Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

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Sorry for the long delay between posts! Crazy busy! But the show must go on, and what better book to start off my new website than a bodice-ripper by Tessa Dare? If you follow my site, you may already know that I have a couple of favorite bodice-ripper novelists, and Tessa Dare is at the top of my list…This is entirely due to the fact that I find myself chuckling and laughing out loud when I read her stuff.

Romancing the Duke was no different. Miss Goodnight seeks out a castle which she has inherited, only to find that it is already occupied by a handsome Duke who refuses to leave the premises. To make matters worse, he is intolerably cheeky and seems to believe he can make her leave by making her fear for her virtue. To spice up the plot, there is a cranky, feisty Ermine, an army of storybook Knights, and a deep, dark secret which Miss Goodnight has never revealed to anyone…

If you want a read that is warm and delightfully scandalous, but with a light-hearted mood that’s perfect for a cozy weekend by a fireplace, then Romancing the Duke is a perfect next read for you. Satisfaction guaranteed.

Jane Austen’s First Love by Syrie James

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If you know me at all, you already know that I am a HUGE Jane Austen fan. Sadly, she only has a few novels to choose from…But that doesn’t stop me from being a die-hard devotee, thanks to the many authors out there who love her as much as I do. One wonderful thing about the legacy of Jane Austen is that it opens up a world of spin-off literature. Tribute sequels to the novels are wildly popular, and authors enjoy speculating on the life of the author herself, too.

Fans of Jane Austen will already know that Jane never married in her lifetime, and spent most of her life acting as a companion to her father. Her many novels about Edwardian love send out the message that despite her celibacy, she may have had some idea of love, herself. We love to speculate that Jane might have had a lover once, too. Jane Austen’s First Love, by Syrie James, is a devoted follow-through on this very fantasy.

Jane Austen is 15 years old, one step behind her debutante sister and desperately hoping for love and adventure, despite being very much under her mother’s thumb. Enter Edward Taylor (Yes, Edward-if you read Austen, you will immediately think of Sense and Sensibility), a college-bound young man who saves Jane when her carriage gets stuck in the mud (sounds like Emma, doesn’t it?) The politics of marriage and courting are exhibited in Jane Austen’s First Love just as well as they are in the novels by Austen, herself, and fans will not be disappointed. Definitely worth picking up for your fellow Austen lover as a Christmas gift this year.

If you enjoy Jane Austen’s First Love, and other Austen spin-off literature, please also be sure pull up this Goodreads List of Jane Austen Spin-offs and check them out!

What a Wallflower Wants by Maya Rodale

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Maya Rodale is one of my favorite smutty romance novelists. Her heroines are always plucky little things, very spirited and cheeky, and her tales are full of comedy and warmth. The “Bad Boys and Wallflowers” series has been a fun collection to sprinkle among my more intense reading choices in the last year or so. What a Wallflower Wants is no exception.

Miss Prudence Merryweather is approaching her 4th year as a debutante, and she is the only graduate of her finishing school to be unwed after so many seasons, much to her mortification…But Prudence has a complicated past and a dark secret that keeps her away from eligible bachelors, until she finds a gentleman who is willing to offer her a marriage of convenience that will solve both of their marriage woes without compromising their mutual secrets. Unfortunately while they are on their way to finally be wed, a highwayman stops their carriage and her deplorable fiancé throws her out of the carriage in offering to the blackguard-and she decides that he is no man she could possibly spend her life with…And she is alone on a country road, with no idea where she is, walking for hours before a handsome gentleman pulls up beside her in his carriage…But can she trust this man? What are his intentions? Is he who he claims to be?

This story is full of fun, the bad guys always get what they have coming, and love always wins….So if you haven’t tried Maya Rodale and you love bodice rippers, pick up her Bad Boys and Wallflower series and you won’t regret the purchase.

Wallflower Gone Wild by Maya Rodale

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Maya Rodale’s Bad Boys and Wallflowers series, which started out with The Wicked Wallflower, has now introduced Wallflower Gone Wild. These lusty bodice-rippers are exactly what you might expect, full of fiery heroines and dark, brooding heroes who have no choice but to fall madly in love with one another (while, of course, breaking all rules of propriety along the way).

Novel #2, Wallflower Gone Wild, is about Lady Olivia Archer. Voted London’s Least Likely to Cause a Scandal, and hen-pecked miserably by her marriage-minded mother, Olivia is at her wit’s end. Especially when she realizes that her less than desirable financial situation has limited her options when it comes to suitors. Not to worry, however, Olivia’s parents have the perfect gentleman lined up for her- Phinneas Cole, otherwise known as The Mad Baron, who is widely known in the rumor mills as a mad inventor who murdered his previous wife.

Olivia will do whatever it takes to avoid marrying this frightening (but devilishly handsome) gentleman. She sets out to make sure that The Mad Baron would never find her attractive. Her plan seems flawless…But what if she doesn’t have the resolve to hold him off?

These novels are for the smutty novel-reading, bodice ripper crowd, so if you are looking for something easy to read and full of scandalous passion, pick up Wallflower Gone Wild today.

The Brides of Wishmore series by Cathy Maxwell

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Cathy Maxwell has two new books out in her brand new Brides of Wishmore series: The Bride Says No, and The Bride Says Maybe. These novels are best read back-to-back, because they feature the inevitable love stories of two sisters, Lady Tara Davidson, and Lady Aileen Davidson. When, once again, the father of these two young ladies has put himself in a dire financial situation, he decides it is time, for once and for all, to put his daughters to good use…By marrying them off, of course. The ladies are heartbroken, but little do they know, true love is on it’s way, and it comes from the most unexpected of places… If you like bodice rippers or historical romance novels with happy endings, and you need a good weekend read, be sure to pick up the new Brides of Wishmore series today!

Duke of Midnight by Elizabeth Hoyt

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The 6th novel in the Maiden Lane series is here, and it’s out in audiobook too! Duke of Midnight, by Elizabeth Hoyt, is a bodice-ripper with a gothic twist.

Artemis Greaves is serving as a lady’s companion to her aristocratic cousin Penelope when they are accosted by some street hoodlums. Before they succumb to the evil men, they are rescued by a masked stranger who can only be the legendary “Ghost of St. Giles”. He is gone before they can get much information from him, but Artemis ends up with a ring from his finger-a ring that can only belong to an aristocrat. Who IS this Ghost, and why does he wander the dirty, booze-ridden streets of St. Giles if he comes from a noble family? Artemis is determined to find out more.

The Duke of Wakefield, Maximus Batten, has a secret second life, spending his days in Parliament and his nights seeking clues in the darkness to solve the murders of his parents, decades ago. No one can ever know the truth about his double life, so he keeps a safe distance from everyone but his faithful manservant. But the time has come for Maximus to find a suitable Duchess-someone from a titled family with a nice dowry would be ideal…So why does he find himself so captivated by Artemis Greaves…?

I was surprised by Duke of Midnight, mostly because it had a darker twist to it-madness, the corruption of the aristocracy and Bedlam, murder and revenge…If you want a nice, tidy bodice-ripper where boy meets girl and they simply banter back and forth until they inevitably fall into bed together, this one is not going to be that novel. If you want something with a little more bite, however, be sure to pick up Duke of Midnight, by Elizabeth Hoyt, today-and the audiobook version by Hachette Audio is impeccably narrated, so if you like to listen to your romance novels, this one is a keeper.

The Wicked Wallflower by Maya Rodale

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Lady Emma Avery is in quite a predicament-since her debut into society, she has very little to show for herself by way of marriage prospects-the one man who has shown her attention would love to settle down with her, but he needs to marry a lady with a dowry or his family will be ruined…And Lady Emma Avery hasn’t a penny to her name. One night, while drinking too much sherry, her lady friends come up with a scheme that will be sure to have her married by the end of the season…All she has to do is announce her engagement to a man who doesn’t even know she exists-the bachelor of the year, the womanizing Duke of Ashbrooke.

Little does Emma know, their little joke is about to have a domino effect-and the Duke of Ashbrooke may just need something Lady Avery can provide…But can they both maintain a “professional” relationship as they pull off their little ruse, or will they be overtaken by the temptation of one another and lose everything they know?

This novel is, obviously, the genre I refer to as “bodice-rippers” and is full of stolen kisses and impassioned arguments leading up to passionate lovemaking and inevitable happy ending..So if that sounds like something you like, be sure to pick up The Wicked Wallflower and give it a shot. Maya Rodale is one of my favorite authors in this genre, she adds a humor that many authors fail to integrate and you will be giggling throughout the entire novel.

Sins of a Wicked Princess by Anna Randol

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The third installment in The Sinners Trio series, by Anna Randol, is here. You may remember the preceding novels,  Sins of a Virgin and Sins of a Ruthless Rogue-Sins of a Wicked Princess is about the exiled Princess Juliana who is determined to get her country, Lenoria, back, after her castle was burned in a rebellion. She calls upon someone she knows who possesses a certain skill set to help her get the documentation she needs to regain control over her lands….She calls upon a spy, the famous man known in the underground as Wraith.

Ian Maddox has one goal, to ensure the safety of himself and his friends from an unknown threat. When he is summoned by the Princess of Lenoria he has no intention of assisting her in whatever petty problem she may have…But he quickly learns that her troubles may be woven into her own somehow, and decides to join forces with the girl and face the enemy together…Besides, she’s terribly attractive, especially when provoked to annoyance….

This is a mystery/historical romance that will satisfy anyone who loves bodice-rippers, so if you need a fix, buy Sins of a Wicked Princess. After a long week, everyone needs a guilty pleasure….

Somewhere in France by Jennifer Robson

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Lady Elizabeth wants what every young woman wants…A little independence, a purpose in life, and maybe, if she’s lucky, fulfilling true love. Unfortunately, in 1914, a blossoming lady from an aristocratic family has only one true purpose. To find a husband who will be suitable for the fortune of the family line and become a respected lady of society, just like her mother.  Elizabeth longs to see the world, experience life, help people in need…But her mother will hear none of this, and the young lady of the house is forced to walk away, with almost nothing to her name, and no survival skills whatsoever, braving a world that would resent her if she told them her true social standing.

Seeking the one man who ever seemed to see her for who she is and what she can become, Elizabeth works hard to learn skills that would make the ladies back home faint with shock. A young lady driving a vehicle? A young lady in a war zone, hauling men from battle to the hospital? This young lady faces a world that barely embraces women in the workforce, experiences events that would give anyone nightmares, risks her own life every day, all without complaint…But with her heart full of love for Dr. Robert Fraser, a man who cannot acknowledge their relationship but whose passion for her surpasses all sensibility.

If you love novels with a “Downton Abby” feel, you will adore this novel. I, personally, love novels set in World War I, although I’m not sure I can tell you why, specifically, that is so, except that women came into their own during that war, they joined the workforce, they learned to survive at home without men to take care of them, in the most dire of situations…Which sets the tone for these novels, making you want nothing more than to see the heroine come out on top before the novel ends…

Seducing the Princess by Mary Hart Perry

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Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter Beatrice was her best companion when her other daughters had long been married off. Approaching 30, Beatrice had long been considered a spinster. Suddenly, however, two gentlemen have appeared, both of which are suddenly interested in the woman : dashing nobleman Harry Battenberg, and a mysterious new stableman from Scotland who saved her from bandits while she rode her horse. Unfortunately, the Queen has no interest in losing her daughter to the hands of man, instead opting to keep her chaste and protected, and by her side for the rest of time.

Beatrice is torn like she has never been torn before. She wants to have her own life, and make her own decisions, and she very much wants Harry Battenberg, a man who seems to understand her deeply and appreciate her, and who has asked for her hand in marriage.  But when Victoria refuses to give her blessing to Harry Battenberg and banishes him from the kingdom, and Beatrice receives no word from him about his intentions or affections following the event, the handsome stableman begins to seem much more charming and attractive. But where does he come from and what are his secrets? What are his intentions? Something dark looms overhead, but Beatrice is too naive to anticipate the shock she is about to receive.

Seducing the Princess, by Mary Hart Perry, is a historical novel set in Victorian England (obviously) and will be greatly appreciated by just about anyone who enjoys a good historical romance. The novel also has very little in the way of lewd sexuality, I would even hesitate to call it a bodice ripper, consummated love is alluded to, but never written out descriptively. The author also wrote The Wild Princess, which is about Victoria’s daughter, Louise. These novels take creative liberty to add adventure to facts already known about the princesses (although the author admits that they are strictly fictional). Readers who like Phillipa Gregory or similar authors will truly enjoy Mary Hart Perry. Don’t hesitate, pick it up!