Tag Archives: Historical Romance

Team ALBTALBS TBR Challenge Review: Unconquered by Bertrice Small

Unconquered by Bertrice Small
Historical romance released by Ballantine Books on December 1981

Unconquered by Bertrice SmallA breathless novel of sensual daring and fiery adventure, UNCONQUERED introduces the brilliant outspoken Miranda, who would give up nothing for a man, and whose spirited ways and breathtaking sensuality would sweep her into perilous escapades of brutality and erotic discovery…

I read this book for the TBR challenge Old School category. Since this book was originally published in 1981, and since I started reading romance around this time (thanks, mom, for always having a stash of romance novels!), I figured this would be a great book to read. It would feel nostalgic, and I would read the entire book, not just skim it for the racy sex scenes that tender young me did covertly.

I inherited my copy from my mom when my parents moved to a much smaller house. It’s been sitting on my bookshelf for almost twenty years. As I stated above, I did skim through the book for the sex scenes (of which there were many) but didn’t actually read the book, even after mom gave me her copy. Why? Because I was afraid the book wouldn’t hold up to those fond memories I held. I probably should have kept things that way. Continue reading

Decades: A Journey of African American Romance Teaser Tuesday Guest Author Kianna Alexander Shares an Exclusive Excerpt from Love’s Sweet Melody

Who’s been wanting to read an exclusive ALBTALBS teaser? I’m going to raise my hand high and proud today as we welcome author Kianna Alexander. Kianna is one of twelve authors participating in the Decades: A Journey of African American Romance series and I’ve been eagerly awaiting her book. I have been reading Kianna’s novels since 2015 and picked up Every Beat of My Heart from my local library. As Kianna brings us into the 1940s, I hope you agree that her books are just as beautiful as she is.

 

Welcome, Kianna, to A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet! 

Love’s Sweet Melody by Kianna Alexander is the fifth book in the Decades: A Journey of African American Romance series. This series consists of 12 books, each set in one of 12 decades between 1900 and 2010.  Each story focuses on the romance between African American protagonists, but also embraces the African American experience within that decade. Join the journey on our Facebook page

Here’s an *unedited* excerpt of the first scene of Love’s Sweet Melody. Hopefully it gives you a feel for the setting, the hero and heroine, and a few of the secondary characters. Enjoy!

Love's Sweet Melody by Kianna Alexander Book CoverAutumn, 1946

Warner Hughes returns home from war with the lingering effects of battle. Abandoned by his sweetheart and ostracized by his community, he feels he has no real home

Elizabeth “Betty” Daniels has one love: music. Betty’s family wants to see her married, busy with affairs of the home, leaving no time to pursue her art.

Warner’s only solace is in the sweet melody of Betty’s music. To Betty’s mind, marriage means giving up the freedom to pursue her art. Can Warner let love in, and can Betty make room for love?

Seated at the baby grand piano in the center of the dining room of the Cashwell Hotel, Elizabeth Daniels worked her fingers over the keys. The daily lunch crowd had just begun to fill the tables around her, bringing the space to life with the din of many conversations. Playing through the first stanza of Pachelbel’s Canon in D, she hoped to help the diners ease into their lunch break. She’d spoken to many of them in the year or so she’d been piano, and knew that their jobs in the city sometimes put them under a great deal of stress. Times being what they were, the black folks of Fox Den, Virginia had plenty to be concerned about. Continue reading

Review: Tempest by Beverly Jenkins

N. R.’s review of Tempest (Old West book 1) by Beverly Jenkins
Historical romance published by Avon on January 30, 2018

Book CoverWhat kind of mail-order bride greets her intended with a bullet instead of a kiss? One like Regan Carmichael—an independent spirit equally at home in denims and dresses. Shooting Dr. Colton Lee in the shoulder is an honest error, but soon Regan wonders if her entire plan to marry a man she’s never met is a mistake. Colton, who buried his heart along with his first wife, insists he only wants someone to care for his daughter. Yet Regan is drawn to the unmistakable desire in his gaze.

Regan’s far from the docile bride Colton was expecting. Still, few women would brave the wilds of Wyoming Territory for an uncertain future with a widower and his child. The thought of having a bold, forthright woman like Regan in his life—and in his arms—begins to inspire a new dream. And despite his family’s disapproval and an unseen enemy, he’ll risk all to make this match a real union of body and soul.

I read Tempest right after it was published, while on a beachside vacation. My book still smells a bit like the ocean even over six weeks later. My intent was to get my review to Lime as soon as I returned home, but chaos ensued, as chaos is wont to do, so I’m grateful to Lime for giving me the time I needed to pull life into some semblance of order. You’re the best, and don’t forget it!

Beverly Jenkins has long been a favorite author, and my love affair with her started in 1996 when I was browsing my local library for something new and different and my librarian pointed me in the direction of Indigo. I finally got to meet Ms. Bev last summer at the RWA national conference, and clapped as hard as anyone when she accepted her RWA Lifetime Achievement award. When Lime asked me if I was interested in reviewing the final book in Ms. Bev’s Wild West trilogy, I practically jumped through the computer to grab it and read the final book in the Carmichael family trilogy. Continue reading

Team ALBTALBS TBR Challenge Review: Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

Shades of Milk and Honey (Glamourist Histories #1) by Mary Robinette Kowal
Historical romance with magical elements released by Tor on August 3, 2010

Shades of Milk and Honey CoverThe fantasy novel you’ve always wished Jane Austen had written
Shades of Milk and Honey is exactly what we could expect from Jane Austen if she had been a fantasy writer: Pride and Prejudice meets Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. It is an intimate portrait of a woman, Jane, and her quest for love in a world where the manipulation of glamour is considered an essential skill for a lady of quality.

Jane and her sister Melody vie for the attentions of eligible men, and while Jane’s skill with glamour is remarkable, it is her sister who is fair of face. When Jane realizes that one of Melody’s suitors is set on taking advantage of her sister for the sake of her dowry, she pushes her skills to the limit of what her body can withstand in order to set things right-and, in the process, accidentally wanders into a love story of her own.

I read this book for the TBR Challenge Sugar or Spice. This book falls solidly in the Sugar category. There are no sexy times at all, not even ardent embraces or stolen kisses until the end! This is a Regency historical romance with magical elements. I’ll get more into the magic later. Except for the magic it’s solidly in the Regency romance category in all other elements of the story. This was an ok read for me made better by learning the hero and heroine are the main characters of the rest of the books in the series. More on that below. Also my first Mary Robinette Kowal read. I’ve had this book on my Goodreads to-read list for YEARS (almost 5 to be precise) so very nice to read it for this challenge and get started on the Glamourist Histories series. Continue reading

Decades: A Journey of African American Romance Guest Author Suzette D. Harrison Shares an Exclusive Excerpt of The Art of Love

One of our goals on ALBTALBS is to give you excerpts for upcoming books you won’t be able to find anywhere else. Today we’re thrilled to share with you an exclusive excerpt from an author who is new to ALBTALBS, Suzette D. Harrison.  Suzette is a participating author in the Decades: A Journey of African American Romance seriesHer novel, The Art of Love,  will be released on April 1st, and will bring readers into the 1930s, a time when prohibition was gasping its last breath and the Great Depression ruled the economy. Suzette’s contribution to Decades spins a romantic tale that full of heat and heart. 

Welcome, Suzette, to ALBTALBS!

The Art of Love is the fourth book in the Decades: A Journey of African American
Romance series. This series consists of 12 books, each set in one of 12 decades between 1900
and 2010.  Each story focuses on the romance between African American protagonists, but also
embraces the African American experience within that decade. Join the journey on their
Facebook page.

Book CoverAva Lydell is chasing her dream. A gifted artist, she’s fled the violence of the Deep South for the seduction of sunny California. As luck would have it, the economic crisis of The Great Depression interferes with her hopes and plans. Without patronage and reliable sales, her fledgling art studio fails. Now she faces poverty, eviction…and the distraction of a mysterious, young stranger engaged in a questionable trade that delivers danger to Ava’s front door.

In an age of Prohibition and poverty, Chase Jenkins has more than most Colored men. He’s savvy, successful, and hazardously employed. A bootlegger living on the wrong side of the law, he’s determined to discover who murdered his baby brother. He has no time for diversions. Especially one packaged in the form of a “midnight” beauty with sultry lips and curvaceous hips. Unable to deny her allure, he involves himself in her affairs despite better judgment. What begins as a crisis quickly becomes a risky romance. Join Chase and Ava on their journey to outlive danger and indulge in the art of love.

Continue reading

Review: My Once and Future Duke by Caroline Linden

My Once and Future Duke by Caroline Linden
Historical romance released by Avon on February 27, 2018

 What happens at the infamous Vega Club . . .
Sophie Campbell is determined to be mistress of her own fate. Surviving on her skill at cards, she never risks what she can’t afford to lose. Yet when the Duke of Ware proposes a scandalous wager that’s too extravagant to refuse, she can’t resist. If she wins, she’ll get five thousand pounds, enough to secure her independence forever.

Stays at the Vega Club . . .
Jack Lindeville, Duke of Ware, tells himself he’s at the Vega Club merely to save his reckless brother from losing everything, but he knows it’s a lie. He can’t keep his eyes off Sophie, and to get her he breaks his ironclad rule against gambling. If he wins, he wants her—for a week.

Until now.
A week with Jack could ruin what’s left of Sophie’s reputation. It might even cost her her heart. But when it comes to love, all bets are off . . .

I was right, everyone! There is a professional female gambler in this book. The best way to explain this is that it’s a mashup between Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast—without the ominous flowers or footwear. The characters even have real names—something that bothered me when I read the older versions of the fairy tales. Their names are Sophie—our professional gambler, and Jack—the duke. Both Sophie and Jack reach out to others throughout the book; they see each other differently than society might. Continue reading

Release Day Review: Hello Stranger by Lisa Kleypas + Giveaway

Hello Stranger by Lisa Kleypas
Historical romance released by Avon on February 27, 2018

Hello Stranger CoverA woman who defies her time
Dr. Garrett Gibson, the only female physician in England, is as daring and independent as any man—why not take her pleasures like one? Yet she has never been tempted to embark on an affair, until now. Ethan Ransom, a former detective for Scotland Yard, is as gallant as he is secretive, a rumored assassin whose true loyalties are a mystery. For one exhilarating night, they give in to their potent attraction before becoming strangers again.

A man who breaks every rule
As a Ravenel by-blow spurned by his father, Ethan has little interest in polite society, yet he is captivated by the bold and beautiful Garrett. Despite their vow to resist each other after that sublime night, she is soon drawn into his most dangerous assignment yet. When the mission goes wrong, it will take all of Garrett’s skill and courage to save him. As they face the menace of a treacherous government plot, Ethan is willing to take any risk for the love of the most extraordinary woman he’s ever known.

As soon as I read that Hello Stranger was going to be Dr. Garret Gibson’s book I knew I had to get my hands on it. This book didn’t disappoint, and I’m already in the process of re-reading it. (Confession: I had wanted to re-read it prior to writing the review, but timing and life had other ideas.) The release day means I can also read the book digitally, which means it’s much more likely to happen. Yay for books and format choices! And you know, the wonderful Dr. Garrett Gibson and Mr. Ethan Ransom. (Come on, their names are awesome!) Reading this book made me happy. Continue reading

Decades: A Journey of African American Romance Guest Author Sheryl Lister

It is such a pleasure that during Smithsonian Black History Month (SBHM) we have an exclusive excerpt from new to ALBTALBS author Sheryl Lister.  Sheryl is a participating author in the Decades: A Journey of African American Romance seriesHer novel will be released on March 1st, and will bring readers into the 1920s Harlem’s jazz scene. Based on the excerpt below, this book is going to keep me reading until the wee hours! 

Welcome, Sheryl, to ALBTALBS! 

 

Note: Love’s Serenade is the third book in the Decades: A Journey of African American Romance series. This series consists of 12 books, each set in one of 12 decades between 1900 and 2010. Each story focuses on the romance between African American protagonists, but also embraces the African American experience within that decade. Join the journey on their Facebook page.

Book Cover

Escaping an arranged marriage, Leigh Jones flees her southern hometown for Harlem’s vibrant jazz scene to pursue her dream of becoming a singer. She finds more than she expected, namely Miles Cooper. The smooth-talking musician walked out on her three years ago, taking her music and her heart with him. Leigh has no intentions of falling for Miles or his charms again, until he tempts her with the one thing she can’t resist: a recording contract. But when her past comes calling, she realizes Miles is the one person who can save her from a man who won’t take no for an answer.

Miles isn’t one for putting down roots or staying in one place for longer than a season. Yet, memories of Leigh’s sultry voice, beauty and sass make him long for the life and love he forfeited. Having walked away once, but never again, Miles sets out to prove he’s a changed man willing to go to any lengths to protect his woman. He’s determined to show Leigh, one passionate note at a time that the music they make together will last a lifetime.

Continue reading

Decades: A Journey of African American Romance Guest Author Kaia Danielle

Last month we introduced you to Decades: A Journey of African American Romance, a unique twelve book  series written by twelve talented authors, and to the first book in that series. This month we have first time guest author Kaia Danielle joining us at  A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet (ALBTALBS) to share with us her contribution to Decades. I hope you enjoy  this peek inside life as an African American woman in the 1910s as much as I did! 

Welcome, Kaia, to ALBTALBS! 

 

Image and video hosting by TinyPicKaia Danielle Explores African American Womanhood in the 1910

Note: A Secret Desire is the second book in the Decades: A Journey of African American Romance series. This series consists of 12 books, each set in one of 12 decades between 1900 and 2010.  Each story focuses on the romance between African American protagonists, but also embraces the African American experience within that decade. Join the journey on our Facebook page.

Welcome to A Secret Desire, the 1910s installment in the Decades: A Journey of African-American Romance series. I have been interested in the history of African-American women in the early 20th Century long before this series came along. What interested me about this 1910s decade is that American women found themselves in a very rigid social position. The Cult of (White) Womanhood was in full swing. They were expected to be homemakers. To Perpetuate the image of being a lady. They were thought to be too delicate to handle their own financial affairs or live independently. A father, husband or some other male relative was expected to take care of them. A “proper” lady lacked the intelligence to run her own business. Continue reading

Review: A Hope Divided by Alyssa Cole

Aidee’s Review of A Hope Divided by Alyssa Cole
Historical romance released by Kensington on November 28, 2017

The Civil War has turned neighbor against neighbor—but for one scientist spy and her philosopher soldier, war could bind them together . . .
 
For all of the War Between the States, Marlie Lynch has helped the cause in peace: with coded letters about anti-Rebel uprisings in her Carolina woods, tisanes and poultices for Union prisoners, and silent aid to fleeing slave and Freeman alike. Her formerly enslaved mother’s traditions and the name of a white father she never knew have protected her—until the vicious Confederate Home Guard claims Marlie’s home for their new base of operations in the guerilla war against Southern resistors of the Rebel cause.
 
Unbeknowst to those under her roof, escaped prisoner Ewan McCall is sheltering in her laboratory. Seemingly a quiet philosopher, Ewan has his own history with the cruel captain of the Home Guard, and a thoughtful but unbending strength Marlie finds irresistible.
 
When the revelation of a stunning family secret places Marlie’s freedom on the line,  she and Ewan have to run for their lives into the hostile Carolina night. Following the path of the Underground Railroad, they find themselves caught up in a vicious battle that could dash their hopes of love—and freedom—before they ever cross state lines.

I really enjoyed An Extraordinary Union, which is the prequel to A Hope Divided by Alyssa Cole, so I kept an eye out for it. I am here to tell all of you to go and read it right now. You are wasting your time with my review. However, since I suspect you’re here for a review, read on. There are intelligent protagonists being wonderfully competent in their own ways, and equivalent character development in a historical setting I didn’t know much about beforehand. Continue reading