‘Seven Years to Sin’ by Sylvia Day

syts sd1STORY: The longer the resistance…

Seven years ago, on the eve of her wedding, proper Lady Jessica Sheffield witnessed a licentious scene no innocent young miss could imagine. Shocked, yet strangely titillated, she’d held her silence regarding scandalous Alistair Caulfield, and walked down the aisle as expected. But through years of serene, unremarkable marriage, Caulfield’s image remained burned into her imagination, fueling verysdc illicit dreams…

…the sweeter the reward

Alistair ran far from the temptation of the prim debutante with the fire of passion in her eyes–all the way to the West Indies. As a successful merchant, he has little in common with the rakehell youth she knew. But when newly widowed Jessica steps aboard his ship for a transatlantic passage, seven years’ worth of denied pleasures are held in check by nothing more than a few layers of silk–and the certainty that surrender will consume them both…

sdc7REVIEW: I can honestly state that this is one of the hottest prologues I’ve ever read!

Lady Jessica Sheffield grew up in an abusive home, so it is no wonder that to our hero, she always appeared ‘cool as a marble statue’. In trying to protect herself as well as her younger sister, this young woman learned early on that hiding her emotions and suppressing her passions was essential to her survival. On the evening before her wedding to a man of her father’s choosing, she shares with our hero a moment that will haunt her for the next seven years.

Alistair Caulfield, on the other hand, was the youngest of four brothers, yet grew up craving affection. As a young man, he hid that need by behaving badly. He realizes that after their unique encounter, his life would never be the same.

I was really moved by these two characters as each slowly comes to the realization that their love for each other should be given a chance.

This story is one that features well-developed and very vivid characters with moving and poignant dialogue. As usual, Ms. Day gifts us with a secondary love story that is as much moving as the first—that of Hester, Jessica’s younger sister, and Michael Sinclair, her brother-in-law.

The romance between Alistair and Jessica is truly not to be missed. SEVEN YEARS TO SIN is a definite keeper!

BTW: I love this books original cover the best.

Melanie for RRAH

Spotlight on Anna Bennett and ‘I Dared the Duke’!

idtd ab

IdtdabBOOK BLURB: Dare to Fall in Love

Alexander Savage, the Duke of Blackshire, is known throughout the ton for three things: the burn scars on his neck, his ornery disposition, and the trail of broken hearts behind him. None of which would concern Miss Elizabeth Lacey in the least—if she weren’t living under his roof. As his grandmother’s companion, Beth is all too concerned with the moody and compelling duke. Incensed by his plans to banish the sweet dowager duchess to the country, Beth refuses to do his bidding. If Alex wants her help, he’s going to have to take her dare…and grant her three wishes.

Alex adores his grandmother, which is precisely why she must leave. A string of unfortunate incidents has him worried for the safety of everyone around him—including the dowager’s loyal and lovely companion, Beth. But the notorious wallflower isn’t as meek as she appears, and as their battle of wills heats up, so does Alex’s desire. He’s dangerously close to falling in love with her…and revealing secrets he’d rather keep hidden. How can he convince her that his darkest days are behind him—and that, for the first time in forever, his heart is true?

BUY LINKS: Amazon / B&N / Kobo /

TEASER:

London, July 1818

Alexander Savage, the Duke of Blackshire, was known throughout the ton for three things: the horrific burn scars on his neck, his distinctly ornery disposition, and his undisputed skill at…that is, his innate ability to…er, a certain knack for pleasing—

Blast it all, the duke was good in bed.

None of which was any concern of Elizabeth Lacey’s.

In fact, just two months ago, Beth would have bet her best bonnet that she’d go to her grave without ever setting foot inside the duke’s town house.

And now she lived there.

REVIEW: This is the second story in the Wayward Wallflowers series and I liked it a lot. This story was as much fun as it was steamy. I adored the duke and liked the companion as their fun banter made me smile and chuckle through out.

As the story moved at a fast pace, I found all the characters interesting and entertaining, and I thoroughly enjoyed the slow burn of the attraction between these two. I also thought that the secondary mystery plot was well written and executed because I just couldn’t guess the outcome.

This was a lighthearted romance with a hero with a darker side to him and a heroine who is most happy when she’s taking care of people in need.

What I appreciated a lot from the author is the way she handled the sensuality between the leads. The love scenes were there to help me understand the characters and not just to fill the pages. They were emotionally charged and their realism brought the characters to life.

If you’re a fan of Vicky Dreiling, Eileen Dreyer or Julia Quinn, then you’ll find this story and its  romance sweet and sensual and a must read.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

annabennett_authorphoto_color-300x400AUTHOR BIO: Anna Bennett started swiping romances from her mom’s bookshelf as a teenager and decided that books with balls, dukes, and gowns were the best. So, when she had the chance to spend a semester in London she packed her bags—and promptly fell in love with the city, its history, and its pubs. She dreamed of writing romance, but somehow ended up a software analyst instead.

Fortunately, a few years and a few careers later, Anna found her way back to writing the stories she loves and won the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart®. She lives in Maryland with her husband and three children, who try valiantly not to roll their eyes whenever she quotes Jane Austen. Other weaknesses include reality TV, cute shoes, and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Facebook / Twitter /

‘Devil in Spring’ by Lisa Kleypas

diw lkSTORY: An eccentric wallflower…

Most debutantes dream of finding a husband. Lady Pandora Ravenel has different plans. The ambitious young beauty would much rather stay at home and plot out her new board game business than take part in the London Season. But one night at a glittering society ball, she’s ensnared in a scandal with a wickedly handsome stranger.

A cynical rake…

After years of evading marital traps with ease, Gabriel, Lord St.Devil-in-Spring-1 Vincent, has finally been caught-by a rebellious girl who couldn’t be less suitable. In fact, she wants nothing to do with him. But Gabriel finds the high-spirited Pandora irresistible. He’ll do whatever it takes to possess her, even if their marriage of convenience turns out to be the devil’s own bargain.

A perilous plot…

After succumbing to Gabriel’s skilled and sensuous persuasion, Pandora agrees to become his bride. But soon she discovers that her entrepreneurial endeavors have accidentally involved her in a dangerous conspiracy-and only her husband can keep her safe. As Gabriel protects her from their unknown adversaries, they realize their devil’s bargain may just turn out to be a match made in heaven…

REVIEW: ‘Devil in Spring’ is Lisa Kleypas’s third story in her latest historical series, The Ravenels and this is Pandora and Gabriel’s happily ever after. If you’ve never read ‘Devil in Winter’, a story of Gabriel’s parents, then you’ve missed out on one of the best romance novels ever written. However, you don’t have to have read it to get the gist of this story and Gabriel’s character.

He is someone who grew up knowing his destiny and duty of one day becoming a duke, yet the love of his parents had allowed him the freedom to play the field and at the moment we meet him, his parents are not happy with him because he is having an affair with a married woman. He, on the other hand, is very happy with the situation and doesn’t have plans of breaking it off any time soon. That is until he crosses paths with our heroine and they get caught in a compromising position.

As for our heroine, Pandora, we’ve had a pleasure of meeting her from the start of this series and out of all the Ravenel’s, she stood out the most because of her unique outlook on life. I believe all Ravenel’s sisters have had a hard upbringing, but Pandora was a precocious child and she bore the brunt of her father’s anger the most. She is finally coming into her own and with help from her brother in law, looking forward to being a business woman. She never planed on marriage and a husband because she doesn’t want to give up her freedoms. All that changes after they’re caught.

What I loved about this story the most are the characters of Gabriel and Pandora and the way they handled the situation they found themselves in. I loved the courting and enjoyed the banter. I was happy when they entered into marriage without the “convenience” being any part of it. I reveled in Gabriel’s confusion of trying to figure out who this girl was.

“His annoyance drained away, displaced by a rampage of heat and delight. His heart began to thump with the force of his need to be alone with her. To be inside all that energy. Everything in him had just ignited like a bonfire of cotton sedge. He wanted her, wanted her, with all the reckless, self-indulgent desire he usually managed to keep contained. But it made no sense. He was a civilized man, an experienced one with sophisticated tastes, and she was . . . holy God, what was she?”

What I had a bit of a problem with was big enough to make me enjoy this story less. When I’m taken on a ride, I’d like to finish that ride with a bang, and having us witness all the trials and tribulations of these two awesome characters, I feel that the author had let me down in not taking me into the wedding ceremony itself. One moment they’re engaged and the next, in a carriage going to their honeymoon destination.

The secondary plot made sense only because of the further introduction of the young copper with Ravenel’s eyes, otherwise was wasted on me.

Should you read it? You bet! It looks like Lisa Kleypas is back to writing historical novel’s and I am glad for it.

Let me also suggest the audio for this story. I kept going between the two and I must say the narrator, Mary Jane Wells, rocks!

Melanie for b2b

‘The Scoundrel’s Honor’ by Christi Caldwell

tsh-ccSTORY: London, 1822.

Thanks to her older siblings, Lady Penelope Tidemore is no stranger to scandal. In order for her to make a good match, her secret longings for intrigue and romance must be quelled. Yet it is through terrible mischance that Penelope is caught in a compromising position—however innocent—with the darkly enigmatic viscount Ryker Black.

Mr. Black is no gentleman. Raised from the streets and proprietor of the most notorious gaming hell in London, Black lives in a world filled with debauchery and danger. Taking a Society wife from the very ton he despises is not part of his plan, even if the innocent Penelope turns his blood hot with desire.

But Penelope isn’t afraid of Mr. Black, and she soon discovers that his reputation as a scoundrel may be designed to hide a surprising vulnerability. As this unlikely husband and wife grow closer, they learn that what started as chance could end up sealing their fates.

REVIEW: London – 1823

Lady Penelope Tidemore, age 18, is making her Come Out. With her are her widowed mother, the Dowager Countess of Sinclair, and her brother, Jonathan, the Earl of Sinclair. They keep reminding Penelope that she may encounter resistance from some people due to the scandals from the family’s past and they are worried that she may cause yet another scandal. The Dowager and the Earl have been reluctant to let her attend many functions, especially a ball.

When they decide to attend a ball hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Somerset, Penelope is ecstatic. One of the attendees is Ryker Black, Viscount Chatham, brother to the Duchess of Somerset, and the bastard son of a Duke. Ryker and his bastard brothers grew up on the streets of London doing whatever it took to care for themselves. Ryker was awarded his title from the King for having saved the life of the Duke of Somerset. Ryker’s sister, Helena, used to be the bookkeeper of his gambling hell before she married the Duke. Evidently, it is reputed that there is bad blood between Ryker and the Duke of Somerset. So, Helena has come to ask Ryker to attend the ball she is throwing to prove to the ton that there is no bad blood between the two men.

At the ball, Penelope is not enjoying herself. People are obviously gossiping about her, she has torn her hem, and the only men asking her to dance are relatives. She heads for the balcony for some fresh air where she ends up tearing her dress even more. On top of that, someone comes into the dark garden forcing her to hide. It’s Ryker. He realizes that someone else is in the garden and thinking it could be one of his enemies, he grabs Penelope and throws her to the ground. That’s when they are discovered. Uh-oh! Another Tidemore sister has caused a scandal and is ruined. Earl Sinclair tells Ryker he must marry Penelope. Reluctantly, Ryker and Penelope marry.

Penelope moves into Ryker’s rooms at the gambling hell which is not appealing to her. She wants a home but Ryker wants to be close to his business. There is always trouble brewing and he needs to be nearby to take care of it.

The story follows the two of them as they try to adjust to marriage and the fact that they are two very different personalities.

I simply did not like Ryker. He comes across as an angry bully. Penelope tries to placate him but it’s an uphill battle.

I have enjoyed this author’s books in the past, but I found this story to be too rough and violent and not at all what I would expect from her. However, I’m sure that others will find it very good.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for bb

‘The Duke’ by Kerrigan Byrne

td-kbSTORY: He is noble, notorious, and takes no prisoners…

They say that now His Grace, Collin Talmage, Duke of Trenwyth has only one hand, he might finally be a mere mortal, but no one seems willing to test the theory. Rich as Midas, big as a Viking, beautiful as Adonis, and lethal as a feral wolf, he is the English Empire’s golden son. But now he’s lost everything. Most of his family died in a terrible accident, his protégé and closest friend betrayed him on the battlefield, and his left hand was cut off while he was a prisoner of war. The only thing that’s kept him going until now is the memory of a night spent in the arms of a mysterious raven-haired woman almost a year ago…

Imogen Pritchard is a nurse by day, but a fallen woman—and a spy—by night. Seduced on the job years ago by a Duke who mourned for the loss of his family, Imogen has never shaken the memory of the man’s despair—or the fathomless depths of pleasure he brought to her. But as the threat of betrayals, blackmail, and secrets abound, Imogen and Collin are thrown back together in a dizzying swirl of dangerous games and earthshattering desire. But can their love overcome the everything that threatens to tear them apart?

REVIEW: After reading all four books in Victorian Rebels series, I can safely say that ‘The Duke’ is my favorite so far. Don’t get me wrong! The other books are great as well, after all I gave all but The Highwayman’ the highest marks, but for some reason this one touched me on so many levels and I truly enjoyed it.

I find that this author is brilliant when constructing emotional depth of her characters and it is that that keeps me coming to her stories, regardless of the predictability of the plots. She is also very descriptive and not just the scenery. She excels in taking you deep within the heart of the characters, including the sensuality she portrays.

Reading this story, I marveled at the emotions I went through as the story progressed. I was sad as the story opens and our couple meets for the first time and then I got angry at the hero for his stupidity. I marveled as our heroine’s survival instincts prevail and cheered her on as she triumphs. And I laughed out loud at the heroes description of his “neighbor” and at his conundrum.

Seriously, this is one book you must read this year. It is without a doubt, one of the best stories out there today.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘An Inconvenient Romance’ by Chalon Linton

air-clSTORY: The countryside of England provided an idyllic backdrop for Charles Brumley’s and Leah Hasting’s childhood. Neighbors and best friends, the pair passed many happy days racing through the rolling hills of Derbyshire. Everything was perfect—until Charles ruined it all and abandoned Leah for university.

Six years later, the former friends are thrust into each other’s paths once more. Leah had been looking forward to the ball, an opportunity to further her acquaintance with the handsome Mr. Wilkins—but when she sees Charles’s familiar face through the crowd, her traitorous heart leaps.

Charles faces his own struggle: he has loved Leah since he was fifteen years old, yet it seems he is too late—it appears that her affections are otherwise engaged. As the pair tentatively renews their friendship, the spark between them in undeniable.

After so many years apart, leah endeavors to reconcile her feelings toward her once cherished companion. But when a conniving revival for Charles’s attention approaches Leah, the threat is clear: give up her association with Charles or a devastating secret about her family will be revealed. Faced with an impossible decision, Leah must make a choice—the ruin of her family or the ruin of her heart?

REVIEW: Derbyshire England – 1811

Charles Christopher Brumley, age 15, is teasing Leah Hastings as they race each other. Charles and Leah have played together for many years as they live on neighboring estates. But today, Charles has come to tell Leah that he is leaving to attend Cambridge which leaves Leah crushed.

Derbyshire – 1817

Charles has studied hard at Cambridge secretly knowing he has missed Leah. In the years he was away, he saw Leah on occasion, but only briefly. Now, Charles’s father has passed away and his mother is not well. He has been tasked with escorting his sister, Rachel, to a dance. There he sees Leah and realizes that she has always owned his heart. But Leah appears to be enjoying the attentions of Captain Wilkins, leaving Charles seething with jealousy. Leah tells Charles that her life did not stop when he left for Cambridge. Now that he is back, he knows that he must work hard to win Leah’s hand.

A house party is planned at Charles’s home and many people are invited. One person is a lovely young lady and her overbearing mother who is determined to see her daughter marry Charles. While at the party, Leah’s father is accidentally shot and injured while hunting. It appears that Charles may have been the one to shoot him. This bring about hard feelings between Charles and Leah and he fears that he will never have the woman he loves.

This story started off well but seemed to stumble along quickly running out of steam. I understand that it a debut novel, but the author needs to do some work on her writing to make her story run smoothly.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

Spotlight on Jane Ashford and ‘Lord Sebastian’s Secret’!

The Duke’s Sons series

heirtotheduke wddk lss nothinglikeaduke

Dear readers of The Duke’s Sons series,

We’ve reached volume three, Lord Sebastian’s Secret, out on January 3. The military Gresham brother’s story turned out to be quite a romp. On a visit to his betrothed’s family, Cavalry major Sebastian faces a plethora of impertinent pugs, ubiquitous younger sisters, and a prospective father-in-law dedicated to ancient Saxons and arcane philosophy. Very much not Sebastian’s forte, for several reasons. Fortunately, there’s the lovely Georgina, who makes any amount of adaptation and effort worthwhile. Sebastian would do anything for her, and he very nearly does!

I really like the Gresham family. I’m feeling sad right now as I finish the fifth and final volume about them. I kind of hate to let them go. Should I consider revisiting the clan in future? Hmm. Is there anyone from the stories you’d really like to see again? Get in touch and let me know.

And thanks so much for reading!

Jane Ashford

lssBOOK BLURB: Lord Sebastian Gresham is a battle-tested soldier and brilliant strategist. Yet all his life he’s had to hide his complete failure to decipher letters. In his own mind, he’s just stupid. What a miracle it is that he’s found the perfect bride.

Lady Georgina Stane is beautiful, witty, and brilliantly intelligent. Sebastian is head over heels in love, proud as a peacock, and terrified. If she finds out his secret, will he lose her love forever?

 

BUY LINKS: Amazon / B&N / iBooks /

>>>>>>>>>>RAFFLECOPTER <<<<<<<<<<

EXCERPT:

Sebastian closed his eyes and gritted his teeth. He could all too easily picture the astonishing news that he had eloped running through his family—the letters flying back and forth, the disbelief and consternation. The surreptitious brotherly smirking. An image of his mother’s astonished face made him wince.

“Some people think I don’t care about convention,” muttered the marquess. “Not true. And this was too much. An elopement!”

“Except that it wasn’t, Papa,” Georgina pointed out. “It was an unfortunate accident. I think you might have had more faith in my character.”

Frowning at the floor, the older man said something too softly to be heard. Sebastian thought it might have been, “It wasn’t you I was worried about.”

“The duchess is sending your brother,” said Georgina’s mother. She tried to speak blandly, but Sebastian got a clear sense of a woman getting the better of an argument at last.

The marquess glared at the group with a mixture of defiance and contrition.

“Which brother?” Sebastian asked.

“Randolph,” supplied his hostess.

Sebastian groaned softly. If anything could have killed his appetite at this point, the news that a brother had been dispatched to sort him out would have done it. He supposed this was his mother’s idea of just retribution for what she probably characterized as “antics.” She would have known that he would never elope.

If she’d had to send a brother, she could’ve drafted Robert. He’d have made a joke of the whole matter and charmed everyone so thoroughly that they saw it the same way. Alan or James might have refused to be embroiled in such a tangle at all. Nathaniel was still on his honeymoon. Mama couldn’t order him and Violet about quite so easily, anyway.

Randolph, though. Sebastian nearly groaned again. Randolph was usually glad for an excuse to take a few days’ leave from his far-northern parish. And he positively delighted in helping. Sebastian supposed that was why he’d become a parson. Part of the reason. He’d also been asking “why” since he could speak. According to family legend, that had been the first word Randolph learned. Sebastian certainly remembered being followed about by a relentlessly inquisitive toddler.

Nathaniel, a responsible six-year-old, had become so tired of saying he didn’t know that he’d taken to making things up. Sebastian still sometimes had to remind himself that discarded snakeskins were products of reptilian growth rather than intense surprise. Sebastian smiled. Randolph had spent several months trying to startle snakes out of their skin after that tale.

Then Sebastian’s smile died, and he put down his last sandwich. Randolph would revel in Mr. Mitra and the marquess’s lectures on reincarnation. There would be no end to his questions, or to the incomprehensible discussions after the ladies had left the dinner table. Sebastian only just resisted putting his head in his hands.

Georgina was looking at him, though, her expression anxious. He tried a reassuring smile. From her response, he judged that it was only marginally effective. He bolstered it, vowing to deal with Randolph. He would face anything to save her distress.

Georgina stood, holding her still half-full plate to her chest. “I believe I’ll go to my room now,” she said. “I’m quite tired.”

Her father looked guilty, her mother approving. Sebastian wondered at the determination on her face. It seemed excessive for a walk up a few steps. Was her leg hurting? One look at her father told him he would not be allowed to assist her to a bed.

Night had deepened by the time Georgina managed to hunt down Hilda and corner her in a little-used reception room, where she’d apparently been holed up for a good while, judging from the cake crumbs. Georgina stationed herself between her youngest sister and the door and confronted her with hands on hips. “Have you lost your mind?” she demanded.

For a moment, it seemed that Hilda might deny everything, but then she slumped back on the sofa and let out a long sigh. “I only meant to leave you overnight, but everything went wrong from the very first. Whitefoot didn’t like being led. He jerked the rein right out of my hand and ran away. I had to take your Sylph to the Evans farm before I could chase after him. It took hours before I got him there as well.” She paused and looked indignant. “Emma abandoned me! She turned tail and rode home. And she’s been practically hiding in her bedchamber ever since.”

“Perhaps she feels a sense of remorse for having done something absolutely outrageous,” Georgina suggested.

Hilda wrinkled her nose. “Well, we came back first thing the next morning to get you.”

“That does not excuse…”

“And you were gone!” Hilda actually dared to look reproachful. “As if you’d vanished into thin air.”

“Thick mud, more like,” said Georgina.

“If you had just waited, or only walked a little way along the trail, we would have found you. And there wouldn’t have been such a very great fuss. Why didn’t you? How could you be so clumsy as to fall into a gully?” Hilda cocked her head. “I never even knew it was there.”

“Don’t even dream of blaming this on me!” Georgina gazed at her sister. They were alike in coloring and frame, but apparently their minds ran on entirely different paths.

REVIEW: Lord Sebastian Gresham, son of the duke of Langford, is engaged to Lady Georgina Stane and is heading to Stane Castle in Herefordshire before their wedding to meet her parents, Charlotte, Marchioness of Pembridge and her father, Alfred the Marquess.

Georgina’s mother loves Pug dogs and breeds them. The woman’s life seems to revolve around the dogs and Georgina’s father loves local history. Sebastian meets Georgina’s two sisters, Emma and Hilda, and her brother, Edgar.

Sebastian and Georgina spend as much time together alone as they can, but the Pugs running around coupled with the eccentricity of the Marquess and the nosiness of Georgina’s younger sisters, make things difficult for them. They enjoy stealing a chance here and there to kiss one another wishing they could do more.

Georgina has been left a rich heiress by one of her deceased relatives. This is one of the big things that drew Sebastian to her. But after getting to know her more, he has found her to be intelligent and kind in addition to being beautiful.

When Georgina and Sebastian ride out to visit a waterfall, Georgina falls into a ravine and Sebastian climbs down to rescue her. But they both become stuck and it takes days for them to be found.

But Sebastian’s secret is about to be revealed when he needs to contact his family to let them know that he and Georgina are fine.

Will they be able to get through the next few weeks until their wedding?

I did not care for this story because Georgina’s family is a serious bunch of nutcases. I have enjoyed the author’s books in the past, but this is not one I can recommend.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

jane-ashford_-author-photoAUTHOR BIO: Jane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was captivated by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England.That delight led her to study English literature and travel widely in Britain and Europe. Her historical and contemporary romances have been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, Slovenia, and Spain, as well as the U.S.

Twenty-six of her new and backlist Regency romances are being published by Sourcebooks. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. She is currently rather nomadic.

If you would like to contact Jane, you can send a message to: readers@janeashford.com

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Facebook / Goodreads /