Category Archives: Friday Favourites

Friday Favourites (6): Wallflowers series by Lisa Kleypas


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Friday Favourites is a weekly meme hosted by Natalie @ Book Lovers Life where you can showcase a book or series that’s on your Favorites shelf. It could be a book you’ve read recently or a few years back.

This week, I’m featuring one of my favorite Historical Romance series, Wallflowers series by Lisa Kleypas.

Four women with seemingly nothing in common except for the fact that they have all walked on the sidelines of ballrooms forge a special friendship with one another. Together, they hatch the most devious plans in order to secure a husband for each of them.

I really, really enjoyed reading this series. My favorites are Devil in Winter and It Happened One Autumn and I’ve re-read these books a couple of time already. This series was my first foray into Lisa Kleypas’ writing and I absolutely was not disappointed. All her characters were engaging and full of life. Their personas were jumping out of the pages and grabbing at you (in a completely non-threatening way). The romance and chemistry were off the charts and the humor added to that perfect mix.

Book #1: Secrets of a Summer Night

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From Goodreads:

Four young ladies enter London society with one common goal: they must use their feminine wit and wiles to find a husband. So a daring husband-hunting scheme is born.

Annabelle Peyton, determined to save her family from disaster, decides to use her beauty and wit to tempt a suitable nobleman into making an offer of marriage. But Annabelle’s most intriguing—and persistent—admirer, wealthy, powerful Simon Hunt, has made it clear that while he will introduce her to irresistible pleasure he will not offer marriage. Annabelle is determined to resist his unthinkable proposition . . . but it is impossible in the face of such skillful seduction.

Her friends, looking to help, conspire to entice a more suitable gentleman to offer for Annabelle, for only then will she be safe from Simon—and her own longings. But on one summer night, Annabelle succumbs to Simon’s passionate embrace and tempting kisses . . . and she discovers that love is the most dangerous game of all.

Book #2: It Happened One Autumn

827412From Goodreads:

It happened at the ball…

Where beautiful but bold Lillian Bowman quickly learned that her independent American ways weren’t entirely “the thing.” And the most disapproving of all was insufferable, snobbish, and impossible Marcus, Lord Westcliff, London’s most eligible aristocrat.

It happened in the garden…

When Marcus shockingly—and dangerously—swept her into his arms. Lillian was overcome with a consuming passion for a man she didn’t even like. Time stood still; it was as if no one else existed…thank goodness they weren’t caught very nearly in the act!

It happened one autumn…

Marcus was a man in charge of his own emotions, a bedrock of stability. But with Lillian, every touch was exquisite torture, every kiss an enticement for more. Yet how could he consider taking a woman so blatantly unsuitable…as his bride?

Book #3: Devil in Winter (My favorite!)

114166 (1)From Goodreads:

A Devil’s Bargain

Easily the shyest Wallflower, Evangeline Jenner stands to become the wealthiest, once her inheritance comes due. Because she must first escape the clutches of her unscrupulous relatives, Evie has approached the rake Viscount St. Vincent with a most outrageous proposition:marriage!

Sebastian’s reputation is so dangerous that thirty seconds alone with him will ruin any maiden’s good name. Still, this bewitching chit appeared,unchaperoned, on his doorstep to offer her hand. Certainly an aristocrat with a fine eye for beauty could do far worse.

But Evie’s proposal comes with a condition: no lovemaking after their wedding night. She will never become just another of the dashing libertine’s callously discarded broken hearts — which means Sebastian will simply have to work harder at his seductions … or perhaps surrender his own heart for the very first time in the name of true love.

Book #4: Scandal in Spring

105574From Goodreads:

“I want you to do everything you’ve ever imagined doing with me . . .” With those scandalous words, Daisy Bowman, the sole “Wallflower” yet to be married, seals her fate with the last man she ever expected to tempt her.

After spending three London seasons searching for a husband, Daisy Bowman’s father has told her in no uncertain terms that she must find a husband. Now. And if Daisy can’t snare an appropriate suitor, she will marry the man he chooses—the ruthless and aloof Matthew Swift.

Daisy is horrified. A Bowman never admits defeat, and she decides to do whatever it takes to marry someone . . . anyone . . . other than Matthew. But she doesn’t count on Matthew’s unexpected charm . . . or the blazing sensuality that soon flares beyond both their control. And Daisy discovers that the man she has always hated just might turn out to be the man of her dreams.

But right at the moment of sweet surrender, a scandalous secret is uncovered . . . one that could destroy both Matthew and a love more passionate and irresistible than Daisy’s wildest fantasies.

 

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About the author:

After graduating from Wellesley College with a political science degree, Lisa published her Lisa and her agent Mel Bergerfirst novel at age twenty-one. Her books

are published in fourteen languages and are bestsellers all over the world.

Lisa writes for St. Martins Press and is represented by her agent Mel Berger of the William Morris agency.

Lisa was named Miss Massachusetts in the 1985 MissAmerica competition. Among the challenges she faced: wearing a banner with such a long state name, when she is only 5’2″. Because of the rule that contestants had to tuck the excess length of banner into their swimsuits, she became known as “Miss Massachu.”

Representing Massachusetts, Lisa smiles for the judges in the Miss America contestAt the competition in Atlantic City, Lisa’s talent was singing an original composition, which won her a “talented nonfinalist” award. And to her delight, she got to keep the big sparkly crown, which sits on her bookshelf and now attracts keen interest from her daughter.

By 1998 Lisa had started a family- getting married and receiving the award of having the most wonderful little boy in the world.

That same year, Lisa’s novel “Stranger In My Arms” was given the Waldenbooks Award for greatest sales growth.  The following year, Lisa’s “Someone To Watch Over Me” was a Rita finalist at the Romance Writers of Americaconvention.

In 2002 Lisa’s novel “Suddenly You” was a Rita finalist and Lisa won the Rita award for her Christmas anthology novella featured in the Dorchester publication “Wish List.”   A banner year, Lisa’s novel “Lady Sophia’s Lover” was awarded Best Sensuous Historical Romance from Romantic Times magazine, and “Lady Sophia’s Lover” was given a starred review in Publishers Weekly, as was “When Strangers Marry.”

Over the following years, Lisa continued to garner critical and popular success.  Lisa’s novel “Worth Any Price” was awarded a starred review from Publishers Weekly.  “Worth Any Price” and “Where’s My Hero” were listed in the Amazon Editor’s Top Ten Picks for Best Romance of 2003!

“Worth Any Price” won the RITA award for best Short Historical and a few months later, “Secrets of a Summer Night” (Nov 2004) received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly!

It Happened One Autumn” (Oct 05) was a finalist in the Short Historical Category of the 2006 RITA Awards, and in 2007, Lisa had two finalists for RITA Awards:  “The Devil in Winter” and “Scandal in Spring”   Lisa was a keynote speaker at the Romance Writers of America July conference. Listen to her speech.

Lisa’s first contemporary novel “Sugar Daddy” was a finalist for the RITA Award “Best Novel With Strong Romantic Elements” while “Mine Till Midnight” was a New York Times Bestseller and a finalist in the RITA Awards “Best Historical Romance” category.

Lisa followed up that success with her second contemporary novel, “Smooth Talking Stranger“, which hit the New York Times Bestseller List, as did  “Tempt Me At Twilight” and  “Married By Morning” which was #3 on New York Times Bestseller list.

In 2011, re-releases of two of Lisa’s early books made the New York Times Bestseller list, as did her most recent contemporary novel, Rainshadow Road, released in 2012, which was been nominated for the Romantic Times Book Reviews “Best Contemporary Romance” Award.  Dream Lake, the 3rd of the Friday Harbor Series was also a NY Times Bestseller.  It was followed by Crystal Cove in 2013.

In December 2012, Lisa’s book, Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor was the basis for the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, Christmas With Holly.

 

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Find out more about Lisa Kleypas on her Website, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

 

 

 

 

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Friday Favourites (5): Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh

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Friday Favourites is a weekly meme hosted by Natalie @ Book Lovers Life where you can showcase a book or series that’s on your Favorites shelf. It could be a book you’ve read recently or a few years back.

This week, I’m featuring the paranormal romance writing royalty, Nalini Singh. Nalini Singh is one of the prime examples why I love reading. She’s an amazing story-teller and I just lose myself every single time in the amazing world she has built.

I’ve unleashed my inner fangirl gushing about her Psy-Changeling series. But Nalini Singh is so talented that she was able to create not one but two jaw-dropping in awesomeness worlds. The second one is her Guild Hunters series whose world is inhabited by angels, vampires, and humans. This series is darker in theme, I guess, than her Psy-Changeling series. I don’t have it in me to truly give justice to how great this world is so I’m just going to ask to you to give her books a try, if you haven’t read them yet, and find out for yourself. It’s more fun that way.

Okay, some of the book blurbs here are spoiler-y, so a little caution might be needed. Books 1-3 and 6 revolve around Raphael and Elena so if you don’t wait to read spoilers, I suggest you read the book blurb for Books 1, 4 and 5 only. 🙂

Book #1: Angel’s Blood

3819326 (1)From Goodreads:

Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux knows she is the best- but she does not know if even she is good enough for this job. Hired by the dangerously beautiful archangel Raphael, a being so lethal that no mortal wants his attention, Elena knows failure is not an option—even if the task is impossible.

Because this time, it’s not a wayward vamp she has to track. It’s an archangel gone bad.

The job will put Elena in the midst of a killing spree like no other—and pull her to the razor’s edge of passion. Even if the hunt does not destroy her, succumbing to Raphael’s seductive touch just might. For when archangels play, mortals break.

 

Book #2: Archangel’s Kiss

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From Goodreads:

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh returns to her world of angelic rulers, vampiric servants, and the woman thrust into their darkly seductive world…

Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux wakes from a year-long coma to find herself changed—an angel with wings the colors of midnight and dawn—but her fragile body needs time to heal before she can take flight. Her lover, the stunningly dangerous archangel, Raphael, is used to being in control—especially when it comes to the woman he considers his own. But Elena has never done well with authority.

They’ve barely begun to understand each other when Raphael receives an invitation to a ball from the archangel, Lijuan. To refuse would be a sign of fatal weakness, so Raphael must ready Elena for the flight to Beijing—and to the nightmare that awaits them there. Ancient and without conscience, Lijuan holds a power that lies with the dead. And she has organized the most perfect and most vicious of welcomes for Elena.

 

Book #3: Archangel’s Consort

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From Goodreads:

Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux and her lover, the lethally beautiful archangel Raphael, have returned home to New York only to face an uncompromising new evil…

A vampire has attacked a girls’ school—the assault one of sheer, vicious madness—and it is only the first act. Rampant bloodlust takes vampire after vampire, threatening to make the streets run with blood. Then Raphael himself begins to show signs of an uncontrolled rage, as inexplicable storms darken the city skyline and the earth itself shudders. The omens are suddenly terrifyingly clear.

An ancient and malevolent immortal is rising. The violent winds whisper her name: Caliane. She has returned to reclaim her son, Raphael. Only one thing stands in her way: Elena, the consort who must be destroyed…

 

Book #4: Archangel’s Blade (My favorite!)

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From Goodreads:

The severed head marked by a distinctive tattoo on its cheek should have been a Guild case, but dark instincts honed over hundreds of years of life compel the vampire Dmitri to take control. There is something twisted about this death, something that whispers of centuries long past…but Dmitri’s need to discover the truth is nothing to the vicious strength of his response to the hunter assigned to decipher the tattoo.

Savaged in a brutal attack that almost killed her, Honor is nowhere near ready to come face to face with the seductive vampire who is an archangel’s right hand, and who wears his cruelty as boldly as his lethal sensuality…the same vampire who has been her secret obsession since the day she was old enough to understand the inexplicable, violent emotions he aroused in her.

As desire turns into a dangerous compulsion that might destroy them both, it becomes clear the past will not stay buried. Something is hunting…and it will not stop until it brings a blood-soaked nightmare to life once more…

 

Book #5: The Archangel’s Storm

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From Goodreads:

Enter New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh’s darkly beautiful world of archangels and immortal power, as a pact is sealed between two souls bound by blood, stirred by desire, and driven by vengeance…

With wings of midnight and an affinity for shadows, Jason courts darkness. But now, with the Archangel Neha’s consort lying murdered in the jewel-studded palace that was his prison and her rage threatening cataclysmic devastation, Jason steps into the light, knowing he must unearth the murderer before it is too late.

Earning Neha’s trust comes at a price—Jason must tie himself to her bloodline through the Princess Mahiya, a woman with secrets so dangerous, she trusts no one. Least of all an enemy spymaster.

With only their relentless hunt for a violent, intelligent killer to unite them, Jason and Mahiya embark on a quest that leads to a centuries-old nightmare… and to the dark storm of an unexpected passion that threatens to drench them both in blood.

 

Book #6: Archangel’s Legion

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From Goodreads:

Nalini Singh, the New York Times bestselling “alpha author of paranormal romance” (Booklist) returns to an immortal world of violent passion and lethal power…on the brink of a deadly archangelic war.

Angels are falling from the sky in New York, struck down by a vicious, unknown force.

Vampires are dying impossibly of disease.

Guild hunter Elena Deveraux and the Archangel Raphael must discover the source of the wave of death before it engulfs their city and their people, leaving New York a ruin and Raphael’s Tower under siege by enemy archangels.

Yet even as they fight desperately to save the city, an even darker force is stirring, its chill eyes trained on New York…and on Raphael. Rivers of crimson and nightmares given flesh, the world will never again be the same…

 

About the author:

nalini singhI’ve been writing as long as I can remember and all of my stories always held a thread of romance (even when I was writing about a prince who could shoot lasers out of his eyes). I love creating unique characters, love giving them happy endings and I even love the voices in my head. There’s no other job I would rather be doing. In September 2002, when I got the call that Silhouette Desire wanted to buy my first book, Desert Warrior, it was a dream come true. I hope to continue living the dream until I keel over of old age on my keyboard.

I was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I also spent three years living and working in Japan, during which time I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page (updated frequently).

So far, I’ve worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but I call it grist for the writer’s mill.

Learn more about Nalini Singh on her Website, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads accounts.

Friday Favourites (4): London Steampunk by Bec McMaster

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Friday Favourites is a weekly meme hosted by Natalie @ Book Lovers Life where you can showcase a book or series that’s on your Favorites shelf. It could be a book you’ve read recently or a few years back.

This week, I’m featuring the awesome Steampunk novels of Bec McMaster. I stumbled on this new genre last year and I didn’t know in the beginning if I would like it. But I discovered that the Steampunk world is a dangerously exciting world thanks to authors like Bec McMaster.

In her London Steampunk series, Bec McMaster draws us into an alternate version of Victorian London in which the Aristocracy are referred to as ‘blue bloods’ and the common folks are required by law to pay blood taxes for the blood-drinking ruling elite. In addition, there are verwulfen and mechs, humanist movements and political chess, intrigue, mystery, action, romance, and lots of Steampunk. All of which are ingredients artfully woven together by Bec McMaster through her wonderful prose and story-telling.

Book #1: Kiss of Steel

13507512From Goodreads:

When Nowhere Is Safe

Most people avoid the dreaded Whitechapel district. For Honoria Todd, it’s the last safe haven. But at what price?

Blade is known as the master of the rookeries—no one dares cross him. It’s been said he faced down the Echelon’s army single-handedly, that ever since being infected by the blood-craving he’s been quicker, stronger, and almost immortal.

When Honoria shows up at his door, his tenuous control comes close to snapping. She’s so…innocent. He doesn’t see her backbone of steel—or that she could be the very salvation he’s been seeking.

 

 

Book 1.5: Tarnished Knight (Novella)

17181953From Goodreads:

In the steam-fuelled world of Victorian London, vampires, werewolves and slasher gangs stalk the night and a man made partly of metal is about to discover just how far he’ll go to protect the woman he loves…

After a vicious vampire attack left him struggling to leash the dark urges of the craving virus, John “Rip” Doolan thinks he’s finally starting to master the darkness within. The only thing that threatens to shatter his hard-won control is Esme, his closest friend and the only woman he’s ever wanted. If the stubborn beauty ever realized precisely what was going through his mind, their friendship would be ruined.

For six months, Esme has waited for Rip to recover and take her as his thrall, not daring to hope for more. Too afraid to put her heart on the line, she is devastated when Rip reveals that he never had any intentions of making her his.

But when a savage gang of Slashers start causing havoc in Whitechapel, Rip and Esme have no choice. They must face up to the depth of the passion that burns between them and forge a new relationship…or risk losing each other forever.

 

 

Book #2: Heart of Iron

15927484From Goodreads:

In Victorian London, if you’re not a blue blood of the Echelon then you’re nothing at all. The Great Houses rule the city with an iron fist, imposing their strict ‘blood taxes’ on the nation, and the Queen is merely a puppet on a string…

Lena Todd makes the perfect spy. Nobody suspects the flirtatious debutante could be a sympathizer for the humanist movement haunting London’s vicious blue blood elite. Not even the ruthless Will Carver, the one man she can’t twist around her little finger, and the one man whose kiss she can’t forget…

Stricken with the loupe and considered little more than a slave-without-a-collar to the blue bloods, Will wants nothing to do with the Echelon or the dangerous beauty who drives him to the very edge of control. But when he finds a coded letter on Lena—a code that matches one he saw on a fire-bombing suspect—he realizes she’s in trouble. To protect her, he must seduce the truth from her.

With the humanists looking to start a war with the Echelon, Lena and Will must race against time—and an automaton army—to stop the humanist plot before it’s too late. But as they fight to save a city on the brink of revolution, the greatest danger might just be to their hearts…

 

 

Book #3: My Lady Quicksilver

17310126From Goodreads:

Determined to destroy the Echelon she despises, Rosalind Fairchild is on seemingly easy mission. Get in. Uncover the secrets of her brother’s disappearance. And get out.

In order to infiltrate the Nighthawks and find their leader, Sir Jasper Lynch, Rosalind will pose as their secretary. But she doesn’t count on Lynch being such a dangerously charismatic man, challenging her at every turn, forcing her to re-evaluate everything she knows about the enemy.

He could be her most dangerous nemesis—or the ally she never dreamed existed.

*Read my review of My Lady Quicksilver here.

Bec McMaster has the next two installments in this series in the works, entitled Forged by Desire (Book #4) and Of Silk and Steam (Book #5).

I. Want. Now. Seriously. Now. Please?

About the author:

bec mcmasterMy name is Bec McMaster and I live in a small country town in Victoria, Australia, with my boyfriend and a beautiful dog named Kobe. I grew up either with my nose in a book or writing, and never understood why other people didn’t get to watch ‘all the movies in their heads’. Following a lifelong love affair with fantasy, I discovered romance at the age of sixteen and haven’t looked back.

When I’m not writing I like to read, go hiking with my boyfriend, pore over travel brochures, and go to the gym. I’m addicted to travel and love to set my books in foreign places. It’s the next best thing to travelling there. One day I vow to see the entire world, whether it’s by plane, paper or imagination.

These days I can be found sitting at my computer with a hot mug of tea, creating the dark and dangerous world of the London Steampunk series, where vampires and werewolves stalk the eerie London rookeries and even the darkest hero can find love. I’m a member of RWA (USA and Australia) and am represented by Jessica Faust of BookEnds; LLC.

 

Learn more about Bec McMaster on her Website, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads accounts.

Friday Favourites (3): Amour et Chocolat series by Laura Florand

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Friday Favourites is a weekly meme hosted by Natalie @ Book Lovers Life where you can showcase a book or series that’s on your Favorites shelf. It could be a book you’ve read recently or a few years back.

 

This week, I’m featuring Laura Florand‘s amazing and mouthwatering Amour et Chocolat series. This series are all set in the City of Light, Paris! Each book is a feast for your senses and the series title pretty much sums it all: Love and Chocolate! What can be better than the combination of these two?

 

What I found out about Laura Florand as I read through this series is that her writing gets better with each book. And I love seeing that development in her as a writer. And her stories are addicting. Like chocolate. Once you start, you can’t help but continue until you’ve finished it all. And then you just crave for more. 

 

What I also enjoy are her characters. She has made unique and compelling characters. And I love what she’s done with her characterizations. My favorite among these books is The Chocolate Touch, which, if I’m to describe it, gave me one of the most unique heroes I’ve read in a very long time.

 

Book #1: The Chocolate Thief 

13585501From Goodreads:

Paris

Breathtakingly beautiful, the City of Light seduces the senses, its cobbled streets thrumming with possibility. For American Cade Corey, it’s a dream come true, if only she can get one infuriating French chocolatier to sign on the dotted line. . .

Chocolate

Melting, yielding yet firm, exotic, its secrets are intimately known to Sylvain Marquis. But turn them over to a brash American waving a fistful of dollars? Jamais. Not unless there’s something much more delectable on the table. . .

Stolen Pleasure

Whether confections taken from a locked shop or kisses in the dark, is there anything sweeter?

 

Book #2: The Chocolate Kiss

15806994From Goodreads:

The Heart of Paris

Welcome to La Maison des Sorcieres. Where the window display is an enchanted forest of sweets, a collection of conical hats delights the eye and the habitues nibble chocolate witches from fanciful mismatched china. While in their tiny blue kitchen, Magalie Chaudron and her two aunts stir wishes into bubbling pots of heavenly chocolat chaud.

But no amount of wishing will rid them of interloper Philippe Lyonnais, who has the gall to open one of his world famous pastry shops right down the street. Philippe’s creations seem to hold a magic of their own, drawing crowds of beautiful women to their little isle amidst the Seine, and tempting even Magalie to venture out of her ivory tower and take a chance, a taste…a kiss.

Parisian princesses, chocolate witches, patissier princes and sweet wishes—an enchanting tale of amour et chocolat.

 

Book #3: The Chocolate Rose

17787183 From Goodreads:

Her father’s worst enemy…

Top chef Gabriel Delange never forgave his old nemesis Pierre Manon for all the other chef had cost him.

One stolen rose…

And he most certainly couldn’t stand the sight of his own most famous dessert, the legendary Rose, claimed as Pierre’s own on the cover of his new cookbook.

A substitute victim…

But even Gabriel could hardly go through with a lawsuit when he learned the older chef had just had a stroke. Especially not when Pierre had one very cute daughter willing to be Gabriel’s victim instead.

Jolie Manon…

As a child, Jo had seen her family torn apart by her top chef father’s obsession with his work. She had given years of her own adult life to trying to pull him out of depression, after he lost a star. Now a food writer, she might be fascinated with a chef’s work, but she knew how to guard her heart. She would never allow another chef into her life.

Unless he blackmailed her into it…

Welcome to the heat and sun of Provence, where jasmine and roses climb up old colored walls, where fountains play in ancient stone villages, and where even a beast can prove he is a prince at heart…

 

Book #4: The Chocolate Touch

16033669From Goodreads:

 La Vie en Chocolat
Dominique Richard’s reputation says it all–wild past, wilder flavors, black leather and smoldering heat. Jaime Corey is hardly the first woman to be drawn to all that dark, delicious danger. Sitting in Dom’s opulent chocolaterie in Paris day after day, she lets his decadent creations restore her weary body and spirit, understanding that the man himself is entirely beyond her grasp.

Until he touches her. . .
Chocolate, Dominique understands–from the biting tang of lime-caramel to the most complex infusions of jasmine, lemon-thyme, and cayenne. But this shy, freckled American who sits alone in his salon, quietly sampling his exquisite confections as if she can’t get enough of them–enough of him–is something else. She has secrets too, he can tell. Of course if she really knew him, she would run.

Yet once you have spotted your heart’s true craving, simply looking is no longer enough. . .

 

About the author: 

laura florandLaura Florand is the international bestselling author of the Amour et Chocolat series (The Chocolate Thief, The Chocolate Kiss, etc). Her books have been translated into seven languages, received the RT Seal of Excellence and starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, and been recommended by NPR, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal, among others. Four of her past five books have been recommended reads by Dear Author and two have been Sizzling Book Club Picks by Smart B*, Trashy Books.

Laura was born in a small town in Georgia, but the travel bug bit her early. After a Fulbright year in Tahiti, a semester in Spain, and backpacking in New Zealand and Greece, she ended up living in Paris, where she met and married her own handsome Frenchman. You can find out quite a bit more about those crazy adventures in her memoir, Blame It on Paris. She is now a lecturer in Romance Studies at Duke University. Contrary to popular opinion, that means she studies and teaches French language and culture, rather than romance. Fortunately, French culture includes French chocolate, research to which she is very dedicated. You can catch some glimpses of that research in the books, on her blog, and on her Facebook site, where you are welcome to join her and other readers!

 

 

 

 

Friday Favourites (2): The Bridgertons by Julia Quinn

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Friday Favourites is a weekly meme hosted by Natalie @ Book Lovers Life (although she’s on hiatus now) where you can showcase a book or series that’s on your Favorites shelf. It could be a book you’ve read recently or a few years back.

 

This Friday, allow me to introduce to you (although most of you have probably heard of them already) the Bridgerton Family by Julia Quinn. The Bridgertons are a brood of eight siblings, whose names ran alphabetically, composed of Anthony, Benedict, Collin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory, and Hyacinth. Theirs is probably one of the well known names as far as historical romance novel families or clans go. And for me, this series was Julia Quinn at her best. She was able to create these wonderful characters that went through equally incredible journeys in their respective books. Plus, this is where she introduces Lady Whistledown, the feisty and no-holds-barred anonymous journalist who publishes her gossip column to the (unadmittedly) delight and (sometimes) mortification of the ton.

 

Every single book in the Bridgerton series is a must-read. But my ultimate favorite is Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, followed closely by The Viscount Who Loved Me and The Duke and I.

 

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Book #1: The Duke and I

Can there be any greater challenge to London’s Ambitious Mamas than an unmarried duke?
— Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers, April 1813

By all accounts, Simon Basset is on the verge of proposing to his best friend’s sister, the lovely—and almost-on-the-shelf—Daphne Bridgerton. But the two of them know the truth—it’s all an elaborate plan to keep Simon free from marriage-minded society mothers. And as for Daphne, surely she will attract some worthy suitors now that it seems a duke has declared her desirable.

But as Daphne waltzes across ballroom after ballroom with Simon, it’s hard to remember that their courtship is a complete sham. Maybe it’s his devilish smile, certainly it’s the way his eyes seem to burn every time he looks at her… but somehow Daphne is falling for the dashing duke… for real! And now she must do the impossible and convince the handsome rogue that their clever little scheme deserves a slight alteration, and that nothing makes quite as much sense as falling in love…

 

861326Book #2: The Viscount Who Loved Me

1814 promises to be another eventful season, but not, this author believes, for Anthony Bridgerton, London’s most elusive bachelor, who has shown no indication that he plans to marry.
And in truth, why should he? When it comes to playing the consummate rake, nobody does it better…
–Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers, 
April 1814

But this time, the gossip columnists have it wrong. Anthony Bridgerton hasn’t just decided to marry–he’s even chosen a wife! The only obstacle is his intended’s older sister, Kate Sheffield–the most meddlesome woman ever to grace a London ballroom. The spirited schemer is driving Anthony mad with her determination to stop the betrothal, but when he closes his eyes at night, Kate is the woman haunting his increasingly erotic dreams…

Contrary to popular belief, Kate is quite sure that reformed rakes do notmake the best husbands–and Anthony Bridgerton is the most wicked rogue of them all. Kate is determined to protect her sister–but she fears her own heart is vulnerable. And when Anthony’s lips touch hers, she’s suddenly afraid she might not be able to resist the reprehensible rake herself…

 

110385Book #3: An Offer From A Gentleman

Sophie Beckett never dreamed she′d be able to sneak into Lady Bridgerton′s famed masquerade ball – or that “Prince Charming” would be waiting there for her! Though the daughter of an earl, Sophie has been relegated to the role of servant by her disdainful stepmother. But now, spinning in the strong arms of the debonair and devastatingly handsome Benedict Bridgerton, she feels like royalty. Alas, she knows all enchantments must end when the clock strikes midnight.

Who was that extraordinary woman? Ever since that magical night, a radiant vision in silver has blinded Benedict to the attractions of any other – except, perhaps, this alluring and oddly familiar beauty dressed in housemaid′s garb whom he feels compelled to rescue from a most disagreeable situation. He has sworn to find and wed his mystery miss, but this breathtaking maid makes him weak with wanting her. Yet, if he offers her his heart, will Benedict sacrifice his only chance for a fairy tale love?

 

6077589Book #4: Romancing Mr. Bridgerton

Penelope Featherington has secretly adored her best friend’s brother for… well, it feels like forever. After half a lifetime of watching Colin Bridgerton from afar, she thinks she knows everything about him, until she stumbles across his deepest secret… and fears she doesn’t know him at all.

Colin Bridgerton is tired of being thought nothing but an empty-headed charmer, tired of everyone’s preoccupation with the notorious gossip columnist Lady Whistledown, who can’t seem to publish an edition without mentioning him in the first paragraph.

But when Colin returns to London from a trip aboard, he discovers nothing in his life is quite the same, especially Penelope Featherington, the girl haunting his dreams!

And when he discovers that Penelope has secrets of her own, this elusive bachelor must decide… is she his biggest threat, or his promise of a happy ending?

 

110386Book #5: To Sir Phillip, With Love

Sir Phillip knew from his correspondence with his dead wife’s distant cousin that Eloise Bridgerton was a spinster, and so he’d proposed, figuring that she’d be homely and unassuming, and more than a little desperate for an offer of marriage. Except . . . she wasn’t. The beautiful woman on his doorstep was anything but quiet, and when she stopped talking long enough to close her mouth, all he wanted to do was kiss her…

Eloise Bridgerton couldn’t marry a man she had never met! But then she started thinking… and wondering… and before she knew it, she was in a hired carriage in the middle of the night, on her way to meet the man she hoped might be her perfect match. Except… he wasn’t. Her perfect husband wouldn’t be so moody and ill-mannered. And he certainly should have mentioned that he had two young – and decidedly unruly – children, as much in need of a mother as Phillip is in need of a wife.

 

110396Book #6: When He Was Wicked

Everything was so much simpler… when he was wicked.

In every life there is a turning point. A moment so tremendous, so sharp and breathtaking, that one knows one’s life will never be the same. For Michael Stirling, London’s most infamous rake, that moment came the first time he laid eyes on Francesca Bridgerton.

After a lifetime of chasing women, of smiling slyly as they chased him, of allowing himself to be caught but never permitting his heart to become engaged, he took one look at Francesca Bridgerton and fell so fast and hard into love it was a wonder he managed to remain standing. Unfortunately for Michael, however, Francesca’s surname was to remain Bridgerton for only a mere thirty-six hours longer—the occasion of their meeting was, lamentably, a supper celebrating her imminent wedding to his cousin.

But that was then… Now Michael is the earl and Francesca is free, but still she thinks of him as nothing other than her dear friend and confidant. Michael dares not speak to her of his love… until one dangerous night, when she steps innocently into his arms, and passion proves stronger than even the most wicked of secrets…

 

110393Book #7: It’s In His Kiss

IF IT’S IN HIS HEART … IT’S IN HIS KISS

MEET OUR HERO…

Gareth St. Clair is in a bind. His father, who detests him, is determined to beggar the St. Clair estates and ruin his inheritance. Gareth’s sole bequest is an old family diary, which may or may not contain the secrets of his past… and the key to his future. The problem is—it’s written in Italian, of which Gareth speaks not a word.

MEET OUR HEROINE …

All the ton agreed: there was no one quite like Hyacinth Bridgerton. She’s fiendishly smart, devilishly outspoken, and according to Gareth, probably best in small doses. But there’s something about her—something charming and vexing—that grabs him and won’t quite let go…

MEET POOR MR. MOZART…

Or don’t. But rest assured, he’s spinning in his grave when Gareth and Hyacinth cross paths at the annual—and annually discordant—Smythe-Smith musicale. To Hyacinth, Gareth’s every word seems a dare, and she offers to translate his diary, even though her Italian is slightly less than perfect. But as they delve into the mysterious text, they discover that the answers they seek lie not in the diary, but in each other … and that there is nothing as simple—or as complicated—as a single, perfect kiss.

 

110388Book #8: On The Way to the Wedding

Unlike most men of his acquaintance, Gregory Bridgerton believes in true love. And he is convinced that when he finds the woman of his dreams, he will know in an instant that she is the one. And that is exactly what happened. Except…

She wasn’t the one. In fact, the ravishing Miss Hermione Watson is in love with another. But her best friend, the ever-practical Lady Lucinda Abernathy, wants to save Hermione from a disastrous alliance, so she offers to help Gregory win her over. But in the process, Lucy falls in love. With Gregory! Except…

Lucy is engaged. And her uncle is not inclined to let her back out of the betrothal, even once Gregory comes to his senses and realizes that it is Lucy, with her sharp wit and sunny smile, who makes his heart sing. And now, on the way to the wedding, Gregory must risk everything to ensure that when it comes time to kiss the bride, he is the only man standing at the altar…

 

 

julieAbout the Author:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Julia Quinn loves to dispel the myth that smart women don’t read (or write) romance, and in 2001 she did so in grand fashion, appearing on the game show The Weakest Link and walking away with the $79,000 jackpot. She displayed a decided lack of knowledge about baseball, country music, and plush toys, but she is proud to say that she aced all things British and literary, answered all of her history and geography questions correctly, and knew that there was a Da Vinci long before there was a code. Ms. Quinn is one of only fifteen members of Romance Writers of America’s Hall of Fame, her books have been translated into 26 languages, and she currently lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest.

Check out her website for more info on this series and her other works as well.

 

 

 

Friday Favourites (1)

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Friday Favourites is a weekly meme hosted by Natalie @ Book Lovers Life where you can showcase a book or series that’s on your Favorites shelf. It could be a book you’ve read recently or a few years back.

 

As my pilot post for this feature, allow me to feature one of my favorite series in contemporary romance:  The Chicago Stars series by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

 

The Chicago Stars series centers mostly on the lives of the players and other important personas of the Chicago stars, a fictional football team. The series has a total 7 books and they are all winners, I can personally vouch for that. But allow me to feature my top 3 in this series. These books are not just my favorites of the series and the author but they’re on my list of favorite books of all time.

 

Susan Elizabeth Phillips writes some of the funniest, heart-warming, and steamiest romance novels. In a span of a book, she takes you from laugh-out-loud moments with her witty dialogue, to bone-melting sweet scenes, to gut-clenching conflicts, and then back to laugh-out-loud. It’s an exhilarating and so worth-your-while reader experience.

 

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Book # 1: It Had To Be You

Summary from Goodreads:

What if a woman who knows nothing about sports inherits a professional football team? The Windy City definitely isn’t ready for Phoebe Somerville, the outrageous York knockout who’s taking over their home town team. And Phoebe is definitely not prepared for the Stars’ head coach Dan Calebow, a sexist jock taskmaster with a one-track mind. This is the book that began it all. The Chicago Stars are about to take the field…and they’re not the only ones playing for keeps.

 

This is really the book that started it all. Dan and Phoebe are such strong and admirable characters and I truly love them to bits. I am particularly in awe of Phoebe as a heroine. She’s got everything when it comes to the look department but her beauty has become a burden to her and she battles to regain a sense of freedom when it comes to having a physical relationship because of things that had happened to her in the past. But then Dan enters into her life and it was beautiful watching him break down her barriers, done unconsciously, and giving her the opportunity to live her life as herself and as she truly wants to. Their overcoming their insecurities or problems was just strongly written by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

 

“Pick you up at noon, hot stuff.”

“Don’t call me hot stuff.”

“Sorry. Hot stuff, ma’am.”

 

“I don’t want to kiss you.”

“Liar. All this heat can’t be coming just from me.”

 

“I want children, too. I always have. I just needed to know you loved me.”

“I hope you know it by now. I never loved anybody in my life the way I love you. I want children, but not nearly as much as I want you.”

 

 

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Book # 5: This Heart of Mine

Summary from SEP’s website:

Molly Somerville (IT HAD TO BE YOU) loves her career as the creator of the Daphne the Bunny children’s book series, but the rest of her life could use some improvement. Then there’s her long-term crush on the quarterback for the Chicago Stars football team her sister owns—that awful, gorgeous Kevin Tucker (NOBODY’S BABY BUT MINE), a man who can’t even remember Molly’s name! Molly and Kevin battle their attraction and each other as they face one of life’s most important lessons. Sometimes love hurts, sometimes it makes you mad as hell, and sometimes—if you’re lucky—it can heal in a most unexpected way.

 

“All your women are hung up on your good looks. They just pretend it’s your personality.”

“I swear, somebody needs to spank you.”

“You are, like, so not the man to do it.”

“You are, like, such a damned brat.”

 

It was a kiss made in lonely dreams. A kiss that took its time. A kiss that felt so right she couldn’t remember all the reasons it was wrong.

 

She was all the dreams he’d lost at dawn – dreams of everything he hadn’t understood he needed until now.

 

This book is my most favorite in the series. I just love the dynamics between Molly and Kevin. I love that this book can be heartbreaking, funny, heartwarming, and downright romantic all at the same time. I love how SEP presents us with the conflicts not just in the relationship between the hero and the heroine but the conflicts the characters have with themselves, if that makes any sense. The journey is as much about personal developments as it is about finding that happily ever after with somebody.

 

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Book # 6: Match Me If You Can

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

You met star quarterback Kevin Tucker in This Heart of Mine. Now get ready to meet his shark of an agent, Heath Champion, and Annabelle Granger, the girl least likely to succeed.

Annabelle’s endured dead-end jobs, a broken engagement . . . even her hair’s a mess! But that’s going to change now that she’s taken over her late grandmother’s matchmaking business. All Annabelle has to do is land the Windy City’s hottest bachelor as her client, and she’ll be the most sought-after matchmaker in town.

Why does the wealthy, driven, and gorgeous sports agent Heath Champion need a matchmaker, especially a red-haired screw-up like Annabelle Granger? True, she’s entertaining, and she does have a certain quirky appeal. But Heath is searching for the ultimate symbol of success — the perfect wife. And to make an extraordinary match, he needs an extraordinary matchmaker, right?

Soon everyone in Chicago has a stake in the outcome, and a very big question: When the determined matchmaker promised she’d do anything to keep her star client happy . . . did she mean anything? If Annabelle isn’t careful, she just might find herself going heart-to-heart with the toughest negotiator in town.

 

“She’s as plastic as you are. I’m telling you, it’s a bad idea. If you every have kids, they’ll come out of the birth canal with Fisher-Price stamped on their butts.”

 

“It’s time she came out of her shell.”

Heath regarded Annabelle dubiously. “You were in a shell?”

 

I just love how Annabelle just manages to get under Heath’s skin all the time and without even meaning to. I love the progression of their relationship and the subtle hints here and there about the minute shifts that are happening and the almost clueless-ness of these two. I love their banter and how they are seemingly able to talk about everything with each other.

 

Here are the rest of the books in the series: they are equally entertaining and heartwarming reads.

 

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