‘Masques of Gold’ by Roberta Gellis

STORY: London’s colorful marketplaces proclaimed the city’s splendor and wealth–a golden prize disputed between King John’s devouring greed…and the warrior barons who challenged his throne. From the flames of the bitter struggle came the men and women who dared to forge their own unique destinies…
Lissa de Flael
Willful, bold and beautiful, she as a burgher’s daughter, married and widowed in a nobleman’s cynical conspiracy of power. Yet her independent heart remained untouched–until one man fired her senses in a single glorious night of desire…

Sir Justin FitzAilwin
Wellborn and feared, the warden of London’s peace in a ruthless age of war, he waged a desperate private struggle for Lissa’s love–his life, his hope, his destiny.

Their joining was a shining, embattled alliance, menaced by an unseen enemy, yet fated by the passion that stirred deep within their souls.

REVIEW: I can’t believe I never read this author! Where was I for the past twenty-so years? Well, I’m really glad that Roberta Gellis has decided to publish her back list in ebook format as I’m sure to stock up on some exceptional reads. If I am to ‘abandon’ my regency world, the book better be good, and this one was excellent!

This is a historical romance and mystery all wrapped up in one fascinating tale of pageantry in the 13th Century England during King John’s reign. Lissa de Flael’s goldsmith husband, Peter de Flael has been murdered and Sir Justin is assigned to investigate the crime.

The author clearly knows her craft and her research into this era has paid off as she paints us a picture of this long gone era filled with equal measure of merchants, barons and royalty of Medieval England.

From the first page to the last, the author never fails in holding my attention while I slowly become embroiled into the intrigue and mystery of the very interesting and engaging plot, but what fascinates the most is this authors prose and historical detail which brings the Medieval Age to life. Ms. Gellis leaves nothing to chance and revels in her telling of this era and its inhabitants; its daily routine; its politics and the overall workings of the society our hero and heroine come from and belong to.

If you’re in a mood for character driven, suspense filled love story with medieval setting, I highly recommend this story. It truly will take your breath away!

ARC provided by NetGalley.

‘How to Ravish A Rake’ by Vicky Dreiling

STORY: SCANDALOUS DESIRES . . .

Amy Hardwick has one last Season to shake off her wallflower image and make a love match. If she can’t, she’ll set aside her dreams of romance and return home to a suitor who can provide security—if little else. What she doesn’t count on is the inappropriate—and irresistible—attention lavished on her in a darkened library by rake extraordinaire Will “The Devil” Darcett . . .

DEVILISH DELIGHT

When Will is caught in a tryst with the ton’s shyest miss, he knows he must offer for her hand. Yet Amy is not the shrinking violet she seems to be. Passion lies beneath her prim exterior and Will is eager to release it. But winning Amy isn’t simply a matter of seduction; first, Will must convince her that he’s mended his wicked ways . . .

REVIEW: This is the third story in the How to series from Vicky Dreiling and I was looking forward to Amy’s story since we were first introduced to her character. I had such high hopes for her and frankly, after the previous two books, my expectations were very high.

The blurb sets this story very well, so I’m not going to go into it, but rather I’ll tell you why I liked this story.

I liked the way the author took her time to set up the background on both of these characters and then she placed them in some complicated and interesting situations which made both take a very serious look at their past, present and future.

Will was always a ‘rolling-stone’ and to really understand this complex man, the author gives us little bits and pieces from his past through his families stories and especially through his own musings. He admits to his own failings and wonders as to the reasons behind his past liaisons with many women and why he’s never wanted nor desired a true relationship.

Amy was such a contradiction, even to herself. She, like all that knew her, always thought of her as shy and timid, yet once she really got to look deep down into herself, she found out that she had a backbone and all she ever wanted was for people to see her as she really is, a woman with a mind of her own.

In contrast to Ms. Dreiling’s other two books which were filled with lots of humor and wit, this one was just a tad on the serious side and slower paced, but I believe that both of the characters dictated the story take that turn.

Don’t misunderstand, there’s still plenty of humor, especially when we get to hang around Will’s family, just not as much as I am used to from this author.

The author also gives us plenty of secondary characters such as Georgette and Beau and their romance. We get to meet Will’s ‘misguided’ friends as well and can’t but hope that Bell and Fordham will soon find their own happily ever after.

It appears that Andrew Carrington, the Earl of Bellingham’s love story is next and you can get a peek at what’s coming up for him in ‘A Season for Sin’ which is an e-novella and a prelude to ‘What a Wicked Earl Wants‘ a new series ‘The Sinful Scoundrels’ coming our way in Spring 2013. It promises to be yet another of Ms. Dreiling’s unique fun-filled romantic comedies set in the Regency Era. In the meantime, if you haven’t had a chance to read any of her books, please try to find her previous two, ‘How to Marry a Duke’ and ‘How to Seduce a Scoundrel’. Trust me, you’ll love them all.

ARC provided by NetGalley.

‘Captain of My Heart’ by Danelle Harmon

I am seriously so excited to write this review of Captain of My Heart by Danelle Harmon.  Let me preface this by saying that I have gone through a little reading slump this year and find it very hard to “fall madly in love” with many books.  I promise you, that I did not have that problem with this book. Actually it was quite the opposite.  I fell hard and fast and probably now all of the other books I read this year will not compare at all!

With Captain of my Heart I found so many old feelings rushing back while I was reading!  Those feelings of angst and being unable to put a book down in the middle of the chapter, or thinking about ALL day at work about getting back to the last place you left off.  That warm, achy feeling you get during a really tender kiss or love scene that just makes you find the romantic in you and give them a big old hug.  Does any of this sound familiar?  Do I sound crazy?! I certainly hope so.  That’s the only way to be about a book that brings so many emotions to the forefront and at the same time introduces you to a heart stopping h/h like Mira and Brendan.  not to mention their quirky secondary cast of characters.  I can’t remember how long it has been since I have been so in love with a group of characters!

Everything about Captain of My Heart just works!  It’s a guiltless pleasure of a read with an absolutely fantastic plot full of action, romance, intrigue, the open seas, treachery- it all worked together to simply keep me entranced!  The writing is great, the characters both believable and completely over the top and the romance….. the romance is one that grows from page to page until all of a sudden it’s this wonderful living, breathing entity taking my breath away.

I loved this entire cast of characters.  I mean really, there isn’t just one that I love they are all up there on the list.  But really no single character in any of the books that I have EVER read has made me have the kind of reactions that I had to Mira.  She’s absolutely hysterical.  She is crass, vulgar, brazen, she has no tact whatsoever, not a drop of refinement to her and yet I completely LOVED her.  More than once I simply threw my head back and laughed at something that she said or did.  She is not afraid of a single person and her lack of boundaries makes basically every decision she makes questionable and yet I was rooting for her the entire time.  She’s magnificent and completely deserving of a man like Brendan Merrick.  Never have I liked a female character more.

Brendan is for all intents and purposes a refined gentleman, loved by many, revered by his shipmates.  He’s a golden boy with a heart that beats for the sea and his beautiful ships.  There isn’t a woman alive who can take the place of his first love….not any normal woman anyways. Brendan finds himself entranced by Mira from the very first time he sees her and his entrancement grows right along with ours.

Honestly, I cannot say enough good things about this book.  This is one of those warm and ooey-gooey stories that stays with a person for a long time.  I could go on and on and on about all of the things I love about Captain of My Heart or you can just read it for yourselves and see what all this fuss is about!  Go forth and buy it and read it immediately and be happy!  You will definitely not be sorry!

Krissie for b2b

Fan2Author Interview with…Jamie Quaid!

b2bKrissie: Hello Jamie!  Thank you so much for stopping by to chat with us about your upcoming début release Boyfriend From Hell!  We are so excited to have you here!  I have put together a handful of questions to give our readers a bit of info about your book and your ideas for future books as well as helping us to get to know you a little better!

First off, I want to tell you that I am absolutely overflowing with excitement over the release of Boyfriend From Hell!  I have it pre-ordered on my Nook and I (very conveniently) have the day off of work to read it!  Squueee!  Can you tell us a little of what went into the writing of Justine’s story?  Was this something that you had thought about for a while, or did she just come to you like a wonderful little surprise?

Jamie Quaid: Thank you for having me here and for the squee! Justine’s story is a mixture of both inspiration and perspiration. Her situation popped into my head one day as I reached near trance state while riding through hundreds of miles of cornfield listening to bad music on the radio. Killing a boyfriend apparently made weird sense at the time, and it was such a brilliant scene, I played with it for months. Even after I finally battered out a plot outline, it took months of writing to develop Justine’s character. She has so many layers that it was fascinating to watch her unfold.

b2bK: I want to tell you that your web page is BEAUTIFUL!  As a matter of fact, that was my very first thought upon opening the page up.  Is the very capable looking woman on the front page our heroine, Justine?  If so, is that how you envision her to look?  I think she’s a perfect fit to the mental image I have!

JQ: Thank Kim Killion at HotDamnDesigns for the gorgeous website! Oddly, we created that site when I was working with a different heroine for a different series. So, no, Justine does not look like that page. The cover artist for BOYFRIEND FROM HELL got a wee bit dramatic, but Tina is probably closer to the cover image. She’s of mixed origin, and at the beginning of the story, she is not gorgeous by any means!

b2bK: The excerpt is PERFECT!  Just enough to get my chops watering and make me whine and complain waiting “patiently” for release day!  I immediately think of Max with a greased back shaggy hair cut and penny loafers…. I have no idea why he comes to mind like that.  So tell us, how fun was it to write this story?!  I would love for you to tell us all about it, but I know I need to wait for release day! ;)

JQ: I ADORED writing this story! It should probably be illegal to have so much fun while working. I doubt Max wore penny loafers while riding his Harley, but he can have the greased hair, if you like. “G” I can tell you that Tina’s world doesn’t include vampires or werewolves, and if demons exist, they’re inside respectable society matrons, and shape-shifting chimps are a part of the fun. It’s a weird, wacky world, and as time goes on, the stakes keep increasing. I do hope you’ll enjoy it!

b2bK: Can you tell us a little about yourself?  What is your favorite genre of books?  How about music and movies?  I’m a huge sucker for romance, romance anything.  Paranormal romance, contemporary romance, historical romance…anything that can be possibly construed as a romance has my vote. LOL

JQ: I’ve been told I have a cynical and evil mind, but mostly, I like turning things upside down and inside out because looking at the surface isn’t enough. If the book or movie or whatever doesn’t survive my examination process, oh well, there are plenty more to read and watch. The world is my oyster! I enjoy strong humor more than angst because life’s just too short to suffer more than necessary. I love the happy endings of romance, but I like urban fantasy to leave the messy little edges dangling, while still leaving the reader smiling. And my stories will always have potential love interests if not necessarily a romance. I don’t prefer one genre over another so much as I prefer strong writing and great characters, but I do want that satisfying ending! I want to walk away feeling good.

b2bK: Have you always wanted to be an author?  Was there anything else that you aspired to be as a little girl?  Was there ever a dream of being a doctor or lawyer in there somewhere?

JQ: I have always written. I was writing Nancy Drew mysteries in the fourth grade. But I never expected to earn money as an author, so I’ve always kept my eye on the practical. My mother wanted me to be a doctor, but being a Candy Striper taught me that I don’t like the sight of blood. My father told me I should be a lawyer because I argue so much, but I was shy and courtrooms didn’t appeal. I thought journalism might work, but y’know, that shyness thing doesn’t work so hot on interviews. Since I seemed to fall into bookkeeping jobs pretty easily, I just eventually earned an accounting degree. I had two manuscripts under my bed by the time I graduated and sold one of them shortly after!

b2bK: So, what are you willing to spill about the Sisters of Saturn?!  Maybe how many sisters there will be?  Or how many books total are you thinking of?

JQ: Given the current state of the book market, I make no promises. I’d like Tina and the Zone to have three solid stories together, culminating in a near apocalyptic experience that shifts the Zone and brings in more of Saturn’s daughters. Then I’d like Tina to take off, visiting her “sisters” and learning more about their abilities. At the moment, Tina is dangling three fascinating, completely different men, on her line. She needs to choose, I think. Or maybe not. “G”

b2bK: Even though we are still eagerly awaiting Boyfriend From Hell (September 25), do you know when your next release is going to be?  Would you be willing to share a little of the premise for that book, if you have an idea?

JQ: I don’t have a release date on the second book, but it’s called Damn You to Hell.  The premise I’m working with is that the Zone is blasted with gaseous green fumes and pink flakes, old people start beating each other up, the locals are falling comatose, and Tina’s hunky neighbor gets arrested for murdering her boyfriend’s mother. What are the chances that she can save her new home, her best client, and not send anyone else to hell?

b2bK: Last but certainly not least, because I absolutely need to be in the know (ha ha) where can we go to learn about all of your upcoming releases?  Is your Hell Blog the best way to keep up with you?

My website is always an excellent place to go. Everyone can reach me at my Facebook and Twitter addresses. But if you want to win free books and meet other authors, then I’d also recommend POCKET AFTER DARK. It’s a fun place to drive by occasionally to see what we’re all up to.

b2bK: Thank you so much for stopping by and chatting with us Jamie!!  I cannot wait to read Boyfriend From Hell and promise to post my review as soon as I have read every single word!

JQ: Bless you and how many chocolates do you require?

And now here’s a question for some of our readers [and a prize is one copy of Boyfriend from Hell]: Jamie Quaid also writes wonderful historical romances under another name…can you tell us that name?

‘Much Ado About Rogues’ by Kasey Michaels

STORY: Who is the darkly handsome Don John “Black Jack” Blackthorn? With his air of mystery and menace, the whispers about him hint of highwayman or government agent or even dark prince. But no one knows what it is Black Jack does…or how dangerous he can truly be. Now Jack’s mentor has disappeared, and Jack must track him down before it’s too late. His unlikely help: the man’s daughter—the very woman Jack had once wooed and betrayed.

Lady Tess Fonteneau knows more about the fine art of clandestine activities—and about the mysterious Mr. Blackthorn—than he realizes. As their journey leads them on the adventure of a lifetime, their reunion is fraught with passion, high-stakes danger and the one twist of fate Jack never saw coming….

REVIEW: This is the third and last book in Blackthorn Brothers trilogy, and may I say Kasey Michaels has ended this series with a bang. After I was done with the previous two, I was sure I knew what the ending was going to be, but the author has taken this opportunity to throw me not one, not two, but three awesome curveballs and her clever plot was infused with suspense, revelations and wonderful sensual moments.

I’m not going to go into plot because I’m afraid I just might spill ‘the beans’ if you will, but I can tell you that Black Jack Blackthorn’s story is filled with mystery and suspense that will take your breath away.

As much as I enjoyed meeting all three of the bastard Blackthorn brothers, I can safely say that Jack’s story was the best. I’m a sucker for the tortured hero, and Jack’s life wasn’t easy in the least. After his eighteenth birthday, he’s faced with a devastating revelation that takes him from the only home he’s ever known, and after many years of wondering about, he knows that the time has come to face the past, come to terms with it and figure out his future.

Ms. Michaels went all out when she gave our hero a heroine that’s a perfect match for his dark personality.

Lady Tess Fonteneau was beautiful, smart and one stubborn woman and a handful for our hero Jack. Once they realized that the past they accepted of each other was not what it appeared, both were determined to face the demons long left dormant, and both accepted risks in order to face the future as the love they felt for each other never died.

If you’ve read the other two, I have no doubt you’ll pick this one up. However, if you’ve not read them, please, please pick them up as soon as you can. All three are fast paced and full of wonderful characters, secondary as well [one man in particular needs a happily ever after and that’s another rogue of a spy, Will Browning; loved his character], and the humor alone is worth the read.

Each book could stand-alone, but should be enjoyed read in order, ‘The Taming of the Rake’, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Sin’ and ‘Much Ado About Rogues’. I highly recommend all three.

ARC provided by NetGalley.