‘There’s Something About Lady Mary’ by Sophie Barnes

sb tisalmSTORY: Mary Croyden lives a simple life . . .

and she likes it. But when she inherits a title and a large sum of money, everything changes. Forced to navigate high society, Mary finds herself relying on the help of one man—Ryan Summersby.

Determined not to lose her sense of self, she realizes that Ryan is the only person she can trust. But Mary’s hobbies are not exactly proper, and Ryan is starting to discover that this simple miss is not at all what he expected…but just might be exactly what he needs.

REVIEW: This is the second book of The Summersby’s series [my review of the first is here] and I’m finding myself in the same boat as I was reading the first book.

I can still see that her writing has potential, but I still feel that she needs to work on her characterization more than on her plot. The premise was well thought out, but poorly executed, and in cases such as that, the reader looses interest and abandons the story. I didn’t do that only because I committed to reading it, but it took me awhile to write this review.  

I don’t like writing reviews like this because I’m trying very hard to be positive about the story I hadn’t connected with and had no vested interest in.

I read romance for the pleasure of seeing two people fall in love and work their way to their happily ever after. I enjoy plots of any kind, but it’s the characterization and chemistry between the leads that intrigues my mind and engages my senses.

In this case, my senses were let down big time. I am however determined to finish this series, which ends with ‘The Secret Life of Lady Lucinda’, in hopes that I may like at least one of this authors books.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘The Secret Life of Lady Lucinda’ by Sophie Barnes

sb tslollSTORY: William finally meets his match in the latest Summersby Tale from Sophie Barnes, author of How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back.

Lucy Blackwell is desperate, reckless, and maybe a little bit crazy. That’s the only possible explanation for tricking a man she doesn’t know into a dance, a kiss, and an engagement—all in the middle of the biggest ball of the year! But Lord William Summersby is the final piece of her grand plan, and she’ll do what it takes to make this marriage of convenience work—as long as it’s convenient for her. She just never counted on falling in love . . .

REVIEW: Have you ever found an author you just couldn’t read? I just did. I honestly gave it my all, but I’m just not willing to spend time on books that are not giving me enjoyment.

If I thought the other two were lacking that ‘something’ special, than this one was flatter than Keira Knightley’s boobs.

I hated the heroine Lucy for the way she manipulated the hero, William, but what was even worse than that, was the plot. I couldn’t buy it if I suspended my belief as high as the stars in the sky!

Listen, if I forget the names of the main characters as soon as I put the book down, you lost me as a reader. Sorry.

However, please have in mind that all reviews are subjective so what I didn’t like from this author, someone did [looking at you Connie!]. You can find Connie’s reviews of Ms. Barnes’ work here and here. She loved her work, and you just may too. Me, I’m skipping her for now …

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back’ by Sophie Barnes

sb hmrghgbSTORY: Emily Rutherford is having a very bad day.

Of course, having the man you’ve loved forever announce his engagement to your (now very former) best friend will do that.

Emily is sure nothing good could possibly come out of this horrid situation. But she lets her sisters—along with Francis Riley, the delectable but brooding Earl of Dunhurst—convince her that a season in London will be just the thing.

Now Emily has a choice: sulk in a corner while her sisters enjoy the glitter of the ton . . . or become the belle of the ball, dazzling everyone on an earl’s arm. But as Francis helps Emily get back on her feet, she quickly realizes that a childhood crush is nothing compared to the power of true love.

REVIEW: Emily believes herself to be betrothed to her long-time friend, Adrian. Some years before he had told her that while he was not now ready for marriage, that when he was ready, he couldn’t think of anyone better than his long-time friend, Emily. Emily took this as a proposal.

Now, she finds that Adrian has asked her good friend, Kate to be his wife leaving her broken-hearted and very angry at Adrian and her friend, Kate.

Another childhood friend, Francis Riley, Earl of Dunhurst, has always loved Emily and when he learns of her hurt, want to soothe her and hopefully have her for his wife. Due to many mix-ups, Emily has felt that Francis is not the nice person he was when they were children. Therefore, they begin a journey of getting to know one another again. Francis has found that the mother he loved if not his true biological mother and this has caused much stress in his life. However, with the help of Emily, his problems with this situation are fixed and their love continues to grow.

There are lots of twists and turns in this novel but I can certainly say that the author, Sophie Barnes, has knitted together an amazing story of powerful love and trust. I hope you will read this terrific book and enjoy it as much as I did.

Connie for b2b

‘The Scandal in Kissing an Heir’ by Sophie Barnes

TSIKAH SBSTORY: He is the next Marquis of Wolvington…
She is a lady with nothing but beauty and wits…
Together they share a forbidden kiss.

Lady Rebecca is determined to find a husband on her own terms, rather than marry any of the aging suitors her greedy aunt and uncle foist upon her. Her chance comes at the Kingsborough Ball, where she meets several potential grooms…yet no one compares to the dangerously handsome Daniel Neville.

Daniel Neville, notorious rake and heir to the Marquis of Wolvington, is in need of a bride, but finding a lady who’s willing to accept his past, is an entirely different matter. When he spies a stunning woman across the ballroom, Daniel believes he’s found her…until scandal erupts around them. How can he convince Rebecca to take a chance on him…and on the love that could be theirs forever after?

REVIEW: Lady Rebecca has spent the last two years locked up in her room pretending to be mad so that she can avoid marrying one of the two old men her aunt and uncle are pushing on her. She manages to escape from her room and attends the Kingsborough Masquerade Ball hoping to meet a young gentleman. With her black hair, unusual bronzed skin and dressed in a gorgeous red dress, she has immediately taken the eye of many eligible men.

Daniel Neville, Marquess of Wolvington, has just been given some very sobering news from his uncle. His days of being a devil-may-care rake are over. It is time for him to settle down and take a wife and he has one month to carry this out . So when he spots Lady Rebecca across the room, he is entranced with her.

They enjoy a fun repartee that results in them eloping to Gretna Green and agreeing to a marriage of convenience so Rebecca can escape marriage to one of the lecherous men chosen for her, and Daniel can satisfy his uncle’s demand that he marry right away.

Their eloping results in them being ostracized by the ton. When Daniel finds out that his uncle is cutting off his funds due to this embarrassment, he seeks ways to make money to support Rebecca refusing to use her dowry money. In addition, Lord Grover who had wanted to marry Rebecca and get her into his bed is livid at losing her and is out for revenge. When Daniel is shot and almost dies, he and Rebecca concoct a scheme to trap Lord Grover and see that he pays for his crime.

This was a well-written novel that shows the reader how a man can change from a rake to one whose newly found love can change him to a responsible man. As with all of Sophie Barnes’ books, I enjoyed this one immensely and look forward to reading the next book in the series entitled “The Trouble with Being a Duke” (At the Kingsborough Ball”.

*Connie for b2b

*ARC provided by the author.

Spotlight on Karen Erickson and…

Tempting Cameron/LONE PINE LAKE #2

TC KEBOOK BLURB: For Cameron McKenzie, Chloe Dawson has always just been his younger sister Jane’s best friend—a pesky annoyance who followed him around and acted like he hung the moon. It isn’t until Jane’s wedding to her firefighter beau Chris that Chloe reappears in his life…and she isn’t pesky or annoying anymore. In fact, the beautiful Chloe tempts him beyond reason. But Cam knows he’s damaged goods—not nearly good enough for Lone Pine Lake’s resident good girl.

Chloe’s always dreamed of a future with the dark, brooding Cam, and after they share an explosive kiss, she wonders if her dream could be coming true. Cam’s never stuck around his hometown for long, though, so she makes him an offer: one sweet summer romance with no strings attached. This good girl’s ready for an adventure…one that just might end up lasting a lifetime.

EXCERPT:

She started to walk away but he stopped her, curled his hand around the crook of her elbow. Her skin was soft, silky. His knuckles brushed against her chest, sent a shockwave through him that rendered him completely still.

“You’re not boring,” he murmured. “Everyone moves at a different pace. Everyone has a different purpose. I think you might’ve already found yours.”

She swallowed hard. He saw the delicate movement of her throat. Without thought, he drew his thumb across the inside of her upper arm, swore he felt her shiver from his touch. Electricity crackled and sparked between them, heady and fluid, and he drew her closer. Closer…

“I should go inside,” she repeated, her voice shaky. “I sound like such a baby, complaining when one of my dearest friends just got married. Your sister. God, you must think I’m completely selfish…”

He cut her off with his lips, rendering her completely silent. She did talk too much. Way too damn much…but she also seemed sad. A little lost.

And he could relate. Despite her thinking he had it together, he didn’t. He was as lost as she, maybe even more so.

MINI REVIEW: I love Karen Erickson’s steamy Historical novels, but lately I’ve been checking her Contemporary ones and I like them. A lot!

‘Tempting Cameron’ comes on the heels of ‘Jane’s Gift’ which I read and reviewed for Christmas, and is the second book in the Lone Pine Lake series. Don’t fret if you haven’t read the first as they’re stand alone, but you’ll be missing a great intro into McKenzie family and Lone Pine Lake residents.

Both characters are likable and just so very real and their happily ever after worth the read.

Karen Erickson has a knack for creating characters that are filled with humanity, for the lack of a better word. These people she populates her stories are just too real, and they just jump off the pages to grab you and pull you deep into their problems, their troubles that you can easily forget your own.

What may surprise you, as it did me, is that this author can write erotic, sensual, steamy and waaaay too hot romance as well as the sweet, touching and STILL sensual without that scorching hot factor, and you won’t even notice ‘till you’re at the end of the story. Oh and the endings of her stories will leave you with this feeling of utter awe and satisfaction…peace and contentment…and a wide smile!

Highly recommend and not to be missed if you’re into contemporary genre.

Karen EricksonAUTHOR BIO: I’ve always loved the written word. From being one of the best readers in my kindergarten class to penning romantic stories that never ended about my favorite band members (Duran Duran!) in high school, I always had a feeling I wanted to write. It just took me a while to seriously pursue it.

With the birth of my third child came a realization – it’s one thing to talk about writing a book, another thing entirely to do so. So I decided to go for it and in 2005 I began my pursuit in writing toward publication. After completing a few clunkers that should never see the light of day, I was first published in 2006. I currently write for Samhain Publishing (sexy, glamorous contemporary romance), Entangled Publishing’s Bliss Imprint (sweet, small town contemporary romance), Avon Impulse/Harper Collins (historical romance) and Carina Press (historical romance).

On a personal note, I’m a native Californian who lives in the foothills below Yosemite with my husband and three children, the dog and way too many cats.

‘Lady Alexandra’s Excellent Adventure’ by Sophie Barnes

LAEA SBSTORY: It’s going to be a wild ride . . .

Lady Alexandra Summersby is not your average society miss. Not only is she more likely to climb a tree than she is to wear a dress, but she has also sworn off marriage. Alex loves taking chances, which is how she finds herself embroiled in a secret mission as she races across the country with the Earl of Trenton. But Alexandra is about to discover that the real danger lies not in duels, but in her completely unexpected reaction to Lord Trenton’s company.

Michael Ashford, Earl of Trenton, is a man of duty. Honorable, charming, and a hit with the ladies, he’s never had trouble staying focused—until now. Lady Alexandra is like no other woman he’s ever met, and suddenly the prospect of marriage seems far more appealing. Now, to convince Alexandra that a life together could be an adventure like no other . . .

REVIEW: This is the first book of The Summersby’s series and I already have the second ‘There’s Something About Lady Mary’ on my Kindle.

As a reviewer, once I’m done reading the book, I do one of two things: if I loved the book, I write my review right away, and if I didn’t care for it, I take my sweet time and debate the matter trying to figure out the reasons behind my dislike of it. The longer I debate, the more I dread writing a review because I am at that point finding too many things I don’t like. It so happens to be the case with this book.

First, I understand what Ms. Sophie Barnes was going for and the title is a given. She tried to give me a contemporary take of the historical regency era story and the titles of her books are the first indication of her attempt. You know, something like what Kieran Kramer is doing with great success, I might add. Alas, Ms. Barnes is in my opinion, not even close to achieving her goal.

That said, I must say that the writing has potential, but the people around her [read EDITORS] should have taken their job more seriously and helped her iron out a story that had good bones by correcting her lack of knowledge about history, dialogue and plotting.

The author attempted to cram everything from adventure, romance and intrigue with a fast pace and in quick succession, so that what should have been a light regency romp came out silly and bland attempt at regency romp.

Despite it, I did like her characterization of the main players and that is the only reason I will give this author another chance by reading a second book in this series. I fervently pray she hired some new editors though.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

‘Jane’s Gift’ by Karen Erickson

STORY: A devastating house fire cost Jane Clark nearly everything: her husband, her confidence, and her looks, with the physical scars marbling her body. Now, two years later, she’s living and healing back in her childhood hometown of Lone Pine Lake. The upcoming holidays are the perfect opportunity to bring some Christmas cheer into her young children’s lives, starting with a visit to the firehouse, where her brother’s best friend has offered to help quell their residual fears.

Lone Pine’s resident playboy, fire captain Christian Nelson is happy with his single-guy lifestyle. He’s an everyday local hero, so he’s never wanting for attention around the holidays. But when Jane Clark shows up, Chris is immediately drawn to the beautiful widow—even though kids and commitment have never been his style.

Despite her brother’s warnings about his friend’s playboy status and dangerous occupation, Jane can’t help but fall for the gorgeous fire captain. The holidays are a time of new beginnings, but can two scarred people find the strength to let go of their pasts to live in the present, when a lifetime together might be the sweetest gift of all?

REVIEW: The above blurb is a perfect hook for this heartwarming and very touching story of one woman’s acceptance of the tragedy that befell her family and hope for their future.

Jane Clark is surrounded by her children, her siblings and her parents, yet deep down she feels that the hole in her heart where her husband used to dwell, is empty. And when she decides to face her fears of fires and meets a man who just might help her do that and possibly offer her a second chance in love, she isn’t sure of herself, nor of the man himself.

Christian Nelson was surprised how quickly he became attracted to the young widow and how much he started to care for her children. As a new friend to her brother Mac, he knows that his reputation of ‘player’ might hurt his chances with Jane, but what worries him even more is his fear of commitment.

MY GOD! The chemistry between these two was AWESOME! Every scene between the two was electric. The author blew me away with the tension build up! As I was reading the story, through Chris’ eyes, I just went through everything he felt. My heart beat faster and the tension had me shaking at some moments. The sexual chemistry was jumping off the page, that’s how good this story is!

Yes, there’s a lot of pull and push, second guessing, family drama and cute kids to boot, but make no mistake, this is romance at its best. I am so glad I read it! Another must for your Christmas List!

I am new to Karen Erickson’s work, but I mean to correct that very soon!