‘A Duke to Die For’ by Amelia Grey

adtdf egSTORY: What is a roguish young nobleman supposed to do with a shockingly lovely young ward?

The Duke of Blakewell believes he’d better marry her off as soon as possible, before he gives in to temptation himself…

But Henrietta doesn’t want a husband— she wants her independence…

Sure that she carries a curse that killed her previous guardians, Henrietta just wants the duke to sign over her inheritance before something terrible befalls him…

In a moment of passion, they become scandalously entangled, and suddenly the duke must take Henrietta’s curse seriously, and she must take drastic measures to save the one man she could love…

REVIEW: This was a sweet novel of love at first sight. When Henrietta’s parents were killed in carriage accident, she was sent to live with several different guardians in succession as each guardian would die not long after she lived with them. Fearing that she was cursed, she did not want anything to happen to her latest guardian, The Duke of Blakewell to whom she was immediately attracted.

The Duke feels the attraction as well and although he feels she is too young for him, he cannot abide other men showing attention to Henrietta as she has her “Coming Out.”

The sexual friction between Henrietta and the Duke builds until…well…you must read the book and find out what happens. I think you will like the different characters that are woven into the story and, of course, the delicious ending.

Connie for b2b

Top 5 with Wendy LaCapra!

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Hello Melanie, Connie, Leah and Bookworm2Bookworm readers! Thank you for inviting me to share my top 5 books to movie/series.

I had to think hard about my answers. I did not want to list a book-to-movie combination where I didn’t enjoy both. And somehow, for most of the recent books-to-movies, I’ve been acquainted with the story on one end and not the other. 50 Shades? Read the book, didn’t see the movie. Hunger Games? Saw the movies, didn’t read the books. Here’s the list I came up with:

jane-eyre-2011-movie-review-kiss

Jane Eyre, 2011
The cinematography was fantastic and the romance breathtaking. Truly, the movie did one of my favorite novels justice. And ooh, Michael Fassbender.

Pride and Prejudice, 1995

I dearly hope small-screen mini-series count, because this one brought Jane Austen to life like no other version. And then there is, of course, the invention of Colin Firth’s The Look.

moll fMoll Flanders, 1996
I probably never would have read Defoe’s classic Moll Flanders, but a professor assigned it as part of a class and it ended up becoming a favorite. Alex Kingston does a fantastic job of bringing the flawed and wonderful Moll to life. And Daniel Craig looks quite dashing in 18th century garb.

Practical Magic, 1998
The movie may be a bubble gum version of pmthe Alice Hoffman book, but I love the portrayal of sister-love between Sally & Gillian Owens. And Aidan Quinn? Le grand sigh. (I am sensing a pattern here…)

The Joy Luck Club, 1993
I’ve read Amy Tan’s book about 5 times and own the movie. I love this story linking mothers to daughters and beautifully rendering the threads that jlccontinue make patterns from one lifetime into the next. And, to continue my alternate theme, Andrew McCarthy cuts a fine figure in his small part.

Looking over my 5, I see another pattern—stories that have strong female friendships/ and or sisters. Even lonely Jane had Diana and Mary Rivers (who help her recover and turn out to be her cousins). Three strong, female friends form the basis of The Furies trilogy, and so I’m not surprised I’m drawn to strong friendships in movies and fiction.

I’d love to hear some book-to-movie favorites from bookworm2bookworm readers!

lv wlcBOOK BLURB: Not every lady plays by the rules.

Lady Lavinia Vaile knows what happens to a woman who puts her faith in society. For her, it was a disastrous marriage to a depraved man-one she threatened to shoot when she left him. Now Lavinia lives outside of society’s strict conventions, hosting private gambling parties. It’s only when her husband is shot dead that Lavinia finds herself in terrible danger…

A former judge in India’s high court, Maximilian Harrison will do anything he can to help Lavinia. In the darkest of times, he held on to thoughts of her and the love they once shared. Now he risks his own position in society―along with his ambitions―in order to clear her name. Yet as desire reignites between them, Lavinia remains caught up in secrets and shame. Her only salvation is to do the unthinkable…and trust in both Maximilian and love.

EXCERPT:

Max sounded urgent. He crouched and reached out. His touch was gentle and his hands were warm. Skin against skin. He must have removed his gloves. His palm’s heat warmed her chilled cheek.

He was real. This warm, vital man caressing her face was the reason she had survived the dark days of her marriage. Whenever the night had seemed frightening or endlessly lonely, she had lulled herself to sleep by silently repeating his name. She’d used him like a blanket, curling his image close and tucking herself into remnants of remembered love.

The memory caused another searing pain, and she pulled her legs into her chest.

“Hush, love, hush,” he whispered.

His breath tickled her face, contrasting the cool breeze blowing across the water.

Strange. Breathing was so much easier with him close. But everything was wrong. She was angry at him. Why?

Because he left me to find his fortune. Because he left me alone and vulnerable to men like Vaile. She waited for her anger to pulse to life. Instead her heart said, he is here now.

She made no move to push him back and may have even leaned toward him.

His lips touched—softly—against her forehead. He spoke, but she could not understand his words. He was saying something about protection and safety…

Yes, safety.

What an inviting thought.

How long had it been since love surrounded her? Since she had been warmed by place and family and home? After she had left Vaile, every letter she’d sent home had been returned to her as if home had never existed, as if she had never existed. But she’d been loved once, hadn’t she? Max was living proof.

She raised her eyes to his. Past and present, fantasy and reality, they all swirled together.

“Oh, Vinia.”

She parted her lips as he spoke the affectionate name she had not heard for an eternity. He brushed his mouth against hers. His kiss’s warmth was soothing and tender.

Yes, tenderness.

Need uncoiled in her belly, and her knotted shoulders miraculously loosened. She floated—soft and sentient.

Yes. Please. More.

BUY LINKS: Amazon / B&N / iTunes / Kobo / All Romance

Wendy LaCapraAUTHOR BIO: Wendy LaCapra has been reading romance since she sneaked into the adult section at the library and discovered Victoria Holt & Jane Aiken Hodge.

From that point on, she dreamed of creating fictional worlds with as much richness, intrigue and passion as she found within those books. Her stories have placed in several contests, including the 2012 Golden Heart®. She lives in NYC with her husband and loves to hear from readers.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Goodreads

‘Drawn to Lord Ravenscar’ by Anne Herries

dtlr ahSTORY: Betrayed by Marriage

When her betrothed is brutally murdered Lucy Dawlish looks for comfort from the man who shares her grief – his brother, Paul Ravenscar. Virtuous Lucy has always been secretly drawn to this frosty lord, but is it too late to reveal where her heart truly lies?

Paul Ravenscar must marry and produce an heir for the sake of his estate, but there is only one woman he wants. To claim Lucy as his bride risks betraying his brother’s memory, but Paul might be unable to keep his feelings hidden….

REVIEW: Lucy Dawlish and her mother have just returned to their home in England after spending some time in Italy to help Lucy recover from the murder of her fiancé, Mark Ravenscar. The Ravenscar family estate borders her family’s estate and she has grown up with Mark and his brother, Paul.

Upon return to her home, she discovers that Lord Ravenscar, a widower, has taken ill and it is not known whether he will survive or not. Since Mark’s death, Lord Ravenscar has had sole responsibility for the estate. Captain Paul Ravenscar had been summoned by the Duke of Wellington to serve for some time in the war. While he felt guilty being gone, he felt it was his duty to his country to serve. However, now that he has learned that his father is ill, his has resigned his commission and has returned to Ravenscar to take up the reins of running the estate.

Secretly, Lucy has always loved Paul but never felt that he would ever return her love. So when Mark proposed to her, she accepted knowing she could never love him more than as a brother.

Lucy’s cousin, Judith, a wealthy young widow, comes to stay with her family. Just out of her mourning clothes, she has decided to spend some time in London and get on with her life. She and Lucy become close friends and enjoy attending soirees. Lucy is introduced to several men who show interest in her. Paul attends these events as well, but Lucy feels he is not truly interested in her when, in fact, Paul has always loved her.

When a jealous suitor of Judith’s kidnaps her just after announcing her engagement to another man, Lucy is beside herself with worry. However, Paul steps in to search for Judith. Will Judith be found unharmed? Will Lucy and Paul realize their mutual love for one another?

This was a sweet story with a nice plot and great characters. I look forward to reading more of Anne Herries’ novels.

Connie for b2b

‘Season for Temptation’ by Theresa Romain

sft trSTORY: Two Sisters. . .

Julia Herington is overjoyed when her stepsister, Louisa, becomes engaged–to a viscount, no less. Louisa’s only hesitation is living a life under the ton’s critical gaze. But with his wry wit and unconventional ideas, Julia feels James is perfect for Louisa. She can only hope to find a man like him for herself. Exactly like him, in fact. . .

One Choice. . .

As the new Viscount Matheson, James wished to marry quickly and secure his title. Kind, intelligent Louisa seemed a suitable bride. . .until he met her stepsister. Julia is impetuous–and irresistible. Pledged to one sister, yet captivated by another, what is he to do? As Christmas and the whirl of the London season approach, James may be caught in a most scandalous conundrum, one that only true love, a bit of spiritous punch–and a twist of fate–will solve. . .

REVIEW: Julia Herington is a charming young woman preparing to go to London for the season. Her sister, Louisa, has become engaged to James, the new Viscount Matheson. While Louisa is obviously not in love with James, Julia is totally enamored by him.

Louisa is a quiet, reserved woman more interested in cataloguing a library than anything. Julia, however, is impish, outgoing, funny and loves to eat. As the attraction between Julia and James begins to grow, James feels guilty about his attraction to Julia and works very hard at trying to improve on his nearly nonexistent relationship with Louisa. James’s mother is totally against his marriage to Louisa and does not hesitate to show her disapproval of her and Julia.

What a delightful novel this is. The way the author has sprinkled humor throughout the book, will keep you laughing all the way to the end.

Connie for b2b

‘The Seduction of Sarah Marks’ by Kathleen Bittner Roth

tsosm kbrSTORY: England, 1857

After a blow to her head, Sarah Marks awakens in a strange bed with a strange man and no memory of how she got there. Her handsome bedmate, Lord Eastleigh, tells her she’s suffering from amnesia, and the best course of action is to travel home with him until she recovers her memory.

Lord Eastleigh has his own reasons for helping Sarah and keeping her close. Reasons he cannot tell her. As they struggle to restore her memory, their undeniable, inadvisable attraction grows—until Sarah finally remembers the one thing that could keep them apart forever.

REVIEW: This story is Kathleen Bittner Roth’s debut and I loved it!

The book blurb gives you enough of the storyline, so I’m going to tell you what I liked about this story and why I think you’ll like it too.

First, let’s talk about our hero. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this man and the reason for it is because he is such a flawed and complex character that you have no choice but to care for him, even though at times you want to smack him. But most of the time, you just want to hug him!

As for our heroine, she is as flawed and possibly even more complex than our hero, and no mater her actions, I found myself willing her to persevere in her quest to find out who she is and where she belongs.

I also found the romance between these two perfectly paced and the chemistry electric, even when our main protagonists were at daggers drawn and at cross purposes.

As I finished reading this story, I wholeheartedly wished for all the secondary characters to find their happily ever after. They have truly enhanced this story, from Mum, Eastleigh’s eccentric grandmother who thinks she’s the Queen Mother, to Will, Eastleigh’s younger sister who dresses in men’s clothing and is overly protective of her brother. And don’t even start me on Sir Crocodile! You need to read the book to find about this man!

To close, this début is well written, well plotted with some curve balls that were not expected and plenty of twists that will keep you guessing and reading until wee hours of the morning.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Wicked My Love’ by Susanna Ives

wml siSTORY: A smooth-talking rogue and a dowdy financial genius…

Handsome, silver-tongued politician Lord Randall doesn’t get along with his bank partner, the financially brilliant but hopelessly frumpish Isabella St. Vincent. Ever since she was his childhood nemesis, he’s tried—and failed—to get the better of her.

Make a perfectly wicked combination…

When both Randall’s political career and their mutual bank interests are threatened by scandal, he has to admit he needs Isabella’s help. They set off on a madcap scheme to set matters right. With her wits and his charm, what could possibly go wrong? Only a volatile mutual attraction that’s catching them completely off guard…

REVIEW: Isabella St Vincent and Viscount Randall have known and disliked one another since they were children. Their fathers formed a bank together many years ago which has been quite successful.  Isabella is a tall, intelligent, clumsy, no-nonsense, and unfashionable 29-year-old woman who wears glasses.  Randall is a handsome, happy-go-lucky guy always looking to carry on his tradition of teasing Isabella.  When their fathers passed away, the two of them inherited the bank.

Isabella figures she will never marry and is happy to be a member of the Mary Wollstonecraft’s Society Against the Injurious Treatment of Women Whose Rights Have Been Unjustly Usurped by the Tyrannical and Ignorant Regime of the Male Kind.

This only adds to Randall’s amusement and teasing of Isabella.

When Isabella and Randall discover that an employee of the bank may have purchased fraudulent stocks, they are afraid that it may mean certain ruin for the bank.  Thus, they take off on a venture to find this scoundrel and hopefully save the bank.

Their madcap adventures start out as rather humorous but quickly become somewhat overdone.  Yes, there are a lot of very funny parts, however for me, the excessive vulgar language seems totally out of place for the time period and tends to distract from the reader’s believability of the characters.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher