Because you can't judge a book by its cover

Historical

Melody Mackay is an inventor for the Order of the Round Table, while a role not traditionally held by women, Melody isn’t about to let gender stereotypes stop her from fulfilling her calling. But in Dragons and Dirigibles by Cindy Spencer Pape, Melody crash lands on the front lawn of Victor, Earl of Blackwell, too bad she finds herself attracted to the very conservative, very appealing Victor.

Victor is struggling to keep things together at Black Heath, unexpectedly inheriting the title of Earl when his brother dies and becoming guardian to his young niece, Victor doesn’t have time for things like sexy inventors. When things go awry and Victor needs Melody’s help, will they be able to move passed their stubbornly held ideals to allow for love to grow between them.

Dragons & Dirigibles is another fun addition to the Gaslight Chronicles. I didn’t see the twist at the end coming (don’t worry, I won’t spoil it for you) but I loved the various steampunk contraptions used by the characters, especially the submarine at the end of the story. Melody was another great female character from Spencer Pape and fans of Wink will enjoy Melody’s energy and attitude. Once again, I felt like the story was a little short (and maybe a little rushed on how quickly Melody’s health recovered from her horrible crash) but the action was entertaining and the romance delightful.

Gaslight Chronicles Reading Order

Steam & Sorcery

Photographs & Phantoms

Kilts & Krackens

Moonlight & Mechanicals

Cards & Caravans 

Ashes & Alchemy

Dragons & Dirigibles

Ether & Elephants (Feb. 2015)

Rating: Star 4copy

Content: favicon5 NB

Title: Dragons and Dirigibles

Author: Cindy Spencer Pape

Format: eBook

Page Nos.: 125

AISN: B00I15VLBS

Publisher: Carina Press

Release Date: May 19, 2014

Available for purchase: Amazon

Reviewer: Jessica

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.

Novel Reaction is excited be a part of the Blog Tour for Katharine Ashe’s I Adored a Lord, the second book in the The Prince Catchers series. First let’s get to know a little more about Katherine.

Katharine Ashe author photo finalAward-winning, best-selling author KATHARINE ASHE writes intensely lush historical romance, including How To Be a Proper Lady, among Amazon’s 10 Best Books of 2012 in Romance, and eight other acclaimed novels set in the era of the British Empire. With the publication of her debut novel in 2010, she earned a spot among the American Library Association’s “New Stars of Historical Romance.” She was a nominee for the 2013 Library of Virginia Literary Award in Fiction, and in 2011 she won the coveted Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Historical Romantic Adventure. Katharine is also a finalist for the 2014 RITA® Award, the highest honor in the romance fiction industry, for How To Marry A Highlander. She lives in the wonderfully warm Southeast with her beloved husband, son, dog, and a garden she likes to call romantic rather than unkempt. A professor of European History at Duke University, Katharine writes fiction because she thinks modern readers deserve high adventure and breathtaking sensuality too. For more about her books, please visit her at www.KatharineAshe.com.

I thoroughly enjoyed my way through I Adored a Lord (your can read my review here) and am thrilled to be able to share with you an excerpt from it.

He was nearly a head taller than she and certainly the most handsome man she had ever stood so close to, with his shirt of close-woven linen and waistcoat of brocaded silk. The whisker shadow of the night before that had scratched her chin had gone; his cheeks were smooth and high-boned, his jaw firm. “You seem remarkably comfortable with all of this.”

“I was at war, Miss Caulfield. There is little that can discomfit me now.”

But that was not the entire truth. He was not at ease as he seemed to study her features now.

“As you can see, I have knowledge that can help you find the murderer,” she said.

“What suggested to you that I have any intention of pursuing such a course?”

“Of course you have, or you would not have brought the body here and bribed the servants to keep it a secret from everybody else.”

“I did not bribe them.”

“You must have. I would have. After you tell the prince, I suppose he will summon the local law to investigate. When it arrives, let me help.”

“I cannot in good conscience allow that.”

“Then allow it in bad conscience.”

“Miss Caulfield—”

“You must allow me to help.”

“And yet I will not, despite my wish to please you.”

“You don’t wish to please me. You wish to thwart me.”

“You are correct. In this at least.” His gaze slipped to her shoulder, then her arms she was hugging to her waist, passing over her breasts as though they were not there. “Your lips are blue. You must retire to the warmth of your bedchamber. I will instruct Monsieur Brazil to send up a maid to build your fire again.”

“Aren’t you concerned that the murderer might realize we have discovered the body and will know that I know about it, and will come after me?”

That muscle twitched in his jaw again, but she did not know if humor or pique inspired it. “Yes.”

“If you keep me close, he won’t be able to get to me easily.”

“Interesting choice of words from the woman who vowed not two hours ago that she would not in this life come close to me again.”

“To solve the mystery of the murderer,” she said, her tongue abruptly dry, “of course.”

“Ah.” A smile caught at the corner of his mouth, the dent peeking out. “Of course.”

“I have plenty to recommend me to this investigation that the local police will appreciate.”

“An expertise in deaths involving medieval armor, perhaps?”

“A female body.”

That stalled him. Again his gaze dropped but this time it more than grazed over her breasts; it lingered. “I will admit I am not seeing how that makes you an expert investigator to murder.” He lifted his eyes to hers. They were decidedly dark and not entirely focused. The night before, his eyes had looked like this when his body atop hers had become aroused.

“I can speak to the women at this party in a manner in which I suspect you cannot. In regular conversation that seems like gossip I can encourage them to reveal information that could be valuable to discovering why this man was murdered and stuffed into a suit of armor. I will investigate this murder whether you or the local police wish me to or not.”

There was a stillness about his contemplation of her that at once made her breathe more deeply and unnerved her.

“You have me against the wall, it seems,” he finally said.

“I do.”

“The moment I have cause for concern over your safety, I will remove you to the village.”

“You will do no such thing. You haven’t the right. I may not actually be a lady, but I am a guest of the prince—”

“Who will do as I advise.” He seemed entirely confident of this.

Suspicion prickled at Ravenna. “Who is to say you are not the murderer, and now that you know I have useful information you won’t dispatch me too?”

“None but me.”

She glanced into the darkness where the butler had disappeared, then back at the tall, dark man who had subdued her quite effectively in a stable the previous night. “This is the part where you pull out the bloodstained dagger, isn’t it?”

“Why wouldn’t I have done it earlier, before Monsieur Brazil knew of your involvement?”

“No doubt you only thought of it at this moment.”

“It seems I am carelessly shortsighted.”

“It does.”

“Miss Caulfield?”

“You are not the murderer?”

“Go to bed.” He grasped her fingers and tucked them around the lamp handle. For a moment his large, strong hand encompassed hers, and she thought that no man who murdered another could possibly have such a marvelously warm, gentle touch. Then he released her. “The prince will call the party together after breakfast. If you truly intend to assist in this—”

“I do.”

“You must have your wits about you.”

“I always have my wits about me.”

“I think I am coming to see that.”

“You haven’t dispatched me because you know you need my help.”

“Do I?” He took a half step closer. “Or perhaps I have not yet dispatched you because, as depraved as I am, when I look at your lips I can feel your body beneath mine in the straw. If I were to do away with you now, that scenario could never be repeated.”  …

 

I missed reading the first book in The Prince Catchers series but I will definitely be reading the rest of the books in the series.

The Prince Catchers Reading Order:

I Married the Duke

I Adored a Lord

I Loved a Rogue (February 2015) 

 

Isabelle de Piaget must get to France immediately in order to save her grandparents, but she must do so without the overprotective care of her family and survive the perils of medieval England and France in the process. In Dreams of Lilac by Lynn Kurland, Isabelle is able to sneak away from her family by dressing as a lad but while crossing the channel from England to France her ship is sunk in a storm and Isabelle washes ashore without any money or memory of who she is or what she is doing in France.

Gervase de Seger’s rescue of Isabelle from a group of thugs is not the noble chivalrous rescue he would have been able to perform a year ago, due to almost dying in a fire in his castle and breaking numerous bones, Gervase is barely able to move, let alone lift a sword to defend himself. But after rescuing what he thinks is a lad, he takes her home and puts her to work in his kitchen. When Gervase realizes his mistake, he just hopes he can survive Isabelle upsetting every aspect of his life. 

Dreams of Lilac is a fabulous addition to the De Piaget series. If you haven’t read a Lynn Kurland book yet, I HIGHLY recommend that you do! Her novels are historically fabulous, not glossing over the reality of living during medieval times, but it is the relationships between her characters that I absolutely love. Her portrayal of the complexities of family relationships, the good with the bad and how those complexities can impact our own view of ourselves is incredible. I have to admit I was shocked when I looked back over my last almost five years of reviewing that I have only reviewed handful of her novels because she is one of my default purchase authors (you know, those authors what you automatically purchase without even reading the book’s synopsis). That being said, Dreams of Lilac is a great blend of mystery, danger, and love. Isabelle is used to standing on the sidelines, considered the less attractive sister compared to Amanda (of Dreams of Stardust) Isabelle is unused to finding herself the center of attention but that is exactly where she finds herself after she is rescued by Gervase. I loved how Isabelle handled herself in difficult situations, unwilling to stand back anymore she rushes headlong into everything that comes her way.

Gervase, once one of the best tourney knights in France and England now can barely ride a horse, let alone hold a sword to defend his keep. Struggling to figure out who almost killed him and come to terms with his new limitations Gervase is definitely not looking for love, especially to a certain beautiful but headstrong noble woman. Gervase is a strong man, brought low by circumstances and trying his best just to get through each day. The only real issue I had with Dreams of Lilac is that I felt that Gervase’s recovery after Isabelle appeared seems a little fast but I understand why Kurland moved things along as quickly as she did. Dreams of Lilac is a stand alone novel but I recommend you read the entire series (not all of which is available in ebook format) to appreciate the fear Gervase feels when finding out who Isabelle’s family is and because they are just a fabulous read.

De Piaget Reading Order

Another Chance to Dream

If I Had You

Dreams of Stardust

When I Fall In Love

The Christmas Cat (novella)

One Enchanted Evening (you can read my review here)

This is All I Ask

The More I See You

From This Moment On

Tapestry (anthology)

Stardust of Yesterday

Till There Was You

One Magic Moment

All For You

Dreams of Lilac

Rating:  Star 5copy

Content:favicon no background

Title: Dreams of Lilac

Author: Lynn Kurland

Format: Paperback, eBook

Page Nos.: 336

AISN: B00FX7LVJO

Publisher: Penguin Group

Release Date: April 29, 2014

Available for purchase: Amazon

Reviewer: Jessica

 

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.

Amity Doncaster is used to facing dangers as a globe-trotting writer but she is completely unprepared for being kidnapped in London. In Otherwise Engaged  by Amanda Quick, Amity is kidnapped by the serial killer known only as The Bridegroom, thanks to her quick thinking and always traveling prepared she is able to escape the masked man but knows he is going to come after again. Having caught the Bridegroom’s attention because of her connection to the mysterious Benedict Standbridge during their boat trip from the Caribbean, Amity is upset when she finally reconnects with Benedict in London.

Benedict Stanbridge owes his life to Amity, when he hears about the attempted kidnapping he rushes to her side, eager to protect her from further harm. Benedict is shocked by Amity’s reaction but is determined to protect her at all costs, even if he has to marry her to do so.

Otherwise Engaged by Amanda Quick is a stand alone historical romantic mystery. In some ways it is your typical Amanda Quick, clever main characters, complex plot and passionate connections, however, the path to true love is never smooth and that is especially true in Otherwise Engaged. After feeling an immediate connection, Amity and Benedict are separated for a time and then the Bridegroom gets involved. Amity was fabulous, independent, strong-willed and resourceful. Benedict was clever and continually finding himself in situations that his previous experiences have left him unprepared for but he rose to the occasion admirably. I really loved what Ms. Quick said about monsters, “For some reason the most jarring thing about [name omitted to protect the surprise of discovering the murder yourself] was that he appeared so normal. There was nothing remarkable about his neatly combed light brown hair, his thin face or his lean build. It would have been quite easy to pass him by on the street without taking any notice of him whatsoever. But that was the thing about the true monsters of the world, Amity thought. They were so dangerous because they were able to hide in plain sight.” I recommend Otherwise Engaged as a fun quick read.

You can read an excerpt here.

Rating: Star 4copy

Content: favicon5 NB

Title: Otherwise Engaged

Author: Amanda Quick

Format:  Hardbound, eBook

Page Nos.: 352

AISN: B00FX7R5QM

Publisher: Putnam

Release Date: April 22, 2014

Available for purchase: Amazon

Reviewer: Jessica

 

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.

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It is true you can't judge a book by its cover, you also can't judge a book's graphic content by its cover. NovelReaction's goal is to provide readers with a graphic content so they can make an informed decision regarding the books they want to read. (Also, to have a great place for people to discuss books.) So sit back, pull up a beverage, and read on!
Graphic Ratings*

1 = kissing
2 = kissing, some fondling
3 = descriptive stripping but no sex
4 = sex scene but not descriptive in details
5 = full descriptive sex scene

*I am rating a specific book by an author, not the author's style. If I am aware an author writes a specific way, I will let you know.

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