‘The Heiress’s Homecoming’ by Regina Scott

THIC RSSTORY: Terms of the Will

To keep her cherished childhood home, Samantha Everard must marry by her twenty-fifth birthday. Yet she refuses to marry on a whim, not even to save her fortune. When she returns to Dallsten Manor to say goodbye, the last person she expects to see is her handsome, disapproving neighbor William Wentworth, Earl of Kendrick.

Will is certain the scandalous Everard family is nothing but trouble. He shouldn’t care about Samantha’s predicament, but her feistiness and kindheartedness intrigue him—as does her refusal to wed. He wants to help, especially when he perceives the threat that surrounds her. Soon his greatest wish is to persuade Samantha that her true home is with him.

REVIEW: Lady Samantha Everard is quickly approaching her 25th birthday.  According to the instructions for the inheritance of her home Dallsten Manor, she has to marry by her then or lose her home.  She refuses to do so and has decided to visit the Manor one last time as she is ready to let the fortune go.

Her neighbor William Wentworth, the Earl of Kendrick, does not understand why she would choose to lose her home.  His teenage son, Jamie, was a childhood friend of Samantha and now fancies himself in love with her and wants to marry her.  William and his wife married when they were teenagers.  Sadly, she passed away giving birth to Jamie.  Since then, he has had no desire to remarry.

Intrigued by Samantha and her independent ways, William wants to get to know her better.  However, danger lurks.  Someone does not want Samantha to inherit and suddenly she starts being attacked.  Who is this person that wants to see her dead and why?  How does Samantha handle Jamie’s teenage love for her in addition to the growing attraction between her and William?

This was a great plot with intriguing twists that really keeps the reader’s interest.  It is a Christian novel as well.

Connie for b2b

*Book provided by my local Library

‘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.

Erica Monroe stops by b2b…

ADI EMA Dangerous Invitation’

BOOK BLURB: One fatal mistake cost Daniel O’Reilly the woman he loved, spiraling him toward drunken self-destruction. Now sober, he’ll have to prove he’s innocent of the murder he was accused of three years ago. But pistol-wielding Kate Morgan hasn’t forgiven his sins.

Torn from her privileged existence by her father’s death, Kate Morgan has carved out a new independent life in the Ratcliffe rookery as a fence for stolen goods. Daniel’s invitation to assist him jeopardizes her structured existence. Yet Kate can’t resist his touch, or the wicked desires he stirs within her.

As their renewed passions grow reckless, their investigation takes them through the darkest and most depraved areas of the City. To catch a killer, they’ll have to put secrets behind them and trust only their hearts.

***   ***   ***

EXCERPT 1: 

“What part of ‘I shall make you bleed’ did you not understand?” Kate kept her hands hidden behind the solid wood of the banister, preferring him to think she might be armed.

He rounded the last step, coming to a stop in front of her.

Kate retreated against the bannister, which came up to her hips. “Why are you here, Daniel? I already told you I wouldn’t help you.”

“I need to know.” Daniel took another step forward, effectively boxing her up against the bannister.

She leaned back further, unbalanced. What did he need to know? Who had killed Dalton? If she believed him? Or worse, if she still loved him?

Cold air swept in through a broken window on the first floor, ruffled the knotted ribbon of her straw hat underneath her chin. Her fingers clenched around the worn wood of the railing, gripped so tightly her knuckles became white.

She might never feel sure of her footing again.

“You let it pass for three years,” she charged. His urgency made no sense.

“I shouldn’t have. I won’t this time. Dalton deserves justice, and so do I. I’m going to investigate Dalton’s murder whether or not you help me.” Daniel brought his hand to rest on her arm, heat penetrating through her greatcoat. “But truly, I came back for you.”

He leaned his head down, so that their eyes met. His gaze pulled at her. Her body longed for his touch, craved it, as if he was the answer to every question she’d had in the past three years. He could not love a woman so wrecked.

She retreated back again. Bent against the bannister, it sagged against her weight and a threatening groan echoed from the wood. She didn’t move, knowing that if she did she’d be back in his arms within seconds.

He took one look at the bannister, then at her, and tugged her closer to him. His hold was strong, but not unrelenting. She was flush against him, so close she could feel the beating of his heart. Warmth replaced brisk wind, and his presence blotted out loneliness until she was part of something greater, something powerful beyond herself.

She feared that heady sensation. Passion didn’t stick to predetermined routes and checklists.

When he spoke, his breath tickled her skin. His voice rumbled in her ear. “I don’t want to lose you again.”

A tremble tore through her. In those few months after he left, she’d woken with those words on her lips, whispers from dreams wherein he’d fulfilled his promise to return for her. He was here, and she forgot the reasons why she should loathe him.

Everything but the smell of bergamot and cloves disappeared. An altogether familiar aroma, one intrinsically locked in her mind as his, yet different this time without the overlay of pine needles. It enveloped her, clouded her senses. She lifted her head from his chest.

She looked him in the eye. But that was a mistake, for his eyes shone with the same desire she kept trapped.

“If I didn’t know better, I might believe you.” She forced herself to step away from him. “I can’t be with you again.”

“Kiss me.”

***   ***   ***

EXCERPT 2:

He moved his thumb on the broadsheet to cover up the word “murder,” as if he could cover up the horrendous details if he didn’t allow Kate to see it. From the soft texture of the paper, she’d read the contents many times, the oils from her fingertips smoothing the print.

“Why did you keep these, Kate?”

She flushed, fists balled up at her side. “I kept them to remind myself of the truth.”
“Whose truth, Kate? The constable’s? Mine? Yours?”

She flinched, eyes narrowing warily. He’d struck a nerve. Woodenly, she sat down on the chair by the door and arranged her thick smoke-gray skirts. She looked down at her hands, examining her gloves. When she finally met his gaze again, the sadness in her eyes caught him off guard.

“I don’t even know anymore.”

“Then help me find Tommy Dalton’s murderer. We’ll find the truth together.” He sounded too earnest.

“Truth is a particular notion, Daniel. I have found it can be bent and twisted to fit the speaker’s best interests.” She laid her head back against the chair, arm draped across the side, appearing to all others like she could not be bothered to care.

But he knew better. Life might fatigue her, but she’d fight and crawl her way to the top.
He held up the purse, giving it a shake. The coins tinkled. “So twist the truth for our benefit. I’ve got a list of names from Atlas to go over. Have a look and tell me if you recognize any of them.” He went for the foolscap on his bedside table.

“Very well then,” she nodded. “We’ll start with why you were too foxed to remember a damn thing. What in your life was so bad you had to drink it all away? Was it me?”

“God, no.” The words came out quickly. “You were the only thing in my life that made sense.”

How could he explain to her the pressure from the long hours at Emporia, the newness of their love, constantly feeling like he had to prove himself? She’d think him mad, or worse, weak.

He would be a better man if it killed him. With Kate facing him, disbelief struck upon her pale, thin face, it just might.

***   ***   ***

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***   ***   ***

Erica MonroeAUTHOR INFO: Erica Monroe writes romantic suspense set in 1830’s London. Her debut novel, A Dangerous Invitation, Book 1 of the Rookery Rogues series, will be out in December 2013.

She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina, and the Beau Monde Regency Romance chapter. Erica can also be found blogging every other Saturday at Teatime Romance.

When not writing, she is a chronic TV watcher, lover of pit bulls, and shoe fashionista. She lives in the suburbs of North Carolina with her husband, two dogs, and a cat.

Social Media: WebsiteE-mail / Twitter / Facebook / Facebook  / Pinterest

‘Flowers from the Storm’ by Laura Kinsale [Audiobook]

FFTS LK pcBOOK BLURB: He’s a duke. He’s a mathematical genius. He can’t talk and he’s locked in a lunatic asylum. Only a modest Quaker girl can reach him, but when she helps him to escape, she’s swept into his glittering aristocratic world, her life torn apart by his desperate attempt to save himself.

Laura Kinsale personally chose the exceptional talent of Nicholas Boulton to narrate her classic romance Flowers from the Storm - cited by readers of The Washington Post and Glamour magazine as “one of the greatest love stories of all time” – creating a fresh and unique work that brings all the power and intensity of the original to audio.

REVIEW: Is there anyone out there that has NOT read or reread this book in the past 20 Toby Stephens as Christianyears? If there is, then for God’s sake, what are you waiting for?! Find it! Read it! PLEASE! Or better yet, listen to it. It is as much enjoyable as reading it because of the brilliant narration of Nicholas Boulton. Trust me!

I honestly don’t remember when was the first time I read this book, but I make the time to reread it at least once a year, and every time I do, it’s like the first time. It never fails to bring me to tears on exactly the same scenes as the first time I read it.

Everything about this story is brilliant. Laura Kinsale wrote one of the greatest love stories of my time and not many can come close to knocking it down from the pedestal I placed it on.

Christian and Maddygirl

If I were casting this as a TV movie, there would be only one couple that would do justice to the roles of Christian and Maddy, and that is Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson, who were awesome as Mr. Rochester and Jane Eyre in 2006′s mini series adaptation of ‘Jane Eyre’.

If you’ve never seen it, here it is, the first two episodes and the other two will follow…

Ruth Wilson as MaddygirlAnd now, here’s my Audible review of ‘Flowers From the Storm’.

Enter a headline for your review:

Brilliant story and brilliant narration!

If you could sum up Flowers from the Storm in three words, what would they be?

Heartbreaking; Romantic; Sensual

Who was your favorite character and why?

That would be the heroine, Maddy Timms. The conflict she went through between her religious beliefs and the responsibility and strong attraction to Jarvaulx was extraordinarily written, which tells me that the author did her homework when it came to the knowledge of Quaker Beliefs.It was fascinating watching her character grow and develop right in front of me!

What about Nicholas Boulton’s performance did you like?

Nicholas Boulton was brilliant as each character emerged, especially the hero. He made meToby Stephens and Ruth Wilson as Christian and Maddy from Flowers From the Storm cringe as I felt the frustration The Duke of Jervaulx was going through; he made me laugh as I listened to the Duke’s friends and servants; he melted my heart as he read the sensual scenes….*sigh*…

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The scene in which Maddy tries to bring some dignity to Christian by dressing him in his own clothes and then realizing that she had him all dressed in his riding outfit complete with spurs, is heartbreaking as he is devastated to realize that he’s not to leave his cell….

Ruth Wilson and Toby stephens as Mr Rochester and Jane Eyre 2006Any additional comments?

This is without a doubt one of the most romantic stories I have ever read [and I have read a lot of them], but it’s not just that. This is a love story of epic proportions; a story of conflict of not so much good and evil, but of one’s inbred religious beliefs versus one’s faith in humanity.

I applaud the author for her brilliant writing of Christian’s speech impairment which made me acutely aware of his pain, frustration and impotence.

As for narration…The voice of Nicholas Boulton was mesmerizing as he read every character in the book to perfection. He was brilliant as Christian, showing me the frustration and rage so well written by the author, and as Maddy, with her thee/thou Quaker speech. And then he acted out to perfection Christian’s friends, Maddy’s father, Christian’s Aunt….and on and on…What a range this man has! Awesome job Mr. Boulton!

FFTS LKUNABRIDGED

by Laura Kinsale

Narrated by Nicholas Boulton

Whispersync for Voice: Enabled

‘Bella’s Betrothal’ by Anne Stenhouse

BB ASSTORY: While she is travelling north to find sanctuary from the malicious gossip of the Ton, Lady Isabella Wormsley’s room in a Dalkeith inn is invaded by handsome Scottish Laird, Charles Lindsay. Charles has uncovered a plot to kidnap her, but Bella wonders if he isn’t a more dangerous threat, at least to her heart, than the villainous Graham Direlton he wrests her from.

Bella settles into the household of her Aunt Hatty Menzies in Edinburgh’s nineteenth century George Square where Charles is a regular visitor. She has been exiled to the north by her unfeeling mama, but feels more betrayed by her papa to whom she has been close. Bella hopes the delivery of her young cousin’s baby will eventually demonstrate her own innocence in the scandal that drove her from home.

Bella’s presence disrupts the lives of everyone connected to her. Direlton makes another attempt to kidnap her and in rescuing her a second time, Charles is compromised. Only a betrothal will save his business and Bella’s reputation.

Mayhem, murder and long suppressed family secrets raise confusion and seemingly endless difficulties. Will the growing but unacknowledged love between Bella and her Scottish architect survive the evil Direlton engineers?

REVIEW: Lady Isabella (Bella) Wormsley is traveling from her family home to stay with her aunt in Edinburgh.  Gossip from an indiscretion has led to the need for her to get away.  While staying overnight at an inn, she encounters Graham Direlton who attempts to abduct her.  Fortunately, she is rescued by Charles Lindsay, a Scottish Laird.

The warmth of her aunt and family is a balm to her after the cold and cruel way she was dismissed from her own home.  However, the gossips are still out to tarnish her reputation by saying she had become pregnant and had an illegitimate baby.

While this is untrue, the reader finds out that she has been mistaken for another family member.  Many family secrets come to light as she encounters attempts on her life and well being.

The growing attraction between Bella and Charles Lindsay comes into play as he has become the one to rescue not only her reputation but her heart as well.

I admit that I had a difficult time getting into this novel at first because there appeared to be some “missing pieces” which began to appear the longer I read it and I’m glad I stuck with it because it was a very well-written novel and the personalities of the characters were well portrayed. 

Connie for b2b

*Book provided by the author.

‘Never Desire a Duke’ by Lily Dalton

NDAD LDSTORY: A Marriage Beyond Hope

The Duchess Sophia has long been estranged from her husband, His Grace, Vane Barwick, the Duke of Claxton, whose rumored list of amorous conquests includes almost every beautiful woman of the ton. Yet a shocking encounter with him in a crowded ballroom—and a single touch—are all it takes to reawaken her furious passion for him. But how can she trust the man who crushed her dreams and took away the one thing she wanted most?

A Love Beyond Reason
Claxton has never forgiven himself for the youthful mistake that ruined his marriage to Sophia. Now, after nearly a year abroad, the reformed rogue vows to win back the only woman he’s ever truly loved. He’ll do whatever it takes to prove he can be the honorable husband she deserves—and the passionate lover she desires. As the snowdrifts deepen outside their ancestral home, can they rekindle the flame that burned so bright and find a new path to forever?

REVIEW: Vane Barwick, fourth Duke of Claxton and tenth Earl of Rencere and his wife Sophia, Duchess of Claxton, had been estranged for some months.  This was the result of Sophia having lost their baby from taking a fall after inadvertently reading a letter from an ex-lover of Vane’s wanting to reinstate their previous relationship.  Sophia had been angered and left without giving Vane a chance to explain.  Vane had been away as he was angry with Sophia at her reaction and hurt by the loss of their child.

When they meet one another at a ball some months later, Sophia is amazed at her renewed passion for Vane.  Still determined to stay away from him, she flees to their country home to give herself time to contemplate whether she wants to stay with him or ask for a separation.

Vane follows her determined to mend their differences and attempt to renew their love for one another.

As it is just a week before Christmas, they encounter one of the worst snowstorms in history and find themselves unable to return to London. Stuck together in their country home, they are forced to face their problems and find if they can, indeed, find love again.

The plot of this novel was fairly good, however I became bored with the constant “catch me if you can” actions by Sophia.  But to be fair, there were some good scenes depicting them learning to get to know one another again in an attempt to find their lost love.

This is a new author and you may want to give her a try, but I’m only mildly impressed so far.

Connie for b2b

*Book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

‘Lyon’s Gift’ by Tanya Anne Crosby

LG TACSTORY: Piers de Montgomerie, known as “Lyon” for his fierceness in combat, accepts the challenge of the Scottish king, agreeing to quell a troublesome highland feud and to accept the disputed lands as payment But his battle skills are no match for the flashing eyes and barbed tongue of “Mad” Meghan Brodie–the spirited wench he now holds hostage, who fires his blood with her heart-stirring beauty.

Distrustful of men and feigning madness, in truth Meghan is cunning as a fox–and far too loyal to her clan to be swayed by her arrogant captor’s honeyed words and virile charms. She will make the Lyon pay dearly for the “gift” he has so brazenly stolen–even as her own traitorous heart begs her to surrender gladly to the one great love that can heal an injured land.

REVIEW: The prologue starts out with Meghan and her grandminnie in the forest looking for herbs when she spies a face staring at her from behind a tree. She sneaks over and meets Alison and they plan to become friends and meet secretly to play. Everyone thinks Meghan’s grandminnie is a witch and Alison fears her family won’t let her play openly with Meghan.

Piers de Montgomerie is base-born from a King and a whore. He was very inquisitive growing up and was able to study with the Archbishop of Canterbury. He had a thirst for knowledge. They call him Lyon because of his prowess on a battlefield. Because of his skill at arms, he has received a parcel in the highlands for reward. He’s finding his sheep dwindling. Although he is getting irritated he admires the Scots in the way they did battle and in the way they defended their clan to the death. He admires their loyalty.

Meghan’s parent’s died when she was just a child and her grandminnie Fia raised her until her death when Meghan was sixteen. Everyone thought Fia mad, and they thought Meghan was too. She would rather be around her animals for company than to be around people. She never understands why men are muddle brained around her or why women dislike her without knowing her, but she was stunning. So beautiful.

Lyon comes upon Meghan in the forest as she’s walking a lamb and conversing with it. When she realizes that he’s there and is going to take her, she tries to make them believe the stories that she’s mad. She attempts to have them believe the lamb is her grandminnie, Fia.

This chapter had me hee-haw’ing with laughter. Baldwin, Piers’ friend, is hilarious with the banter and what Lyon has him do trying to appease Meghan. Meghan speaks her mind and Lyon loves that about her.

Meghan’s brothers come to take her home and Piers denies them and makes a deal that if after a set time, she wants to go home, he will let her. They are beside themselves with anger. She is so attracted to him but will deny it to the end. She thinks he only wants her for her looks. He has wanted her from the moment he set eyes on her. She makes him feel alive and nothing has brought that out in him for years. He knows it goes deeper than the surface. Lyon’s soul feels lost…. empty…. and only Meghan can bring it peace. He needs her desperately, just as desperately as she needs him.

Much laughter, a lot of soul-searching, misunderstandings, heart-break, and a love so deep and strong nothing will stand in its way. All those things describe this story.

Leah for b2b

Downton Abbey Bummer…

cast of DA

…before I even begin with this post, be warned, there will be spoilers so if you haven’t watched the show at all or haven’t seen the ending of the third season, you may want to skip my post altogether…BUT, if you’ve seen all three seasons of it, I would love it if you’d put your two cents in and possibly walk me off the ledge?

I am an avid PBS supporter and my guilty pleasure has always been Masterpiece Theater, even way back when Alistair Cook was the host. I loved watching The Six Wives of Henry VIIIElizabeth RPoldarkI, ClaudiusUpstairs, Downstairs and The Forsyte Saga. For someone who loves history, PBS was a gold mine and I spent hours watching, absorbing and enjoying those shows and many, many more.

Downton Abbey Family

Couple of years ago they started broadcasting a new series called Downton Abbey and I was hooked! What’s not to like?! There’s aristocracy, domestic help, love, intrigue, passion, humor…and tragedy.

Here is a great video from PBS that tells the two first seasons of Downton Abbey in five minutes. If you’ve never seen it, I think this will hook you good…oh, and no spoilers…yet…

*Do NOT continue unless you like the spoilers*

This past Sunday we’ve come to the end of the third season and after three days, I’m still grieving…

I’ve yet to get over the shock of Sybil’s passing, for crying out loud [literally, crying out LOUD!]. Every time I see little Syb and Tom, I get all choked up. I honestly didn’t see that one coming! Watching her parents cope with her sudden death was heart wrenching. Both were left blaming Robert, until the good doctor stepped in with an honest assessment of the situation. And that wouldn’t have happened without the Old Bird’s [the Dowager] interference.

Speaking of, I always loved Maggie Smith [and not only because she’s the mother of one of the best actors to walk the Earth, Toby Stephens] because she not just acts…she embodies the characters she plays to such a degree that you don’t see an actress in a role, but a character that is real, flesh and blood and bone. Someone that reaches out to you and makes you a part of whatever she becomes. Every scene she’s in, it becomes a living, breathing entity that pulls you deeper and deeper into the spell…

The scene in which she grieves her youngest granddaughters death is heart breaking because she’s trying so hard to stay strong for her son and her daughter in law. Priceless, I tell you!

Anyways, I digress. On top of dealing with one loss, now I had to gird my loins for another. That of a beloved main character and a hero…Damn but it hurt to see him like this!

Matthew dies in a car crash

Yes, I knew it was coming because I read even before the season began what its creator Julian Fellowes said about the actor’s abrupt exit, it’s just that I didn’t know how the end would be brought about…and then my last glimpse of  him was just shocking… I just broke down and cried…

Matthew dies

Just when all was going well for this couple… just when they reached that point in their lives when their dream comes true, he gets killed in a car crash! THE END! My last glimpse of him was very disturbing. It will take me a while to get over it and accept his death [I’ve already come to terms of Dan Stevens’ departure and truly wish him the best], but not seeing his smile… his deep, blue eyes… [sigh]…

Dan S Blue eyes

The theme song “Did I Make the Most of Loving You?” is so right after the ending of this season… so haunting…tells the love story of Mary and Mathew…just listen to the words…

The fourth season will open six months after the tragedy and I wonder how Lady Mary is going to deal with his death…I keep picturing her keeping it all in, postponing her grief for the sake of their little boy, which is yet to be named. Or, maybe she has a complete personality change and is trying to embrace everything life has to offer by partying too hard? Or will she take over the Downton project that Mathew never had a chance to finish and see his vision through for their son’s sake?

Oh, and the next suitor for her affections better be someone I approve of!

‘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.

‘Between the Duke and the Deep Blue Sea’ by Sophia Nash

STORY: Roxanne Vanderhaven always believed herself the perfect wife. But when her husband, the Earl of Paxton, leaves her clinging to the edge of a cliff, she’s forced to face the truth: she married a murderous blackguard. Her eventual rescuer, Alexander Barclay, Duke of Kress, is one of England’s most disreputable peers—a member of the notorious royal entourage, no less–and certainly the last man she can count on. Indeed, the Prince Regent himself exiled Barclay to Cornwall, and now, by decree, the dashing duke must seek a royal bride to regain favor and help quell the public’s fury against the excesses of the crown.

Roxanne desperately wants a new life—after she’s uncovered the cause of her husband’s despicable actions—and she finds herself drawn, most surprisingly, to her unlikely champion. The Duke of Kress may not be quite the scoundrel he appears…but if she gives him her heart, will Roxanne be making the same mistake twice?

REVIEW: Ms. Nash’s new series The Royal Entourage starts off with a premise that six bachelor dukes of the royal entourage spent one night celebrating the upcoming nuptials of one of them, got so wasted that none could remember the scandal they created for not just themselves, but for their Prince Regent as well. Well, said Prince Regent has just about had enough of their debauchery [and never you mind that he himself was present at the time] and to punish one wouldn’t do, so he decides he would punish all six.

First up is Duke of Kress who is now under royal orders to go back to his dilapidated Cornwall castle, try to make it livable and find a bride, post-haste.

In his wildest dreams, Alex could not have dreamt that his future bride would be one Roxanne, who he rescues from the certain death as she hangs from the side of a sea cliff determined to find out why would the man she’s married to try to murder her.

This story wasn’t bad, but then again I hadn’t enjoyed it fully either. The reason for the lack of my enjoyment was too much slapstick and not enough reality. This had a lot of potential, but the author relied too much on giving us situations and characters that rang too false and unbelievable. It all felt forced and silly, from the situation to situation, and character to character. The plot in itself is too confusing and not even a little plausible.

If I was comparing it to movies, this would go way of romantic comedies with a twist of predictable mystery. If you’re Sophia Nash’s fan, you will enjoy it, but this is my first read from her and I wasn’t enjoying it that much. I’m hoping that the next one in the series will be rid of confusion and INFUSION of too many characters with not much to do but hang about and confuse me.

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*Copy provided by AVON publisher through Edelweiss*