Audio Review: How to Marry a Duke (How To, Book 1) by Vicky Dreiling

how to marry a dukeHero: Some think the Duke of Shelbourne is too picky. He wants to find the perfect wife – someone who is a darling in the ballroom and a temptress in bed. He’s perfectly bored with the ladies he’s met so far and is sure he doesn’t want to court a girl just out of the schoolroom. When he stumbles into a matchmaker he believes he’s found the perfect solution. Have her find him a bride and then he’ll court for a day or two, maybe a week, propose, marry, and that will be it. Back to life as normal.

Heroine: Normal? What man could marry without knowing his bride first? Tessa Mansfield can not believe what she’s hearing from the Duke. She knows his plan is abysmal so she goes ahead with her own. He doesn’t want word to get out? She ensures two dozen ladies and their mamas attend the first round of his courtship. He wants each candidate to have the full list of charms he says are important to him? She’s positive each girl lacks one or two. She and the duke bicker and flirt the whole time and somewhere along the way she wishes she’d placed herself on his candidate list.

Review: It’s like a dating reality TV show! I liked that aspect immensely. I wish some of the dating schemes in the beginning were longer, but understand that going into detail on two dozen candidates would be a bit heavy handed. I might be one of the few who really liked the play of a contemporary theme in a historical setting. So, if you don’t think a dating contest is even remotely legit in a Regency historical setting don’t pick up the book. Otherwise if you’re looking for something light, sweet, and sexy go right on ahead.

“We must talk.”

An arrested expression crossed her face. “I do not think that is a good idea.”

“Tess, we’ve no time to argue now.”

She inhaled sharply. “I am deeply sorry for seducing you. It did not occur to me that you would become so distraught.”

“What?” Had she forgotten to pack her brains?

“You must not worry, for I will still respect you tomorrow.” She paused. “But…”

Tristan gaped at her.He must have pleasured her senseless. A knock sounded at the door. They both turned to stare at it.

Then she glanced at him and said in a rush, “I hope you will forgive me, but I cannot make an honest man out of you.”

Narrator: Elizabeth Jasicki has a nice voice. She narrates convincingly for both sexes. I chose to listen to her at a slightly faster than normal rate of reading. Overall I would listen to her again. She did a good job!

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: How to Marry a Duke, How to Marry a Duke (Audio Book)

Review: Matched to a Billionaire by Kat Cantrell

matched to a billionaireHero: Leo Reynolds is your typical venture capitalist married to his work. He can’t seem to keep a girlfriend… not that he tries too hard to keep one. His ideal match would be a woman who can stay in the background, never nag him about not paying enough attention to her, and can host stellar parties to help him woo clients. He’d be willing to pay a matchmaking service to hook him up with such a female.

Heroine: The matchmaker pairs him with Daniella White. She’s willing to marry for security and finances to pay for her mother’s medical care. Learning from her mother’s poor taste in men, Daniella believes it will be easy to be a convenient wife and let all expectation of a passionate romance go.

Review: Daniella doesn’t want to mess this up. She wants to be the perfect wife and tries to mind-read Leo as to what that is. She tries very hard to please him and succeeds… and fails… because she’s not a background kind of girl. Leo very much notices Daniella and he doesn’t like it. Leo is a passionate man disguised as an ice cold billionaire. His obsessive personality is not the flaw he thinks it is… he just needs to learn balance. I do love how it comes into play at the end when he draws and draws and draws for Daniella. That was incredibly sweet.
Final thoughts: A salty sweet romance – a perfect weekend snack.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Matched to a Billionaire (Happily Ever After, Inc.)

[phpbay]matched billionaire kat cantrell, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]

Get into Bed with Emily Greenwood (Author Interview)

Emily GreenwoodKeira: What do you love best about Regency romance?

Emily Greenwood: I love working within the constraints of the time. People in the early 1800s would likely often have felt that they couldn’t express themselves and their desires freely, and isn’t that, in some ways, an exaggerated example of the vulnerability we all still have about our deepest feelings? Also, I love the balls and the clothes and value placed on wit.

Keira: Colin Pearce, the Earl of Ivorwood, and the hero of your story Mischief by Moonlight, is seriously considering “bride stealing.” When did he first realize that Josie was a woman he could love?

Emily: Well, Colin secretly wants Josie, but he’s also an honorable man, so I trust him to behave himself–mostly :). He and Josie are neighbors in the country, so he’s known her all his life. But she’s several years younger than he is, and when he left for university, she was still a girl. When he finally returned to his estate years later, she’d grown into a beguiling young woman. Meeting her again, he’s terribly attracted right away—but he’s also too late, because she’s about to get engaged. When does he realize he could love her? That might take the whole book :)

Keira: When did Josie realize she didn’t want to match Colin to her sister?

Emily: She started to begin questioning her plans soon after she gave him a love potion she’d gotten from a gypsy. It had some wild results.

Keira: What do they do about the long-absent fiance?

Emily: Josie and Colin both care deeply about Josie’s fiancé, Captain Nick Hargrave, and feel strongly about not doing anything dishonorable. But fate causes a shift in their situation as the story progresses…

Keira: Is it ever okay to cheat on/betray someone? When could it be forgiven?

Emily: As far as Mischief by Moonlight goes, there’s not so much cheating as there is a coming to question choices that have been made. In general, I do greatly value fidelity, but I also think we’re all human and thus capable of mistakes, and that forgiveness and the willingness for partners to try to strengthen their relationships despite failings can be a beautiful thing.

Keira: How do you define love and romance?

Emily: I think love is choosing to say yes to all that another person is, the virtues and the failings. One of the things I love in romance novels is when they explore what blocks our capacity to love each other, and how those blocks are overcome. Romance for me is whatever adds mystery, excitement, or freshness to love.

Keira: What makes a Happily Ever After successful and great?

Emily: For me, it’s when the characters have changed and grown together to the point where they can appreciate each other and communicate their needs and hopes to each other. Then we, as readers, will be confident that they’ll be good partners for whatever life’s going to throw at them.

Keira: What is the most reckless thing you have ever done for love?

Emily: That would be telling :) But I was married at 24, far ahead of most of my friends, so it did feel kind of crazy at the time. A few decades later, I’m still very happily married to my college sweetie.

Keira: If you could travel back in time and spend a vacation in the past, where would you go and what would you have to do before coming back to the present?

Emily: Definitely the Regency era, which is the setting for all my books. I’d want to meet Jane Austen and the poet John Keats, dance at a Regency ball, and visit all the unspoiled nature that existed back then.

Keira: What are you working on next?

Emily: My next book is another Regency story, the first in a two-book series. It’s about a tomboyish heroine who’s forced into hiding because some naked drawings of her that were made without her knowledge are making the rounds of society. The place she ends up hiding is the home of an embittered viscount…he’s about to get his world shaken up!

Thanks so much for having me here today!

Mischief by MoonlightBook Blurb:

With the night so full of romance…

Colin Pearce, the Earl of Ivorwood, never dreamed he’d desire another man’s fiancée, but when his best friend goes off to war and asks Colin to look after the bewitching Josie Cardworthy, he falls under her sparkling spell.

Who can resist mischief?

Josie can’t wait for the return of her long-absent fiancé. If only her beloved sister might find someone, too…someone like the handsome, reserved Colin. A gypsy’s love potion gives Josie the chance to matchmake, but the wild results reveal her own growing passion for the earl. And though fate offers them a chance, a steely honor may force him to reject what her reckless heart is offering…

Buy: Mischief by Moonlight

Make Me a Match!

A WEDDING IN SPRINGTIMEGuest Blog by Amanda Forester, author of A Wedding in Springtime

Finding the perfect match is difficult no matter what time period you happen to find yourself. While the idea of a matchmaker may sound foreign to modern day readers, many of us use a modern day equivalent – the online dating site! In these online dating sites you enter in a variety of information about yourself and then you are given options of potential partners who would theoretically be a good match. You can also go “shopping”, so to speak, by putting in the type person you think you might like, and see what options are available. Our modern matchmaker is a computer algorithm! Whether or not this is a winning formula for love is debatable, but more and more people are finding their romantic partners online.

During the Regency (1811-1820) computerized dating services were obviously not available, but this did not mean people did not turn to a third party to help find the perfect match. Bringing young people together was one of the important aspects of many of the Regency entertainments. As a young Regency miss, have no fear but that your mother, your aunts, and your cousins would all be plotting ways to get you to “accidentally” meet just the right man. The question wasn’t whether there were matchmakers in the Regency, but rather who wasn’t acting as a matchmaker in the Regency.

In A WEDDING IN SPRINGTIME, Penelope Rose has helped to find successful matches for her four sisters. Taking the matchmaking one step further, she has developed a book (an annotated copy of Debrett’s “Peerage of England”) listing potential husbands and their relative attributes and limitations. Pen is not one to leave something as important as marriage to chance.

Using her skills at matchmaking, she attempts to arrange a marriage for beautiful Eugenia Talbot, whose natural vivaciousness was not well received by the queen. On the edge of social ruin, Genie needs to find a husband – and quick! So Penelope using her skills to connect Genie with eligible marriage partners, and keep her away from notorious rake William Grant. Unfortunately for Penelope her plan goes horribly wrong, yet through a series of circumstances involving a Napoleonic spy and a street urchin, it all comes right in the end.

Despite everyone’s better judgment, Genie Talbot and William Grant find true love in A WEDDING IN SPRINGTIME. But will is ever be the matchmaker’s turn? Fortunately, more books and opportunities for matchmaking will arise for Penelope as the Marriage Mart series continues with A MIDSUMMER BRIDE (Nov. 2013) and WINTER WEDDING (Sept. 2014).

I hope you have as much fun reading A WEDDING IN SPRINGTIME as I had writing it! I love to hear from readers so come visit me at my website, facebook, or twitter.

So how did you meet your match (or are trying to meet your perfect match!). Did you turn to any “matchmakers” online or otherwise?

Buy: A Wedding in Springtime

Review: Wife by Wednesday by Catherine Bybee

Hero: Blake Harrison needs a wife, yesterday, in order to complete the terms of the will of his late father. They never saw eye to eye and this is just one more thing he’s being manipulated to do, but Blake has a plan. He’s going to hire himself a bride because the last thing he needs to do is marry somebody and have them get the wrong idea. At first, any gal who understood the game plan would have been good for him, but when he meets the heroine all bets are off.

Heroine: Samantha Elliot is the owner of an elite matchmaking firm that caters to the wealthy. She guarantees to find you the right match for you at this time in your life plans. When Blake turns down her three perfectly good matches with women just like the women he usually dates she’s curious. Then he offers her ten million dollars for a one-year marriage contract… but only if she’s the bride. Can she return to the life of privilege she knew once before or will scandal rear its ugly head?

Review:  This was a cute, fast paced read (it has to with only 220-some pages). There’s sex in the story so don’t equate cute with clean/sweet romance. Cute means the story is adorable and well-done. I liked the premise for this marriage of convenience story, sure it’s been done before (lots of departed family members like to decree weddings in their last will and testaments) but I thought it was handled nicely. I really liked when Blake gets outmaneuvered again by his departed dad with another caveat in the will that only appears after certain criteria was met. Bybee has a good use of the mean-spirited (“evil”) ex. Could have done without the mentally ill sister though.

Recommended: If you like MOC romances, contemporary romance, Dukes, and category romances.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Wife by Wednesday

Review: Heartstrings and Diamond Rings by Jane Graves

Heroine: Alison Carter has dated every frog in the pond. When current boyfriend proposes a threesome instead of marriage she dumps him and hires herself a matchmaker. She wants to find someone to start a family with, who isn’t a creep, and likes her cats. If love entered the picture that would be great, but her expectations on romance and passion are set very low.

Hero: Brandon Scott inherited his grandmother’s moderately successful matchmaking business.  For the short term it will do nicely to help him raise funds for a real estate project he wants to get in on the ground level, after all what’s so hard about matching people? He doesn’t guarantee love, just 5 good solid matches.  Now he’s just got to convince his first client, Alison, to let him try.

Favorite Scenes: Every time Brandon messes up, Alison shows up at his door. The dating horror events and recaps are deliciously hilarious and over the top.

Favorite Quote: (pg. 236)

He’d kissed a lot of women in his life, but never one whose heart seemed to flow from her lips to his. And that was the problem. He could practically feel all that love bubbling up inside her now, dying to be released, and it wasn’t fair to her if he took even the tiniest bit of it. She needed to save it for the man who could give her forever.

Review: There’s plenty to laugh at in the story. Brandon pegs Alison down to the type of magazine she reads, but has the most awful time setting her up with eligible men. I guess he can’t read guys so well and he sets her up on some truly hideous dates. This works for me because of the humor. Alison always gives him another chance, and Brandon always fails because in his secret heart of hearts he wants her for himself. Over the course of the novel they become friends as she tries to help him grow his business in return for free matches. It’s a little predictable but nevertheless a cute read.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Heartstrings and Diamond Rings

[phpbay]heartstrings diamond rings graves, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]

Review: Mad About the Duke by Elizabeth Boyle

Mad About the Duke is a lark you shouldn’t wait to embark upon. I was tickled pink from the very beginning as our hero, James Lambert St. Maur Thurston Tremont, the Duke of Parkerton, is mistaken for a solicitor by our heroine, the lovely widow Elinor Sterling, second dowager Lady Standon.

It’s such a priceless scene as the lofty always in charge hero is subjugated to the madness of the Standon house and drawn unwittingly into a husband hunting scheme. The idea that he, a Duke was working for Lady Standon was nothing short of scandalous. Truth be told, he’s still reeling from everything.

It’s enough to make you giggle right out loud.

Elinor needs to remarry quickly in order to save her youngest sister, Tia, age 15, from being forced into a horrible marriage like she had been. She needed someone with strength, power, and integrity. Somebody honest, just, and kind. What she needed was a duke!

With St. Maur and his superior connections as her solicitor she was sure to meet the two Dukes on her list. On the other hand, St. Maur had this pesky need to question her ducal choices, why was he insisting she expand her list? Oh… if only the poor girl knew!

I still chuckle at the image of a Duke as a matchmaker. Elinor poking at him and teasing him is not something Parkerton gets to experience all that often as the boundaries of his title get in the way. He’s so affronted when he finds out the reason he wasn’t on her list of Dukes it’s hilarious.

It really is a happy book even if I felt the ending was wrapped up too quickly. I would have liked a little more to savor.  I recommend it to all historical fans and those who love mistaken identity plots.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Mad About the Duke

[phpbay]mad about duke boyle, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]