Category: Beach Reads

A Noble Masquerade, by Kristi Ann Hunter

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An absolutely terrific Regency romance for all ages. Such a wonderful blend of adventure, chemistry and sheer fun that I didn’t even miss the steamy bits. Lady Miranda is used to writing her thoughts in the form of a letter to her older brother’s best friends, whom she has never met. When one of the those letters is suddenly posted by her husband’s new valet, chaos ensues.

This was remarkably good, and the central love story is deeply satisfying. Miranda is an older, unwed sister to a beautiful younger sister, and her insecurities and frustrations about remaining ladylike make her wonderful to read. Highly recommended, for 16 and up.

Stiletto, by Daniel O’Malley

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Another fantastic book about the British secret agency, The Checquy. Author O’Malley delights with his insight into government bureaucracy, his unexpected monsters, and the wonderful female friendship that is at the heart of the book. The Checquy is attempting to merge with its arch-enemies, and when one of its female soldiers is assigned to bodyguard one of the visiting Grafters, their mutual hostility is at war with their innate politeness to amusing results. You don’t have to have read book 1 to follow Stiletto, but it helps. I love this series with a fiery passion. For 18 and up, due to violence and disturbing supernatural manifestations.

For the Roses, by Julie Garland

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This Garwood novel is unlike many of her others in that the historical romance is here, set in Montana before it became a state, but it is not the entire central story. The larger story is that of a family of choice, four men and a woman whose relationship with each other forms the backbone of a strong and loving family of siblings.

When Mary Rose finds a Scotsman in town, his citified ways prompt her to take him home so here family can look out for him. But Harrison has come to Montana with another agenda altogether, one that threatens the very structure of Mary Rose’s family. Simply wonderful and (bonus!) twice as long as most comparable novels. For 18 and up.

 

To Catch an Heiress, by Julia Quinn

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Another of Quinn’s wonderful historical fiction romances. In this one, Caroline is fleeing a lewd and disgusting guardian six weeks before she can come into her fortune. But since she has nowhere to go, it is good that she is carried off by an attractive agent of the Crown who mistakes her for a spy. I liked both of our leads in this story: Caroline, who is witty and ready to hold her own in any scrap, and Blake, who is still mourning the loss of his first love, and has sworn he will never marry. For 18 and up.

 

Never Love a Highlander, by Maya Banks

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This final book in the trilogy picks up exactly where the second left off. To save his clan, Caelen has agreed to marry a woman he doesn’t know and to become Laird of a new clan. His new bride, Rionna, is a warrior in her own right, but Caelen wants to put her firmly in the “Be a Lady” box, whether that’s who she is or not. Author Banks takes this conflict in interesting directions, and I enjoyed the ride enormously. Another steamy read, for 18 and up.

Seduction of a Highland Lass, by Maya Banks

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Keely, an exiled healer in the Scottish Highlands, tends to a warrior that collapses in front of her cottage, not knowing if he is friend or foe, and unaware that he will change her life. The warrior, Alaric, was on his way to meet his bride when he was wounded, and his pending marriage looms large as he and Keely grow closer.

Another great story from Banks that goes in unexpected directions. A super-steamy read, this one is a keeper for 18 and up.

 

A Scot in the Dark, by Sarah MacLean

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Sarah MacLean is the queen of the current crop of historical fiction romance writers for a reason. No one writes passionate love stories like she does, and her latest one is no exception. You can feel the chemistry between Lily and Alec, and each puts the other ahead of themselves in a way that is romantic and truthful.

As the novel opens, Lily is embroiled in a scandal, and Alec, as a newly inherited duke, has just discovered she is his twentysomething ward and he is her guardian. Their love/hate romance takes twists and turns, and each is thoughtfully written. The barriers here are within themselves more than due to circumstances, and MacLean writes these meaningfully.

A real winner, for 18 and up.

A Duke of Her Own, by Eloisa James

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The Duke of Villiers is finally seeking a wife (who will serve as a mother for his six illegitimate children), and Lady Eleanor may be just who he needs. Yet there is one other woman that Villiers will consider, and a house party at her home brings Villiers face-to-face with his top two prospects. I like Eleanor enormously in this novel – she is practical, self-possessed, caring, smart, and she owns a pug named Oyster. Most of all, she has the strength of will to demand that she be loved for herself, not for what she brings to the table. The dialogue between Eleanor and Villiers crackles off the page.

Well-plotted, with strong characters, steamy scenes, and smoking hot dialogue, this is James at her finest. For 18 and up.

This Duchess of Mine, by Eloisa James

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The book the readers of this series have been waiting for! The Duke and Duchess of Beaumont, both chess masters, have been wooing each other throughout the series, trying to find their way back together after their marriage was damaged in its early years. In this novel, which is sexy, serious, and joyful by turns, we see what comes of their quest to reunite.

The Duke, Elijah, is a straight-arrow with a passion for politics and a will to leave his country better than he found it. The Duchess, Jemma, is frivolous, worldly, and smart, and these two opposites are also racing time; Elijah has a bad heart and his father died at 34.

Beautifully written, this book is hard to put down, filled with genuine passion, affection, and steamy scenes. I recommend you read the earlier books to get this couple’s full story; it makes this one all the sweeter. For 18 and up.