‘What a Wallflower Wants’ by Maya Rodale

waww-mrSTORY: Miss Prudence Merryweather Payton has a secret.

Everyone knows that she’s the only graduate from her finishing school to remain unwed on her fourth season—but no one knows why. With her romantic illusions shattered after being compromised against her will, Prudence accepts a proposal even though her betrothed is not exactly a knight in shining armor. When he cowardly pushes her out of their stagecoach to divert a highwayman, she vows never to trust another man again.

John Roark, Viscount Castleton, is nobody’s hero.

He’s a blue-eyed charmer with a mysterious past and ambitious plans for his future—that do not include a wife. When he finds himself stranded at a country inn with a captivating young woman, a delicate dance of seduction ensues. He knows he should keep his distance. And he definitely shouldn’t start falling in love with her.

When Prudence’s dark past comes back to haunt her, John must protect her—even though he risks revealing his own secrets that could destroy his future.

REVIEW: This is the third book in this series and in my opinion the best book so far in this series. The reason for it are the two leads and their collective heartbreaking and heartwarming backstories. The author did an outstanding job handling really heavy subject, while adding some humor throughout the story.

If you love complex characters, these two are it. Both have a need to get rid of some past baggage in order to surrender to the love they both feel and deserve.

The plot “thickened” as the story progressed and kept me in constant state of anticipation of the end result.

Great story with some angst and suspense. Well worth the read!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

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‘Lady Lost’ by Jane Goodger

ll-jgSTORY: Seek, and love will find…

All Marcus Granton wants is to be left alone to lick his wounds after the humiliating scandal of his wife’s death in another man’s bed. Secluded in his moldering seaside estate on the cliffs of the Black Sea, he suddenly finds himself host to Lady Lilian Martin, one small child, and an annoying cache of servants all bent on ruining his solitude. Seems the lady got herself into a bit of a pickle and is accused of murder, of all things. Now she must rely on him for protection—and to keep his thoughts and hands away from her delectable body.

Lilian has no intention of spending any more time with the insufferable Lord Marcus Granton than she has to. But at every turn, circumstances force her into his company, and by the time she truly makes her escape, it’s far too late for her…and her heart.

REVIEW: Miss Lilian Martin, age 18, is the daughter of a deceased Earl and her mother is a Countess. She is attending the Barrington summer party along with her mother and her younger sister, Theresa. It is the end of her first season and the girls and their mother are preparing to return to their rundown manor home in Cornwall.

The Duke of Weston appears to have set his cap for Lilian but she does not care for him at all. Sadly, her mother is not well and she knows she will probably die soon. Her mother’s wish is that Lilian find a husband to care for herself and her sister. The girls will have a substantial inheritance from their grandmother when they turn 25, but that is a number of years away.

But Lilian sees a man who makes her swoon. He is Marcus (Marc) Dunford, Lord Granton but – oh dear – he is married.

The Duke tries to charm Theresa to impress Lilian but when she catches him acting inappropriately toward Theresa, she is shocked. However, the Duke marries Theresa and after the girls’ mother dies, Lilian has no choice but to live with Theresa and her husband.

When the Duke ends up shot, Lilian is the murder suspect, so she flees with just the clothes on her back.

Marc Dunford is now a widower. His wife, Eleanor, had cheated on him numerous times and died in another man’s bed. As he is returning from a trip, his driver happens upon a woman in the road and accidentally hits her. Putting the unconscious woman in his carriage, he takes her to his home, Merdunoir. The woman is Lilian.

The following morning, a woman presents herself at Marc’s door with a little girl saying the chid is his. It turns out that the child’s parents were his wife and one of her lovers. Her name is Mabel and Marc agrees to keep her as legally she is his child.

Mabel and Lilian become friends. While Marc is a sullen man and doesn’t like people around him, he finds himself challenged with a little girl and a cheerful woman in his home.

What will this grouchy man do now?

This story is delightful. While I wanted to shake Marc, I found that the author created the perfect character in Lilian. What a woman she is. Come enjoy this sweet story. Well done, Jane Goodger.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

‘The Advent of Lady Madeline’ by Pamela Sherwood

taolm-psSTORY: Responsible, level-headed, and invariably good-humored, Hugo Lowell, Viscount Saxby, has his plans for Christmas—and his future—all mapped out. Until a surprise invitation lands him at the country estate of Harold Lyons, the rich and powerful Duke of Whitborough.

Drawn into his host’s charming, often contentious family circle, Hugo finds himself matching wits and words with the Duke’s eldest daughter, Lady Madeline. Striking, clever, and as sharp-tongued as she is sharp-witted, Madeline is the polar opposite of the placid, proper beauty Hugo intends to marry. So why can’t he get her out of his mind? And how is it that she can persuade him to attempt things he’s never tried before? As Advent yields to Christmas, Hugo’s future becomes far less predictable…and infinitely more exciting.

REVIEW: Buckinghamshire, December 1879

Hugo Lowell, Viscount Saxby is being begged by his sister, Charlotte (Charley) to attend a house party at the Whitboroughs. As she is expecting a baby, she will not be able to go. However, she wants Hugo to go with her husband, Robert Branscome, as she is especially keen for have her husband get some investment advice from Whitborough as his head for good business has earned him the nickname, “The Golden Duke.” In addition Hugo and Charley’s younger brother, Wilf, has been invited as a guest of Lord Dunforth, Whitborough’s son. Thus, Hugo is also needed to help keep an eye on his brother. Hugo also plans after this house party to go to Earl Clement’s for Christmas as he pursues Lady Althea Clement. Charley is secretly hoping that Hugo marries someone with a more lively spirit than what Althea possesses.

Danforth Castle, Yorkshire – December 1879

Lady Madeline (Maddie) Lyons, age 23, is dressed to attend her family’s house party. Her younger sister, Elaine age 16, is anxious to be out of the schoolroom so she can attend more parties. Maddie is determined to try and find a husband even though she has already turned down other proposals.

As the party commences, Maddie and Hugo find they have a lot in common. They decide to put on a Shakespeare play especially since the weather has turned rainy. Much work and practice is put into the play which turns out to be quite a success. As they spend more time together, a spark is ignited that turns into love for them.

But what about Lady Althea Clement? She is expecting Hugo at her family’s home for Christmas.

This book started off with a promising story then became all about the Shakespeare play. That is when I totally lost interest in the book but forced myself to finish it.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

‘Wallflower Gone Wild’ by Maya Rodale

wgw mrSTORY: Being good has worked out very badly for Lady Olivia Archer. All she has to show for four seasons on the marriage mart is the nickname Prissy Missy. Her prospects are so bleak that her parents have betrothed her to a stranger with a dire reputation. If Phinneas Cole—aka The Mad Baron—wants a biddable bride, perhaps Olivia can frighten him off by breaking every ladylike rule.

Phinn has admired Olivia’s poise and refinement from afar…qualities that appear to have vanished now that they are officially engaged. This Olivia is flirtatious, provocative, and wickedly irresistible. She’s not at all the woman he bargained for, yet she’s the only one he wants.

He’s determined to woo her. She’s determined to resist. But Olivia is discovering there’s nothing so appealing as a fiancé who’s mad, bad, and dangerously seductive…

REVIEW: ‘Wallflower Gone Wild’, a second in the Bad Boys and Wallflower series, was fun but not as much as the first story in this series. It was almost as entertaining and charming but the heroine left me wanting.

The hero was fine, yet he did and said a few things that made me question his love for the heroine.

All in all, not bad and I do recommend it to all of you that have read the first story in this series. The author continues with the lighthearted and entertaining bent to this series.

Melanie for bb

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘A Rogue to Avoid’ by Bianca Blythe

arta-bbSTORY: A Scottish scoundrel…
Gerard Highgate, Marquess of Rockport and the ton’s most aloof rake, knows better than to wed an Englishwoman, especially one as prickly as Lady Cordelia. But when his mother dies and he finds himself saddled with her debts, he needs a wife and he needs one fast.

An exacting Englishwoman…
Lady Cordelia knows that hastiness in husband hunting leads to mistakes. But when she visits an aristocrat to warn that his life might be in danger, he misinterprets her suggestion to flee to Scotland.

An unexpected elopement…
Most elopements are born of love, not misunderstanding. Cordelia and Gerard have already broken that rule, but perhaps they can still make their marriage one of love.

REVIEW: 1816

Gerard Highgate Marquess of Rockport of Scotland, is incensed to find himself listed as one of the Top Ten Rogues to Adore as published in the periodical, “Matchmaking for Wallflowers.” As he is a man who enjoys his privacy and his single life, he responds to them with disdain only to be further taunted by them. In retaliation, Gerard replies that he knows that Lady Cordelia Haywood, daughter of the Duke of Belmont, writes for this “anonymous” periodical. He continues by extolling her deficiencies which causes Lady Cordelia to be removed from the group of contributors and Gerard to be removed from the Rogues to Adore list as he is now considered to be one to avoid.

Yorkshire – 1817

Lady Cordelia Haywood is attending a ball where she is finding hard despite her beauty, no one is asking her to dance She then realizes that some of the men, and even the wallflowers, are talking about her! It appears that she too has become a wallflower.

Gerard Highgate is enjoying an early evening ride through the park when he is rudely interrupted by Huxby Oggleton saying he owes money. It appears that his late mother had run up many bills and that money is owed to the Duke of Belmonte, the father of Lady Cordelia whom he had besmirched. Oggleton is a mean man who would harm Gerard. Fleeing from the man, Gerard runs into a home where a ball is going on. To hide rom the man after him, he grabs up Lady Cordelia to dance with her. When they realize whom the other is, they are not impressed.

Gerard is determined to get his mother’s debts paid off right away. As he has exhausted every other idea to raise the funds, he realizes he will just have to marry a wealthy woman and the best way is to choose a wallflower. When Lady Cordelia Belmonte comes to mind, he is at first adamently opposed to the idea, but concedes that he has no other choice and thinks that theirs could be a marriage of convenience. Little does he think that she will turn him down.

Is there a chance for two people who are so opposed to one another to be wed? Will Gerard find a way to pay off his mother’s debts, and why does Lady Cordelia’s father own his mother’s debts?

A clever story that gets a bit complicated at times but enjoyable nevertheless. I’m sure if I had read the other books in the series, I would understand the characters more.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

‘The Reluctant Earl’ by Joan Wolf

tre-jwSTORY: The Reluctant Earl is the story of Claire and Simon, who desperately want to get married despite all the obstacles that stand in their way. Their biggest hurdle is the fact that Simon is the son and heir of the Earl of Welbourne, while Claire is the daughter of the earl’s Irish horse trainer. The youngsters are keenly aware that their parents would violently oppose such an unequal union – which is precisely why they never confide in those parents.

Then there is Simon’s father, who, for reasons Simon has never understood, clearly hates his son. Then there is the mystery of Simon’s mother’s death, and the fact that he has never met a single member of her family. Then a miracle happens – Simon learns about a trust fund left to him in his mother’s marriage settlement.

Once the money is in his pocket, Simon and Claire decide to elope; and the simmering pot that is Welbourne Abbey and its inhabitants explodes.

REVIEW: The Earl of Welbourne of Welbourne Abbey, is looking for his son as he has skipped out of studies with his tutor. The staff covers for the lad which gets him away from his strict and mean father to enable him to spend time with the O’Rourke family.

Simon Radley, Lord Woodbridge, age 15, lost his mother when he was age 5 and has been told nothing about her or her family. His father remarried and they have a son. His father has never liked him and his stepmother does not care for him either. She is jealous that her son will not be the heir.

Liam O’Rourke runs the Welbourne Stud Farm. His daughter, Claire, age 14, is good friends with Simon. When he is home from school, they spend lots of time together working with and riding the horses.

Several years later as Simon leaves school, he is delighted to be back home with Claire. He does not want to go to Oxford as his father wants. He then remembers that he will have some money from his mother’s estate when he turns 18. He prefers to use the money from his mother so he and Claire can get married. In addition, he is determined to find out more about his mother.

To help Simon, Liam questions the local squire, Tom Weston, about Simon’s mother. Her maiden name was Jarvis, perhaps from the famous Jarvis banking family and she was an heiress. Her father wanted her to marry into a titled family. It appears the Earl needed money, so that worked for them. Since the Earl himself never told Simon about his inheritance, he found out from someone else so it appears that the Earl was planning on keeping the money for himself.

Tom Weston suggests that Simon get an attorney who brings in Mr. Jarvis, Simon’s uncle whom he has never met nor known about. Mr. Jarvis tells Simon that the Earl would never let his wife’s family have any contact with Simon and the courts upheld his decision. The family was crushed. Simon’s inheritance is now 100,000 pounds. As Simon will not be of legal majority until age 21, his uncle will be his trustee until then.

What about Claire and Simon? Will they be able to get married as they wish? Will the families agree? If Simon’s father wants his inheritance, will he try to get it from him?

There is so much more to this story. There is some suspense and we find out lots of information about the past. This book is not to be missed. Come enjoy a good, clean story.

Complimentary copy provided by the author

Connie for b2b

Spotlight on Carla Kelly and ‘For This We Are Soldiers’!

for-this-we-are-soldiers-carla-kelly-blog-tour

ftwas-ckBOOK BLURB: From master storyteller Carla Kelly comes this collection of frontier tales that take you behind typical army lines and into the hearts of ordinary men and women who love deeply, suffer greatly, and fight bravely.

From handsome hospital stewards and dashing soldiers to courageous children and wives who will pull at your heartstrings, there’s something for everyone’s fancy.

BUY LINKS: Amazon / B&N / Kobo / Deseret Book / Books&Things /

TEASER:

“As I stood there peeking in the window, I had the most wonderful feeling of being surrounded by love, all kinds of love, and I wanted the moment to last forever.”

REVIEW: This book is a compilation of four previously published stories, plus two new ones. ‘Such Brave Men’, ‘Break a Leg‘, ‘A Season for Heroes’ and ‘Mary Murphy,’  have been published before, while ‘Take a Memo’ and ‘A Leader To His Troops’ are brand new.

As usual  Ms. Kelly gifts us with characters that are of working class, or in this case some sergeants and corporals of the U.S. Army as well as introducing us to some of the strongest women who’ve fought and survived the brutality of the frontier.

Carla’s love of history and attention to detail, as well as her meticulous research of army life in the 19th century America, will have you enjoy these stories to its fullest. They portray a time long past and people who needed integrity and grit in order to survive and thrive in the frontier.

But what I loved most about this book is that every story was touching and heartwarming, with a kernel of wisdom in each. I enjoyed following these characters as they learn to love in difficult times and army conditions.

Worth the read!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

ckAUTHOR BIO: Carla Kelly is a veteran of the New York and international publishing world. The author of more than thirty novels and novellas for Donald I. Fine Co., Signet, and Harlequin, Carla is the recipient of two Rita Awards (think Oscars for romance writing) from Romance Writers of America and two Spur Awards (think Oscars for western fiction) from Western Writers of America. She is also a recipient of a Whitney Award for “Borrowed Light,” “My Loving Vigil Keeping,” and “Softly Falling.”

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