‘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

‘The Dangerous Love of a Rogue’ by Jane Lark

tdloar jlSTORY: The next book in Jane Lark’s Kindle best-selling Regency romance series!

“The game is on with Pembroke’s little sister…” Lord Andrew Framlington watched Miss Mary Marlow. The woman had been warned to keep away from him, but she had a little contrary in her soul. She had not been deterred. Perhaps she had a taste for bad hidden beneath her cold denials, or a liking for naughtiness in her soul – either of which appealed.

“Stop pretending you do not like me…” Drew had urged Mary, “Stop running…” Her body urged her to as much as he did. Something pulled her towards him. Something unknown and all consuming… and yet how could she disobey her father and her brother…

REVIEW: I don’t know about you, but I love reading about broken heroes/heroines and up to this point I thought no one could be more broken than Judith James’s Gabriel St. Croix from ‘Broken Wing’ but I was wrong. Jane Lark went all out and created a hero that is broken and vulnerable to a point that the lines of love and hate were inseparable. In the one hand I hated the bitter and cynical man and on the other, my heart broke for the boy who only ever wanted to be loved by someone, anyone.

I never thought that a thorough rogue from a scene in The Scandalous Love of a Duke’ would be so complex or that the author would pair him up with a most sweet and innocent of women. The complexities of this character were such that if you’re not reading between the lines you may miss the reasons behind the initial attraction between the two polar opposite characters. Their immediate attraction to each other was palpable and the chemistry charged to an umpteenth degree which literally gave me the Goosebumps and in pairing these two Jane Lark created the most heart wrenching romance you can imagine.

The heroine of this book had been introduced to us in ‘The Scandalous Love of a Duke’ [her brother’s HEA] and we actually watched her grow right before our eyes and now at nineteen we are faced with this poised, smart, kind and infinitely beautiful woman who is adored by her huge family. Her character was almost as complex as our unlikely hero. This young woman had grown up surrounded with love and attention, yet because of the enormous size of her family, she felt lost at times and she craved one on one attention from someone, anyone. She knew that her dowry was extensive and that it would attract many but what she never expected was for a man to admit that fact to her face, and that intrigued her.  The plot moved at a quick pace and I dreaded the ending. I just wanted this one to go on and on.
Seriously, if you’re like me, and you thrive on angst in your stories, this one has it in spades. If you’re searching for a tender, sweet and sensual romance, this one will melt your heart and leave you in a puddle. Must read!

This is book five in Jane Lark’s wonderful Marlowe Intrigues series and if you’ve never read this series, you better get on it. Here is the order just in case you decide to heed my advice. ‘The Illicit Love of a Courtesan’ is Edward Marlow and Ellen’s story; ‘The Passionate Love of a Rake’ is Robert Marlow and Jane’s story; ‘The Scandalous Love of a Duke’ is the story of Ellen’s son John and ‘The Lost Love of a Soldier’ is a prequel to ‘The Illicit Love of a Courtesan’ and a heartbreaking story of John’s mother Ellen and his father Captain Paul Harding.

But if you’re still doubtful about this author and my recommendation, please feel free to download her two free novella’s also a part of this series as well, ‘Capturing the Earl’s Love’ and ‘The Desperate Love of a Lord’.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Madeleine’s Christmas Wish’ by Ella Quinn

mcw eqSTORY: The bachelors in Ella Quinns Marriage Game series make a habit of resisting the irresistible.

But during the season for giving, surrendering to temptation may be the greatest gift of all.

A French spy, Georges, Marquis Cruzy-le-Chatel, has lived in England for years, sacrificing his life for his country but not his heart. For he’s never been able to forget his childhood friend, Madeleine.

And now, in her hour of need, he is there to rescue her.

The victim of a ruthless statesman, Madeleine, Comtesse du Beaune, has been abducted and sent to England to work in a brothel. Her greatest wish is to return home for Christmas, and her only hope of it is to marry Georges though she will be his wife in name alone. Yet as they steal across the snowy countryside, Georges decides to woo her with kisses that melt the winters frost and leave her longing for a holiday miracle.

REVIEW: November 1814, Beaune France

Madeleine, Comtesse de Beaune, is an intelligent woman who has been responsible for keeping her family together since her father died.  Her twin brother, Armand, is feared to have been killed in the war.  During that time period, a family title could be inherited by a daughter if there were no more living males.  However, the government won’t completely let her take over the responsibilities so they have assigned a Monsieur Coupe to oversee her work.  Madeleine is well-educated and very well versed in the family winery and this man is not.  Coupe is an odious little man who wants to offer for her hand to her total disgust.  At this time, King Louis is in power and the family fears that he may seize their holdings.  In addition, the men of Fouche have been seizing young women to work in brothels in Paris.  So, when they arrive at her house to take her little sister, Genevieve, age 13, Madeleine steps in and offers herself instead to save her sister.  Her hope is that once in Paris she may be able to find friends of her father’s to help them.

Dover England

Georges, Marquis Cruzy-le Chatel was betrothed to Madeleine 10 years ago when they were children by their families but he has not seen her since that time.  So, when Georges learns of Madeleine’s capture, he is determined to find her and rescue her.  In addition, he has learned that property that was once taken from him now has been returned.

It is on a lucky hunch that Georges finds Madeleine and takes her to his mother’s home to protect her. His plan is to marry her and thus save her from the brothels and finally return to France.  Will they be able to deal with all of the political factions in France and return to a life they once knew?

I wanted to like this book and had to take some notes so I could try to keep up with the plot.  However, the story left me cold as it seemed to not have any real substance to it.  Therefore, I am sorry to say that it is not a book I really cared for.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary Copy provided by the publisher

Fan2Author Interview with Jane Lark!

jl tlloas

b2bMelanie: I’m so happy to welcome this author! Just love her books! Without further adieu, here she is! Jane Lark! Jane, before I start with the questions, how about you tell us a bit about yourself and your writing career?

Jane Lark: Well so far my writing ‘career’ has been very brief… my first book was published in May 2013, and then republished by Harper Collins in October 2015 as The Illicit Love of a Courtesan, but I have been writing since 2006 so since October 2015 Harper Collins have been pouring out my backlog, and I now have seven books released and three more are due out in the autumn. But I have always loved writing and wanted to write novels for as long as I can remember.

b2b: Can you tell us more about ‘The Lost Love of a Soldier’ and why you chose to write this prequel to ‘The Illicit Love of a Courtesan’?

The Illicit Love of a CourtesanJL: To be honest the only reason I wrote this was because readers asked for it. When I published the first edition of The Illicit Love of a Courtesan I immediately afterwards self-published a short story ‘Capturing the Earl’s Love’ (which was then taken off the market as Harper Collins contracted that too but it was not re-released until May this year). The short story shares the stories of two of the sub characters from the first book but at the time people kept thinking this would be the prequel and were looking for a prequel. 

b2b: How have your characters and their stories come to you and which one/s whispered the loudest for their story to be told?

JL: My characters generally come to me from elements of real people who lived out true stories at some point in history. From these true stories my imagination picks out elements and builds a patchwork of fictional Regency life. Initially I was not sure about writing the prequel, because obviously The Illicit Love of a Courtesan is about Ellen and Edward, and Edward would have no part in the prequel, and yet at the time people began talking about a prequel I was working on The Scandalous Love of a Duke, the story of Ellen’s son, John. The more I worked on that I felt Paul, who appears as a past character in two books, developing a personality of his own, and then because John was having such a difficult time accepting the fact he had never known his father, I felt as though I needed to write him, because then John could have access to him. I know crazy writers…

b2b: Which book you wrote might we be surprised to learn that you had the hardest TPLOAR JLtime writing?

JL: The Lost Love of a Soldier is definitely the hardest, initially it was only intended to be 15,000 to 30,000 words and just a fleeting visit to Ellen eloping, then following Paul into battle, like Capturing the Earl’s Love, which has gathered interest like a snowball on Amazon, but is really a very fleeting storyline, just to give people a bit of light historical entertainment. BUT then––I had to make The Lost Love of a Soldier far more true to fact than the other books because a) it had to follow what really happened in the build up to battle of Waterloo b) I had chosen an actual regiment for Paul to serve under in The Illicit Love of a Courtesan, and so I had to find out where they were when, to ensure the story was realistic. AND then––while I was working on those things, and discovering what the real soldiers and those that travelled with them experienced I knew the story had to be more than a shallow visit with a young Ellen.

2015 is the 200th anniversary of the battle of Waterloo, in the summer of 2014 the real 52nd Oxfordshire Regiment of Foot were in England, taking a break from war, before they were due to sail to America. I have worked with the military for about ten years of my life. I know what soldiers endure. I could not then write this book without respect for the real people who made the journey back to the battlefields of Europe which they had only left the summer before and where they had endured many incidents that would have left them with nightmares, and I could not make it a hurried tale, because by hurrying it, it would have become unrealistic and a bit bizarre to just dive into them in Brussels, the battle… and then..

jl ctelPlus it was also hard, because Paul is not the love of Ellen’s life. So the book could not center on the intense Romantic relationships I prefer to write. I have been married twice myself, and my second marriage is very different to my first. Ellen loves Paul, she is a seventeen year old girl in the 18th century who has never left her father’s estate, and never even been to a ball. She is entirely innocent, as many young women were in her day… And I wanted to honor all of that…

b2b: Is there a book you’re never tired of reading over and over?

JL: Katherine by Anya Seton. I just love that story. It also really moves me whenever I go anywhere the real John and Katherine lived…  Even though I know that Katherine is 95% fiction.

b2b: Do you like reading classics and is there one that you’re embarrassed to say you’ve never read?

JL: I like having classics on my bookshelf ;) I read them very rarely and general in short doses, the language in them is generally not all that flowing, let’s remember they were written for a very different generation of people. So while the stories are still great, the writing styles––not necessarily. But I did reread Vanity Fair while writing The Lost Love of a Soldier. There isn’t anything I would be embarrassed to say I have not read but youjl tsload may think it is a sin to say I prefer Vanity Fair, Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Mill on the Floss to Pride and Prejudice.

b2b: Is there a book that you recently read that you wish you had written?

JL: Probably the wrong answer, but no. I enjoy the things I write, I always want to write for pleasure. Especially as I still have to work and writing is an escape for me. Even The Lost Love of a Soldier was awesome being able to connect with people who took part in Waterloo through imagination.

b2b: What’s a movie adaptation of a book that you loved or that you wish it is made?

JL: There are two movie adaptations of books that I’ve read that I think are good ‘Troy’ is one. I bet that is not what you were expecting. LOL. But I love the film Troy! The other one was the recent adaptation of Jane Eyre, it is the only time I have seen Rochester portrayed in a way that makes you actually believe he could have caught Jane’s interest.

b2b: If you were given only one genre to read for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Just YouJL: Historical… Sigh… I love writing love stories, but I love being in historical settings and discovering things about the people who lived in the past.

b2b: What was the last book that made you laugh out loud, and what was the last one that made you cry?

JL: I don’t tend to buy books that make me laugh, I can’t remember one that ever has, and cry… I think One Day was the last book that made me cry.

b2b: What was your favorite book as a child?

JL: LOL Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree series…. But by eleven I was reading Mill on the Floss and the Iliad. I was a strange child. I think I first read Katherine at the age of twelve.

b2b: What’s your favorite TV show or movie?

JL: My favorite TV show… ever… Time Team – covered so much. My favorite TV series, would be a toss of a coin between the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice and the 1998 version of Vanity Fair, neither stories make good films because too much has to be left out. My favorite film currently Tangled, by Disney ;) Random!

b2b: During a thunderstorm – stay inside or sit on porch watching the show?

JL: Sit on a porch 100% I swam in an outside swimming pool in a thunderstorm once,jl ify my mum didn’t know at the time, and I was only 8. I loved it! (P.S. don’t do it, bad idea for health and safety you’d fry if it hit).

b2b: Flannels or Silk?

JL: Oh my goodness SILK!

b2b: Sports car or SUV?

JL: Sports car all the way.

b2b: Cats or Dogs?

JL: DOGS!

b2b: Champagne or Beer?

JL: Beer, I am not a champagne girl. A good hearty locally brewed beer for me. Or even better a pale ale…

b2b: Movies or TV?

JL: Movies!!!!!!!!! <3 But like I say to my daughter reading a book is even better it’s like watching a movie for hours…. :D and while writing I get to be in the movie for weeks!

jl tdloal

‘The Desperate Love of a Lord’

FREE for PRE ORDER on AMAZON

Jane! I am so happy you had the time to visit with us! It was a blast to get to know you a bit better!

Bookworms, have any questions for our guest author? One of you will end up with a signed print copy of the gorgeous soldier on this cover!

Jane

AUTHOR BIO: Jane is a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional Historical and New Adult Romance, and a Kindle top 25 bestselling author.

She began her first historical novel at sixteen, but a life full of adversity derailed her as she lives with the restrictions of Ankylosing Spondylitis. When she finally completed a novel it was because she was determined not to reach forty still saying, I want to write.

Now Jane is writing a Regency series and contemporary, new adult, stories and she is thrilled to be giving her characters life in others’ imaginations at last.

Jane is also a Chartered Member of the Institute of Personnel and Development in the United Kingdom, and uses this specialist understanding of people to bring her characters to life.

Social Media:  Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Website | Goodreads

‘The Lost Love of a Soldier’ by Jane Lark

jl tlloasSTORY: The stunning prequel to Kindle bestseller The Illicit Love of a Courtesan!
Life is for grasping and living…

Naïve and innocent, Lady Ellen Pembroke falls for a dashing young army officer. Captain Paul Harding has such an easy, enchanting smile and his blue eyes glow; vibrancy and warmth emanating from him. She is in love.

In turn, the Captain finds his attention captured by the beautiful young daughter of the Duke of Pembroke at a house party in the summer. Finding Ellen is like finding treasure on the battle field. His sanity clings to her – something beautiful to remind him that not all in the world is ugly.

Ellen is someone to fight for and someone to survive for when he is inevitably called to arms in the battle of Waterloo…

REVIEW: Let me preface this review with letting you all know how much I love reading this author’s work. I was left an emotional wreck each time I finished one of her books, and this one more so than the others and that is because this one is a prequel to Ellen’s romance with Edward in ‘The Illicit Love of a Courtesan’.

My advice, to all that have not read this author, is to read this story before you go on to ‘TILOAC’. Take my word for it. It will help you understand the heroine Ellen much better.

Having read ‘TILOAC’ first, I knew the outcome of this story and to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read it. I’m one of those that do not read the ending before I start the book. I can deal with the spoilers, but I can’t deal with someone letting me know what the ending is. It just ruins the story, don’t you think? Well, at least that’s what I think …thought, I should say. Because, in the end, my knowledge of this authors wonderful storytelling won me over and I went for it.

By the time the story was done, I felt sorrow, anger and a relief. That last one was only because I knew that Ellen’s story does not end with this book.

Ms. Jane Lark did an outstanding job at writing a heartbreaking ‘first love’ story of two young and disillusioned people. Both characters were well developed and the emotional turmoil and internal struggle they went through as they slowly came to terms with the choices they made in order to be together. The steady pace of the story helps a reader connect with and understand these two as they embark on the journey of discovery of each other and their environment. Especially the historical part and the era this takes place in. If you loved ‘War and Peace’ than you’ll appreciate the reality Ms. Lark gives to this story and its locations from Brussels at Lady Richmond’s ball, the Battle of Quatre-Bras and on to Waterloo. We are in awe as much as our teenaged bride is, of the life a soldier and his wife are forced to endure, from slow and muddy marches to making silent love in the cot among sleeping soldiers.

Even though I thought the story well written and plotted, I couldn’t help but wonder if I would have been better off not knowing Paul at all. I found myself questioning his choices and accusing him of selfishness while at the same time making allowances for them because of his age. He was so very young and all he wanted to do is love and be loved.

In the end I have concluded that if I’ve read this story before book one, my appreciation and understanding of what Ellen went through would have been ten times of what it really was.

Do I recommend it? Hell yes. The prose alone is worth the read, not to mention the historical detail included. Be warned though. The emotional rollercoaster of this story is ever present and doesn’t let go until the very end, or the next book, I should say.
If you’d like to read of Ellen’s son John Harding, the Duke of Pembroke, his story is in ‘The Scandalous Love of a Duke’.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author

‘Enticing Miss Eugenie Villaret’ by Ella Quinn

eq emevSTORY: William, Viscount Wivenly, plans to remain the most eligible of bachelors. He refuses to surrender to the schemes of husband-hunting ladies and matchmaking mamas. Fleeing the pressure of the ton, he’s bent on finding refuge in the West Indies. What he finds instead is a fascinating stranger, a woman so unlike those of his society that he can’t resist such a beguiling distraction…

Determined to let nothing complicate her mission to protect her family’s livelihood while covertly rescuing orphaned slave children, Miss Eugénie Villaret does her best to evade suitors. But when dashing William lures her down a path of forbidden adventure and delicious danger, she may be convinced that business can indeed be mixed with pleasure—and persuaded to add passion to her priorities…

REVIEW: This is the fifth book in Ella Quinn’s The Marriage Game series [The Seduction of Lady Phoebe; The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh; The Temptation of Lady Serena; Desiring Lady Caro; Enticing Miss Eugenie Villaret] and out of all five, my least favorite.

I really wanted to love this story as much as I loved the one right before it [Desiring Lady Caro], but something just didn’t click with me in this one.

William was someone I didn’t like from the start, but I didn’t hate him. He just struck me as someone who was too dense and uncaring, and once I formed that opinion, it was hard for me to get on board of his ‘redemption’ to being a hero.

Eugenie, our heroine who is supposed to be an innocent when it came to relationships with men and sophisticated enough to be someone who is fighting for a worthy cause of enslaved children was a contradiction, and I never connected with her.

That said, I love this author and her work and even in this story she manages, through her wonderful prose, to take me back in time and enjoy the beauty of the setting, the Caribbean. I actually found the subplot of the hero and heroine’s friends’ love story more appealing and despite its pace, more believing.

In the end, I do recommend it to all of those that have already read the other four books in this series, if for nothing else but for Ms. Quinn’s writing and research alone. She did an outstanding job of transporting me to and letting me experience not just history but a culture of the Dutch West Indies during Regency of which I knew nothing about. I so wish the characterization of the main characters was given just a tad more time and thought.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Capturing the Earl’s Love’ by Jane Lark

jl ctelSTORY: This novella tells the story of secondary characters from The Illicit Love of a Courtesan.

Rupert Stanforth, Earl of Morton, is exasperated by his sister’s choice of friend. Meredith Divine, clings, using Rowena’s plain appearance as a foil for her auburn curls and fuller figure. He would break the friendship, but the more he complains the more time the girls spend together. Ceasing his disagreement, he hopes the friendship will die, believing Meredith will take a wrong-step soon…

Meredith clings to her only friend, Lady Rowena Stanforth, despite the disgusted looks thrown by Rowena’s proud, judgemental brother. Lord Morton cannot abide Meredith because of her low standing but Meredith’s heart favours him… then in his single act of kindness, Meredith grasps an opportunity she cannot resist…

REVIEW: The blurb is sufficient in setting up the story, so I’m not going to go into it much.

The main hero of this story is Rupert, Earl of Morton and a cousin to Edward from the first book in the series, Illicit Love of a Courtesan, and one I recommend highly you read, even though it’s not really necessary for you to do so as this little gem stands on its own merit.

Rupert was a witness to Edward and Ellen’s affair and someone who doubted their love match, even after they married, but slowly he’s been coming around as he watches them display devotion to one another. He finally realizes that this sort of affection and love he dearly wishes upon his own sister Rowena, a young woman who he is responsible for and plans to arrange a suitable marriage for as the head of his family.

Rowena is someone who abides by the rules and etiquette, yet I did get the feeling of strength and some stubbornness in her. She did befriend our heroine, Meredith Divine, a beautiful young woman who comes from the ‘new money’ and a father that’s in trade, and that tells me that she’s not a snob.

I liked her story as well.

As a heroine, Meredith was a bit more complex. We first see her through Rupert’s and and then Rowena’s eyes. We, as Rupert, begin to question her motives of friendship to his sister. We are aware that she is hiding something and as the story unfolds, we see this young woman’s secret desires and dreams slowly begin to crumble and she is given only one chance to take her life into her own two hands and trust her feelings and jump at a chance at happiness.

The reason why I called this story a ‘little gem’ is because it really is. You have to give this author props for ‘cramming’ a lot of book into a handful of pages.

And if you don’t trust my opinion on it, here’s your chance to get it right now as it’s FREE on Amazon / Kobo / Google Play /

ENJOY!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher