Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Upcoming Release & Review: Three Weeks with a Princess by Vanessa Kelly

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Three Weeks with a Princess
The Improper Princesses #2
By: Vanessa Kelly
Releasing June 27, 2017
Zebra
Three Weeks with a Princess

The Improper Princesses series


In Vanessa Kelly s captivating series, three young women are descended from royalty in the most improper way. But that doesn’t stop them from pursuing lives rich in adventure. . .

Lia Kincaid, illegitimate daughter of the Duke of York, comes from a long line of notorious women. Raised by her grandmother, formerly mistress to the late Marquess of Lendale, she has little hope of a respectable marriage. But the new Marquess, her childhood friend, Jack Easton, would make a very desirable protector . . . if he weren't t too honorable to take her to bed.

It's bad enough being saddled with a title he never desired. Now Jack must resist the beautiful woman he desires far too much. Duty calls, and he is duty-bound to choose a wealthy bride. But then Lia makes another outrageous suggestion: asking Jack to devise some tests to find her the perfect paramour. Tests that involve flirting, kissing, and other pleasurable pursuits. Tests that, in a matter of weeks, could transform friendship into the 
ton's greatest scandal, igniting a passion even duty can't deny. . .



Although the second book in the Improper Princesses series, this novel is a standalone and my first by this author.

As the daughter and granddaughter of two of London's most notorious courtesans, Lia Kincaid has spent most of her life sheltered away from the gossip courtesy of Arthur, Marquess of Lendale who allows them to reside in Bluebell Cottage on his Stonefell estate. However, even after all these years, their presence still causes distress and contempt to those that disapproved of his Lordship's relationship with her grandmother. When the Marquess dies without providing provision for either of them, a plan's hatched for Lia to take control of her future. Only the new Marquess, Jack Easton, her friend since childhood makes it is a mission to thwart her attempts at every opportunity.

Jack Easton loved his time in the military courtesy of the commission his dear Uncle Arthur had bought for him. Now his Uncle is dead, he's back at Stonefell as his heir. Seeing his childhood friend again is a shock because now she's a beautiful young woman. Unsurprisingly, Jack develops feelings for Lia, who he's always viewed as a little sister. When he finds out she's planning to leave Stonefell to become a courtesan like her mother and grandmother, he's appalled at the scandalous idea. So hindering her plans becomes his mission to stop her outrageous idea because her future belongs at Stonefell...as his wife.

Lia and Jack are such a fun couple. Despite objections throughout their lives, they've managed to stay close even when Jack was away. The result is a wonderful, playful banter between two people that share a mutual respect and affection for each other. Their verbal exchanges are humorous as insults and terms of endearment share the same sentences.

Lia is reckless and naive as she set about trying to solve her predicament with badly thought through plans. She's totally oblivious to the consequences of her actions. With similar determination, Jack makes sure he's always there to pluck her out of unfortunate situations, just as he did when they were younger. However, I felt as though they were constantly going around in circles as the same issues never get fully resolved and were further complicated by unnecessary subplots which distracted from the main plot. They didn't add anything worthwhile to shenanigans apart from delaying the inevitable and introducing more minor characters to remember.

Overall, Three Weeks with a Princess is a light-hearted and frivolous historical romance. It's fun and I loved the aspect of not having protagonists from perfect families backgrounds. As this was my first novel by Ms Kelly, I'm curious to know more about Gillian, the heroine from My Fair Princess.


***arc generously received courtesy of the publisher Zebra via NetGalley*** 


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 “Trying to set me up as a courtesan is rather drastic,” Lia said. “I’m not you or Mama. I’m not a patch on either of you.”
Nonsense. You’ve grown into a stunning young woman. With a little help from me and some financial support, you could very well take London by storm.”
There were so many things wrong with that plan that Lia didn’t know where to start. “I have another idea, Gran, and I’m convinced it’s the best one we could possibly come up with.”
Her grandmother had been reaching to replenish her teacup, but her hand halted in midair. “I’m listening.”
I’ll join Mama’s acting troupe. They’re looking for new company members now that they’re in London. Mama said so in her last letter. And I’m sure I could live with Mama and Mr. Lester in their town house in Kensington.”
Her grandmother regarded her with a dubious air. “Unfortunately, there are a number of critical drawbacks to that plan.”
Such as?”

“You can’t sing, dance, or act.”
That was rather a low blow. “I’m not much of a singer, I grant you. But I’m sure I can learn to dance, and you know very well I can act.”
Lia had been playacting for as long as she could remember and had often dreamed girlish dreams of following in her mother’s famous footsteps. She’d put on any number of recitations for her grandmother and his lordship over the years and had staged skits and little dramas for the servants, often with help from the kitchen maids and footmen. Granny and Lord Lendale had often told her that she was as fine an actress as Mrs. Siddons.
My darling, the truth is you’re a dreadful actress,” her grandmother said in a patient tone.
But you and his lordship were always so enthusiastic about my performances,” she protested.
Because we didn’t want to hurt your feelings.”
But what about the amateur theatricals I put on up at the house? The servants all seemed to think I was splendid.”
Her grandmother rolled her eyes.
She couldn’t help feeling daunted, but she had no intention of conceding—especially if the alternative was to become the next Notorious Kincaid. Lia was convinced she’d make an utter fool of herself as a courtesan, especially because her heart wouldn’t be in it.
I don’t care what you say,” she said. “I’m writing to Mama tonight and telling her I’m coming to London. I can at least try out the notion on her and Mr. Lester and see what they say.”
Her grandmother seemed to waver for a moment, but then she grimaced. “I feel certain your mother will not be amenable to you taking up the theatrical life.”
But she will be amenable to me becoming someone’s mistress?” Lia asked with disbelief.
Granny starched up. “It was good enough for me, was it not?”
Look how well that’s turned out.”
I’m sure under certain conditions your mother will agree to this plan,” Granny said, clearly determined to ignore Lia’s objections.
And what are those conditions?”
That won’t become entirely clear until I’ve had a chance to speak with Jack.”
Lia’s mind blanked for a few moments. “What in heaven’s name does Jack have to do with me becoming a courtesan?”
Granny’s eyebrows lifted with delicate incredulity. “Because you’re feeling a little squeamish about this plan, I think he should be your first.”
Lia got a very bad feeling—which was something, considering how alarming the entire discussion had been thus far. “First what?” she asked, praying she had misunderstood.
Your first lover, of course. But only if I can persuade him to agree to our terms.”

Vanessa Kelly is a USA Today Bestselling, 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. 
Vanessa’s previous series, The Renegade Royals, was a national bestseller. She is currently writing a spin-off series called The Improper PrincessesMy Fair Princess, book 1, was named a Goodreads Romance of the Month. Vanessa also writes USA TodayBestselling books with her husband, under the pen name of V.K. Sykes. 

If you could sit and write in a different country where would it be? 
England, probably the Lake District or the Cotswolds. My fantasies generally do not involve sexy guys—they involve peaceful little cottages on a hillside overlooking a beautiful lake. Oh, and tea, scones, and a nice glass of wine at the end of the day. LOL!
Co-writing: have you done it with another author, if not, would you?
I co-write with my husband as VK Sykes. We’ve written a number of books, including contemporary romances and romantic suspense. Hubby is also my critique partner for my historical romances. I enjoy the process and we work very well together—likely because we know each other’s weak spots and how to deal with them. It’s really fun to work creatively with him; plus, it keeps us busy so we don’t kill each other from boredom! I don’t know if I could actually co-write a book with another author, although I’ve worked on interconnected anthologies with other writers. I enjoyed that process, too.
Can you tell us a little about your book?
THREE WEEKS WITH A PRINCESS is the second book in The Improper Princesses Series, which is a spin-off from my previous series, The Renegade Royals. That series featured the illegitimate sons of England’s royal dukes, who fought for their rightful places in the world—falling madly in love with some pretty swell gals along the way, of course. In this new series, the illegitimate daughters of royal dukes take their turn, surmounting all the obstacles that society put in their way in that time period, and winning the hearts of their own heroes. There’s love, laughter, adventure, and just a little bit of danger to spice things up!
How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
Aside from the fact that it’s a spin-off, THREE WEEKS WITH A PRINCESS is based on the famous movie musical, Gigi. My heroine, Lia Kincaid, is the daughter and granddaughter of notorious courtesans and is expected to follow in their footsteps. There are a few problems with that plan, however—she has no desire to become a courtesan and she’s madly in love with her childhood friend, Jack Easton, Marquess of Lendale. But events conspire to push Lia in the direction she doesn’t want to go, and Jack is pretty much losing his mind trying to stop her. Jack, unfortunately, also has big problems, which include a mother who hates Lia’s guts and a debt-ridden estate all but falling down around his ears. Needless to say, Lia and Jack have more than a few obstacles to a happily ever after!
What are some books that you enjoyed recently?
I just read a great book called BITTER SPIRITS, a paranormal romance set in San Francisco during the Roaring Twenties. The hero is a bootlegger and the heroine is a spirit medium, and they meet under very unusual circumstances: the hero is under a curse. They have tremendous chemistry and I loved the atmospheric setting. I’m halfway through the second book in the series by Jenn Bennett, and I’m enjoying it, too. I’m kind of a sucker for unusual historical settings for romance, and this one really fit the bill.
What do you like best about being a writer? What is the most challenging part?
The best part for me is writing The End. I relish having a finished book in my hands, and it’s still a thrill to know I created a new story with characters I’ve invariably come to love. The most challenging part is actually sitting down every day and getting words on the page. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes not. There are days when I feel like being lazy or reading a book, but deadlines mean butt has to get into chair, regardless of inspiration striking or not.
Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
The theme I most frequently come back to, whether I realize it or not at the time, is family and finding home. It’s just the one that sticks with me. I do have a number of characters I’d like to return to at some point, mostly secondary characters from my Renegade Royals Series. There are a pair of children in my recently released short story, THREE RENEGADES AND A BABY, who I think are demanding their own story when they grow up. So, stay tuned for that!
Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
My next book is called THE HIGHLANDER’S PRINCESS BRIDE, and it’ll be out in November. It’s Improper Princesses 3, and it moves the action to a remote castle in Scotland. My heroine finds herself trying to teach a very rambunctious family of Highlanders how to be proper gentlemen, a la Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. This book segues into my next series, which will feature the Kendrick brothers—a wild group of Highland rogues! I’m really excited to be moving in that direction. 

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