Thursday, March 19, 2015

Book Tour for The Captain's Bluestocking Mistress by Erica Ridley (Review & GIVEAWAY)

As a fan of historical romances I'm excited to introduce you to The Captain's Bluestocking Mistress by Erica Ridley, the second installment in the Dukes of War series.  Keep reading to get a tantalizing taste of this book, along with my impressions of it.  Make sure to leave a comment telling us what your favorite time period is when reading historical romances for the chance to win an e-copy of The Earl's Defiant Wallflowerthe 1st book in the Dukes of War series too!

Captain Xavier Grey’s body is back amongst the beau monde, but his mind cannot break free from the horrors of war. His friends try to help him find peace. He knows he doesn’t deserve it. Just like he doesn't deserve the attentions of the sultry bluestocking intent on seducing him into bed...
Spinster Jane Downing wants off the shelf and into the arms of a hot-blooded man. Specifically, the dark and dangerous Captain Grey. She may not be destined to be his wife, but nothing will stop her from being his mistress. She could quote classical Greek by the age of four. How hard can it be to learn the language of love?

EXCERPT:

(When Captain Xavier Grey finds himself snowbound with a sultry bluestocking intent on seduction, he does what any honorable soldier would do: He tries to make her think of him as “just a friend.” Failing that, he figures he can at least distract her attention with the dusty old library he hasn’t laid eyes on since leaving for war...)

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Xavier gritted his teeth. This was Operation Platonic Friendship. He was not to think about the taste of Miss Downing’s mouth or the sway of her hips.
They needed to spend the entirety of the day discussing Wordsworth and Voltaire. Or rather, something less… provocative. He didn’t want to make a good impression. Perhaps he ought to engage her in a lively debate on whether library books were best catalogued by size or color.
“What do you think of my collection?” he found himself asking, instead.
“Well…” She poked her head from around a corner. “The topics are varied enough, but at least half have never been read. The pages aren’t even sliced.”
“You can do the honors, if you’ve found something you’d like to read.” He adjusted a small pillow and stretched out upon the chaise longue. He didn’t much care who sliced the pages, but if offering her the privilege made him seem like a good friend, he’d be happy to lend his knife.
Eyes sparkling, she bounced in place. “I can read anything that I want?”
“As long as it isn’t…” He hesitated. What had she mentioned earlier? Sugar? Shogun? “…shunga scrolls.”
The corners of her mouth quirked. “Nobody reads shunga scrolls. They just look at the pictures.”
He cut her a flat look.
She gave an innocent flutter of eyelashes and selected a book from the shelves. “Lay back down. I’ll read something to you. How about the Odyssey in original Greek?”
He couldn’t even remember purchasing it. “Do you mind if I snore?”
“I hope you do. But I’ll translate aloud in case you manage to stay awake.” Rather than take another chair, she perched at the foot of the chaise longue with her back toward him. “Ahem. Page the first. ‘Tell me, O muse, of that ingenious hero…’
There. Xavier relaxed his head against the cushion. Nothing could be more respectable.
Or less stimulating. He hadn’t actually intended to snore, but nor had he anticipated the level of mortal dullness in which Miss Downing read aloud. She could not have infused less life into her tone had she merely been counting sheep.
He might have told her not to bother translating, since it wasn’t doing either of them any favors, except he saw no advantage to being rude. His goal was to be perceived as a friend, not the enemy. Enemies could incite passion.
Miss Downing’s monotone could only incite slumber.
After a while, he let his eyelids drift closed. It had been a long, cold night filled with nothing but vivid waking dreams. He had been exhausted from the moment he rolled out of bed. Her tone was pacifying in its relentless uniformity, the words forgettable and relaxing.
He almost didn’t notice when she skipped from Calypso to Circe in the space of a breath. Her low words droned on without hitch. His eyes flew open. How could she have turned thirty pages at once without noticing? How could she have skipped the Trojan horse without noticing?
Sleep forgotten, he propped himself up on one elbow to glance over her shoulder at the text.
And roared. “What the devil are you reading, woman?”
She jumped, her cheeks flushing a rosy pink. “You said I might read whatever I wished.”
“You said you were reading the Odyssey!”
“I said I would read you the Odyssey.” She motioned him back to his pillow. “I’m reading something else.”
“That’s not ‘something else.’” Heart galloping, he reached for the book.
She held it aloft with her other hand. “You can’t have it. I’m right in the middle.”
“Absolutely not. That’s The Memoirs of Fanny Hill, and it’s not fit for human eyes,” he ground out.
Her brows arched. “Then why do you have it?”
“Because I’m inhuman! Give me the damn book or I’ll—”
“Oh, lay back down. You were almost asleep. I’ve already read most of what you’re afraid of, so there’s not much harm in reading the rest.”
He collapsed back against the chaise and covered his face with his hands. No wonder the woman’s storytelling abilities had been execrable. She’d been quoting from memory whilst reading an entirely different story. One in which an innocent country miss was procured by a bawdyhouse madam and then descended into a life of erotic abandon.
“What part are you at now?” he rasped, his throat dry.

BUY LINKS:  AMAZON  |  BN  |  KOBO

MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:

Though I've not read Ms. Ridley's books before I found this an entertaining place to start with a book that combined comfortable fluff with the harsh realities of war.  With its memorably outspoken heroine and damaged hero their bumpy journey to HEA keeps you fully immersed in their emotional highs and lows.

Jane is firmly ensconced on the shelf at the start of the story.  She feels plain, unmemorable to those who meet her.  With life passing her by though she decides it's time to make her mark and leave an impression.  Jane's an interesting dichotomy of loving the arts and being proud of her intelligence while also showing flashes of a flirty woman going after the man she wants.  That man is returning war hero, Xavier, who's also struggling with how he sees himself.  When he first came home Xavier was catatonic but is slowly emerging from the darkness.  That's not to say he's found peace and happiness though as he's still feeling lost and angry over his actions during wartime.  He just wants to be left alone in his self-imposed punishment.  I ached for Xavier and the hardness of his heart and soul that war has left him with.  It makes him a bit harsh and hard to love early on but Jane sees something in him that calls to her and her surprising proposal sets them on an intriguing path.  These two lost souls may start with a low simmer but soon find themselves waging a steamy war to reach their HEA in a story that's sometimes predictable but satisfying by the time Xavier makes his grand gesture.

This was a story with a bit of humor and heart, along with emotional intensity brought on by the past.  While it didn't weigh itself down dealing with the ravages of war, it didn't shy away from them either.  There was a nice flow in this quick read with two compelling main characters and a cat who completely charmed me bringing some very appreciated levity.  I enjoyed Ms. Ridley's tale and know that, though this was my first time reading her, it won't be my last. 

My rating for this is a B-

*I received this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.

AUTHOR INFO:

Erica Ridley learned to read when she was three, which was about the same time she decided to be a writer when she grew up.
Now, Erica is a USA Today best-selling author of historical romance novels. Her latest series, The Dukes of War, features roguish peers and dashing war heroes who return from battle only to be thrust into the splendor and madness of Regency England.
When not reading or writing romances, Erica can be found riding camels in Africa, zip- lining through rainforests in Costa Rica, or getting hopelessly lost in the middle of Budapest.

**********GIVEAWAY**********

Prize is an e-copy of The Earl's Defiant Wallflower, the 1st book in the Dukes of War series.

-Leave a comment (with your email addy, NO EMAIL=NO ENTRY) telling us your favorite time period when reading historical romance novels.
-Giveaway is open to all.
-Winner will be chosen using random.org
-Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM CST on 3/27.

12 comments:

  1. If I HAVE to pick a time period it would be 1800s Westward movement in America.

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    1. Oh! And email is amhart311@gmail.com

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  2. Just finished "Bluestocking" and without giving it all away, I found it delightful. The humor is great! Both our hero and heroine have struggled with their past. Jane is someone I'd love to have for a friend. Xavier is such a sweetheart. I love that Jane doesn't give up on him...and in the end he doesn't give up on her. Great story - an easy read - can't wait for more!

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  3. Love the Regency Era. With the balls and courting. It seems like a fun time.

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  4. I love Regency. Yes, many rules to follow but there were carriage rides in the park to see and be seen. Theatre, to see and be seen. House parties, to not be seen galavanting in the night to a room not your own. (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) Oh and the gowns! ccsowers@tampabay.rr.com

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  5. Love Regency, Medieval. ..oh, sucks! Love historicals, period.

    Please do nnot enter me, I already have all her books thus far.
    For awesome read, pick one up, you won't regret your choice!

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  6. My favorite time period is regency!!! I love everything about this era, England being my favorite place! I'd have to say Georgian and medieval are next! :) Ireland and Scotland being my next two fave places!

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  7. Can't pick a favorite time period, I like all historical periods. I enjoyed reading both The Earl's Defiant Wallflower and The Captain's Bluestocking Mistress; They were laugh out loud treasures!!

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  8. My favorite historical period is Regency England followed by Medieval stories with a Scottish flavor

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  9. My favorite is regency London but I love Scottish stories too!!

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  10. Regency or Medieval :) However I enjoy them all.
    Lori
    lorih824 at yahoo dot com

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  11. Regency England always beckons, but I love to read right across history.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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