‘The Danger in Tempting an Earl’ by Sophie Barnes

tditae-sbSTORY: Lucien Marvaine never thought he was good enough for Katherine. As the younger son of an earl, he didn’t have a title or prospects. Then fate steps in and gives him a second chance, and this new Earl of Roxbury is determined to make the beautiful Kate his own . . . one touch . . . one kiss at a time.

Katherine never thought of herself as a temptress, certainly not with Lucien. Why, she’s known him almost all her life! Yet as she waltzes in Lucien’s arms at the Kingsborough Ball, she can’t help but be drawn to him. Has he always been this hard and masculine? And where did those dimples come from? Kate is not looking for a husband . . . but how can she not surrender to Lucien’s charms when love is at stake?

REVIEW: I am one of those readers that likes to give authors that at first read disappoint, a second or even a third chance. As of right now, it looks like I’ll be giving this author closer to four or even five chances because once more I had a hard time liking this story and especially the heroine. Talk about cutting your nose to spite your face!

Everything from plot to characterization defied logic and if I can’t connect to something or someone in a story, the author will loose me. And that’s what happened here.

I am sorry to say that I just can’t recommend this story, however, like I said, I will not give up on this author and will probably give her a couple of more chances.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher


‘Lady Sarah’s Sinful Desires’ by Sophie Barnes

lssd sbSTORY: Welcome to Thorncliff Manor, where London’s elite mix, mingle, and may even find their heart’s desire…

There are thousands of things Christopher, Viscount Spencer, would rather do than hunt for a bride, especially since experience has taught him that women are not to be trusted. Then he finds the intriguing Lady Sarah scrambling around in Thorncliff’s conservatory and he is instantly charmed by her passionate nature. But why is she so intent on avoiding him?

Lady Sarah would make the perfect bride for a peer—if not for a tarnished past that she’s hiding from the ton. A stay at Thorncliff Manor was meant to help her plan for her future, not fall in love. Yet Christopher’s kisses are irresistible, his gallantry enticing. When her secret stands to be revealed, will the truth ruin their dreams of happiness?

REVIEW: Thorncliff Manor – 1820

The widowed Countess of Duncaster owns the enormous estate of Thorncliff Manor. She has chosen to open the Manor to paying guests allowing them the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful manor and surrounding gardens.
Lady Sarah Andover is traveling to spend several months at Thorncliff Manor with her father the Earl of Andover and her stepmother who has always treated her with disdain. Sarah has been out of the social scene for a couple of years due to an unfortunate incident that left her as “damaged goods.”  Her parents’ plan is to marry her off to her father’s friend, Mr. Denison to increase his stable of prime horses.  Mr. Denison is an older man, fat, sweating, with bad breath who constantly leers at her with disgusting promises of things he is going to do to her since he knows she is already “used.”  Sarah is indignant that she is being treated by her father this way.
Christopher, Viscount Spencer, has reluctantly agreed to join his family for a stay at Thorncliff Manor.  His parents are trying to get him to select a young woman, get married and settle down.  He is a very handsome, kind, courteous man who is desired by many of the young women visiting the Manor.
When Sarah and Christopher meet, they find that they have so much in common and enjoy talking.  However, Sarah’s parents and Mr. Denison do everything they can to keep Sarah away from Christopher.  Oh but “where there’s a will, there’s a way.”  They meet early in the mornings to watch the sunrise and have lovely walks together.  Their attraction grows to the point that Christopher wants Sarah to marry him and does not understand why she continues to say she is marrying Mr. Denison.  She feels that since she is not pure, Christopher could never want her and cannot bring herself to confess this to him.
The story is a great example of how the upper class entertain themselves and enjoy the best of life.  But the abuse that Sarah suffers from her parents and Mr. Denison will make readers growl in anger.  This is a very sweet romance that grows between two very special characters.  I do hope others will enjoy this book as much as I did.
Connie for b2b

‘There’s Something About Lady Mary’ by Sophie Barnes

sb tisalmSTORY: Mary Croyden lives a simple life . . .

and she likes it. But when she inherits a title and a large sum of money, everything changes. Forced to navigate high society, Mary finds herself relying on the help of one man—Ryan Summersby.

Determined not to lose her sense of self, she realizes that Ryan is the only person she can trust. But Mary’s hobbies are not exactly proper, and Ryan is starting to discover that this simple miss is not at all what he expected…but just might be exactly what he needs.

REVIEW: This is the second book of The Summersby’s series [my review of the first is here] and I’m finding myself in the same boat as I was reading the first book.

I can still see that her writing has potential, but I still feel that she needs to work on her characterization more than on her plot. The premise was well thought out, but poorly executed, and in cases such as that, the reader looses interest and abandons the story. I didn’t do that only because I committed to reading it, but it took me awhile to write this review.  

I don’t like writing reviews like this because I’m trying very hard to be positive about the story I hadn’t connected with and had no vested interest in.

I read romance for the pleasure of seeing two people fall in love and work their way to their happily ever after. I enjoy plots of any kind, but it’s the characterization and chemistry between the leads that intrigues my mind and engages my senses.

In this case, my senses were let down big time. I am however determined to finish this series, which ends with ‘The Secret Life of Lady Lucinda’, in hopes that I may like at least one of this authors books.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘The Secret Life of Lady Lucinda’ by Sophie Barnes

sb tslollSTORY: William finally meets his match in the latest Summersby Tale from Sophie Barnes, author of How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back.

Lucy Blackwell is desperate, reckless, and maybe a little bit crazy. That’s the only possible explanation for tricking a man she doesn’t know into a dance, a kiss, and an engagement—all in the middle of the biggest ball of the year! But Lord William Summersby is the final piece of her grand plan, and she’ll do what it takes to make this marriage of convenience work—as long as it’s convenient for her. She just never counted on falling in love . . .

REVIEW: Have you ever found an author you just couldn’t read? I just did. I honestly gave it my all, but I’m just not willing to spend time on books that are not giving me enjoyment.

If I thought the other two were lacking that ‘something’ special, than this one was flatter than Keira Knightley’s boobs.

I hated the heroine Lucy for the way she manipulated the hero, William, but what was even worse than that, was the plot. I couldn’t buy it if I suspended my belief as high as the stars in the sky!

Listen, if I forget the names of the main characters as soon as I put the book down, you lost me as a reader. Sorry.

However, please have in mind that all reviews are subjective so what I didn’t like from this author, someone did [looking at you Connie!]. You can find Connie’s reviews of Ms. Barnes’ work here and here. She loved her work, and you just may too. Me, I’m skipping her for now …

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back’ by Sophie Barnes

sb hmrghgbSTORY: Emily Rutherford is having a very bad day.

Of course, having the man you’ve loved forever announce his engagement to your (now very former) best friend will do that.

Emily is sure nothing good could possibly come out of this horrid situation. But she lets her sisters—along with Francis Riley, the delectable but brooding Earl of Dunhurst—convince her that a season in London will be just the thing.

Now Emily has a choice: sulk in a corner while her sisters enjoy the glitter of the ton . . . or become the belle of the ball, dazzling everyone on an earl’s arm. But as Francis helps Emily get back on her feet, she quickly realizes that a childhood crush is nothing compared to the power of true love.

REVIEW: Emily believes herself to be betrothed to her long-time friend, Adrian. Some years before he had told her that while he was not now ready for marriage, that when he was ready, he couldn’t think of anyone better than his long-time friend, Emily. Emily took this as a proposal.

Now, she finds that Adrian has asked her good friend, Kate to be his wife leaving her broken-hearted and very angry at Adrian and her friend, Kate.

Another childhood friend, Francis Riley, Earl of Dunhurst, has always loved Emily and when he learns of her hurt, want to soothe her and hopefully have her for his wife. Due to many mix-ups, Emily has felt that Francis is not the nice person he was when they were children. Therefore, they begin a journey of getting to know one another again. Francis has found that the mother he loved if not his true biological mother and this has caused much stress in his life. However, with the help of Emily, his problems with this situation are fixed and their love continues to grow.

There are lots of twists and turns in this novel but I can certainly say that the author, Sophie Barnes, has knitted together an amazing story of powerful love and trust. I hope you will read this terrific book and enjoy it as much as I did.

Connie for b2b

‘The Scandal in Kissing an Heir’ by Sophie Barnes

TSIKAH SBSTORY: He is the next Marquis of Wolvington…
She is a lady with nothing but beauty and wits…
Together they share a forbidden kiss.

Lady Rebecca is determined to find a husband on her own terms, rather than marry any of the aging suitors her greedy aunt and uncle foist upon her. Her chance comes at the Kingsborough Ball, where she meets several potential grooms…yet no one compares to the dangerously handsome Daniel Neville.

Daniel Neville, notorious rake and heir to the Marquis of Wolvington, is in need of a bride, but finding a lady who’s willing to accept his past, is an entirely different matter. When he spies a stunning woman across the ballroom, Daniel believes he’s found her…until scandal erupts around them. How can he convince Rebecca to take a chance on him…and on the love that could be theirs forever after?

REVIEW: Lady Rebecca has spent the last two years locked up in her room pretending to be mad so that she can avoid marrying one of the two old men her aunt and uncle are pushing on her. She manages to escape from her room and attends the Kingsborough Masquerade Ball hoping to meet a young gentleman. With her black hair, unusual bronzed skin and dressed in a gorgeous red dress, she has immediately taken the eye of many eligible men.

Daniel Neville, Marquess of Wolvington, has just been given some very sobering news from his uncle. His days of being a devil-may-care rake are over. It is time for him to settle down and take a wife and he has one month to carry this out . So when he spots Lady Rebecca across the room, he is entranced with her.

They enjoy a fun repartee that results in them eloping to Gretna Green and agreeing to a marriage of convenience so Rebecca can escape marriage to one of the lecherous men chosen for her, and Daniel can satisfy his uncle’s demand that he marry right away.

Their eloping results in them being ostracized by the ton. When Daniel finds out that his uncle is cutting off his funds due to this embarrassment, he seeks ways to make money to support Rebecca refusing to use her dowry money. In addition, Lord Grover who had wanted to marry Rebecca and get her into his bed is livid at losing her and is out for revenge. When Daniel is shot and almost dies, he and Rebecca concoct a scheme to trap Lord Grover and see that he pays for his crime.

This was a well-written novel that shows the reader how a man can change from a rake to one whose newly found love can change him to a responsible man. As with all of Sophie Barnes’ books, I enjoyed this one immensely and look forward to reading the next book in the series entitled “The Trouble with Being a Duke” (At the Kingsborough Ball”.

*Connie for b2b

*ARC provided by the author.

Spotlight on Karen Erickson and…

Tempting Cameron/LONE PINE LAKE #2

TC KEBOOK BLURB: For Cameron McKenzie, Chloe Dawson has always just been his younger sister Jane’s best friend—a pesky annoyance who followed him around and acted like he hung the moon. It isn’t until Jane’s wedding to her firefighter beau Chris that Chloe reappears in his life…and she isn’t pesky or annoying anymore. In fact, the beautiful Chloe tempts him beyond reason. But Cam knows he’s damaged goods—not nearly good enough for Lone Pine Lake’s resident good girl.

Chloe’s always dreamed of a future with the dark, brooding Cam, and after they share an explosive kiss, she wonders if her dream could be coming true. Cam’s never stuck around his hometown for long, though, so she makes him an offer: one sweet summer romance with no strings attached. This good girl’s ready for an adventure…one that just might end up lasting a lifetime.


She started to walk away but he stopped her, curled his hand around the crook of her elbow. Her skin was soft, silky. His knuckles brushed against her chest, sent a shockwave through him that rendered him completely still.

“You’re not boring,” he murmured. “Everyone moves at a different pace. Everyone has a different purpose. I think you might’ve already found yours.”

She swallowed hard. He saw the delicate movement of her throat. Without thought, he drew his thumb across the inside of her upper arm, swore he felt her shiver from his touch. Electricity crackled and sparked between them, heady and fluid, and he drew her closer. Closer…

“I should go inside,” she repeated, her voice shaky. “I sound like such a baby, complaining when one of my dearest friends just got married. Your sister. God, you must think I’m completely selfish…”

He cut her off with his lips, rendering her completely silent. She did talk too much. Way too damn much…but she also seemed sad. A little lost.

And he could relate. Despite her thinking he had it together, he didn’t. He was as lost as she, maybe even more so.

MINI REVIEW: I love Karen Erickson’s steamy Historical novels, but lately I’ve been checking her Contemporary ones and I like them. A lot!

‘Tempting Cameron’ comes on the heels of ‘Jane’s Gift’ which I read and reviewed for Christmas, and is the second book in the Lone Pine Lake series. Don’t fret if you haven’t read the first as they’re stand alone, but you’ll be missing a great intro into McKenzie family and Lone Pine Lake residents.

Both characters are likable and just so very real and their happily ever after worth the read.

Karen Erickson has a knack for creating characters that are filled with humanity, for the lack of a better word. These people she populates her stories are just too real, and they just jump off the pages to grab you and pull you deep into their problems, their troubles that you can easily forget your own.

What may surprise you, as it did me, is that this author can write erotic, sensual, steamy and waaaay too hot romance as well as the sweet, touching and STILL sensual without that scorching hot factor, and you won’t even notice ‘till you’re at the end of the story. Oh and the endings of her stories will leave you with this feeling of utter awe and satisfaction…peace and contentment…and a wide smile!

Highly recommend and not to be missed if you’re into contemporary genre.

Karen EricksonAUTHOR BIO: I’ve always loved the written word. From being one of the best readers in my kindergarten class to penning romantic stories that never ended about my favorite band members (Duran Duran!) in high school, I always had a feeling I wanted to write. It just took me a while to seriously pursue it.

With the birth of my third child came a realization – it’s one thing to talk about writing a book, another thing entirely to do so. So I decided to go for it and in 2005 I began my pursuit in writing toward publication. After completing a few clunkers that should never see the light of day, I was first published in 2006. I currently write for Samhain Publishing (sexy, glamorous contemporary romance), Entangled Publishing’s Bliss Imprint (sweet, small town contemporary romance), Avon Impulse/Harper Collins (historical romance) and Carina Press (historical romance).

On a personal note, I’m a native Californian who lives in the foothills below Yosemite with my husband and three children, the dog and way too many cats.