At Any Price by Brenna Aubrey

Hallelujah! I’m doing a happy dance!

For months I had been trudging through book after book, unable to get through the third chapter. I started to think I was depressed until I found this little gem! At Any Price by Brenna Aubrey would probably be classified as “New Adult”, not something I usually go for. But Aubrey’s quirky style grabbed me from the very beginning! The story premise might turn some people off, but just go with it.

A 22-year old woman decides to auction off her virginity and announces it on her popular gaming blog. People are shocked, offended, curious and she even gets publicity over it. All she really wants is to get the deed done so she doesn’t have to worry about it anymore…and possibly make enough money to pay for medical school.

The writing is quick and fun. The characters are believable and lovable. I had my suspicions very early on about who her highest bidder might be and was thrilled and dismayed at the same time when he finally revealed himself. FYI, do NOT read the prequels before reading this book or you will spoil the surprise.

I love that this book (and I suppose all of Aubrey’s books) delve into geek culture. I actually had been wanting to add those elements to my own stories. I’m a bit of a “geek girl” myself. If you love online gaming, Dr. Who, D&D, Comic-Con and Star Wars, you will love this book. Even if you don’t I bet it will be fascinating for you to enter a new world.

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Listen to the Moon by Rose Lerner

It’s rare for me to find historical romance novels that are not about people in the gentry or royalty or marrying into the gentry or royalty. This book is about the servants who support them and I loved it!

Listen to the Moon is about Suki Grimes, a young maid-of-all-work who is content with her lot in life. She has no dreams or aspirations other than to avoid marriage. Her father had abandoned her and her mother when she was a child, even though her mother was in love with the man. Apparently love doesn’t mean anything.

John Toogood (no puns please) was the valet to the main character in Rose Lerner’s previous book, Sweet Disorder. When John finds himself out of a job, through no fault of his own, he is led to a new position: butler to the local vicar. The only catch is the job will only go to a married man. The job seems a good fit for John, but when he is offered a high paying position with his previous employers, he has to decide if he wants the fancy home with more money or the simple quiet life.

John and Suki are attracted to each other, but it’s not love when they get married. It’s financial need and lust. Love builds over time and is very believable. This story was a breath of fresh air. The characters in this book are poor, but happy. They appreciate the little things in life. We also get to learn about the different classes in the servant world.

Listen to the Moon was sweet, charming and fascinating. The love scenes were sexy and there were plenty of them.

My Fair Lily by Meara Platt

This was my first book by Meara Platt and I enjoyed it very much! My Fair Lily is a delightful story with lots of humor.

Lily is charming, hopeful and very intelligent. She is a scientist currently studying animal behavior. She has plans to marry a fellow scientist so they can be partners in all things. That is until she meets Ewan, her neighbor’s Scottish friend. She starts to question her feelings for both men.

Ewan is a gruff and unrefined Scottish Laird. He has no plans to marry an Englishwoman, especially because it’s what his estranged English grandfather desires. Ewen befriends Lily, but fights his feelings every step of the way.

Apparently there is a love curse on the street where they meet, so destiny is going to happen no matter what.

There are some love scenes, but they happen later in the book. I prefer a little more steam, and at least by the halfway point; however, that won’t stop me from reading the others in the series.

His Wicked Seduction by Lauren Smith

I just discovered Lauren Smith a few months ago and have already read a bunch of her books. His Wicked Seduction is my favorite so far. It’s the second installment in her League of Rogues series.

The League is a group of friends who met in school. They consider themselves a bit wild and reckless, but they are now growing and maturing. Each will be swept away by love, much to their dismay.

In this story Lucien has feelings for his best friend’s sister Horatia and has been avoiding her for years because of it.

Horatia has been in love with Lucien since she was a young girl, but now she intends to get her man by any means necessary.

Stopping them is a League rule about “no sisters”, as well as Lucien’s own negative feelings about himself. He thinks he is sexually perverted just because he enjoys a bit of bondage.

One of my favorite romantic tropes is the brother’s best friend. This did not disappoint. Lauren Smith writes with so much humor and affection for all her characters. I look forward to watching the other “rogues” fall in love.

Dark Angel & Lord Carew’s Bride by Mary Balogh

I have started a mission to read something by every author on the Historical Romance Retreat guest list. There are many I had never read before!

The second author on the list is Mary Balogh and I picked up a compilation of Dark Angel and Lord Carew’s Bride.

Dark Angel is the story of Jennifer, a young woman who has been waiting five years to marry Lionel, a handsome man who turns out to be an ugly villain. In the meantime our hero Gabriel is setting out to destroy said villain for impregnating and deserting his stepmother. Gossips think Gabriel was the villain in that melodrama. He attempts to break up the betrothal and humiliate Lionel, but the tables are turned when Gabriel finds himself the one now betrothed to Jennifer.

Lord Carew’s Bride follows Jennifer’s cousin Samantha, who had secretly been in love with Lionel the villain. He had been merely toying with a young girl’s affections. It’s five years later and she has vowed never to love because it only brings heartache. When she meets the landscape gardener at her cousin’s neighboring estate, she strikes up a friendship, unaware that he is actually the owner. Hartley Wade, Lord Carew falls instantly in love with Samantha, but hides his identity, wanting to know if her feelings are for him, rather than his title. Due to his physical disabilities, he dubs himself the beast to her beauty. I adore beauty and the beast themed stories.

Both of these books came out in 1995.

Three Weeks with Lady X by Eloisa James

Here is my first book review (since I have nothing of my own to share… YET). This book came out in 2014, just in case you think it’s something new.

FYI, I will only post about books I like and want to recommend.

Three Weeks with Lady X is a continuation of the Desperate Duchesses series. This is book 7. The main character, Tobias Dautry (aka Thorn), is the illegitimate son of The Duke of Villiers (my favorite character from the entire series!). In order to make himself appear more respectable towards his intended bride’s family, he hires Lady Xenobia India St. Clair to renovate his country estate.

Lady X, or India to her friends, is an independent career woman who has decided to quit and find a husband. This is to be her final project, but she has her hands full trying to turn a rundown estate into a palace fit for a princess. She works hard to make Thorn the perfect husband for another woman, while he intends to set her up with his best friend. Both realize the error of their ways, when it becomes obvious they are perfect for each other.

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