Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Tour! A Review of My Fair Princess by Vanessa Kelly

My Fair Princess (The Improper Princesses #1) by Vanessa Kelly
Genre: Adult Fiction (Historical Romance)
Release Date: August 30, 2016
Publisher: Zebra

First, Vanessa Kelly brought readers The Renegade Royals. Now, in a delightfully witty new series, she introduces The Improper Princesses—three young women descended from royalty, each bound for her own thrilling adventure . . .

Despite being the illegitimate daughter of a prince, Gillian Dryden is happily ignorant of all social graces. After growing up wild in Italy, Gillian has been ordered home to England to find a suitable husband. And Charles Valentine Penley, the excessively proper, distractingly handsome Duke of Leverton, has agreed to help transform her from a willful tomboy to a blushing debutante.

Powerful and sophisticated, Charles can make or break reputations with a well-placed word. But his new protégée, with her habit of hunting bandits and punching earls, is a walking scandal. The ton is aghast . . . but Charles is thoroughly intrigued. Tasked with taking the hoyden in hand, he longs to take her in his arms instead. Can such an outrageous attraction possibly lead to a fairytale ending? 

My Fair Princess is the first book in the Improper Princesses series by Vanessa Kelly. Gillian was definitely improper. Thoroughly improper, and I loved her for it. Gillian's I can do anything and kick butt while I'm at it was perfect. Here she is, this tough girl trying to be proper. Okay.. she's not really trying, but she wants people to think she is, and she's so out of place in her time, you can't help but love her as a character. Charles was her opposite, although not as perfect as everyone liked to think. Still, they had completely different personalities, but they were so much fun to read about together. Their bantering was infectious. The plot was smooth and kept me reeled in with its humor as well as adventure. I definitely want to read the next book in this series.

The ARC of My Fair Princess by Vanessa Kelly was kindly provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley for review. The opinions are my own.

Her grandmother let out a heavy sigh, and even Griffin shook his head. The duke, however, simply regarded her with a perfectly unruffled manner, as if she were some recently discovered species, only vaguely interesting. Gillian began to get quite a bad feeling that she’d finally met her match.
     She’d been hearing for weeks how Leverton was the key to solving Gillian’s little problem, as her family called it. According to them, he was perfectly suited to guide her into society’s good graces, and perfectly capable of managing away even the most troublesome elements of her background.
     He must be a bloody perfect miracle worker, if that was the case.
     As she cautiously eyed him, she couldn’t help concluding that he did seem rather perfect in some respects. He was certainly prettier than she was, with thick, tawny-colored hair, striking blue eyes, and a face straight off a Greek statue. And he was certainly a good deal more stylish than she was, although that was true of almost anyone. But even she could appreciate the way his beautifully tailored coat showcased his broad shoulders, and how his breeches clung to his muscled legs with nary a wrinkle. As for his cravat, it was practically a work of art.
     In fact, he was so damn perfect it made her stomach hurt. She’d been drawn in by perfection before, and it had almost ruined her.
     “Stop trying to shock us, Gillian,” her grandmother said. “You know quite well it won’t work.”
     “Au contraire, Lady Marbury,” Griffin said. “I find myself quite riven with horror.”
     He flashed Gillian the conspiratorial smile that always made her feel someone truly did understand her. And, more important, Griffin didn’t find her wanting, unlike apparently everyone else in London. She couldn’t wait to shake the dirt of England from her boots and return to Sicily—the sooner, the better.
     “Miss Dryden is quite right,” Leverton said.
     Gillian frowned. “I am? About what, exactly?”
     He slowly crossed the room to her. He didn’t prowl, precisely, but something in the way he moved made her think of . . . a wolf, perhaps. Slipping silently through the night as he hunted in silence.
     An exceedingly clever wolf, she guessed. One with very sharp teeth well suited for ripping apart a person’s carefully ordered life.
     Leverton’s height forced her to tilt back her head to meet his gaze, and she found herself staring into eyes a beautiful shade of cobalt. She had to admit they were really quite amazing.
     “Please believe me, Miss Dryden, when I say I meant no insult. I was merely surprised by a few details regarding your situation. It caused me to forget my manners.” A glint of amusement lurked in his gaze.
     Her stomach twisted at the notion that he might be laughing at her. But when he smiled, her stomach seemed to untwist and start dancing with butterflies.
     “Come, my dear girl,” he said in his beautifully cultured voice. “I beg you to forgive me before I’m compelled to do something drastic—like throw myself at your feet. That would be embarrassing for both of us.”
     “Bloody coxcomb,” Griffin muttered.
     Leverton ignored the aside, keeping his attention on Gillian. Her heart began to thump and heat crawled up her neck. “Oh, very well,” she grumbled. “I forgive you.”
     “You are most gracious,” Leverton said. “Now, perhaps we can start over and leave all this awkwardness behind.”
     “What a splendid idea,” Grandmamma said. “Your Grace, my granddaughter, Miss Gillian Dryden.”
     The duke bowed as if she hadn’t just tumbled through the door, and as if they hadn’t just spent the last few minutes insulting each other.
     “Gillian, I have the pleasure of introducing you to the Duke of Leverton,” Grandmamma added.
     “Good Lord. I know who he is,” Gillian replied, not hiding her exasperation.
     “Then make him a curtsey, my dear. A proper one.”
     Repressing the urge to roll her eyes—one curtsey was as good as another, as far as she was concerned—Gillian dipped down and quickly came up.
     Leverton’s eyebrows ticked up. On him, she rather expected it was the equivalent of a horrified gasp.
     Well, nobody ever said she was graceful, at least when it came to that sort of silliness.
     “Hmm,” he said. “We’ll have to work on that.”
     “It’s all nonsense, if you ask me,” Gillian said. “All this bowing and scraping like a peasant before his master. Perhaps you’d like me to polish your boots while I’m at it.”
     His disapproving gaze made her blink, and she almost took a step back. This was a man who did not like being crossed.
     “Gillian Dryden, you will cease acting like heathen,” her grandmother rapped out.
     “I had no idea you had revolutionary tendencies, Miss Dryden,” the duke said. “How very interesting. And no, I would not like you to polish my boots.  My valet would not approve.”
     Now he sounded bored. And if he was bored, he would be more likely to go away and leave her alone. Splendid.
     Still, she couldn’t help feeling irked by his dismissive tone and demeanor. The Duke of Leverton was certainly a snob and probably a fop. She didn’t know which was worse.
     “Why would you think I have revolutionary tendencies, sir?” she added in a sugary-sweet voice. “Is it because I think I’m as good as anyone else, despite my unfortunate social status?”
     Gillian braced herself for the expected put-down. She’d grown used to being labeled a prince’s by-blow, or worse. It was best to simply accept it and then do her best to avoid anyone who looked down on her because of her parentage. She’d learned that hard lesson a long time ago.
     The duke studied her for a few moments before replying. “Of course you are.”
     “Of course I am what?” she asked.
     “As good as anyone else. Any sensible person must think so,” he said.
     “That eliminates most of the ton,” Griffin said.
     Leverton seemed to weigh her brother’s droll comment. “I believe your assessment is too pessimistic, Steele. Shall we say, perhaps fifty percent?”
     The exchange was so silly that Gillian had to laugh. Leverton’s eyebrows ticked up again, but not, she thought, with disapproval. Then he flashed her another dazzling smile that made her feel like the floor had just tipped sideways.
     “That’s much better,” he said.
     She shook her head, exasperated. “I don’t understand any of this.”

Check out my review of another book by this author!

Vanessa Kelly is an award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.” Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, Sex and The Single Earl, won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance. Her current series, The Renegade Royals is a national bestseller. Vanessa also writes USA Today bestselling contemporary romance with her husband, under the pen name of VK Sykes.

To learn more about Vanessa Kelly and her books, visit her website & blog.You can also find her on GoodreadsFacebook, and Twitter.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Release Day Review! A Review of Beautifully Burned by C.J. Burright

Beautifully Burned (The Dreamcaster Series #2) by C.J. Burright 
Genre: Adult (Paranormal Romance)
Date Published: August 23, 2016
Publisher: Swoon Romance

Grandma warned me to resist him.

I know what he is. Even if he doesn't sparkle in the sun, hiss at holy water, or go by the traditional name of vampire, I know.

He doesn't want or need my blood. He wants my dreams...more specifically, my nightmares. And I've got oodles of those, so many they leak.

He's emotionally scarred, growly, dangerous, and kindles all my senses. Love isn't on his agenda. Having him for a guardian isn't on my list of fun, either. My touch sends him into darkness.

I shouldn't want him.

I can't want him.

But I do.

If I surrender instead of escape, I'll lose everything--my sister, my will, my life. Gran forgot to tell me the most important detail of all: how am I supposed to resist him when he's everything I've ever dreamed of?

Beautifully Burned is told in a dual, third person POV, and may be read as a standalone. 

Beautifully Burned is the second book in the Dreamcaster Series by C.J. Burright. Daxon and Ella are the main characters this time around, but don't worry Lydon and Kalila are still very prominent(and adorable) throughout the book. Dax and Ella are similar, in that they both have overcome or are overcoming pains from their past, not to mention trust issues. I mean, V’alkara tend to hunt Dreamcasters after all. I love Dax. He's tough,  independent, and puts on this uncaring face, but he's kind of got this inner teddy bear to him. I enjoyed seeing it peak out through his alpha self at times.

We get to know new characters and learn more about some old ones. Plus, there are some who are just plain evil.

This is such a unique world, and I like that we're getting different main characters with each book. It keeps things fresh, and gives us different perspectives. This is definitely a favorite series for me!

The ARC of Beautifully Burned was kindly provided to me by the author for review. The opinions are my own.

“Poe,” Daxen said in a somber tone.
“I prefer Poe, if I’m reading horror. Which I wasn’t.”
The lines around Ella’s eyes softened. “What were you reading?”
He took a sip of his Shirley Temple and lifted one cherry by the stem. The fruit dangled from his fingers, close to his mouth. He flicked out his tongue and caught a drop of liquid just as it fell. “Five Sure Steps to Seduce a Stubborn Woman.”
“Only five steps? Sounds like a scam.” Her breathy voice made him shiver, and he’d swear the room heated a few degrees. Repairing the erratic furnace would be his next project.
Holding her gaze, he slid the cherry into his mouth and chewed, slowly.
A delicate flush rose in her cheeks and she tugged at her collar. As if realizing what she did, she dropped her hand into her lap and her eyes narrowed. “Not my business if you need help in the charm department, but good for you. Way to not give up.”
His lips twitched. She may not be ready to claim him for her V’alkara, but her reaction was promising. Kalila had never looked at him in such a hungry way. “Resist if you wish, dreamcaster. All the more challenging.”
Her green eyes glittered and she pressed her thighs together in an almost imperceptible move. The fluttering pulse at her throat was impossible to miss. He might be on to something with this seduction business.

Check out my review of the first book in this AMAZING series!

C. J. Burright was born and raised in Oregon and loved it so much she never left. While she has worked for years in a law office, she chooses to avoid writing legal thrillers and instead leans toward urban fantasy, paranormal romance, or—since all things medieval and magic fascinate her—fantasy romance. A member of Romance Writers of America and the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal special interest chapter, C. J. also has her 4th Dan Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do and believes a story isn’t complete without a fight scene. In what spare time she has, she enjoys working out, reading, gardening, and rooting on the Seattle Mariners, with wine whenever possible. She shares a house with her husband, daughter, and a devoted herd of cats.

To learn more about C.J. Burright and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on GoodreadsFacebook, and Twitter.