‘There’s Something About Lady Mary’ by Sophie Barnes

sb tisalmSTORY: Mary Croyden lives a simple life . . .

and she likes it. But when she inherits a title and a large sum of money, everything changes. Forced to navigate high society, Mary finds herself relying on the help of one man—Ryan Summersby.

Determined not to lose her sense of self, she realizes that Ryan is the only person she can trust. But Mary’s hobbies are not exactly proper, and Ryan is starting to discover that this simple miss is not at all what he expected…but just might be exactly what he needs.

REVIEW: This is the second book of The Summersby’s series [my review of the first is here] and I’m finding myself in the same boat as I was reading the first book.

I can still see that her writing has potential, but I still feel that she needs to work on her characterization more than on her plot. The premise was well thought out, but poorly executed, and in cases such as that, the reader looses interest and abandons the story. I didn’t do that only because I committed to reading it, but it took me awhile to write this review.  

I don’t like writing reviews like this because I’m trying very hard to be positive about the story I hadn’t connected with and had no vested interest in.

I read romance for the pleasure of seeing two people fall in love and work their way to their happily ever after. I enjoy plots of any kind, but it’s the characterization and chemistry between the leads that intrigues my mind and engages my senses.

In this case, my senses were let down big time. I am however determined to finish this series, which ends with ‘The Secret Life of Lady Lucinda’, in hopes that I may like at least one of this authors books.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘The Secret Life of Lady Lucinda’ by Sophie Barnes

sb tslollSTORY: William finally meets his match in the latest Summersby Tale from Sophie Barnes, author of How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back.

Lucy Blackwell is desperate, reckless, and maybe a little bit crazy. That’s the only possible explanation for tricking a man she doesn’t know into a dance, a kiss, and an engagement—all in the middle of the biggest ball of the year! But Lord William Summersby is the final piece of her grand plan, and she’ll do what it takes to make this marriage of convenience work—as long as it’s convenient for her. She just never counted on falling in love . . .

REVIEW: Have you ever found an author you just couldn’t read? I just did. I honestly gave it my all, but I’m just not willing to spend time on books that are not giving me enjoyment.

If I thought the other two were lacking that ‘something’ special, than this one was flatter than Keira Knightley’s boobs.

I hated the heroine Lucy for the way she manipulated the hero, William, but what was even worse than that, was the plot. I couldn’t buy it if I suspended my belief as high as the stars in the sky!

Listen, if I forget the names of the main characters as soon as I put the book down, you lost me as a reader. Sorry.

However, please have in mind that all reviews are subjective so what I didn’t like from this author, someone did [looking at you Connie!]. You can find Connie’s reviews of Ms. Barnes’ work here and here. She loved her work, and you just may too. Me, I’m skipping her for now …

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back’ by Sophie Barnes

sb hmrghgbSTORY: Emily Rutherford is having a very bad day.

Of course, having the man you’ve loved forever announce his engagement to your (now very former) best friend will do that.

Emily is sure nothing good could possibly come out of this horrid situation. But she lets her sisters—along with Francis Riley, the delectable but brooding Earl of Dunhurst—convince her that a season in London will be just the thing.

Now Emily has a choice: sulk in a corner while her sisters enjoy the glitter of the ton . . . or become the belle of the ball, dazzling everyone on an earl’s arm. But as Francis helps Emily get back on her feet, she quickly realizes that a childhood crush is nothing compared to the power of true love.

REVIEW: Emily believes herself to be betrothed to her long-time friend, Adrian. Some years before he had told her that while he was not now ready for marriage, that when he was ready, he couldn’t think of anyone better than his long-time friend, Emily. Emily took this as a proposal.

Now, she finds that Adrian has asked her good friend, Kate to be his wife leaving her broken-hearted and very angry at Adrian and her friend, Kate.

Another childhood friend, Francis Riley, Earl of Dunhurst, has always loved Emily and when he learns of her hurt, want to soothe her and hopefully have her for his wife. Due to many mix-ups, Emily has felt that Francis is not the nice person he was when they were children. Therefore, they begin a journey of getting to know one another again. Francis has found that the mother he loved if not his true biological mother and this has caused much stress in his life. However, with the help of Emily, his problems with this situation are fixed and their love continues to grow.

There are lots of twists and turns in this novel but I can certainly say that the author, Sophie Barnes, has knitted together an amazing story of powerful love and trust. I hope you will read this terrific book and enjoy it as much as I did.

Connie for b2b

‘The Scandal in Kissing an Heir’ by Sophie Barnes

TSIKAH SBSTORY: He is the next Marquis of Wolvington…
She is a lady with nothing but beauty and wits…
Together they share a forbidden kiss.

Lady Rebecca is determined to find a husband on her own terms, rather than marry any of the aging suitors her greedy aunt and uncle foist upon her. Her chance comes at the Kingsborough Ball, where she meets several potential grooms…yet no one compares to the dangerously handsome Daniel Neville.

Daniel Neville, notorious rake and heir to the Marquis of Wolvington, is in need of a bride, but finding a lady who’s willing to accept his past, is an entirely different matter. When he spies a stunning woman across the ballroom, Daniel believes he’s found her…until scandal erupts around them. How can he convince Rebecca to take a chance on him…and on the love that could be theirs forever after?

REVIEW: Lady Rebecca has spent the last two years locked up in her room pretending to be mad so that she can avoid marrying one of the two old men her aunt and uncle are pushing on her. She manages to escape from her room and attends the Kingsborough Masquerade Ball hoping to meet a young gentleman. With her black hair, unusual bronzed skin and dressed in a gorgeous red dress, she has immediately taken the eye of many eligible men.

Daniel Neville, Marquess of Wolvington, has just been given some very sobering news from his uncle. His days of being a devil-may-care rake are over. It is time for him to settle down and take a wife and he has one month to carry this out . So when he spots Lady Rebecca across the room, he is entranced with her.

They enjoy a fun repartee that results in them eloping to Gretna Green and agreeing to a marriage of convenience so Rebecca can escape marriage to one of the lecherous men chosen for her, and Daniel can satisfy his uncle’s demand that he marry right away.

Their eloping results in them being ostracized by the ton. When Daniel finds out that his uncle is cutting off his funds due to this embarrassment, he seeks ways to make money to support Rebecca refusing to use her dowry money. In addition, Lord Grover who had wanted to marry Rebecca and get her into his bed is livid at losing her and is out for revenge. When Daniel is shot and almost dies, he and Rebecca concoct a scheme to trap Lord Grover and see that he pays for his crime.

This was a well-written novel that shows the reader how a man can change from a rake to one whose newly found love can change him to a responsible man. As with all of Sophie Barnes’ books, I enjoyed this one immensely and look forward to reading the next book in the series entitled “The Trouble with Being a Duke” (At the Kingsborough Ball”.

*Connie for b2b

*ARC provided by the author.

‘Lady Alexandra’s Excellent Adventure’ by Sophie Barnes

LAEA SBSTORY: It’s going to be a wild ride . . .

Lady Alexandra Summersby is not your average society miss. Not only is she more likely to climb a tree than she is to wear a dress, but she has also sworn off marriage. Alex loves taking chances, which is how she finds herself embroiled in a secret mission as she races across the country with the Earl of Trenton. But Alexandra is about to discover that the real danger lies not in duels, but in her completely unexpected reaction to Lord Trenton’s company.

Michael Ashford, Earl of Trenton, is a man of duty. Honorable, charming, and a hit with the ladies, he’s never had trouble staying focused—until now. Lady Alexandra is like no other woman he’s ever met, and suddenly the prospect of marriage seems far more appealing. Now, to convince Alexandra that a life together could be an adventure like no other . . .

REVIEW: This is the first book of The Summersby’s series and I already have the second ‘There’s Something About Lady Mary’ on my Kindle.

As a reviewer, once I’m done reading the book, I do one of two things: if I loved the book, I write my review right away, and if I didn’t care for it, I take my sweet time and debate the matter trying to figure out the reasons behind my dislike of it. The longer I debate, the more I dread writing a review because I am at that point finding too many things I don’t like. It so happens to be the case with this book.

First, I understand what Ms. Sophie Barnes was going for and the title is a given. She tried to give me a contemporary take of the historical regency era story and the titles of her books are the first indication of her attempt. You know, something like what Kieran Kramer is doing with great success, I might add. Alas, Ms. Barnes is in my opinion, not even close to achieving her goal.

That said, I must say that the writing has potential, but the people around her [read EDITORS] should have taken their job more seriously and helped her iron out a story that had good bones by correcting her lack of knowledge about history, dialogue and plotting.

The author attempted to cram everything from adventure, romance and intrigue with a fast pace and in quick succession, so that what should have been a light regency romp came out silly and bland attempt at regency romp.

Despite it, I did like her characterization of the main players and that is the only reason I will give this author another chance by reading a second book in this series. I fervently pray she hired some new editors though.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

‘Five Golden Rings: A Christmas Collection’ by Sophie Barnes, Karen Erickson, Rena Gregory, Sandra Jones & Vivienne Lorret

STORY: The holidays are a time for wishes, magic and, of course, love. Celebrate the season with this delightful collection of Christmas tales. 

What better way for Connor Talbot, Earl of Redfirn, to spend the holidays than convincing Leonora Compton that the only match she needs to make is with him!

The Duke of Ashton has had three years to plan for his perfect Christmas present—the Lady Eleanor Fitzsimmons as his wife. Now, all he has to do is convince the reluctant lady …

Phin Baldwin does not believe in Christmas magic … until the clever and beautiful Ginny Overton gets it into her head to show him how wonderful it can be when wishes come true.

Just returned from the Crusades, marriage is the last thing on Sir Caerwyn’s mind. But will he be able to resist Lady Nia, the thief of his boyhood heart, when she tempts him yet again?

Responsible Ethan Weatherstone is determined to save Penelope Rutledge—and her reputation—from her silly scheme, but can he save himself from the temptation of her lips?

REVIEW:  This collection of short stories was an excellent way for me to get acquainted with some of the authors I’ve never read before, such as Rena Gregory, Vivienne Lorret and Sandra Jones. Sophie Barnes and Karen Erickson are somewhat familiar to me as I read only a handful of their novels, but I’ve been very impressed with both so far.

In “Mistletoe Magic” by Sophie Barnes you’ll find a pair of matchmakers in hero and heroine who’ll make you laugh out loud with the antics they come up with to match the ‘unsuspecting’ duo. Loved it!

Karen Erickson’s “His Perfect Gift” made me root for this Duke and his heroine. I loved the story and the second characters of this story were also fun to read about. Loved it!

“War of the Magi” by Rena Gregory gave us a hero that needed someone like the heroine to point him in a right direction and show him the joy of the season. Cute and sweet, with some interesting characters on the side. Liked it!

In “Her Christmas Knight” by Sandra Jones I was wishing for a Knight of my own! If you love stories with a second chances, this one’s a must then. It will make your eyes mist and the end will leave you satisfied and warm all over. Loved it!

Vivienne Lorret’s story “Tempting Mr. Weatherstone” brings us two childhood friends who finally find courage to admit love for each other, but the road to it is fun-filled with adventure our heroine is craving for. Liked it!

‘Five Golden Rings’ was a wonderful collection of fun, entertaining and character driven short holiday stories. Overall I found the writing very good and each story unique and fun.  A great holiday read!