‘Jilting the Duke’ by Rachael Miles

jtd rmSTORY: Broken promise, broken heart …

Aidan Somerville, Duke of Forster, is a rake, a spy, and a soldier, richer than sin and twice as handsome. Now he is also guardian to his deceased best friend’s young son. The choice makes perfect sense—except that the child’s mother is the lovely Sophia Gardiner, to whom Aidan was engaged before he went off to war. When the news reached him that she had married another, his ship had not yet even left the dock.

Sophia does not expect Aidan to understand or forgive her. But she cannot allow him to stay her enemy. She’s prepared for coldness, even vengeance—but not for the return of the heedless lust she and Aidan tumbled into ten years ago. She knows the risks of succumbing to this dangerous desire. Still, with Aidan so near, it’s impossible not to dream about a second chance…

REVIEW: London – 1819

Aidan Somerville, the Duke of Forster, was once fighting in the military and was privy to much classified information.

Tom Gardiner, Lord Wilmot, a childhood friend of Aidan, died a year ago. His wife, Sophia and their son, Ian, have returned to London from the life they all lived together in Italy. Sophia and Tom were both very interested in plants and Tom had written many books on botany. Sophia, a talented artist, added exquisite drawings to the books. Their life was happy and content.

As Sophia is about to come out of mourning, she is notified by her solicitor that Tom had left instructions that Sophia would be co-guardian with Aidan in raising Ian until he reaches his majority. Not having seen Aidan in many years, Sophia was nervous at their meeting. However, it went well and they agreed to terms in raising Ian.

As background, Aidan and Sophia had once been engaged but Aidan went off to war and not long after Tom and Sophia married. Aidan still feels anger and hurt so he approaches his reunion with Sophia with a bit of skepticism.

Sophia fills her days will planning and planting her flower beds. Flowers were a mutual interest she had had with Tom and she wants to hold onto that.

As Aiden and Sophia see more of one another, they realize that their old flame never truly died. Can there be a future for the two of them?

But something sinister is afloat that may go back to Aidan’s past as a spy. Could this result is harm to them?

I understand that this is a debut novel for this author. The writing is good but I think the book was overlong and stuffed with too much extra information. A really good editor would have made this story a bit more interesting to me.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

‘Daisy’s Dilemma’ by Anne Stenhouse

dd asSTORY: Lady Daisy should be ecstatic when her brother, the earl, allows Mr. John Brent to propose. She’s been plotting their marriage for two years. However, she is surprised to find herself underwhelmed and blames their distant cousin, Reuben, for unsettling her.
Reuben Longreach wonders whether the earl understands the first thing about Daisy’s nature and her need for a life with more drama than the Season allows. It’s abundantly clear to him that Daisy and John are not suited, but the minx accepts his proposal nonetheless.

Meanwhile, Daisy hatches a plan to attach Reuben to her beautiful, beleaguered Scots cousin, Elspeth. Little does she know that Elspeth is the focus of a more sinister plot that threatens Daisy too.

Will Reuben be able to thwart the forces surrounding Daisy before she is irretrievably tied to John? Will Daisy find the maturity to recognise her dilemma may be of her own making before it’s too late?

REVIEW: London 1822

Miss Daisy Longreach has just accepted Mr. John Brent’s request for her hand in marriage. She and her widowed mother are living with her brother, Tobias, who is soon to be married himself. John Brent does not have a fortune but feels he can care for and support Daisy and his three sisters as well. Having just been in a fight where another man was killed he is recovering from his injuries. It appears that this man had planned to abduct Daisy to steal and sell the family tiara.

Daisy’s cousin, Reuben, is a wealthy young man who has grown up with Daisy and knows her quite well. He is convinced that John Brent is not the man for her. Daisy feels as though she has made the right decision, however, she enjoys being with Reuben. Both of them are just realizing that they have an attraction to each other.

Daisy’s aunt, Beatrice, has come to visit with her daughter, Elspeth. Beatrice is an opinionated woman who irritates everyone. She is always eavesdropping on conversations and being just a royal pain. She treats poor Elspeth very badly by putting her down and not allowing her to dress nicely. Daisy decides to take matters in her own hands and convinces her brother, Tobias, to supply the funds to get some new dresses for Elspeth.

But behind the scenes, danger lurks and it appears that Aunt Beatrice is right in the middle of it. What could be going on, who could be hurt and why?

I admit that this was a very difficult book for me to read. I felt as though I had walked into the middle of a movie and even reread most of the book to try and piece all of the characters together. I have enjoyed this author in the past but, I just cannot say that I enjoyed this novel.

Connie for b2b

‘Lord Deverill’s Secret’ by Amanda Grange

lds agArriving in Brighton, Cassandra Paxton had one important task-to uncover the meaning of a letter she’d found amidst her late brother’s belongings. She knew of only one man who could help her: Lord Deverill, who just happened to be the most eligible bachelor in all of Brighton.

But what she didn’t realize-until it was too late-was that the handsome earl had a secret of his own. One that might prevent him from telling her the truth-and one that made a marriage between them impossible. Which was most unfortunate, considering the way his gentle touch made Cassandra’s pulse quicken.

REVIEW: 1805 – Brighton

Miss Cassandra (Cassie) Paxton has arrived at her family’s town home in Brighton to prepare to sell it. Her parents have passed away from Cholera and her brother died in a horse riding accident leaving her to raise her younger sister, Lizzie. Unfortunately, the family finances are so low that selling the Brighton home will provide some needed monies to put toward upkeep of the family home outside town. While in Brighton, Cassie plans to spend some time with her friends, Maria and Harry Winter, and investigate the meaning of an unfinished letter found in her brother, Rupert’s pocket when he died. Rupert eluded to the fact that he had done something wrong and he wanted to atone for it.

Cassie decides to call upon Lord Deverill who knew her brother to ask for his help with the meaning of the letter. Justin Deverill readily agrees to help her but Cassie feels as though he is hiding something.

As Cassie and Maria attend and enjoy many of the delights of Brighton, Cassie is the victim of what appears to be attempts on her life. Telling herself that these things were just accidents she still can’t help but worry. She sees Justin at many social events and he finally confesses to her that she needs to be careful for someone means to harm her. Who would want to harm her and why? Could that be tied to her brother’s unfinished letter?

This was a sweet romance intertwined with a mystery that keeps the reader guessing. I enjoyed the descriptions of the events of Brighton and can see how it was and continues to be a very popular place. The characters were well-developed and I highly recommend the book.

Connie for b2b

‘Waking Up With the Duke’ by Lorraine Heath

td lhSTORY: They are masters of seduction, London’s greatest lovers …
Renowned for his bedchamber prowess, Ransom Seymour, the Duke of Ainsley, owes a debt to a friend. But the payment expected is most shocking, even to an unrepentant rake—for he’s being asked to provide his friend’s exquisite wife with what she most dearly covets: a child.

Living for pleasure, they will give their hearts to no one …
Lady Jayne Seymour, Marchioness of Walfort, is furious that such a scandalous agreement would be made. If she acquiesces, there must be rules: no kissing . . . and, certainly, no pleasure.

Until love takes them by surprise.
But unexpected things occur with the surprisingly tender duke—especially once Lady Jayne discovers the rogue can make her dream again . . . and Ransom realizes he’s found the one woman he truly cannot live without.

REVIEW: I enjoyed this book immensely.

The characters were believable which can be hard to find in some romance novels. The heroine, Jayne, is married to a man who is paralyzed. However, she wants a child. Enter her husband’s cousin who has always secretly desired her.

From there, we follow a pact that will lead from passion to sadness to finally love. A wonderfully written novel that I would highly recommend.

Connie for b2b

Spotlight on Maureen Driscoll and ‘Always Believe in Love’!

abil mdBOOK BLURB: Nicholas Chilcott is the Earl of Layton, though his biological father was actually the late Earl of Ridgeway. When Nick’s cousin Simon challenges him for the title, Nick must travel to the coastal village of Weymouth to uncover secrets from the past. But, instead, he finds the woman he wants to build his future with.

Kate Winston serves as the church archivist, while trying to evade the unwanted advances of the new vicar. When a handsome earl comes to town on a mission, she cannot resist helping him, though she has no desire to join his world in the ton.

As Nick and Kate work to find answers to the past, they discover a passion that neither can deny.

BUY LINKS: Amazon

REVIEW: Ms. Driscoll pens another winner!

Ever since I met Earl of Layton, I itched to know his story and finally I got it. I loved his background story and wondered if he’d finally accept the mantle of all his inherited title brought with it. He really worried me for a bit there, but in the end I was so proud of the things he did and the way he went about solving the mystery portion of this sweet and sensual romance. I liked the way that the author made him strong, yet vulnerable and sensitive at times.

Kate was so sweet, yet witty and strong in her own right.

This is everything I love about a romance! Loved the dialogue! Loved the ending too!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author

TEASER:

“Is something amiss, Mr. Chilcott?” she asked.

“Nothing at all.” Other than the mystery of her being betrothed to the vicar. “I was curious about the records that can be found in the archives. I am somewhat of an amateur historian.” As he said the words, he realized how pompous they sounded. He also had a feeling Miss Winston would be able to discern that he was no such thing.

But if she suspected he wasn’t being wholly honest with her, she didn’t show it. “It is mostly an accounting of births, marriages and deaths in the parish for three centuries.”

Damn. That wasn’t going to help at all. “So just the mundane details of daily life.” 24

As soon as the words were out of his mouth, he could tell he’d made a mistake. She visibly bristled, resulting in the most alluring shiver rolling through her body. He wondered what it would be like to see her shiver beneath him. It was wholly inappropriate to think of such things with the vicar’s betrothed, of course. But it was entirely wrong that she should be stuck with Bramwell.

“Mr. Chilcott,” she began, with a chill in her voice that surely must match the wind off the sea in winter. “Births, marriages and deaths are not ‘mundane details’ to those who are going about having children, getting married and dying. They are the most important activities of a village, for they represent life in all its forms. The celebrations and days of mourning are what people remember, sir. They bring people together and you should not disparage them.”

“Pray forgive me, Miss Winston. I did not mean to disparage anything.”

She leaned forward with wide eyes and a look of wonder he knew he shouldn’t trust. “Pray forgive me, sir. Perhaps I have misinterpreted the meaning of the word ‘mundane.’ Has a new definition been affixed to it?”

She was much too lively for the vicar. “You are correct, Miss Winston. My choice of words was poor, indeed. I am at a loss as to what I should do now.”

“Perhaps, sir, you should cease talking.”

The sting of her words was lessened considerably as she clapped a hand to her mouth and wrinkled her nose. “Now it is time for me to ask your forgiveness, Mr. Chilcott, for I have been unforgivably rude. One of my biggest faults is allowing my tongue to race ahead of my brain. I fear in this case, the former is halfway to London while the latter is still asleep in bed.”

For one long, pleasurable moment, Nick could only think of Miss Winston’s tongue. He would like to accompany it on any journey it might undertake. Then he thought about what she’d said and laughed aloud. “Miss Winston, anyone as clever as you should never apologize for her wit. Especially since I am the one whose tongue and brain first disassociated with my thoughtless remarks about the village archives. Shall we begin again? I am Nicholas Chilcott.” He bowed to her.

“And I am Miss Kate Winston.” She curtsied.

maureen driscollAUTHOR BIO: Maureen Driscoll is an Emmy-nominated television writer/producer who’d much rather be reading than writing.  She has written 11 Regency romance novels about the Kellington and Emerson families and one stand-alone political satire, DATING GEORGE CLOONEY, which no one ever reads.

She swears a lot.  Probably too much.  Her comedy credits include writing for JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE, THE DISH on the Style Network and Nickelodeon’s BRAINSURGE.  She is also an actor.  Which means she’s been rejected more than just about anyone you’ve ever met.  But it’s not the “no” that’s important.  It’s going back for another one the next day.  That’s supposed to be inspirational and not very, very sad.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook / Twitter / Blog

‘When You Wish Upon a Duke’ by Isabella Bradford

wywuad ibSTORY:Raised in the Dorset countryside, Lady Charlotte Wylder doesn’t care one bit about well-bred decorum. The dark-haired, blue-eyed beauty would rather ride a horse than attend a stuffy ball. So when Charlotte learns that she is to leave immediately for London to wed the Duke of Marchbourne, a perfect model of aristocratic propriety, she is less than enchanted with her arranged marriage.

But to her delight, their first encounters are brazenly flirtatious, and their wedding night burns with passion. March’s broad shoulders and dark countenance make Charlotte want to rip every button off his waistcoast. She may even be falling in love with her new husband. Yet whenever their desire boils over, March reluctantly pushes Charlotte away. Will past secrets and present misunderstandings mire their marriage in scandal, or serve to strengthen a bond that is destined to last a lifetime?

REVIEW: This is my first time reading this author and try as I might, I just couldn’t get into this story. I felt that the story was too rushed and moved too fast with hardly any buildup to the romance.

I also thought the humor in it a bit forced, therefore not too funny, and in the end I couldn’t make up my mind if this story was trying for a comedy or a tragedy.

I will give the second book a try, but if I don’t like that one, I’ll probably not read the third book.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘When the Duchess Said Yes’ by Isabella Bradford

wtdsy ibSTORY: Notorious for her free-spirited antics, Lady Elizabeth Wylder revels in attention—but not the sort that leaves her humiliated when her future husband, the Duke of Hawkesworth, fails to appear for their much-anticipated first introduction.

So when a chance encounter leads to a sizzling kiss with a dangerously handsome stranger, she nearly succumbs. The shock of finally meeting her betrothed only to come face to face with her rakish would-be seducer inspires fury—and fans the flames of a fire that both Lizzie and the Duke acknowledge is a most agreeable way to start a marriage. In her husband’s arms, Lizzie knows she has found love. But is the passion that accompanies endless nights of erotic discovery enough to persuade a duke whose scandalous lineage and lifestyle prevent him from giving his heart completely?

REVIEW: This is the second book in Isabelle Bradford’s Wylder Sisters series and I was torn about it. While I liked some aspects of the story, especially the trope of “childhood betrothal”, I had a very hard time connecting to the main characters. I found them both immature and childish, therefore I stopped caring for them half way through their story.

After I read the first book in this series, and not wholly happy with that story, I thought to give this author another try and again, while some parts were humorous, others were tedious.

That said, you may like it! This is one of those books that you either like or just don’t care for.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher