Tag Archives: Historical Romance

Guest Release Day Review: Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean

Laura’s Review of Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean
Historical romance released by Avon on June 19, 2018

Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean Book CoverWhen Wicked Comes Calling . . .
When a mysterious stranger finds his way into her bedchamber and offers his help in landing a duke, Lady Felicity Faircloth agrees—on one condition. She’s seen enough of the world to believe in passion, and won’t accept a marriage without it.

The Wallflower Makes a Dangerous Bargain . . .
Bastard son of a duke and king of London’s dark streets, Devil has spent a lifetime wielding power and seizing opportunity, and the spinster wallflower is everything he needs to exact a revenge years in the making. All he must do is turn the plain little mouse into an irresistible temptress, set his trap, and destroy his enemy.

For the Promise of Passion . . .
But there’s nothing plain about Felicity Faircloth, who quickly decides she’d rather have Devil than another. Soon, Devil’s carefully laid plans are in chaos and he must choose between everything he’s ever wanted . . . and the only thing he’s ever desired.

Sarah MacLean has wrecked me. This book. THIS BOOK.

I wanted to read this book because Sarah MacLean has never let me down. One of my favorite books of all time is Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, and with that book, MacLean hooked me. Add that to the fact that I’m a sucker for a wallflower/bad boy romance, and I’m hooked. With this book, she showed me once more what love really is, or what I want it to be. In Wicked and the Wallflower we see the heroine embarrassingly announce to a room full of the ton’s biggest gossips that she has landed the reclusive Duke of Marwick. (spoiler alert: she hasn’t. In fact they’ve never met). And the man who offers to help her land him in truth becomes the man she actually wants. I LOVE this trope! Continue reading

Decades: A Journey of African American Romance Guest Author Wayne Jordan Shares an Excerpt and Inspiration for His Journey

Hi friends! I hope you’ve been following along with the Decades series we’ve had every month so far this year. I’m loving it, and have discovered not only many new to me authors, but wonderful stories as well. Today we welcome Wayne Jordan, who came up with this entire wonderful project of these ~connected books. You might have noticed that usually the posts are scheduled for the second Tuesday of each month, but for June we pushed it back a week to line the post up with Juneteenth! 😀

Decades: A Journey of African American Romance
Guest Author Wayne Jordan Shares an Excerpt and Inspiration for His Journey

Note: Promise Me A Dream by Wayne Jordan is the seventh 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,

When I conceived the Decades: A Journey of African American Romance series, I wanted to do two things. I wanted to give readers 12 love stories with main characters of color, but I also wanted to explore the African America experience in each of the 12 decades. I’ve read all the stories which preceded mine and I feel a sense of pride and achievement that each one was exactly what I wanted it to be.

The main action of my story, Promise Me a Dream, takes place in New York in March and April of 1968. I wanted my story to be about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. King died on April 4, 1968, so my story will touch on the impact of his death. Along with that, my story is about the world of the theater. My heroine wants to be an actress, and as an immigrant, she discovers the harsh reality of New York and the theater world. When she meets the hero, Joel Donovan, she invites him into her world and he discovers that there is much more to life that the privileged world and life he has been living.

So why the 1960s? Not only was I born in the 1960s, but the Civil Rights Movement is the one definitive event that impacted me when I was a teenager. While I did not recognize its impact until I was in my late teens, I remember my heart breaking, bit by bit, when I discovered what blacks in the United States had continued to endure and suffer during that decade, despite the abolition of slavery. Most of all, I lauded the courage of those individuals who fought for respect, equality and justice.

So why would I want to set a romance against this background of ugliness? It was the decade in which unity and love were important; the decade in which strong men and women needed love the most…because it was love that kept them focused on the fight without losing their sanity.Promise Me a Dream is set in the 1960s, but I am so fascinated by the decade, I will definitely write more against that background. Continue reading

Decades: A Journey of African American Romance Guest Author Carla Buchanan – When Inspiration Slaps You in the Face

Hi friends! Can you believe that we’re into the 1950s already? May! If you have no idea what I’m talking about … you can check out the information and excellent previous posts here.But! Today, we welcome first time A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet guest Carla Buchanan

PRIDE AND PASSION is the sixth 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

When Inspiration Slaps You in the Face

Pride and Passion by Carla Buchanan CoverHow does any writer decide what to write about? How does any writer decide what two characters to focus on or what story to tell?

If you have the answers to these questions then stop reading right now, search this post for my email address, and send me a message with the correct answer because I’m at a loss. In most cases, I have no idea what I want from myself or what the readers may want from me. No lie; I spend so much time pacing my living room space, talking to myself, bouncing ideas off my 12-year-old dachshund (who is never any help at all), a person would probably think I’m insane. And though, the worn path in my carpet might actually be proof of my insanity, during one of these passes across I was actually inspired. It worked. I laid eyes on a picture of my grandmother-in-law across the room, and it all became clear. I found a love for writing and reading historical romances.

Now, in no way is PRIDE AND PASSION about my husband’s grandmother, but if you met the woman you’d know what I’m talking about. With a personality so huge, it can barely fit into a room, I knew I wanted bits and pieces of her strength, her vulnerability, her love for her family, her dedication, and her feistiness in each and every female character in PRIDE AND PASSION. She lived. She dated. She raised a family, and she matured during the 1950s. Just talking to her made me feel like I was transported to that time, further inspiring me toward the story I wanted to write.

As far as the military aspect in PRIDE AND PASSION, I have been fortunate enough to have married into a family with more than one member who has made a career in the military. The same woman who inspired my female characters was also a military wife just like my heroine. She lost her husband just like my heroine, but that’s where their stories part ways and PRIDE AND PASSION takes shape becoming the kind of historical slice of life story anyone can relate to, whether they were alive during the 1950s or not. It’s the kind of story you’ll say… Oh my God, I’ve heard about a town like that, people like that, or a place just like that from stories my mother, father, or grandparents have told me about.

I mean, who can’t relate to the pressures of family, the desire to live your own life, all while trying to find where you fit in. Just like we are influenced by the world around us, the characters in PRIDE AND PASSION are the same. I was inspired by how much like me, like us, people were during the 1950s. Continue reading

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