‘The Songbird’s Seduction’ by Connie Brockway

cb tssSTORY: Effervescent bon vivant Lucy Eastlake is a young operetta singer whose star is on the rise in Edwardian London. Though struggling to maintain her beloved great-aunts’ household, she holds fast to the belief that “things will work out.” Now, with the fiftieth anniversary of a siege her great-aunt Lavinia lived through approaching, it looks like Lucy is right, because a fortune is due to be divided among the survivors. All Lucy and her great-aunts have to do is travel to a small Pyrenees town to claim Lavinia’s share of a fabulous treasure in rubies. What could be more simple?

Professor Ptolemy Archibald Grant is the brilliant, straitlaced grandson of a British lord who also withstood the siege. When his grandfather asks him as a matter of honor to escort his old love on the journey, the about-to-be married professor agrees, not expecting Lucy to be part of the bargain. Losing the great-aunts en route, the handsome, buttoned-down professor finds himself caught up in Lucy’s quirky, bewildering, and probably illegal efforts to reunite with them, as he is drawn further and further into an inexplicable infatuation with the free-spirited singer. What could be more complicated?

But when unwilling attraction gives way to sizzling passion, both will be forced to confront the ages-old question of whether love trumps honor…or the other way around.

REVIEW: It’s 1908 and Lucille (Lucy) Eastlake is living with her two spinster great-aunts at their family home, Robin’s Hall, outside London.  Sisters Lavinia and Bernice Litton have never married and have always lived at Robin’s Hall which is in need of work both on the home and gardens.  However, the sisters do not have the money to undertake these expenses.  Lucy was orphaned at the age of 7 and after being shuffled from one distant family member to another, she finally found a loving home with her great-aunts.  Lucy is a happy, easy-going young woman with a lovely voice.  As such, she has found employment as a singer in the theater.
Many years ago, Lavinia Litton went on a tour to India where she met and fell in love with Lord John Barton.  Their group had been besieged while they were staying at a military hill station.  For months they remained there waiting for rescue.  One of the people being held decided to run for it but decided to leave behind a bag of rubies worth a fortune.  The group agreed to keep them for him.  However, he never returned and the number of people with claim to the rubies being held by a solicitor had dwindled to only a few.  Now, each of them must travel to a designated place by a certain date to claim their share of the rubies. Since Lavinia is one of the claimants, she and Bernice prepare to go with Lucy to accompany them.
Just before departing, Lucy met Ptolemy Grant, stuffy, but gorgeously handsome Professor of Archeology.  In addition, he just happens to be the grandson of Lord Barton who is one of the people with a claim for the rubies.  As it happens, Ptolemy, whom Lucy nicknames Archie, has been asked by his grandfather to travel in his place to make the claim.
As the great-aunts have decided to make a little vacation out of the trip, they plan to make stops in certain places along the way.  This is where the story begins to remind me of the zaniness of the 1965 movie, “The Great Escape.”  There is never a dull moment.
The reader will meet with a lot of laughs along the way and a lot of adventure.  Don’t miss out.  I’m thinking readers will truly enjoy this book.
I’ve attempted to set the stage for the book without giving out any spoilers as this book is not due for publication until September 16, 2014.
Connie for b2b
Complementary copy provided by the publisher

‘Crazy For Her’ by Sandra Owens

Crazy For Her CoverSTORY: When his best friend and fellow Navy SEAL, Evan Prescott, died in his arms on the battlefield, Logan Kincaid gave his word to watch over Evan’s widow. But for two years he kept his distance…torn between honoring his solemn vow and succumbing to his secret love for his fallen comrade’s wife. But when Dani Prescott desperately reaches out to Logan for the help only he can give, he rushes to her side—determined to fight for her safety as fiercely as he fights against his own buried desire.

Someone claiming to be her husband is stalking Dani and her infant daughter, making them virtually prisoners in their remote country home. Logan’s elite military training and high-risk security expertise have outmatched more dangerous enemies. But the real challenge will be the burning temptation that threatens to overcome Logan whenever Dani is near…especially when she reveals her own hidden passion.

BUY LINKS: Amazon

REVIEW: I was here once before. I remember the apprehension of reaching for the book of an author I greatly admire and love her historical novels, but was sweating bullets before I gave in and read her latest contemporary story. I find myself in the same situation again and while I’ve read and adored every historical romance this author has written, this contemporary story left me wishing she’d write more of historicals.

First, I am a sucker for a broken hero story and reading the blurb I was drawn to this one, but the blurb only scratches the surface of his tale. There is so much more happening and fast, that my emotions were scattered to the four corners of the world and they had a hard time catching up and connecting to either the hero or the heroine.

No matter how well the story is written, and Ms. Owens is a good writer, she never managed to fully convince me of Logan’s long carried torch for Dani, nor his long held secret about his childhood.

I wanted to believe that these two people really loved each other and I didn’t. I wanted to connect and admire both of these people as they triumph over their respective pasts, but something about them was off and left me cold and not caring. If I had one word to describe this story it would be ‘over the top’. I felt that the action, plot, suspense and mystery were all a bit over the top.

If you’re into military romance with a fast pace, some suspense, couple of ‘curve balls’ thrown in and plenty of sex, I’m sure you’ll like it. I wanted more than that.

For my reviews of this author’s historical romances go here and here.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author

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Sandra Owens PicAUTHOR BIO: A native of Florida, Sandra once managed a Harley-Davidson dealership, before switching from a bike to an RV for roaming the open road (though she’s also chased thrills from sky-diving to upside-down stunt-plane flying). In addition to Crazy For Her—a 2013 Golden Heart Finalist for Romantic Suspense—her works include the Regency Romance novels The Letter, winner of the Golden Quill Award, and The Training of a Marquess, winner of the Golden Claddagh Award. A member of Romance Writers of America, and potential cat owner, she lives with her husband in Asheville, North Carolina.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

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‘A Winter Wedding’ by Amanda Forester

af awwSTORY: Miss Penelope Rose, exclusive matchmaker to London’s elite, successfully creates love for everyone but herself. Her toughest client yet, the sexy Duke of Marchford, has commissioned her to find him a bride. But he’s more interested in tracking down a spy, and she’s in no hurry to speed up the process…

When the fate of England falls in the Duke’s hands, he enlists Penelope for a new plan—they announce a sham engagement in order to flush out the traitor. But as the stakes get more deadly, and their feelings more real, will they discover that love is the most dangerous plot of them all?

REVIEW: It’s December 1810 and French smuggling is booming in London.

James Lockton, Duke of Marchford, is working for the government to uncover smuggling operations.  A handsome and eligible man, he has decided that it is time that he gets married.  But weeding through all the young ladies looking for a husband is not what he wants to do.
Penelope Rose, companion to James’s grandmother, is the infamous Madame X who helps to arrange marriages.  However, in actuality, Penelope and James’s grandmother together are Madame X.  Having figured this out, James approaches Penelope to find the perfect wife for him.  As they also live in the same house, this puts them together a lot.  In addition, Penelope has helped James with some of his spy work.
When James ventures into Penelope’s room and sees her dressed for bed, he becomes enamored by her and decides that she would be the perfect bride for him.  Penelope feels the same way toward James but his inability to say he loves her is the roadblock to Penelope agreeing to marry him.
As they continue to work close together to uncover the perpetrators of a large theft, their attraction only grows stronger.  While Penelope wants to marry James, she feels she must first find out the reason for his reluctance to express his love for her.  As she learns more about his childhood, the puzzle begins to fall into place.
This was a great story with passion, humor and some edge-of-the-seat moments as well.  I enjoyed it and look forward to more novels from Amanda Forester.
This is Book Three of Ms. Forester’s Marriage Mart series.  Do come and get to know these characters.  I think they are guaranteed to entertain you.
Note:  This book is due to be published September 2, 2014.  I have strived to not include any spoilers in this review.
Connie for b2b
Complementary copy provided by the publisher

‘An American Duchess’ by Sharon Page

sp aadSTORY: Set on a crumbling English manor estate during the height of the Roaring Twenties, an American duchess must decide how much she’s willing to risk for the life she truly desires…

It’s 1922, and New York heiress Zoe Gifford longs for the freedoms promised by the Jazz Age. Headstrong and brazen, but bound by her father’s will to marry before she can access his fortune, Zoe arranges for a brief marriage to Sebastian Hazelton, whose aristocratic British family sorely needs a benefactor.

Once in England, her foolproof plan to wed, inherit and divorce proves more complicated than Zoe had anticipated. Nigel Hazelton, Duke of Langford and Sebastian’s older brother, is as austere and imposing as the family’s ancestral estate. Still reeling from the Great War, Nigel is now staging a one-man battle against a rapidly changing world—and the outspoken Zoe represents everything he’s fighting against.

When circumstances compel Zoe to marry Nigel rather than Sebastian, their heated quarrelling begets passion of another sort. But with Nigel unwilling to change with the times, will Zoe be forced to choose between her husband and her dreams?

REVIEW: It is 1920 and wealthy Zoe Gifford has arrived in England with her mother in search of a husband.  In order to collect her inheritance, she has been directed to marry.  As she is young, vibrant, intelligent and having fun as a single woman, she is not anxious to get married.  Zoe had met Sebastian Hazelton, the younger brother of Nigel Hazelton, Duke and cash-strapped heir to the estate of Brideswell Abbey in Hertfordshire.  Together, Sebastian and Zoe concoct a plan to marry so Zoe can gain her money, then divorce, with Sebastian receiving a fee, and then both can go on with their lives.

The straight-laced members of the Hazelton family are shocked at Zoe.  She wears short skirts, sports a bobbed haircut, drives a motorcar, flies an aeroplane and even smokes! Scandalous!
When Zoe meets Nigel, she finds a cold man who is scarred and remains haunted by his experiences in the war.  His feelings of guilt keep him in a somber mood.  Zoe’s exuberant personality and Nigel’s depressed personality make for some clashes that only intrigue Zoe more to find out about his past.
After spending some time at Brideswell planning her wedding to Sebastian, Zoe learns something quite unsavory about Sebastian that causes her to break off their planned wedding.  However, not all is lost because Zoe and Nigel have begun to spend time together which sparks a fiery passion.
Where will this lead?  Is there hope for happiness and contentment in Nigel’s life and will Zoe settle into the English way of life?
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel and have waited for quite awhile to do so.  It was everything I hoped it would be.  This is a novel that is beautiful, touching, informative and fun.  I know I shall remember this plot for sometime to come.
“An American Duchess” is due for publication on September 30, 2014.
I have tried to give some teasers about this wonderful story without releasing any spoilers.
Connie for b2b
Complementary copy provided by the publisher

‘The Lost Love of a Soldier’ by Jane Lark

jl tlloasSTORY: The stunning prequel to Kindle bestseller The Illicit Love of a Courtesan!
Life is for grasping and living…

Naïve and innocent, Lady Ellen Pembroke falls for a dashing young army officer. Captain Paul Harding has such an easy, enchanting smile and his blue eyes glow; vibrancy and warmth emanating from him. She is in love.

In turn, the Captain finds his attention captured by the beautiful young daughter of the Duke of Pembroke at a house party in the summer. Finding Ellen is like finding treasure on the battle field. His sanity clings to her – something beautiful to remind him that not all in the world is ugly.

Ellen is someone to fight for and someone to survive for when he is inevitably called to arms in the battle of Waterloo…

REVIEW: Let me preface this review with letting you all know how much I love reading this author’s work. I was left an emotional wreck each time I finished one of her books, and this one more so than the others and that is because this one is a prequel to Ellen’s romance with Edward in ‘The Illicit Love of a Courtesan’.

My advice, to all that have not read this author, is to read this story before you go on to ‘TILOAC’. Take my word for it. It will help you understand the heroine Ellen much better.

Having read ‘TILOAC’ first, I knew the outcome of this story and to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read it. I’m one of those that do not read the ending before I start the book. I can deal with the spoilers, but I can’t deal with someone letting me know what the ending is. It just ruins the story, don’t you think? Well, at least that’s what I think …thought, I should say. Because, in the end, my knowledge of this authors wonderful storytelling won me over and I went for it.

By the time the story was done, I felt sorrow, anger and a relief. That last one was only because I knew that Ellen’s story does not end with this book.

Ms. Jane Lark did an outstanding job at writing a heartbreaking ‘first love’ story of two young and disillusioned people. Both characters were well developed and the emotional turmoil and internal struggle they went through as they slowly came to terms with the choices they made in order to be together. The steady pace of the story helps a reader connect with and understand these two as they embark on the journey of discovery of each other and their environment. Especially the historical part and the era this takes place in. If you loved ‘War and Peace’ than you’ll appreciate the reality Ms. Lark gives to this story and its locations from Brussels at Lady Richmond’s ball, the Battle of Quatre-Bras and on to Waterloo. We are in awe as much as our teenaged bride is, of the life a soldier and his wife are forced to endure, from slow and muddy marches to making silent love in the cot among sleeping soldiers.

Even though I thought the story well written and plotted, I couldn’t help but wonder if I would have been better off not knowing Paul at all. I found myself questioning his choices and accusing him of selfishness while at the same time making allowances for them because of his age. He was so very young and all he wanted to do is love and be loved.

In the end I have concluded that if I’ve read this story before book one, my appreciation and understanding of what Ellen went through would have been ten times of what it really was.

Do I recommend it? Hell yes. The prose alone is worth the read, not to mention the historical detail included. Be warned though. The emotional rollercoaster of this story is ever present and doesn’t let go until the very end, or the next book, I should say.
If you’d like to read of Ellen’s son John Harding, the Duke of Pembroke, his story is in ‘The Scandalous Love of a Duke’.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author

‘What a Lady Craves’ by Ashlyn Macnamara

am walcSTORY: Henrietta Upperton is about to marry Alexander Sanford, when he rushes off to India to salvage his family’s fortune. Then comes the devastating news that he has wed another. Eight agonizing years later, a storm washes Alexander ashore—injured, widowed, and hunted—and one glimpse of his ruggedly handsome face reawakens the desire Henrietta thought she had buried deep inside. Her body still yearns for his touch, but she’s determined not let him wound her again . . . not this time.

For Alexander, honor always comes first. But only now does he realize that when given the choice between two virtuous deeds, he picked the wrong one. On the run with his life in tatters and a pair of daughters in tow, Alexander burns for Henrietta. He knows he does not deserve forgiveness. And yet he longs to wrap his arms around her warm body once again. What’s more, he is sure the lady craves the same.

What a Lady Craves on Goodreads

BUY LINKS: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Google Play / Kobo /

REVIEW: Ashlyn Macnamara’s ‘What a Lady Craves’ starts her new book trilogy about the boys of Eton.

We start with Henrietta and Alexander’s story.

I was pleasantly surprised with the depth of all the characters, especially of our heroine, Henrietta. I liked her demeanor and her strength. She wasn’t one of those whiny and bratty females, but someone who at the ‘advanced’ age of six and twenty knew her mind well and wasn’t afraid to use it. I’d like to point out that lately I like that the authors, such as Ms. Macnamara, are willing to take chances with their characters and readers alike. Giving us heroines that are older and bolder is a refreshing departure of yesteryear when silly and whimpery virgins ruled.

Alexander was, at least to me, a mixed bag of Alpha and Beta hero and it took me awhile to warm up to him only because at the start of the book I didn’t understand him much, but patience paid off in the end and I got to understand his character and motives for the things he did in the past and was doing in the present, much better.

Another pleasant surprise was the secondary characters that were treated with the same care as the main, therefore giving much pleasure to this reader. It greatly helps when an author has a keen eye for these and knows exactly how to keep them strong, yet not let them take over the book.

And let me not forget about the mystery part of this book. Here is another proof that the author used her constraint in giving us a mystery but never having it take over the love story. Well done!

I found this read to be fast paced, highly entertaining and engrossing. If you’ve never read this author before, this would be a great one to start you on the journey of discovery of what Ms. Ashlyn Macnamara offers to her fans. It really is a win-win!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

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Ashlyn MacnamaraAUTHOR BIO: Ashlyn Macnamara is the author of A Most Scandalous Proposal. She lives in the wilds of suburbia outside of Montreal with her husband and two teenage daughters. When not writing, she looks for other excuses to neglect the housework, among them knitting, reading, and wasting time on the Internet in the guise of doing research.

Social Media: Website / Facebook / Twitter