Writing Girl who’s been exposing the Duke’s most intimate secrets to the world. And now I’ve gone and complicated everything by falling love with him. Passion and deception have never been so delicious, but now the truth could destroy everything. This is more than a conflict of interest. It’s a seduction where love itself hangs in the balance.
Genre: Historical romance
Series: The Writing Girls series, Book #3

Nath: I'm not too sure about this one. I like the idea of heroines working, but I've never been a fan of reporters... and this one, it seems Eliza goes to great length to uncover the Duke's secrets. However, I've enjoyed Ms Rodale's book and therefore, The Tattooed Duke is on the radar :)

A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean
published by Avon
What a scoundrel wants, a scoundrel gets...

A decade ago, the Marquess of Bourne was cast from society with nothing but his title. Now a partner in London’s most exclusive gaming hell, the cold, ruthless Bourne will do whatever it takes to regain his inheritance—including marrying perfect, proper Lady Penelope Marbury.

A broken engagement and years of disappointing courtships have left Penelope with little interest in a quiet, comfortable marriage, and a longing for something more. How lucky that her new husband has access to such unexplored pleasures.

Bourne may be a prince of London’s underworld, but he vows to keep Penelope untouched by its wickedness—a challenge indeed as the lady discovers her own desires, and her willingness to wager anything for them... even her heart.
Genre: Historical romance
Series: The Rules of Scoundrels, Book #1

Ames: I've read ONE book by Sarah MacLean but I'm still buying up the rest of them like there's no tomorrow. That's not going to change with this one.  I heard it's really good.

Nath: I heard so too! I'm in the same situation as you. I've bought Ms MacLean's previous trilogy, but have read only the first book. For some reasons though, this one, I feel like reading :)

Between the Duke and the Deep Blue Sea by Sophia Nash
published by Avon
The morning after the most scandalous bachelor party of the century, the dukes of the royal entourage must face all of London’s fury... when not one of them can remember a thing.

Roxanne Vanderhaven always believed herself the perfect wife. But when her husband, the Earl of Paxton, leaves her clinging to the edge of a cliff, she’s forced to face the truth: she married a murderous blackguard. Her eventual rescuer, Alexander Barclay, Duke of Kress, is one of England’s most disreputable peers—a member of the notorious royal entourage, no less–and certainly the last man she can count on. Indeed, the Prince Regent himself exiled Barclay to Cornwall, and now, by decree, the dashing duke must seek a royal bride to regain favor and help quell the public’s fury against the excesses of the crown.

Roxanne desperately wants a new life—after she’s uncovered the cause of her husband’s despicable actions—and she finds herself drawn, most surprisingly, to her unlikely champion. The Duke of Kress may not be quite the scoundrel he appears…but if she gives him her heart, will Roxanne be making the same mistake twice?
Genre: Historical romance
Series: The Royal Entourage series, Book #1

Ames: The first paragraph of the blurb makes this sound like The Hangover - historical style. LOL  I like Sophia Nash so this sounds interesting.

Blame it on Bath by Caroline Linden
published by Avon
Gerard de Lacey is determined to find the man who tried to blackmail his late father, both to stop the blackmail and to discover—and dispose of—any evidence the villain has about his father’s clandestine first marriage. If that proof is made public, it could prove Gerard and his brothers illegitimate, and strip them of their inheritance. And just in case, Gerard intends to find himself a wealthy bride. One way or another, he’s not going to be left destitute. But he’s not expecting a rich widow to find him and ask him to marry her. Katherine Howe’s first marriage was one of dreary duty, arranged by her wealthy father to a penniless lord. Now that she’s being pressured to marry her late husband’s heir, she’s desperately in search of a better option. Gerard de Lacey, with his sinful good looks, charming manner, and looming scandal fits her needs perfectly. The fact that she’s nursed a secret affection for him for years only makes it better—and worse. Because Gerard will marry her, for her fortune—but will he love her for herself, as she loves him?
Genre: Historical romance
Series: The Truth about the Duke series, Book #2

Ames: I enjoy Caroline's writing and I didn't realize this was book 2 of a series.  Oops.  LOL  Now I'm wondering if I read the first one.  Ah well.  I like plots like this one.

The Temporary Wife and Promise of Spring by Mary Balogh
published by Dell
Miss Charity Duncan has no illusions about Lord Anthony Earheart’s proposal. The arrogant aristocrat has made it painfully clear what he wants: a wife who will enrage the father he despises and then disappear from his life. In exchange, Charity’s family will receive the money they desperately need. But after Charity agrees to this mockery of matrimony, she soon discovers a startling fact: She has fallen for Anthony, and breaking their marriage vows may also break her heart.

Grace Howard has every reason to be devoted to Sir Peregrine Lampman. After all, the gallant gentleman rescued her from poverty by making her his bride. Even more nobly, he did not withdraw his affection after she confessed to a youthful folly that had compromised her virtue. But Grace did not tell the whole truth about the handsome lord who betrayed her—and now the one thing she’s kept from Perry threatens to destroy her last chance at true love.
Genre: Historical romance
Series: -

Ames: *sigh*  I just LOVE that Ms. Balogh's old romances are being re-printed.  I love it!

Nath: I've been going through Ms Balogh's backlist as well, so I'll most probably get this one too :)

Okay, I have to say I find it a bit sad that for February - the month of love! - there is so little releases to look forward to! I don't know, I'd think the publishers could have played up Valentine's Day... And once again, all the books are at the end of the month. Come on, I might die of boredom here, waiting for the new releases! Or did we miss something? Any books that we should pick up and it wasn't on this list?