‘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

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‘The Highlander’ by Kerrigan Byrne

th-kbSTORY: They call him the Demon Highlander. The fearsome Lieutenant Colonel Liam MacKenzie is known for his superhuman strength, towering presence, and fiery passion in the heat of battle. As Laird to the MacKenzie clan, the undefeated Marquess has vanquished his foes with all the rage and wrath of his barbaric Highland ancestors.

But when an English governess arrives to care for his children, the master of war finds himself up against his greatest opponent . . . in the game of love. Defying all expectations, Miss Philomena is no plain-faced spinster but a ravishing beauty with voluptuous curves and haughty full lips that rattle the Laird to his core.

Unintimidated by her master’s raw masculinity and savage ways, the headstrong lass manages to tame not only his wild children but the beast in his soul. With each passing day, Liam grows fonder of Miss Mena-and more suspicious. What secret is she hiding behind those emerald eyes? What darkness brought her to his keep? And how can he conquer this magnificent woman’s heart . . . without surrendering his own?

REVIEW: By my last few reviews you can tell that I’m on a Kerrigan Byrne kick, and I’m loving it!

This is book three in Victorian Rebels series, and even though they’re all written so that you can read them as a stand alone, I would highly recommend you read them in order, especially because of this heroine, which we meet in the earlier books. And truly, once you’ve read any of these books, I am 100% sure you’ll be tracking them all. They are that good and that awesome!

I am impressed with not just prose, which is flawless, but with the characterization, plot and pace. Every one of the stories I’ve read so far have been beautifully crafted and executed with perfection, from prologue to epilogue.

‘The Highlander’ is one of those heart wrenching and heartbreaking stories that will live with you as much as ‘Flowers from the Storm’ or ‘Knight in Shining Armor’. It’s a story filled with complexity of human nature and suffering. It will captivate and hold your attention with its many twists and turns, but also with its secondary characters who’ve been developed as much as our hero and heroine.

Get it! Read it! NOW!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘The Hunter’ by Kerrigan Byrne

th-kbSTORY: They’re rebels, scoundrels, and blackguards—dark, dashing men on the wrong side of the law. But for the proper Victorian-era ladies who love them, a hint of danger only makes their hearts beat faster…

A scandalous proposal.

As one of London’t most elite hunters, Christopher Argent never misses his mark and always gets his man. But when his latest target turns out to be a woman—the popular, and stunningly beautiful, actress Millie LeCour—it turns his whole world upside-down. Overwhelmed by the heat that simmers between them, Christopher can’t complete his mission. On the contrary, he’ll do anything to save Millie’s life—even if it means risking his own…

A dangerous passion…

When she learns what Christopher was hired to do, Millie is torn between the fear in her heart and the fire in her soul. Putting herself in this dangerous man’s arms may be her only path to safety—but giving in to her desire may be the deadliest mistake she’s ever made. With both of their lives in jeopardy, Millie and Christopher must learn to trust the real feelings they’re hiding—to find the true love they’re looking for…

REVIEW: In this second book of the new Kerrigan Byrne’s series Victorian Rebels, we meet an unlikely hero that was so broken down, I was sure he would never be redeemed. Boy, was I wrong!

With a heroine like Millie, I should have known this man had no chance but to fall for her. 

From the prologue to the last page, this was a book I just couldn’t let go off. It is so well written and paced that there was no room for boredom. And the love scenes were so sensual, you may just need a cold shower! No joke!

I also loved catching up with Dorian and Farah, hero and heroine from the first book. But what brought me to tears (besides the Prologue) was Millie’s son, Jakub. The author even made this character complex and interesting. I fell in love with him from the moment he showed up.

At this point, I am so vested into this series that I’m gobbling it all up! My recommendation is GET IT! You’ll be glad you did 🙂

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Amy Snow’ by Tracey Rees

as trSTORY: Left to perish on a bank of snow as a baby, Amy has never known love, never known family.

Reluctantly given shelter at nearby Hatville Court, she is despised by the masters and servants alike.

The beautiful Hatville heiress, Aurelia Vennaway, is Amy’s only advocate – she becomes the light of Amy’s life, and the centre of her existence.

So when Aurelia dies young, Amy’s world collapses. But Aurelia leaves Amy with one last gift.

A bundle of letters with a coded key. A treasure hunt that only Amy can unlock.

A life-changing secret awaits… if only she can reach it.

REVIEW: January 1831

Aurelia Vennaway, age 8, the daughter of Sir Charles and Lady Celestine Vennaway, has crept outside to be in the fresh air and snow. She wants so much to leave her home of Hatville Court and never return. While outside, she finds an abandoned naked and crying baby laying in the snow. Aurelia’s mother is furious when she brings the baby inside and wants to send her to the orphanage. But Aurelia puts her foot down and insists that they keep her. Aurelia names her Amy Snow. Lady Vennaway insists that she be kept in the kitchen and never be seen by her. Mrs. Vennaway has had many miscarriages and has never been able to give birth to the heir she and her husband desire.

While Amy is little, she stays in the kitchen or the stables with whichever servant is able to watch after her. But each day, Aurelia spends time with her teaching her all kinds of things and they become great friends. As Amy grows, she realizes that she is a servant in the house even though she and Aurelia are so close.

Aurelia has been diagnosed with a bad heart and has an unknown amount of time left for her to live. Fighting her parents, she is finally able to leave and stay with friends of hers in different towns. What was only supposed to be a 3 month trip stretches into over a year. Left at Hatville Court, Amy misses Aurelia terribly. Shortly after she finally returns, her condition worsens but she is able to live for a few more years.

January 1848

Amy Snow is leaving Hatville Court after having buried Aurelia. Before she died, Aurelia had been an invalid. Amy had been lady’s maid, then companion, then private nurse to her during her illness. Aurelia’s parents are glad to see Amy go. Even though Aurelia was a very wealthy young woman, she only left Amy 10 pounds, a ring, and some sketches she had made. She knew that Amy would be able to start a new life with that amount of money. But she later is secretly given more money from Aurelia from another person so her parents would not find out. They truly hate and resent Amy. Lastly, Amy reads a letter from Aurelia telling her that she has left a treasure hunt for her. This is something that they used to do a lot during their time together. Aurelia wants her to find her wings and fly free. Aurelia had set out destinations for Amy visit which also helps Aurelia finish her own life. Thus begins a journey that allows Amy to blossom and to learn all about the true Aurelia.

What a delightful novel! I loved Aurelia and am awed by her strength and love for Amy. While this book is 550 pages long, do take the time to read it. It will be one to remain with the reader for a long time.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

‘Every Scandalous Secret’ by Gayle Callen

ess gcSTORY: Who is the lady setting London astir?
All is about to be revealed…

Notorious rake Leo Wade is not one for house parties–he’d much rather pass the time in London’s gaming halls…and ladies’ boudoirs. But when his gambling instinct leads him to believe the enchanting and utterly impossible Miss Susanna Leland is the anonymous model of a shockingly immodest painting…he braves country tedium for a chance to prove the lady’s secret.

With one foot already firmly planted on the shelf, Susanna cares not a fig for propriety. But even she never imagined she’d become caught up in a ridiculous game of cat and mouse, and certainly not with the most wicked man of her acquaintance! Susanna has absolutely no intention of letting Leo confirm his suspicions, no matter how persuasive he can be.

Until sweet temptation becomes too much to bear, and they both learn that the price of trust may just be worth every scandalous secret.

REVIEW: ‘Every Scandalous Secret’  is book three of the Scandalous Lady trilogy, and my advice is to read the previous two, because both hero and heroine just might surprise you in regards to who you thought them to be.

Lord Leo Wade is a well known rake with two passions: women and gambling. Both have become boring of late, so what’s a rake to do, but get himself invited to a house party!

Lady Susanna Leland is a well known bluestocking with passions of her own, and her love of art is one of them. Lord and Lady Bramsfield’s house party gives both of them an opportunity to engage in some ‘wagering’ that will set in motion things neither is willing to admit, but both want.

Ms. Callen’s third installment of this series is as much entertaining as the previous two, and I enjoyed the ‘battle of wills’ these two displayed in full force. My only complaint would be that it was a tad slow paced, but with well developed characters such as these two, it didn’t bother me too much. Watching them fall in love was heartwarming and entertaining, and at times, just too funny.

‘Every Scandalous Secret’  is a story well told of opposites attracting, with dialogue that will leave you smiling, while the charming hero and one determined heroine are both trying to outwit and keep their secrets from each other.

Melanie for RRAH

‘The Governess Affair’ by Courtney Milan

cm tgaSTORY: She will not give up…

Three months ago, governess Serena Barton was let go from her position. Unable to find new work, she’s demanding compensation from the man who got her sacked: a petty, selfish, swinish duke. But it’s not the duke she fears. It’s his merciless man of business—the man known as the Wolf of Clermont. The formidable former pugilist has a black reputation for handling all the duke’s dirty business, and when the duke turns her case over to him, she doesn’t stand a chance. But she can’t stop trying—not with her entire future at stake.

He cannot give in…

Hugo Marshall is a man of ruthless ambition—a characteristic that has served him well, elevating the coal miner’s son to the right hand man of a duke. When his employer orders him to get rid of the pestering governess by fair means or foul, it’s just another day at the office. Unfortunately, fair means don’t work on Serena, and as he comes to know her, he discovers that he can’t bear to use foul ones. But everything he has worked for depends upon seeing her gone. He’ll have to choose between the life that he needs, and the woman he is coming to love…

REVIEW: This little gem started the whole Brother Sinister series. It tells the story of Hugo Marshall and Serena Barton.

Hugo is to Duke of Claremont what Ray Donovan [my newest TV obsession; Showtime’s best show of 2013] is to the Hollywood scene, a ‘fixer’ of problems. He makes the duke’s mistakes disappear. In this case, Hugo is given the task to get rid of a stubborn woman that has been plaguing the duke and that just happens to be Miss Serena Barton, and Hugh is having a hell of a time doing it.

This was an extraordinary story about two ordinary people that are brought together by circumstances that were out of their hands. Both characters were strong, and both were determined to fight and succeed in their task and I was fascinated with both. I eagerly anticipated the outcome and was elated with it.

I love stories of survival of the fittest, and this certainly was that, except we had two people that I rooted for, but one could only be the winner!

If you’ve never read this author, I urge you to snatch this novella [it’s still FREE] and start to read this series. It really is a little gem I hope you don’t pass up.

Melanie for b2b

‘The Heiress Effect’ by Courtney Milan

cm theSTORY: Miss Jane Fairfield can’t do anything right. When she’s in company, she always says the wrong thing—and rather too much of it. No matter how costly they are, her gowns fall on the unfortunate side of fashion. Even her immense dowry can’t save her from being an object of derision.

And that’s precisely what she wants. She’ll do anything, even risk humiliation, if it means she can stay unmarried and keep her sister safe.

Mr. Oliver Marshall has to do everything right. He’s the bastard son of a duke, raised in humble circumstances—and he intends to give voice and power to the common people. If he makes one false step, he’ll never get the chance to accomplish anything. He doesn’t need to come to the rescue of the wrong woman. He certainly doesn’t need to fall in love with her. But there’s something about the lovely, courageous Jane that he can’t resist…even though it could mean the ruin of them both.

REVIEW: I’m a big CM fan, and I’d read a paper bag if she wrote on it!

However, she chose to write another book, thank goodness, and surprise-surprise, I loved it.

I adored this heroine who was such a unique character. I guess that’s why I love CM’s books so much. She literally molds characters right in front of my eyes. I felt like watching Jane emerge from a cocoon and showing me all these colors, then sprouting wings, just like a real butterfly, and taking off into many directions all at once.

Oliver was a perfect match for her and he as well grew in character as we followed along while he got to know the object of his curiosity and love.

The romance between the two had a perfect pace as their friendship was testing their future. On paper, these two completely opposite characters would never fit together, but the author makes them real and so they complete each other perfectly.

If you’re a fan of Courtney Milan, this is a must buy, and if you’ve never read her work, this is a good book to start with, regardless of being a part of the series. Have no fear, it’s a stand alone.

Highly recommended.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher