‘The Shocking Secret of a Guest at the Wedding’ by Victoria Alexander

tssoagatw vaSTORY: The bride and groom cordially request your presence for a wedding at Millworth Manor. . .

Guests will include Jackson Quincy Graham Channing, New York City banker, and Lady Theodosia “Teddy” Winslow, wedding planner to the finest families in England.

Introductions shall be followed by light conversation, dancing, flirtation, arguing, reconciliation, and an impulsive kiss that both parties are quite certain they will never repeat.

Until they do.

A mutually beneficial fake engagement will be accompanied by all manner of very real complications, scandalous revelations, nefarious schemes, and one inescapable conclusion:

That true love–unlike the perfect wedding–is impossible to plan. . .

REVIEW: At age 30, American Jackson (Jack) Quincy Graham Channing is the Vice President of Graham, Merryweather and Lockwood Banking and Trust in New York.  An intelligent man, he is the great grandson of the founder of the company.  He was raised by his mother, Elizabeth.  It is known that his father, Colonel Basil Channing, part of the well-known and wealthy Channing family in England died before he was born.  It has always been assumed that Jack would one day marry his lifelong friend, Lucinda (Lucy) Merryweather, and daughter of one of the founders.  In actuality, Basil and Elizabeth had met and eloped on a whim.  When Elizabeth’s father found out, he persuaded her to return home and get an annulment.  This was the plan when Elizabeth and Basil parted.  However, before the annulment could happen, Elizabeth found herself pregnant.  She never told Basil that he was a father and chose to raise Jack on her own.

When Basil finds he does have a son, he visits Jack and persuades him to go to England with him.  As it turns out, Jack is the next in line to become the Earl of Briston of Millworth Manor.  While Jack thinks he will be gone for a short time, once he starts getting to know his father’s family, he begins to feel very much at home.
A very good friend of the family is a 26-year-old red-haired beauty named Lady Theodosia (Teddy) Winslow.  Unfortunately, on the death of her father, she and her mother, the Countess of Sallwick found themselves burdened by debts left by her father.  A man with no head for figures, he had been duped by some unscrupulous investors.  One of these is the former fiancé of Teddy.  It is said that he went down with a ship he was sailing on.
Teddy is an very intelligent society woman and, together with her mother, has been making money by becoming society event planners.  Most people feel it is just something they do to fill their time, however, they charge enormous amounts of money as the crème de la crème of society knows that their event will be perfect.  Teddy has used this money to pay off her father’s debts.  Teddy loves what she does and hopes one day to become the premier event planner in all of England.
When Teddy and Jack meet at Millworth Manor, they are attracted to one another but their stubbornness always seems to interfere into allowing the attraction to truly blossom.  However, when they agree to a fake engagement, things really begin to heat up and more fiancée come out of the woodwork.
This is a very good book and I loved the story line.  Some of the humorous remarks made by the different characters will have the reader laughing out loud.
Connie for b2b
Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘The Scandalous Adventures of the Sister of the Bride’ by Victoria Alexander

va tsaotsotbSTORY: The bride and groom cordially request the presence of…

The bride’s sister, Delilah, the very proper widowed Lady Hargate, and Samuel Russell, the groom’s friend, a very eligible, slightly improper bachelor, at their upcoming wedding.

Lady Hargate and Mr. Russell, previously acquainted during one unforgettable night in New York City when caution—and clothing—were thrown to the wind will choose to pretend they have never met before.

The lady plans to avoid love and its complications at all costs. The gentleman intends to change her mind.

Guests are invited to enjoy the many diversions of Millworth Manor—delightful grounds, lavish drawing rooms, secluded corners—and the chance to discover that one night may have been only the beginning…

REVIEW: Delilah, Lady Hargate has been widowed for some years now.  On her way to meet up with her sister, Camille, who is also a widow preparing to marry again, she participates in a scandalous liaison with a man she didn’t really know.  Her thinking is that this is a one-night stand and that she would never meet this man again.  Imagine her enormous surprise when she is introduced to him again as the American friend of her sister’s fiancé.  Meeting Samuel Russell again has thrown Delilah into a tizzy but she is determined to act aloof and not give into his veiled teasing of her.  However, as they spend more time together, their teasing becomes more serious which eventually leads to even more of an attraction.

This is a clever but light story with lots of amusing bantering between the characters which provides the reader with a lot of chuckles.  However, I wished that there might have been more seriousness shown rather than the overdone one-upmanship.
Connie for b2b

MEL’S THOUGHTS: Victoria Alexander is one of my all time favorite authors and so far all of her books have been my Keeper Shelf worthy, this one included, however…As much as I loved the writing and three P’s (plot, prose & pace), clever dialogue and humor [which Ms. Alexander’s book’s are always filled with], I was a bit disappointed with the characterization of the heroine. Delilah wasn’t my ‘cup-a-tea’ and I just couldn’t warm up to her. I did like the hero very much and for me, he made this book worth reading.

This is book 3 in What Happens at Millworth Manor series and I think while they may stand alone, reading the previous two books [and in order, What Happens At Christmas (Millworth Manor, #1) Lord Stillwell's Excellent Engagements (Millworth Manor, #1.5) The Importance of Being Wicked (Millworth Manor, #2)] helped me greatly in following and enjoying this story.

Am I recommending it? Hell yes! It’s Victoria Alexander! However, be warned that you may loose patience with this heroine while enjoying everything else in the book.

For my reviews of the previous books in this series, go here and here.

Melanie for b2b

Complementary copy provided by the publisher.

‘The Importance of Being Wicked’ by Victoria Alexander

TIOBW VASTORY: For Winfield Elliott, Viscount Stillwell, finding a prospective bride always seemed easy. Perhaps too easy. With three broken engagements to his name, Win is the subject of endless gossip. Yet his current mission is quite noble: to hire a company to repair his family’s fire-damaged country house. Nothing disreputable in that—until the firm’s representative turns out to be a very desirable widow.

Lady Miranda Garrett expected a man of Win’s reputation to be flirtatious, even charming. But the awkward truth is that she finds him thoroughly irresistible. While Miranda resides at Millworth to oversee the work, Win occupies her days, her dreams…and soon, her bed. For the first time, the wicked Win has fallen in love. And what began as a scandalous proposition may yet become a very different proposal

REVIEW: I knew this story was going to be good because I had so much fun reading its prequel ‘intro’ novella ‘Lord Stillwell’s Excellent Engagements’. If you plan to read this book, I highly recommend you read the novella first because in it you’ll get to know him and his life a bit better.

As for this story, it was again such a breath of fresh air to read a mature and slow developing friendship, courtship and love. The heroine is no simpering miss, but a grown woman, a widow that actually has is running a business, although naturally in the Victorian England, she’s still hiding behind her husband’s name and an alias male ‘employee’ name. That part of the plot was almost as much fun to follow as the relationship between the two.

When it comes to painting a Victorian Era picture, Ms. Alexander excels in making sure I ‘see’ the setting, the costumes, the language and I’m never disappointed as I ‘enter’ the world she creates for my pleasure.

If you’re like me, a long time fan of Victoria Alexander, then you’ll get this one for sure. For all of you bookworms that have never had the pleasure, may as well start with this one. This is a slow, simmering and chemistry filled sensual romance filled with great verbal, witty sparring between the main characters and I do recommend you read it.

LSEE VA‘Lord Stillwell’s Excellent Engagements’ by Victoria Alexander

STORY: Some say I do not take my engagements seriously. Nonsense. What man with no interest in marriage would find himself proposing not once, but three times? And each time, I’ve felt certain that this, at last, is the absolutely, positively, perfect woman.

Miss Felicia Whitingdon, for instance, has youth, beauty, style, grace–and a handsome fortune. Lady Lucille Eustice is a widow of impeccable social standing, and a balm to my soul. Then there is Miss Caroline Hibbitt, sweet and charming in every way. Any one of these intoxicating treasures could make a man happy. Any one of them could be an ideal wife. But which–if any of them–will it be?

MINI REVIEW: Like I said above, this little novella was very fun and helpful in getting me ready for Win’s full story. It was entertaining to watch our hero, Lord Stillwell, having a hard time holding onto a woman long enough to get her to the altar.

I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry for the poor man! Three times he comes close, and no cigar! Each woman is carefully chosen by him, and in the end each jilts him for another man.

I admired the man for being able to accept the inevitable with understanding of all the women that were ‘almost’ his bride.

You really don’t have to read this novella before the full Win and Felicia story, but I think you should because it’s well written, very entertaining and very enlightening about the hero.

*Books provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

 

‘What Happens At Christmas’ by Victoria Alexander

STORY: A blazing fire, an English country house . . . and the ultimate game of charades. In this charming holiday novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander, a beautiful widow finds her plan for a Christmas proposal going perfectly awry . . .

Camille, Lady Lydingham, knows precisely what she wants for Christmas–an official engagement to a handsome, dashing prince. Her very proper suitor expects a proper English family and the perfect Dickensian Christmas, which leaves the lovely widow with a slight problem. The last thing Camille wants is for the prince to meet her unconventional relatives. But with the aid of a troupe of actors, Camille intends to pull off a Christmas deception of massive proportions.

At least until Grayson Elliot shows up. A dozen years ago, he declared his love on the day before her marriage to another man, then vanished from her life. Now he’s back, gate-crashing Camille’s already chaotic house party, playing absolute havoc with her scheme–and with her heart. Because for Grayson, losing Camille once was quite bad enough. Losing her twice? Unthinkable. And he’ll find a way to show her they belong together–for this season, and every Christmas yet to come . . .

REVIEW: This one is for new and old VA fans! This author is a must for me and I devour everything she puts out. I still have a lot of her back titles on my TBR and I make sure never to pass up on getting one of her books.

As much as this story line was predictable, it was well written that I didn’t mind it at all. It still felt fresh because of the dialogue and characters involved.

It reminded me of the Murphy’s Law, if anything can go wrong, it will. No amount of planning helped our heroine and it made for a very funny and cute love story.

Very enjoyable Victorian romance!

A time to soak and absorb my adventure at RT’s…

Well, 2012 RT Convention is now in the history and my memories of it will always bring a huge smile to my face. My biggest regret is not taking a pic with Grace Burrowes. This awesome woman has so generously offered to share her room with me during the day, shared lunch with, went to some events together, and we kept saying, later we’ll do it, and in the end with all the running around we never did. Now I feel sad for not doing it and I mean to make sure next time I see her, the first thing we’ll do is take a pic together.

Let me tell you, I don’t get easily intimidated, but meeting Lorreta Chase and Victoria Alexander just left me speechless and in tears. Totally a Fan-Girl moment!!

Right now, I’m truly exhausted and need to rest and sort it all in my head before I bring them to you. Soaking in the tub is on my list of must do in the next hour.

Before I head out to do my soaking, I thought to run one more contest and ask y’all which author would you be in awe of meeting? One of you will end up with a book of your choice out of my stash!

My first RT Convention [my first convention ever]

RT Booklovers Convention is on Baby! It’s happening right now (from April 11 – April 15), and it’s in my town, Chicago and there was no way I could have stayed away from it, not when most of my awesome and talented romance authors and bloggers, would be attending.

It’s Wednesday night and I’m counting days and hours to this weekend. I have only a weekend pass for RT Convention and I’m excited to a point where anxiety is taking over! I think I need some Yoga to calm me down…

Anyways, with my health issues slowly, and I mean about a turtle speed, getting better, I’m just about ready for this event to lift my ‘steroid induced roller-coaster’ of emotions, up.

Yesterday I’ve downloaded the RT’s Agenda and highlighted some things that will be a must attend and some authors that are a must meet.

A NOBLE AFFAIR is on a Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. and it’s a champagne breakfast hosted by NOBLE PUBLISHING, which means I need to rise early…very early [note to self: need to arrange to meet Grace Burrowes there, and oh God I hope I do not swoon when meeting Madam Authoress].

At 11:15 a.m. I’m planning to go to a discussion on THE TROUBLE WITH LAYERS and listen to Loretta Chase, Kieran Kramer, Sarah MacLean, Jade Lee and Sabrina Jeffries [note to self: with so much talent in one room, do not, I repeat-do not embarrass yourself by aping a salivating dog].

In the evening there are a couple of things I’d love to check out and the chance to meet Katharine Ashe, Lorraine Heath, Tessa Dare and Sophie Jordan at AVON’S INDIGO LOUNGE, as well as visit with Heather Graham with NIGHT OF THE STARS GANGSTER CAFE TALENT QUEST, would be an awesome way to end my first day at the convention [note to self: time to get of the med's for this weekend].

As I’m packing some of my favorite books from Mary Balogh, Victoria Alexander, Monica Burns, Shana Galen, Sylvia Day, Emma Wildes, Delilah Marvelle, Heather Snow, Jade Lee, Mia Marlowe and many more, I’m so happy I can’t stand it. Is it Friday yet?!

To all of you bookworms, I promise we’ll have plenty of stuff to giveaway, so get ready for it!