Perks of Loving a Scoundrel by Jennifer McQuiston

Miss Mary Channing can think of nothing more lovely than an early morning spent in the garden reading a book. She is not perturbed by the prospect of spinsterhood or a life of quiet and solitude. Her sister, unfortunately, is set on making her be social and experience something outside of her small little world.

Mary finds herself called to London and thrown into society unceremoniously. But not before she encounters a drunken Lord in the back garden who can only be a terrible rogue, the likes of which she has only read about in her precious novels.

When Mary finds herself thrown into a conspiracy with the very gentleman she is trying to avoid, and no one will believe them about a possible plot to assassinate a prominent government official or perhaps even a member of the monarchy, Mary Channing’s life takes a very exciting turn, full of ladies of the night, corruption, scandal, duels, espionage and intrigue.

Will Mary survive her London adventures? Can she spend time one on one with a scoundrel Lord with her dignity and virtue intact? If you enjoy novels of the bodice-ripper genre, you will love this amusing, easy weekend read. Perfect for a rainy day in your favorite blanket.

Scotsman of My Dreams by Karen Ranney

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Minerva Todd wants answers about what happened to her brother, and she will stop at nothing until she gets them–including breaking and entering into the home of a dashing Earl. Dalton MacIain has returned home from fighting in the American Civil War, blinded by a terrible wound.

Two unlikely individuals join forces to find out just what happened to Minerva’s brother, and who might be interested in harming the Earl…Now if only they can fight their mutual attraction, pride and independence long enough to complete the task at hand and find the truth…

Scotsman of My Dreams, by Karen Ranney is the second in The MacIain series, which is humorous and light hearted, and great for readers who love Tessa Dare or Maya Rodale.

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!

Any Duchess Will Do (Spindle Cove #4) by Tessa Dare

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The Duke of Halford has a problem. His mother has decided that she has waited long enough for grand babies, and he absolutely must marry as soon as possible or else. But the Duke has no desire to burden himself with the fairer sex, and certainly no interest in chasing debutantes around London. His mother’s counter-offer? He doesn’t have to marry a wealthy heiress or a female with a dowry, he can marry anyone he wants, just so long as he finally marries and puts his family line in motion. The Duke agrees to this plan, but with his own agenda. He will find the most wildly inappropriate female for the job, and he will pay that female to be a complete disaster for his mother’s designs. With any luck, it will go so badly that his mother will stop pushing the issue for a while and he can have some temporary peace. But his plan is flawed. His working-class belle is very rough around the edges, and has just enough spirit and courage to make the Duke question his own methods of operation… Can he follow through with the plan without falling in love with Pauline?

Anyone who loves historical romance novels (bodice-rippers) will want to pick up Any Duchess Will Do, by Tessa Dare. The dialogue is laugh-out-loud hilarious and the romance is sweet and genuine. This novel is like a cross between Pygmalion (My Fair Lady) and Pride and Prejudice, with some sexy and slightly naughty sprinkled on top.

The Scottish Witch by Cathy Maxwell

The second installment in The Chattan Curse trilogy, by Cathy Maxwell,  is now available. You may remember the first novel in the series, Lyon’s Bride, from earlier this year. The Scottish Witch introduces Portia MacLean, a spinster whose mother has rested all hopes for the family on her lovely sister, Minerva, making a smart match with a wealthy gentleman. When Portia finds a book of spells, and she learns that the handsome Lord Chattan is running about the countryside looking for a witch who can break the curse that rests in his family thanks to a woman scorned generations past, who took her life and whose mother hexed the entire male line of the family for eternity, the lovely spinster decides to pretend to be a witch so she can take the money he is offering, and use it to pay for the rent and help her family survive without marrying for money.

But her encounter with Lord Chattan is not what she expects. When she tries to walk away from him, he only pursues her, and she finds that she cannot escape his attentions-or perhaps she doesn’t want to escape them? Before she realizes it, the two are bound to one another by fate and forced to confront the family curse together, or lose the chance at love forever.

This novel is a “by the book” bodice ripper, complete with passion, romance, and historical lords and ladies who can’t seem to leave one another alone. If you like romance novels of the simpler variety, this one should not be missed!