‘A Penny’s Worth’ by Nancy DeRosa

apw-ndrSTORY: Penny always knew she had been short changed right from the start.

Her mother decided from an early age that Penny would never amount to much. Already in her late thirties, lonely and unhappy, Penny looks set to fulfil her mother’s prophecy. She wants to change her life but lacks the confidence to do so. She longs for friends and a life that doesn’t consist of wiping runny noses and walking her dog with a neighbor she dislikes. Even taking her dog to a new park nearly results in disaster.

But then she takes control… one small step triggers a series of changes, and she begins to experience the life she has longed for. Despite her fears, she boldly switches jobs. She accepts the position of nurse on the oncology floor at a nearby hospital. Her interactions with the staff and patients allow Penny to progress toward the person she desires to be. Most importantly she stops listening to anyone who tells her she can’t do it, because Penny is worth so much more than that.

A Penny’s Worth is a fun, fast-moving, wise-cracking tale of self worth. A witty and highly rewarding read.

REVIEW: Have you ever read a story that left you drained, yet somehow still satisfied? If you haven’t, then I recommend this story. It was very relatable to me and I found the Penny to be inspiring and courageous.

It’s a story of hope as one finally realizes that life is passing you by and how one can grab the reigns of destiny. It’s sprinkled with lighthearted humor so the story isn’t dragging you down.

I hope you’ll give it a try.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘How Hard Can it Be?’ by Robyn Peterman

hhcib-rpSTORY: What happens when an accountant decides to grab life by the horns and try something new? Apparently a pirate named Dave, a lot of pastel fleece, and blackmail—just to start with…

Visualize and succeed, Oprah said. I was sure as hell trying, even if my campaign to score a job as the local weather girl had ended in a restraining order. Okay, TV was not my strength. But a lack of talent has never stopped me before. Which is why I’ve embarked on a writing career. I mean, how hard can it be to come up with a sexy romance?

Leave it to me to wind up in a group of grandmotherly porno writers who discuss sex toys and apple cobbler in the same breath. Also leave it to me to leak an outlandish plot idea to a bestselling author with the morals of a rabid squirrel. And only I could get arrested for a jewelry heist I didn’t commit—by a hunky cop whose handcuffs just might tempt me to sign up for a life of crime. Maybe I’ve found my calling after all…

REVIEW: It took me forever to move this book to the top of my TBR. I am so glad I got around to reading it because it really made me laugh out loud and these days, I really need some laughs.

For a debut, this is extremely well written and plotted, but what you’ll love and appreciate the most is the humor, which is evident from page one. I also liked that the story was written in first person and it was a hoot seeing the story through Rena’s eyes.

Despite categorizing this as romantic comedy and a romp, I found the story believable and its characters complex. I highly recommend it and do advise you not to sip anything while you read. Heed me on that!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘An Affair Before Christmas’ by Eloisa James

aabc-ejSTORY: Magic under the mistletoe…

One spectacular Christmas, Lady Perdita Selby, known to her friends and family as Poppy, met the man she thought she would love forever. The devilishly attractive Duke of Fletcher was the perfect match for the innocent, breathtakingly beautiful young Englishwoman, and theirs was the most romantic wedding she had ever seen. Four years later, Poppy and the duke have become the toast of the ton… but behind closed doors the spark of their love affair has burned out.

Unwilling to lose the woman he still lusts after, the duke is determined to win back his beguiling bride’s delectable affections…and surpass the heady days of first love with a truly sinful seduction.

REVIEW: This is book two in the DD’s series, but I’ve read them out of order (do NOT do that!), and the only reason I finished reading this story was Villiers. I was so glad that at least one third of the story involved him and the consequences he suffered because of the duel he fought. The relationship he cultivated  with Charlotte the spinster, was vastly entertaining and I had so much fun following that story.

As for the main plot, characters and substance of the story? It left me wanting and I found it lacking in all the areas that makes romance, a romance.

I barely liked this couple. The heroine wasn’t just naïve, she was downright ridiculous. I had somewhat better opinion of the hero, but even he couldn’t salvage this story. 

My advice to you is to read Villiers parts, and skip the rest.

Melanie for b2b

‘Highland Spitfire’ by Mary Wine

spitfireSTORY: Passion flares between enemies
Two hotheaded Highlanders, the offspring of feuding lairds, are tricked by the King’s Regent into a desperate choice: marry or die. Bhaic MacPherson is more disposed to lead his clan into battle than stay married to the daughter of his enemy. But perhaps the intensity of his feelings has more to do with desire than hostility.

And the Highlands ignite
Ailis Robertson wanted a husband, not a savage-but when her family was faced with a deadly ultimatum, she had no choice. The union of a MacPherson and a Robertson could end three generations of hostilities between the two families, but can bitter rivals truly become lovers?

REVIEW: Forced marriage trope is one of my favorite tropes and when well done, it can be actually a lot of fun. Just think, two people from feuding clans are forced to marry and both are very weary of not just each other but of everyone around them.

I’m sorry, but I had a lot of trouble connecting to the two main leads. I was hoping for at least a bit of chemistry, but … no. I felt that they were just … there. Their animosity took too long to be resolved and that bothered me.

The only thing I did like is the way the author took her time in writing about the clans and the life they lead. She obviously did her research and I enjoyed that aspect of the story very much.

I have to be honest and say, just skip it.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Royally Ever After’ by Loretta Chase

rea-lcSTORY: In Lord Lovedon’s Duel, Chloe Sharp is prepared to protect her family’s name, even to the death. When she hears the handsome Earl of Lovedon say her sister’s royal marriage is a match made in money, she challenges him to a duel—for love and honor.

When the Marquess of Rothwick learns his fiancée, Barbara Findley, has broken off their engagement in The Jilting of Lord Rothwick, he rides out of London immediately to seek her out… and to win her back.

*Now published together for the first time: Loretta Chase’s beloved novellas Lord Lovedon’s Duel from the Royal Bridesmaids anthology and The Jilting of Lord Rothwick from the Royal Weddings anthology…

REVIEW: In this book we have two novella’s previously published in two different anthologies and if you’ve never read Loretta Chase (OMG! Where have you been for the last two decades?! LOL! Just teasing!), I think you should definitely go for this book.

Both stories are well written and although predictable at times, I found them entertaining.

In Lord Lovedon’s Duel I loved the characters and their witty repartee. In The Jilting of Lord Rothwick I wasn’t so fond of the hero, but in the end I did find the romance cute and sweet.

I’m not sure what your take on anthologies is, but I like them. If they’re well put together they can be good and they are an awesome tool to introduce one to an author you’ve never read. There are times that no matter the great writing, if the plot is not feasible or the characters are weak, you’ll find yourself abandoning the read. In this case, I enjoyed these two short stories and hope you will to.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Her Highland Fling’ by Jennifer McQuiston

hhf-smqSTORY: Let the Games Begin …

William MacKenzie has always been protective of his Scottish village. When Moraig’s economy falters, he has the perfect solution to lure wealthy Londoners to this tiny hamlet: resurrect the ancient Highland Games! But for this to work, William knows he needs a reporter to showcase the town in just the right light.

A female journalist might be a tolerated oddity in Brighton, but newly minted reporter Penelope Tolbertson is discovering that finding respect in London is a far more difficult prospect. After receiving an invitation to cover Moraig’s Highland Games, Penelope is determined to prove to her London editors just how valuable she can be.

Penelope instantly captures William’s heart, but she is none too impressed with the gruff, broody Highlander; however, as she begins to understand his plans, Penelope discovers she may want more from him than just a story. She’s only got a few days … but maybe a few days are all they need.

REVIEW: This short (only 208 pages) novella has probably been written for us fans that have hoped that a wonderful secondary characters, Pen, a sister to the heroine of Summer Is For Lovers and William, a brother to the hero of What Happens In Scotland, from the earlier two books, would be given a chance to get their own HEA.

From page one I was taken on a wild ride with these two characters. The story moved fast and furious, the plot was entertaining, and the story was warm while the dialogue offered wit and humor.

You don’t have to read the other two books in order to enjoy this story, but I would really recommend you do because you’ll get the dynamic of these characters as well as their environment and background.

If you’d like to be entertained and at times laugh out loud, this is a story that will make you do that from start to finish.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘The Viscount Who Lived Down the Lane’ by Elizabeth Boyle

tvwldtl-ebSTORY: She has no desire for love…

As she arrives in Mayfair, Louisa Tempest is horrified when her incorrigible cat bolts from the carriage and dashes into a neighbor’s house, where she comes face-to-face with the reclusive Viscount Wakefield. But even more dismaying than his foul temper is the disarray in which she finds his home. Convinced his demeanor would improve if his household were in order, Louisa resolves to put everything to rights.

…until she meets the viscount who lives down the lane.

Much to his chagrin, Wakefield finds it impossible to keep the meddling Louisa out of his home, invading his daily life with her “improvements,” and his nights with the tempting desires she sparks inside him. Wounded in the war, he’s scorned society ever since his return . . . until Louisa opens the door to his heart and convinces him to give love a second chance.

REVIEW: This is the fifth story in this series that I’ve read, and truly the most fun book I’ve read in a very long time. I chuckled, giggled and down right laughed out loud at some of the antics of this heroine.

Both characters are extremely likable and fun to be around. They made for an entertaining and very passionate creatures. To watch them manipulating each other and work around the situations they find themselves in, was very gratifying. It was like watching a train wreck and not being able to avert your eyes!

By the time they reach their happily ever after and we see how much each has changed because of the other, we have a story that is sweet, sensual and funny to no end.

If you need a lighthearted bit of romance, you must read this. Oh, and let me not forget the cat, Hannibal, who’s a  character all his own 😉

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher