Spotlight on ‘Unexpected Love: A Marriage of Convenience’ Anthology!

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ul hc pk me anBOOK BLURB: Around the turn of the century, matches were made for all sorts of reasons–whether to keep a family together or simply to make ends meet. But love has a way of turning up in the most unexpected places! With four historical romance stories in one, this fun anthology will sweep you from the dance floors of aristocracy to the hearths of country living, leading to love through the most unusual circumstances.

REVIEW: I’m always game for a good anthology because in them I hope to find new authors to me. In these four novellas I found just that. In Ashbrook Abbey by Heather Chapman, I liked the competition between two best friends who become adversaries as they compete to be their uncle’s heir, as our heroine makes a decision that will change her life forever.

In First Comes Marriage by Paula Kremser, I thought the story of two totally different people with the same goal would never find their happily ever after, but they finally did and it was wonderful.

In The Price of Her Heart by Mandi Ellsworth, I had a lot of laughs as the story developed from our heroine’s point of view and I liked following the lengths our hero would go to become a Texas Ranger.

In the last story, Beauty and the Beholder by Ashtyn Newbold I shed a couple of tears and thought this story such a heartwarming, slow burning romance that should have been longer.

All four stories are about marriage of convenience and all four are well written and developed, with lots of humor and heart. I highly recommend it you read.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Paula-KremserAUTHOR BIOS: Paula Kremser began writing while living in England, so choosing to write about the Regency era was no coincidence. She is an avid reader, but decided to write because sometimes stories just didn’t go the way she wanted. She obviously has control issues; just ask her four kids. She hopes to someday win an award for writing, in the meantime, she brags about once winning a bubble gum blowing competition. She continually practices that skill (along with writing) in her new hometown of Sandy, Utah. 

ashtyn newboldAshtyn Newbold discovered a love of writing early in high school. Inspired by regency period romance, she wrote her first novel at the age of sixteen. Because she can’t vacation in her favorite historical time periods, she writes about them instead. When not crafting handsome historical heroes, she enjoys baking, sewing, music, and spoiling her dog. She dreams of traveling to England and Ireland. Ashtyn is currently studying English and creative writing at Utah Valley University. She lives in Lehi, Utah with her family.
heather chapmanBeing the youngest of four sisters and one very tolerant older brother, Heather Chapman grew up on a steady diet of chocolate, Jane Austen, Anne of Green Gables, Audrey Hepburn, and the other staples of female moviedom and literature. These stories, along with good teachers, encouraged Heather throughout high school and college to read many of the classics in literature, and later, to begin writing her own stories of romance and adventure. After meeting and marrying her husband Mark, Heather graduated magna cum laude from Brigham Young University and finally settled mandi ellsworthdown in a small farming community in southeastern Idaho with her husband and four children. In her spare time, Heather enjoys time spent with family, volleyball, piano, the outdoors, and almost anything creative.

Mandi Ellsworth is an avid reader, a slow jogger, and disinterested in board games of any kind. She lives in Utah with her husband, three children and no pets. .

‘The Lion in the Living Room’ by Abigail Tucker

tlitl atSTORY: House cats rule back alleys, deserted Antarctic islands, and our bedrooms. Clearly, they own the Internet, where a viral cat video can easily be viewed upwards of ten million times. But how did cats accomplish global domination? Unlike dogs, they offer humans no practical benefit. The truth is they are sadly incompetent rat-catchers and pose a threat to many ecosystems. Yet, we love them still.

To better understand these furry strangers in our midst, Abby Tucker travels to meet the breeders, activists, and scientists who’ve dedicated their lives to cats. She visits the labs where people sort through feline bones unearthed from the first human settlements, treks through the Floridian wilderness in search of house cats on the loose, and hangs out with Lil Bub, one of the world’s biggest feline celebrities.

Tucker shows how these tiny creatures have used their relationship with humans to become one of the most powerful animals on the planet. The appropriate reaction to a cuddly kitten, it seems, might not be aww but awe.

REVIEW: I am a cat lady, and proud of it. Cat videos make me laugh. Books about cats make me smile. This book wasn’t what I was expecting, but it did make me think about origin of cats and their arrival to our shores. I was hoping for more humor and what I got is a dry, fact filled recitation.

In my opinion this book is not written for cat lovers and don’t recommend it for them. However if you’re interested in information of the history of the domestication of cats, by all means read it.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘The Alice Network’ by Kate Quinn

tan kqSTORY: 1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie’s parents banish her to Europe to have her “little problem” taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she’s recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she’s trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the “Queen of Spies”, who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy’s nose.

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth …no matter where it leads.

REVIEW: I’m a huge fan of WWII movies (The Poet; Shining Through; Anthropoid and many more), so I thought to try and check out some WW books and see if I’d like them too.

What I liked a lot about this story was a couple of things, characters and the setting was a given as soon as I started to read this story, but what wasn’t obvious was how dark and at the same time, humorous it was. It really encompassed the whole of humanity and I liked that very much.

The story jumps between after WWII and a year into WWI. The connection between the two heroines was perfectly plotted and I was at the edge of my seat as I second guessed every clue I was given by the author.

I adored Charlie St. Clair and Eve Gardiner was someone who impressed the hell out of me.

If you’re looking for a gripping, suspenseful and hear breaking and heart warming story, look no further.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘The Earl’s Mistress’ by Liz Carlyle

tem lkSTORY: Women rarely refuse the wicked Earl of Hepplewood, whose daring exploits are only whispered about. But when his new governess answers his proposition with a slap, then stalks out, references in hand, Hepplewood finds more than his face is burning.

Isabella Aldridge has brains, bravado, and beauty—but the latter is no use to a servant. Her circumstances are desperate, and with Hepplewood’s words ringing in her ears, Isabella realizes she must barter her most marketable asset . . . her body.

But when fate sends Isabella back into Hepplewood’s arms, the earl must make an impossible choice—draw Isabella down into his sensual darkness, or behave with honor for the first time in his life.

REVIEW: To say that I am a fan of this author would be an understatement. I believe I have every book she’s written and some are print, some on my Kindle and some, as is this one, on both Kindle, copy and audio. Yeah, I am that kind of a bookworm.

I’ve read all the others in this series, so naturally I had to read this one too. Let me say at the outset that I loved the Victorian setting as much as I loved the characters. As a matter a fact, I had to wrestle between liking and loving this story because of one thing that I’m not a huge fan of: BDSM.

Now, before you start on me, let me explain why I had a bit of a problem with it. At first I thought “here we go again with ‘Fifty Shades of Gray'”, but as I thought more on it, I realized that for some reason the narrative worked within this story and by the end of the book, I accepted it and thought it was handled with thoughtfulness and care to the characters and who they were.

Both hero and heroine were very complex individuals and both had shades of grey and weren’t just “good” or “bad”. They had flaws and a lot of baggage that needed to be worked through and I had a lot of fun watching them do just that.

In the end, I loved the story and highly recommended it you read.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Daughters of the Bride’ by Susan Mallery

dotb smSTORY: With Joy, Love and a Little Trepidation, Courtney, Sienna and Rachel Invite You to the Most Emotional Wedding of the Year… Their Mother’s

Courtney
~ The Misfit ~

As the awkward one, Courtney Watson may not be as together as her sisters, but she excels at one thing—keeping secrets, including her white-hot affair with a sexy music producer. Planning Mom’s wedding exposes her startling hidden life, changing her family’s view of her—and how she views herself—forever.

Sienna
~ The Free Spirit ~

When Sienna’s boyfriend proposes—in front of her mom and sisters, for crying out loud—he takes her by surprise. She already has two broken engagements under her belt. Should she say “I do” even if she’s not sure she does?

Rachel
~ The Cynic ~

Rachel thought love would last forever…right up until her divorce. As Mom’s wedding day draws near and her ex begs for a second chance, she’s forced to acknowledge some uncomfortable truths about why her marriage failed, and decide if she’ll let pride stand in the way of her own happily-ever-after.

REVIEW: I’m really glad to have chosen this particular book as my first Susan Mallery read.

In one word, this was a DELIGHT! I enjoyed it immensely, from the characters (and there are many!) through the dialogue and onward to humor, shedding a tear or two along the way.

This heartwarming story can teach all of us about family ties and what they really mean. It also perfectly takes you through some very emotional situations that require forgiveness and unconditional love, without it being too “preachy”.

If you want to be entertained and taken on a rollercoaster of emotions, this is the book for you!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Release Me’ by J. Kenner

rm jkSTORY: He was the one man I couldn’t avoid. And the one man I couldn’t resist.

Damien Stark could have his way with any woman. He was sexy, confident, and commanding: Anything he wanted, he got. And what he wanted was me.

Our attraction was unmistakable, almost beyond control, but as much as I ached to be his, I feared the pressures of his demands. Submitting to Damien meant I had to bare the darkest truth about my past—and risk breaking us apart.

But Damien was haunted, too. And as our passion came to obsess us both, his secrets threatened to destroy him—and us—forever.

*Release Me is an erotic romance intended for mature audiences. 

REVIEW: To say I didn’t like this story is an understatement. I have to say that there were things that just didn’t ring true to the characters presented and even the dialogue was way over the top.

“He’s tall and so handsome that the word is almost an insult. He is Jason and Hercules and Perseus – a figure so strong and beautiful and heroic that the blood of the gods must flow through him, because how else could a being so fine exist in this world?”

Seriously?! Description like that only makes me laugh. I’ve seen many men in my life and I never thought to describe them in such “prose”.

And who really says this?!

“His mouth is at my ear, his voice so carnal, so full of lust, it makes my clit throb. “I’m going to fuck you, Nikki. Pleasure? We’re going to blow the roof off pleasure. I’m going to make you beg for it. I’m going to claim you. I’m going to tease you. I’m going to torment you. And you’re going to come for me like you’ve never come in your life.”

No one. Ever! I’ve never read ‘Fifty Shades of Gray’ and I probably never will (I did see the movie!), but I think it must have been better than this story.

Sometimes it’s good to read a bad story to appreciate all the good ones you’ve read. However, if you’re into erotica, I have a feeling you just might like it.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Just One Night’ by Kyra Davis

jon kdSTORY: Kasie Fitzgerald knows who she’s supposed to be. She’s a rising-star-workaholic at a global consulting firm. She’s the fiancée of a well-connected man who’s won the approval of her parents. People know that she’s reliable, serious, proper, cautious, pragmatic, and yes, a little predictable. She’s who Dave and her family want her to be.

But as her thirtieth birthday looms, buried feelings begin to resurrect. Her friend takes her to Vegas for one last wild and crazy night. In a dress much shorter and sexier than anything she has ever dared to wear before, she hits the blackjack tables. And meets him. Under the tailored clothes it’s clear that this is a man who is intense, powerful, and maybe even a little dangerous. With a touch of trepidation she accepts his invitation to get a drink, and before long, she’s in his hotel room.

She never gets his full name. Perhaps his anonymity is one of the reasons she’s able to give herself over to him and to the moment so completely. Perhaps it’s why she’s just had the most exquisite and passionate sex of her life. Shaken by her own behavior, Kasie tries to chalk it up to one crazy night. But when the mysterious gentleman she’s just had a fling with shows up in her office—as the CEO of a firm her company does a billion dollars of business with a year, demanding that she handle his account, and so much more—things will never be the same again. And there’s no telling where this will go…

REVIEW: The above blurb would have you believe that the heroine knows herself. No. She does not. She’s all over the road and I didn’t like her one bit.

As a matter a fact, I hated the plot. I also didn’t like that the story has only heroine’s point of view. I truly think the reader would have benefited by knowing at least Dave’s and Robert’s point of view.

Listen, if you’re into erotica and a heroine who’s cheating on her fiancé, I think you’ll love this story, otherwise, skip it.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher