Featuring Illustrator of Romance Novels…

Jon Paul

JPF

It is no secret that I adore every cover ever illustrated by this talented man. I dare you to watch this video and not come up with at least one of these books.

I don’t have all of them, but I bet that most of my Keeper Shelf books are Jon Paul covers. These are not your ordinary pictures…these works of art never fail to amaze me. They make me gasp and leave me breathless, as much as the stories depicted by these covers.

My thanks go to Mr. Mario Sorcinelli for putting this vid together. It’s amazing!

ENJOY!

Jon Paul FerraraARTIST BIO: Jon Paul is one of the most talented artist/photographers in the Romance Novel Cover Art industry. The covers of Jon Paul appear regularly in books issued by the leading romance novel publishing houses. In the mid-80’s, Jon Paul was one of sixteen art students chosen worldwide to participate in a nine-month program at the prestigious New York Academy of Fine Arts. He also attended the National Academy of Design under Nelson Shank, the official portrait painter of the late Princess Diana. Jon Paul has received more than thirty awards for excellence from the Romance Writers of America, often placing in two or more of the top ten positions. His work has appeared on the cover of Zink (September 2004), one of the leading fashion industry magazines.

Jon Paul also painted an advertisement for Chopard , a world famous jewelers who designs jewelry for celebrities. In 2005 Jon’s work was showcased on a True Romance gaming machine which was distributed in casinos worldwide. In 2006 he completed an advertising campaign for Oral-B which included portraits of celebrities like Fabio. His portrait of Fabio appeared on Valentine’s Day 2006 on the NASDAQ Billboard in Time Square NYC. Jon Paul was commissioned to design the artwork for the tombstone of Anna Nicole Smith and was unveiled on what would have been her 41st birthday. Ever vigilant to expand his horizons, Jon Paul pursues his fine art along with his commercial ventures, both are enjoyed by millions of fans that visit his site every year.

Social Media: Website /  Facebook /

‘Once a Rake’ by Eileen Dreyer

OAR EDSTORY: All he wants is her help . . .

Colonel Ian Ferguson may be a rake, but he’s no traitor. Accused of trying to kill the Duke of Wellington, the disgraced Scotsman is now a fugitive–from the law, the army, and the cunning assassin who hunts him. Wounded and miles from his allies, Ian finds himself at the mercy of an impoverished country wife. The spirited woman is achingly beautiful . . . and hiding some dangerous secrets of her own.

All she needs is his heart . . .

She was a child nobody wanted. Now for Lady Sarah Clarke, holding on to her vanished husband’s crumbling estate is her final chance to earn respectability. She knows that hiding the devastatingly handsome Ferguson will jeopardize her home. Common sense demands that she turn him in. But a single, delirious kiss shatters her resolve . . . and awakens a passion that neither of them can escape.

REVIEW: Lady Sarah Clarke, “born on the other side of the blanket,” is the wife of Lord Boswell Clarke, who has recently signed up to join up with the military and fight in the war.  As she has not heard from him in months, many assume that he has been killed.  Sarah’s day consists of working to care for her husband’s crumbling estate, Fairbourne, along with his self-centered mother and sister.  With very little money to be had, this is a constant trial that has fallen completely on Sarah’s shoulders.  Her husband’s cousin and neighbor, Martin Clarke, believes that Boswell is dead and wants Sarah out so he can claim the estate for his own.

Colonel Ian Ferguson is a Scottish man who has distinguished himself in the war but now stands accused of trying to assassinate the Duke of Wellington.  Wounded, he is on the run and finds himself at the Clarke estate.  When Sarah discovers him, she cannot help but hide him and treat his severe wound. 

As Sarah and Ian get to know one another, attraction follows and they realize they cannot be parted.

Eileen Dreyer has written a story of love and commitment that completely tests all the mettle that the characters possess.

I loved this book and the story of Sarah and Ian will leave you sighing. 

Connie for b2b

*ARC provided by the author.

MEL’S THOUGHTS: Here’s another book that deserves our two reviews,

I’m a huge fan of this author and this series. I’m probably the only one that liked Diccan, one of Drake’s Rakes in ‘Never a Gentleman’. The reason behind it was the great characterizations this author does. Her heroes are complex. They’re not one-dimensional and there to ‘look and act macho’ but each one is unique in looks, his specialty and his background. They are a diverse group of men that are loyal to their King, Country and family.

And as for the heroine of this book, Ms. Dreyer did an outstanding job in paring this strong, willful and independent woman with one of her best heroes, Ian Ferguson.

Once more Ms. Dreyer gave me a well written plot, sensual romance and fast pace. Loved it!

*ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

‘It Begins with a Kiss’ by Eileen Dreyer

STORY: Fiona Ferguson wants nothing more than to flee Miss Lavinia Chase’s Finishing School. Rather than the safe haven the girls’ families presume it to be, the school is intent on making its charges conform to the rules-by any means necessary. For Fiona, the only thing worse than staying at the dreaded “Last Chance Academy” would be abandoning the friends she’s made there. But when she receives word from home that her sister is in trouble, Fiona plots her escape . . .

A devoted spy in service to the Crown, Alex Knight takes his duties very seriously. His latest assignment-to ensure that the incorrigible Fiona remain safely at school-turns out to be far more of a challenge than he expected. After matching wits with the fiery Scottish beauty, he learns that the greatest danger of all . . . begins with a kiss.

REVIEW: I’m not sure about you, but I love, LOVE Prologues, and this novelette fills this category to a tee in regards to the upcoming new series from Ms. Dreyer.

She cleverly introduces her next three heroines, and the hero of her upcoming full length novel here, and gives me a cliffhanger that made my mouth form an “OH” and “MY’ and “GOD”!

Let me back up a bit and tell you that the characters of all the girls introduced will peak your interest; the setup, of all of them having resided at the Last Chance Academy for some time, and the abuse they endured that bonded them for a life time, was a great teaser for me. No way will I pass up on finding out more about that bond; about that friendship which will be as much of a story as the HEA’s from each girl.

I loved where this story left off, and my imagination soared, which makes the anticipation of Alex’s and Fiona’s HEA that much sweeter.

Ms. Dreyer’s female characters are strong, witty and always too smart for their own good, so Fiona promises to be one of them; while Alex I expect will be Alpha, with shades of Beta and those are heroes to die for.

To tell you more would spoil this short, sweet and well written intro to this new series that I enjoyed a lot.

*To buy this book, click on the cover*

*To learn more about the author, click on the name*

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

b2b will be ONE year old!

Guess what?! We’re about to celebrate our first year in the blogosphere! I ‘brain-stormed’ some ideas that were swirling in this head of mine, but none of them were ‘right’. I started to think about why and how I got to reading and loving romance novels and it hit me!

I was a ‘late bloomer’ and Romance Novels came to me when I was in my late twenties. My best friend gave me a copy of Kathleen E. Woodiwiss’ ‘A ROSE IN WINTER’ and I was hooked. I went out and stocked up on all of her books. Then my friend gave me Johanna Lindsey’s ‘GENTLE ROGUE’ and I had to read everything she wrote.

I ‘got’ what my friend tried to do. She wanted me to get ‘hooked’ on her favorite authors, so she’d pick one of their books and give them away as a gift. It worked in my case. I not only got hooked on the authors, but the genre as well. I took up the banner of the ‘pay it forward’ and started to give my friends ‘books that will hook you’ gifts.

What a better way then to celebrate our first year ‘on’ by celebrating AUTHORS as well as READERS with what connects us all – BOOKS!

Through the month of November, b2b will be honored to host Authors such as Katharine Ash, Grace Burrowes, Anna Campbell, Vicky Dreiling, Eileen Dreyer, Maureen Driscoll, Cara Elliott, Shana Galen, Kieran Kramer and last but not least Rose Lerner.

This amazing group of very talented ‘tale tellers’ have agreed to gift you, the reader, with a book that they hope will ‘hook’ you to either their own work, or the author they chose to share with you.

Won’t you join our celebration by:

1) Telling us which ‘Hook-a-Book’ did/would you likely give your friends…

2) Subscribing to our Blog…

3) ‘LIKE’ -ing us on our Facebook!

On November 1st I will let you know my ‘Hook-a-Book’ and celebrate with you this author that had me at ‘Sin’!

“Always A Temptress” by Eileen Dreyer

STORY: His greatest battle is just beginning . . .

Captain Harry Lidge has done his duty. After losing too many good men on the battlefield, he’s ready to put his responsibilities behind him and live a life free of care. But first he has one last mission: find out what the most outrageous woman in London, the same woman who betrayed him nearly a decade earlier, is concealing, before her secrets take down the crown.

Her heart is the only thing she won’t risk . . .

Surrounded by ardent admirers and a few loyal friends, Lady Kate Seaton glides through the ton on a confection of couture gowns and bon mots. No one suspects that beneath her lighthearted façade Kate hides a sorrow so scandalous she’ll do anything to keep it hidden. But only when she trusts Harry with the truth and only when he trusts her with his heart can they stop the villains all too willing to kill Kate to attain their ultimate goal: destroy England.

REVIEW: In 2010 Eileen Dreyer introduced us to her Drake’s Rakes and to three of them, she gave a Grace for their very own.

In ‘Barely a Lady’, Jack found his Grace, Olivia Grace that is and in ‘Never a Gentleman’, Diccan couldn’t outrun his Grace, Grace Fairchild. And then Harry confronts Her Grace, the Dowager Duchess of Murther in ’Always a Temptress’ and their story, as the earlier two, had me spellbound and on the edge of my seat.

How can I do this novel justice AND keep the ‘spoilers’ out?! I want to shout it out loud and let you know all the why’s and what for’s…but I’ll contain my enthusiasm, and tell you why I loved Kate and Harry’s love story.

We met this flamboyant woman in the first book, and she was someone you couldn’t help but like from the start. She was a daughter, sister and a wife of a Duke; fearless, hated, envied and admired. She surrounded herself with friends from all walks of life; aristocrats, soldiers and a motley crew of misfits in her employ made up an eclectic ‘bouquet’ of friends that kept the darkness away and Kate’s life content.

Until the day that greed and secrets, kept by her and from her, shattered, battered and forced her to face all her fears she carefully and methodically hid, in the dark corners of her soul.

Major Sir Harry Lidge we met in the previous book and we knew from his interactions with Kate that the past they shared would one day come to haunt both, and once it did, both would have ‘some splainin’ to do’.

Harry’s life ten years ago was filled with dreams of travel and love for a girl of a Duke, and as a second son of a squire, that was a dream a bit too high, even for him. That however didn’t stop him and the love he felt for his ‘Katie’ came crashing down all around him, like the famous buildings he dreamed one day of building. Being brought up by loving parents, in a home that buzzed with activity and happiness, Harry’s decision to accept the Duke’s offer of a commission was the right thing to do. He knew that his dreams, if ever he survived the war, might be rebuilt and hopes for that dream kept him alive; kept him moving even when the nightmares of the battles fought tried to keep him down.

Upon finishing this novel, I truly couldn’t decide who was more the hero of this piece, Kate or Harry. Both had major hurdles to overcome, but the strength that Kate displayed was ferocious!

The story opens with Kate’s abduction for her protection and continues with her brother’s attempts to commit her to an asylum for her outrageous behavior. In the middle of it all, Drake’s Rakes are still in pursuit of the cursed verse and assassin’s attempts at killing our hero and heroine almost succeed. To some, this might be too much happening all at once, but trust me, none is, and all is important to the story that is fast paced, and every character we meet has depth, but none so like our Kate and Harry. Their road back to each other despite of all the hardships they lived through was destined to end with love and passion winning the day!

‘Always a Temptress’ had me smile, cry and sigh, but it never, EVER had me bored! Ms. Dreyer, I hear that you’ll be writing more of Drake’s Rakes, so BRING THEM ON! I refuse to think that Ian is dead!

*To buy this book, click on the cover*

*To learn more about the author, click on her name*

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

September RRAH reviews & October preview…

The last couple of months have been exciting for me, more on a personal level then the professional and I’m hoping October will be tamer. Never the less, as always, a bookworm like me, finds the time to put its nose in a book. For September I have only three books reviewed for Romance Reader At Heart and all three were excellent reads and I highly recommend them.

I’ll start with an author that’s probably familiar to all, Suzanne Enoch and “A MATTER of SCANDAL” which I found just delightful in its entirety! This was such a fast and fun read that I finished it too quickly and then wanted to start over again, because I didn’t want to leave this fun world the author took me in. If you’ve never read Ms. Enoch, you might as well start with this one, and if you have then you know without a doubt what she’s capable of and how much fun you’ll have reading and for that matter re-reading her books!

My next book was as much fun as the first and when I heard that Shana Galen’s “LORD and LADY SPY” is available for review I jumped on it. I’m probably in a minority of people who loved the movie “MR. and MRS. SMITH” so my expectations were very high for this Regency take on it. Boy, oh boy! I was so happy when my expectations were not just met, but surpassed! Ms. Galen is one of those rare breeds of authors that can put forth stories of ‘angst’ and ‘humor’ separately as well as together. I wish the ‘Muse’ never leaves her side! This pair will have you laugh-out-loud and make you tear up to the point that you’ll ask for more! I honestly can say that I wouldn’t mind following their life, and that says a lot for the talent of this young author!

And now I get to tell you about a novel that completely took me by surprise and that is Janet Woods’ “LADY LIGHTFINGERS”. This story made me warm all over. This was a story of a true Heroine and the road to her hero was very romantic and heartwarming, and exciting, and it will make your heart melt. This story is a journey of discovery, determination, independence and perseverance of a girl who knew herself and accepted herself for what she was, yet knew that she could and would be more than what Society dictated. The romance within the novel is sweet rather than spicy hot, and brought to mind Carla Kelly’s novel I recently read that could be put into this category “BEAU CRUSOE”. By the way, for an awesome review of that book, please visit Kathryn and you’ll know what I mean.

And there you have it, my bookworms! Can you believe that October is knocking on our doors already?! This month is full of great authors that will stop by and play with me and I’m beside myself from excitement. We start with Eileen Dreyer on October 3rd, and she’s bringing all her Drake’s Rakes over!

Shana Galen’s Lady Spy was so gracious to agree and stop by on October 10th, and answer a few questions for us, so I hope you’ll stop by as well and meet this hot-tempered and hot-blooded female!

On October 13th Rose Lerner will be here and she’s bringing Solomon and his ‘Lily’, and I can tell you I’m so much looking forward to their visit!

And then Joanna Bourne will be stopping by on October 17th and talk about Adrian/Hawk and I can only bow and say as Wayne and Garth would I’M NOT WORTHY! I’M NOT WORTHY! (For that matter I may as well say that in regards to all my guests for this month!)

To finish off the month I’ve invited someone I never met in ‘real’ life but it seems I’ve known forever! Dare I call her FRIEND?! Is it possible to know someone well even though you never laid eyes on them?! If it is, and I’ll dare, Ashley March is a friend, confidante and an author to look out for and I invite you to come over October 26th and meet her (who knows maybe we could ask Mr. March to accompany her…I hear he’ll have a book soon, too) and maybe tell us about…their projects coming up and their romance!

Until then, happy reading and happy upcoming Holidays if I miss you in the next couple of months!