‘The Governess Club: Sara’ by Ellie Macdonald

tgcs emSTORY: Sweet Sara Collins is one of the founding members of the Governess Club. But she has a secret: She doesn’t love teaching. She’d much prefer to be a vicar’s wife and help the local community. But this quiet mouse doesn’t want to upset her friends, and she resolves to help in whatever ways she can.

Nathan Grant is the embodiment of everything that frightens Sara. Which is why she can’t understand why the handsome but reclusive and gruff man is so fascinating to her. When Sara decides it’s time to take a chance and experience all that life has to offer, Nathan is the first person she thinks of.

Will Sara’s walk on the wild side ruin her chances at a simple, happy life? Or has she just opened the door to a once-in-a-lifetime chance at passion?

REVIEW: This is the third story in this series and finally first full-sized tale. I was pleasantly surprised in all aspects of it.

The characters were fully realized and complex; the plot intriguing and complex as well; the romance was very realistic and to my liking because it took its time in developing; the pace was just perfect, not too rushed.

Sara was truly one of the most complex characters I’ve read in a while. I liked that she had many flaws, yet you just couldn’t help but like her sweet nature.

Nathan had me a bit confused at the beginning of the story, but his backstory explained much of his behavior and I warmed up to him as the story developed.

In the end, this is a story and a series I do recommend and hope you’ll read because its author has a unique and expressive writing voice.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Spotlight on Ella Quinn and ‘When a Marquis Chooses a Bride’!

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wamcab eqBOOK BLURB: Thanks to their large extended family and unconventional courtship, the Worthingtons have seen their share of scandal and excitement. But nothing has prepared them for this…

The Dowager Lady Worthington isn’t quite sure what to make of country-girl Dorothea Stern. As the granddaughter of the Duke of Bristol, Dotty is schooled in the ways and means of the nobility. But her sharp wit and outspoken nature has everyone in a tizzy. Especially their cousin, Dominic, the Marquis of Merton.

Prematurely stuffy, Dom was raised by his cheerless uncle to be wary of a host of things, including innovation, waltzing, and most perilous of all: true love. Still, there’s something about Dotty, beyond her beauty, that Dom cannot resist. But the odds are against him if he intends to win her as his bride. Will he choose loyalty to his family—or risk everything for the one woman he believes is his perfect match… 

BUY LINKS: AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo 

 

EXCERPT:

They resumed ambling on the side of the path. Suddenly there was a commotion and a shout from behind. Dotty whirled around. A small dog had grabbed the tassel on a man’s boot and was backing up growling with its tail wagging, trying to shake its prize. Foolishly, the man kept kicking out at the dog, making the animal think he was playing.

She put a hand over her mouth to keep from giggling, yet when he lifted his cane to strike the poor little thing, she rushed forward. “Here now, sir! What do you think you’re doing?” She bent to the dog who turned out to be nothing more than a puppy. Turning to the man, she narrowed her eyes and scowled. “Shame on you.”

Dotty worked on releasing the tassel from the puppy’s grip, but each time the man shook his leg, trying to get the animal off, the puppy held on harder, growling and shaking his head. “Stop moving. Are you so stupid you cannot see the dog thinks you are trying to play?”

“Get him off me,” the man shouted in a voice growing higher in fright. “Someone will pay for this. Is he your beast?”

Determined to ignore him, she counted to ten, took a breath, and finally managed to release the gold bobble from the puppy’s sharp teeth. “There now.” Picking up the dog, she stroked its wiry fur. “Where is your master?”

Just then, two school-aged boys came running up. “Oh, miss. Thank you so much. We’ve been looking for Bennie all over. He got away from us.”

By this time Bennie was snapping at the ribbons of her bonnet. Dotty laughed as she tried to free them. “Here now, sir. Those are not for you either.” She saved the ribbons and handed the puppy to one of the boys.

“We’ll pay you for the damage, miss.”

“It’s no bother.” She smiled at both of them. “Use the money to buy a lead. That will keep Bennie from running away.”

“He’s only twelve weeks old,” the other boy said proudly. “We didn’t think he could run so fast.”

“Or so far,” added the other.

“Thank you,” they both said in unison.

Ah, well. Puppies would be puppies and boys would be boys. “Run along now, and keep Bennie out of trouble.”

“Wait just a minute,” the man with the tassels growled. “You owe me compensation. Your vicious beast ruined my boots.”

“Stuff and nonsense.” Dotty closed her eyes for a moment before fixing the man with a stern look. “It was entirely your fault. If you had acted like a sensible person and just picked the poor puppy up, your boots would not have suffered any damage.”

REVIEW: Miss Dorothea (Dotty) Stern, of Stern Manor, is mourning not being with her friend, Lady Charlotte Carpenter, for their first season. Dotty’s mother had an accident breaking her leg, and now Dotty has taken over her mother’s duties. These consist of overseeing her sisters, brothers, and caring for their tenants.

A letter arrives from Lord and Lady Worthington, inviting Dotty to join Charlotte in town for her season. Charlotte is Lady Worthington’s sister and Lord Worthington’s sister, Lady Louisa, will join the two young ladies for the season. She is to stay at Stanwood House, Berkley Square, in Mayfair. Dotty’s parents agree that she should go and enjoy her season so she quickly packs and departs with her maid.

Mattheus (Matt), the Earl of Worthington and his new wife, Grace, have combined their families. She has numerous siblings and he does as well. So, they all live together.

Dominic (Dom), the Marquis of Merton, age 27, was planning on staying at the Pulteney Hotel in London for the season until his mother, Eunice, the Marchioness of Merton, recently widowed by her second husband, decided to open their home, Merton House, and enjoy the season as well. He is happy that she will be there to act as his hostess. He knows that it is time to marry so he must now concentrate on finding a bride. His mother is also hoping that he will begin a search for a bride.

After Dom’s father died, his uncle Matt Worthington, brought him up to be true to his title thus leaving him rather emotionless and with a reputation for being stuffy. Matt still tries to boss him around which irritates Dom no end.

When Dotty and Dom meet, he is enchanted with her looks, grace, and personality. Their attraction to one another grows and they enjoying spending time with one another at balls or on carriage rides. However, Dotty is just the daughter of a Squire and Dom is a Marquis. Will Dom be brave enough to break away and marry Dotty or will his domineering uncle put a stop to it?

This book started out well, but as I got into it, there seemed to be lots of characters injected into the story and I couldn’t figure out where they came from. That and Dorothea being called Dotty by one person and Thea by another made no sense at all.

I have truly enjoyed this author’s novels in the past and was eagerly anticipating reading this one. Unfortunately, it was just too confusing to enjoy.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

MINI REVIEW: Another great romance from Ms. Quinn. I especially liked the pace of the romance. The author took time in introducing us to the characters and slowly developed romance between the two. It actually made the steamy scenes that finally happened even more poignant and relevant.

I love it when all the elements in a romance coalesce and when two people that are different as night and day, come to a conclusion that it’s exactly those differences that are pulling them together.

I really enjoyed this read and hope you will too.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

ella quinnAUTHOR BIO: Bestselling author Ella Quinn’s studies and other jobs have always been on the serious side. Reading historical romances, especially Regencies, were her escape. Eventually her love of historical novels led her to start writing them. She has just finished her first series, The Marriage Game, and her new series will start in April 2016.

She is married to her wonderful husband of over thirty years. They have a son and granddaughter, one cat and a dog. After living in the South Pacific, Central America, North Africa, England and Europe, she and her husband decided to make their dreams come true and are now living on a sailboat cruising the Caribbean and North America.

She loves having readers connect with her.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads

‘Whispers on the Wind’ by Caroline Fyffe

wotw cfSTORY: Wyoming Territory, October 1883

Tabitha Canterbury came to Logan Meadows with one goal: to open the bookshop she’s always dreamed of having. In a town full of illiterate cowboys, though, making the Storybook Lodge a success is easier said than done. And things get more complicated when the saloon next door gets a new co-owner and Tabitha finds herself falling for the wrong sort of man.…

After a lifetime guiding settlers across the prairie, Hunter Wade isn’t looking to stay put in Logan Meadows. But as a partner in the Bright Nugget saloon, he’s determined to turn a profit—and if that puts him in competition with Miss Hoity-Toity Canterbury, that’s fine. Even if she is beautiful, and clever, and always ready with a witty retort.

Can these two stubborn souls come together—or will pride keep them apart?

REVIEW: When it come to western romance, there are only a handful of authors that I completely trust, and Caroline Fyffe is right at the top of that list.

She manages to create stories that easily capture my imagination from that proverbial first page, all the way to the last. The hero’s she creates are men of honor and strength, yet vulnerable and flawed. This perfectly describes a hero in this novel, Hunter Wade, a drifter who is pondering if it’s time to put down roots in this town. It all depends on how his news will be received by the town folks and especially the owner of Bright Nugget saloon.

Tabitha is one of those smart-ass heroines that knows exactly who she is and what she wants out of life. Or at least she did before our hero steps in her way.

 is her own woman. Leaving all she ever knew, she headed west with nothing but her dreams of owning her own bookstore. And she founds those dreams in Logan Meadows. Known as the town spinster at the age of almost 29, she has her home and her business, not to mention countless friends to make her happy. Life is good. And then Hunter rode into town.

This romance had a lot to overcome and the way to their happily ever after wasn’t without trouble. It’s those topsy turvy situations that were fun to witness and it made me appreciate their happy ending even more. 

Seriously, if you’ve never read this author, I highly recommend you start. And if you have Kindle Unlimited, her books are free! Now go get ’em, pardner!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘West Winds of Wyoming’ by Caroline Fyffe

wwow cfSTORY: When widower Charlie Rose shows up looking for work at the struggling Cotton Ranch, no one knows he’s secretly trying to outrun trouble—and he intends to keep it that way. He wants to start over fresh in the small town of Logan Meadows, where his blind daughter can grow up safe…and where danger can’t find him.

Feisty and independent, Nell Page is determined to protect the Cotton Ranch, despite threats from the bank…and the mysterious stranger lurking on the ranch’s borders. In spite of her better judgment, Nell instantly feels drawn to handsome, dependable Charlie. The more they ride together through the beautiful Wyoming mountains and plains, the more their feelings grow into a love that could be strong enough to last forever. But will Charlie’s past catch up with him and dash their hopes for a future together?

REVIEW: This past week I’ve been on a Caroline Fyffe kick and it looked like I’ve missed on some of the books that have already been out for couple of years, and it was time I caught up with those folks in Logan Meadows.

Once more I find myself immersed in these people’s lives and thanks to Ms. Fyffe’s excellent writing skills I may as well be their neighbor. That’s how real her setting and  her characters are to me. By now, I know them well and I’m always looking forward meeting new arrivals, in this case Charlie, and catching up to residents, such as our heroine, Nell.

With a well developed plot and steady pace, I thoroughly enjoyed this romance and highly recommend you read it.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary Copy provided by the publisher

‘The Governess Club: Bonnie’ by Ellie Macdonald

tgcb emSTORY: Miss Bonnie Hodges, governess to the Darrow family, is desperately trying to hold it together. Tragedy has struck, and she is the sole person left to be strong for the two little boys in her care. When the new guardian arrives, she hopes that things will get better. She wasn’t expecting her new employer to be the most frustrating, overbearing, and…handsome man she’s ever seen.

Sir Stephen Montgomery is utterly distracted. He should be trying to figure out how his two best friends were killed in a suspicious accident and why the new young viscount seems destined to be the next victim. But he can’t concentrate on anything but his growing infatuation with the beautiful, mysterious, and utterly captivating governess.

Together they’re doing their best to save the two boys, but will Stephen’s feelings for Bonnie get in the way of their search for a killer?

REVIEW: I’m not sure why both the first and second story in this series were presented to us as short novellas. I think if they were combined, it would have been a better presentation.

In any case, the second story was good, but it lacked focus on the main characters, yet I still found it interesting and entertaining. I also thought the plot intriguing, and the fast pace contributed to my over all enjoyment.

Since this author is new to me and so far I’ve only experienced her voice in only short stories, I’m looking forward to reading the next two books in this series as both of those stories will be full books and not novellas.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘The Governess Club: Claire’ by Ellie Macdonald

tgcc emSTORY: Claire Bannister just wants to be a good teacher so that she and the other ladies of the Governess Club can make enough money to leave their jobs and start their own school in the country. But when the new sinfully handsome and utterly distracting tutor arrives, Claire finds herself caught up in a whirlwind romance that could change the course of her future.

Jacob Knightly has a secret. He is actually the notorious Earl of Rimmel. He’s just posing as a tutor to escape his reputation in the city. He never expected to fall in love with the kind and beautiful governess. She is the first person to love him for himself and not his title.

But when Jacob’s true identity is revealed, Claire realizes she has risked her reputation and her heart on a man she doesn’t truly know. Will Jacob be able to convince her that the Wild Earl has been tamed and that she is the true countess of his heart?

REVIEW: If you have couple of hours of free time and would like to sample a new author, this short [192 pages long] story might be for you. However, be warned! This is a debut for this author and if you’re a stickler [I’m not!] for historical accuracy, author’s lack of research might put you off.

I actually thought it wasn’t that bad. Because of the length, the author had to condense not just the plot but the characterization too. I wish she’d at least given us a better, more rounded characterization, so that I had a better feel for the couple.

I’m giving this series a go and hoping that as I delve deeper into it, the author will have grown with each story …

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘The Cinderella Governess’ by Georgie Lee

tcg glSTORY: Once upon a time… 

Joanna Radcliff has always dreamed of the day when she’d become a governess and finally be part of a proper family. Except, instead of a warm welcome, she’s given a frosty reception by her employers—and her charges! The only person who pays her any attention is the dashing Major Preston…

Despite their stolen conversations and tantalizing glances in the ballroom, Luke and Joanna know that their stations in life are just too different. But when this Cinderella governess’s life is transformed and their roles are reversed, will they risk everything to be together?

REVIEW: Madame Dubois’s School for Young Ladies is where friends Joanna, Rachel, Isabel, and Grace are students. After much training, the are finally taking positions as governesses.

Joanna Radcliff left first to work at Huntford Place in Hertfordshire. There she is in charge of 4 girls. They are ill-behaved and treat her with contempt. Her room is sparse and always cold. In addition, the parents are not friendly and tend to ignore her.

Joanna had been a foundling left on the doorstep at Madame Dubois’s School so she does not know who her parents were.

Luke, Major Preston, has just returned to Mayfair from France and duty with the Army. He is anxious to see his finance Diana Tomalin. Under orders from his family to marry and produce an heir, he is intent on doing that so that he can return to his regiment. He is the second son of the Earl of Ingham. However, he finds that during his 5-year absence, his fiancee, Diana has married an older, wealthy man and is expecting a baby.

Luke is also tasked with bringing his family home in Hertfordshire back to prosperity, but he needs to marry a wealthy woman to achieve this end. He plans to visit his sister in Hertfordshire. Upon arrival, he agrees to attend a ball. There, he notices Joanna in the background keeping watch over her charges. One of her charges, Frances, is determined to ruin herself, but Luke and Joanna manage to intercept her before any damage is done.

There is a definite attraction between Luke and Joanna, but neither of them has the money for a union between them to be successful. But when Joanna meets the local vicar, some pieces of the puzzle of her background begin to fall into place.

This book did not appeal to me. The events did not seem to flow well which left me confused about some of the characters. I do want to read other books by this author and hope to find them more appealing.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b