Review: The Sherbrooke Bride (Bride Series, Book 1) by Catherine Coulter

sherbrooke brideHero: Douglas Sherbrooke, Earl of Northcliffe, needs an heir and a bride. He secures the beautiful Melissande’s hand in marriage. Before they can wed he’s called away to attend delicate matters and sends his cousin to marry for him by proxy. Bad idea! When he returns he finds his cousin stole his bride and married him to the wrong sister.

Heroine: Alexandra Chambers, youngest daughter of the Duke of Beresford, is not beautiful like her sister Melissande. But she has loved Douglas since she was fifteen. When Douglas’s cousin proposes the scheme she is eager to do it. because she knows she will make Douglas a better wife than her high-strung sister. Now she must convince him of it too.

Review: Douglas is furious at the turn of events and takes it out on Alexandra and his cousin Tony. He’s one of those brawny alpha males who does many a pigheaded thing until he gives in and confesses his heart. You either love him or loathe him. Tony was a great side character who for some unknown reason liked an empty-headed vain woman with mush for brains. Melli was very annoying. What’s weird and disturbing is that Tony is training her like a dog to be a better person. Ick. I like Alex as a heroine and the writing was engrossing despite the story’s flaws. On a personal note, the Virgin Bride ghost was an unnecessary supernatural element that detracted more than aided the writing.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: The Sherbrooke Bride (Bride Series)

[phpbay]sherbrooke bride catherine coulter, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]

Review: Love Like the Movies by Victoria Van Tiem

love like the moviesHeroine: Kensington Shaw is always coming in second place in her family. Her parents, especially her mother, do not make her feel seen. She’s never quite good enough, even though she thinks she’s got a pretty good life. What really gets her? Her brother’s wife, Ren, who is always one-upping her. Kensi though, knows today is her day, finally. Today she is announcing her engagement to the man she loves and her family adores. Nothing Ren can do will top that…

Bachelor One: Bradley – He’s got the family’s approval. He’s got a steady solid job at the same company where Kensi works. He’s always trying to solve problems that arise between Kensi and her family. He’s a good man and gorgeous. But is that enough?

Bachelor Two: Shane – He’s not going to take “No” for an answer. He will get his ten movie moments with Kensi or he’ll take his big project and walk. Walking, is not something Kensi’s career can take so she agrees to do his ten movie moments as long as they don’t cross a line – after all she is engaged.

Review: This story will make you say, “Aww.” Shane is super adorable and pulls out all the stops. He clearly wants to win Kensi back and will do what it takes. I love how Kensi’s love of rom-coms permeated into Shane’s life even after they had broken up. I love that when he saw them, he thought of her. The movie moments are adorable because they get mixed up and slightly out of order. Shane won’t hesitate to say the female’s part in the movie to get his point across. The only thing I didn’t like was how often Kensi would cry. That girl would tear up and/or bawl for the good and the bad. A little less waterworks would’ve been great. Kensi’s a heroine to love, because she’s willing to be swept away. I love that she channels her inner Bridget Jones (and other heroines).

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Love Like the Movies

Review: Never Seduce a Scot (The Montgomerys & Armstrongs, Book 1) by Maya Banks

20121209-092710.jpgReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Graeme Montgomery is to marry a woman per his king’s decree. Eveline Armstrong can tell her father Tavis is very upset. She’s speechless. When Graeme comes to wed Eveline, I would have loved to have been present. I can almost imagine the pageantry.

I love how Maya gives us a character that has a disability. Growing up and watching historical pieces, people that were “different” were shunned. But Maya shows that they aren’t pariah but someone who can be accepted. They have feelings just like everyone else.

Eveline shows that having a disability should not stop you from doing anything. If you set your mind to something you can accomplish anything – let your disability be a part of you but not define who you are.

Maya shows her readers that women weren’t usually taught to read and write during that time period. And any teaching to be done was done by a priest. But Maya also reminds us that not all priests were old. It will be interesting to see if we will see this priest in other stories.

Maya’s sex scenes are very descriptive. They are not done in a raunchy way but are very sensual. The characters give us hope that opposites can attract. Lovers can come together and have that HEA. The families may have history but that shouldn’t stop them from having any type of life together. When love is involved, anything is possible.

I’m glad to see that Eveline’s disability wasn’t cured miraculously. I would have been very disappointed with Maya if she had done that. In year’s past in romance novels, it seemed that everyone was always so perfect. It’s nice to see that is finally changing. If you read the “Acknowledgements” at the end, you will understand her inspiration – a very touching tribute.

I went to Maya’s web site, http://www.mayabanks.com/, and noticed that she has a book two that will be coming out. Bowen, Graeme’s brother, will have his tale told in Highlander Most Wanted. The book is expected to come out on February 26, 2013 and I can’t wait. I hope you enjoy this first book as much as I did.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Never Seduce a Scot: The Montgomerys and Armstrongs

[phpbay]never seduce scot banks, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]

Review + Giveaway: Big Sky Country (Parable, Book 1) by Linda Lael Miller

big sky countryHero: Divorced Sheriff Slade Barlow’s father is the richest rancher in Parable, Montana, but illegitimate Slade was never acknowledged… until his passing. Slade is claimed for the first time in John Carmody’s will and given half of the Whisper Creek Ranch. Hutch, his half-brother and the legitimate heir, is not thrilled. He is not inclined to share – the ranch or the girl.

Heroine: Joslyn Kirk used to live as a spoiled popular rich girl, until her stepfather cheated many in town of their life savings. After his death in prison, Joslyn returns to Parable hoping to make amends for his actions. She sells her software company and quietly pays back those who were defrauded. Her return to town is not an easy one, many are suspicious of her.

Romance is complicated by life – Joslyn is Hutch’s high school sweetheart and Slade’s teenage stepdaughter, Shae, wants to come live with him.

Review: Two feuding cowboys? I’m in! The competitive give and take, back and forth, between Hutch and Slade really make the book. Nicer still is the positive turn to the rivalry later in the story.

I never really understood why Joslyn wouldn’t continue making computer software as she could always start another business for it. It seemed strange to waste her college education by switching over to work as a receptionist in a small town real estate agency.

I love Slade – strong, quiet, muscles, gentleman, dreamer, a good stepfather, a hot lover, a sense of humor, plus he’s a sheriff!

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Big Sky Country

Excerpt from Linda Lael Miller’s Big Sky Country:

John Carmody had never once acknowledged him, in all Slade’s thirty-five years of life, and it wasn’t likely that he’d had a deathbed change of heart and altered his will to include the product of his long-ago affair with Callie.

No, Slade thought, Carmody hadn’t had a heart, not where he and his mother were concerned, anyway. He’d never so much as spoken to Slade in all those years; looked right through him, when they did come into contact, as if he was invisible. If that stiff-necked son of a bitch had instructed Maggie to make sure Slade was there for the reading of the will, it was probably so he’d know what he was missing out on, when all that land and money went to Hutch.

You can stick it all where the sun never shines, old man. Slade thought angrily. He’d never expected—or wanted—to inherit a damn thing from John Carmody—bad enough that he’d gotten the bastard’s looks, his dark hair, lean and muscular build, and blue eyes—and it galled him that Maggie, his mother’s friend, would be a party to wasting his time like this.

Buy: Big Sky Country

Follow along on the blog tour: http://booktrib.com/blog-tour-big-sky-country-by-nyt-bestselling-author-linda-lael-miller/.

GIVEAWAY: I have 1 print copy of Big Sky Country up for grabs. Open to readers living within US or Canada. Enter by leaving a comment. Last day to enter is June 8, 2012. Good luck!

Get into Bed with Mia Marlowe (Author Interview)

Mia Marlowe Interview, Co-Author of Sins of the Highlander with Connie Mason

Keira: You worked with Connie Mason on Sins of the Highlander, so I have to know, is it easier or harder to write with a partner? Did either of you ever want the story to go one way, but couldn’t take it there because the other wanted something else? Was there a lot of compromise?

Mia Marlowe: I found writing with a partner very liberating because I knew if I went down the wrong alley, Connie would reel me back in. Fortunately, that wasn’t ever necessary. Working with Connie is such a joy. She’s a very gracious lady. Honestly, I can’t remember a time when we had any sort of tension between us while crafting the story.

Keira: How did you both go about writing the novel? I know you didn’t meet up in person as you live in Massachusetts and Connie lives in Florida! lol Was there something each of you did? Did you write back and forth, scene by scene? Or each write from one character’s POV? Did you find that you both played to your strengths?

MM: We actually have met in person but it was years ago, in 2006 when my debut book came out. She agreed to give me a cover quote—the first one she’d ever given. Connie chose the setting and time period for Sins of the Highlander. Since I’d never written a Scottish set story, I had some researching to do to get up to speed. Connie and I kept in touch via email as the story progressed and fortunately, since our writing styles are very similar, the result is pretty seamless.

Keira: I love bride stealing plots and this one quite literally has the hero steal the bride away from his nemesis. What made you decide on this plot trope? What do you like best about it?

MM: Honestly, I never thought of it as a trope. My approach to story-telling is to get to know the characters deeply. Then I figure out what they want. Lastly, I decide how to keep them from getting it until they really deserve it. Once we knew Rob was mad with grief over his wife, it was a short step to realize he’d want revenge. Stealing a bride from the man he blames for Fiona’s death was only logical, in a crazy sort of way. Plot has to flow organically from the character’s flaws, needs and wants. If it does that with honesty, I don’t see how it can be a cliché.

Keira: A widower hero… sigh… love it. Tell me more about him – give us the good stuff – the toe curling good stuff!

MM: Rob MacLaren is an uber-alpha, a warrior, a clan leader, and all things we love in a man. He’s decisive, courageous and wickedly handsome. The man can rock a kilt. But he’s also damaged. At the outset of the story, he deserves the nickname “Mad Rob.” He still loves Fiona so deeply, she visits him nightly in dreams so vivid, he hates to wake and find he’s lost her afresh. But the fact that he knows how to love gave me hope that he could learn to do it again. If you’d like a taste (and a ‘toe curl’), visit http://miamarlowe.com/books/sins.php#excerpt for an introduction to “Mad Rob.”

Keira: Do you and Connie plan to write another novel together? If so, tell us what you got cooking!

MM: Yes we do! In fact, we have another release this year. Look for Lord of Fire and Icein August! Connie steered us into a Viking story for this one and I added a sparkle of magic by making our hero a fire mage! Brandr the Far Traveled and Katla the Black have a pretty fiery start to their relationship, but my money is on Brandr to melt her icy heart.

We’re also working a trio of Regency set stories for 2013 called “The Royal Rakes.” Readers who remember Connie’s Rogues series will love these new heroes! We just turned in the manuscript for Waking Up with a Rake (Jan. 2013)

In addition to our Sourcebooks novels, I have two more releases with just my name on them coming this year from Kensington Brava—Touch of Rogue (Feb. 28th) and Touch of a Scoundrel (July 2012). These adventurous, sensual Victorian stories have characters who are blessed—or cursed—with the “gift of touch.” They glean secret information when they touch certain objects, but it’s not always something they want to know.

I’m also planning some eBook only releases for readers looking for quality stories at a budget-pleasing price.

If you’d like to be notified of all my new releases, I invite you to enter my website contest. The Grand Prize is a NEW KINDLE! http://miamarlowe.com/contest.php Plus you’ll be automatically signed up to receive my short timely newsletters. I only send them out when I have a new book or special contest to share, so your email inbox won’t be inundated.

Thanks for having me here today, Keira. I have a question for your readers: Do you think it’s possible to fall deeply in love more than once?

SINS OF THE HIGHLANDER BY CONNIE MASON & MIA MARLOWE – IN STORES JANUARY 2012

Abduction

Never had Elspeth Stewart imagined her wedding would be interrupted by a dark-haired stranger charging in on a black stallion, scooping her into his arms, and carrying her off across the wild Scottish highlands. Pressed against his hard chest and nestled between his trong thighs, she ought to have feared for her life. But her captor silenced all protests with a soul-searing kiss, giving Elspeth a glimpse of the pain behind his passion—a pain only she could ease.

Obsession

“Mad Rob” MacLaren thought stealing his rival’s bride-to-be was the prefect revenge. But Rob never reckoned that this beautiful, innocent lass would awaken the part of him he thought dead and buried with his wife. Against all reason, he longed to introduce the luscious Elspeth to the pleasures of the flesh, to make her his, and only his, forever.

With two clans against them burning for battle, they must find a way to join together—body, breath and soul. Or both will be made to pay for the Sins of the Highlander.

Buy: Sins of the Highlander

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Connie Mason is a New York Times bestselling author of more than 50 novels. She was named Storyteller of the Year in 1990 and received a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews in 1994. She currently lives in Florida. Mia Marlowe is a highly acclaimed new voice in romance whose debut novel released in Spring 2011 from Kensington. She lives in Boston, MA. Together, they are working on a new Regency romance series for Sourcebooks Casablanca, the first of which will be in stores in early 2013. For more information, please visit http://www.conniemason.com/, http://miamarlowe.com/ and follow Mia on Twitter @Mia_Marlowe.

GIVEAWAY: I have 2 copies of Sins of the Highlander. Open to US and Canada only. Enter by answering Mia’s question at the end of the interview. Last day to enter: January 27, 2012.

Review: Mr. Darcy’s Undoing by Abigail Reynolds

What If: After six months had passed from the first proposal/letter and Elizabeth received another proposal from a gentleman of modest means, one she knew from childhood, and she said yes?

Summary: Elizabeth accepts a childhood friend’s proposal, knowing she was fond of him, but not in love. She accepted for mercenary reasons, knowing she could no longer hope for Jane to make a good match when she was still so obviously in love with Mr. Bingley. If only she had known Darcy and Bingley were right around the corner! But how was she to know they would show up at Longbourn looking to court the ladies who stole their hearts?

Good:

  • That Darcy worms his way into Longbourn as Bingley’s companion and doesn’t give up even though Lizzy is very off the market.
  • Darcy’s possessive, jealous side. It’s hot. Like burn your sheets up, hot. Favorite quote coming up.
  • That Lizzy learns her own heart and is willing to risk all for her own liberty and happiness.
  • That Lizzy has a deeply valid concern for refusing Darcy when he proposes again (pg 147 for those who care to know)… and that Darcy figures out how to get around Lizzy. (Love how Mr. Bennet uses Mrs. Bennet to advantage, bwuahaha!)
  • That Darcy has a rival!

On the Other Hand:

  • Of course Mr Covingon is not much of a rival. He’s a valid choice for marriage with a comfortable home, quazi gentry, a land owner, a farmer, good to his mother, interested in Lizzy, etc. But he lacks passion, depth, and his interest can’t stand up to reputation breaking scandal. He may have Lizzy’s hand but her heart is not such a sure thing.

Bad:

  • The awful petnames. “Best beloved?” What’s wrong with a simple “Darling” or just plain Elizabeth or Lizzy?

Favorite Quote:

Darcy was silent as he wrestled with his own demons. He had never intended it to go so far; he knew full well that he would have taken her if she had not asked him to stop. His toying with her responses at the end, provoking her and demanding verbal submission to replace the physical one he craved, revealed an uncontrolled part of himself he had always harshly repress. But, by God, it had been gratifying to hear her say she wanted him, and to see her helplessly entangled in the pleasure he was giving her. There was, he thought, less of the gentleman and more of the predatory tiger in him than he cared to admit… (page 208)

The bolded part is my doing – it’s also my favorite part of the quote. Seriously hot, and I do mean hot! Love it!

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Mr. Darcy’s Undoing

[phpbay]undoing abigail reynolds, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]

Review: Worth Any Price by Lisa Kleypas

bookreview

This story by Kleypas is an exciting adventure from start to finish. It all starts with a manhunt… or should I say a woman-hunt? Nick Gentry is looking for the wily Charlotte Howard. He has a small portrait of her in his pocket and his brother-in-law’s backing to get him into the Earl of Westcliff’s home where he’s tracked Charlotte. The Earl notices something fishy about the Viscount John Sydney and sets about unveiling the man’s secrets.

Meanwhile, John Sydney aka Nick Gentry, is prowling the premises for Charlotte and comes upon a young lady on top of a stone wall starring out across the grounds. Her foot is caught in her dress and Nick springs into action to save her… only to find the appealing woman in his arms is the very woman he’s been paid to track down.

Against all better judgment, Nick decides he can afford to stay and watch the lovely and lively Lottie. He comes to the startling conclusion that he wants her for himself and Lord Radnor can go hang before he’d ever bring to the obsessed creep a treasure such as her. Just as passion is sparking between Nick and Lottie, Westcliff pounces with the truth of Nick’s identity.

Frightened but determined, Lottie vows she will never go back to Lord Radnor. Westcliff offers to marry her to keep her away from Nick and provide protection, but Lottie turns him down. Instead she offers herself up to be Nick’s mistress which he refuses because he’d also rather have her as his wife…

I’m classifying this novel under virgin hero, not because Nick was a virgin in his relations to Lottie but because we see him lose his virginity to the Prostitute Gemma, well I suppose she was the Madam of the brothel.

This book would be rated higher, but I was a little disturbed by Radnor’s obsession with trying to break Charlotte as if she were a horse. I also didn’t like learning that her parents were okay with her being locked in a room alone with Radnor while he forced her to sit on his lap and answer to him while he touched her inappropriately… and while there was no full blown rape in the story, this qualifies to me as rape and is marked as such.

Luckily for readers Nick is a dominating force and dispels upsetting Radnor’s presence pretty easily. Oh and this is the first time I’ve seen a shower scene in a historical but Kleypas explains in her author notes why she included it based on her research. It’s solid so don’t let the idea of inaccuracy turn you away from reading this book.

Interesting term found within the prologue: buttock-and-file whore which is an old term for a street prostitute who was in connection with a pickpocket or also pickpocketed her customers. So you would pay, pay again involuntary, and perhaps gain a new venereal disease. Cool.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Worth Any Price (Bow Street, Book 3)

[phpbay]worth any price lisa kleypas, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]

Review: Courting Miss Hattie by Pamela Morsi

bookreview

First off, thank you to Katiebabs for recommending this book in her post, Those Wonderful Comfort Reads. It’s taken me a while to acquire my own copy, but boy oh boy was it worth the wait. This novel is definitely one of those where you wonder why you never heard of it sooner!

The biggest gossip in town is that spinster Hattie Colfax is going to be courted for the very first time by widower Ancil Drayton. He even has special permission from the preacher due to the fact that his wife hasn’t been dead very long, but the Lord will understand his need for a new woman. He has seven kids after all and a farm to maintain.

The minute the news reaches Reed Tyler’s ears he’s annoyed. That man is the worst farmer in the county and Hattie deserves better. Hattie on the other hand is very excited by what appears to be a man for the first time looking past her face and interested in her. This just annoys Reed even more.

Hattie goes to Reed, her ‘Plowboy’, for help. She doesn’t want to appear completely pathetic to Ancil by having him be her first kiss. She’s afraid it will put her on unequal ground; that Ancil will always look down on her and think she should be grateful he wanted to marry her. Reed agrees to teach her. There are three kinds of kissing that he teaches her that night, and that MhoFho and D.D. will teach you tomorrow, plus a fourth he teaches her later in the novel. Very hot and sexy scenes!

Really this was just a fantastic novel, though it would have benefited from less smoochy-smooches and Ancil. The man was made for a sexual harassment suit and he’s just plain unlikable and cruel. I felt bad for two of his seven children. I wanted Hattie to adopt them.

Rating: 4 Stars

Buy: Courting Miss Hattie

Find and Buy More Pamela Morsi Books.