Romance Authors Expand Their Story Worlds

Hi readers! It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to write, lots of great things brewing over here. However, I received two amazing email updates from some of my favorite authors and just had to share!

Lady Bridget's DiaryThe first comes from Maya Rodale, who is launching a new series with the first book, Lady Bridget’s Diary, coming out in February. I can’t wait! I’ve written about how Rodale has incorporated transmedia elements into her writing and previous series and it looks like she’ll continue to do that with this new series. So for those of you who love to live in the world of your favorite characters, you are in for a real treat!

As part of her recent newsletter she shared the latest edition of the London Weekly, her fictional regency newspaper, which includes the juiciest tidbits teasing her new book and series. It’s a fun, quick read that will leave you rubbing your hands together in greedy anticipation of being formally introduced to Lady Bridget early next year. Remember to pre-order from Amazon to get the book delivered immediately on release day!

The Rogue Not TakenAnother author who is coming back to the romance scene with a new series is fan-favorite Sarah MacLean. Her Scandal and Scoundrel series kicks off this December with the first book, A Rogue Not Taken. This road trip romance re-introduces us to two characters who made brief appearances in her Love By The Number Series, Sophie Talbot and Kingscote, “King,” the Marquess of Eversley. If you can’t wait until December for the book release, MacLean is giving her readers a little something to whet their appetites – a romance roadmap illustration, which shows all the major stops along the way for Sophie and King. WARNING: This map does contain what I consider to be some spoilers or plot points, so if you like the surprise of not fully knowing where the characters go and encounter, you may want to wait until after you read the book. I allowed myself to read the first few bullets, but then decided to stop because I love living in-the-moment with MacLean’s characters and plot.

December Releases

Some of my favorite authors are putting out December releases that you may want to pre-order including Stephanie Laurens who is releasing a new historical adventure series with The Lady’s Command. Tessa Dare also has a new novella out, perfect for a Christmas read, Lord Dashwood Missed Out, from her Spindle Cover series.

New Favorites

The Madness of Lord Ian MackenzieEarlier this fall I decided I wanted to go on a Scottish Highlander binge. To be honest, it was inspired by Tessa Dare’s When a Scot Ties the KnotCaptain Logan MacKenzie may be one of my favorite heroes. Ever. So I highly recommend.

Back to my desire for more Highlanders in my life – I ended up doing some researching on Goodreads and rolled the dice on a new author (to me) Jennifer Ashley. She has an eight book series featuring one the most fabulous Scottish families I have ever read about, The Mackenzies. The first book, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, first had me a bit nervous if I was going to like the hero. Not because he is unlikeable, but because he is a very different kind of hero. That’s all I will say besides the fact that you WILL fall in love with Ian Mackenzie. The series is still going strong too, so I highly recommend you start reading now!

Happy Reading!

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Review: Love by the Numbers (Sarah MacLean)

It has been a while since I’ve done a romance review, but I just finished a new series (new to me anyways) and thought I’d share!

I was fortunate enough to actually take a romance writing course with the author, Sarah MacLean, and not only was it a super fun class (how could writing romance NOT be fun?!) but it was so incredibly insightful in how authors bring to life such amazing stories.

What I really love about MacLean’s books is they are full of incredible writing and storytelling. We’ve all read the romance novel that while we might love the story and love the characters, we know (and gladly accept) that it is not the most eloquent prose. Personally, as a romance reader, as long as the story hooks me and I’m invested in the relationship I can usually overlook everything else. But the best romance novels are those that not only feature a unique story, but are so well written you feel almost scholarly (a sexy scholar, obviously), which is exactly what you get with this series!

9780061852053The Love By Numbers trilogy follows three siblings of the Ralston House as they find love. The first book, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, is the tale of Callie and Gabriel, Marquess of Ralston. What makes this first book so fun is Callie is not your typical heroine. Labeled a wallflower (a title she has all too willingly accepted), Callie is spurred into taking control of her own life upon the engagement of her younger sister. Overhearing a conversation regarding what to do with her and her spinsterhood, Callie decides if she’s going to be put on the shelf she might as well live life to the fullest. Her adventures ultimately lead her to partnering with the Marquess of Ralston, Callie’s long term crush and ultimate male fantasy. One kiss is all is takes for their own adventure to begin. This was by far my favorite of the three books. There is something so relatable to Callie that makes you want to be her best friend.

9780061852060The second book, Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord, was my second favorite book. Following Nick St. John, Gabriel’s twin brother, we trade in the London season for the Yorkshire country side where we meet Lady Isabel Townsend. Lady Isabel is used to shouldering burdens, both of her family and beyond. Never the one to ask for help, you can imagine her surprise when London’s “Lord to Land” shows up on her door step ready to assist her in assessing her marble collection. Although wary of her secrets getting out, Isabel rolls the dice and allows Nick into her life (Best.Decision.Ever). We all know that ladies with secrets make for some of the best heroines (and stories), which is why this was such a great read (believe me, Isabel has plenty of secrets!).  This tale has a more dramatic flair to it and pairs a strong willed heroine with a caring and compassionate hero. It’s a delightful read through and through.

9780061852077The final book, Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart, took a while to grow on me. I found the heroine, Juliette, entirely unlikeable at the beginning of the book. Additionally, the story’s hero, the Duke of Leighton, isn’t exactly full of the warm and fuzzies either. However, about 10 chapters in I began to become fully invested. I will say that even though it was hard to immerse myself immediately in this book, both of these characters probably underwent the largest transformation of the entire Love By Numbers series (which is pretty awesome). Additionally, one of the best surprises of the book is that Penelope Marbury makes an appearance! For the longest time I couldn’t place where I had read Duke of Leighton until Penelope came into the picture. It was then I realized she is the heroine in MacLean’s current series The Rules of Scoundrels (which I am completely obsessed with). There is an even BIGGER surprise at the end of this book (especially if you have read the Scoundrel books, including Temple’s story) that was such a brilliant connection that I am giddy with anticipation for the final Scoundrel book release this November.

For fans of the Scoundrel series looking for something to read before Chase’s book comes out, I highly recommend Love By Numbers. And if you haven’t read either series – you can’t go wrong – but if you read fast like I do, go ahead and plunge into Love By Numbers so that when you move onto Scoundrel’s you won’t have to endure the agonizing wait for the final book!

Enjoy!