‘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

‘The Soldier’s Rebel Lover’ by Marguerite Kaye

tsrl mkSTORY: When Major Finlay Urquhart was last on the battlefield, he shared a sizzling moment with daring Isabella Romero.

Two years later, Finlay has one final duty to perform for his country, one that reunites him with this rebellious senorita!

Except Isabella has her own mission, which means that no matter how much she craves Finlay’s touch, she can never tell him the truth. But she’s underestimated Finlay’s determination to protect her, and soon she finds herself letting her guard down, one scorching kiss at a time!

REVIEW: Major Finlay Urquhart of the Ninety-Second Regiment of Foot has been fighting in Spain during the war with Napoleon. A Scottish man, he prides himself on wearing his kilt. He is on lookout when he catches a Spanish woman named Isabella. At first thinking she is a French spy, he soon learns that they are on the same side. They rest, share some food, and talk. Finlay is intrigued by her but they part soon after.

England – 1815

Finlay has returned home after the war to live with his brother at Trestain Manor. But now Finlay has been asked to return to Spain on a mission to find El Fantasma, a.k.a. The Ghost, and get him out of Spain. Although no one knows what he looks like, El Fantasma is part of a group of people rebelling at what the government wants repressed. When Finlay recalls that Isabella claimed to know him, he decides to travel to Spain to ask for her help in locating him. He will pose as a wine merchant looking to purchase a large amount of wine and meet with Isabella’s brother who owns a large winery.

When Finlay and Isabella meet again, they try to act like they don’t know each other. When they get a chance for a private talk, Finlay tells her that he must find El Fantasma and help him escape the country. But when she finally tells him the identity of this person and that she has been a part of the rebels, Finlay is shocked but intent on helping the cause of the rebels. Thus ensues a daring escape as they flee to save themselves.

This was a story full of intrigue. The author’s descriptions of the area and the trials of the people who experienced the war are quite vivid.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author

‘The Dangerous Duke of Dinnisfree’ by Julie Johnstone

tddod jjSTORY: Justin Holleman, the Duke of Dinnisfree, is used to being wanted—in bed, for missions, and even dead. He’s protected his country more times than he can remember, gaining enemies along the way, but he failed to defend himself from the past that hardened his heart. Instead, he became an expert at shutting people out. Yet now, in order to save the king, Justin needs to let go of his old ways and let someone closer to him than ever before. He approaches the mission with his classic cold calculation, but his fiery new ally upends his ordered world and entices him at every turn. Suddenly he’s in danger of compromising his assignment and losing his heart, two things he swore never to do.

Desperate to protect her parents from poverty, among other things, Miss Arabella Carthright unwittingly becomes a pawn in a dangerous political battle when she agrees to aid an enigmatic stranger. Having learned long ago to count only on herself, she’s surprised when time and again the duke actually aids her. But when his true assignment becomes clear, Arabella realizes the man she’s come to care for poses the greatest threat to those she loves.

As Justin and Arabella face their feelings and their web of deception falls away, they must decide how high a price they are willing to pay for love and loyalty.

REVIEW: London – 1820

Miss Arabella Carthright works as a seamstress. Although she was adopted, her parents have always shown her much love. Sadly, her mother is in a mental hospital and her father is confined to a wheelchair following a stroke. Arabella is doing all she can to try and make enough money to provide care for her mother and cover someone to be with her father while she is working, in addition to paying for their food and rent. She has just made four dresses for Lady Conyngham, rumored to be the mistress of King George IV, a.k.a., Prinny. When Arabella arrives with the dresses, the woman is throwing a temper tantrum and haughtily tells Arabella that the dresses arenot what she wants and refuses to pay for them. In anger, she also kicks a beautiful jewelry box encrusted with expensive jewels across the room demanding that someone remove it from her sight. A man who was visiting the Lady encourages Arabella to take the box and sell it. He says he fells sorry for her and she can get some money if she sells it. Desperate for money, she agrees.

A little background on this story. Queen Caroline is seeking a divorce from Prinny and has spies watching him to prove adultery. However, Prinny is a man who enjoys his drink and has stupidly sent love letters to Lady Conyngham who is holding them to use as blackmail. Prinny’s trusty friend, Justin, the Duke of Dinnisfree, has been tasked with getting the letters back. Oh, but others know about the letters and the race is on to see who can get them. It turns out that they have been hidden in the bottom of the jewelry box and it is known that Arabella has it.

Without giving away any spoilers, let me add that we have innocent Arabella desperately in need of money to support her parents and Justin intent on getting those letters returned to Prinny. The story is sweet, sexy, suspenseful and one you do not want to miss.

Once again, the author, Julie Johnstone, has written a well-researched novel with a tremendous plot. Enjoy!

Connie for b2b


‘All the Ways to Ruin a Rogue’ by Sophie Jordan

atwtrar sjSTORY: There was once a lady who loathed a lord…

Lady Aurelia hasn’t always hated Max, Viscount Camden, her brother’s best friend. In fact, as a besotted girl, she thrived under his kind attention – sure that he was the most noble and handsome man in the land. Until her young heart discovered what manner of rogue he really was. Now, though she enjoys nothing more than getting on his last nerve, she can’t deny Max drives her to distraction—even if she tries to pretend otherwise.

…and a lord who was confounded by a lady.

Max cannot recall a time when Aurelia did not vex him. If she was not his friend’s sister, he would stay far away from the infuriating vixen. Unfortunately, they are always thrown together. At parties and family gatherings…she is always there. Infuriating him, tossing punch in his face, driving him mad…until one night, she goes too far and he retaliates in the only way he can: with a kiss that changes everything.

REVIEW: Lady Aurelia has always had a crush on her older brother Will’s, friend, Max Chandler, the fourth Viscount of Camden. Max would often visit their home when Will and Max were off from school. However, at age eight, Aurelia’s fantasy is ruined when she sees Max tup a maid. She is angry, disillusioned and takes her frustrations out in her usual way – by drawing a caricature. This one is of Max with a tiny penis and titles it “Cockless Camden.” The problem is that her private sketchpad is found by some of Camden’s friends. He is laughed at and retains the moniker for years. Although Aurelia regrets her action, she remains angry with Max.

As the years pass, Aurelia continues to vex Max and the two of them can hardly stand to be in the same room together. While Aurelia has no real prospects for marrying, she is close to becoming a spinster and Max is a man who has no desire to ever marry. But when their disdain for one another suddenly catches fire and turns to passion, they’re both taken aback.

Aurelia is a good artist and enjoys leaving her caricatures of people in public places. Max, on the other hand, is afraid that she is going to get caught some day and be terribly embarrassed This is a cute story about two stubborn people. The fact that they care enough to irritate each other shows me there is attraction between them.

I have enjoyed Sophie Jordan’s books and the signature humor she adds is the icing on the cake. It’s always great when a book makes me laugh out loud. I hope others will read this story too.

Connie for b2b

‘In the Spinster’s Bed’ by Sally MacKenzie

itsb smkSTORY: At Spinster House, a woman can enjoy the spoils of single life—or find the love of a lifetime…

It has been twenty years since Lord William Wattles laid eyes on Annabelle Frost. Still, he remembers everything—her ethereal beauty, her bookish intelligence, her surprisingly modern attitudes about love…and lust. But Belle’s allegedly wanton behavior led her father to send her away to save the family’s reputation. Now she resides at Spinster House in the village of Loves Bridge, where an unmarried lady can live—and in Belle’s case, support herself as a librarian—in peace…

Beautiful, passionate Belle—sworn off marriage? William can’t believe the woman he once knew could end up like this. But when the hands of fate bring him to Loves Bridge, his long-lost love might just end up back in his arms. Is their unwavering desire worth the sweeping scandal that is sure to follow them both? Absolutely.

REVIEW: Miss Belle Frost, age 37, lives in Loves Bridge and work as the town’s librarian. She goes by the name of Miss Annabelle Franklin. The daughter of a vicar, she was thrown out of the house when it became known that she was pregnant. She and William Wattles had become lovers and when she realized she was pregnant, she did not want to tell William because she was only a vicar’s daughter. So, she kept her secret from him. Thus, she traveled to Loves Bridge to live the quiet life of a spinster under an assumed name. It has been 20 years and she is known as the Spinster House spinster. As it happens, the town has a home where a spinster can stay for life for until she marries. So, she has had a peaceful life alone and has adopted a cat.

Lord William Wattles, age 38, is the third son of a peer of the realm. His two older brothers, Albert and Oliver are married but their wives have produced only daughters. When William was younger, his father realized that he did not appear to be cut out for big things so he bought William his colors and he entered the Army. Now years later, William has married Hortense, a daughter of an Earl. Unfortunately, it turns out that Hortense is a woman hooked on partying, spirits and cocaine. Her wantonness is such an embarrassment to William that he has decided to leave town for awhile hoping gossip about his wife will soon die down. He chooses the town of Loves Bridge.

When William meets Belle, he immediately recognizes her but she tries to convince him that he is mistaken. But William knows who she is and remembers their past. When he comes to her house, their old attraction takes over. But, William is called away when his wife overdoses and dies. William returns to Loves Bridge but is called away again when his father dies.

Belle does not want to tell William about the past and her pregnancy but she fears she as become pregnant again. She feels she cannot tell him because she is still just a vicar’s daughter and he needs to marry a younger woman of higher breeding and produce an heir.

What will happen to their love and passion? Is it strong enough to keep them together?

This was a nice novella about love that remains true for a long time.

Connie for b2b

‘The Earl’s New Bride’ by Frances Fowlkes

tenb ffSTORY: England, 1819

The Earl of Amhurst has returned to his estate in search of a wife and, more importantly, an heir. Simon Devere isn’t interested in some comely, simpering creature. A beautiful woman only brings heartbreak and ruin, and Simon’s disfigured visage is proof enough of that. No, he wants a wife who is unattractive and undesirable—and the homelier, the better.

But nothing about Lady Henrietta Beauchamp is homely. She is lovely and sweet…and struggles to mix with polite society when she would so much rather have plants for company. And yet Simon is her only hope for keeping Plumburn Castle in her family’s possession. Even if it means marrying a man she doesn’t love.

It’s an impossible and unlikely match…unless this awkward beauty can bring hope back into a solitary beast’s life.

REVIEW: 1819 – Kent England

Lady Henrietta Beauchamp is the oldest of three daughters.  She and her twin sisters, Sarah and Albina, are all lovely young ladies seeking to marry.  When their father passed away, he left a substantial dowry for the sisters.  Henrietta is a very shy young woman who tends to stutter when she is nervous, but she is quite knowledgeable about herbs and has an extensive herb garden.  This has always been a passion for her and she makes teas and salves for medicinal purposes to help her friends and family as needed.

A distant cousin, has succeeded to the title and will now live in what was their home, Plumburn.  They have lived in another home called Roseherst.  Simon DeVere, the Earl of Amhurst, has arrived to take over his new home.  At the same time, he will be looking for a bride.  Thus, he has arranged in advance that the Beauchamp sisters and several other young ladies will be invited to stay for awhile for him to get to know and, hopefully, select a bride from them.  Simon is also known as the Black Earl for he is rumored to have killed his lover to avoid marrying her.  In addition, his face is scarred and he wears a patch over his scarred and blinded eye.

When Simon arrives at Plumburn, the young ladies are all awaiting for him.  Unfortunately, Henrietta is so nervous that she knocks a vase of flowers over herself and soaks her gown.  Well, that certainly got Simon’s attention.  As the house party continues, Simon becomes acquainted with the young ladies but is attracted to Henrietta.  She finds him wandering the house late one evening suffering from pain from his scarred face and she gives him an herb to chew and fixes him a cup of healing tea.  When it soothes his pain, he is very grateful to her.

Unfortunately when several of the young ladies become ill for some unknown reason, people begin to think they have been poisoned and the finger of suspicion points to Henrietta!

I enjoyed this novel and found the characters to be interesting but I felt they were not as well-developed as I would have liked.  However, it did not take away from the story.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Longing’ by Mary Balogh

l mbSTORY: Governess and mistress—he wanted her as both.…

The illegitimate daughter of an English lord, Sian Jones abandoned her heritage to live in a stalwart coal mining community in South Wales. Empowered by their cause, she’s engaged to be married to the leader of a revolutionary movement that is bracing itself against the tyranny of English mine owners. But Sian’s principles are unexpectedly shaken when she accepts a job as governess under Alexander Hyatt, the mysterious Marquess of Craille, the oppressive symbol of everything she has come to resist.

She never expected Alexander to upend all her expectations. He is sympathetic to her cause. He is a loving father. A man of wealth and position, he is fatally attractive. And he is offering his heart to the independent woman who has illuminated his life. Now, caught between two worlds, and between the promises and desires of two men, Sian must make a choice that will define her future—one that can only be made in the name of love.…

REVIEW: Sian Jones is a young widow who lives with her grandparents in a coal mining town in Wales.  Her husband died in a mine accident and she herself works underground at a very exhausting job.  Her mother had been the mistress of a wealthy English Lord who is also Sian’s biological father.  Being illegitimate, he never claimed her as his daughter.  However, as she was growing up, she had access to a very good education.

Alexander (Alex) Hyatt, Marquess of Craille, is a widower with a young daughter named Verity.  As the owner of the town’s coal mine, he feels that it is time for him to come to Wales and learn more about the mine and in running it.

Almost all of the citizens of the town work in the mine for wages that barely support them, but find their joy in their church and in singing.  So, when Alex is forced to vote with other mine owners to reduce the wages of the workers ten percent to make up for losses in the market, the hardship suffered by the workers is heavy and resentment against the owners continues to grow.

Alex needs a governess for his daughter and having met Sian out on the hills walking, he offers her the job.  After much hesitancy, she accepts and proves to be a wonderful teacher and Verity loves her so much.  Alex’s attraction to Sian grows and he wants nothing more than for her to stay at the castle and be his mistress and mother to Verity.

Sian loves Alex too but cannot accept his offer.  Even though Sian is the daughter of a Lord, she is still illegitimate and will not accept being a mistress as her mother had been.  In addition, the citizens of the town do not like Sian working for Alex.

This novel gives an in-depth history of Wales, the people and their deep love for their home and for each other.  We see what happens when the workers call for a strike against working in the mine and how they are pressured by a group of unknown men called the Scotch Cattle that pressured people via beatings to join the Chartists to push the government to give into some of their demands.

I enjoyed the story but I felt at times that it was a little long.  However, as the beloved author, Mary Balogh, was born in Wales, I think this book was written as a tribute to her roots and congratulate her on this magnificent saga.

Connie for b2b