My Historical Christmas recommends [part 2]

MC JG‘Merry Christmas’ by Jane Goodger

BOOK BLURB: A Christmas wedding to the Duke of Bellingham. Any other socialite in Newport, Rhode Island, would be overjoyed at the prospect, but Elizabeth Cummings finds her mother’s announcement as appealing as a prison sentence. Elizabeth has not the slightest desire to meet Randall Blackmore, let alone be bartered for an English title. Her heart belongs to another, and the duke’s prestige, arrogance, and rugged charm will make no difference to her plans of elopement.

Against his expectations and desires, Randall Blackmore has inherited a dukedom and a vast estate that only marriage to an heiress can save. Selling his title to the highest bidder is a wretched obligation, but to Randall’s surprise his intended bride is pretty, courageous, delightfully impertinent—and completely uninterested in becoming a Duchess. Yet suddenly, no other woman will do, and a marriage in name only will never be enough for a husband determined to win his wife in body, heart, and soul.

REVIEW: As promised, here’s my recommendation of Jane Goodger’s 1st book in her Christmas trilogy.

Elizabeth Cummings is an American heiress and in love with a man who, unbeknownst to her, wants her for her money.

The Duke Randall Blackmore is an aristocrat who needs to marry money and so he agrees to meet Elizabeth, whose mother wants nothing more than a duchy for her girl.

While Rand falls for her as soon as they meet, Elizabeth sees only a man who is settling for her money and is heartbroken to be forced into this farce of a marriage while her heart belongs to another.

Despite the predictability of the story, especially on the part of the heroine, I liked both characterization, and plot of this interesting little tale. Out of all three though, I liked this one the least, and that’s because of my feelings toward Elizabeth. Still, worth the read because it is the start of the series.

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OPC SS‘One Perfect Christmas’ by Stefanie Sloane

BOOK BLURB: In an enchanting eBook novella, cherished Regency romance author Stefanie Sloane presents an irresistible tale of fiery passion that burns deep on a cold winter’s night.
 
Although he’s never been prone to regret, the Honorable Lucas Cavanaugh cannot help but wish for a fresh start with Jane Merriweather.

After being jilted by her fiancé, Jane turns to her dear childhood friend, Lucas, for support—and unlocks the hidden emotion and smoldering desire simmering in the man’s troubled heart.

Frightened by his newfound feelings, Lucas flees to Scotland. But when the Christmas season brings them together again, one look at Jane is all that’s needed to reignite his yearning for the woman. Now Lucas must convince Jane that his intentions are as pure as the falling snow—and turn a dreary December into a joyous Yuletide affair.

REVIEW: I’m a huge Stefanie Sloan fan and have read every book she’s written so far. My attraction to her writing lies in her uncanny talent at always writing fun and entertaining dialogues.

She did it again in this short novella as I found myself laughing and chuckling all the way through this read.

Lucas and Jane were fun to follow around, but having all those entertaining animals around in their quaint little rural part of England, will have you dreaming of sugar plums and kissing bows.

If you’re a lover of a romance with the ‘Big Misunderstanding’ then you’ll love this story for sure. It has lots of humor and heart and plenty of supporting players to make it interesting and enjoying.

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TSBC EE‘The Scandal Before Christmas’ by Elizabeth Essex

BOOK BLURB: First in an exclusive four-part e-serial by New York Times bestselling

’Tis the season for a new holiday novella from acclaimed author Elizabeth Essex! Romance so good it’s scandalous…

Lieutenant Ian Worth needs a wife by Christmas, and he can’t afford to be choosy. He has to find her, woo her, and wed her before he goes back to sea – all within a matter of days.

Anne Lesley is a shy spinster with no prospects, and nothing and no one to recommend her but her own self. She accepts the lieutenant’s hasty offer only for the comfort and security it will bring. But when a midwinter storm snows her and Ian in, they both find they got much more than they bargained for – daughter, light, and a Christmas filled with honest to goodness true love…

REVIEW: I can’t believe that I never read this author before! This is why I enjoy these short little novellas around Christmas time. I get to ‘sample’ so many ‘new to me’ authors and then decide if I’ll read them or not. In case of Elisabeth Essex, I’m sure to read her work in years to come.

I liked our timid, shy and plain heroine Anne, and I looked forward to this butterfly emerging out of a cocoon of her own making.

And then there’s our hero Ian who may seem shallow at first, but was actually a very devoted man and the more you discover about him, the more you realize that he’s much more than what he appears to be.

I really enjoyed Anne and Ian’s romance and hope you will too.

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TCC MJP‘The Christmas Cuckoo’ by Mary Jo Putney

BOOK BLURB: Major Jack Howard, a weary veteran of the Peninsular Wars, has just returned to England and intends to return to an unwelcoming family home for Christmas. But when a pompous secretary gives him too many orders, Jack hops on the next stagecoach leaving London inn, not caring where it’s going. Too much whisky to stave off freezing leaves him sleeping it off in a different inn, and when an attractive young woman asks if he’s Jack Howard he happily goes home with her.

Despite vile weather, Meg Lambert drives to the local inn to collect her brother’s friend Jack Howard, but since she’s never met the man, she doesn’t realize that she’s brought home the wrong Jack Howard. Jack realizes her mistake when he awakes the next morning with an aching head—but he finds a warmth and welcome with Meg and her family that he’s yearned for all his life. He can’t bring himself to admit that he’s a cuckoo in her nest—but what will happen when Meg’s brother and the right Jack Howard turn up for Christmas???

REVIEW: If there ever was an author to ever get you in a Christmas mood, then Mary Jo Putney and this short story is IT!

I’m hoping if the title alone would be intriguing enough for you to want to read it and find out the meaning of the word ‘cuckoo’.

Everything in this story just sparkled, from the characterization of the main characters, to the plot and pace of the story.

If you like your romance to involve a mistaken identity, plenty of Christmas cheer and two people who are truly brought together by Serendipity, this story will have you laugh out loud and wishing upon that falling star for Jack of your own.

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MFC JA‘Mackenzie Family Christmas’ by Jennifer Ashley

BOOK BLURB: The Mackenzies gather for a clan Christmas and New Year’s in Scotland.

In the chaos of preparations for the celebration–the first of Hart and Eleanor’s married life–one of Ian’s Ming bowls gets broken, and the family scrambles to save the day.

Daniel busily runs a betting ring for everything from the time Eleanor’s baby will arrive to whether Mac’s former-pugilist valet can win a boxing match to who will be the first of the many guests to be caught under the mistletoe.

Ian begins a new obsession, and Beth fears the loss of one of his precious bowls has made him withdraw once more into his private world.

REVIEW: What a better way to bring the entire Mackenzie’s together in one spot then a Christmas?

That said, I must point out that if you’ve not read the earlier books in this series, you might be a bit lost and wonder who’s who in this book, but if you’ve read all the other books, you just have to have this one. It is a must read because you know you wanna know what happened to everyone you’ve come so close to know through the series.

For me, this book brought wonderful memories of each Mackenzie and it was like joining their clan for one last time.

My favorite was still Ian then Mac, Cameron and Hart. But what I loved the best was the intro into Inspector Fellowes’ book which will be coming out next.

If you love your Scotsmen tough and their women smart besides beautiful, then get ready for the Clan Mackenzie!

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TCB SB‘The Christmas Ball’ by Sherrill Bodine

BOOK BLURB: The perfect Christmas gift can be found under the mistletoe.

Outshone by a gregarious stepsister and overbearing stepmother, Lady Athena Cummins is used to fading into the shadows.

Beloved only by her youngest sister Persephone, Athena has accepted her destiny as a spinster. But Persephone has a different scheme in mind, and conspires to send Athena out for one night of fun at Lord Finchley’s masquerade Christmas Ball.

The masked beauty catches the Lord’s eye but, determined to avoid the wrath of her stepsister, Athena leads Lord Finchley on a wild chase to discover her true identity.

CLICK ON THE COVER for a FREE DOWNLOAD!!

REVIEWHere’s another ‘new to me author’ that’s worth checking out, and you have that ability too now because it’s FREE!

Okay, who doesn’t love Cinderella’s story? Anyone?! Didn’t think so.

In this story, Cinderella is actually Athena who is helped by her half-sister Persephone by arranging for her to attend a masked ball where she falls in love.

Yes it’s predictable, yes we have the wicked step-mother and sister, but in all honesty, I kind of enjoyed this story despite of it.

If you’d like to find out how this tale develops and who helps our couple, you should read it. It’s FREE!

*Melanie for b2b

*Books provided by the publisher through NetGalley & purchased by me.

My Historical Christmas recommends [part 1]

ACW JG‘A Christmas Waltz’ by Jane Goodger

BOOK BLURB: To Lady Amelia Wellesley, it seems utterly romantic to surprise her dashing fiancé at his home in Texas so the two can marry by Christmas. But Amelia’s surprise goes awry when Carson Kitteridge calls off their wedding as soon as she arrives, leaving Amelia in disgrace. . .

With nowhere to turn, Amelia finds an unlikely savior in Carson’s brother, Dr. Boone Kitteridge. Boone offers to marry Amelia, sparing her the shame of returning to England unwed. But Boone isn’t just protecting Amelia’s honor; secretly, he finds her irresistible, and the thought of indulging his desire for her is too tempting to ignore. As Boone and Amelia forge a fragile bond, something goes terribly wrong–and it will take nothing less than a Christmas miracle for Amelia to discover who she is destined to love. . .

REVIEW: There are three books in this Christmas trilogy and last year I recommended ‘A Christmas Scandal’ which is book two, and today I’m recommending book three [tomorrow I’ll do book one, ‘Marry Christmas’].

For someone that’s always reading any series in order, I’ve no idea why I read this trilogy out-of-order. It really isn’t necessary for them to be read in order… however, maybe I should have. Because they would have flowed better time wise.

In any case, I’m here to let you know that this is a well written, plotted and executed sweet, sensual and very charming tale.

What I liked best about it is the dialogue and the fast pace of the story as well as strong characterization of hero and the heroine.

I adored Lady Amelia Wellesley who might seem flighty and naïve, but this woman was one strong female. For her to leave her native England and pursue the love of her life [an American Cowboy who proposed to her only because he wanted to bed her] all on her own takes guts.

Boone Kittredge is this small town’s doctor and her fiancé’s brother.  He’s also a total opposite of Carson, and Amelia is having a hard time coming to terms with the man she remembers from England, with the man that he is now, here in America.

Boone is a Beta hero all the way, and I just loved him to pieces. Once we get to know his background, we love him even more. This man has survived much abuse from his father, and it was something that made him into a somber and strong person. As well as someone who has always been there to pick up the pieces of his older brother leaves behind.

I also loved the secondary characters in this tale and was heartbroken at the life and hardships they lived through.

This is a story for every age and any time, not just Christmas.

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CR LBIW SK MJP PR‘Christmas Roses: Love Blooms in Winter’ by Mary Jo Putney,  Patricia RiceSusan King

BOOK BLURB: Love blooms in Winter…

Three rare, historical romance novellas by acclaimed writers Patricia Rice, Mary Jo Putney, and Susan King are collected together here for the first time in this exclusive eBook, Christmas Roses.

“The Snow Rose”, “The Black Beast of Belleterre”, and “The Kissing Bough” weave tales of the joy of unexpected Love, at a special time of year, Christmas – as only these talented writers can.

Discovery in the midst of a clash of clans, hidden desires from an unexpected suitor, and a love once lost and found combine for a truly romantic journey through history.

This tantalizing collection of historical romances also includes all-new introductions and recipes to add to the delight of the season.

REVIEW: This book was going to be a win-win for me because I’m new to only one of the authors in this anthology, Susan King and MJP and PR are my all time favorite authors and I’m in process of hunting down their back list for my Keeper shelf.

Plus, you can’t beat the free recipes that all of them are offering at the end of their stories: Oatmeal Brose, Potato Kale Soup, and Lamb’s Wool Punch may not grace my table this Christmas, but they sure were fun to read.

Here are my thoughts on their stories:

‘The Snow Rose’ by Susan King
Catriona MacDonald is determent to gain the rights from her uncle to her family’s estate and the only man that can help her is a Laird of an enemy clan, the Frasers.

The Laird isn’t much inclined to engage a MacDonald into a fight over a woman’s fancy, so he declines to aid her, but a warrior in his Hall feels that he might offer at least some help to a woman who’s left to fetch for herself in the middle of a winter storm.

My fellow reviewer Leah’s been the catalyst for me to start reading more Medieval romances, and this one’s very fast pacing and so heartwarming that will melt your heart, especially when you find out why Catriona chooses to live alone.

Kenneth was an Alpha male all the way, but still managed to be caring and smart; strong and loyal.

I’ve never been to Scotland but Ms. King did such a great job in describing the world of 16th Century in which Catriona lived in that I may as well have been there with her.

‘The Snow Rose’ will melt your heart!

‘The Black Beast of Belleterre’ by Mary Jo Putney
MJP does a ‘Beauty and the Beast’ so well in this short tale that you won’t even notice it’s a short story.

Lord Falconer is blessed with wealth and vast holdings, but not with good looks.

As a child he suffered an accident which left him disfigured, so he’s been hiding behind a hood. He long ago accepted his fate, and knew that he’d never feel the love of a woman or his child’s small hands around his neck.

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TCICAE EL‘The Cheer in Charming an Earl’ by Emma Locke

BOOK BLURB: For Love…

The second of five impoverished sisters, Miss Elinor Conley knows her dream of becoming a lady is farfetched. When an unmarried gentleman happens by her brother’s smithy, it is up to her to act quickly–and rashly–to secure his interest.

But Grantham Wendell, Earl Chelford, isn’t in the market for anything more than a new horseshoe. What’s a bachelor to do when an innocent miss turns up at his Christmas Eve bacchanalia? He ought to make her leave, but his Twelfth Night party just became more entertaining…

This is story 3.5 in The Naughty Girls Series. To start at the beginning, please see the full-length romance THE TROUBLE WITH BEING WICKED.

PLEASE NOTE! This short novella was first published in the romantic holiday anthology TIS THE SEASON.

REVIEW: I can’t believe that I have every book this author wrote, but never read any of them!

This is a short and quick read with an entertaining cast of characters, like our heroine, Miss Elinor Conley.

Our little miss is in a tizzy as she believes herself doomed to spinsterhood because her little village lacks the suitors, so she decides to convince Grantham, Earl Chelford, whom she just met at her brother’s smithy that they would suit. What could go wrong, right?

Both of these characters were very likable and extremely entertaining.

If you like your novellas with lots of humor, plenty of romance and witty dialogue, Ms. Locke is an author to deliver on all counts.

Now I really have to get to the other books as soon as possible.

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TID CM‘The Inconvenient Duchess’ by Christine Merrill

BOOK BLURB: “Dear Cici and Father,”

“I have come to Devon and married a duke. And I’m more tired and hungry than I have ever been in my life. Please let me come home.”

Compromised and wedded on the same day, Lady Miranda was fast finding married life not to her taste. A decaying manor and a secretive husband were hardly the stuff of girlish dreams. Yet every time she looked at dark, brooding Marcus Radwell, Duke of Haughleigh, she felt inexplicably compelled–and determined–to make their marriage real

REVIEW: I got this book for two reasons, one it was and still is FREE! And the second reason is it has my December theme of Christmas.

Everything in this story worked and meshed well, from our heroine Miranda, who was very ordinary and relatable character, to our hero Marcus who’s an honorable man with a gruff exterior.

Miranda and Marcus felt very real, and their love story and the plot were well-developed. I also liked the dialogue which was entertaining and helped move the story at a nice and steady pace.

Secondary character of St. John, the hero’s brother almost stole the story, that’s how well-developed he was.

I highly recommend it if you like a traditional Regency. The story is highly entertaining, intriguing and its complex characters.

This is a new author to me this year, and I’m sure to read her again. Please feel FREE to download it today!

CLICK ON THE COVER for a FREE DOWNLOAD!!

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THATT RW‘The Holly and the Thistle’ by Regan Walker

BOOK BLURB: A chance meeting at Berry’s wine shop, a misunderstanding and Christmastide all come together to allow the most handsome Scot in London to give Lady Emily Picton the best Christmas gift she’s ever had: a marriage not of convenience, but one of love.

This follows to some extent the first in the Agents of the Crown trilogy, Racing With The Wind, but can be read alone.

REVIEW: Here’s another author that just keeps slipping by me. I have a couple of her books on my Kindle, and I really have to find the time to read her, especially after I read this novella.

From what I could glimpse from this short story, I can tell you that this author does know her craft well and her characters are well drawn, three-dimensional; her plots well-developed and pace fast-moving.

If you like a romance that starts with a mistaken identity, this one is it. The scene in which our hero meets the heroine is priceless, and very well written.

William’s pursuit of Emily is so much more than just entertaining. It’s downright awesome! It really is a must read.

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MAM KR‘Mistletoe and Magic’ by Katie Rose

BOOK BLURB: In Katie Rose’s delightful eBook original novella set in Victorian New York City, a remarkable woman with the gift of second sight must learn to trust her visions while following her heart.
 
Blond, angelic Penelope Appleton possesses breathtaking looks—and a troublesome secret. She and her two charming—and newly married—sisters have inspired quite a following posing as spiritualists. However, unlike her clever sisters, Penelope actually does glimpse the future. On the eve of her coming out at a Christmas ball, Penelope sees a vision of a rakishly handsome dark-haired man who she knows is her destiny. But her premonition comes with a terrible price: She also foretells his death.

Jared Marton takes one look at Penelope and his fate is sealed. He must possess her, heart and soul, even if his efforts to get close to this ethereal beauty are thwarted by her determination to deny the magic between them . . . until a perfect kiss dissolves all barriers to sweet surrender. But when Jared discovers the burden she carries, a perfect love is challenged by the cold winds of fate.

REVIEW: Well finally I leave Regency England and head to Victorian New York!

When I read this short novella, I wasn’t aware that it was a third book in the Appleton Sister’s series, but fear not, this  story is written to stand on its own.

Our heroine Penelope is the youngest of the Appleton sisters and she has a ‘second sight’ which allows her to see the future, even her own.

And here is where this story gets intriguing. In order to stop a tragedy that she foresaw, she’s determined to stay away from the man she loves because she believes that she saw him die

I liked the characters and the suspenseful plot of this little gem and hope you give it a go.

*Melanie for b2b

*Books provided by the publisher through NetGalley & bought by me.

Time for some old Christmas reads…

Merry Christmas to all

Can you believe it?! December is here! That means whatever I’m reading that’s not a Christmas story, it needs to be abandoned for everything that is Christmas story.

Before I get to them though, I’d like to thank you all for making our second anniversary a huge success.To all the authors that have participated and to those that have been busy in their ‘writing caves’ and couldn’t stop by this year [and who I'll certainly accost next year], I want to send my heartfelt thanks. You are a bunch of unbelievably generous people that make me appreciate and love your work and you that much more.

My thanks go to all of my new and old subscribers who’ve faithfully followed and made comments [and made my days so much fun just by reading them all], I send my big, huge, humongous Serbian hug and a kiss! Without you, there wouldn’t be bookworm2bookworm. Period.

I also want to thank you all, authors and readers alike, for your patience with me on the contests that ran with every post [thirty-five in total for the month of November], as I procrastinated ’till the very last. I promise that by the end of this weekend many of you will be pleasantly surprised to find your names on our Contest page, and by the end of next weekend, we will have the Grand Prize announced and given away!

This month I’d like to dedicate to Christmas stories and will be recommending some that I’ve read before as well as some newly published. I hope you’ll stop by and join me in the coming weeks to find out which one’s I’m recommending and maybe recommend some of your own… I love this time of year and there’s nothing better than finding that perfect Christmas story that touches your heart, makes you sigh and cry…

Let me start with one of my all time favorites, and that is a story from Anne Gracie from an anthology I read a couple of years ago, Gifts of the Season. If you asked me about the other two stories in that book, I would have to probably think a bit to recollect them, but if you asked me about Anne’s, I’d tell you that I just cried and cried and smiled and smiled, that’s how much I loved the story and highly recommend you pick it up.

Gifts of the Season Anthology 

BOOK BLURB: The Virtuous Widow by Anne Gracie

Ellie was afraid she had no future. Left to her own devices now that her husband had passed away, she worried for her daughter’s welfare as well as her own. But her world changed when a stranger landed on her doorstep.

A Gift Most Rare by Miranda Jarrett 

Sara had never thought to see her precious Rev ever again. Yet here he was, come to stay for the holidays in the very home where she was a governess…and bringing up the painful memories of their shared past.

Christmas Charade by Lyn Stone

Beth didn’t want a husband. But when she agreed to marry handsome Jack as part of a scheme, she didn’t expect to be playing with her heart.

My next two recommends are from Mary Balogh. She never fails to give me one of the most touching Christmas stories and here are the two I think you’ll love.

ACP MBA Christmas Promise

BOOK BLURB: A love that cannot be bought or sold proves to be the greatest gift of all, in this heartwarming classic that demonstrates once again why New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh is among the most celebrated authors of historical romance.

Weddings are supposed to be joyous occasions—especially when a couple seems as well matched as Randolph Pierce, Earl of Falloden, and his bride-to-be, Eleanor Transome. Ellie brings to the marriage a vast dowry, while Falloden, though distant, is handsome, tremendously desirable, and possessed of a title most young ladies can only dream of sharing.

Yet Ellie is not most young ladies. She knows that she must honor her dear father’s dying wish for her to wed the proud earl, but she dreads a lifetime in a union without love—and how can Falloden claim to love her when he married her only for her fortune? As Christmas descends upon the Falloden manor, the warmth of the season may yet melt away the trappings of duty and wealth, leaving behind only a man and a woman destined for each other’s arms.

UTM MBUnder the Mistletoe Collection

BOOK BLURB: In this collection of five Christmas-themed stories, beloved author Mary Balogh brings together tales of love, marriage, friendship, loneliness, and healing.

Includes four Balogh holiday classics, The Star of BethlehemThe Best GiftPlaying House, and No Room At the Inn, as well as A Family Christmas, which is only available in this anthology.

A Christmas Scandal by Jane Goodger

ACS JGBOOK BLURB: In her latest romance, Jane Goodger weaves an unforgettable tale of a woman who thinks she’s lost everything–until a little Christmas magic reunites her with the one man she could never forget. . .

Dashing, debonair, and completely irresistible, Edward Hollings has all of Newport buzzing–and to Maggie Pierce’s surprise, she alone has caught his eye. But when the handsome earl returns to England without proposing, a devastated Maggie knows she must forget him. Life only gets worse for Maggie, as all her dreams of happiness and love come crashing down around her. When Maggie receives an invitation to go to England for the Christmas birth of her dear friend’s baby, she accepts–vowing to keep her devastating lies and shameful secrets from the one man she has ever loved.

Edward vowed he’d never marry, but he came dangerously close with Maggie. She’s beautiful, witty, indescribably desirable–and Edward can’t forget her. When Maggie visits mutual friends for Christmas, Edward can’t stay away. In fact, he finds himself more attracted to her than ever–a desire fueled even more by Maggie’s repeated snubs. With the love he never thought he’d find slipping away, Edward is determined to make Maggie his own, no matter what the cost. . .

The Present by Johanna Lindsey

TP JLBOOK BLURB: As the entire Malory family gathers at Haverston to celebrate the season, a mysterious present arrives anonymously. The gift is an old journal — a tender and tempestuous account of the love affair between the second Marquis, Christopher Malory, and a dark gypsy beauty named Anastasia, who seeks a love match with a non-gypsy in order to save herself from a prearranged marriage to a brute.

Though the dashing English lord Anastasia sets her sight upon burns for the exquisite, exotic miss, Christopher could never consent to wed such a lowborn lady. But miracles have been known to happen in this season of peace and giving and love, as two extraordinary people separated by circumstance of birth begin a passionate dance of will and wiles.

And in the miraculous blossoming of a glorious romance at a long ago Christmastime, there are wise and well-learned lessons that will enrich the hearts of the Malory descendants — and, indeed, of everyone who has ever dreamed.

Forbidden Magic by Jo Beverly

FM JBBOOK BLURB: Left penniless after her parents’ death, Meg Gillingham was in dire straits. Her cruel landlord threatened to turn her and her siblings out of their home by the New Year—unless she surrendered her sister to his lecherous whims. Only a miracle could save her: a magic statue that granted wishes—for a price.

Meg never expected the statue to bring her a marriage proposal, especially from the handsome Earl of Saxonhurst, who needed a bride to keep his fortune. Her heart raced wildly, for she was held spellbound by her desire for this man. But a villain was determined to destroy their union with mistrust, and see them dead. Now Meg had to put her faith in a more powerful magic—the magic of love.

A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas

AWC LKBOOK BLURB: Rafe Bowman has just arrived from America for his arranged meeting with Natalie, the very proper and beautiful daughter of Lady and Lord Blandford. His chiseled good looks and imposing physique are sure to impress the lady-in-waiting, and if it weren’t for his shocking American ways and wild reputation, her hand would already be guaranteed. Before the courtship can begin, Rafe realizes he must learn the rules of London society. But when four former Wallflowers try their hand at matchmaking, no one knows what will happen…

Winning a bride turns out to be more complicated than Rafe Bowman anticipated, especially for a man accustomed to getting anything he wants. However, Christmas works in the most unexpected ways, changing a cynic to a romantic…and inspiring passion in the most timid of hearts.

That’s just a handful of books that I really enjoyed in the past and I hope you’d give them a try, unless you already read them, in which case I would love to know what you thought of them. I usually look for short Christmas stories, often found in Anthologies  at this time of the year. They are the best because they give me the feel for the authors that I haven’t read before.

Speaking of, do you like Anthologies and why? If you have any good Christmas recommendations for me please let me know. This month should be fun as we talk Christmas books…and giveaway a few of those…

‘The Mad Lord’s Daughter’ by Jane Goodger

STORY: Locked away by her reclusive and intensely protective father, the recently deceased “Mad Lord of Northumberland,” Melissa is beautiful and educated but painfully naïve about the real world–and the dark secrets of her birth. Now in the care of her uncle, the Earl of Braddock, she must prepare to enter London society and find a proper husband, a task that grows complicated when she falls for the one man she can never have. Just as a promising new life begins to eclipse her tragic past, she’ll find herself consumed by a forbidden love that could destroy it all…

REVIEW: There’s nothing worse for a reviewer then the fear that one’s review of a beloved book will be weighed, measured and found wanting.

Ms. Jane Goodger is very new to me and after only two books, her writing leaves me breathless. She weaves her stories with out most care and I find her characters, even the ones on the periphery of the story, were given an element of humanity, which brought them to life for me.

Her broken heroes or heroines always rise like a phoenix from the ashes and my heart is filled with joy watching them reach their happily ever after.

She never takes her secondary characters for granted and she cleverly incites our curiosity with them that in the end we’re left asking to know and want one of their own stories. That was the case of Miss Diane Stenhope, our heroines chaperon and Lord Braddock, the hero’s father. Their happily ever after was as much interesting as John and Melissa’s. That kind of writing takes forethought and ingenuity and the author has achieved both in this novel.

The story was paced to perfection, as our hero and heroine slowly develop a friendship and comradery, which gives both time to develop deep and lasting feelings of love for one another. Melissa grew up in such a confined enviroment, that the first thing that comes to her mind when she meets John is a feeling of awe and strong desire, not of passion, but of longing to be just like him, fearless and carefree.

If you’re looking for a story that will curl your toes with sweet, passionate and very sensual content, you won’t go wrong in picking this one up.

ARC provided by the Author.

Lord Willington and Miss Melissa Atwell of ‘A Mad Lord’s Daughter’ Interview

Ms. Friedman: It is an honor to host you both and I’m truly humbled by your visit today.  Thank you for making time in your busy schedules for this interview. Please, make yourselves at home and we shall begin….

Miss Melissa Atwell: Thank you so much for inviting us!

Lord Willington: I’ve been looking forward to it.

Ms. Friedman: Now, the questions I have are quite personal, but fun never the less. But before I get to them, tell me how have you both been since last I saw you? I believe it was only four days before your impending nuptials?

Miss Melissa Atwell: Well, we’re doing wonderfully. Very happy. John was so handsome at the wedding. And Charles was there, which I thought was very nice of him.

Lord Willington: Indeed. Though I did think he just might cold-cock me again. It was a nice wedding, wasn’t it? And Lady Willington was beautiful.

Ms. Friedman: My congratulations to both, and I guess you are now officially Lady Willington. It does have a nice ring to it, yes? Tell me, as your childhoods were vastly different, I hoped you would share with us a childhood memory that brings a smile to your face or makes you tear up?

Lady Willington: Oh, it has to be listening to my mother and father talk whilst sitting by the fire on those cold winter nights when the wind whistled outside. I can’t remember what they discussed, but it was calm and so safe. I remember thinking how wonderful it would be to love someone the way they did each other.

Lord Willington: I suppose for me it would be the time I hid my father’s braces. All of them. He chased me about the house, holding his pants up, and of course he couldn’t catch me—until I collapsed in tears, I was laughing so much. We have had so many grand times, father and I.

Ms. Friedman: That is very touching, Lady Willington. Lord Willington, it sounds like you have had and continue to have a very rare and loving relationship with your father, Lord Braddock.

You know, I was so happy to see your friendship blossom into love, but do either of you have a wish or a dream still left unfulfilled and what would that be?

Lady Willington: I would like to have the laws changed so that people are more accepting of illegitimate children.

Lord Willington: We are working on that, my colleagues and I, but it is so difficult. People have become so rigid in their beliefs.

Ms. Friedman:  With both of you giving so much of yourselves, I have no doubt that changes will happen.

I wondered if you would be so kind to share with us your greatest accomplishments and regrets thus far….

Lady Willington: I went to a country fair! Just last week. I didn’t even mind when the juggler took my hand and tried to teach me to juggle. Well, not so much. Regrets? I wish my father were alive so he could see how very happy I am.

Lord Willington: I wish I hadn’t been quite so pig-headed about love.

Ms. Friedman: Oh, I am so happy to hear that you are conquering your fears my Dear. [leaning to Lord Willington's side and in a stage whisper] Most of us knew you had no prayer after we saw you look at her, but are so happy that you came to your senses, young Man.

Now, before we get to more questions, hoe about some tea? [as both Lord and Lady Willington not with thanks I pour]. Delicious…well, where were we? Oh, yes, let’s have some fun and lighthearted questions, shall we? Lord Willington, what is Lady Willington’s weakness?

Lord Willington: Iced cream. I swear I could get her to do just about anything with the promise of some. Oh, and she’s rather fond of Darling, her dog. She’s rather big-hearted about just about everything, come to think of it.

Ms. Friedman: That’s marvelous! I love them too! Lady Willington, can you tell us what is Lord Willington’s favorite scent?

Lady Willington: He does rather seem to like the way my hair smells.

Ms. Friedman: Interesting…This question is for both of you. What is your favorite mode of transportation?

Lady Willington: The train. It’s so wonderfully fast.

Lord Willington: The train. It’s so wonderfully private [winking at his lovely wife, while she blushes].

Ms. Friedman: [smiling at both and with a cough to get their attention] Here are some questions that would make all young debutantes blush, but never the less all want to know:

Silk or cotton? Outdoors or indoors? Top or bottom?

Lady Willington: I’m afraid I don’t understand your question [as Lord Willington leans over and whispers in her ear] Oh, goodness! Silk, indoors. And both! [with a lush and a broad smile at her husband]

Lord Willington: I concur. [wagging his eyebrows at his lady, he takes her hand and softly kisses it]

Ms. Friedman: Well, this was such a delightful visit. I would like to thank Ms. Goodger for making the introductions and to both of you for being so gracious to indulge me with this visit. Before I let you go let me thank you both for an enlightening and fun visit! Please be sure to convey my regards to Lord Braddock and Miss Stanhope and give them my felicitations in regards to their upcoming nuptials.

Lady Willington: We’re so happy for them.

Lord Willington: I’m rather smug about the whole thing, actually. I’ll pass on your regards.

Ms. Friedman: Thank you and God Bless you!

I hope you all enjoyed this post and now author Jane Goodger will choose two winners to receive her new release of ‘Mad Lord’s Daughter’. ut before she does, let’s make this a bit interesting, shall we? What is your favorite mode of transportation?

*open to US only

RRAH October and November reviews….

Now that  we’re done with celebrating and the prizes have been given away, I thought you might want to read some of my November reviews at Romance Reader At Heart website. It was a balancing act and I felt like a juggler but I managed to squeeze a few reviews in between!

First up is VIRTUOSO by Grace Burrowes and need I tell you all yet again how much I love this family that Grace created?! It fascinates, it grabs and just is so interesting that I literally wish them to be real!  As I said in my review…”Ever since I read her first novel THE HEIR, I have been amazed by her prose. She never fails to astound me by giving her characters real life crises; real life emotions; real life passions; and with that, bring them so vividly to life! This family has now become my family, and I will forever love them all; and if the old Duke wasn’t so much smitten with his Duchess, I would have given her a run for her money! I look forward to their adventures and will never be bored with them. Their love of one another has touched my heart, and it will touch yours. The romance, passion, and sensuality that Ms. Burrowes so eloquently conveys to us through her characters, is something that has a life of its own. Highly recommended, and VIRTUOSO is a keeper.”

Next up is TOO WICKED TO WED by Cara Elliott, and I thought this story so fun! I’m not sure why I never got around to read any of Cara’s books, even though I made it a point of buying her earlier series. I just moved them closer to the top of my TBR and hope to get to them soon. This should be a fun series about …”three men who formed a friendship and bond while fighting a war in Portugal. They’re known through the ton as Hellhounds, and Connor Linsley is the Irish Wolfhound, Gryffin Dwight’s a Deerhound, and Cameron Daggett’s a Bloodhound. The Society sees them as dangerous predators, and how could they not? Wolf’s Lair, a notorious gaming hell and brothel, which is owned by Connor, is their favorite place to hang out! First up is Connor’s story in TOO WICKED TO WED.”

EVERY SCANDALOUS SECRET by Gayle Callen is a light and entertaining read about opposites attracting. My advice is to read this series in order because of the plot, and you’ll like them all. I promise. Some are faster paced then the others, but all are fun. As I said in my review…”Ms. Callen’s third installment of this series is as much entertaining as the previous two, and I enjoyed the ‘battle of wills’ these two displayed in full force. My only complaint would be that it was a tad slow-paced, but with well-developed characters such as these two, it didn’t bother me too much. Watching them fall in love was heartwarming and entertaining, and at times, just too funny.”

ALL ABOUT SEDUCTION by Katy Madison might have been predictable but because of the hero and who she made him to be, the story, at least for me was unique in spite of the recently used trope. I found the story fascinating because of the hero not being Alpha and some of you just might not like that! So, in the end, I stand behind my review…”To say that Jack Applegate is your typical hero is an understatement. The handsome, young man we meet comes from a huge family, is poor, hardworking, and thoroughly down on his luck. Yet he’s got dreams and a plan to better himself, to basically pull himself out of this Godforsaken place and make his fortune in manufacturing. Then the unthinkable happens, and our hero is faced with life-changing decisions that will make or break his future.

Jack and Caroline embark on a journey of discovery that is not to be missed. While Caroline finally connects to her passionate nature, Jack learns that determination and perseverance are his strengths, and no matter what or who stands in his way, he will prevail.

If you’ve never read this author, please seek her work out. I highly recommend this emotional story of unique and tender love that impressed me to a point that I was sure to track down the author’s earlier book, TAINTED BY TEMPTATION, and add it to my TBR shelf.”

THE HIGHLANDER’S HEART by Amanda Forester was everything you’d want in a romance with men in kilts! It ‘sounds’ and feels’ Highland! Be aware that this is the second book in a series and that THE HIGHLANDER’S SWORD  precedes it. I can vouch that you don’t have to read the first to follow the second. You’ll enjoy it regardless. My final verdict on this one was…”THE HIGHLANDER’S HEART has all the elements a romance should—two very strong main characters that will melt your heart with their sweet romance, and an intriguing and suspenseful plot with an entertaining villain. I highly recommend this fast paced and thoroughly entertaining story. It really captured the ‘feel’ of the Highlands, and I could hear the Scottish burr in my head. Loved it!”

THE KING’S WITCH by Cecelia Holland is every history buff’s dream. It’s full of moments in history that is so very well told that you’ll feel the battle blood. If you loved ‘BRAVEHEART’ you will love this story, its plot, pace characters and the battle scenes will leave you breathless. I stand behind my words in the conclusion of my review …”For some reason, the recurring thought I had reading this story was that if this novel ever became a movie, it just might be even better than ‘The Braveheart’. It certainly had all the elements of it, down to the gory battle details. The author didn’t shy away from painting a very realistic picture of the times she was writing about. Every character we meet is multi-layered and complex. Everything I thought I knew about the Crusades went out the window. Richard the Lionhearted was bigger than life, yet only a man. Like I said, if you liked ‘The Braveheart’ and ‘The Lion in Winter’, you will love this novel. It is full of political intrigue and epic battles vividly and painstakingly portrayed by an author that knows her craft.”

And now we come to the last review, but I must tell you, WHEN A DUKE SAYS I DO by Jane Goodger , is one of those books that will leave you wanting more. I wanted it to be longer. My affections for this hero went deep and I truly felt him to be real. He wasn’t your ordinary bloke, and Alpha male. He was a mix, and that’s what made him interesting. The ‘infirmaty’ that the author gave him was unique and it made up for one unique hero and story of love conquers all. I do warn you …”If you’re looking for a lighthearted read, WHEN A DUKE SAYS I DO will not be for you, despite some lighthearted moments. For a romance that will melt your heart and make you shed a tear or two, then by all means, pick this one up.”

And that concludes my reviews for the past two months. So, what do you think? Which one of those appeals to you? Tell me what you like…

Fan2Author Interview…Jane Goodger!

I am so excited that Ms. Jane Goodger has included b2b in her Blog tour because I read her newest book (mark your calendar for this one my bookworms DECEMBER 6)  WHEN A DUKE SAYS I DO and she impressed the hell out of me, so now I’m shouting from the rooftops about this heartwarming, heartbreaking and totally awesome story!

Without further ado, please help me welcome Jane with my first question…I never read any of your work before this latest book, so please tell us a bit about yourself and your writing career.

JG: I’ve been around for years, but I know there are a lot of romance readers who’ve never heard of me! My first book was WHEN THERE IS HOPE, a time travel set in Newport, RI, released in 1996. I love writing about Newport and have set several books there. To me, it’s as interesting as England.

I live in Rhode Island with my husband and three children, but I’ve also lived in Washington D.C., Virginia and Italy (two years). In addition to writing books and freelance writing, I also edit for www.ebookeditingpro.com (so if anyone out there wants to enter the indie publishing arena, I can help).

b2b: The book that you’re promoting now is WHEN A DUKE SAYS I DO and I can’t tell you how much fun I had reading it. Tell us more about it, the idea behind it. What came first, the plot, voice or setting?

JG: I so appreciate your comments. I love this book, too. Here’s how I got the idea: For a time I was a substitute teacher in my town. One of the little boys in a class had something called “selective mutism.” This completely fascinated me. When someone has selective mutism, they cannot physically speak in front of strangers or anyone they feel uncomfortable with, but can talk fine with people they are familiar with. Now, this is a recognized and treated condition. But I thought…what if someone  had selective mutism in the 1860s and couldn’t talk in front of his tyrant of a father? What would happen to such a boy? And that’s how I got my story.

b2b: What made this such an enjoyable read for me was this man you created. I’ve fallen in love with him! You did such a great job in weaving his profession through the story

However, his ‘panic attacks’ were something that almost broke my heart because a close member of my family went through that particular hell, and today we can heal almost anything with medication, so watching Alexander go through his attacks and knowing nothing was available to him to make him better, but his own strength was just heartbreaking. He was so real, so please tell us who inspired him? Is there a story behind the profession and his infirmity you chose for him to deal with?

JG: I love him too. Why can’t the men I invent really exist? One of the most fascinating things about selective mutes is that they often use their isolation to develop  artistic talents. So it made sense that he was a wonderful painter and pianist. As far as his panic attacks, I did a lot of research on this condition, which can have long-lasting implications if not treated—including anxiety. A  member of my family has a mild form of social anxiety disorder. He gets physically  ill before he has to do any public speaking (which, unfortunately, is a big part of his job), and, though panic attacks are quite infrequent with him, I have watched him suffer through one. It was very frightening!

b2b: How is Alexander different from your other heroes? And speaking of, who is your favorite hero (not including your work; I’m not making you choose) from the written word (oh, and no classics either)!

JG: Alexander is much more Beta than a lot of my heroes. Even though he is very strong (and turns a bit Alpha when he feels he’s been wronged) he is more sensitive than many of my heroes. My favorite hero? I’ll tell you but you can’t laugh. Capt. Gregg, the ghost from The Ghost And Mrs. Muir. Anyone who loves romances will love that old movie—and love the captain, too. He’s blustery and fierce but has a huge heart.

b2b: Is there a difference between, and specifically, what sets apart in your opinion the ‘traditional’ regency novels from ‘historical novels set in the regency time period’?

JG: Oh, there is definitely a difference. Let’s call it Regency and Regency Lite. Regencies are extremely true to the time period. You won’t find glaring errors in costume or customs, while Regency Lites are a bit more, let’s say, creative, about the period. My book is technically a Victorian because it’s set in the 1860s. I love the Victorian and Edwardian periods because so many changes were happening at that time.

b2b: Jane, what do you consider the Historical Romance canon?

JG: Keep the romance in romances. I adore a good love scene, but books shouldn’t simply be a string of sex scenes (unless it’s erotica, of course). It takes skill to create sexual tension, and that is something that is lacking in some books.

b2b: What’s up next for Jane Goodger?

JG: I have one more book that’s definitely coming out, THE MAD LORD’S DAUGHTER, in August 2012. I’m hoping to get my older books available digitally, and I also plan to self- publish at least two books that never made it to print—COMING HOME TO JOEY and a work in progress, THE JERSEY DEVIL. The JERSEY DEVIL is actually a contemporary paranormal—very different for me. So unless sales of WHEN A DUKE SAYS I DO are through the roof, I may not be able to complete some projects I very much wanted to.

b2b: Jane, it has been so much fun doing this with you, and I hope you come back often to chat with us! I’m looking forward on stocking up my shelves with some more of your books until the next one comes along!

For pictures of my Alexander and Elsie you’ll have to LIKE us on Facebook in order to view them :)

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