‘A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong’ by Cecilia Grant

acgpw cgSTORY: It should have been simple…

With one more errand to go—the purchase of a hunting falcon—Andrew Blackshear has Christmas completely under control. As his sister’s impending marriage signals the inevitable drifting-apart of the Blackshear family, it’s his last chance to give his siblings the sort of memorable, well-planned holiday their parents could never seem to provide.

He has no time to dawdle, no time for nonsense, and certainly no time to drive the falconer’s vexing, impulsive, lush-lipped, midnight-haired daughter to a house party before heading home. So why the devil did he agree to do just that?

It couldn’t be more deliciously mixed-up…

Lucy Sharp has been waiting all her too-quiet life for an adventure, and she means to make the most of this one. She’s going to enjoy the house party as no one has ever enjoyed a house party before, and in the meanwhile she’s going to enjoy every minute in the company of amusingly stern, formidably proper, outrageously handsome Mr. Blackshear. Let him disapprove of her all he likes—it’s not as though they’ll see each other again after today.

…or will they? When a carriage mishap and a snowstorm strand the pair miles short of their destination, threatening them with scandal and jeopardizing all their Christmas plans, they’ll have to work together to save the holiday from disaster. And along the way they just might learn that the best adventures are the ones you never would have thought to plan.

REVIEW: This was such a fun little novella and if you haven’t read any of this author’s stories before, I think you should give this prequel to the other books, a chance.

The Blackshear family is interesting, intriguing and vastly amusing.

I liked Andrew, the oldest Blackshear brother so much. Talk about a gentleman! He is one of those hero’s that you can’t help but like. He is so prim and proper, so “starched” that being in his mind I just couldn’t help but chuckle through the whole book.

And then we have Lucy. Lucy, Lucy, Lucy! She was a perfect counterpart to Andrew and no matter what he may have thought of her actions, he just couldn’t help but like her.

Ms. Grant is one of those authors that creates characters that even though they come to us from 200 years ago, you can’t help but identify with them.

I highly recommend it and especially now that you can grab it for FREE!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘A Woman Entangled’ by Cecilia Grant

awe cgSTORY: Kate Westbrook has dreams far bigger than romance. Love won’t get her into London’s most consequential parties, nor prevent her sisters from being snubbed and looked down upon—all because their besotted father unadvisedly married an actress. But a noble husband for Kate would deliver a future most suited to the granddaughter of an earl. Armed with ingenuity, breathtaking beauty, and the help of an idle aunt with connections, Kate is poised to make her dreams come true. Unfortunately, a familiar face—albeit a maddeningly handsome one—appears bent on upsetting her scheme.

Implored by Kate’s worried father to fend off the rogues eager to exploit his daughter’s charms, Nick Blackshear has set aside the torch he’s carried for Kate in order to do right by his friend. Anyway, she made quite clear that his feelings were not returned—though policing her won’t abate Nick’s desire. Reckless passion leads to love’s awakening, but time is running out. Kate must see for herself that the charms of high society are nothing compared to the infinite sweet pleasures demanded by the heart.

REVIEW: Horrors of horrors! No, not the book. I just realized that I’ve read this book way back when it first got out, however I’ve never reviewed it! I honestly thought I did. If you are a reviewer, I know you’ll understand how this can happen. To say I’m embarrassed would be an understatement. I’d like to apologies to the author and to the publishing house, as well as to all of you because this book should have been on your TBR couple of years ago. Well, I guess that the old adage “Better late than ever!” definitely applies here ;)

This is yet another well written and plotted story from an author that is very new to me and that I seriously think will be someone who I must read, no matter what.

Her stories are fresh, poignant and extremely real. She thrives on creating characters that are flawed, yet redeemable in the readers’ eyes. I like the fact that Ms. Grant takes chances with creating characters who are unique and who you may not like at first, yet they are interesting and entertaining. They are meant to make me think and mull over the reasons behind the choices they make.

Both Kate and Nick had to work hard for me to like them, and in the end I did. I questioned many decisions these two made and I had a blast finding out what made them tick.

If you’ve never read this author, please try to remedy the situation. She is too good to be missed.

Melanie for b2b

‘A Gentleman Undone’ by Cecilia Grant

agu cgSTORY: Lydia Slaughter understands the games men play—both in and out of the bedroom. Not afraid to bend the rules to suit her needs, she fleeces Will Blackshear outright. The Waterloo hero had his own daring agenda for the gaming tables of London’s gentlemen’s clubs. But now he antes up for a wager of wits and desire with Lydia, the streetwise temptress who keeps him at arm’s length.

A kept woman in desperate straits, Lydia has a sharp mind and a head for numbers. She gambles on the sly, hoping to win enough to claim her independence. An alliance with Will at the tables may be a winning proposition for them both. But the arrangement involves dicey odds with rising stakes, sweetened with unspoken promise of fleshly delights. And any sleight of hand could find their hearts betting on something neither can afford to risk: love.

REVIEW: Cecilia Grant had me at A LADY AWAKENED, and in her second novel she continues to hold my interest with a story that is filled with too much reality, and some may find it hard to accept the romance within it. After all, the heroine was a prostitute turned courtesan, and while our hero knows he should keep away from such a woman, the circumstances are such that neither can avoid the other.

Will Blackshear, is THE beta hero of beta heroes! I adored this man! Here is a man that personifies the words ‘gentleman’ and ‘honor’, yet I sometimes thought even he didn’t think himself worthy of the description of those two words.

Cecilia Grant can write well, plot well, and infuse sensuality so well that she will have you sighing well after you’re done reading her stories.

Ms. Grant penned yet another character-driven, heartwarming and wrenching love story that is NOT to be missed this year!

Melanie for RRAH

‘A Lady Awakened’ by Cecilia Grant

ala cgSTORY: Newly widowed and desperate to protect her estate and beloved servants from her malevolent brother-in-law, Martha Russell conceives a daring plan. Or rather, a daring plan to conceive. After all, if she has an heir on the way, her future will be secured. Forsaking all she knows of propriety, Martha approaches her neighbor, a London exile with a wicked reputation, and offers a strictly business proposition: a month of illicit interludes . . . for a fee.

Theophilus Mirkwood ought to be insulted. Should be appalled. But how can he resist this siren in widow’s weeds, whose offer is simply too outrageously tempting to decline? Determined she’ll get her money’s worth, Theo endeavors to awaken this shamefully neglected beauty to the pleasures of the flesh—only to find her dead set against taking any enjoyment in the scandalous bargain. Surely she can’t resist him forever. But could a lady’s sweet surrender open their hearts to the most unexpected arrival of all . . . love?

REVIEW: The above blurb is adequate in summarizing the story, so I’ll not go into it further. What I would like to tell you is how much I liked this author’s prose, in spite of the plot that I found familiar of late. But above all, I appreciated the pace of the story.

The author took the characterization of both hero and heroine very seriously by making them both flawed; Regency era gave their situation, actions and feelings a believable touch of realty so they weren’t turned into clichés and caricatures of themselves. I liked both characters very much because of who they were, who they wanted to be, and who they became to each other. The reason behind it is, yet again, the pace of the story. It helped me to connect with Martha in my own time and on my terms. She was not an easy heroine to like at first, but the more Theo got to know her, the more I liked her.

To Theo, on the other hand, I warmed up right away. His ‘devil may care’ nature may have not impressed our heroine much, at first, but it appealed to me and made me like him. As the author took us in deeper, we appreciated him more, as the heroine did. It was truly fun watching these two totally opposites come to terms with each other and slowly realizing that LOVE chose them for each other.

This is not your typical cookie cutter romance, despite its trope.  By choosing this plot, the author took a gamble in giving us the slower pace and fully developing her players first, main and secondary, thus making them very real and the plot easy to accept. I’d say the gamble paid off, as I enjoyed this Regency tale very much, and I’m looking forward to Ms. Grant’s future tales. Welcome to my Keeper shelf, Ms. Grant!

Melanie for RRAH

‘Miss Featherton’s Christmas Prince’ by Ella Quinn

mfcp eqSTORY: In the two seasons since her triumphant debut, Meg Featherton’s heart has been tested to its limits. Her first suitor: a criminal. The second, a cad. For her third act, Meg vows to leave love completely out of the marriage equation. She has set her sights on a newly made viscount whom she could take or leave. However, now she must avoid his handsome, roguish, irresistible best friend like the plague. It’s no easy feat, as they are all attending the same house party…

Damon, Marquis of Hawksworth, cannot imagine why Miss Featherton seems so damn disinterested—or why he cares so terribly much. Certainly Meg is a fine wifely prospect for a man in his position, but more than that, he finds he longs for her as he has never done for another woman. She may be determined to protect her heart, but Damon is equally set on winning her over, one delicious kiss at a time…

REVIEW: Featherton House – London – 1817

Miss Margaret (Meg) Featherton is the second daughter of Viscount Featherton. She has just turned down a second offer of marriage to a man after receiving an anonymous letter warning her of his unworthiness which turns out to be true. She is hurt, but with the encouragement of her friends, she begins attending soirees again.

Damon Hawksworth is a handsome man who has not had an easy life. He is the first-born son and heir to a Duke. His mother passed away when he was a small boy and his father remarried. His father was always mean to him and has never given him any affection. He sent him away to school at an early age and he rarely went home. His father remarried and has many children with his second wife. She is a kind woman and has given affection to Damon as much as the Duke will allow her. Damon receives a letter from the Duke telling him to marry or “suffer the consequences.” The Duke has threatened to cut Damon off and make sure that he not inherit from him. Ah, but Damon has his own funds that were left to him by his mother so he is not worried.

When Damon and Meg meet, he is quite taken with her but she can’t help but think he is just another dandy. Meg’s friend, Amanda Hiller, is in love with Lord Thoroughgood, but Meg thinks Amanda loves Damon. Confusion abounds! Damon works hard to win Meg’s love and he has his work cut out for him.

This was another good story from author Ella Quinn. I admit that when the book started, I was confused but was soon able to put together the puzzle of the characters.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Lady Beresford’s Lover’ by Ella Quinn

lbl eqSTORY: Ella Quinn’s bachelors are quite sure of what they want in life—and love—until the right woman opens their eyes…

After a painful heartbreak, Rupert, the handsome young Earl of Stanstead, has decided that when it comes to love, avoidance is best. Until he meets a woman who makes him forget his plan—and remember his longing for a wife and family. Yet he senses that she too has been hurt, though she attempts to hide her feelings—and more—in the most baffling and alluring way. Intrigued, Rupert is willing to play along, if winning her is the prize…

Crushed by her late husband’s scorn, Vivian, Countess of Beresford, believes she is monstrously undesirable. Sadly childless, she has moved to London resigned to a solitary life. Still, when she encounters Rupert at a masquerade ball, her disguise as Cleopatra emboldens her. Convinced he doesn’t recognize her, she begins an after-hours affair with him, always in costume—while allowing him to innocently court the real her by day. But when Rupert makes a shocking choice, will Vivian be able to handle the truth?…

REVIEW: Beresford Abbey, England   1817

Vivian, the widowed Countess of Beresford, is nearly out of mourning and eager to leave the Abbey.  Her deceased husband had a mistress whom he loved and never cared for Vivian.  Their marriage had been arranged by their fathers.

Silvia Corbet is Vivian’s companion and the daughter of the vicar.  Silvia has known the Beresford family for many years and grew up with the new Lord Beresford.  Actually, the man proposed marriage to Vivian thinking it would be as easy match for them both.  Shocked, she declined.  At one time, Silvia had a crush on the man but not has only disdain for him.  Silvia’s cousin, Clara, the Dowager Marchioness of Telford, suggests that Silvia and Vivian head to town for the Little Season.  Clara wanted to provide Silvia with a season.

Rupert, the Earl of Stanstead, is looking for a wife.  Although he is younger than most men seeking marriage, he has seen the happiness of his married cousin, Robert and his wife, Serena, and wants the same for himself.

Rupert meets Vivian at a ball and is quite smitten by her and she by him.  They become good friends sharing in political discussion groups and working toward helping the less fortunate.

Vivian is shy about getting married again.  She had been verbally abused about her body by her late husband.  She is a true innocent about love in the bedroom.  So, as their relationship heats up and they are ready to consummate their love, Rupert soon becomes not only her lover but her teacher as well.

This was a good story.  For me, I found the “masquerade part” to be a bit far-fetched.  In addition, the excessive number of characters often made the flow of the story to be somewhat confusing.  However, I have enjoyed the author’s books in the past and look forward to more from her.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘A Kiss for Lady Mary’ by Ella Quinn

akflm eqSTORY: Ella Quinn’s bachelors do as they like and take what they want. But when the objects of their desire are bold, beautiful women, the rules of the game always seem to change…

Handsome, charming, and heir to a powerful Viscount, Christopher “Kit” Featherton is everything a woman could want—except interested in marriage. So when he hears that someone on his estate near the Scottish border is claiming to be his wife, Kit sets off to investigate.

Since her parents’ death, Lady Mary Tolliver has been hounded by her cousin, a fortune-hunting fool after her inheritance. Refusing to settle for anything less than love, Mary escapes to the isolated estate of rakish bachelor, Kit Featherton. Knowing he prefers Court to the country, she believes she will be safe. But when Kit unexpectedly returns, her pretend marriage begins to feel seductively real…

REVIEW: Lucinda, Dowager Viscountess Featherton and her lifelong friend, Constance, Dowager Duchess of Bridgewater are two delightfully scheming grandmothers set on pairing their grandchildren up with one another.  Lucinda’s grandson, Christopher (Kit) is heir to Viscount Featherton and Constance’s granddaughter, Lady Mary Tolliver is a lovely young woman waiting to reach the age of 25 when she can receive her inheritance from her deceased parents.

Kit is an extremely well-mannered and handsome gentleman whom hostesses love to invite to soirees.  He has the capability of being introduced to shy young debutantes, ask them to dance and put them at ease thus giving them the confidence they need.  Kit has finally realized that all of his friends are getting married and starting families and he has decided to follow suit.  Having met the lovely Lady Mary in the past, he is hoping to seek her out as he would like to pursue her for his bride.

Lady Mary has not had an easy time waiting for her inheritance.  Her cousin Gawain Tolliver has done everything in his power to try and get the chance to compromise her so she will have to marry him and give him access to her inheritance.  He has made her life miserable as she is always having to hide out from him.  Her grandmother came up with the idea to secret her away to Rose Hill, property of Kit Featheron, where she could pose as Lady Mary Featherton.  She has been quite successful at this for some time now and with the help of her widowed aunt living with her, she has always made vast improvements to the home, grounds and the accounts as well.

Imagine Kit’s surprise when he goes looking for Mary and finds her posing as his wife.  How perfect this is because he truly does want to marry her.  But now, he must pay court to her properly and win her love.  A true gentleman to a fault, Mary is not convinced he really loves her because he has not kissed her.

Can they open up to one another and find true love?

This was a clever novel.  I admit having a hard time keeping up with all of the names of the characters and there were a lot of them!  However, the story is a bit different from many others which offers a refreshing change.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher