‘Outrageous Confessions of Lady Deborah’ by Marguerite Kaye

ocold mkSTORY: Just who is Lady Deborah?

I am the Dowager Countess of Kinsail, and I have enough secrets to scandalize you for life.

I will never reveal the truth of my soul-destroying marriage—some things are too dark to be told. But at least no one can guess that I, a famously icy-hearted widow, am also the authoress of the shamelessly voluptuous romances currently shocking the ton!

Only now I have a new secret identity, one that I will risk my life to keep—accomplice to Elliot Marchmont, gentleman, ex-soldier and notorious London thief. This adventurer’s expert touch ignites in me a passion so intoxicating that surviving our blistering affair unscathed will be near impossible….

REVIEW: Lady Deborah Napier, the Dowager Countess of Kinsail, has chosen to live a quiet and solitary life in the years since the early death of her husband. The miserly funds given to her from her late husband’s brother are barely enough to keep her. Thus for some time, she has been using her enormous writing talents by penning erotic novels under an assumed name that have been huge sellers especially to matrons and even some men. The novels allow her to release her suppressed sexual fantasies squelched by the coldness and cruelty of her late husband. However, the scars from the mental abuse and degradation inflicted upon her over the years by her late husband are many and run deep leaving her convinced she is worthless as a woman.

Elliot Marchmont, a well-to-do gentleman had been a solider who had witnessed many deaths and severe wounds of his fellow soldiers. His disgust at the mistreatment and abandonment of wounded soldiers has led him to become a skilled thief robbing the very people responsible for the disgusting neglect of these men who have so bravely served their country.

Due to her sleeping difficulties during her annual visits to her late husband’s home, Deborah likes to take late night walks around the grounds. She happens upon Elliot escaping a robbery. Her lack of fear of him and her humor intrigues him. As she was so impressed by Elliot’s successful robbery, Deborah decides to add a fictitious robbery to the novel she is currently writing. Her editor is so impressed with this additions that he tells her she must add even more of these types of events to guarantee that the book will be a huge seller. She contacts Elliot to try and convince him to take her on a robbery with him. While they are both drawn to one another sexually, Deborah will not allow herself to give into her attraction to him. He finally complies with her request to accompany him and they undertake a successful robbery that leaves her feeling invigorated and alive. Thus, with changes to the details of the robbery they commit, she adds more fodder to her novel thus ensuring it will be accepted by her editor and guaranteed to sell many copies.

Elliot is unable to stop thinking of Deborah nor she of him. Thus, he contrives a way to enlist her help with writing about the mistreatment and abandonment of wounded soldiers to bring attention to the situation. With this project for them to undertake, they grow closer and Deborah begins to relax more with Elliot. Finally, the shocking reason for her late husband’s treatment of her is finally revealed which allows Deborah to realize she is not at fault for the treatment inflicted upon her during her sad marriage.

Marguerite Kaye has written a delicious and sexually exciting novel chock full of nail biting, edge-of-the-seat intrigue that will have the reader unable to put the book down as they have to see what happens in the next chapter. The sensitive way Ms. Kaye portrays the mental damage incurred by Deborah and the patience and gentleness with which Elliot helps her to work through and understand the reasons for her late husband’s treatment of her is very touching indeed.

Connie for b2b

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‘Babyville’ by Jane Green

b jgSTORY: Meet Julia, a wildly successful television producer who appears to have the picture-perfect life. But beneath the surface, things are not as perfect as they seem. Stuck in a loveless relationship with her boyfriend, Mark, Julia thinks a baby is the answer . . . but she may want a baby more than she wants her boyfriend. Will a trip to New York City with a jet-setting friend—and all the glittering energy and eligible men the city brings—help her discover what she really needs?

Maeve, on the other hand, is allergic to commitment. A feisty, red-haired, high-power career girl, she cherishes her ability to do just as she pleases and breaks out in a rash every time she passes a stroller. But when her no-strings-attached nightlife leads to an unexpected pregnancy, her reaction may be just as unexpected.And then there’s Samantha—happily married and eager to be the perfect June Cleaveresque mother. But baby George brings only exhaustion, extra pounds, and marital strife to her once tidy life. Is having an affair with a friend’s incredibly sexy husband the answer?

REVIEW: Julia wants a baby desperately and is unable to conceive. She focuses so hard on becoming pregnant to the point that she drives her boyfriend away.

Maeve almost breaks out in a rash at the thought of being a mother. However, a night of – oops – unprotected sex changes all of that for her. At first, she tries to convince herself that she couldn’t possibly be pregnant and tries to ignore the whole thing. Then, she is determined to have an abortion yet keeps putting it off until it’s too late.

Samantha wants the perfect life of wife and mother. However, motherhood is not a bed of roses for her. (Is it ever?) While she loves her baby, reality rears its ugly head in the form of exhaustion and extra weight for her.

The book switches back and forth among these three main characters. We see how they become intertwined in one another’s lives.

Jane Green has done an amazing job of knitting these characters together and writing a fabulous novel. It will make you laugh, cry and, most of all, think.

Connie for b2b

‘Where We Belong’ by Emily Giffin

wwb egSTORY: The author of five blockbuster novels, Emily Giffin, delivers an unforgettable story of two women, the families that make them who they are, and the longing, loyalty and love that binds them together

Marian Caldwell is a thirty-six year old television producer, living her dream in New York City. With a fulfilling career and satisfying relationship, she has convinced everyone, including herself, that her life is just as she wants it to be. But one night, Marian answers a knock on the door . . . only to find Kirby Rose, an eighteen-year-old girl with a key to a past that Marian thought she had sealed off forever. From the moment Kirby appears on her doorstep, Marian’s perfectly constructed world—and her very identity—will be shaken to its core, resurrecting ghosts and memories of a passionate young love affair that threaten everything that has come to define her.

For the precocious and determined Kirby, the encounter will spur a process of discovery that ushers her across the threshold of adulthood, forcing her to re-evaluate her family and future in a wise and bittersweet light. As the two women embark on a journey to find the one thing missing in their lives, each will come to recognize that where we belong is often where we least expect to find ourselves—a place that we may have willed ourselves to forget, but that the heart remembers forever.

REVIEW: Marian and Conrad are two young teenagers just getting to know one another. Marian is a shy girl and she and Conrad have sex. She is a virgin and since they used protection, Marian is shocked when she is late. She takes a pregnancy test which comes up positive. Not wanting Conrad to feel obligated to her, she lies to him telling him the test is negative and then proceeds to break up with him. Confiding in her mother only, Marian at first considers abortion but backs out at the last minute. She then chooses to go away for the duration of her pregnancy and gives her baby girl up for adoption. It breaks Marian’s heart to do so, however, she know she wants the best for her child and confidently gives her to a family who have prayed for a child for a long time and will love her and give her a wonderful home.

Fast forward 18 years and we meet the young girl, Kirby, who although she loves her adoptive parents, wants to find and meet her birth mother. She is given the information from the adoption agency and travels to meet Marian, who is a television producer living in New York City. Marion’s life has been successful and she is dating Peter, the CEO of the television company she works for. Theirs is a somewhat tenuous relationship with Marian wanting to get married and have a child and Peter who is not really ready for that. The reunion between Marian and Kirby is a bit rocky in that Marian lives a rather well-to-do life and Kirby’s life has been with her middle class family. However, they do enjoy one another and plan to keep in touch.

We follow Kirby as she finishes her last months of high school but is undecided about going to college. She and Marian decide to look up Conrad, the birth father. Conrad and Kirby bond well and find a mutual love of music but Conrad is furious at Marian for lying to him and not letting him know of Kirby’s existence. Marian feels extremely bad about lying to him but also finds herself drawn to him.

Do Marian and Peter end up together? Do Marian and Conrad stand a chance at life together?

Emily Giffin has penned yet another of her novels that gets right into life with characters so real you feel as though you’ve met them before. Her endings are always a surprise which makes the reader not want to put the novel down. I really enjoyed reading this and hope others will do the same.

Connie for b2b

‘Staircase to the Moon’ by Elizabeth Haran

sttm ehSTORY: Perth, Western Australia, 1913:

When her conservative family tries to force Emily into an arranged marriage with a much older, wealthy man, she decides to take destiny into her own hands and escape her strict father and overbearing brothers.

She embarks on a ship to North-Western Australia to take up employment as a private seamstress for a large and rich farming family, who welcome her with open arms. Surrounded by the breathtakingly beautiful and remote landscapes of the Kimberly region, Emily starts to believe that happiness and love really are possible in her new life.

But storm clouds are gathering, and as the men of Kimberley march off to war in Europe, Emily must step up to prove herself against all the odds. And that’s when things start to turn out different than she ever could have imagined…

REVIEW: Australia – 1913

Emily Scott, age 22, works in her father’s tailor shop in Perth. Stifled by her strict father and 3 overbearing brothers, Emily feels positively suffocated. Her mother passed away when Emily was just 8, leaving her surrounded by all males. Her father’s brother, Freddy, came to live with them after her mother passed. He is a fun man who manages to keep the house going and everyone well fed.

Her father and brothers think she should marry and introduce her to a repulsive older man who wants to marry her. She is so disgusted by him that she decides to take a drastic step to escape this fate. Unbeknownst to her family, she accepts a position as a seamstress in a remove area.

As she is waiting for the train to depart from her hometown, she meets an older woman, Annie, who befriends her and accompanies her on part of the trip. We follow Emily and the adventures of her trip aboard ship. She meets so many interesting people, including a very cranky Chinese man who has just been hired as the cook at the same estate where Emily is heading. After a long and exhausting trip, she is delighted to find a beautiful home and enormous estate owned by the McBride family, including their son and 3 daughters for whom she will sew. Everyone is so nice and they welcome her graciously.

When World War I breaks out, many of the men decide to join up leaving the women to keep the home front going. The difficulties they face with massive rains and droughts, places a huge burden on them all. The women step up and take on jobs that they never thought they could do.

The story includes all of the family members and those who work for them. There is happiness, sadness, fear, humor, and love.

This was a wonderful, wonderful saga. Those who live in Australia or have never visited will be fascinated by the descriptions of the country itself and the people that live there. This is one of those books that deserves more than the five stars I awarded it.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

‘The Duke’s Accidental Wife’ by Erica Ridley

tdaw erSTORY: Miss Katherine Ross is a wealthy, eccentric socialite who knows precisely what she wants: No husband. No children. No candlelit tête-à-tête with the insufferably emotionless Duke of Ravenwood. She’s convinced his heart is ice — until she touches that chiseled chest for herself. One lapse in judgment is all it takes to turn both their lives topsy-turvy…

The Duke of Ravenwood isn’t cold and haughty, but a secret romantic who has always dreamt of marrying for love. Instead, he gets Miss Katherine Ross — a headstrong hoyden intent on unraveling his carefully ordered world. He doesn’t know whether to kiss her or throttle her. Can they survive each other’s company long enough to turn a compromise into love?

REVIEW: London – 1816

Lawrence Pembroke, the Duke of Ravenwood, age 28, does not care for parties, dancing, excessive drinking, and people who fritter life away. He also dislikes the way time gets wasted in The House of Lords when the discussions get side-tracked to gossip. He takes his responsibilities in Parliament quite seriously and gets frustrated with those who don’t.

Ravenwood’s sister, Lady Amelia, is married to Lord Sheffield. Ravenwood and Amelia’s parents passed away when they were children. For Ravenwood, inheriting the Dukedom at such an early age has meant total dedication to the position and has resulted in him not being allowed to fight Napoleon with his friends, such as Bartholomew Blackpool, who had fought in the war but returned injured.

So, when Amelia invites Ravenwood to a dinner which includes his friend, he is quite irritated to that she has also invited the infamous Miss Katherine Ross, age 20. A cousin to the Duke of Lambly, Katherine is rich young woman who lives life doing as she wishes, often thumbing her nose at society. Her elderly aunt lives with her and is her best friend. Katherine worries about her because she is beginning to show signs of dementia. When Katherine was young, through her parents, she learned of numerous mothers and their infants who died in childbirth. This has led Katherine to promise herself to never marry and have children because she doesn’t want that to happen to her.

During the dinner, Amelia is quite obvious that she is trying to match Ravenwood and Katherine up. Irritated at this, Ravenwood reluctantly agrees to attend an art auction for charity sponsored by Katherine, knowing that his very presence will ensure a large attendance. After that, he hopes to never see her again. But when at the auction a chance encounter between Katherine and Ravenwood in a back room is discovered as an assignation, Duke Lambley insists that Ravenwood and Katherine become betrothed.

What kind of marriage will they have? This staid man and lively woman seem destined to clash.

This is a completely delightful novel and I loved it. The characters are perfectly written and I know that readers will fall in love with Katherine and Ravenwood.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

‘The Mad Earl’s Bride’ by Loretta Chase

tmeb lcSTORY: Gwendolyn Adams is about to propose to an earl. On his deathbed.

Gwendolyn Adams isn’t shocked at being asked to save a handsome earl’s dying line, even when she learns the prospective bridegroom is seriously ill and possibly insane. She’s quite a good nurse, after all, and her family is famous for producing healthy male children. Those stories about his riding the moors half-naked on a pale white horse? Extremely intriguing—especially after she gets her first look at the gorgeous lunatic.

The Earl of Rawnsley wants only to lose what’s left of his mind in peace and privacy. But his busybody relatives have saddled him with a surprise bride and orders to sire an heir forthwith. (And they say he’s mad?) But with Gwendolyn, his health is returning, and his resistance … crumbling. Is it possible that love is the finest madness of all?

REVIEW: This little gem of a novella comes in between of ‘Lord of Scoundrels’ and ‘The Last Hellion’ and since both of those are one of my all time LC’s favorites, I must say this has just joined those two.

Everything in this novella worked to perfection. I can’t tell you how much I loved the heroine. She had enough strength without being overbearing, and such compassion and sweetness, I just couldn’t help but love her.

The hero was just as noble as you’d expect him to be, but also someone you felt the compassion for.

The plot was totally unexpected and worked so well within the romance, it touched me deeply because it hit too close to home.

If you’ve never read LC before, you may as well start with this one!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘My Favorite Bride’ by Christina Dodd

mfb cdSTORY: When Miss Samantha Prendregast arrives at Devil’s Fell to take charge of six rebellious girls, the vibrant, outspoken governess is not quite prepared to deal with the tall, dark and dashing master of the grand estate. The children she can manage with intelligence, guile . . . and a little bribery. Their widowed father, Colonel William Gregory, is not so easily charmed — a When Miss Samantha Prendregast arrives at Devil’s Fell to take charge of six rebellious girls, the vibrant, outspoken governess is not quite prepared to deal with the tall, dark and dashing master of the grand estate. The children she can manage with intelligence, guile . . . and a little bribery. Their widowed father, Colonel William Gregory, is not so easily charmed — and far too easy to fall in love with, which she dares not do.

William always cherished the orderliness of his life, until this captivating troublemaker began flouting his authority and distracting him with her witty defiance and breathtaking beauty. Despite the fact that they clash at every meeting, William finds himself inexplicably drawn to Samantha’s fire. And now he’s even contemplating marriage, which would be sweet madness indeed.

But before he can successfully woo her, William must discover what it is that Samantha is hiding from him. But the secret the lady is preciously guarding is far too shocking and dangerous to ever reveal.

REVIEW: Admittedly, I was in the mood for a “governess book” and “My Favorite Bride” certainly did not disappoint.

Samantha, a former and reformed pickpocket, is sent from the Academy of Governesses to care for six little girls. As there had been many predecessors before her, she found she would have a big job in handling these mischievous children.

Their father, a widowed Colonel wanted his life and his children to be well-ordered. The antics of the children; attraction between Samantha and the Colonel; and a dangerous mission in which they become involved all knit together for a delightful read sprinkled with bits of humor.

Connie for b2b