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Jan 27, 2015

Never Surrender to a Scoundrel by Lily Dalton

Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Treat yourself to a sizzling historical romance
Never Surrender To A Scoundrel (One Scandalous Season #3) by Lily Dalton
Grand Central Publishing's Forever imprint
January 27, 2015 432 p. ebk.
Historical Romance/Regency
Review copy provided by Library Journal in exchange for review in Xpress Originals
Burton Book Review Rating: 4.5 stars

A Reckless Desire...
Lady Clarissa Bevington is in trouble. A reckless indiscretion has left her with two choices: ruin her family with the scandal of the Season, or marry Mr. Kincraig, the notorious scoundrel mistaken as her lover. Desperate and disgraced, Clarissa vows to love and cherish a veritable stranger, a man whose eyes smolder with danger—and undeniable desire...

An Unexpected Arrangement
As an agent for the Crown, Lord Donovan Blackmer has spent the last two years guarding Clarissa's grandfather from an unknown assassin while disguised as the rakehell Kincraig. His mission may now be over, but his duty has just begun. Salvaging his beautiful, impetuous wife's virtue will cost him his fortune and his position as an officer—but it might save him from the ghosts that haunt his own past. When their marriage "in name only" leads to exquisite seduction, Donovan must risk the only thing he has left to lose . . . his heart.

Historical romance readers will delight with this third installment to the One Scandalous Season Series featuring lords and ladies of the ton. Previous titles involved Clarissa's sisters yet this could be read as a stand-alone. Clarissa is about to announce an engagement to her secret lover when she discovers his unworthiness and moments later Clarissa is found in a compromising position with family friend Mr. Kincraig. Kincraig is forced to marry Clarissa to save her honor which inevitably destroys his own undercover operations for the Crown and leaves him unemployed. The story unfolds as Clarissa learns the true identity of Mr. Kincraig, who happens to be a very wealthy Lord Dominick Blackmer, though he is resistant to the title. Clarissa and Dominick slowly learn to love each other in a heated yet heartwarming and rainy journey to Lord Blackmer's estate where he must confront his own past in order to move forward with Clarissa.

Passionate scenes are abundant as Clarissa discovers what real love can be like as she discovers Blackmer's expertise in the bedroom, yet the story is also intriguing and eventful for those readers who prefer a believable plot with their romance. Complete with pleasurable settings, enjoyable characters and an entertaining storyline which includes poison, Never Surrender to a Scoundrel is an ideal choice for any historical romance lover.

Jan 19, 2015

Mailbox Monday

Monday, January 19, 2015

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued, and now hosted on its own blog.

I haven't done a Mailbox Monday post - or any meme post- in over a year, but today I am actually on the computer and I actually have had some books come in the mail this past week! These are goodies, and I know that because I had read the first book in their series and totally enjoyed them. The authors are based in the UK so I used some Amazon gift card money to purchase these from Amazon who had the best prices for these awesome titles:

Published September 2014 (UK) Sphere

The Winter Crown (Eleanor of Aquitaine #2) by Elizabeth Chadwick

It is the winter of 1154 and Eleanor, Queen of England, is biding her time. While her husband King Henry II battles for land across the channel, Eleanor fulfils her duty as acting ruler and bearer of royal children. But she wants to be more than this - if only Henry would let her.
Instead, Henry belittles and excludes her, falling for a young mistress and leaving Eleanor side-lined and angry. And as her sons become young men, frustrated at Henry's hoarding of power, Eleanor is forced into a rebellion of devastating consequences. She knows how much Henry needs her, but does Henry know himself?
Overflowing with scandal, politics, sex, triumphs and tragedies, The Winter Crown is the much-awaited new novel in this trilogy and a rich, compelling story in its own right.

Read my review of The Summer Queen, the previous title in the series here.

Published September 25th 2014 by Michael Joseph

Trinity (Wars of the Roses book #2) by Conn Iggulden

The brilliant retelling of the Wars of the Roses continues with Trinity, the second gripping novel in the new series from historical fiction master, Conn Iggulden.

1454: King Henry VI has remained all but exiled in Windsor Castle, struck down by his illness for over a year, his eyes vacant, his mind a blank.

His fiercely loyal wife and Queen, Margaret of Anjou, safeguards her husband's interests, hoping that her son Edward will one day know the love of his father.

Richard Duke of York, Protector of the Realm, extends his influence throughout the kingdom with each month that Henry slumbers. The Earls of Salisbury and Warwick make up a formidable trinity with Richard, and together they seek to break the support of those who would raise their colours in the name of Henry and his Queen.
But when the King unexpectedly recovers his senses and returns to London to reclaim his throne, the balance of power is once again thrown into turmoil.

The clash of the Houses of Lancaster and York will surely mean a war to tear England apart . . .

Following on from Stormbird, Trinity is the second epic instalment in master storyteller Conn Iggulden's new Wars of the Roses series. Fans of Game of Thrones and The Tudors will be gripped from the word go.

Conn Iggulden is one of the most successful authors of historical fiction writing today. Following on from Stormbird, the Sunday Times best-seller, Trinity is the second book in his superb new series set during the Wars of the Roses, a remarkable period of British history. His previous two series, on Julius Caesar and on the Mongol Khans of Central Asia, describe the founding of the greatest empires of their day and were number one bestsellers. Conn Iggulden lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and children.

Read my review of Stormbird, the first book in the series here.

Jan 5, 2015

Burton Book Review Best of 2014

Monday, January 05, 2015

I didn't read as many books as I have in previous years, so my Best of 2014 list is short but sweet. In no particular order, here are my picks for the Top Five Titles that I read in 2014:

From my review:
"Julie Klassen's The Secret of Pembrooke Park is perfectly packaged with several threads of the gothic suspense, Regency romance and inspirational themes while presenting a well plotted story with intriguing characters in an amazing setting. This one is a bit longer than her others which is always welcomed when stories are written are so well. This is definitely one of my very favorite Julie Klassen novels which I highly recommend to readers of Jane Austen and Jane Eyre."

From my review: 
"A stirring story that demands to be read in one sitting because you don't want to leave these unforgettable characters, Tracy Groot could not have done any better with this topic. Even while giving us horrifying visions of 'fence-posts' of dead soldiers, we still could not help but reach for that ultimate gift of a happily ever after. The Sentinels of Andersonville is a wonderfully powerful and evocative story that I would recommend to any historical fiction fan."

"Keepers of the Covenant is a captivating story of hardship, love and faith which depicts a historically important period for those of the Jewish community. I loved the first book, and I knew I would love this next installment. I was not disappointed at all, but I was reminded to continue to pick up the rest of Lynn Austin's work. I know I can't go wrong with any of her skillfully retold biblical novels. I highly recommend Lynn Austin and the Restoration Chronicles to any reader of biblical fiction. I especially love the larger size of these novels as well - nearing 500 pages, Keepers of the Covenant is a wonderfully engrossing and satisfying epic bible story." 

"The settings were wonderfully portrayed with strong character development throughout, with the very strong supporting cast that created a fast moving narrative. I really enjoy the fluid writing style of the author, and she doesn't disappoint with Ember Island. With her novels she has always been able to cleverly intertwine the past and the present, and when the characters do switch back and forth I am never unnerved. There is a feel of epic-saga story quality, and with this one the gothic touch that I alluded to earlier is rather thrilling. Very well done and I highly recommend all of her novels."

From my review:

"I simply loved the whole thing - the story and the writing, and will gladly read anything by Robin Oliveira for the rest of my life. I have a friend who wants to read this too, and my first thought is I need to give this to her, but I just can't let it go. I am going to have to read it again. And only maybe then can I share the joy and the heartbreak of the story. For now, it's just too personal, and it's mine to keep. Thank you to Robin Oliveira for touching my heart and putting together sentences the way that you do. Brava!"

Jan 3, 2015

The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen

Saturday, January 03, 2015
My newest favorite Julie Klassen work!

The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen
Bethany House Publishers, December 1, 2014
Historical/Christian fiction
Paperback 460 pages
Review copy provided by the publisher in expectation of an honest review
Burton Book Review Rating: 5 stars

Read my reviews of other Julie Klassen titles here.

Abigail Foster fears she will end up a spinster, especially as she has little dowry to improve her charms and the one man she thought might marry her--a longtime friend--has fallen for her younger, prettier sister. When financial problems force her family to sell their London home, a strange solicitor arrives with an astounding offer: the use of a distant manor house abandoned for eighteen years. The Fosters journey to imposing Pembrooke Park and are startled to find it entombed as it was abruptly left: tea cups encrusted with dry tea, moth-eaten clothes in wardrobes, a doll's house left mid-play . . .

The handsome local curate welcomes them, but though he and his family seem to know something about the manor's past, the only information they offer Abigail is a warning: Beware trespassers who may be drawn by rumors that Pembrooke contains a secret room filled with treasure.

Hoping to improve her family's financial situation, Abigail surreptitiously searches for the hidden room, but the arrival of anonymous letters addressed to her, with clues about the room and the past, bring discoveries even more startling. As secrets come to light, will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks...or very real danger?

This is the third year in a row that I have read a Julie Klassen novel this time of year and I believe I enjoyed this year's title just a bit more than last year's The Dancing Master. This novel packed a bit more of the gothic suspense in it, which is a return to the style I loved in The Tutor's Daughter and The Maid of Fairbourne Hall. Klassen is a skillful storyteller who can easily channel Jane Eyre and Jane Austen as she writes her intriguing Regency novels which are also laced with an inspiring Christian theme.

The Secret of Pembrooke Park introduces us to a young Abigail Foster who is very close to becoming off the shelf in comparison to her beautiful sister Louisa. After an unfortunate series of events, Abigail gives over her dowry funds to provide a coming out season for the younger Louisa. Meanwhile, a stroke of luck lands Abigail and her family in Pembrooke Park, a large estate which needs a house sitter. Mysteries and strange characters follow Abigail's path as she tries to uncover the past of Pembrooke Park with the help of the locals who remember only pieces of the legend that haunts Pembrooke Park.

The previous inhabitants were distant cousins of Abigail's family, and feature two rival brothers who eventually grew up to have families of their own. One brother comes back to reclaim what he thought was his, and the children become victims of Clive Pembrooke's greed. How this all happens is what Abigail slowly entangles, just as she is also trying to entangle her heart from her girlish fantasy over a beau ignoring the more realistic path to a brighter future with the local parson who is a better fit for Abigail, but it'll take a lot for Abigail to let her guard down after her heart was wounded so recently.

Julie Klassen's The Secret of Pembrooke Park is perfectly packaged with several threads of the gothic suspense, Regency romance and inspirational themes while presenting a well plotted story with intriguing characters in an amazing setting. This one is a bit longer than her others which is always welcomed when stories are written are so well. This is definitely one of my very favorite Julie Klassen novels which I highly recommend to readers of Jane Austen and Jane Eyre.