‘Crazy For Her’ by Sandra Owens

Crazy For Her CoverSTORY: When his best friend and fellow Navy SEAL, Evan Prescott, died in his arms on the battlefield, Logan Kincaid gave his word to watch over Evan’s widow. But for two years he kept his distance…torn between honoring his solemn vow and succumbing to his secret love for his fallen comrade’s wife. But when Dani Prescott desperately reaches out to Logan for the help only he can give, he rushes to her side—determined to fight for her safety as fiercely as he fights against his own buried desire.

Someone claiming to be her husband is stalking Dani and her infant daughter, making them virtually prisoners in their remote country home. Logan’s elite military training and high-risk security expertise have outmatched more dangerous enemies. But the real challenge will be the burning temptation that threatens to overcome Logan whenever Dani is near…especially when she reveals her own hidden passion.

BUY LINKS: Amazon

REVIEW: I was here once before. I remember the apprehension of reaching for the book of an author I greatly admire and love her historical novels, but was sweating bullets before I gave in and read her latest contemporary story. I find myself in the same situation again and while I’ve read and adored every historical romance this author has written, this contemporary story left me wishing she’d write more of historicals.

First, I am a sucker for a broken hero story and reading the blurb I was drawn to this one, but the blurb only scratches the surface of his tale. There is so much more happening and fast, that my emotions were scattered to the four corners of the world and they had a hard time catching up and connecting to either the hero or the heroine.

No matter how well the story is written, and Ms. Owens is a good writer, she never managed to fully convince me of Logan’s long carried torch for Dani, nor his long held secret about his childhood.

I wanted to believe that these two people really loved each other and I didn’t. I wanted to connect and admire both of these people as they triumph over their respective pasts, but something about them was off and left me cold and not caring. If I had one word to describe this story it would be ‘over the top’. I felt that the action, plot, suspense and mystery were all a bit over the top.

If you’re into military romance with a fast pace, some suspense, couple of ‘curve balls’ thrown in and plenty of sex, I’m sure you’ll like it. I wanted more than that.

For my reviews of this author’s historical romances go here and here.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author

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Sandra Owens PicAUTHOR BIO: A native of Florida, Sandra once managed a Harley-Davidson dealership, before switching from a bike to an RV for roaming the open road (though she’s also chased thrills from sky-diving to upside-down stunt-plane flying). In addition to Crazy For Her—a 2013 Golden Heart Finalist for Romantic Suspense—her works include the Regency Romance novels The Letter, winner of the Golden Quill Award, and The Training of a Marquess, winner of the Golden Claddagh Award. A member of Romance Writers of America, and potential cat owner, she lives with her husband in Asheville, North Carolina.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

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‘A Winter Wedding’ by Amanda Forester

af awwSTORY: Miss Penelope Rose, exclusive matchmaker to London’s elite, successfully creates love for everyone but herself. Her toughest client yet, the sexy Duke of Marchford, has commissioned her to find him a bride. But he’s more interested in tracking down a spy, and she’s in no hurry to speed up the process…

When the fate of England falls in the Duke’s hands, he enlists Penelope for a new plan—they announce a sham engagement in order to flush out the traitor. But as the stakes get more deadly, and their feelings more real, will they discover that love is the most dangerous plot of them all?

REVIEW: It’s December 1810 and French smuggling is booming in London.

James Lockton, Duke of Marchford, is working for the government to uncover smuggling operations.  A handsome and eligible man, he has decided that it is time that he gets married.  But weeding through all the young ladies looking for a husband is not what he wants to do.
Penelope Rose, companion to James’s grandmother, is the infamous Madame X who helps to arrange marriages.  However, in actuality, Penelope and James’s grandmother together are Madame X.  Having figured this out, James approaches Penelope to find the perfect wife for him.  As they also live in the same house, this puts them together a lot.  In addition, Penelope has helped James with some of his spy work.
When James ventures into Penelope’s room and sees her dressed for bed, he becomes enamored by her and decides that she would be the perfect bride for him.  Penelope feels the same way toward James but his inability to say he loves her is the roadblock to Penelope agreeing to marry him.
As they continue to work close together to uncover the perpetrators of a large theft, their attraction only grows stronger.  While Penelope wants to marry James, she feels she must first find out the reason for his reluctance to express his love for her.  As she learns more about his childhood, the puzzle begins to fall into place.
This was a great story with passion, humor and some edge-of-the-seat moments as well.  I enjoyed it and look forward to more novels from Amanda Forester.
This is Book Three of Ms. Forester’s Marriage Mart series.  Do come and get to know these characters.  I think they are guaranteed to entertain you.
Note:  This book is due to be published September 2, 2014.  I have strived to not include any spoilers in this review.
Connie for b2b
Complementary copy provided by the publisher

‘The Reluctant Governess’ by Maggie Robinson

mr trgSTORY: A secretary for the renowned Evensong Agency, Eliza Lawrence may have a pretty face, but she’s much prouder of her mind and her morals. When she’s pressed into temporary governess duty as a favor to her boss, she doesn’t expect to bend one bit for the rakish Nicholas Raeburn. Not even when he opens the door to her half-dressed…

Despite his bad reputation, Nicholas is a man of honor. To Nick’s way of thinking, he doesn’t need any help raising his daughter, Domenica. If only he weren’t so drawn to the meddlesome woman’s sparkling wit and uncommon beauty…

But when an act of misplaced chivalry goes seriously awry, resulting in mayhem and almost murder, Eliza becomes the only woman he can depend upon. Nick will do anything to protect his family, but who will protect him from falling in love with his reluctant governess?

REVIEW: It is 1904 in Edwardian English where we find Eliza Lawrence who works as a secretary at the Evensong Agency managed by Lady Mary Raeburn.  Their motto has always been, “Performing the Impossible Before Breakfast Since 1888.”  Eliza loves her job. She has worked as a governess before but prefers her secretarial job and is proud of her skills.

Lady Mary’s brother-in-law, Nicholas Raeburn, is known as a wicked artist and Continental reprobate.  His specialty is painting nude women.  When he needs a governess, Eliza is coaxed into accepting the job temporarily until a permanent governess can be found.  
When Mary enters Nicholas’ home, she is shocked at the lack of a butler and the presence of nude models who pose for him.  However, she is delighted to meet her new charge, Dominica (nicknamed Sunny).  Her mother was a past lover of Nicholas’ and when she died, she asked Nicholas to take Sunny even though she was not sure that Nicholas was her father.
Nicholas is a devil-may-care man whose family lives in Scotland and owns a well-known Scotch distillery.  His has an easy life and has chosen to live it as he sees fit.
The first night Eliza is there, Nicholas has a dinner party for several of his friends after which they hit the town.  He comes in later drunk and beaten up.  Eliza hears him enter the house and knowing he sounds injured, goes to his aid.  She is already exhausted as the house members have come down with the flu.  When Nicholas also succumbs to the flu, she ends up becoming caretaker to him and others in the house.
While Eliza does not approve of Nicholas’ Bohemian lifestyle, the closeness involved in caring for someone intimately begins an attraction between them that cannot be denied.
This novel is well written and the humor is not to be missed.
Connie for b2b
Complementary copy provided by the author

‘Vixen in Velvet’ by Loretta Chase

lc vivSTORY: From the Diary of Leonie Noirot: The perfect corset should invite its undoing . . .
Lethally charming Simon Fairfax, Marquess of Lisburne, has reluctantly returned to London for one reason only: a family obligation. Still, he might make time for the seduction of a certain redheaded dressmaker—but Leonie Noirot hasn’t time for him. She’s obsessed with transforming his cousin, the dowdy Lady Gladys, into a swan.

Leonie’s skills can coax curves—and profits—from thin air, but his criminally handsome lordship is too busy trying to seduce her to appreciate her genius. He badly needs to learn a lesson, and the wager she provokes ought to teach him, once and for all.

A great plan, in theory—but Lisburne’s become a serious distraction, and Leonie’s usual logic is in danger of slipping away as easily as a silk chemise. Could the Season’s greatest transformation be her own?

REVIEW: Leonie Noiret is not only a very talented seamstress, but she is quite adept at keeping up the financial end of her sisters’ business, Maison Noiret, Dressmakers to Ladies of Fashion.  The youngest of three sisters, she has a great head for business and is always looking for ways to bring in more customers.

Currently, many people, especially women, have been taken with attending the readings of poetry of Viscount Swanton.  Leonie’s idea is to attend these readings wearing some of her gorgeous creations which. hopefully, will result in bringing more women customers to her shop.
One new customer is Lady Gladys Fairfax.  Unfortunately, Gladys is a rather stout and outspoken woman.  Her choice of clothes is quite drab.  However, Leonie is working to convince Gladys to allow her to dress her to enhance her good qualities.  Leonie knows that when others see how well Gladys can look, more customers will be brought to Maison Noiret.
Gladys’ cousin is the rich and handsome Marquess of Lisburne.  As it happens, Leonie meets him one day at a display of paintings one of which has totally captured her.  It is Botticelli’s painting entitled, “Venus and Mars” and it turns out it is owned by the Marquess of Lisburne and on loan to the gallery.  As they talk more, Lisburne is quite attracted to Leonie.  As they get to know one another better, Lisburne is taken with the many business qualities that Leonie possesses.  When he learns of Leonie’s plan to use Gladys to bring in new customers, he doesn’t believe that Gladys can be transformed. Therefore, they agree to a bet.  If Leonie can truly transform Gladys, he will give her the Botticelli painting.
This is a clever story with some well-developed characters.
Connie for b2b
Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Enticing Miss Eugenie Villaret’ by Ella Quinn

eq emevSTORY: William, Viscount Wivenly, plans to remain the most eligible of bachelors. He refuses to surrender to the schemes of husband-hunting ladies and matchmaking mamas. Fleeing the pressure of the ton, he’s bent on finding refuge in the West Indies. What he finds instead is a fascinating stranger, a woman so unlike those of his society that he can’t resist such a beguiling distraction…

Determined to let nothing complicate her mission to protect her family’s livelihood while covertly rescuing orphaned slave children, Miss Eugénie Villaret does her best to evade suitors. But when dashing William lures her down a path of forbidden adventure and delicious danger, she may be convinced that business can indeed be mixed with pleasure—and persuaded to add passion to her priorities…

REVIEW: This is the fifth book in Ella Quinn’s The Marriage Game series [The Seduction of Lady Phoebe; The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh; The Temptation of Lady Serena; Desiring Lady Caro; Enticing Miss Eugenie Villaret] and out of all five, my least favorite.

I really wanted to love this story as much as I loved the one right before it [Desiring Lady Caro], but something just didn’t click with me in this one.

William was someone I didn’t like from the start, but I didn’t hate him. He just struck me as someone who was too dense and uncaring, and once I formed that opinion, it was hard for me to get on board of his ‘redemption’ to being a hero.

Eugenie, our heroine who is supposed to be an innocent when it came to relationships with men and sophisticated enough to be someone who is fighting for a worthy cause of enslaved children was a contradiction, and I never connected with her.

That said, I love this author and her work and even in this story she manages, through her wonderful prose, to take me back in time and enjoy the beauty of the setting, the Caribbean. I actually found the subplot of the hero and heroine’s friends’ love story more appealing and despite its pace, more believing.

In the end, I do recommend it to all of those that have already read the other four books in this series, if for nothing else but for Ms. Quinn’s writing and research alone. She did an outstanding job of transporting me to and letting me experience not just history but a culture of the Dutch West Indies during Regency of which I knew nothing about. I so wish the characterization of the main characters was given just a tad more time and thought.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Ruined by Rumor’ by Alyssa Everett

ae rbrSTORY: After waiting five years for her fiancé to return from the war and marry her, Roxana Langley has been jilted! She may have longed for excitement, but this was not what she had in mind…

Who could possibly throw over a woman as beautiful and vivacious as Roxana? Certainly not Alex Winslow, the Earl of Ayersley, who has spent years trying in vain to forget his unrequited love. When he learns she’s been abandoned by her cad of a fiancé, he finds himself offering a shoulder for her to cry on. Comfort soon turns into a passionate kiss—-and scandal when they are caught in an embrace.

Only one thing will save Roxana from certain ruination: marriage to the earl. The match may save her reputation, but responsible, tongue-tied Ayersley is a far cry from her dashing former fiancé. She’s convinced Ayersley is merely doing his duty…while he’s sure Roxana is still in love with another man. Are they trading one disaster for another?

REVIEW: This was another awesome read and I’m happy to recommend it to you. The romance, as in all of Ms. Everett’s, is slow-building but oh so sweet.

This trope, marriage of convenience, has been done to death, but in this author’s hands, with a beta hero, it is perfection.

There are misunderstandings, some feelings of guilt and underneath it all, a love blossoms. It was easy to fall for this hero. He’s just a perfect man, yet a bit shy about his feelings and a deep abiding love he’s carried for this woman who was misguided by another and confused about her growing affection for him.

I tried to figure out why Ms. Everett’s stories are so appealing to me, and the only thing I came up with was that her work is a mix of Mary Balogh and Carla Kelly, yet she is still unique in her prose as well as plotting.

If you’ve never read her work, please seek her out. You won’t be sorry.

Melanie for b2b

‘Lord of Secrets’ by Alyssa Everett

ae losSTORY: Lord of Secrets is the story of a young woman, Rosalie Whitwell, who’s spent most of her life sailing the globe with her father. When he suffers a fatal heart attack in the middle of the North Atlantic, she turns in her panic to a fellow passenger–the moody, mysterious Lord Deal.

Having witnessed his father’s suicide years before, David Linney, Marquess of Deal, has withdrawn from society, living the life of a recluse. Even so, he’s drawn to his pretty shipmate, like him the victim of family tragedy.

The end of the voyage spurs David to propose. But on their wedding night, Rosalie meets with an unwelcome surprise: her handsome husband is strangely unwilling to consummate the marriage. Is her own lack of allure to blame, or is there some other reason for David’s reluctance? To find the answer, Rosalie must unlock the secret of David’s past.

REVIEW: Have you ever read a book with the title that’s had you scratching your head? I did. Many times. This book has even got a title perfectly right.

Now, I must say that the pace of this one was slow, but I liked it only because it afforded me to get to know both main characters better.

As for the secret, I was surprised at it and I would have liked it if the author had revealed it just a bit sooner.

As for everything else, I have no complaints. This author is now firmly on my keeper shelf.

I do recommend it to all of you who appreciate a good intrigue, sweet romance, brooding heroes and an unusually slow pace.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher