Take a Historical Quiz with Grace Burrowes, Katie MacAlister, and Shana Galen!

HistoricalQuiz
Quiz: Which Historical Romance Heroine Are You?
#1 What word best describes you?
a) effervescent
b) nonconfrontational (mostly)
c) stealthy
#2 My favorite hobby is …
a) comparative study of the male form
b) looking after my darling baron
c) target practice
#3 What is the perfect late night snack?
a) bread, cheese, meats, lemon tarts … whatever can be liberated from the kitchen
b) the baron’s kisses
c) ratafia, shaken not stirred
#4 My ideal man must have …
a) a sublime derriere
b) an aptitude for growing hardy, contrary flowers
c) brains
#5 What accessory do you never leave home without?
a) my corset (large bosoms are such a trial)
b) my composure
c) my pistol
***
TheTruthAboutLeo
If you choose mostly As … then you are as sparkling and resourceful as Her Serene Royal Highness Dagmar from The Truth About Leo by Katie MacAlister. Dagmar may have been raised in a strictly formal manner, but she’s never let that stop her from pursuing anything that catches her interest. She’s a bit quirky, marches to her own drummer, and has a fine, fine appreciation of the manly form.
TheTraitor
If you choose mostly Bs … then you are clearly the stuff a baroness is made of, much like Millicent, from The Traitor by Grace Burrowes. Milly is sweet, fierce, determined, and brave but slow to trust. Sebastian, Baron St. Clair, is ALSO sweet, fierce, determined and brave, and relentless when it comes to protecting those he cares for. Alas for both Sebastian and Milly, an enemy stalks them who is not sweet. By the time Milly is done with Sebastian’s enemies, they are not very brave either. So if you chose mostly B’s, the bad guys better steer mighty clear of you!
LoveAndLetSpy
If you choose mostly Cs … then you are equipped to be a master spy like Jane Bonde from Love and Let Spy by Shana Galen. Jane is smart, cunning, and loyal, but she has her weaknesses too. Her latest weakness goes by the name Dominic Griffyn. Planning a wedding and defeating a villain intent upon the destruction of England is tricky, but if you’re the sort who multitasks easily, then you too have Jane’s unique skills and panache.
GIVEAWAY – CLICK ON RAFFLECOPTER LOGO!

arc

2013 RITA finalists are here!

Congrats[1]

March 26th was a big day for romance authors. On that day some of them got a phone call that rivaled the one big movie stars get right before their big Oscar nomination.  RITA Awards are HUGE in the romance publishing industry and we as readers are always happy when our favorite authors and their books get nominated but especially when they win this prestigious award.

gb dI can’t tell you how thrilled, honored and humbled I was to get a message from one of my favorite authors giving me the news about her book being nominated AND telling me that she thinks I “… deserve to be among the first to post this…” news. ME?! ME?!

And to think I refused to buy her first book because it was all over the blogs with too many five stars to ‘be any good’. I did relent almost a year after ‘The Heir’ came out and thought, if this thing is still getting rave reviews after a year, it possibly is THAT good.

Guess what?! From that point on, Grace Burrowes gained a new fan for ever and ever. I’m thrilled for her, for ‘Darius’ and for the Historical Romance genre [that's mostly what I read], and this year that list is H.U.G.E. and reads as who’s who of Romance Landia!

Check it out!

HISTORICAL ROMANCE

Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare

The Autumn Bride by Anne Gracie

The Chieftain’s Curse by Frances Housden

The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan

Darius by Grace Burrowes

Dark Angel: A Gothic Fairy Tale by T J Bennett

Duke of Midnight by Elizabeth Hoyt

The Lady and the Laird by Nicola Cornick

Love and Other Scandals by Caroline Linden

The Luckiest Lady in London by Sherry Thomas

Never Desire a Duke by Lily Dalton

No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah MacLean

Plaid Tidings by Mia Marlowe

A Rake’s Midnight Kiss by Anna Campbell

The Rogue’s Proposal by Jennifer Haymore

Sins of a Ruthless Rogue by Anna Randol

Sonata for a Scoundrel by Anthea Lawson

The highlighted books and authors are one of my favorites and keepers all the way [oh and I read all of those too]. It looks like I need to read only four books from this list and I better get on it!

I’d like to take this opportunity on behalf of b2b and congratulate all the finalists and wish them luck at this years RWA’s national conference in San Antonio in July as the winners will be announced then. For all the nominees in all the categories, please go here, you may spot one of your favorites :)

I really, really am glad not to have to choose only ONE of these because every one is deserving of the honor to win this award [or at least the ones I've read already!], so judges, good luck! I so do not envy you this task!

Have you read any of these nominated authors and their titles? Which one and what did you think? Are you rooting for specific one? Which one?

b2b would like to celebrate this wonderful group of amazing authors by giving away a signed copy of ‘DARIUS’ by GRACE BURROWES!

Also, here’s a sneak-peak of TRENTON: Lord of Loss. [out on April 1, 2014 just in time for my Birthday!]

gb t

BOOK BLURB: After a short, troubled marriage Trenton Lindsey, heir to the Wilton earldom, finds himself a widower with three small children. His year of mourning leaves him adrift, until his brother Darius forces him to take a repairing lease in Surrey.

Social conventions require Trent to call on his recently widowed neighbor, Elegy Hampton, Lady Rammel, and as friendship develops, consolation of an intimate sort tempts them both.

Just as Trent acknowledges the joy and pleasure to be shared with Ellie, an unseen enemy threatens him and Ellie, too. Can he reach for the love Ellie offers, when someone else is trying to take his life?

EXCERPT: here.

2011-RWA-GraceBurrowes[1]Grace in her own words: I am the sixth out of seven children and was raised in the rural surrounds of central Pennsylvania. Early in life I spent a lot of time reading romance novels and riding a chubby buckskin gelding named—unimaginatively if eponymously—Buck. I also spent a lot of time practicing the piano. My first career was as a technical writer and editor, a busy profession that nonetheless left enough time to read many, many romance novels.

It also left time to grab a law degree through an evening program, produce Beloved Offspring (only one, but she is a lion), and eventually move to the lovely Maryland countryside.

While reading yet still more romance novels (there is a trend here) I opened my own law practice, acquired a master’s degree in Conflict Management (I had a teenage daughter by then) and started thinking about writing…. romance novels. This aim was realized when Beloved Offspring struck out into the Big World a few years ago. (“Mom, why doesn’t anybody tell you being a grown-up is hard?”)

I eventually got up the courage to start pitching manuscripts to agents and editors. The query letter that resulted in “the call” started out: “I am the buffoon in the bar at the RWA retreat who could not keep her heroines straight, could not look you in the eye, and could not stop blushing—and if that doesn’t narrow down the possibilities, your job is even harder than I thought.” (The dear lady bought the book anyway.)

Please feel free to contact me. I love reader mail!

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!

 

Can you name some of the titles featured in the video?

The person with the most titles named will get one of the books with Jon Paul cover!

*[US only]

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 /

‘The Bridegroom Wore Plaid’ by Grace Burrowes [Audiobook]

TBWP GBBOOK BLURB: In an effort to preserve the family estate, Ian MacGregor, the Earl of Balfour, must marry for money. When a promising match emerges in the form of Genie Daniels, a rich English heiress, Ian begins devising a strategy to woo her.

When he meets Genie’s poor cousin Augusta, he discovers a new avenue to Genie’s heart. But after spending time with Augusta and falling for her charms, Ian begins to question whether or not he’s willing to forfeit his heart to save the family name…

REVIEW: Reading, or in this instance listening to Grace Burrowes story,Emun Elliott and Elaine Cassidy as Ian and Augusta is a pleasure I never want to give up. It really doesn’t matter whose story she tells, because she tells it so well that I’ve become a part of every story and every family she introduces me to.

She creates a world that I as a reader do not want to leave. And now that I can ‘hear’ the words acted out, it’s become even harder to leave that world behind once the story is finished.

I think all her books should be turned into a TV series, and every book she’s written so far, I’ve tried to imagine as a TV movie.

This particular story would have been a pleasure to cast because of so many wonderful characters, especially the MacGregor brothers. Can you imagine all those men in kilts?!

I envision  Emun Elliott and Elaine Cassidy from 2012 TV series ‘Paradise’ as Ian and Augusta. If you haven’t caught this wonderful series yet, please try to catch up with it on You Tube. It really is fascinating.

And here’s my Audible review of ‘The Bridegroom Wore Plaid’.

Enter a headline for your review:

Romantic; Intriguing; Entertaining

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Without a doubt! My main reason for recommending it would be the solid writing of this interesting love story, and the second would be narration. I truly enjoyed Roger Hampton’s narration and talent in covering multitude of characters.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Bridegroom Wore Plaid?

There really are many, but the first one to come to mind is the scene from Chapter One in which Ian is showing Augusta the taps in the water closet. His thoughts about her were very entertaining and revealing, but the narration of that scene was priceless!

“The next few moments happened in a series of impressions.

First came the sensation of the door thwacking into Ian from behind. A stout blow more unexpected than painful, but enough to make him stumble forward.

Then, Fiona’s voice, muttering the Gaelic equivalent of “Beg pardon!” followed by a patter of retreating footsteps.

And then, in Ian’s male brain, the woman with the pretty, anxious eyes became the woman who was soft, lush, and still beneath Ian’s much greater weight.

She didn’t push him away. She didn’t even touch him. The sole indication that his weight was any imposition as he flattened her to the wall, that the impropriety of the moment was any imposition, was her closed eyes.

The final impression threatened to part Ian from his reason: her breasts, heaving against his chest. In preparation for her bath, she’d left off her stays, and the feminine abundance pressed against Ian ambushed his wits.

Shrewd, noticing, and astoundingly well endowed.

When he wanted to press closer, Ian pushed himself away with one hand on the wall and made sure both feeder taps were open. “I do beg your pardon, Miss Merrick.”

 “A mishap only. I stumbled upon leaving the coach.”

She would recall that, while Ian had thought nothing of it. His damned male parts were thinking at a great rate now, and all because…”

What does Roger Hampton bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Mr. Hampton did an excellent job with Scottish accent and that’s something I could never manage! I also loved the way he portrayed the villain of the story, Willard Daniels, Baron of Altsax and Gribbony.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, but alas it was not to be. I did listen to it within two days.

Any additional comments?

This book’s well written story and Mr. Hampton’s brilliant interpretation of multiple characters had contributed to some hours of priceless entertainment for me.

TBWP GBUNABRIDGED

by Grace Burrowes

Narrated by Roger Hampton

Series: MacGregor Trilogy, Book 1

Whispersync for Voice: Enabled

‘The Bridegroom Wore Plaid’ by Grace Burrowes

TBWP GBSTORY: In an effort to preserve the family estate, Ian MacGregor, the Earl of Balfour, must marry for money. When a promising match emerges in the form of Genie Daniels, a rich English heiress, Ian begins devising a strategy to woo her.

When he meets Genie’s poor cousin Augusta, he discovers a new avenue to Genie’s heart. But after spending time with Augusta and falling for her charms, Ian begins to question whether or not he’s willing to forfeit his heart to save the family name…

REVIEW: The first line in this novel states the plot perfectly:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single, reasonably good-looking earl not in possession of a fortune must be in want of a wealthy wife.”

Ian MacGregor is a Scottish Earl now head of his family searching for a wealthy heiress to add “coin” to the family coffers.  Therefore, Willard Daniels, Baron of Altsax and Gribbony, brings his wife, daughters, Eugenia and Hester Daniels, his sister-in-law, the widowed Mrs. Julia Redmond and niece, Augusta Merrick to stay as guests at the MacGregor home with an eye toward marrying Eugenia to Ian.  Sharing the MacGregor home are Ian’s brothers, Gilgallon, Connor and his sister, Mary Frances.

As the reader is drawn into the story, we find that sometimes love cannot be arranged because the heart finds its own path.  As the characters get to know one another, attractions build and love finds its way.  But, there is evil in the mix which takes the story on another turn.

I admit that it took me awhile into the book to figure out which character was which.  One of my pet peeves with a novel is trying to “digest” a lot of characters thrown at me right at the beginning of a book.  It’s aggravating and frustrating to keep them separate.  However, Grace Burrowes’s talent at creating real characters and expressing their personalities and feelings once again comes through beautifully in this novel.

Connie for b2b

*Book provided by the author.

b2b is Three!

happy_blogoversary11[1]

Someone pinch me! Has it really been THREE years already?! WOW!

Another year just whooshed by me…Personally, it has been another year filled with health issues I just wasn’t ready to deal with, but then when are we, right?!

Through it all I found that my hubby’s love can get me through everything life throws at me and that is a blessing I don’t ever want to take for granted.

As always, I still feel blessed with so many of you that are faithfully stopping by, commenting and making me laugh out loud. Your support is appreciated and always welcome. I’m really humbled by the romance community all over the world!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love you all!

This year saw our Krissie leave us, but we welcomed with opened arms two of our faithful followers with their unique reviews, Connie and Leah. I was seriously considering shutting the blog down when they jumped in and literally saved me. Please help me welcome them with a huge HIP-HIP-HOORAY!

Since last year our one month-long PUSH-A-BOOK celebration was such a great hit with readers and authors alike, we thought why mess with something that ain’t broke?

Clipart Illustration of a Bunch Of Floating Party Balloons With

So get ready, our bookworms as we’re kicking off our ONE month long celebration on November 1st with Vanessa Kelly and ending it with Anna Campbell.

Throughout the month we’ve invited some of the most hard-working, amazingly creative and way too talented people in the romance community to stop by and help us celebrate. Our invitations once more answered with so much enthusiasm that we just might schedule some visits in twos and threes!

Here’s just a few of the authors that will be coming over… Delilah MarvelleVicky DreilingEileen DreyerDanelle HarmonMaureen Driscoll, Anna CampbellGrace BurrowesMia MarloweMarilyn BrantVanessa KellyLouise AllenShana Galen, Elise RomeNicola CornickJillian StoneSaralee EtterPatricia RicePriscilla ShayBethanne Strasser, Valerie Bowman, Bella Love, Monica BurnsElla Quinn, Caroline LindenSandra OwensTerri BrisbinVictoria Vane, Jenn LeBlanc, Norah WilsonAmanda ScottDonna CummingsNicky Wells, Marguerite KayeBarbara MonajemSaralee EtterDeborah Doucette, Lila DiPasqua, C.C. HumphreysTracy Anne Warren…and a few surprise guests too! There will be prizes…books, and books and some more books, a bookworm heaven, right? There will be many surprises and a Grand Prize as well!

giveaway11[1]

Won’t you help us celebrate with:

1) Telling us which ‘Book’ would you like to ‘Push’ and why…

2) Subscribing to our Blog…

3) ‘LIKE’ -ing us on our Facebook!

All three are required for a TRIPLE chance to win in the Grand Giveaway!

However, if you’re already a follower and our FB buddy, all you need do is…COMMENT on the upcoming posts and you’re all set to go. Are you ready to PARTEY?!

fallingconfettidivider1221[1]

‘Lady Jenny’s Christmas Portrait’ by Grace Burrowes

LJCP GBSTORY: What Lady Jenny wants for Christmas…

For Christmas, soft-spoken Lady Jenny Windham craves the freedom to pursue her artistic ambitions, though it will mean scandalizing her ducal parents and abandoning all hope of a family of her own. She confides her plans to successful artist Elijah Harrison when he’s commissioned to paint a portrait of her small nephews, because assisting Elijah will bring Jenny that much closer to her heart’s desire—won’t it?

…Will break both their hearts.

Elijah Harrison finds in his unlikely assistant not only an inspiring muse and unappreciated talent, but also a lovely and passionate woman. If Elijah supports Jenny’s career, his own professional interests will suffer, but more significantly, he will lose Jenny forever. Both Jenny and Elijah must choose between true love and a lifelong dream

REVIEW: Well, it looks like we’ve come to the end of Grace Burrowes’ Windham series, and I for one am already feeling the loss of this unique, entertaining and fun family.

In ‘Lady Jenny’s Christmas Portrait’ we get to know better Lady Jenny and we welcome back all the Windham brood as they try in their own way to help their youngest sister to decide which one of her dreams she should embrace.

As usual, Ms. Burrowes continues to successfully mix her flowery prose with unique characters and entertaining and interesting plots.

I loved everything about this story but what impressed the most is how accurately the author portrayed the life of the youngest sibling who albeit loved by everyone in her family, was misunderstood and lonely most of the time. Her talent was obvious, yet it was overlooked because she was a female. This is where our hero comes in handy, and with his help, she is finally ready to accept and embrace her dreams.

Reading Grace Burrowes tales can only be described as being enveloped in your favorite quilt and the feeling of security and warmth, familiarity and love is palpable and ever-present.

To be honest, I’m not ready to say goodbye to any of the Windhams…

I want to bide with them some more, so if this truly is the last of the tales, I’m comforted by knowing that they’re only as far from me as my book shelf.

Melanie for b2b

*Book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Here come the Lonely Lords…

D GBDarius

Lord of Pleasures/Book 1 of Lonely Lords Series

Though there are lines he will not cross, Darius Lindsey has become the favored plaything of bored, titled society ladies. He contracts one final engagement with the pretty, sweet, Lady Vivian Longstreet, hoping that meeting his obligations to Vivian will free him from the financial constraints making his life hell. Darius finds instead that the bargain he thought would cost him the last of his self-respect instead resurrects both his honor and his heart.

MINI REVIEW: This story was a gamble for sure. The hero is not what is expected in the romance-land, and you’ll either love him or hate him, but one thing’s for sure, you won’t find this lonely, cynical, self-deprecating and remote man boring.

There’s a lot to enjoy in this first book of the series, and least of it is the sexual escapades of the hero. I think I said this before, and it bears repeating if you haven’t heard it from me, that I really like the writing ‘voice’ of this author. She has a penchant of creating characters that ‘feel’ like real, flesh and blood people facing some real hard choices in their lives.

Ms. Burrowes’ books have a steady pace, although to some it might appear slow, yet to me it is just perfect as it gives me time to acquaint myself with the characters, their surroundings.

Another thing in this story I liked was the dialogue, which was exactly as it should have been between two strangers: awkward, slow and probing at times as these two started to get to know each other and grow to like one another after they’ve already had sex together.

I found both characters and their story compelling and highly recommended to anyone that’s ready for a grown-up, sensual and at times heart breaking tale.

Read an excerpt »

April 2013

N GBNicholas

Lord of Secrets/Book 2 of Lonely Lords Series

Heir to the Bellefonte earldom, Nick Haddonfield has made a promise to his dying father that he’ll marry before the Season’s over. When Nick meets Lady Leah Lindsey, he realizes he’s found not only a damsel lady in need of rescuing, but also a perfect countess of convenience. Then he spoils everything by falling in love with his wife…the one woman he can never, ever have.

MINI REVIEW: I liked this second book in Lonely Lords series, and Nicholas’ story tugged at my heartstrings as well.

Ms. Burrowes does it again by creating another couple that is compelling, nurturing and loving.

As they slowly question if the union between them might work, we get a glimpse of their lives and are convinced that it would be the best thing that happened to them.

This author can sure write hurt, broken and disillusioned characters that are faced with insurmountable obstacles.

Recommend it to all Grace Burrowes fans, but if you’ve never read this author before, I think you might want to start of with THE HEIR before you get to the these lonely men.

May 2013

Read an excerpt »

E GBEthan 

Lord of Scandals/Book 3 of Lonely Lords Series

At the age of fourteen, Ethan Grey was banished by his titled father into a hell his legitimate siblings never learned of. Now that the old earl is dead, and Ethan is a widower with two children to raise, he finds himself attracted to Alice Portman, the boys scholarly, reserved governess. Alice also has a shadowed past, and she and Ethan must face the demon haunting them both if they’re to win their chance for a happily ever after.

MINI REVIEW: With Ethan, Grace Burrowes continues her Lonely Lords series and I must say, if you’re not into complex and complicated, emotionally, sexually and physically abused characters, this one will not be for you. However, I love reading about those kinds of characters as they strive to overcome the hardships they were put through. I think I’d rather read dysfunctional family then belong to one, although come to think on it, I think most of us do.

Again, Ms. Burrowes does something in this book that not many authors feel comfortable writing about and readers reading about and that’s the male friendships. For the life of me I can’t believe that it doesn’t occur to many of you out there that male friendships in Regency and Victorian times are actually more accepted and cultivated.

This one is so far my favorite Lonely Lords book.

I do recommend this book to all her fans, but if you’re not familiar with this author, please get acquainted with her through some of her novellas, before you tackle this one.

June 2013

Read an excerpt »

B GBBeckman

Lord of Sins/Book 4 of Lonely Lords Series

Beckman Haddonfield has always solved his problems by moving on. When he’s given the job of restoring a family estate, he finds in Sara Hunt the one woman who makes him want to put down roots—if he can convince her not to abandon him when she seeks to run from her past.

MINI REVIEW: We are now well vested in these lonely men and here comes Beckman who’s a fourth hero of Grace Burrowes’ Lonely Lords series.

Beckman is another widower with personal issues and secrets. As in previous books from this series, both characters are plenty flawed and are dealing with a lot of emotional baggage that needs to be resolved before they can let go and love each other fully.

I should mention another thing I appreciate from this author and that’s her writing of family relationships, be it brothers and sisters, Aunts, cousins, fathers and sons, or even children in her books. She literally breathes life into them all that ‘feel’s real and potent. It’s like they’re right there in my room. When I read Grace Burrowes books, I ‘hear’ a totally different ‘voice’ in my head than any other voice before.

Please pay close attention to two secondary characters in this book, Gabriel and Polly, who are a sister and a steward of the heroine, Sara and will have a book of their own.

Again, highly recommending it, but if you’re new to her, here are some books you may want to start off before you read the Lonely Lords.

The Heir (The Duke’s Obsession)The Soldier (The Duke’s Obsession)The Virtuoso (The Duke’s Obsession)Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal.

July 2013

Read an excerpt »

G GBGabriel

Lord of Regrets/Book 5 of Lonely Lords Series

After years in hiding, when Gabriel Wendover leaves behind the woman he loves to resume his place as Marquis of Hesketh, he finds the lady herself already ensconced his household, and the mysterious danger still stalking him. Gabriel loves Polonaise Hunt (Polly) and is both upset and thrilled to find that she’s been hired by his brother to paint the family portraits. He must keep himself, his brother and Polly safe, but there’s nothing he can do to safeguard his own heart…

MINI REVIEW: We met the fifth lonely man of Grace Burrowes’ series Lonely Lords in Beckman’s story and he was an enigma to our heroine Polly.

This book is no surprise to me as I continue to thoroughly enjoy this author  and her writing style and voice.

If you’re looking for one of those saccharin tales, these books are not for you. Grace Burrowes writes characters that are unconventional, complex and maybe just too close for comfort to many of us as we in one way or another can relate to them and their problems.

She also can write sensual scenes to make you want to take a cold shower!

As series go, this one is very well written, researched and plotted. The pace of it might be a tad slow for some, but to those of us that appreciate character development, is just right.

Now I’m eagerly awaiting the other four lonely men and pondering who will make them happy.

Read an excerpt

September 2013

And these are only five to start us off… another four are to follow, leading with Gareth, Lord of Rakes, in November, Andrew in December, Douglas in January and David in April, just to wish me a Happy Birthday!

To all of them I say, let the Lonely Lords descent! I’ll be here to make sure they’re not lonely for long!

Melanie for b2b

*Books provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Spotlight on Anna Cowen and…

UNTAMED!

U ACBOOK BLURB: Outspoken and opinionated, Katherine Sutherland is ill at ease amongst the fine ladies of Regency London. She is more familiar with farmers and her blunt opinions and rough manners offend polite society. Yet when she hears the scandalous rumours involving her sister and the seductive Duke of Darlington, the fiercely loyal Katherine vows to save her sister’s marriage – whatever the cost.

Intrigued by Katherine’s interference in his affairs, the manipulative Duke is soon fascinated. He engages in a daring deception and follows her back to her country home. Here, their intense connection shocks them both. But the Duke’s games have dangerous consequences, and the potential to throw both their lives into chaos…

EXCERPT: 

The Duke of Darlington was sitting in the bow window at Whites, when the Earl of BenRuin entered. The man was huge – almost ugly with it.

‘We’ll need another pot of coffee, after last night,’ Darlington said to Jewellyn, who sat beside him comparing three silk handkerchiefs.

‘Mother says the daffodil yellow makes me look consumptive, but the pale is just so joyless.’

‘Your mother knows best, darling.’ He took another sip of coffee, and didn’t look around. But he felt BenRuin’s eyes on him. He heard a hush follow the Earl through the room as he made his way over.

‘Darlington.’ BenRuin spat his name with a thick Scottish R.

He looked up and smiled sunnily. ‘What ho, old boy!’

BenRuin looked as though he wanted to crush Darlington’s throat and stop him from ever speaking again. Something woke, and shivered through Darlington, and he despaired because it was not fear.

He brushed a speck of lint from his cuff. ‘Coffee?’

BenRuin stared at him. ‘I am going to kill you,’ he said slowly, every word clear. Men looked up from their papers, frowning. BenRuin gripped the back of an empty chair, his hand a powerful, blunt instrument.

Darlington lowered his cup and wondered that his hands didn’t shake at all. He had been waiting so long for this. A month ago he had been given an old iron key that unlocked his father’s private papers with his father’s things. The key might as well have unlocked this sick, loose delight in him. It had brought him to this moment.

He screwed up his brow, and turned to Crispin, who sat at his feet on an ottoman. ‘Was I supposed to meet this man in a duel today?’

The boy looked back at Darlington with perfect trust, undiminished by the slight confusion on his face.

‘I don’t think so. No one’s come to see me about being your second. Unless—’ Crispin flushed and turned to Hopwell, across the table. ‘Hopwell, you rotter, you’ve not been approached, have you?’

Hopwell drew himself up. ‘And if I had? Are you the only one who could possibly represent him?’

‘But you know that I—’

BenRuin’s face clearly spoke his frustration – his disbelief that these boys, these butterflies would ignore him. His huge frame bunched and he threw the chair at the wall so hard it broke. Muted conversations broke off, and a footman’s half-sobbed apologies limped alone into the silence. Men rose from their seats, but left a wary space around BenRuin. Darlington couldn’t look away from BenRuin’s pale eyes.

He smiled as if his patience was wearing out. ‘Why do you suppose you want to kill me, old boy?’

‘You.’ BenRuin forced a couple of heavy breaths through his nose, like speaking the words was a feat of strength. ‘And my wife.’

‘Ah.’ Darlington let understanding dawn in his voice and spread his manicured hands out before him. At last. At last they had come to it. All this violence was his for the taking. ‘Look, she told me it was one of those marriages, you know. That you both found pleasure where you could.’

For a moment BenRuin couldn’t speak, like Darlington had cut his tongue out of his mouth. Then, ‘Stop talking,’ he said.

‘But I’m sure she…wait, so you’re back from your trip to South America, then? Did you collect any interesting new specimens?’

‘Stop talking,’ BenRuin said. ‘Stop.’

Crispin leapt up, relief clear in his smile, his voice. ‘You’re thinking of Lady Drysdale, Your Grace!’

‘Of course!’ The Duke placed slim fingers against his brow and made an apologetic face at BenRuin. At last. ‘All a misunderstanding, old boy!’

‘Call me old boy one more time,’ BenRuin said, his brogue making him almost unintelligible, ‘and I won’t wait to hear your explanation.’

‘Explanation?’ He had begun to shake with a kind of excitement. ‘Lady Drysdale and I had an understanding, and I don’t see that it’s any of your concern!’

‘And your carriage – in my driveway?’

He had forced a proud man to say this in front of other men. It was despicable. He would do it again in a heartbeat for what he wanted – needed.

‘Which driveway would that be, old – er.’ Darlington leaned down to Crispin and said, ‘Do you know who he is? I’m not sure what name to address him by.’

And then it came. So fast that for a moment his whole body felt the shock of not being ready. Of needing a moment to think.

BenRuin came at him, all muscle and murderous intent, his eyes fixed on Darlington’s face.

And Darlington was greedy, his whole being a gruesome invitation. Everything he normally hid flared to life within him.

BenRuin saw it. He faltered.

The men who had leapt into action had their arms about BenRuin, their hands gripping him wherever they found purchase. BenRuin’s knife never reached Darlington’s throat.

Darlington felt so bereft that for a moment he couldn’t breathe.

A man was hurrying through the room. Perhaps someone had sent a boy to find him, because he spoke in BenRuin’s ear and BenRuin listened. Tension leeched out of BenRuin’s huge body, and he began to shake, like a horse after a hard race.

He pointed a finger at Darlington. ‘I’ll not hang for the sake of seeing your pretty blood,’ he ground out. ‘This time. But the next time you trespass against me, you will know what I mean to do.’

BenRuin left, and Darlington fluttered his hands about his throat, and went into mild hysterics and allowed Crispin to fuss over him.

REVIEW: You’re either going to love it or hate it. I don’t think there’s a middle of the road for this novel. I more than loved it! I adored the hero, heroine, plot…oh and the prose is so good that it borders on poetic. It brings to mind Julie Anne Long’s and Grace Burrowes’ writing.

As soon as I was done with it, I had to Tweet the author. My Tweet was “I am in awe of it. It’s intriguing, clever & exciting; romantic & sensual; breathtakingly delightful!”

This was one of those stories that made you unknowingly hold your breath, and then slowly exhale as you go from page to page. At the end of it, it brought to mind two movies I am such a fan of: “Pretty Woman” and “An Interview with a Vampire”.

“Pretty Woman” because of its ending as the heroine ‘rescues’ the ‘hero’, and “An Interview with a Vampire” because for some reason the Duke reminded me of Lestat [no he wasn’t a Vampire, just the characterization].

Let me also say that if you’re a stickler for historical detail, you might have to suspend your disbelief and ignore a couple of things in it [notably reform of the Corn Laws and Parliament’s involvement in the divorce] to enjoy the rest of the story. I had no problem with it.

Story’s prose and especially characterization of the hero and heroine, was what engaged me emotionally.

It really was a breath of fresh air. For a change we have an author that gave us a cross-dressing hero instead of a heroine, and the result was entertaining, intriguing and engaging.

It was a risk, but I think it paid off big time!

I recommend it whole heartedly!

ARC courtesy of NetGalley.

You can buy Untamed at Amazon | Kobo | iTunes | Google | txtr | JB HiFi | Sainsbury’s | Destiny Romance (ePub)

Anna CowenAUTHOR IN HER OWN WORDS: I started writing when I was eight and my heroine thought the likeliest place to buy a horse was the pet shop.

I stopped writing when I was fifteen and my teen angst was too much, even for me. Also, boys.

Now I’m An Adult, and I’ve never wanted to work so hard at anything.

I live in a beautiful flat in the middle of Melbourne with special k – husband / coffee mogul / love of my life. We’ve started having weekly managers meetings where he says things like, “This is work, so there are no feelings, okay?” and I quake in my writerly boots. I couldn’t have done any of this without him.

This blog is where I think out loud about writing. I break down the things I watch and read – I try to figure out how they work, or don’t work. It tends to centre around love, romance, gender, feminism and writing.

I hope you enjoy the conversation!

You can catch Anna on: Tweeter / Website

‘Lady Louisa’s Christmas Knight’ by Grace Burrowes

STORY: ‘Tis the Season for Scandal…

Years ago Lady Louisa Windham acted rashly on a dare from her brother, and that indiscretion is about to come to light. She knows her reputation will never survive exposure. Just as she’s nearly overwhelmed by her dilemma, Sir Joseph Carrington offers himself to her as a solution…

But Sir Joseph has secrets as well, and as he and Louisa become entangled with each other, their deceptions begin to close in on them both…

REVIEW: It’s no secret to any of you how much I love reading Grace Burrows’ novels. She infuses her love stories with so much heart that once I’m done with the story, I’m already missing the characters. It’s no different with this story. Last Christmas we saw Lady Sophie get her Christmas wish, and this Christmas Lady Louisa gets her Knight.

Sir Joseph Carrington is a retired soldier, a farmer and quotes poetry. He is one of the best Beta heroes around! I loved his mild manner and thoughtfulness. As much as he liked and was attractive to Louisa, he would have never presumed that she would like him back, and especially because of the difference in their stations.

As a favor to her brothers, he takes their place as her protector and that’s where all the trouble starts.

I don’t know about you, but I love when the story ‘breathes’…Like the bottle of a very old wine…you open it, let it breathe…inhale it, and just the aroma gets you intoxicated.

That’s exactly how I felt reading this romance. This is a tender, mature love story of two smart, witty and very normal people and that in itself was so refreshing. The secondary characters were interesting as well, but having their Graces and their children around was such a treat.

There’s a bit of comedy and plenty of romance as our hero quotes his poetry, so get that cup of hot chocolate and spend a day with Lady Louisa and her Knight!