‘The Lady and the Laird’ by Nicola Cornick

TLATL NCSTORY: An Indecent Proposal!

Lady Lucy MacMorlan may have forsworn men and marriage, but that doesn’t mean she won’t agree to profit from writing love letters for her brother’s friends – letters that become increasingly racy as her fame grows. That is, until she deliberately ruins the betrothal of a notorious laird, Robert, Marquis of Methven.

Past centuries of bloodshed have left the Methven and MacMorlan families bitter enemies and Robert is furious that Lady Lucy’s letters have cost him the bride he needs so urgently to save his ancestral clan lands. Now he makes Lucy a shocking proposal; in return for his silence she must become his wife and provide him with the heir he needs. It is an inconvenient marriage of convenience but can the rugged laird and the bluestocking beauty fight against the power of love?

REVIEW: This is Ms. Cornick’s first novel in Scottish Brides series and it really is a MUST read!

The novel is very funny, entertaining and just too sweet for words!

If you’re familiar with this author, then you already know that her novel’s are populated with strong, complex and always, always witty characters that stay with you a long time, and that’s what you’ll find here as well.

I adored both main characters, but especially Lucy. Her background in regards to her twin sister just took my breath away.

This was a strong woman with some issues that only a strong man could help with. As for Robert, not much was going to stand in this man’s way when it comes to his duty to his Clan.

I also liked the pace of the story. It wasn’t too fast and allowed me to thoroughly immerse into not just the growing relationship between the leads, but also into their respective backgrounds. It’s their lives before they met each other that shaped who they were, and how that would impact their future, if they were to have one.

There are so many, many scenes which made me laugh out loud that I had tears in my eyes…like the scene in which Robert is jilted at the altar and our heroine realizes that he knows this debacle is her fault.

If you’ve never had a chance to read this author, then this is a perfect book to introduce her to you. I promise you’ll find the plot interesting, characters entertaining and the dialogue witty and charming. And let’s not forget those love scenes which will get your blood pumping! Recommending it to all Regency lovers, and especially those who love a man in a kilt!

Melanie for b2b

*Book provided by publisher through NetGalley.

‘Desired’ by Ginger Garrett

D GGSTORY: Meet the legendary Samson as you’ve never known him before … through the eyes of the three women who loved him.

Before Samson was an Old Testament legend, he was a prodigal son, an inexperienced suitor, a vengeful husband, and a lost soul driven by his own weakness. This is his story as told by three strong women who loved him—the nagging, manipulative mother who pushed him toward greatness, the hapless Philistine bride whose betrayal propelled him into notoriety, and the emotionally damaged seductress—the famous Delilah—who engineered his downfall and propelled him to his destiny. Desired celebrates the God of Israel’s to work powerfully in the midst of hopes, fears, desires, and sorrows.

REVIEW: Being a fan of Bible stories in general and of Samson’s story in particular, I really was looking forward to reading this book as it tells his story from a totally different point of view, that of the three very important women in his life.

From the start of this book, I knew it would be different and I thought I was prepared for it, but I was still surprised by its content. Ginger Garrett took this story into the direction I never imagined before.

I didn’t really expect an accounting about Samson from the Bible nor the movie I saw long time ago with Victor Mature and Hedy Lamarr, but I also didn’t expect this sweaty, smelly beast of a man who goes after what he wants without caring who he hurts. A man in this book is vicious, vengeful and way too dark. He was unappealing and I couldn’t picture him at all as a hero.

Delilah on the other hand was the only character that made this story worth the read. Her characters evolution was well written and I enjoyed watching her become the seductress we all read about in the Bible.

If you’re looking for a different viewpoint of this story, and one that offers at times a sensual, dark and emotional view, you might like it. Personally, I found it too depressing.

*Book provided by publisher through NetGalley.

‘Desired’ by Nicola Cornick

BOOK BLURB: Tess Darent’s world is unravelling. Danger threatens her stepchildren and she is about to be unmasked as a radical political cartoonist and thrown into gaol. The only thing that can save her is a respectable marriage. But when it comes to tying the knot Tess requires a very special husband – one who has neither the desire nor the ability to consummate their marriage.

Owen Purchase, Viscount Rothbury cannot resist Tess when she asks for the protection of his name. But he has no intention of making a marriage in name only. Will the handsome sea captain be able to persuade the notorious widow to give her heart as well as her reputation into his safekeeping?

EXCERPT:

“I am at your service,” he murmured. “Whenever you are ready to acquaint me with this business proposition you have.”

Tess’s throat dried. “I wanted…”She groped for the words that had scattered like petals in the breeze. “That is, I thought…”

One dark brow rose quizzically as Rothbury surveyed her confusion.
“I came here-” Gracious, she had lost all her town bronze. This would never do.

“I came here to ask you to marry me,” she finished, with all the finesse of a tongue-tied schoolgirl. “In name only, that is. I wish for a marriage of convenience.”

Mortified, she stood pinned to the spot whilst a burning blush seemed to creep up from her toes to engulf her entire body. It was difficult to see how matters could have gone more painfully awry. She had wanted to be so cool, so composed. She had wanted to be herself, Teresa, Dowager Marchioness of Darent, poised and self-assured. Instead, this man had taken all her confidence and turned it inside out. She should have realised how he would affect her after their encounter earlier. She should have remembered the way in which he had made her nerves sing and her pulse trip. She should have had the sense not to come here with her ridiculous suggestion of marriage. She should have known not to engage in this dangerous game of using Rothbury for his name and his protection because any moment now he would call her bluff, accuse her of sedition and very like have her thrown in the Tower of London.

“An extraordinary suggestion,” he murmured. “A marriage in name only. Why would you wish for that?”

Rothbury took a step away from her and then turned sharply back on his heel.

“It was not a rhetorical question,” he said.

Tess jumped. “Oh!” Her mind was a blank. Why had she not anticipated that Rothbury might ask that question – and a great many more difficult questions besides?  She had hurried off to proposition him without laying the groundwork first. She should have realised that he was not the kind of man, like Darent before him, to accept such an arrangement without debate.

Rothbury was still watching her with one eyebrow raised in an odiously quizzical manner. And her mind was still blanker than a blank canvas.

“No doubt you will share your reasons with me before too long,” he said, still in the same gentle drawl.

“Meanwhile, I have another question. This may seem impertinent, Lady Darent – vulgar even – but I have to ask it.” He smiled. “What exactly is in this for me?”

FEATURED AUTHOR: Nicola Cornick

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‘Desired’ by Nicola Cornick

STORY: Tess Darent’s world is unravelling. Danger threatens her stepchildren and she is about to be unmasked as a radical political cartoonist and thrown into gaol. The only thing that can save her is a respectable marriage. But when it comes to tying the knot Tess requires a very special husband – one who has neither the desire nor the ability to consummate their marriage.

Owen Purchase, Viscount Rothbury cannot resist Tess when she asks for the protection of his name. But he has no intention of making a marriage in name only. Will the handsome sea captain be able to persuade the notorious widow to give her heart as well as her reputation into his safekeeping?

REVIEW: This is the fifth book in Nicola Cornick’s Scandalous Women of the Ton series in which she gives two characters from her previous books their HEA.

Teresa, Dowager Marchioness of Darent is a woman on a mission, or two. She is a widow trice over; has a wicked reputation that could put even Rouges to blush and run for the hills; and scandal may as well be her middle name, yet the real woman is somewhat a mystery and a very complex character that not even her family is privy to her most deepest thoughts or feelings.

She is a passionate supporter and contributor to the cause that seeks reforms within the government; she’s a guardian to her two stepchildren, but rarely sees them; she’s also in a need of a fourth husband and not just any man will do. She needs a man who will accept an arrangement of her own specifications.

Owen Purchase, Viscount Rothbury, has a few missions of his own and getting married is not one of them. His number one priority is to find Jupiter, a pseudonym for the cartoonist whose drawings are offensive to the government and seem to be inciting unrest among people.

As he closes in on the person of interest, he gets blindsided with an offer that he just might regret accepting.

This is only a second book by this author that I’ve read so far, and while I couldn’t connect to the hero and heroine in the first book, this author’s prose drew me to reading the second.  May I say that while ‘never judge book by its cover’ applies to many novels I’ve read, in this case ‘never judge an author by only reading one of her books’ totally applies in this case.

What amazing and complex both of these characters were! It was fascinating following the train of thought of both of them. I was filled with awe watching them interact and deal with each other while trying to peel off each others layers and unearth the secrets that would leave them both vulnerable. I just adored the hero, and Teresa just grew on me by every paragraph and page I read. DESIRED moved me, made me laugh and in the end I felt melancholy for leaving them to their HEA.

If you’re in a mood for a truly entertaining, interesting, fascinating and thoroughly sensual romance, this one will fit the bill to a tee!

*To buy this book, click on the cover*

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* I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Nicola Cornick’s ‘Hook-a-Book’ is…’Mariana’!

Thank you to Melanie for inviting me to be part of the bookworm2bookworm anniversary celebrations!

I love the hook a book idea and I was thrilled to be asked to contribute. But then, like many fellow authors I hit the snag of which book to choose. In the end I realised it had to be MARIANA, by Susanna Kearsley, who has been one of my favourite authors for a long time.

In fact I could have chosen any one of Susanna’s books because I am and have always been a massive fan of hers. MARIANA won the Catherine Cookson Prize back in 1993 and Susanna’s books have gone on to huge and well-deserved acclaim. Her book THE WINTER SEA, also known as SOPHIA’S SECRET, was shortlisted for both the UK Romantic Novelists Association Prize and the RWA RITA award.

MARIANA was the first Susanna Kearsley novel that I read and it hooked me on her writing. Books with paranormal elements have always appealed to me, especially time slip or dual time novels. I never seem to be able to find enough of them.

Then I discovered Susanna’s writing and to my great pleasure found that she wrote wonderful books with paranormal elements; time slip, dual time, reincarnation, ghostly themes…All the elements that completely enthrall me.

MARIANA tells the story of Julia Beckett who as a child sees a beautiful old house, Greywethers, and knows that in some way it belongs to her. She’s drawn to the place time and again and when she buys the house she finds herself transported back to the 17th century as Mariana Farr, a young woman embroiled in all manner of danger and romance.

How Julia explores Mariana’s life and her forbidden love, and how she also finds her own future, is all woven together in a story that brilliantly mixes the past and the present.

Susanna Kearsley’s evocation of history is so rich and vivid, her characters so real and her writing so beautiful that I never want her books to end.

Melanie here! Now that’s one awesome ‘hook’ and I’m so happy that Nicola had the time to stop by today.

And now, here’s a bit about Nicola…Originally from the North of England, Nicola now lives with her husband in the Oxfordshire countryside. Genealogy is one of her passions and she has traced her family tree back to the sixteenth century by way of various poets, pirates and a link to the Earldom of Halifax.

Since the publication of her first Regency romance by Harlequin Mills & Boon in 1998, Nicola has become a USA Today, Borders and UK Bookscan bestselling author as well as being shortlisted three times for the US Romance Writers of America RITA Award and twice for the UK Romantic Novelists Association Romance Prize. Nicola now writes for Harlequin HQN Books in the US and MIRA in the UK.

Nicola developed a passion for history at an early age and nurtured it through reading and watching BBC costume dramas with her grandmother. She went to school in the dower house of the stately home Harewood House in Yorkshire where she studied subjects as varied as Anglo Saxon and ballroom dancing. She went on to study Medieval History, graduated from London University with an honours degree and worked for many years in university administration, her final job being as an Assistant Academic Registrar before she gave it all up to be a full time author. Later she returned to college in Oxford to study for a Masters degree at Ruskin College. Her dissertation on heroes and hero myths was awarded a distinction. She was a speaker at the Oxford Literary Festival on the changing face of literary heroes during the 20th century.

Nicola has a “second life” as a guide and historian working for the National Trust at the beautiful seventeenth century hunting lodge, Ashdown House and she is a speaker on the history of Ashdown and the Craven family. She is also a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and a mentor for their New Writers’ Scheme, which critiques manuscripts for aspiring authors. Nicola has run several courses and workshops on creative writing and was Wiltshire Libraries Writer in Residence in 2008. She loves the excitement of historical research and the friendships that the romance writing community has brought her.

When she is not writing Nicola enjoys taking her dog for long walks in the countryside and travelling the globe. She and her husband have driven across Africa, Iceland and Costa Rica and have enjoyed cruises to the Arctic and the Sea of Cortes. Nicola is also a frequent visitor to the US, where she has family. She and her husband support the UK Guide Dogs for the Blind charity and have acted as puppy walkers for guide dogs in training.

Nicola loves to hear from readers, writers and history buffs. Email her or chat with her at the Word Wenches blog, the UK Regency Authors blog, Facebook or on Twitter.

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