‘Magnate’ by Joanna Shupe

m jsSTORY: New York City’s Gilded Age shimmers with unimaginable wealth and glittering power. The men of the Knickerbocker Club know this more than anyone else. But for one millionaire, the business of love is not what he expected…

Born in the slums of Five Points, Emmett Cavanaugh climbed his way to the top of a booming steel empire and now holds court in an opulent Fifth Avenue mansion. His rise in stations, however, has done little to elevate his taste in women. He loathes the city’s “high society” types, but a rebellious and beautiful blue-blood just might change all that.

Elizabeth Sloane’s mind is filled with more than the latest parlor room gossip. Lizzie can play the Stock Exchange as deftly as New York’s most accomplished brokers—but she needs a man to put her skills to use. Emmett reluctantly agrees when the stunning socialite asks him to back her trades and split the profits. But love and business make strange bedfellows, and as their fragile partnership begins to crack, they’ll discover a passion more frenzied than the trading room floor…

REVIEW: New York City – 1887

Elizabeth (Lizzie) Sloane, age 21, is meeting secretly with Emmett Cavanaugh, owner of East Coast Steel. A big and handsome man, he is a business acquaintance of her brother, William Sloane, owner of the Northeast Railroad Company, that he inherited from their father. Since she is a woman, William has never allowed Lizzie to get involved with the business. Lizzie is meeting with Emmett to tell him that she wants to open a stock brokerage firm and needs a partner who can back her financially and who is well-known enough to bring in clients. She shows him a ledger of her own stock trades she has made on paper over the last two years to prove her success. Impressed with her capabilities, he still turns her down. As she is so lovely and well bred, Emmett doesn’t feel she has what it takes to enter this dirty, cut-throat business. Secretly, Lizzie suspects that her family’s railroad business is not doing well and Emmett wonders the same thing. She finally convinces Emmett to back her for three weeks and promises to double his money. If she fails, she will give him some of her preferred railroad stock from her trust.

While Emmett is very wealthy, he is also considered to be socially beneath Lizzie. Growing up in a very bad part of town with no parental guidance or help, he was very poor and learned to fight for everything he could. Starting at the bottom, Emmett worked hard at the steel mill until he became injured. Using his settlement money from his injury, he invested it and within a few years had made enough money to buy the mill himself. Today, his shrewd investments have made him a multimillionaire. But few people know the accident that caused his injury was his own fault and also caused the death of two men. For this, he has never forgiven himself.

While Emmett is a hard-working, driven man, he loves and takes care of his half-brother, Brendan, a doctor, and his two half-sisters, Katie, age 13, and Claire, age 11.

In the eyes of society, Lizzie is considered to be engaged to Henry Rutlidge. However, he is just an old friend and she has no romantic feelings for him.

When Lizzie is caught by her brother having dinner with Emmett in a public restaurant, he goes into a rages and says she is ruined and that Emmett must now marry her. There is much hate between William and Emmett mostly due to their vast differences in social status. In this time period of the Gilded Age, social status is everything.

Lizzie and Emmett do marry but their marriage is fraught with many problems. Can they make a go of it? Will their ever be any harmony between the two families?

This is a magnificent story that I enjoyed it very much and would like to see it made into a mini-series.

This is Book 2 of the series The Knickerbocker Club
Book 1 is a novella called “Tycoon”
Book 3, entitled “Baron,” will be published in November 2016

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

‘Game of Crowns: Elizabeth, Camilla, Kate, and the Throne’ by Christopher Andersen

goc caSTORY: A moving and compulsively readable look into the lives, loves, relationships, and rivalries among the three women at the heart of the British royal family today: Queen Elizabeth II, Camilla Parker-Bowles, and Kate Middleton—from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Good Son, These Few Precious Days, and The Day Diana Died.

One has been famous longer than anyone on the planet—a dutiful daughter, a frustrated mother, a doting grandmother, a steel-willed taskmaster, a wily stateswoman, an enduring symbol of an institution that has lasted a thousand years, and a global icon who has not only been an eyewitness to history but a part of it.

One is the great-granddaughter of a King’s mistress and one of the most famous “other women” of the modern age—a woman who somehow survived a firestorm of scorn to ultimately marry the love of her life, and in the process replace her arch rival, one of the most beloved figures of the twentieth century.

One is a beautiful commoner, the university-educated daughter of a flight attendant-turned-millionaire entrepreneur, a fashion scion the equal of her adored mother-in-law, and the first woman since King George V’s wife, Queen Mary, to lay claim to being the daughter-in-law of one future king, the wife another, and the mother of yet another.

Game of Crowns is an in-depth and exquisitely researched exploration of the lives of these three remarkable women and the striking and sometimes subtle ways in which their lives intersect and intertwine. Examining their surprising similarities and stark differences, Andersen travels beyond the royal palace walls to illustrate who these three women really are today—and how they will directly reshape the landscape of the monarchy.

REVIEW: This book is broken down into eight chapters. It studies the different personalities of Queen Elizabeth, Camilla, and Kate, their popularity with the people, and their feelings about one another.

In one chapter, there is a scenario that describes what would happen when Queen Elizabeth passes away. The funeral procession and then on to crowning the next King.

The people prefer Prince William over Prince Charles by a large margin. Charles has a reputation for being stuffy and out of touch with the people over whom he would rule. William, on the other hand, brings his mother’s caring, people-oriented personality to the throne. He is exactly whom the people want to lead their country into the future. In addition, the people love Kate and her genuineness. She is so much like Diana and has gained great approval.

And then, there is Camilla. The book appears to be honest in the background of Camilla and her long-time relationship with Charles. The book explains the history of the courtship, marriage, and divorce of Charles and Diana and how her tragic death changed the country. Charles’s long-time affair with Camilla left them both with the villain stamp of disapproval. The Queen Mother detested Camilla and refused to ever meet her. It took a very long time for Queen Elizabeth to finally consent to meet her. She tried her best to break them apart, but Charles professed to love her and refused. Their marriage has made many people quite angry. Camilla has stayed somewhat in the background, but more and more she is trying to steal the spotlight – and the crown – away from Kate. Descriptions of her shenanigans certainly leave the reader detesting her. The thought of Camilla being Queen makes many people very angry.

The Queen has not actually said whether or not she would like to see Charles passed over in favor of William being King. However, it is thought that there might be some secret agreement that Charles, provides he lives long enough, would be King for only 15 years and then abdicate in favor of William.

It is believed that Australia and Canada have remained a part of the UK due to their devotion and respect for Queen Elizabeth. But certainly. should Charles become King, we would expect them, and others, to break away and become their own Republics. Time will tell what the future will be for the monarchy.

I really enjoyed this book which lays out the possibilities of how Charles and William will rule. I’m sure everyone will have a personal opinion on this and I urge readers to read the book and discover where their opinion falls.

Connie for b2b

‘Temptations of a Wallflower’ by Eva Leigh

toaw elSTORY: In society circles she’s known as the Watching Wallflower—shy, quiet, and certainly never scandalous. Yet beneath Lady Sarah Frampton’s demure façade hides the mind of The Lady of Dubious Quality, author of the most titillating erotic fiction the ton has ever seen. Sarah knows discovery would lead to her ruin, but marriage—to a vicar, no less—could help protect her from slander. An especially tempting option when the clergyman in question is the handsome, intriguing Jeremy Cleland.

Tasked with unmasking London’s most scandalous author by his powerful family, Jeremy has no idea that his beautiful, innocent bride is the very woman he seeks to destroy. His mission must remain a secret, even from the new wife who stirs his deepest longings. Yet when the truth comes to light, Sarah and Jeremy’s newfound love will be tested. Will Sarah’s secret identity tear them apart or will the temptations of his wallflower wife prove too wicked to resist?

REVIEW: London – 1816

Jeremy Cleland, age 28, is heading to stay at his family’s Mayfair mansion, Hutton House. A vicar for the parish of Rosemead, Jeremy is the third son of the Earl of Hutton whose main home is in Hertfordshire. Jeremy has been summoned by his father. A difficult man, Jeremy had been forced by the Earl to become a vicar and must always do as the man says or be threatened to lose any financial support from him. However, he is much loved by his mother who is very keen on finding a wife for him. His father and uncle, the Marquess of Allam, are waiting to talk to him.

The Earl and Marquess are very pious men and are outraged by The Lady of Dubious Quality, an author who has written an erotic novel entitled, “The Highwayman’s Seduction.” She has also written other quite erotic novels. As she writes under a pseudonym, the two men want Jeremy to find out who she is. They are intent on finding out the identity of the author so that they can keep their labels as moral leaders and can make this writer stop writing her lewd books. If Jeremy is successful, his father has promised to increase his money which will allow him to live better. With essentially no choice in the matter, Jeremy agrees.

Lady Sarah Frampton, age 23, is the daughter of the Duke of Wakefield. She is attending social events in town and is quite bored by them. She wishes only for quiet and solitude so she can write. Nicknamed the Watching Wallflower. she lacks for attention. She prefers simply to observe people. Secretly, she is also The Lady of Dubious Quality. Her true identity must never be known as the resulting scandal would be devastating. But she will continue to write because she loves it.

When Jeremy and Sarah meet and begin to see one another in society, they find they have a lot in common and are attracted to one another. Since Jeremy is just a vicar, Sarah’s mother feels he is beneath her and tries to discourage their relationship. But a clandestine meeting at a club where masked people have anonymous sex with one another throws them into a tailspin. Sarah has attended to see what the place is like and Jeremy has attended to see if he can find The Lady of Dubious Quality there. They dance together not knowing whom the other is. A kiss leads to her fleeing and Jeremy in search of her because he is sure she is the author he is seeking.

As their attraction leads to love and finally marriage, they couldn’t be happier. But how can Sarah keep her secret from Jeremy? Will the truth finally come out?

This is a very good book. It started out a bit slowly but my interest increased as the book went along.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Scandal Takes the Stage’ by Eva Leigh

stts elSTORY: Successful playwright Maggie Delamere has no interest in the flirtations of noblemen like Cameron, Viscount Marwood. She once paid dearly for a moment of weakness . . . and vows to rebuff the wildly persistent—and irritatingly handsome—scoundrel at every turn. But when pressure to deliver a new play hampers her creativity, an invitation to use his country estate as a writer’s retreat is too tempting to resist…

For years, Cam has admired Maggie’s brilliant work, and he can’t pass up the opportunity to discover if the beautiful, mysterious playwright is as passionate and clever as the words that flow from her quill. He’s never offered a lady his bed without being in it, but if it means loosening Maggie’s pen—and her inhibitions—he’ll do exactly that.

But soon Cam’s plans for seduction become a fight for Maggie’s heart. He’s more than the scandalous, carefree rake society believes him to be . . . and she’s the only woman who has ever noticed.

REVIEW: Eva Leigh continues her The Wicked Quills of London series with another heroine who is good with a quill. This one is a playwright and she is having a ‘writer’s block’, but have no fear. Our hero has been admiring this woman for some time  now, and he comes up with a solution to her problem.

I have to say that this story was a tad slower than the first book, but I did like the characterization of the hero. He was such a romantic and a lot of fun to follow around.

The heroine took a bit of getting to know and once I had a better picture of who she was I begun to warm up to her.

Together, they were an interesting couple, but the romance was driven mostly by our hero, which at times felt a bit awkward. Once the heroine gets on board, the chemistry was undeniable and the story is richer for it.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Forever Your Earl’ by Eva Leigh

fye elSTORY: Eleanor Hawke loves a good scandal. And readers of her successful gossip rag live for the exploits of her favorite subject: Daniel Balfour, the notorious Earl of Ashford. So when the earl himself marches into her office one day and invites her to experience his illicit pursuits firsthand, Eleanor is stunned. Gambling hells, phaeton races, masquerades…What more could a scandal writer want than a secret look into the life of this devilishly handsome rake?

Daniel has secrets and if The Hawk’s Eye gets wind of them, a man’s life could be at stake. And what better way to distract a gossip than by feeding her the scandal she desperately craves? But Daniel never expected the sharp mind and biting wit of the beautiful writer, and their desire for each other threatens even his best laid plans.

But when Eleanor learns the truth of his deception, Daniel will do anything to prove a romance between a commoner and an earl could really last forever.

REVIEW: This is a debut from a new author for me and a first book in her The Wicked Quills of London series in which we’ll be meeting three heroines who are all good with their quills.

We open the series with an owner of a prominent scandal sheet.

This was such a fun, F.U.N., read! From the opening scene to the last, you’ll be on a rollercoaster and you’ll not want to get off.

I loved everything about this story! The plot was as much intriguing as our heroine was about the life of our hero. And speaking of, what a man he was! To go to the lengths that he does in order to help a friend, is not just honorable but commending.

To follow these two as they’re trying to read each other and in the process fall in love, was a delight.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Spotlight on Anna Harrington and ‘How I Married a Marquess’!

himam ah

himam ahBOOK BLURB: A Shocking Deception . . .
Josephine Carlisle, adopted daughter of a baron, is officially on the shelf. But the silly, marriage-minded misses in the ton can have their frilly dresses and their seasons in London, for all she cares. Josie has her freedom and her family . . . until an encounter with a dark, devilishly handsome stranger leaves her utterly breathless at a house party. His wicked charm intrigues her, but that’s where it ends. For Josie has a little secret . . .

. . . Leads to an Exquisite Seduction
Espionage was Thomas Matteson, Marquess of Chesney’s game-until a tragic accident cost him his career. Now to salvage his reputation and return to the life he loves, the marquess must find the criminal who’s been robbing London’s rich and powerful. He’s no fool-he knows Josie, with her wild chestnut hair and rapier-sharp wit, is hiding something and he won’t rest until he unravels her mysteries, one by one. But he never expected to be the one under arrest-body and soul . . .

BUY LINKS: Amazon / B&N / Kobo /

ah

TEASER:

And while the old lord was away, the young lord would play… or at least that had been his plan. To fill his daylight hours with as many frivolous activities as possible and his nights however- and whomever- he could. But it was deuced hard when the staff followed his every move. For heaven’s sake, yesterday morning he’d caught Cook spying on him to make certain he ate breakfast!

Most likely their close attention came at his mother’s orders. He would have found her concern endearing if it didn’t aggravate the hell out of him. And it was damned grating that nearly everyone he interacted with these days- including the household staff- still thought of him as fragile. Still not fully recovered. Broken.

>>>>>>>>> RAFFLECOPTER <<<<<<<<<

REVIEW ONE: Chatham House, Mayfair London – 1817

Thomas Matteson, Lord Chesney, Marquess of Chesney, has been staying at Chatham House while his parents are at their other home. Thomas sustained a bullet wound to his hip a year ago which took a long time to heal. Even with his background as an operative for the War Office, his injury has left him with panic attacks and the inability to sleep well. But when he receives a missive from Earl Bathurst, the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, saying that Thomas is unfit for service, he is devastated.

Then Thomas receives a request from Earl Royston of Blackwood Hall to use his special skills to investigate some highway robberies near his estate. If Thomas stops the robberies at Blackwood Hall, Earl Royston will put in a good word with Earl Bathurst for Thomas to which he agrees. Thus, Thomas leaves for a house party at Blackwood Hall to begin his investigations.

Josephine (Josie) Carlisle, age 23, is attending the house party at Blackwood Hall. The Carlisle family are neighbors to the Roystons. The daughter of a Baron, Josie is actually an adopted orphan. Adopted at age 6 by Richard and Elizabeth Carlisle, she has dedicated herself to do all she can to help the orphans at the Good Hope Orphanage. The older she gets, the more she realizes she is probably remain unwed as she is passed over because she was an adopted orphan.

The Carlisles have 3 sons of their own and as Elizabeth was unable to have more children, they decided to adopt a daughter. She has always been loved and treated as their true daughter.

When Josie glimpses Thomas at the house party, she is very intrigued by this handsome man. After a waltz, they are immediately attracted to one another.

As Josie helps out at the Orphanage she vows to do all she can to make life better for the orphans. She does not like Mrs. Potter who runs the Orphanage. The woman works for Lord Royston and does whatever he tells her to do. She also steals money and beats the children. When Thomas sees her with the orphans, he is quite intrigued by Josie and her ability to comfort people. Just being around her relaxes him.

When the highway robberies continue, Thomas lies in wait and follows the robber. What he finds leaves him shocked and confused whether to arrest the perpetrator or not.

The stubbornness of Thomas and Josie became grating at times but it only added to the angst of the characters.

I enjoyed this story and I know others will as well.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

REVIEW TWO: The Secret Life of Scoundrels series ends with a story of a hero that is a bit complex, yet charming and a heroine who is his perfect match.

I liked the repartee and the chemistry between these two and the fast pace of the story made this book easy to read.

If you haven’t had a chance to read this series, I highly recommend you do so. This third story was a perfect ending to the series.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

ahAUTHOR BIO: An award-winning English professor and romance writer, Anna Harrington fell in love with historical romances and all things Regency—and especially all those dashing Regency heroes—while living and studying in England, where she spent most of her time studying the Romantic poets and Regency England, reading Jane Austen, and getting lost all across the English countryside.

In addition to earning her B.A. in English from Ashland University, M.A. from Michigan State University in literature, and Ph.D. from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in Composition, she has studied theatre in London, Mexican history in Guadalajara, and Spanish in Ecuador. She has traveled the world, visiting schools and volunteering in Peru, Ecuador, France, Italy, Thailand, and Mexico, and has amassed thousands of photos she unleashes on unsuspecting friends who dare to ask about her travels… Read more here.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Blog /  

‘Along Came a Rogue’ by Anna Harrington

acar ahSTORY: The Wickedest Secret…
Major Nathaniel Grey is free to bed whomever he wants, whenever he chooses, and that’s exactly how he likes it. His only loyalties are to country and the two friends he served with—brothers he’d do anything for. So when one of them is gravely injured and asking for his little sister, Grey will move heaven and earth to bring her home. He’s greeted not by the gangly girl he remembers, but a stunningly beautiful woman holding a loaded musket. And he’s utterly captivated by her…

Is a Secret Seduction
Once upon a time, Emily would have loved nothing more than a stolen hour with her brother’s best friend, the dashing officer who captured her heart and soul. But things are different now—and so is she. Gone is the eager young woman who believed in love. In her place is a widow weighed down with secrets who desperately needs to disappear before they’re revealed. But Grey’s sinfully sexy smile offers protection unlike anything she’s ever known, tempting her to risk everything . . . even her heart.

REVIEW: My favorite trope is second chance at love and this one was sweet and entertaining, as well as steamy.

Our hero was a typical Alpha male, yet he was still vulnerable and very loyal. And the heroine, she was so smart and graceful, and she definitely needed a man of his caliber to bring out the best of who she was.

One thing that was blaringly obvious, was the undeniable chemistry between these two. Their attraction was so well written that will make you blush!

I highly recommend this fast paced and well plotted story.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher