Trial by Desire by Courtney Milan

Setting: 1838, Victorian

Summary:

In the three years since her husband left her, Lady Kathleen Carhart has managed to forge a fulfilling life for herself. But when Ned Carhart unexpectedly returns, she finds her tranquility uprooted—and her deepest secrets threatened. Though she has no intention of falling for Ned’s charms, Kate can no longer deny the desire that still burns in her heart.

Ned is determined to regain his wife’s trust by using unbridled seduction. But just as Kate surrenders to Ned’s passion, her carefully guarded past threatens to destroy her. Now Kate must place her faith in the only man she’s ever loved, and the only one who has ever betrayed her…

Click on cover for more info

Review:

I LOVED Courtney Milan’s debut novel, Proof by Seduction so of course I had to read her second novel, exp since I was completely intrigued by the hero who was a secondary character in the first book. This book was brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!!!

I’ve always had a thing for the more innocent heroes-I guess because there are far too many ‘experienced’ rakes and rogues out there, so it’s always refreshing to see a more innocent hero. Ned Carhart, our hero, definitely does not disappoint. In the first book, he was awkward, bumbling, with absolute no game whatsoever when it came to girls. In THIS book, he undergoes a dramatic change and becomes quite an amazing hero. At the very start, he leaves for three years and when he comes back, he is a changed man. He’s a complex man, full of strength and gentleness all molded together in one swoon-worthy package 😉 I love how Courtney doesn’t change him essentially, (he’s still quirky and funny) but instead gives me the strength to make him into a brilliant hero! 😀

This is really a story of two people who are so much more than they appear and who have to learn to love each other again. Our heroine, Kate is another great character-strong and vulnerable at the same time. I love it when characters are real like that and Courtney does a great job of making us sympathize with her. Both characters are flaw and yet totally lovable and you can’t help but root for their happily ever after!

All around, the writing in this book is perfect-I felt like I wasn’t reading your regular romance novel, but something deeper and more meaningful. This is a story of love healing old wounds and becoming the strength for two people. It was romantic, deep, and insightful and so much more than your typical romance novel. I love Courtney’s writing– it flows and you really feel like you know these characters and you feel for them.

There is conflict in the book apart from the hero and heroine’s own personal relationship conflict but that just added to the book and completed it. Overall, this is just a brilliant novel, and downright perfect!

Sensuality Rating: Hot (Love scenes are quite long and explicit)

Verdict: PERFECT and so much more than your usual romance novel 😀

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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Romances coming in January 2011!

NEW YEAR, NEW BOOKS! 😀

Enjoy a fine selection of books all month long!

1) Out January 1, 2011 *First in a new series*

Summary:

Having been raised in the jungles of South Africa, assisting her father in the study of mammal copulation, Lady Justine Fedora Palmer sweeps back into London to embark upon her coming out.  She quickly discovers animals are far more civilized than the men surrounding her.
When her father’s observations are made public, proving buggery is natural to the animal kingdom, all of London is in a huffing outrage, including His Royal Majesty.  Her father is imprisoned and slapped with outrageous penalty fees they simply cannot pay.

Lady Justine becomes more than willing to trade her good name and her place in London’s gossip hungry society to secure her father’s release.  There is only one person she knows she can trust: her father’s patron, the Duke of Bradford.  A dashing libertine, yes, but one she passionately adores for his unwavering kindness, wit, humor, and a willingness to support her father’s studies even as everyone else had laughed her father off.
To her astonishment, the Duke of Bradford is not the same man.  His newly marred face hides a scandal that is about to test them both…

Excerpt and more info:

http://www.delilahmarvelle.com/site

2) Out January 3, 2011 *DEBUT*

Summary:

Tristan, the Duke of Shelbourne is a man with a mission: find a wife he can tolerate as long as they both shall live. No love is necessary—nor desired. But how to choose amid a dizzying array of wealthy-yet-witless candidates? Hire London’s infamously prim and proper matchmaker. Then pretend she’s not the most captivating woman he’s ever met . . .

Helping a devilish Duke create a contest to pick his perfect mate is the kind of challenge Tessa Mansfield relishes. Her methods may be scandalous, but she’s determined to find the notorious bachelor more than a wife—she’ll bring him true love. Yet when Tessa watches the women vie for the Duke’s affections, she longs to win his heart herself. And after a stolen kiss confirms Tristan’s desire, Tessa knows she has broken a matchmaker’s number one rule: never fall in love with the groom.

Excerpt:

http://www.vickydreiling.com/excerpt_duke.html

3) Out January 4, 2011  *Second in Elusive Lords series*

Summary:

Lady Amelia Bertram may have a reputation as the most brazen beauty of the ton, but she shocks even herself when she accidently—and loudly—derides one of society’s most eligible bachelors in the middle of a crowded ballroom. The timing of her faux pas couldn’t be worse, for her father is seeking someone to take her off his hands that very night…

But when Thomas Armstrong overhears the so-called “Lady” Amelia slandering his sexual prowess in public, he cannot help but accept the dare implicit in her words. To her father’s great delight, he offers to take her to his secluded country estate—properly chaperoned, of course—to teach the girl a lesson in ladylike behavior…

Excerpt:

http://www.beverleykendall.com/atasteofdesire.html

4) Out January 25, 2011

Summary:

Widowed Julia, Lady Winterset, has inherited a book—a very shocking book—that every gentleman in London seems to want. For a charismatic businessman, it’s a chance to build an empire. For a dashing novelist, it could guarantee fame. But to a proud, domineering earl, it means everything…

Harrison Landingham, Earl of Mountdale, can’t let the obstinate Julia release the shameless memoir that could ruin his family’s name. But the only way to stop her may be equally sordid—if far more pleasurable. For his rivals are intent on seducing the captivating woman to acquire the book. And Harrison isn’t the sort to back away from a competition with the stakes this high. Now the winner will claim both the scandalous memoirs and the heart of their lovely owner…

Sneak Peek and more info:

http://www.victoriaalexander.com/books/the-perfect-mistress/

5) Out January 25, 2011

Summary:

Piers Yelverton, Earl of Marchant, lives in a castle in Wales where, it is rumored, his bad temper flays everyone he crosses. He’s a Beast. Miss Linnet Thynne is one of the most exquisite young ladies ever to grace London’s ballrooms. She’s a Beauty. But wait—there’s more! Piers is a doctor: brilliant, lame, and impossible to get along with. Linnet has been involved in a scandalous flirtation with a prince, and everyone in the ton thinks she’s carrying a royal child: she needs a husband.

Linnet estimates it will take two weeks—at the outside—to bring the earl to his knees. Piers knows that he will never fall in love, and definitely never marry.

Excerpt and more info:

http://www.eloisajames.com/bookshelf/beauty.php

6) Out January 25, 2011 *Second in new series*

Summary:

One tryst was all she wanted . . .

From their very first meeting, Julia knew that Aidan Carr, the oh-so-proper Duke of Trathen, had a bit of the devil in him, a devil who secretly yearned for what he could not have, a devil who harbored a desire for her. So when she needed to be caught in a compromising situation, Aidan was the answer to her prayers.

One tryst just wasn’t enough . . .

Aidan is supposed to be looking for a bride, yet his scandalous liaison with Julia is all he can think about. Hot, erotic memories of kissing her skin, falling into her bed, pulling her naked body on top of his own continue to torment and tempt him. What is it about this brazen seductress that he finds so hard to resist? And how can he stop himself from falling into her bed a second time?

Excerpt:

http://www.lauraleeguhrke.com/bookshelf/scandal.php

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! 😀

Prelude to a Scandal by Delilah Marvelle

Setting: 1829

Summary:

Marriage is NOT the end of desire.

THE BATTLE BETWEEN LADY AND RAKE IS ABOUT TO BEGIN…

Lady Justine is willing to trade her good name, her reputation and her place in London’s gossip-hungry ton, to secure her father’s release from prison.  But when the notorious Duke of Bradford counters her offer with a proposal of marriage, the stakes grow higher still.  For while the smoldering lord is famous for his conquests, the man is oblivious to both her devotion and her charms.  And Justine is soon afraid she has wagered all for naught…

Click cover for more info

*This is Book One in the Scandal series*

Review:

OMG, I have been waiting for this book since forever! I knew it would be good, but I never expected it to be THIS good! Delilah has outdone herself with this one!

Seriously, from the moment I started it, I was hooked. The sexual tension is spot on, the chemistry is there, the dialogue is funny, the romance is simply heart wrenching and all in all this is a first-rate romance!

The Duke of Bradford has a secret obsession and this is the cause of the conflict of the novel. Bradford is an awesome hero! Even though he has to deal with a lot, he’s always there for our heroine, and my god, is he sexy! He’s exactly the tall, dark, brooding hero you want to read about!

Justine, the heroine, is the light to Bradford’s dark. She’s so unlike the typical women of the time and the perfect match for Bradford-I LOVE how she enters his house with a pistol to demand to see him. Her upbringing was unusual and this definitely shows through. She’s strong and determined and the perfect one to help Bradford with his obsession.

Justine’s father is making a case against the law that bans sodomy in England. This was interesting to read about. I must have mentioned it so many times already but for me, no historical romance is complete without adding historical facts and context. Delilah doesn’t disappoint here and I found it interesting to read about this topic.

The story has it’s dark elements but it also funny and fast-paced. Delilah has a very sexy sense of humor which I thoroughly enjoyed! 😉  I found it very hard to put this one down as the plot was continually pulling me into the story. The sexual tension was wired so tight, it was almost at breaking point and it was totally yummy and kept me hooked!

The series is tied together with a little red book known as How to Avoid the Scandal and the way it is used in this novel was hilarious. I love how every chapter starts with a tongue-in-cheek paragraph of advice from the book which turns out to be broken hehe. I can’t wait to read how it the book will be used in the next two books! 😀 (Strike that, I can’t wait to read the next two books, period!) It’s nearly impossible to find something wrong with this book because it was just so well-crafted! The characters were fleshed out, the chemistry was there, the plot was always intriguing.

So, a strong, sexy hero to die for, a heroine we’ll all like to be, oodles of sexual tension, lots of humor and a plot you just cannot get away from! What does this mean? A perfect historical romance!

Sensuality Level: Steamy (Explicit love scenes)

Final Verdict: Fantastic! Buy it, just buy it!

Rating: 5 stars out of of 5

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