‘Summer House Party’ by Regina Scott, Donna Hatch & Sarah M. Eden

shp rs dh smeSTORY: A ENGAGEMENT OF CONVENIENCE by Regina Scott: Kitty Chapworth is nearly a spinster, and an orphan living on the charity of her uncle, with nothing to recommend her for the marriage mart. Her primary purpose is relegated to acting chaperone for her cousins until she can see them successfully married. Kitty remains focused on her duty even though she knows her future is bleak. When Quentin Adair returns from a long ten years working in Jamaica and proposes a wild charade to Kitty, she agrees, although the plan might reawaken her old feelings for Quentin. Can a reformed rake convince the perfect chaperone to overlook propriety for love?

A PERFECT MATCH by Donna Hatch: Genevieve attends a summer house party hosted by her best friend who can’t wait to introduce her to a gentleman she wants to marry, Christian Amesbury. After meeting him, Genevieve determines Christian is perfect . . . for her. Torn between loyalty to her best friend and the yearnings of her heart, Genevieve must first escape the attention of a powerful lord who’s obsessed with her and who tries to rob her of any hope for a happily ever after.

THE PAUPERS’ HOUSE PARTY by Sarah M. Eden: It’s a rare event that Edward Downy and his brother are invited to a house party by a member of the ton. But when they arrive, Edward quickly realizes this house party is different than any other. All invited guests are quite destitute, fallen members of Society barely hanging onto their homes. The hosts of the house party, the Warricks, then make a stunning announcement—they intend to gift all their properties to one fortunate guest. As the guests race to impress the Warricks, Edward finds a fast friend in Agatha Holmwood, who shares his same aversion to the horrible expectations. But their growing fondness for each other only makes the game more painful.

REVIEW: “An Engagement of Convenience” – Regina Scott

Chapworth Grange – Somerset – 1816

Katherine (Kitty) Chapworth is waiting outside at night to intercept an elopement between her cousin, Lucy, and Clive Bitterstock. Kitty has lived at Chapworth Grange for some time as a sort of chaperone for her many cousins. With Lucy being the last to wed, Kitty is striving to stop the elopement. When she does intervene, Bitterstock starts to attack Kitty only to be foiled in his attempt by Quentin Adair, a man Kitty has not seen for a decade. It appears that Bitterstock is in need of funds making an elopement with Lucy to his advantage.

Quentin is the owner of Rose Cottage which borders on Chapworth Grange. A handsome man, he is admired by many. Some time ago, Kitty caught him and her cousin, Eugenia, in a scandalous embrace. Kitty was shocked but found later that Eugenia was just leading him on. As a result of the embrace, Quentin was whipped by her uncle and left the country. Kitty blames herself for not saying something to stand up for him. When she sees him again, she apologizes to him.

Quentin has been in Jamaica improving his family’s sugar plantation. Kitty’s parents were killed in a carriage accident and she now lives with her uncle as an unpaid chatleine. When her cousins are all married, she will be sent to live with a relative. Currently, the family is having a house party and Kitty is tasked with planning and orchestrating it all.

When she and Quentin become close again, they decide to marry. But the fallout of this decision turns into a nightmare for both of them.

This is a clever story and clean.

“A Perfect Match” – Donna Hatch

England – 1818

Genevieve Marshall and her parents, Captain and Mrs. Marshall, are heading to Bainbridge Abbey. There, they will attend a summer house party hosted by Admiral and Mrs. Widtsoe and their daughter and Genevieve’s friend, Matilda. Both young girls are looking forward to seeing one another again.

Matilda is lonely at the Abbey and is pining for a handsome man she met in London. Christian Amesbury is the son of the Earl of Tarrington and they will also be guests at the house party. Genevieve thinks that Christian looks like an Adonis. It appears that his father has not been in good health since his wife passed away.

Christian is quite intrigued by the landscape and, as an artist, is interesting in painting it. In addition, Matilda’s father has commissioned him to paint the Abbey plus a portrait of Matilda. The painting of Matilda turns out beautifully. However, Christian’s eye is drawn to Genevieve and hers to him.

Can Genevieve step aside and wish her good friend happy with the man she has come to love?

This was a very clever and sweet romance. I enjoyed it very much.

“The Pauper’s House Party” – Sarah M. Eden

Somerset England – 1811

Edward Downy and his younger brother, Tom, do not care for house parties but it does provide them with a chance to see how the wealthy live and eat. They have been invited to a 3-week party at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Warrick in Somerset. Edward and Tom feel as though they have only been invited to ensure that the host and hostess have the proper number of people attending. The strange thing is that only people who are in need of money seem to be the attendees.

The Warricks are quite elderly and have declared this to be their last house party. They never had children and are going to choose an heir from the most deserving of the attendees.

Agatha Holmwood, age 20, would like to be chosen as the heir and find a good husband. When Agatha and Edward meet, they have some humorous conversations about this unusual party and enjoy laughing at the absurdity of it all. They are also in agreement to not demean themselves by fawning over the Warricks.

Agatha’s father rebukes her for not trying to be more ingratiating to the Warricks in order to be selected as their heir which would provide financial stability to her entire family. But Agatha retorts that she will not act like the person that she is not. When Edward overhears the conversation between the two of them, he is furious at Agatha’s father.

Who will be selected as the heir?

This is a clever story that provides for some interesting reading and a lesson in morality.

Copy received by “I Am a Reader”

Connie for b2b

‘Miss Darcy’s New Companion: A Pride and Prejudice Variation’ by Cheryl Bolen

mdnc cbSTORY: As the Darcys are about to embark on their wedding trip to Italy, they lose the capable service of Miss Darcy’s long-time companion. What will they do? They cannot leave dear Georgiana without a proper lady for a companion. Elizabeth Darcy’s aunt comes to their rescue, recommending the lovely spinster Lucy Wetherspoon, whose family she has long known.

Darcy also asks his neighbor, Lord Fane, to watch out for Georgiana in their absence. At two and thirty, Lord Fane has decided he needs to wed an heiress to restore his ancestral pile. Miss Darcy’s fortune is just what he needs.

Then he meets the shabbily dressed Miss Wetherspoon, and his world is utterly shaken by the profound feelings the beautiful woman elicits in him. After meddling from misguided-but-well-meaning Mr. Collins, Lord Fane’s honor demands he offer for Georgiana Darcy though his heart will ever belong to her shabbily dressed companion.

REVIEW: The newlywed Darcys are preparing to take a wedding trip. Elizabeth has been talking with Miss Lucy Wetherspoon, age 25, who is being considered as a companion to Miss Georgiana Darcy, age 16.

Lucy’s father was a scholar at Oxford, but he did not have a head for money and ended up involved in some bad investments. As it happens, Lucy had been jilted which is why she is still single. Lucy has been very well educated by her father and even speaks six different languages.

The Darcys need to ensure that Georgiana is well cared for while they are gone, in addition to help prepare Georgiana for her come out. In addition, the young girl will have a fortune of 30,000 pounds so she must make a good match. Elizabeth is impressed with Lucy and decides to hire her.

Lucy encourages Georgiana to be more outspoken when talking to young men so she does appear to be empty headed. Georgiana confides to Lucy that her brother would like to see her wed Alexander Farrington, the Earl of Fane, age 32. Unfortunately, Fane lacks the funds to properly repair his home, Bodworth House. Both his house and Georgiana’s home, Pemberley, are located quite close together.

When Fane and his brother, Hugh, call upon Georgiana, he is quite taken with the beauty of Lucy. Sadly, the meeting does not go well as Georgiana’s youth makes for stilted conversation. However, Georgiana invites Fane and Hugh to dine with her and Lucy and everyone has a nice evening even though it’s difficult to get more than one word answers out of Georgiana.

Soon, Fane cannot deny his attraction to Lucy but is worried about his home and lack of funds as well. Can there be a future for them?

This is a great story well-written in the Pride and Prejudice “style.” I loved the characters and the angst suffered by both Fane and Lucy is well-expressed. In addition, it is very “clean” which is a huge plus to me.

Complimentary copy provided by the author

Connie for b2b

‘The Bourbon Thief’ by Tiffany Reisz

tbt trSTORY: When Cooper McQueen wakes up from a night with a beautiful stranger, it’s to discover he’s been robbed. The only item stolen—a million-dollar bottle of bourbon. The thief, a mysterious woman named Paris, claims the bottle is rightfully hers. After all, the label itself says it’s property of the Maddox family who owned and operated Red Thread Bourbon distillery since the last days of the Civil War until the company went out of business for reasons no one knows… No one except Paris.

In the small hours of a Louisville morning, Paris unspools the lurid tale of Tamara Maddox, heiress to the distillery that became an empire. But the family tree is rooted in tainted soil and has borne rotten fruit. Theirs is a legacy of wealth and power, but also of lies, secrets and sins of omission. The Maddoxes have bourbon in their blood—and blood in their bourbon. Why Paris wants the bottle of Red Thread remains a secret until the truth of her identity is at last revealed, and the century-old vengeance Tamara vowed against her family can finally be completed.

REVIEW: Cooper McQueen is a very wealthy man who loves a good bourbon. While sitting in his bar, he sees a lovely dark-skinned woman walk in. When she asks for a shot of Red Thread bourbon, she is told that it has not been made in many years. Cooper introduces himself to the woman, who calls herself Paris, and after some conversation, she agrees to meet him at his vast estate, Lockwood. She tells him she is a rich widow from Kentucky. When he teasingly asks her if she is after his money, she responds that he is after his bourbon – most specifically his prized possession of a one-million-dollar bottle of Red Thread Bourbon. It is the first bottle ever made. She claims to be part of the Maddox family who were the makers of Red Thread bourbon. She has inherited the business and begins to tells Cooper the story about the beginning of the Maddox family as follows:

Tamara Maddox, has just turned 16. Tamara and her mother, Virginia, have lived with her grandfather ever since her father passed away. Her mother and grandfather are always arguing. Tamara is spoiled and bothers Levi Shelby all the time demanding to ride her horse. Levi is much older than Tamara and works in the stables of her vast estate. When Tamara asks Levi for a birthday kiss, her mother catches them and is furious. She is given a choice of sending Levi away or she will shoot her beloved horse. Her mother explains to her that when her grandfather passes away, she will be the only Maddox left and it will be up to her to keep Red Thread going. But her grandfather has a even better plan to ensure the Maddox blood survives. When the truth comes out about the different family members, the shock is enormous.

After a night of violence at her home, Tamara runs away with Levi and thus begins her life of healing from the many disturbed members of the Maddox family.

This book is one that is quite mesmerizing. Starting from slave days to the present, we see the extent that men and women will go to to get what they want in life. The story is brutal at times, but expresses love as well. This historical novel is very good. I had some qualms about the character of Paris because I felt her actions conjured up racism where I don’t think it belonged in the story.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

‘Marrying Winterborne’ by Lisa Kleypas

mw lkSTORY: A ruthless tycoon

Savage ambition has brought common-born Rhys Winterborne vast wealth and success. In business and beyond, Rhys gets exactly what he wants. And from the moment he meets the shy, aristocratic Lady Helen Ravenel, he is determined to possess her. If he must take her virtue to ensure she marries him, so much the better…

A sheltered beauty

Helen has had little contact with the glittering, cynical world of London society. Yet Rhys’s determined seduction awakens an intense mutual passion. Helen’s gentle upbringing belies a stubborn conviction that only she can tame her unruly husband. As Rhys’s enemies conspire against them, Helen must trust him with her darkest secret. The risks are unthinkable… the reward, a lifetime of incomparable bliss. And it all begins with…

REVIEW: Rhys Winterborne, age 30, is a very wealthy man, but does not possess the deportment or education of a gentleman. He has turned his father’s shop into the world’s largest department store. He owns many other businesses as well yet cannot deny that he is the son of a Welsh grocer. His personal secretary, Mrs. Fernsby is a very intelligent woman capable of carrying out any of his requests.

Lady Helen Ravenel of Eversby Priory met Rhys when he was recuperating at the Priory after breaking his leg in an accident. Helen and Rhys spent many long hours together talking. Now, Rhys is determined to marry Helen. He originally given her a large diamond ring but she asked that he replace it with something less ostentatious, because she feels a large diamond does not represent who she is.

Her marriage to Rhys will make it possible for her twin sisters, Cassandra and Pandora, to have dowries. At age 19, they are imps but quite funny. The 3 sisters have led cloistered lives at the Priory. At the urging of her parents, she goes to Eversby Priory to plan and await a June wedding. While packing up memorabilia to take with her to her new home with Rhys, she makes a startling discovery about her paternity which could destroy her relationship with Rhys.

This is an adorable novel. Rhys is a very strong hero who adores Helen. She loves him as well. His adoration of her as expressed in this story is sigh-worthy. Their love and caring for each other is so sweet.

I did not read the first novel in the series which I think would be a good idea before reading this one. At times, I felt a bit lost in the story, however, I was certainly able to understand the plot. I think the humor of Cassandra and Pandora was great and I’m sure that the first book must touch on their witticisms.

Connie for b2b

‘The Beast of Clan Kincaid’ by Lily Blackwood

tbock lbSTORY: They call him the Beast—a hardened mercenary whose heart seems as cold as his icy blue gaze. They do not know his true name: Niall Braewick, son of the Laird of Kincaid. It has been years since he escaped into the forest the night his father was murdered. Now he has returned, ablaze with a vengeful hunger. He will gain the MacClaren chief’s trust, gather his clan, and take back his lands. And take the MacClaren’s daughter as well…

Though he pulled her from the river, saving her life, Elspeth has been warned to keep her distance from her father’s hired warrior. He is a barbarian—a shame, as he is far more compelling than the lechers and fools competing for her dowry. Little does she know that, like the castle itself, she is a prize Niall intends to claim…but will he extract blood for blood and possess what is his, or will his enemy’s beautiful, innocent daughter tempt him to forsake his dream of conquest?

REVIEW: This is the first book in the Clan Kincaid series about three brothers who supposedly died in an uprising against their clan. The first story is of the oldest brother and I liked it a lot.

The characters are well developed and the hero is Alpha male to the core. The heroine, who just happens to be the daughter of the hero’s enemy, was such a hoot!

I liked that the story moved fast and the revenge trope was well executed and I really enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the stories.

If you’re a fan of medieval period, and especially of the Highlanders, you’ll thoroughly enjoy this one.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘The Enchanted’ by Genevra Thorne

te gtSTORY: Prince Gabriel of Rhyddon is the reluctant heir to the faerie kingdom of Eilithia. It’s said that there is nothing more beautiful than Eilithia and the Tylwyth Teg faeries that live there. Gabriel would disagree. Since being enchanted by the seductive temptress Aneira, a powerful witch who spoke his name four years ago, he has not seen the beauty in anything. Imprisoned by indifference and oblivious to any power but Aneira’s corrupting passion, Prince Gabriel’s mind may no longer be his own, but he will never give her his heart. That was taken from him long ago, and only glimmers of that joyous pledge keep him sane.

Somewhere across the earthly realm of Wales, Taryn of Hamilhawk dreams of a magical forest with music in its trees and a man who holds her heart in his hands. But she’s afraid of magic and, looking out her lonely tower window, prays each night to forget him. She has no idea that soon she will be his wife and that she will somehow save both him and herself from a force that threatens their future. She would never imagine that her path to passionate love will be filled with faeries, a talking tree, and a shape-changing king … and best it not be revealed until Taryn is free to bring her own magnificence and resilience to bear.

All she knows is that he calls out to her in her dreams. “Save me, Taryn.”

And her heart, no matter how she tries to deny it, must answer.

REVIEW: When you are a fan of an author for a long time, and when that author decides to write a book in another genre and under another pseudonym, you naturally hope to God that you’ll love the book.

I truly released a sigh of relief when I was done with the book. No joke!

Genevra Thorne aka Paula Quinn had impressed me so much with her imagination and creation of this enchanting faerie world. I loved everything in that beautiful and magic filled world.

This story is a sort of a mix of historical, paranormal and faerie tale. The heroine was a girl haunted by a dream of a man who is pleading to be saved by her. In hopes to understand the dream and its meaning, poor thing confides in a chaplain thus sealing her fate by being forced into a loveless marriage to a half fairy, a man that is enchanted with another woman.

Our hero was someone your heart went as soon as you meet him. Feeling of hopelessness surrounds this man who is so unhappy to be an heir, to be caught in the enchantment of a woman, to belong to the realm of fairies. And now to be married to someone that doesn’t understand and is afraid of him.

Both characters were well drawn out and very believable as they are fighting the attraction to each other.

I am not a fan of this genre, but reading this story has opened my horizons and introduced me to the world of magic and I hope you’ll give it a go.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author

‘Most Wanted’ by Lisa Scottoline

mw lsSTORY: When a woman and her husband, desperate for a baby, find themselves unable to conceive, they decide to take further steps. Since it is the husband who is infertile, the heroine decides to use a donor. And all seems to be well.

Three months pass and she is happily pregnant. But a shocking revelation occurs when she discovers that a man arrested for a series of brutal murders is her donor – the biological father of the child she is carrying.

Delving deeper to uncover the truth, the heroine must face her worst fears, and confront a terrifying truth.

REVIEW: Christine Nilsson has been a teacher at Nutmeg Hill Elementary School for 8 years and is preparing to leave her job. Now that she is finally pregnant, she wants to be a full-time Mom. She and her husband, Marcus, have tried for 3 years for this to happen. An architectural engineer, he owns his own firm. Finding out that he is infertile and after counseling and lots of thought, they decide to go with a sperm donor with physical traits matching their own. The insemination works and Christine immediately gets pregnant. When selecting a donor, they see his current picture and read some answers to questions that were posed to him. He is known only to them as Donor 3319. But when on a newsflash, she recognizes a newly captured serial killer of nurses as her future baby’s father, she is shocked.

It turns out that sperm donors are not given psychological testing like egg donors are so Christine and Marcus fear that their baby could carry the donor father’s genes with a tendency toward mental health issues. While Marcus sympathizes with Christine, she does not feel he totally understands her worry and so she sets out on a venture to meet the accused killer and see if he actually is Donor 3319.

We follow her and she and her friend, Lauren, travel to the prison where he is being held and by saying they are free-lance writers, get to visit with him. She is convinced he is innocent and then undertakes to prove his innocence.

The story becomes quite involved with all of the people with direct knowledge of the nurse killed. The author has obviously researched this situation in great depth the information she passes along in the novel is fascinating.

I enjoyed the story and especially liked Lauren. She is what one truly calls a best friend. My second favorite character is Griff. What a lovable teddy bear.

I not only enjoyed a great novel that kept me on the edge of my seat right through to the end, but I also learned a lot as well.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b