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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Blog Tour: Sweetest Scoundrel by Elizabeth Hoyt (Review + Giveaways)

Elizabeth Hoyt keeps knocking them out of the park and Sweetest Scoundrel is no exception! I'm so happy to be part of the blog tour for this book and I hope you all go out and grab a copy of the latest Maiden Lane book. Or you can enter to win one of ELEVEN print copies!

About Elizabeth Hoyt:

Elizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times bestselling author of over seventeen lush historical romances including the Maiden Lane series. Publishers Weeklyhas called her writing "mesmerizing." She also pens deliciously fun contemporary romances under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with three untrained dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the long-suffering Mr. Hoyt.

The winters in Minnesota have been known to be long and cold and Elizabeth is always thrilled to receive reader mail. You can write to her at: P.O. Box 19495, Minneapolis, MN 55419 or email her at: Elizabeth@ElizabethHoyt.com.

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Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Forever (Grand Central Publishing)
Release Date: November 24, 2015

Prim, proper, and thrifty, Eve Dinwoody is all business when it comes to protecting her brother's investment. But when she agrees to control the purse strings of London's premier pleasure garden, Harte's Folly, she finds herself butting heads with an infuriating scoundrel who can't be controlled.

Bawdy and bold, Asa Makepeace doesn't have time for a penny-pinching prude like Eve. As the garden's larger-than-life owner, he's already dealing with self-centered sopranos and temperamental tenors. He's not about to let an aristocratic woman boss him around . . . no matter how enticing she is.

In spite of her lack of theatrical experience-and her fiery clashes with Asa-Eve is determined to turn Harte's Folly into a smashing success. But the harder she tries to manage the stubborn rake, the harder it is to ignore his seductive charm and raw magnetism. There's no denying the smoldering fire between them-and trying to put it out would be the greatest folly of all . . .

There really is such a magical quality in Elizabeth Hoyt’s writing, most notably in her Maiden Lane series. The combination of earthy passion and witty dialogue amid the hustle and bustle of Georgian England makes each book highly addictive and a must have for any historical romance fan.

Hoyt’s characters are unconventional in a genre that seems to value the “perfect” physical specimens of man and womanhood, yet those same unconventional characters bring an abundance of life and vitality to every story. Take Asa Makepeace for example. He’s a hulking bear of a man with the manners and loud voice to match yet for all his growling, shouting and crude behavior, he’s worth falling for. Actually his crude behavior and bawdy comments were kind of endearing to me which says more about me than him… Moving on. Asa was a dangerous man to be sure but he also had this natural kindness that was buried waaaay down deep and needed someone more stubborn than he was to bring it out.

Enter Eve Dinwoody. She was almost the complete opposite of Asa, proper, polite, quiet and cautious. But she was also very stubborn and that’s what kept Asa from bulldozing over her like he did with so many others in his life. Eve’s persistence and calm, cool logic had me loving her way before Sweetest Scoundrel. She was a sensible woman and in the face of disaster, someone you would want on your side. Naturally she was going to butt heads with Asa and while she taught him a thing or two about patience and kindness, she also learned how strong she truly was.

Together Asa and Eve made a great team professionally even if they did bicker like children over every detail of the theater, but that was mostly Asa’s stubbornness talking. Personally they were explosive together even when they weren’t touching. Their chemistry wasn’t instant; it was more like a spark that once it caught onto something solid burned hotter and brighter with each turn of the page. I loved the progression of their romance, the arguing that led to kissing that led to more arguing that led to deep thoughts that led back to kissing and more. I wouldn’t have expected anything else of Asa, he doesn’t like the distraction that Eve presents, much less the thoughts that plague him when for so long his only thought and love was his theater.

Then there was the building of the mystery surrounding Eve’s brother the devious and somewhat villainous Valentine Napier, the Duke of Montgomery. Why does he need to collect information on people? How far will he go? Is he a bad man? Probably but I don’t think he’s all that bad if he’s getting his own book. One thing I do know and like about him is his devotion to Eve, even if he does use her for his own schemes; he was there when she needed him most. I am so curious about him it’s not even funny, but that’s the author for you. Hoyt can engage readers’ attention and affection for the main couple all while building interest for other characters in the story but she does it in a way that doesn’t distract from the main plotline.

Final Verdict: Sweetest Scoundrel is the latest in a long line of Maiden Lane series books and with each book I fall deeper and deeper in love. These books are not just about connecting with the main characters or reconnecting with old ones, they’re also about discovering new characters in the most unlikely places.

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* Using the purchase links on this blog allows me to see a small percentage of the sale. It will help sponsor future giveaways. You can read the full disclosure OVER HERE

          “What do you see when you look at me?”
         What did she see when she looked at him?
          Eve inhaled, trying and failing to tear her gaze from his.
         Mr. Harte sprawled across her dainty settee like a Viking marauder in a pillaged Christian church. His broad shoulders took up more than half the width, his arms lazily draped over the back. His scarlet coat wasspread open, contrasting with the sedate gray-blue of the cushions almost shockingly. One long leg was thrust straight before him, the other cocked open and resting on a booted heel. The pose made the apex of his thighs very . . . obvious . . . and even as she kept her eyes locked on his she could feel heat rising in her cheeks.
         What did she see?
         She saw violence and anger, kept under a control that was tenuous at best. She saw power and a strength that could hurt her—kill her—if he so chose. She saw theinnate brutality that was, in larger or smaller part, in all men.
          She saw her most terrible fears.
         But—and this was the truly unprecedented part—she saw more in him. She saw temptation—hertemptation—alluringand frightening at the same time, his virility sostrong it was nearly a visible miasma in the space betweenthem.
          She wanted him. Wanted that brash gaze, those long,muscled thighs, that mocking, insulting mouth, and the shoulders that went on forever, big and brawny and so
very, very male.
          This was madness—she knew that intellectually. She’dnever wanted a man before—was in fact afraid of almost all men, let alone one so obviously, blatantly sexual.
          She took a breath, hoping that he couldn’t read all this from her gaze—and knowing it was a lost cause already.
          His heavy-lidded green eyes were far, far too perceptive.
          “I see . . .” She paused to lick suddenly dry lips. “I see that your hairline is nearly a perfect arc across the expanse of your forehead. That your eyebrows tilt ever so slightly up at the ends and that the right has a scar through it. I see that when you are solemn, the outer edges of your lips reach just to the midpoint of your eyes, but when you smile, they go beyond the corners. I see that your chin and jaw are almost in classical proportion and that a small white scar forms a comma on your chin just to the right of center.” She finally glanced away from him, breathing heavily, certain that she’d not thrown him off the track with her artist’s eye’s impressions. She inhaled again and ended, “I see every line of your face, every line’s intersection and how they relate. That is what I see when I look at you.”
          “And is that all you see? Lines?” His voice was deep and amused.
         She chanced a peek.
          He still watched her, his gaze utterly unperturbed byher observations about his countenance.
          No, she’d not fooled him at all.
          She licked her lips again, buying time. “I see,” she said carefully, cautiously, “a very self-possessed man.”
          “Self-possessed,”he drawled. “I’m not sure what that means, frankly. It sounds, just a bit, like a coward’s answer.”
          Her gaze flew to his, outraged.
          But before she could take him down a peg, he chuckled softly. “Tell me, Miss Dinwoody, would you like to know what I see when I look at you?”
          She shouldn’t. She really, really shouldn’t.
          “Yes,” she blurted, and then winced because she knew well enough what men thought when they looked at her: ordinary, if they were charitable. Plain if they were not.
          She braced herself for mockery, but when she glanced again at him, his gaze was hot and hard. Certainly not gentle. Certainly not kind. But he wasn’t dismissing her, either.
          He looked at her as if they were equals. As if he really saw her, a woman to his man.
          “I see,” he said, his deep voice musing, “a woman afraid, but fighting her fears. A woman who carries herself like a queen. A woman who could rule us all, I suspect.”
          She gazed at him, her breath caught in her throat,afraid to exhale and break the spell.
          A corner of that wicked mouth tilted up. “And I see a woman who has a deep curiosity. Who wants to feel but is worried—of herself? Of others?” He shook his head. “I’m not sure.” He leaned forward slowly, destroying his pose,and she had to fight herself not to scoot her chair away from him. “But I think she has a fire banked within her. Maybe it’s only embers now, glowing in the dark, but if tinder were to be put to those embers . . .” He grinned slowly. Dangerously.“Oh, what a conflagration that would be.”

Blog Giveaway:

ONE print copy of Sweetest Scoundrel (US/CAN only)

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