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review 2018-05-15 15:03
Pursued for the Viscount's Vengeance - Sarah Mallory

Viscount Gilmorton has decided that he will wreak revenge on Deborah Meltham's brother by ruining her reputation, not realising that what he is assuming is mistaken and that it's all going to go horribly wrong when he falls for her.

There's a lot of moustache twirling bad guy going on here and I quite enjoyed it.

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text 2018-05-06 08:10
BLISS Mother's Day Sale - $0.99 All This Week!

 

Mother's Day is coming up soon and we're celebrating by putting on sale 7 romances featuring amazing moms.

So pick up all 7 steals for just 99¢ each!

 
About the book:


An island vacation at a 5-star resort for her brother's wedding should have been relaxing. But for single mom Lena Oserkowski, it's stress-inducing. As long as she stays away from the water, her biggest fear, it'll be okay, right? Except when her son gets into trouble at the pool, Lena ends up needing her own rescue. To her surprise—and mortification—a gorgeous stranger comes to her aid. Suddenly her trip just got a whole lot more interesting. 

Elliot Debusshere is disillusioned with his wealthy playboy lifestyle and wants nothing more than to bring some meaning and purpose to the charity he runs. When he saves a quirky, beautiful woman from a case of heat exhaustion and meets her son, Tyler, he has no idea the answer to his problems might have just fallen in his lap. Literally. But pleasure has a sneaky way of mixing with their business, leaving both dazed and confused. Elliot isn't father material—except the longer he spends with Lena and Tyler, the more he wants to be. Now he just needs to prove it. 

 

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About the book:
 
Single mom Daisy Sorensen doesn’t believe in fairytale endings—at least not for her. All she wants is to enjoy a much-needed, stress-free family vacation at a friend’s Lake Tahoe home. So of course everything that can go wrong does. Including a gorgeous man and his daughter showing up in the middle of the night.

Soon-to-be Governor Jack Harrison has had a crazy week, but he’s sure nothing can top arriving to find a bathrobe-clad, beautiful stranger in the home he’s staying in for the week. He’s wrong. When things spiral out of control the next morning, Jack makes Daisy an offer she can’t refuse. She’ll pretend to be his fiancée and he’ll help her open the bakery she’s been dreaming about.

But in between late-night campfires and days on the lake, Jake finds himself falling for the strong, stubborn woman for real.
 

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About the book:


Former surgeon and self-professed life-long bachelor Evan Manning has one thing on his mind—to reclaim the career that a car accident stole from him. But when he’s forced to return to his hometown of Red River, Evan comes face-to-face with the gorgeous woman who’s haunted his dreams for the last year—the woman he rescued from the burning car that injured his hand. Now Evan needs her help. In a month, he’ll have the job opportunity of a lifetime…he just needs a wife to get it.

Artist Grace Matheson is down on her luck again…until she walks into Evan Manning’s office. When her sexy former hero hears that she needs work, he offers her a job and a home—if she’ll pretend she’s his fiancée. Grace knows she shouldn’t fall for him. Once the month is up, Evan will be back to his old life. But the more time they spend together, the more real their feelings become—and the more likely heartbreak is.

 

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About the book:
 
Sam Kercher is every inch a wickedly hot Marine. Tall. Sexy. Lethal. When his best friends call in a favor, Sam is forced to face an entirely new line of duty—playing nanny for their newly divorced sister and her squirming seven-month-old twin boys. If Sam can dissemble an M16 in his sleep, diaper duty should be a cakewalk…right?

Unfortunately, Operation Nanny isn’t quite that simple. Sheridan has sworn off overbearing military men, so Sam must protect her from her dirtbag ex without revealing just how much he has in common with her brothers. Or that he’s been ordered not to touch her. Ever. Problem is, Sheri’s one hell of a gorgeous woman, and Sam wants her bad.

Protect the girl. Care for the babies. Hide his identity. And keep his hands off. But even the most disciplined Marine has weaknesses…and Sheridan is one Sam might not be able to resist.

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About the book:

With her son’s life in the balance, Catherine Fry is forced to locate and steal the priceless Ruby Cross of the Knights Templar. She knows who has it–it’s just a matter of coercing Thomas Glanville, the handsome and incredibly stubborn captain of the ship she’s captured, into telling her the exact location. Fortunately, Catherine knows that there are many ways to get a man to talk…

Captain Thomas Glanville has the cross and he’ll be damned if he’s going to hand it over now that he finally has the means to buy a ship of his own. He’s at the mercy of a fiery woman who will stop at nothing to achieve her goal. But Catherine has no idea who she’s dealing with–and Thomas has his own means of charming a woman into his mercy and his bed…

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About the book:
 
What would you do if your “what if” guy showed up at the lowest point of your life?

(Autumn Cole clocked hers with an encyclopedia.)

After losing her job at a swanky Seattle art gallery and finding out her father has been hospitalized, single mother Autumn Cole reluctantly returns to her tiny hometown of Fairfield, Washington to put the pieces of her life back together.

Her disgruntled twelve-year-old son isn’t thrilled about going from hip to hick, but Autumn’s got it worse. She resumes her role as the daughter of the town drunk, promptly facing a crisis with her father that’s been decades in the making.

Running into Henry Tobler, and nearly breaking his nose, is almost more than she can handle, but can rediscovering love–and herself–with her “what if” guy teach Autumn to forgive before it’s too late?
 

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About the book:

Single mom Taylor Lawrence just discovered that the hospital sent her home with the wrong infant five years ago. Now the headstrong and handsome biological father wants his child back. But Emily has always been her daughter, and Taylor wont give her up without a fight.

Widower Reece Wallace believed his life was over when a drunk driver killed his wife and daughter. So when he learns of the baby switch, he sees this child as his ultimate salvation. But he never anticipated the fiery woman on the other side of this custody battle or how shed stir feelings in him long dormant.

As the media storm surrounding the hospitals mistake intensifies, Taylor and Reece find theres more to sort out than custody of Emily they must work together to protect her while grappling with their growing attraction. Can they pick up the pieces of two broken families and meld them into something new?
 

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review 2018-04-07 14:16
A fascinating look into the past and a great source for writers and social history researchers
Elegant Etiquette in the Nineteenth Century - James Mallory

Thanks to Alex and the rest of the team at Pen & Sword for providing me a paperback copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

I am a big fan of Pen & Sword books and I have learned a lot on a variety of subjects thanks to their great selection, but I must admit to having a soft spot for social history. Although I love history books and have recently become keen on historical fiction, I think that social history helps us get a better sense of what life was like in the past, not only for the kings, aristocrats, and powerful people but also for the rest of the population. The everyday life of going around one’s usual business, talking to people, working, rarely makes it into the big books, but it is what life is truly about. And those are the details that bring the past to life. As I have mentioned in previous reviews, these books are also great to provide background to writers, filmmakers, and, in general, artists looking to create works set in a particular time in history, as it helps them gain a better understanding of what it would have been like to live then.

This particular volume is a delight. I have read a number of novels set in the era and watched uncountable movies and television series that take place in the XIX century as well, and although I thought I was familiar with the customs, social rules and mores of the time, I was surprised by how truly complicated following proper etiquette was. As the author often explains, rules were not set in stone and they changed throughout the century. What was a must at the beginning of the XIX century would have been out of fashion by the end, and rules were open to interpretation, as sometimes different sources offered completely different advice. Should you eat fish with a fork and bread, two forks, or a fork and a fish knife (the answer depends on at what point of the XIX century we were eating it)? Would it have been proper for you to introduce people you knew, or even greet people you met in the streets even if you had been introduced? What was the best time to go for a walk or to visit your acquaintances? What did it truly mean if somebody was ‘not at home’?

Such topics and many more are discussed in this short volume, and it makes for fascinating reading. The author is skilled at summarising the rules from a large variety of sources (there is a detailed bibliography at the end and footnotes to check where each point can be expanded on), and also at providing practical examples that help clarify matters like how would you address somebody you are introduced to, or in which order would guest enter the dining room. Her turn of phrase is particularly apt, as her own explanations and the quotes and references to texts blend seamlessly, and she manages to write clearly and engagingly in beautiful prose.

The tone of the book is light and there are funny moments, but there are also reminders of how different things were for those who had more serious concerns than following the rules of etiquette. The book includes 11 chapters that deal in a variety of topics, from rank, precedence and title, to what was considered good company, paying calls, dining, ballroom behaviour, conversation, and correspondence, how to treat the service, courtship, and it also offers hints for ladies and gentlemen. The book (I had access to the paperback copy but I know the pictures are available in the digital version as well) contains a number of plates that help illustrate the proper dress etiquette throughout the century for different occasions and there are also pictures of some of the fashion accessories of the period.

I had to share a couple of examples from the book, so you can get a feeling for the writing style and the type of advice it contains:

If a lady or gentleman was plagued by a person saluting them in the street who they did not like, who they did not want to call upon, and who they thought was taking a gross impertinence continually bowing to them, it was still better for the afflicted lady or gentleman to return the recognition. (For some reason, this brought to my mind the nodding bulldogs that used to grace the back windows of cars).

Talking about men’s fashion, the book has this to say:

Similarly, a gentleman would have been restrained in his use of personal ornamentation. After all, a gentleman was a gentleman, not a magpie hankering after shiny trinkets.

Although some of the rules contained in this book might seem too fussy and silly nowadays, there are some about listening to people and being respectful towards others, no matter what their social circumstances (in fact, being more polite and generous the more difficult things are for them) that will make readers nostalgic for those more gentile and kinder times. There are always things we can learn from the past and it is important to learn and remember.

Another great little volume from Pen & Sword and one that I particularly recommend to anybody interested in XIX century history, novels, movies set in the period, and to writers and creators looking for inspiration or researching that era. It is also a fun read for people that study social history or are interested in the origins of some of our customs and on how these have changed. Unmissable.

 

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review 2018-03-22 00:58
The Pirate's Booty (The Plundered Chronicles #1) - DNF @ 19%.
The Pirate's Booty (The Plundered Chronicles Book 1) - Alex Westmore, Designed by Rock Mallory,Rachel Stanfield-Porter

I was promised swashbuckling and crossdressing shenanigans, and there certainly was that. Like, a lot. Almost nonstop really. As soon as any hint of a plot started to take shape, more swashbuckling came along to nip it in the bud. Quinn was fun, even if I couldn't figure out how she could possibly keep her true identity a secret whilst on a pirate ship. Even if you assume pirates don't bathe that often, at some point, someone's got to notice something, right?

 

If all you're looking for is swashbuckling and shenanigans, this is the book for you. I just needed something more.

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review 2018-01-15 15:35
Very Brief Thoughts: Snowbound with the Notorious Rake
Snowbound with the Notorious Rake - Sarah Mallory

Snowbound with the Notorious Rake
by Sarah Mallory

 

 

One wicked Christmas night…

Trapped by a blizzard, the sight of notorious rogue Sir Lawrence Daunton almost makes schoolteacher Rose Westerhill turn back into the snow!  When it becomes apparent she has nowhere else to go Rose accepts his offer of shelter, vowing to remain indifferent to his practiced charm.

But as the temperature outside drops, she finds the wicked rake's sizzling seduction impossible to resist.  For one stolen night Rose abandons her principles—and her body!—to his expert ministrations.  Christmas with the rakish Lawrence promises to be a thoroughly improper yuletide celebration….



This historical romance by Sarah Mallory was written really well, but the actual story and the characters were quite frustrating.  On top of that, I was a little disappointed that the entire "snowbound" scenario really only lasted a couple chapters, then the rest of the book was just a typical romance with a reformed rake and the prudish schoolteacher.  I may or may not have started drifting off, or setting the book aside due to boredom.

As for our couple, they were pretty standard.  I didn't find Sir Lawrence to stand out much, but he was a neutral, good man.  Rose was more likable during the snowbound duration, but afterwards, I feel like she was a bit over-extreme in her prejudice against Sir Lawrence.  I understand that she has a history and can see why she's so cautious, but she went to the point of simply wanting to always believe the worst of Sir Lawrence no matter that he'd been nothing but honorable towards her from the beginning.

In contrast, I found it kind of hard to believe that she would take the word of her fiance, Magnus, and her future sister-in-law, Althea, without really giving it more thought.  She's been around Magnus and Althea enough that you'd think she wouldn't place so much credence in their words or actions.  So it came across as her trying to find any reason possible to discredit Sir Lawrence, even if it hadn't been warranted.

The romance was super frustrating, and I'm not sure there were even any characters I liked.

The background mystery about the sunken ship, and the investigation of it seemed kind of blah.

I may try another Sarah Mallory book, but I DO hope that this one was just a fluke.

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/01/very-brief-thoughts-snowbound-with.html
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