‘Always Come Home’ by Maureen Driscoll

md achSTORY: From the author of the Kellington series of Regency romances, comes the first novel about the Emerson family.

Colin Emerson, the Earl of Ridgeway, has two unmarried sisters and a mountain of debt incurred by his late father. He has no choice but to marry an heiress. It is most unfortunate, therefore, when he falls in love with a penniless governess.

Ava Conway has been making her way in the world since the death of her father. She takes a position as the governess to Lord Ridgeway’s sisters, but finds her growing attachment to the earl threatens his family’s future.

Bound by honor, torn by love, can Colin do right by his sisters while following his heart?

REVIEW: It’s no news to my followers that I’m a huge fan of this author and have been ever since I read her first book in the Kellington series. I think she is a wonderful storyteller and after Kellington’s I wondered in which direction she would take us next. I didn’t have to wait too long. She is back with a brand new family and I love them as much as I did the Kelington brood.

Watch out Kellington’s, here come the Emersons, starting with Colin, a man who would do anything for his two little sisters and their ancestral home.

This is one of those stories that are sweet and sensual at the same time. The hero and the heroine of this story are good and decent people who are faced with a dilemma of giving in to their feelings or do their duty toward people that they care about.

Ms. Driscoll pens a tale filled with wonderful prose and characters with depth and passion. I loved Colin and Ava’s road to discovery of each other the most, but coming close second was the secondary love of Maude and Stemple, Colin’s acquired ‘servants’.

Ms. Driscoll gave us so many great secondary characters  who I loved a lot, such as Colin’s older sister Rosemary (who it looks like has an eye for his friend Nathaniel, the Marquess of Grayson); his younger sister Leticia was a little hellion and way too perceptive; the American Babcock family that took over their home for a season was hilarious, and Nora and Myra along with the villain Clayton were characters well written as well. Even the cat Jasper had a good role in this story.

If you are a fan of awesome, witty, clever, funny and entertaining dialogue between all the characters in your stories, than this book will make your day. It really will.

Melanie for b2b.

Complimentary copy provided by the author.

‘Never Turn Away’ by Maureen Driscoll

NTA MDSTORY: When Bow Street Inspector Joseph Stapleton is sent to Oxfordshire to help the daughter of an earl, little does he know how the mission will affect him personally.

Lady Evelyn Williams must marry within weeks, but she has never met a gentleman of the ton whom she would even consider as a potential husband. Then she encounters the brave, handsome man from London.

NEVER TURN AWAY is the story of a love that defies society’s expectations. It is the conclusion — for now — of the Kellington series of Regency romances.

REVIEW: I looked forward to this story as much as I dreaded it; it was finally time for our Stapleton, the infamous Bow Street Runner to have his HEA, but it is also to be a last Kellington book; not what I was looking forward to.

I can tell you I loved each story that has been written so far, and even though our Joseph is only an ‘honorary’ brother to the Kellington brood, his story is as well told as all the others.

The plot was well-developed and executed with clues to the villain well hidden; every character that has been introduced to us, helped the main characters come more to life; pace of the story had a steady flow and never lagged; the intimate scenes were spontaneous and sensual and bringing all the Kellington’s in to help this romantic couple out, was a stroke of genius.

But what I loved most of all was the dialogue; no matter if it was spoken or thought by our couple, Kellington’s, Evelyn’s suitors or secondary characters, I merrily chuckled from page to page.

Here is Evelyn’s thought about one of her suitors:

“One well-meaning gentleman had even told her she would be better served if she appeared to be less smart and more agreeable. She had responded by telling him he would be better served with more time spent in a library and less time dispensing asinine advice.”

In a Mrs. Trowbridge’s store [who has two daughters she’d gladly throw into Joseph’s direction], while perusing the merchandise, she spots the coin purse.

“Evelyn wagged the hideous thing about as if it were the crown jewels. “This is a fine piece of artistry. Did Anna or Marida paint the cow?”

“That, Lady Evelyn, is not a cow. It is my mother.”

Evelyn telling Joseph about the men she meets and how they would all like her to hand over her life to them, with her finances.

“I’m a lady, not an idiot.”

Here’s Lizzie talking to all the Killington’s:

“When do men ever do the right thing when it comes to romance?” asked Lizzie.

“What about when I offered to marry you?”

“You are only proving my point, albeit wholly unintentionally. That was the most bloodless proposal I have ever heard. You offered to take Liam’s damaged sister off his hands, as if offering to take in a troublesome cur.”

“There were similarities,” said Ned.

“And you, nodcock, were unable to find the woman you loved for seven long years. And you, Arthur, almost lost Vanessa because you were afraid of a Romany prophesy.”

“What about me?” asked Hal.

“If I were to list your mistakes, we would be here all day. The point is we must find a way to bring Evelyn and Joseph together and, if you insist, I suppose we can leave poison and drugging out of it.”

Between the servants of all these households, and the Kellington’s, our couple had no chance in hell of staying apart.

Bottom line, this was a wonderful ending to a wonderful series. I loved every moment spent with all the characters, from little Vi and her parents, Ned and Jane; Marcus and Lizzie; Arthur and Vanessa; Hal and Melanie; Liam and Rosalind, and now Joseph and his Evelyn, and I’ll be sure to visit with them often in the years to come.

Melanie for b2b

*Book provided by the author.

‘Never Deny Your Heart’ by Maureen Driscoll

NDYH MDSTORY: William (Liam) Kellington, the Duke of Lynwood, loves Rosalind Carson, the sister of an impoverished viscount. But while Lynwood was still coming to terms with his feelings — dukes can be particularly dim-witted when it comes to love — Rosalind’s brother sold her into a lucrative betrothal to another nobleman. Liam vows to save Rosalind from a marriage she does not want, while also convincing her to become the Duchess of Lynwood.

The lady, however, is not one to wait to be rescued.

Rosalind has been in love with William Kellington much of her life. And it has been a rather one-sided romance. When her brother promises her to a man five decades her senior, Rosalind must find a way to live the life she wants and not the one that has been forced upon her.

REVIEW: Has it been almost two years since I read ‘Never A Mistress, No Longer A Maid’, the first in Kellington romance series? Well it must be, but the time has passed quickly as Ms. Driscoll kept giving me ‘Never Miss A Chance’, ‘Never Wager Against Love’ and ‘Never Run From Love’ and here comes much anticipated ‘Never Deny Your Heart’ the fifth book and Liam’s story. Oh and how sweet it is! Ms. Driscoll made Liam work hard for his happily ever after and had him sweat [and by default me as well!].

It was such a pure, unadulterated pleasure to finally find out what makes this man tick and find out what some of his deepest desires are! Throughout the series I kept an eye on this man who spent his early years of adulthood raising his siblings, making sure they are taken care of and safe, and I just knew that his story would be special, and it was.

Miss Rosalind Carson could not have been more perfect as his better half! She was a female to reckon with and as much as she tried to do the right thing, which was to submit and follow her families orders and do her duty, when faced with the brutal reality, this woman decides to take her life into her own hands and not depend on no one but herself. I appreciated her ‘chutzpah’ and squirmed as His Grace did while she made him jump through some hoops.

By the time their story ended, we had caught up with all the Kellington brood and it was so good to see them all one more time. I can’t tell you how much I loved each book in this series and highly recommend you read them in order because what this author does best is the characterization of them, of their deep love for each other, and you can’t help but feel one of them.

*Book provided by the author.

b2b will be ONE year old!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Won’t you join our celebration by:

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

2) Subscribing to our Blog…

3) ‘LIKE’ -ing us on our Facebook!

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

“Never Miss a Chance” (Kellington 2) by Maureen Driscoll

STORY: A duke’s daughter isn’t supposed to court scandal in Regency England. She isn’t supposed to involve herself in controversial causes. And she most especially isn’t supposed to expect love in a ton marriage. But Lady Elizabeth isn’t just any duke’s daughter. She’s a Kellington. And her expectations are somewhat higher than most people’s.

Marcus Redmond, the Marquess of Riverton, has been in love with his best friend’s sister for years. When Lizzie’s reputation is damaged, he offers her marriage, hoping she will come to care for him eventually. But can the upright, staid Riverton make a love match with the impulsive, passionate Lizzie – especially when there are those who are determined to come between them?

NEVER MISS A CHANCE is a sizzling romance with a touch of humor. It’s the second book in the Kellington series about the Duke of Lynwood and his four siblings. The series started with NEVER A MISTRESS, NO LONGER A MAID.

REVIEW: First, if you haven’t heard of Maureen Driscoll, it’s okay, that’s why I’m here, to tell you all about her, BUT you’ll have to come back tomorrow and read my interview with her and if you’d like to win ANY of her books, all you have to do is comment and I’ll let her choose the winners (THREE) by the end of the week.

Second, if you haven’t read the first book “Never a Mistress, No Longer a Maid”, it’s okay, this one stands on its own, BUT I think you should for the simple reason that you’ll understand the family dynamic  so much better. The author has created such an interesting and fun family that it truly feels like I could hang out with them, even the Duke, whose story I’m looking forward to.

Now, let me tell you why I liked this book even more then the first: The sensuality of this one is OFF the charts! That’s the first thing I noticed upon finishing it and I was so happy about it.

Lady Elizabeth Kellington is the one and only sister in this family and her brothers adore her, as long as she stays out of politics! This bluestocking could never do that, and this is where our heroine encounters a world of trouble, not just with her family in particular, but with society in general. After a copy of her ‘Toward the Enlightenment of England: A Treatise for the Reformation of Property Rights, the Right of Women in Marriage and Universal Suffrage’ (wow, that was a mouthful) is published under her REAL name, Lizzie is surprised to find herself on the outs with most of the society and even with the group that she founded. She is stunned by their reaction and what’s worse, all the gentlemen that might have been her suitors, now are shunning her, and the ones that would not suit (rakes, gamblers and reprobates) are knocking on her door, thinking her a fair game.

Marcus Redmond, Marquess of Riverton is Duke of Lynwood’s best friend and a man who has loved Lizzie a long time. Not that he would ever admit to it. Loving and fantasizing about ones best friend’s sister is not what one does, but there it is. He just can’t help think her a Goddess, albeit one with some radical ideas.

In order for these two to come together, Lizzie and Marcus needed to recognize and accept the feelings both had for each other. Their mutual respect was the starting point to this romance and the slow realization on Lizzie’s part, that a man almost ten years her senior could want her, and for that matter that she might be falling in love with him, was oh so fun to watch!

All the characters, secondary included, are genuine and dialogue full of wit. The plot is not rushed and gives the reader ample time to truly see why these two should be together. I’ve now come to expect Ms. Driscoll to put forth a three-dimensional and fast paced story (and let’s not forget HOT) that will keep me entertained from the first to the last chapter, and she doesn’t disappoint!  She’s introduced a character of Tara in this story and I’m glad she gave her just the right amount of space to hook us into the next installment and Arthur’s story.

“Never a Mistress, No Longer a Maid” by Maureen Driscoll

STORY: Caught behind enemy lines at the Battle of Waterloo, nurse Jane Wetherby is forced to seek shelter with British operative Lord Edward Kellington. After a night of passion, the two are separated. With nothing but the alias Jane used to protect her family, Lord Edward is unable to find the woman he can’t forget.

Seven years later, Jane courts scandal by serving as the unofficial surgeon in the village of Marston Vale. When Edward arrives to formalize his betrothal to a viscount’s daughter in accordance with his late father’s wishes, Jane has no choice but to watch the match proceed. When a threat from the past emerges, Jane must join forces with Edward to safeguard her loved ones. But at what risk to her heart…

REVIEW: “Never a Mistress, No Longer a Maid” a début romance novel by Maureen Driscoll is a thrilling Regency Historical romance that spans seven years and begins in Belgium right after the battle at Waterloo. In this first installment of Kellington Series we meet the family, headed by William, Duke of Lynwood who has three brothers and a sister who were all named after England’s Kings and a Queen. Edward, Ned, was second born; Arthur and Henry were followed by Elizabeth.

This is Ned’s story and it has everything a romance novel should: a handsome and very charming hero determined to protect the love of his life and a beautiful and strong heroine, determined to keep the biggest secret of her life.

Their story is sweet and sensual as well as passionate. It is filled with secrets and intrigue, redemption and forgiveness, humor and wit. Here’s an excerpt that I liked a lot:

“He knew the leg needed to be tended to, even if he didn’t quite trust the person would do the tending. But, given the lack of options, he resigned himself to it.

‘You have absolutely no respect for good Scots whiskey. May I have another drink? I assure you I’m filled with plenty of spirits that would be well assuaged by the potion.’ Then he gave her the smile that had melted half the hearts in the ton and spread a good portion of their legs.

She gave him the drink. Then the stick.

He obligingly bit down.

‘Are you ready?’ she asked.

‘Madam,” he said, taking the stick out of his mouth, ‘I will never be ready for you to cut into me. However, I am resigned.’

He replaced the stick and bit down hard.”

I liked Ms. Driscoll’s writing style and the pace of the book. When I read a book I want to be invested in these people, I want to care for them, and Ms. Driscoll has managed to meet all those requirements for me. I’m looking forward to visiting these people over and over. However, I still wanted just a bit more depth and detail. For example…

**SPOILER**

Just two or three more sentences would make me feel and not only see the first reunion between Ned and Jane.

All of the secondary characters in this book are well written, three-dimensional with strong voices of their own. I understand that each one will have their own story, and let me tell you, I can’t wait to meet Lizzie’s hero. The man who tames her will certainly deserve respect of her brother the Duke. Speaking of our Duke, Ms. Driscoll has created a very strong character in writing him and she has managed to keep him under control, lest he take over Ned’s story. Not many authors can balance the secondary characters so well, but she has done an outstanding job at that! I will be very disappointed not to have Rosalind fall in love with our Duke. This is a wonderful story of true love, trust, family and friendship. It’s a keeper and ‘must read.’

Yet another discovery of a début author that I’ve had the privilege to read. I am astonished at some of these women that seem to be coming out of the woodwork, brimming with obvious talent. These women have never been published, yet their prose can go toe-to-toe with the best of them. I know. I’ve read THE best of the best.