‘Dear Thing’ by Julie Cohen

dt jcSTORY: Claire and Ben are the perfect couple. But behind the glossy façade, they’ve been desperately trying – and failing – to have a baby for years. Now, the stress and feelings of loss are taking their toll on their marriage. Claire’s ready to give up hope and get on with her life, but Ben is not. And then Ben’s best friend, Romily, offers to conceive via artificial insemination and carry the baby for them.

Romily acts in good faith, believing it will be easy to be a surrogate. She’s already a single mother, and has no desire for any more children. Except that being pregnant with Ben’s child stirs up all sorts of emotions in her, including one she’s kept hidden for a very long time: Ben’s the only man she’s ever loved.

Two mothers—and one baby who belongs to both of them, and which only one of them can keep.

REVIEW: Ben and Claire have been trying for 10 years to have a baby using IVF with no success. The doctors have told them that Claire’s eggs are simply not good. After their last failed try, Claire decides that she is done. She is not going through all this any more only to be disappointed again.

Romily is a single Mom to Posie who was conceived after a brief affair with Jarvis. They had both decided that she would have an abortion before they went their separate ways. However, she is did not go through with it.

Romily and Ben have been friends for a very long time. Posie loves Ben and Claire and enjoys getting to visit them and stay overnight too. A precocious child, she has even said she wishes they were her parents.

Ben is really devastated when Claire makes her decision. That’s when Romily says she will be a surrogate for them using her own eggs and Ben’s sperm. At first, Claire is not sure that she wants to do it, but her desire for a child is so great that she agrees.

Romily gets pregnant right away and while she had an easy pregnancy with Posie, she is nauseated this time around and bothered with all types of hormonal problems. Ben is over the moon and while Claire is excited, she is still somewhat uncertain about it all. She tries to make sure that Romily eats right which doesn’t settle well with Romily. Claire is a Type-A personality and Romily is a Type-B. In addition, Claire believes that Romily is in love with Ben and she truly is. But Romily knows a relationship with Ben can never be and truly wants to help them.

When Jarvis comes back on the scene and finds that he has a daughter he has mixed emotions. He is angry because Romily has not told him she went through with the pregnancy and he has lost time with a daughter he never knew he had.

Emotions build for all of the characters and when Romily suffers an accident that puts the baby’s life in danger, some truths come out that require careful examination.

I really liked this novel. The author created each of the characters perfectly. I feel like I know each of them as a friend. I did not know until the very end who would end up with the baby. This is a fabulous book. Don’t miss it!

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

‘Hotel Vendome’ by Danielle Steel

hv dsSTORY: When Swiss-born Hugues Martin sees a small, run-down hotel in New York for the rough diamond it is, he transforms it into a beautiful boutique hotel of impeccable elegance, run with the precision and attention to detail he learned through his hotelier training in Europe.

Renowned for its unparalleled service, the Hotel Vendôme soon becomes the ideal New York refuge for the rich and famous, as well as a perfect home for Hugues’ beautiful wife and their young daughter. But when his wife tires of his obsession for the hotel, she walks out on him for a notorious rock star, leaving Hugues a single parent to four-year-old Heloise.

Heloise and her family live happily amid a colourful, exciting and sometimes mysterious milieu of celebrities, socialites, politicians, world travellers and hotel employees–and their inevitable intrigues.

As unexpected challenges arise, the hotel is the centre of their world. And when Heloise grows us, she longs to follow in her father’s footsteps and one day run the Hotel Vendôme. The lessons she learned at his side will carry her through it all, in a story no reader will forget.

REVIEW: I have read many of Danielle Steel’s books over the years and agree that she deserves all of the accolades that she has received.

In “Hotel Vendome” divorced owner/general manager Hugues Martin is busy building a world class hotel while caring for and raising his daughter, Heloise. Heloise is fascinated by the hotel and at a very early age learns all of the ins-and-outs involved in running it. Thus, she decides to be like her father and attend hotel school to learn all she can about the business.

Along the journey, Hugues and Heloise find difficulties and triumphs. Although it was a little slow at the beginning, I did enjoy this books very much and highly recommend it.

Connie for b2b

‘To the Moon and Back’ by Jill Mansell

ttmab jm When Ellie Kendall tragically loses her husband she feels her life is over. But eventually she’s ready for a new start – at work, that is. She doesn’t need a new man when she has a certain secret visitor to keep her company…

Zack McLaren seems to have it all, but the girl he can’t stop thinking about won’t give him a second glance. If only she’d pay him the same attention she lavishes on his dog.

Moving to North London, Ellie meets neighbour Roo who has a secret of her own. Can the girls sort out their lives? Guilt is a powerful emotion, but a lot can happen in a year in Primrose Hill…

REVIEW: Ellie lost her husband, Jamie, in an auto accident a year ago and she still conjures up a vision of him when she needs to talk to him. This gives her comfort.

She has worked for several years as a PA in a OK job and still lives in the not-so-OK flat she shared with Jamie. Jamie’s father is a successful actor who encourages her to move into a nice home in a nice area which he also will use as his pied-de-terre when back in the UK from his filming in California. Ellie finds a new job, new neighbor and new boss. This change where no one really knows she is a widow helps her to find new happiness in her life.

I really enjoyed this book with its great characters. Watch Ellie find the strength to let go of the past and learn to love again.

Connie for b2b

‘A Wedding to Die For’ by Adrianne Lee

awtdf alSTORY: Welcome To Weddingville

A hundred years ago, a tiny town on the Puget Sound attracted a passel of bachelors desperate to marry. Thanks to the miracle of mail order, they did, and Weddingville was born. Hollywood costumer Daryl Anne Blessing knows that story all too well, and she hasn’t missed it, or much else about her hometown—except for hunky photographer Seth Quinlan. Now Daryl Anne returns to Weddingville to see her best friend say I do… and witnesses a whole lot of something hitting the fan—and it’s not rice.
As the maid of honor, Daryl Anne must keep the bride calm, no matter what. But last time she checked, “what” didn’t include the bride’s estranged mother turning up, scandalizing the locals—and getting herself murdered. Nor did it include digging for clues with Seth, while trying to remember exactly why she left him behind. It’s quite a juggling act, even for a seasoned multi-tasker like Daryl Anne. She soon attracts lusty glances from Seth—and the attention of a killer who’s determined to take this town out of business…

REVIEW: May – Weddingville, Puget Sound

Weddingville is a town named for a place where the founding fathers commissioned mail order brides many, many years ago.  Since then, the town has evolved into a place where lots of weddings take place and there are many wedding-themed shops, restaurants and hotels.

Daryl Anne Blessing is the maid of honor for her best friend, Meg Reilly.  Daryl is struggling to make sure that the wedding goes off perfectly until the bride has a meltdown when she finds her mother, Tanya, is going to attend.  But let’s back up just a bit.

Meg Reilly and Daryl Anne Blessing have been friends since they were small children and grew up in Weddingville.  They have always been close especially from the day that Daryl’s father died.  Meg consoled her then.  After school, Meg and Daryl moved to Los Angeles and got great jobs in the acting arena.

Meg’s father runs a successful diner in town.  Meg’s mother, Tanya, abandoned her and her father when she was just 11-years-old and has never contacted her since.  Thinking she was doing the right thing, Meg invited her mother to her wedding never thinking she would accept but she has.  Tanya is now a well-known reporter.

Daryl’s mother, Susan, and paternal grandmother, Billie, run a bridal shop in town.

Meg met and is now engaged to well-known actor, Peter Wolfe.  Peter is a very wealthy man and an arrogant one as well.  He wants a wedding that will be secure and away from the public eye.  Lots of elaborate plans have been put into place and the wedding is ready to go.  Oh, but when Meg sees her old heart-throb, Troy, she begins to hesitate.  Tanya sashays into town asserting herself like a Queen.  The wedding venue is vandalized just before the rehearsal dinner.  Pictures are taken of Meg acting a bit risqué at her bachelorette party.  All the while, Daryl is trying to hold everything together in her job as maid of honor.

The ceremony itself is interrupted when the minister passes out and a dead body floats up next to the wedding venue outside.  That’s when everything goes nuts.  Who is the dead person?  Were they murdered or was the death an accident?  If murdered, who could have done it?  All of the characters in this scenario are suspicious of one another and it takes some extra sleuthing by Meg and Daryl to try and find the real killer.

This was a very well-done mystery and I enjoyed it very much.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘A Taste of Merlot’ by Heather Hayford

atom hhSTORY: Raise your glass and join Heather Heyford as she pours a second serving in her series following these headstrong wine heiresses in their quest to strike out on their own…

Merlot St. Pierre is struggling to break free from her family name. Her college classmates whisper behind her back that her passion for jewelry design is little more than a hobby, since she’ll always have her father’s fortune. But Meri is determined to prove them wrong, and with the help of a handsome jewelry buyer, she just may taste her first sip of success—as long as she can hide who she really is…

Mark Newman’s family owns a chain of high-end jewelry stores, and he’s working hard to get out from under his aunt’s thumb and prove he has a good eye and a head for business. He’s certain Meri’s designs could be the next big thing, but he’ll have to convince her that she can use her famous last name to her advantage. As their business partnership takes root, an attraction begins to flourish—but they’ll both find that love, like wine, takes time to perfect…

REVIEW: Merlot (Meri) St. Pierre is a jewelry major at Gates College and has just won the college’s Purchase Prize for one of her creations.  She and her sisters, Chardonnay (Char) and Sauvignon (Savvy) are the daughter of the well-known owner of the St. Pierre Winery in Napa Valley.  The Purchase Prize means that the piece will be kept in the college’s permanent collection.  Growing up as a wealthy gal, Meri has always encountered jealously from her fellow students and college has been no different for her.  Many of her jealous acquaintances feel that since her father has donated so much money to the college, that is the reason she won the prize.  Hurt from the latest snub by other students, she has decided that she will forego the last year of college.  Most of it will be about marketing and Meri feels that she already has a good idea of how she wants to go about selling her jewelry by opening her own jewelry store.

Mark Harmon is part of Harrington’s, the family-owned high-end jewelry stores.  Each year, he visits the colleges looking for new talent and his favorite area, of course, is the jewelry.  When Mark sees the piece that Meri created that won the prize, he is awed by her talent and is determined to find her so Harrington’s can purchase and promote her jewelry.  As she is going by another name hoping to succeed on her talent and not her name, searching her down has been a long process for him.  But he finally finds her online and tracks her down.  She is thrilled at his offer and eager to accept.  However, Mark must get approval from his aunt, the largest shareholder of Harrington’s.  In the meantimes. Meri and Mark spark an attraction that balloons to a full-blown love affair.

Unfortunately, Meri’s old college rival steps in and begins copying her signature hidden stone “statement” on her jewelry, in addition to trying to lure Mark away from Meri.  This is when things get hot.  But not as hot as when both Meri and Mark reveal who they truly are.  Will they be able to sustain their relationship or will Meri end up pushing Mark away?

This novel just did not grab me.  While the story was believable, some things came across as a bit cheesy such as the names of the St. Pierre daughters.  However, I’m sure that many other readers will probably enjoy it.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Crazy For Her’ by Sandra Owens

Crazy For Her CoverSTORY: When his best friend and fellow Navy SEAL, Evan Prescott, died in his arms on the battlefield, Logan Kincaid gave his word to watch over Evan’s widow. But for two years he kept his distance…torn between honoring his solemn vow and succumbing to his secret love for his fallen comrade’s wife. But when Dani Prescott desperately reaches out to Logan for the help only he can give, he rushes to her side—determined to fight for her safety as fiercely as he fights against his own buried desire.

Someone claiming to be her husband is stalking Dani and her infant daughter, making them virtually prisoners in their remote country home. Logan’s elite military training and high-risk security expertise have outmatched more dangerous enemies. But the real challenge will be the burning temptation that threatens to overcome Logan whenever Dani is near…especially when she reveals her own hidden passion.

BUY LINKS: Amazon

REVIEW: I was here once before. I remember the apprehension of reaching for the book of an author I greatly admire and love her historical novels, but was sweating bullets before I gave in and read her latest contemporary story. I find myself in the same situation again and while I’ve read and adored every historical romance this author has written, this contemporary story left me wishing she’d write more of historicals.

First, I am a sucker for a broken hero story and reading the blurb I was drawn to this one, but the blurb only scratches the surface of his tale. There is so much more happening and fast, that my emotions were scattered to the four corners of the world and they had a hard time catching up and connecting to either the hero or the heroine.

No matter how well the story is written, and Ms. Owens is a good writer, she never managed to fully convince me of Logan’s long carried torch for Dani, nor his long held secret about his childhood.

I wanted to believe that these two people really loved each other and I didn’t. I wanted to connect and admire both of these people as they triumph over their respective pasts, but something about them was off and left me cold and not caring. If I had one word to describe this story it would be ‘over the top’. I felt that the action, plot, suspense and mystery were all a bit over the top.

If you’re into military romance with a fast pace, some suspense, couple of ‘curve balls’ thrown in and plenty of sex, I’m sure you’ll like it. I wanted more than that.

For my reviews of this author’s historical romances go here and here.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author

>>>>>>> RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY <<<<<<

Sandra Owens PicAUTHOR BIO: A native of Florida, Sandra once managed a Harley-Davidson dealership, before switching from a bike to an RV for roaming the open road (though she’s also chased thrills from sky-diving to upside-down stunt-plane flying). In addition to Crazy For Her—a 2013 Golden Heart Finalist for Romantic Suspense—her works include the Regency Romance novels The Letter, winner of the Golden Quill Award, and The Training of a Marquess, winner of the Golden Claddagh Award. A member of Romance Writers of America, and potential cat owner, she lives with her husband in Asheville, North Carolina.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

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‘Duke of Devonwood’ by Carly Carson

cc dodSTORY: The Duke of Devonwood – The first contemporary romance novel in the series: British Nobility Bachelors

An Outrage

Miranda’s father has left her inheritance under the trusteeship of a Duke of England? Miranda can scarcely comprehend what happened. Did her father not realize this is the twenty-first century? She is certainly capable of managing her own money. More importantly, she needs that money to start the hat business she’s always dreamed of, and to keep her family together.
Worst of all, the Duke of Devonwood is an imperious, modern-day tycoon who insists he can manage her money better than she can.

A Heartbreaker

If Miranda can’t prove herself indispensable to her step-family, they will desert her when they complete their planned move to England. She can’t let that happen, not only because she loves them, but also because they are the only family she has.

A Plan

She’s not about to sit home in New York City and let some arrogant Duke tell her what she can do with her own money. Luckily, she’s determined, hard-working, and maybe a touch devious. She vows to do whatever it takes to foil the Duke…

Which may include skinny-dipping, flirting with his half-brother, faking illness, and befriending his half-sisters.

Which can not include falling in love.

A Complication

The Duke of Devonwood doesn’t want more dependents. With an entire dukedom to run, plus his father’s second family to manage, he has more than enough people hanging on his coattails. But this headstrong American woman, Miranda, doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. In fact, she soon has most of his other dependents conniving with her—and against him.

He could handle the problem…if only she weren’t so enticing.
Additional Complications
The Duke’s step-mother already has a bride picked out for him.
Someone may be stealing Miranda’s inheritance.
The Duke has his own secrets.
And the biggest problem they each face…is battling their own desires.

REVIEW: Miranda Foxglove and her stepmother, Sharmie Foxglove, are in a quandary. Miranda’s father has recently died after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. While he was a very wealthy man, they are discovering that his illness used up a lot of his assets. Even so, they want to gain access to the remaining funds, and have just found that the trustee of the estate is none other than the Duke of Devonwood in England. After corresponding with him only to have their request for money turned down, they decide to travel to see him in person.

Figuring that this Duke is some old fogey, Miranda is shocked to find Devon Percy Arlington, the ninth Duke of Devonwood is a young, handsome man living in his beautiful home,
Devonwood Castle. Determined to meet with him, Miranda finally gains entry to speak with him only to be told that by some error made, he has been made trustee instead of his deceased father. This mistake appears to be a typo in the will that should have read “eighth Duke” instead of “ninth Duke.” Nevertheless. their request for funds appears to be frivolous to Devon and he dismisses Miranda with a resounding “No.” Ah, but our young heroine will not take that as an answer and concocts a scheme where she and Sharmie end of staying in the mansion.

Devon is unmarried and plans to stay that way. His stepmother lives in the mansion along with her four children from her marriage to Devon’s father. Devon is a hard working and stern man who appears to be the “king of the castle.” While staying at the mansion, Miranda gets to know the family members better. While she and Devon sparfrequently, there is an attraction that turns into a hot affair. Knowing that her time at the mansion is short, she is determined to get Devon to release some funds to her and Sharmie from her father’s estate. Will she be successful?

This is like a sweet, funny, and hot modern day romance. I enjoyed it a lot but felt that the tempo of the story dropped at times which allowed a bit of boredom to take over. But in the end, it is certainly a worthwhile story to read that I feel will satisfy any reader.

Complementary copy provided by

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher