We all know that people love to take their pups to the groomers. They come back looking relaxed, adorable and ready for anything. Groomers are told how to style dogs and you trust them. You trust them to be patient and attentive to your best friend. They are trained professionals. So when owner and dog-groomer got accused of "embarrassing" her dog by the Kennel Club, she hit back.
This HaBO is from Seraph, who wants to find a historical romance based on some limited details:
This might probably be a long shot since I never actually even read the book…
It’s definitely a historical romance/regency novel. The only main thing I remember is that they’re using a book about the art of war, but applying it to courtship instead. I believe it’s the heroine using it to make the duke/earl/marquess fall for her, but not 100% sure.
I’m unsure if the book is strategy-based or is actually The Art of War by Sun Tzu.
If the Duke Demands
If the Duke Demands by Anna Harrington is $2.99! This is the first book in the Capturing the Carlisles. Readers loved the mistaken identity element that kicks of the hero and heroines deal to help each other woo other people. Though readers warn that the hero does kiss another woman, which I know some readers don’t like.
A LESSON IN SEDUCTION . . .
Miranda Hodgkins has only ever wanted one thing: to marry Robert Carlisle. And she simply can’t wait a moment longer. During the Carlisle family masquerade ball, Miranda boldly sneaks into his bedchamber with seduction on her mind. Soon she’s swept into rock-hard arms for the most breathtaking kiss of her life. But when the masks come off, she’s horrified to find herself face-to-face with Sebastian, the Duke of Trent—Robert’s formidable older brother.
Shocked to find Miranda in his bed, Sebastian quickly offers her a deal to avoid scandal: He’ll help her win his brother’s heart if she’ll find him the perfect wife. But what begins as a simple negotiation soon spirals out of control. For the longer this reformed rake tries to make a match for Miranda, the more he wants to keep her all to himself.
The Duke of Deception
The Duke of Deception by Darcy Burke is 99c! This is the third book in The Untouchables series, but it can be read as a standalone. Readers loved that the heroine wanted nothing to do with marriage and actively tried to avoid it, but others said the book has some pacing issues. It has a 4.1-star rating on Goodreads.
After five years on the Marriage Mart, Miss Aquilla Knox is ready for spinsterhood until a benefactress steps in to help her secure a husband. Only Aquilla doesn’t actually want to marry—her failure is entirely on purpose. When the earl she’s nicknamed the Duke of Deception sets his sights on her, she refuses to be drawn in by her attraction to him. If there’s one thing she knows it’s that a gentleman is never what he seems.
Edward Bishop, Earl of Sutton, has a reputation for courting young misses and dropping them without a second thought. This has earned him a reputation for deceit, a description he can’t refute because he does in fact, harbor secrets and will do anything—deceive anyone—to ensure they don’t come to light. As he comes to know the charming Miss Knox, his resolve is tested. However, trust comes at a price and Ned won’t pay with his heart.
The Art of Sinning
The Art of Sinning by Sabrina Jeffries is $3.99! This historical romance came out last summer and is the first in a new series. Readers loved the pairing of an American artists and a London heiress. However, a few reviewers mentioned that this lacks the passion and pace of Jeffries’ previous titles. It has a 3.8-star rating on Goodreads and several more books of hers are available for $3.99 or less.
American artist Jeremy Keane refuses to return home and take over his father’s business. He’d much rather sample bevvies of beauties abroad, in search of a model for the provocative masterpiece he’s driven to paint. When he meets Lady Yvette Barlow at a London wedding, he realizes she’s perfect for his work—and determines to capture the young heiress’s defiant spirit and breathtaking sensuality on canvas.
No stranger to scandal, Yvette agrees to be Keane’s subject—in exchange for his help gaining entry to the city’s brothels he knows intimately, so she can track a missing woman and solve a family mystery. But when their practical partnership leads to lessons in the art of sinning, can they find a bold and lasting love?
Slouch Witch by Helen Harper is 99c at Amazon! This urban fantasy looks all sorts of fun and I’ll definitely be buying it. Readers say it’s on the lighter side of urban fantasy, but others wanted more of a mystery to create some forward momentum. Anyone else interested?
Hard Work Will Pay Off Later. Laziness Pays Off Now.
Let’s get one thing straight – Ivy Wilde is not a heroine. In fact, she’s probably the last witch in the world who you’d call if you needed a magical helping hand. If it were down to Ivy, she’d spend all day every day on her sofa where she could watch TV, munch junk food and talk to her feline familiar to her heart’s content.
However, when a bureaucratic disaster ends up with Ivy as the victim of a case of mistaken identity, she’s yanked very unwillingly into Arcane Branch, the investigative department of the Hallowed Order of Magical Enlightenment. Her problems are quadrupled when a valuable object is stolen right from under the Order’s noses.
It doesn’t exactly help that she’s been magically bound to Adeptus Exemptus Raphael Winter. He might have piercing sapphire eyes and a body which a cover model would be proud of but, as far as Ivy’s concerned, he’s a walking advertisement for the joyless perils of too much witch-work.
And if he makes her go to the gym again, she’s definitely going to turn him into a frog.
This book is on sale at:
This HaBO comes from Lindsay and she’s searching for a bonkers, time-travel historical romance:
I’ve been looking for this one for a while now. I read it about five years ago on my B&N Nook, and have been back through every book in my account and cannot find it, so I’m hoping someone out there knows what it is.
Our heroine, whose name I don’t remember, falls in love with the laird of the castle (maybe early to mid-nineteenth century?). I’m pretty sure his name was Ian/Iain. I don’t remember how, but she somehow gets sucked back in time at the magic castle and winds up in prehistoric Scotland, where she shacks up with a caveman in a village that sounds a lot like Skara Brae. She’s really into Mr. Caveman, but also desperately misses Laird Ian-What’s-His-Name, and when Mr. Caveman has to go to war, he sends her back to the nineteenth century. Obviously, our heroine has some ‘splainin’ to do, and she and the Laird reach a Laird-Caveman/Time-travel-time-share agreement, which both dudes–who never meet– seem weirdly cool with.
Like I said, this one is like a crazysauce-covered sundae, and I would love to find it again.
I’m kind of a sucker for love triangles turning into super cool triads.
CatCon is an annual celebration of cats and the cat aesthetic, all of which has developed out of pure passion and love for feline pets. People gather each year in southern California for the big event. This year's third annual feline frenzy brought 15,000 cat lovers together for a weekend of fun and frolic at the Pasadena Convention Center on August 12th-13th. Attendees participated in experiential marketing, explored new products and fashion for both themselves and their four-legged furriends, and met with some of the most famous internet cats in the world.
So, in case you've missed it, here are some highlights of the kitty fest. via: The Purrington Post
The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare is a fairytale Regency that blends Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella and Batman.
Seriously. And it’s amazing.
I actually read it twice. The first time I was at home on a Friday night, enjoying a few rum and Cokes and unwinding. Apparently I can have exactly two drinks before I start loving everything and then forgetting I loved it.
I woke up the next morning surprised to see that Drunk Elyse gave it five stars on Goodreads because I didn’t remember the end. I opened it up to a random chapter and was like, “Who the fuck is Trevor?”
So I read it again. But Drunk Elyse was right the first time. The Duchess Deal is full of Feels, and a hero who has his head up his ass, but is not completely oblivious to it. And it’s laugh-out-loud funny.
Emma Gladstone was kicked out of the house by her vicar father when she was found having sex with a young man. She walked all the way to London on a frozen winter night (losing a toe in the process) and pieced her life back together as a seamstress.
When the book opens she’s just completed the wedding dress for the Duke of Ashbury’s bride-to-be; unfortunately the wedding was canceled and Emma shows up at the Duke’s door to demand payment for the dress she spent so much time on.
Ash pays her, and offers her another deal as well. He was horribly wounded when a rocket went off near him at Waterloo, and as a result one side of his body and face is badly scarred. His fiancée broke their engagement off when she saw his injuries, and now he’s torn between wanting to spend his time brooding in the dark and knowing that he still needs an heir.
So he proposes to Emma. Sort of.
He sets the rules:
- They will have sex at night – no lights, no kissing – until she produces an heir.
- She and said heir will then go live in the country completely apart from Ash.
- She will not ask about his scars or touch them or even think about them too hard.
Emma agrees because she doesn’t feel like dying in poverty when she gets old and her eyesight fails and she can’t sew anymore, but she immediately goes about making their marriage an actual partnership rather than the nonsense he’s proposing.
I love it when a hero is being all broody and struggling with his man-feels and the heroine is like, “Right, you can go sulk in the corner if you want, but I’ve got stuff to do.”
He’s all like “Look at my horrible, monstrous visage!” and she’s all, “They’re scars dude, chill the fuck out. You’re upsetting the cat.”
Emma is never appalled or frightened by Ash’s appearance. She accepts it almost immediately and as she begins to fall in love with him, it barely registers. It’s Ash who can’t move past the way he looks.
And while Ash does spend time sulking, he’s still pretty upbeat all the things considered. I got the impression that he liked the idea of being a monster rather than actually being one.
Like the rest of Dare’s books, The Duchess Deal is full of snappy banter and teasing and moments of utter and delightful silliness.
Such as feline interuptus. Emma and Ash are about to consummate their marriage when Ash senses an intruder in the room:
How the devil had someone slipped in?
Never mind, he told himself. That question could wait. The more pressing inquiry at hand was this: How was he going to kill the bastard? He mentally ran through the available weapons in the room. The fireplace poker would be most effective, but was out of reach. The sash of his dressing gown could make a decent garrote, in a pinch.
If needed, he’d fight hand-to-hand. His only concern was keeping Emma safe.
He rolled to his side and came to his knees, putting his body between her and the threat. “You have three seconds to leave the way you came,” he ordered. “Or I vow to you, I will snap your craven, knavish neck.”
The intruder struck first, leaping forward with a fiendish yowl.
Something that felt like a dozen razor-sharp barbs pierced straight through his nightshirt, digging into his shoulder and arm. He gave a stunned shout of pain.
Emma flung back the bedclothes. “Breeches! Breeches, no!”
Claws. Teeth. Hissing.
I don’t think I’ve ever read a romance novel yet where the hero and heroine have been interrupted by their pet, which is wild because I’m pretty sure everyone with a cat or dog has experienced this delight.
I also liked the fact that even though Ash spends a fair amount of time having a pity party for himself, he’s still pretty aware of the people around him and he’s never intentionally hurtful.
In this scene he and Emma are preparing to go to the theatre (a huge step for him):
She remained at the top of the staircase, hesitant. Well, and why wouldn’t she be. She was about to go out in public accompanied by a hideous monster in evening attire. One who flung hats and walking sticks about at random intervals.
“If you’d rather not,” he said, “it’s all the same to me. I’ve a report from the Yorkshire estate to look over.”
“Would you prefer to stay home?”
“Only if you prefer it.”
“I want to go. I should say, I’d hate to waste Mary’s efforts.” She touched a gloved hand to her hair.
What a horse’s ass he was. She wasn’t hesitating because she was concerned about his appearance. She was waiting for him to compliment hers.
A moment later:
Ash offered her his arm, and she took it. He escorted her down the staircase and out to the waiting carriage, mindful of her voluminous skirts, but never pausing. He refused to give any appearance of reluctance.
Tonight, it didn’t matter that he was scarred and hideous and would prefer to hide from society.
Emma deserved to be seen. And this night was for her.
I also liked that there was a really solid foundation for Ash’s Wounded Feels that didn’t come entirely from Ash being self-conscious regarding his scars.
And because we’re not done with the awesomeness, Emma becomes friends with some amazing (slightly eccentric) ladies who live nearby and are clearly sequel-bait. Female friendships FTW.
Now, I bet you’re thinking “But Elyse, you mentioned Batman earlier. Please explain.” When he’s brooding Ash walks the streets at night and, after chasing off some thugs who are robbing a woman, gets named the Monster of Mayfair by the press. The Monster’s nightly appearances get either exaggerated or entirely made up, and earn Ash the affection of a boy who is determined to be Robin to his Batman. It’s all adorable.
So I totally recommend reading The Duchess Deal, but preferably while sober so you can really appreciate all of it. It’s the perfect blend of two of my favorite fairytale tropes, it’s got a hero who never an alpha-hole, it’s funny, and it’s got female friendship. What more could you want?
We always need new superheroes. But actual new ones, reflecting the modern day, rather than reflecting yesterday. Unless reflecting yesterday is the point of the story. But the idea that we don’t need new superheroes is like not needing new romances or new detectives. The moment you don’t need new characters in genre stories, the genre is as dead as Latin. It’s not a crime that superheroes don’t age, but it’s a problem that superhero series don’t more often age and die and get replaced. Imagine if Kinsey Millhone and V.I. Warshawski and other modern (well, relatively) PIs couldn’t get an audience because Sam Spade and Race Williams were taking up all the shelf space. If you’re writing X-Men and your metaphors are about Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, that’s not all that much more modern than if your metaphors are about the Red Scare and McCarthyism. Ask yourself new questions, and put the results in your stories. Steve Englehart juiced up Captain America by asking what Captain America meant to the early 1970s. What does he mean now? What does Superman represent to the world? How does that, whatever it is, fit into the world today? Same for Batman, same for Wonder Woman. Tell stories you couldn’t tell ten, twenty, fifty years ago. -- Kurt Busiek
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