Friday, August 5, 2016

Review of As Rich As A Rogue by Jade Lee



One wrong word or a made up tidbit of gossip can ruin a young lady's season and the rest of her life.  That is what happens to Mari Powel at her first ball after her come out.  She is labeled the Wayward Welsh by Peter Norwood, Lord Whitly.  For the next six years she hid her true self behind a facade of a boring, proper lady.
She wants to get married and prove that she can be an asset to her husband.  

After over 5 years in India, Peter is back in England.  He went to India to prove he is not a useless aristocrat and has come back to woo the woman he fell in love with.  His first day back he runs into the woman who owns his heart and makes a wager with her that involves a parakett and a kiss.

I really enjoyed this book, a lovely romance with witty dialogue and a wonderful romance.

Received a complimentary copy for an honest review.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Virtual Book of Why Do Dukes Fall in Love? by Megan Frampton




About WHY DO DUKES FALL IN LOVE?
In Megan Frampton’s captivating new Dukes Behaving Badly novel, we learn the answer to the question:

Why do dukes fall in love?

Michael, the Duke of Hadlow, has the liberty of enjoying an indiscretion . . . or several. But when it comes time for him to take a proper bride, he ultimately realizes he wants only one woman: Edwina Cheltam. He’d hired her as his secretary, only to quickly discover she was sensuous and intelligent.

They embark on a passionate affair, and when she breaks it off, he accepts her decision as the logical one . . . but only at first. Then he decides to pursue her.

Michael is brilliant, single-minded, and utterly indifferent to being the talk of the ton. It’s even said his only true friend is his dog. Edwina had begged him to marry someone appropriate–—someone aristocratic . . . someone high-born . . . someone else. But the only thing more persuasive than a duke intent on seduction is one who has fallen irrevocably in love.

Excerpt

Chapter 1
1844
The Quality Employment Agency, London

“He left you with nothing?”
Edwina glanced to the side of the room, a tactic she knew full well wouldn’t disguise the moisture in her eyes, especially not from Carolyn, her oldest and dearest friend. They’d met when Edwina’s late husband had wanted to find a respectable, but inexpensive, maidservant, and Carolyn’s agency had found the perfect person. And Edwina had finally found a friend she could actually talk to.
The room was as familiar to her as her own lodgings—and definitely more welcoming. A kettle was heating up water on the small stove, the tea things—the chipped blue cup for Carolyn, the cup with the handle that was always too hot for her—waiting until the water boiled.
Cozy, comfortable, and everything else she was not.
“No.” She spoke plainly, unable and unwilling to disguise the truth of it.
Eight years of marriage to one of the most boring men of her acquaintance, and he didn’t even have the decency to leave her financially comfortable when he died.
“I can help you, you know,” Carolyn said in a soft voice. She got up as the kettle began to whistle and started preparing the tea.
Edwina’s throat tightened. “I won’t take your money.” Fine words for a pauper—they both knew that if the choice came between accepting charity and letting her daughter starve, Edwina would take the money. Gertrude sat on the floor, playing with her dolls. Was she already getting thinner? Edwina’s heart hurt at the thought, and she had to bite the inside of her cheek not to start fretting aloud. That would do nothing but worry her daughter, who wasn’t old enough to understand.
Edwina wasn’t entirely certain she was old enough to understand, either.
“I wasn’t offering to give you any money,” Carolyn replied in a dry tone of voice, glancing over her shoulder as she spoke.
Edwina’s gaze met Carolyn’s.
“Well, what then?” she asked in an unsteady voice.
“Employment,” Carolyn replied, returning to her task.
“Employment?” Edwina echoed, an uneasy feeling settling somewhere in her gut. The gut that was remarkably close to her stomach, which hadn’t eaten today, and had only had some porridge and some hard cheese yesterday.
So the uneasy feeling would have to ease.
“You do know I run an employment agency.” Carolyn gestured to the room they sat in. “Since you have used my services.”
“Yes, back when I could afford them,” Edwina replied in a tone that was both wry and pained.
She took a deep breath, and looked around her. It was undeniably pleasant, if modest. The cozy, comfortable room of the Quality Employment Agency, filled with books, papers, mismatched chairs, and an enormous battered desk, where Carolyn normally sat, welcomed her, made her feel safe in a way her new lodgings did not.
“Yes, but—” and then Edwina felt both foolish and snobby, since the answer was obvious, and yet had not occurred to her because of who she was. Who she had been.
“But what?” Carolyn picked up the teacups, wincing as she felt the heat from the offending handle. She brought them over to where Edwina was seated, placing them on the desk and sitting back down in her usual spot. “You need a job, Edwina. No matter who you are. Even ladies—especially ladies, judging from my experience—need to have enough money to eat and to live. Even if their husbands were so disappointing as to leave them bereft of anything but their good name.”
“And even that was sullied, thanks to George’s entrusting of the accounts to his brother as soon as it seemed the businesses were getting profitable, and worthy of notice,” Edwina remarked in a bitter tone. She kept her tone low, so her daughter couldn’t hear. “I told him I could handle them, that I had gotten them to the state they were in, not to mention I told him how untrustworthy his brother was—and yet he said he’d never ‘let a female deal with important things,’ ” she said in an imitation of her late husband.
“More fool he,” Carolyn remarked. “If he had allowed you to continue to oversee the finances you wouldn’t be in this situation now, would you?”
It was a well-worn discussion, but one that still made Edwina angry. George had been so blind to her attributes he hadn’t seen she was skilled at maths, far better than anyone in his own family, especially his debt-beleaguered younger brother. He had been fine when she oversaw the accounts when they weren’t important—but ironically, as soon as her skill had yielded results, he took them away from her and handed them to a man. Simply because he was a man, and his brother, and not a woman, and his wife.
And now she and little Gertrude were being made to suffer for it. George’s brother hadn’t done more than shrug when Edwina had told him how George had left her. He already had a wife, he said, and he couldn’t afford to take her in, although he had offered a place to his niece.
But Edwina couldn’t bear the thought of being separated from her daughter; she was the only thing keeping Edwina from stepping in front of an oxcart one day. That she and Gertrude might starve to death was not something she wanted to contemplate—what reasonable person would?—even though she had to.
Which brought her back to why she was currently sitting with her closest friend in said closest friend’s employment agency, realizing that perhaps she had to consider employment herself.
“What can I do?” she said at last, hating how pathetic and needy she sounded. Better pathetic and needy than dead, a voice said inside her head.
Carolyn chuckled, taking a sip of her tea. “What can’t you do? You can balance accounts, drive hard bargains with tradesmen, oversee skittish maids, sort out the temperamental discord among upper-class servants, and keep an older husband relatively comfortable in illness. Not to mention you are extremely well-read—there are benefits to having a neglectful husband—and your parents ensured you had all the education you’d need to be an adept wife, whether you married a politician, a solicitor, or even a lord.”
“Or a businessman with lofty pretensions,” Edwina added. “They thought they had taken care of me. I wish they were still here.” She shook her head. “I do not wish to be married again, if that is the employment you are suggesting.” Once was enough, and she would have said never would have been enough if it weren’t for Gertrude. And it is not as though she had any other family to resort to; her parents had both been only children, and she had no relatives that she knew of.
“I am not in a husband acquisition business, Edwina,” Carolyn replied in a mocking tone. “If
I were, don’t you think I could afford a better office?”
They both glanced around at the tidy but shabby room. “Excellent point,” Edwina replied with a grin, picking up the cup with the still-hot handle and taking a welcome sip of tea. “So what do you have in mind?”

Inside Megan's Writing Process

It’s hard out here for a pimp duke.


Writing duke heroes over the course of four books, as I have in the Dukes Behaving Badly series, is hard. Not because the heroes aren’t all distinctive in their own way; they are, from Matthew’s confused bemusement about inheriting the title, to Nicholas’s arrogance he should always get his own way, to Lash’s refusal to step across any line, to Why Do Dukes Fall in Love?’s hero Michael, perhaps the most dukely of all my dukes.


It’s hard writing dukes because dukes are like CEOs. It’d be like constantly writing billionaires who remain in charge and in command over companies that support thousands of people. That takes a certain amount of sameness if you are always writing such a powerful person. In my duke view, there’s no possibility of a duke dashing off to become a spy; a duke has too many responsibilities to be that feckless. Dukes are second only to the royal family, only dukes, unlike princes, aren’t waiting around for someone to die so they can assume full command of their position. Dukes are at the pinnacle of their own possibility, and with that possibility comes an enormous amount of responsibility.


At one point during Why Do Dukes Fall in Love?, the heroine Edwina is pondering the vast mystery that is Michael, the ducal hero.


She didn’t think many men would have all that power and still be committed to doing something more with it. Most would be content to settle, to do what they had to, or what they thought they had to, but nothing more.


But not him. It was as though there was a force inside him, propelling him forward, into action beyond what most men would do.


What I like about Michael is that he understands what a duke should do, and he knows he is smart enough to do more than that. He feels compelled to do more because he thinks it is a waste of humanity to just be and accept the position that was given to him.

I always want my dukes to bring more than just their utter dukeliness to the table, and I love writing such powerful and ultimately responsible heroes.


Something I have talked about before is that I can not (as in CAN NOT) write a book without knowing precisely whom the hero looks like. Not just that; the person I have in mind has to be a) relatively in his prime and b) tall and c) is usually an actor, although I have made an exception for British supermodel David Gandy (because duh).


I use the image in my head as an anchor to figure out what the hero might do or say at any given time. I don’t print pictures out or create a Pinterest board or any of that actual visual stuff; as long as I have the guy in my head, I’m good.


Generally, what ends up happening is that the actor’s personality seeps out through my hero as well (or maybe a role the actor played that I particularly enjoyed). So, for example, the hero of Put Up Your Duke was modeled after Game of Thrones’s Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, so a bit of Jaime got included, particularly the effortless charm and incredible good looks.


Why Do Dukes Fall in Love?’s hero was someone I like, but I sometimes feel uncomfortable liking. That’s because some of the roles he’s played—and played well—have been despicable, and also because in real life he seems as though he is not the nicest person in the world.


This hero is modeled after German-Irish actor Michael Fassbender, and in particular I kept his portrayal of Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre in mind while I wrote. I know some people find Mr. Rochester—and likely Fassbender as well—overbearing, autocratic, and sometimes sneering, and that attitude was definitely part of my hero Michael (yeah, I named the hero Michael. I have no imagination when it comes to names). I took that attitude and wrote Michael as though he were on the spectrum, keenly intelligent, but not very tolerant of social niceties.


Fassbender’s presence—that commanding stalk of a walk (which sounds funny when you say it aloud—maybe don’t try that), his low, rumbling voice, the way he stares so intently at the person he’s talking to. All of that went into my writing of Michael, and made him come alive in my head, and hopefully on the page.
I am sometimes reluctant to share the image of the hero in my head, since readers will bring their own vision of the hero, and I wouldn’t want to tamper with that (the author can only impose so much of her viewpoint on the book—after it’s been printed, it’s up to readers to figure out what they think about it, and who they see when they read). But it is such a crucial part of my process I think it can be fun to know, too.

Do you see people when you read?


Q & A With Megan


1.       Tell us about yourself.
I live in Brooklyn, NY, with my husband and 17 year-old son. I never tan, I love to dance, and I have close to twenty maxi dresses.


2.       What three things about you might surprise your readers?
I secretly prefer 2005's Pride and Prejudice to the iconic 1995 one (because Matthew MacFadyen, yo).
I do my best writing when I enter what I call "the fugue state," where I barely know what I'm typing.
I actually think in circularities like so many of my heroines.


3.       Is there a genre(s) that you think “I might like to write one of those.”?
All of them? Actually, I don't know that I'd be any good at contemporary, but I love all romance genres. 


4.       Tell us about WHY DO DUKES FALL IN LOVE?
It's the story of an extremely intelligent duke matching wits with his extremely intelligent female secretary.

5.       Where did the idea for the storyline come from?
I wanted to write about a widow, since I've done so many virginal heroines. I thought about the freedom a widow would have, and what it would be like for a poor widow out on her own with a child to support. And then I thought about a duke who would give my heroine a chance at survival without having to sell herself.


6.       What do you think readers will like/love about Michael and Edwina?
Their respective keen intelligence, and how she doesn't let him get away with any s**t.


7.       What was your favorite scene from the book?
The one at the railroad exhibit, where Michael and Gertrude, Edwina's six year-old daughter, share a geeking out moment over train engines.


8.       Who are some of your book boyfriends?  What draws you to them?
SO MANY! I love dominant, ruthless heroes such as Moning's Barrons, Balogh's Wulfric, and KJ Charles's Mason. I also love damaged heroes, men who know they are vulnerable and work desperately to hide that--until the heroine unpeels the layers of pain.


9.       If you had to pick a favorite cocktail of choice, what would it be?  (It can be non-alcoholic too)
A Negroni, heavy on the Campari.


10.   What’s next for you?
A new series! Loosely (very loosely) based on Pride and Prejudice and with a nearsighted heroine and a very tall hero


About MEGAN FRAMPTON
Megan Frampton writes historical romance under her own name and romantic women’s fiction as Megan Caldwell. She likes the color black, gin, dark-haired British men, and huge earrings, not in that order. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and son. You can visit her website at www.meganframpton.com. She tweets as @meganf, and is at facebook.com/meganframptonbooks.

Where to buy WHY DO DUKES FALL IN LOVE?
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Review of Why Do Dukes Fall In Love? by Megan Frampton



While I was reading this book I was a little afraid that my review would not do it justice.  I love when a writer takes a character to another level.  

Michael, the Duke of Hadlow is a very unusually memorable Hero for me.  I only one I can think of to compare him to is Mr. Spock from the original Star Trek series.  Micheal is a very logical Duke.  He never shows emotion, he doesn't waste his time going out into Society, he has no use to idle chatter or gossip.  All he does is try to make his Dukedom better for all the generations to come.

He has no friends and does not feel the loss.  He sees his family once a year for the holidays at his country estate.  He cannot find anyone who meets his exact standards, so he doesn't even try.  When he feels the need for sexual release he will pay for it.  He does not allow any emotion in his life.  The only time he ever loved someone when he was a child.  He idolized his older brother and followed him everywhere.  When he was four years old, his brother died and he became the heir and everything changed.  As he grew up he decided why love someone if they were going to leave you?  So he doesn't.

Unfortunately his demeanor and personality is detrimental to finding a secretary that he can work with.  He just lost another one and is frustrated that there is nobody that is intelligent enough and organized to satisfy his standards.

Then one day a woman shows up from a Employment Agency and applies for the position.  His Butler Hawkins is bent out of shape that a woman would dare to apply for the position.  Michael decides to interview her and to his amazement (that he doesn't show) she is exactly what he has been looking for.
He hires her.

Edwina Cheltam is a widow with a young daughter to support.  Her husband left her destitute when he died and her brother in law has volunteered to take her daughter but not her.  Edwina know that she must find a job to support them both.  Her friend Carolyn owns an Employment Agency and finds her a position that she can interview for.

When Edwina arrives at the Duke's resident she assumes he is an older gentleman with a pot belly and a wife and grown children.  To her surprise he is young, fit and breathtakingly handsome.

As for the Michael, he finds her competent and gloriously beautiful, not that it matters.  He doesn't care if she is female only that she is capable of performing her duties to his satisfaction.  He even agrees to let her daughter live here with her.  

As the days and weeks pass Michael is finding that besides being an excellent Secretary he is attracted to her and wants to take her to bed.  Edwina has the same feelings but is afraid that if she becomes his lover that it will ruin the security she has found for herself and her daughter.

They embark on an affair that is sexually satisfying to them both.  Neither one of them have had such intensely emotional sex before and they are both enthralled.  Edwina knows what she is feeling but Michael feels that he is losing control of his logical life, but he still doesn't want to stop.

There is a grasping, unprincipled brother in law who will force Edwina to choose between Michael and her daughter's safety.

I have loved Megan's books since I read her first one.  As far as I am concerned this is the best of the Duke's Behaving Badly Series.  The transition that Michael makes as the story progresses is like his waking up from a bad dream and Edwina is his salvation.  Her is writing is intensely compelling and hard to put down.  The sex scenes in this book are explicit and the language graphic but even these are essential to the transition that Michael and Edwina go through in this amazing love story.

I highly recommend this book to everybody whether you read Historical Romance or some other genre.

Received a complimentary copy for an honest review.